On Saturday, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish got an early start on his 2016 mock draft and predicted Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray to go first and third. Today, Sports Illustrated’s David Gardner also has Skal and Murray going in the lottery, Skal first and Murray twelfth:
1. Skal Labissiere, Kentucky
Freshman | 7-foot, 216 pounds | center
Labissiere could become the second Kentucky 7-footer in a row taken atop the NBA draft. He isn’t yet the post player that Karl Towns is, but remember that Kentucky coach John Calipari forced Towns to play more in the paint as a freshman and helped him to develop those post moves. If Labissiere can develop a few go-to post moves to pair with his perimeter skills, he’ll be a no-brainer in the top spot. The biggest potential problem for Labissiere would be an NCAA investigation into the prep school he played for in high school.
12. Jamal Murray, Kentucky
Freshman | 6’5”, 201 pounds | guard
Murray may be the quickest riser in this NBA draft. He quickly reclassified from 2016 to 2015 so that he could play at Kentucky this fall. Murray made an impression at the Nike Hoops Summit in April, leading all scorers with 30 points. With Tyler Ulis seemingly locked into the point guard slot for the Wildcats, Murray will have a chance to play off the ball and become the next in a line of strong Kentucky guards under Calipari.
Right now, Skal and Murray are the only Cats Gardner projects will go in the first round. Will we see four number one picks in seven years? Good golly.