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NBA Exec: Skal should come back




Clearly, it’s been a disappointing season so far for Skal Labissiere. Though he’s shown signs of improvement recently, he remains a far cry from the potential number-one-overall draft pick he was hyped to be. Despite his struggles, many analysts project that Skal will still go in the lottery of this year’s NBA Draft. Given these developments, Labissiere’s choice of whether or not he will enter the draft after the season has become an intriguing one.

Dickie V voiced his opinion on Skal’s upcoming decision during the closing minutes of last night’s game, saying that he should “absolutely” come back. In an interview with Adam Zagoria, an anonymous NBA executive agreed with this sentiment:

“Dickie V. is right,” the executive said. “[Labissiere] will not help any NBA team next year no matter where he gets drafted. I believe Skal’s people have already decided for him that he is coming out no matter what type of year he has.”

While it’s easy to state that Skal “should” come back if he wants to improve, there are also a fair amount of reasons for him to leave. Next year’s draft class is loaded. Kentucky will have better front court players. He risks injury. He might not get any better. When you can eliminate these risks and make a few million dollars guaranteed, the decision isn’t as easy as one would think.

Hopefully, Skal will turn it up a few more levels before the season ends and earn a position in the lottery with his play. If someone could get Derek Willis to show him how to suddenly start rebounding like a freak, he might stand a chance.

Article written by Caleb Epley

Vanderbilt student, Kentucky fan. Skilled at using big words and telling bad jokes. Twitter: @CalebEpleyKSR

29 Comments for NBA Exec: Skal should come back

  1. beaudiddy
    9:11 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    Hope he’s gone cause he’s garbage.

    • david8577
      11:19 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

      You’re garbage, and that’s not hyperbole.

    • beaudiddy
      7:17 am January 25, 2016 Permalink

      david8577, your mom’s booty hole is garbage! You trailer trash bum!

  2. BigBlueSkyDog
    9:17 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    Not a very flattering picture, that’s for sure. Skal does need another year though.

  3. wildcat502
    9:22 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    Skal should come back, but would that help him?? If he gets drafted, he maybe in the d-league for a few years, then what happens? I think “his people” maybe more worried about themselves, then him, They maybe looking into their futures, not what best for him.

  4. smahurin
    9:25 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    The NBA draft has zero to do with which kids can help a team next year. I’m not saying he’ll be great or even good, but he’s likely got to go this year. If he comes back and improves he’s a mid first rounder (which he likely would be this year anyways) whereas if he struggles, he’s never a 1st rounder again.

    Improvement (real or imagined) is priced into guys draft stock as part of their “potential”. Its very rarely a win for a kid to come back, because even if they do improve, they’re a year older and should have improved.

    I’d love for these kids to stick around, but if getting drafted (highly I might add) is their goal, they are better off going as soon as they can. People argue all the time “but its about the 2nd contract”. Very true, but there’s no truth to this myth that kids can’t improve playing in the NBA and can only improve in college. Some of them make it, some make it big, some falter. Regardless, going early is usually (there are exceptions) the best bet for all of these kids whether we like it or not.

    • Long Dong Silver
      9:35 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

      Excellent. Spot on.

    • JoeMoney333
      7:31 am January 25, 2016 Permalink

      See Archie Goodwin. Kids do improve in the NBA.

    • Bluebloodtoo
      12:14 pm January 25, 2016 Permalink

      Ok, let’s correct this JoeMoney333, “Kids CAN improve in the NBA”. There is no one in the NBA that’s going to babysit them and make sure they do, though. In college, they are pushed to improve. If Skal is mature/driven enough to continue to work hard in the NBA, then there are avenues for him to get help and improve. If he’s not, then…..

  5. The Professor
    9:27 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    Skal seemingly has received nothing but bad advice from his guardian who sees Skal as his meal ticket. There is 0% chance he would spend 1 game on an NBA roster without vast improvement. He can’t stay on the court for a college team that desperately needs a center.

  6. Rixter
    9:37 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    Skal will not be drafted. The NBA doesn’t draft bad players, there are too many good ones. For those of you who will say ‘the NBA drafts based on potential’, tell me what potential Skal has shown? The potential to dominate really bad high school players last year?

    • BMT
      10:27 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

      I have to disagree with you about him not being drafted. I don’t think he’ll go in the lottery but given that this is a relatively weak draft class (including international prospects), I am very confident that someone will take a chance on him. I also think he’ll go straight to the D league and spend a significant amount of time there. There’s nothing wrong with developing in the D league and I hope he’s able to do it. A lot of people, myself included, have been disappointed in Skal because he hasn’t lived up to expectations that were set early on by a lot of “talking heads” who had him ranked so highly. As you know, some of those people were even throwing around the “number 1 draft pick” label. The reality is all those people were wrong and so were we for believing them.

    • Megan
      12:03 am January 25, 2016 Permalink

      BMT’s comment gives us a clue that those of us who are disappointed in Skal and don’t really want him to come back are the ones rationalizing that he should go to the development league asap. That’s a shame.

  7. @BallBlog_Chad
    9:49 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    Is he going to get better being a student or a professional next year … aaannndd which one pays better? Blame this on the NBA, please give us a 2 year rule so guys can focus on playing instead of deciding to be one and done or not and NBA teams won’t have to risk their high picks like this.

