Brandon Ingram, Dragan Bender, and Skal Labissiere have declared for the NBA Draft. All three were considered top prospects heading into their respective seasons, and while they have had varying levels of success over the past three months, they each have th epotential to be picked highly.
Ingram is the headliner, and the only player likely to challenge Ben Simmons for the #1 overall pick.
A 6' 9.5" wing with a 7' 3" wingspan and a silky-smooth shot, Ingram reminds many observers of Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo. He propped up a Duke team that was uncharacteristically low on talent this year, averaging 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists per game in 34 minutes of playing time. He would be a great fit for the Sixers' team, providing an injection of youth and shooting on the wing.
Dragan Bender has been the placeholder third pick for the majority of the year. His physical tools suggest a relatively high floor, and his skillset fits the mold for what NBA executives want out of their big men in 2016. There's been some vagueness about the terms of his buyout and whether he would declare, which makes his announcement a relief for teams hoping the top of the draft will look a bit stronger.
No shock here, but I'm told Dragan Bender has indeed informed Maccabi officials he'll be leaving for NBA draft.— David Pick (@IAmDPick) April 5, 2016
Bender has not played much for Maccabi this year, but he has displayed a strong touch from 3 in his few minutes, as well as potential as a shot blocker and a passer. In international play as a 17 year old, he displayed the capacity to switch onto smaller players in the pick and roll. If all four of those skills are legitimate, he could be a great player for a long time in the NBA.
Labissiere has had one of the most disappointing freshmen seasons in recent memory. Heralded as the top big man recruit, he has struggled to put together more than a few strong games in a row since arriving in Lexington. Most concerning is his rebounding, where he only averaged 3 rebounds per game as a 20 year old freshman.
However, Skal did display a knack for shot blocking and showed a natural jumper that lends itself to the pick and pop game in the NBA. Given his size and athleticism, some NBA team will definitely take a swing on him in the first round.