This is the strongest group in the 2016 draft by far. There is star power and depth here. This n=bunch of PFs could even turn the 2016 draft into one of the better drafts of the decade.
Players are listed in order of how I would draft them all other things being equal.
Skal Labissiere, Kentucky: Labissiere didn’t come close to living up to his hype. But look at what happened in March:
Labissiere improved his game across the board and looked like a real NBA PF prospect for the first time all year. This is just for 108 minutes in March, but the improvement was consistent during the 8 games he played. So it is very possible that on 3/1 Skal Labissiere, the nations’ #2 overall prep prospect coming into the season, started to figure things out and became the player many thought he’d become.
In a weak draft a team should shoot for the moon. Skal Labissiere’s march showed us slashes of the great prospect we were promised. Taking upside into account he has to be drafted in the top 10.
Domatas Sabonis, Gonzaga: As a scorer and rebounder, Sabonis has been pretty amazing. As a defender, he’s been just as abysmal. There was some improvement though.
Improvement is good, even if it’s slight like this. Sabonis will never be the second coming of Dennis Rodman as a defender. But it looks like there was some effort being put forth there. That combined with his stellar offensive game and rebounding skills make him a solid prospect.
Deyonta Davis, Michigan State: Davis was the top freshman for pure PF numbers over the course of the season. He played only 650 minutes, which gives me a little pause when ranking him so high in a strong group.
Dragan Bender, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Cheick Diallo, Kansas: Diallo was pretty solid in his 202 minutes. Enough so that I would roll the dice on him at some point before round 1 ends. He’s definitely a project, but there’s great upside here.
Henry Ellenson, Marquette: Ellenson has some stretch 4 potential and that makes him a better prospect than his weak PF numbers suggest he should be. Upside also factors in. I’d be wary of a stretch 4 who didn’t top .500 and .300 though.
Jameel Warney, Stony Brook: Old school PF. Warney has posted solid numbers for 4 years. He’s a rebounder, defender and inside scorer.
Pascal Siakam, New Mexico State: He’s a sophomore, but at 22 is the age of most seniors. So his upside isn’t what it may appear. But he is a solid PF prospect mainly because of his ability to rebound and defend.
Marquese Chriss, Washington: Chrisssmania might be subsiding a tad.
Robert Carter, Maryland: Carter improved his game a lot after sitting out a year following the transfer. Nice inside-outside offensive game. He brings adequate defense and passing also.
Joel Bolomboy, Weber State: Bolomboy has stretch 4 potential. Defense is weak.
Brice Johnson, North Carolina: Johnson had a great senior year. It is hard to call him much of a prospect, because he’s so light, at 209. Smaller PFs usually come with a 3-pointer and Johnson has yet to show he can do that.
James Kelly, Marshall: Kelly played 2 season, ’14 at Miami and this past one at Marshall. He was a very good offensive player this past year. He’s a good stretch 4 candidate.
Matt Costello, Michigan State: Spartan senior played well enough this year to get on the prospect radar.
James Farr, Xavier: A 5th year senior who has done enough in his career that he’s worth a mention here and a long look as a UFA. He’s also a stretch 4 candidate, despite the .125 3PP this year.