  8. Jiminy Crickets
    9:55 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    daniel Orton?

    • Jiminy Crickets
      9:56 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

      sorry, this was responding to Rixter. I think youre right they shouldn’t draft guys that play like this, but unfortunately they do!

  9. scwhite9
    10:00 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    Don’t call these kids garbage. He is not doing very well; we can all agree to that. The NBA exec said he wouldn’t “help” a team next year. They will be drafting him based on his potential. If it were my child, and he was going as a lottery pick and making around 3 million guaranteed for 3 years, I would tell him unconditionally to go. He would have to work hard. But, he could stay another year and not be in the top 10.

  10. UKinIN
    10:14 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    The argument about returning to improve comes down to a team’s needs. If Skal goes pro and plays at the same level or worse as UK he could be kicked to the curb by an NBA looking to move on from a Draft Day mistake. If Skal returns to college, in theory, UK could have a greater need for him to improve so he will get more attention and opportunities. Listening to Kenny Walker on KSR the other day I realized that people that say college basketball was better in the 80s and early 90s are right. Walker said he was happy to be in college and on scholarship. This post talks about Skal’s people having decided that he’s going to the draft regardless of Skal’s season. It’s the difference between being happy where you are and focusing on today and worrying about where you’re going to be picked in June.

  11. Kizzy
    10:27 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    I just understand why staying 4 years and getting a degree when your clearly not good enough is bad. Oh you must go after one year or, the world will explode! will be OK, anywhere else Skal is a 4 year player.

    • The Professor
      10:43 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

      I agree. What is wrong with being a JR or Sr. If he gets drafted at all it will be in the 2nd round where nothing is guaranteed. The D league is full of grown men trying to gain a spot on an NBA roster. Skal cannot body up with average college players. He would get broken in half in the D league.

  12. Memphis UK Cat
    10:48 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    WTF, has everyone forgot how bad Willie was his freshman year. I want Skal back to become the next great. Come on BBN, get your head out of your a$$.

    • Saul T. Nuts
      11:13 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

      I agree, and I think Willie is a fair comparison because Willie was also very inexperienced.

  13. jonthes
    11:54 pm January 24, 2016 Permalink

    Skal has been playing out of his comfort zone. He’s a great shooter with range for his size. Pop him in the middle of a zone near the free throw line and teach him to pass out if it collapses and he’ll thrive. His people are poor, so if he comes out you can’t blame him.

  14. cats paw
    7:29 am January 25, 2016 Permalink

    derrik willis advice on how to be a rebound and/or scoring freak—– 1) coach allows you more than two minutes playing time. 2) uneducated fanbase realizes fundamentals are more important than a street baller that is only capable of scoring with a top ten dunk.

    • UK Big Board Update
      8:22 am January 25, 2016 Permalink

      Those street ballers and “Derrik” Willis are 8-1 vs your cards and HOF alduterer. LMAO!

    • UK Big Board Update
      8:28 am January 25, 2016 Permalink

      But you’re right – I mean, just look how well Gonzaga has done.*

      *Gonzaga has never made it past the Elite Eight in 15 seasons under Mark Few, even with all the fundamental white players he’s had over the years.

  15. chrisg18
    9:24 am January 25, 2016 Permalink

    Definitely 2 sides of it, and it is all about that second contract. You could argue both sides of it. On one side you can say Skal will improve more by being a professional and devoting his time to just basketball, even if it is in the D league for 3 years. There is some legitimacy to that, and he will get drafted in the first round this year, so the money will be there. However, the other side of that argument is that if he doesn’t make it in those 2-3 years of his rookie contract, the NBA tends to give up on guys like that forever and move on to the next guy. Staying at UK increases his time frame to make an impact in the NBA at an older age – his time at UK plus his rookie contract which would basically double the amount time that the NBA would give him a chance. Yes it does decrease the length of his NBA career, and it does mean he would make less overall money over his career than if he made it after being a one and done, but I think it increases the likelihood he actually makes a career out of it. He needs time and experience more than anyhing. WCS is a great comparison, not in their games, but in experience, potential, and the lack of commitment to the game before coming to UK.

    Skal will get drafted in the first round no matter when he comes out, whether it is after this year or after he stays 4 years. The NBA will always give 7 footers with his skill set a chance. But the question is what sets him up best to make a career out of the NBA, and what is most important to him right now. There is risk in both decisions. I think it sucks kids like him have to make decisions like this because he really should come back, and not just for one more year. I fear if he goes he just won’t make it in the NBA. He’ll end up overseas for most of his career, which is fine if he’s ok with it, but I think he can be an impact player in the league if he gives himself more time. He needs A LOT of time, not just the time in his rookie contract.

  16. Sentient Third Eye
    9:59 am January 25, 2016 Permalink

    The strength of next year’s class should not be a factor in Skal’s decision making because he ought to stay two more years to allow his body to mature so he can gain weight. With his solid game facing the hoop, he can find ways to be productive until he develops a traditional low post game. NBA execs have memories shorter than a Kardashian marriage. They won’t remember junior Skal’s Frosh struggles.

  17. Tree Beard
    1:43 pm January 25, 2016 Permalink

    He’s not coming back people. If Dakari and the Harrison’s left for the NBA while barely rated in the draft last year, Skal’s certainly not passing it up this year considering how high he is rated. The going wisdom with Dakari last year (you even heard it on this radio program) was that he couldn’t improve his draft stock if he stayed in college, which was ridiculous. So instead, he’s mired in the invisible D League instead of playing on national TV 25 times this year.