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NBA Draft Rankings 2016: ESPN Ranks Top 30 Prospects

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ESPN ranked the top 30 prospects in this year's NBA draft, but it's clear Skal isn't highly thought of anymore.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

With the college basketball season now over, the focus now turns to the 2016 NBA Draft.

We're still over a month away until we know for sure who will be in the draft, but you can bet it will include several Kentucky Wildcats underclassman. Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere and Tyler Ulis continue to be projected as first-round picks, and the former is looking more and more like a possible top-five pick.

ESPN's Chad Ford just put out his updated list of the top 30 prospects for this year's draft, and Murray came in at No. 4.

4. Jamal Murray

Previous rank: No. 8

Murray started out at No. 5 when Big Board 1.0 was released in July, and now he moves up to his highest spot ever.

There are concerns about his athletic explosiveness and whether he can make the transition to point guard. But his shooting, basketball IQ and leadership on the court have most scouts convinced he'll have a shot at being an All-Star someday.

At this rate, Murray should be drafted somewhere between No. 3 and No. 7 in this year's draft. He could land in a variety of situations with fellow Wildcat alumni, including Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota, Anthony Davis in New Orleans, or DeMarcus Cousins/Willie Cauley-Stein/Rajon Rondo in Sacramento.

But the same cannot be said of Skal, who is no longer viewed as even a top-15 prospect as Ford now has him ranked No. 16.

16. Skal Labissiere

Previous rank: No. 13




Labissiere is still a mystery to most NBA scouts.

The appeal is clear -- he is big and athletic and can shoot and block shots. But his production at Kentucky was poor, he appeared to lose confidence and he still lacks strength and a great feel for the game.

Most NBA scouts would prefer that he return to Kentucky for another season. But if he doesn't, a team will likely grab Labissiere in the middle of the first round and hope to develop him, given his raw talent.

If this holds up, Skal really needs to come back to school as late first-round picks aren't exactly assured of NBA teams sticking with them for more than two years (see Daniel Orton, Marquis Teague).

Coming in right behind Skal is Ulis, who continues to look like he'll be drafted in the first round if and when he ultimately decides to stay in this year's draft class.

17. Tyler Ulis

Previous rank: N/A




Ulis' major leap up our board has less to do with late-season heroics and more to do with the fact that scouts seem to have made peace with his height (5-foot-9).

Ulis does just about everything you'd want from a point guard. He's the best pure point prospect in this draft, and while his size might keep him from becoming a high-level starter in the NBA, he could have a major impact on the right team.

Here's the full rankings of Ford's top 30 prospects:

1. Ben Simmons

2. Brandon Ingram

3. Dragan Bender

4. Jamal Murray

5. Buddy Hield

6. Henry Ellenson

7. Kris Dunn

8. Marquese Chriss

9. Jaylen Brown

10. Jakob Poeltl

11. Deyonta Davis

12. Ivan Rabb

13. Furkan Korkmaz

14. Denzel Valentine

15. Domantas Sabonis

16. Skal Labissiere

17. Tyler Ulis

18. Diamond Stone

19. Timothe Luwawu

20. Thon Maker

21. Dejounte Murray

22. Ante Zizic

23. Wade Baldwin IV

24. Demetrius Jackson

25. DeAndre Bembry

26. Thomas Bryant

27. Jonathan Jeanne

28. Ben Bentil

29. Brice Johnson

30. Grayson Allen