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Cal says Skal Labissiere could be top NBA Draft pick in 1-2 years; Top 5 this year?

It's easy to see the ceiling for Skal allowing him to be a No. 1 overall pick with 1-2 more years of basketball under his belt.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Skal Labissiere only began to scratch the surface of what he was capable of during his lone year with the Kentucky Wildcats.

So just how high is Skal’s potential?

During his Wednesday meeting with the media, UK head coach John Calipari said Skal has got the ability to make it in the NBA.

"What I would tell any team is that if he had stayed in school another year or two, then he would’ve been the No. 1 pick," Cal said. "He would’ve figured it out, blocked shots, run better, and been more physical.

"Now here’s what I’ll tell you, in 2016, whatever pick you get becomes your 2018 or 2019 No. 1 pick, should you take him? That’s why he’s going to go in the lottery because they’re saying, ‘If we waited a year or two and got him, then he would be the No. 1 pick."

What Cal said there is exactly how many key decision-makers in the NBA think: 'If I draft Player A, what do I think he would be if he had 2-3 more years of experience and growth?'

Or in shorter terms, 'upside' and 'potential' are valued as much in the NBA as any professional sports league. Sure, guys like Buddy Hield and Jakob Poeltl are solid players who should make an impact in the NBA, but they're closer to what they are than a guy like Skal, who has a much higher ceiling, but a far lower floor as well.

There's no question Skal could be an elite talent if he had two more years of college basketball under his belt, and when you're picking in the top 5-10 picks of a draft, you're typically in rebuilding mode and can afford to wait a few more years for a guy like Skal to develop.

Speaking of, is it possible Skal makes it into the top 5-10 picks this year? Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders and ESPN's Chad Ford seem to think so:

I think Skal may very well sneak into the top 10, but I find it hard to see a team spending a top-five pick on him. Whatever happens, best of luck to Skal in his NBA journey.