UK Draft Prospects for the 2016 NBA Draft

The Kentucky Wildcats have managed to have a minimum of two players, and a maximum of six drafted in the NBA draft every year that Coach Calipari has been the coach of the Wildcats. Now that the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is in full swing, it’s time to take a look to see how many of the Kentucky Wildcats will be drafted in the 2016 NBA draft based on the current draft prospects of the UK players, performance to date, and assessed potential by NBA scouts.

How Many Kentucky Wildcats will be drafted in 2016?

For most of the 2015-16 NCAA Men’s Basketball season, most of the draft conversation for the current edition of the Wildcats has revolved around Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere. One of the players who has really improved his draft stock over the course of the season has been start point Jamal Murray Tyler Ulisguard, Tyler Ulis. Ulis has accumulated better statistics than NBA star point guard, John Wall, did during his “One and Done” season at Kentucky, and he was named both the SEC Defensive and Player of the Year for the 2015-16 season. Recent projections have Ulis upgraded to a late first round draft pick if he decides to declare for the 2016 NBA Draft. Other Kentucky players who have come and gone from the NBA draft conversation over the past year have include Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee, but they are not currently projected to be drafted in the first two rounds of the 2016 NBA Draft.

UK 2016 NBA Draft Prospects

Jamal Murray

Position: Point Guard/ Shooting Guard
Height: 6-5
Team: Kentucky Wildcats
Year: Freshman
Jamal Murray has really come into his own in the second half of the 2015-16 NCAA Men’s Basketball season. Jamal came into the season as a projected lottery pick, and his averages of more than 20 PPG and 5 rebounds per game have him projected to be picked between number five and 10 in the draft. He has come into his own this season, and Murray has displayed the maturity and leadership expected of first round draft picks in the NBA. He has continued to build on his High School and Canadian National Team experiences, and Kentucky fans have had a real treat getting to watch Murray play this season. His play has been compared to Jeff Hornacek, and if Murray goes as expected in the draft, his initial rookie salary is expected to be approximately $2,931,000. If you like to follow your favorite players on Twitter, Murray’s Twitter handle is: @BeMore27 .

Skal Labissiere

Position: Power Forward
Height: 6-11
Team: Kentucky Wildcats
Year: Freshman
Skal Labissiere came into the 2015-16 NCAA basketball regular season as the top 1-2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Unfortunately for Kentucky Wildcat fans, it took Skal much of the season to really start growing into the player that he was forecasted to be. Despite the under-performance during the regular season, Skal is still projected to be a lotter pick for the draft. During the Hoop Summit prior to his season at Kentucky, he really impressed the scouts, but he is now considered to be more of a project pick than he was entering the season. He has shown the ability to block shots and shoot the mid-range jumper, so it will be interesting to see if he stays in the lottery or drops a bit based on team need once the NBA Draft Lottery order is set. If he remains a lotter pick, his forecast salary is expected to be around $1,743,500. Labissiere’s Twitter handle is: @skallywally

Tyler Ulis

Position: Power Forward
Height: 5-9
Team: Kentucky Wildcats
Year: Sophomore
No one on the Kentucky squad this year has done more to improve his draft stock than Tyler Ulis. Prior to the 2015-16 NCAA Men’s Basketball regular season, Ulis was not on anyone’s radar for the 2016 NBA draft. After a season where he broke most records held by a Kentucky point guard, Ulis finished the season with a 17 PPG and 7 APG average, and during the SEC Tournament had a 24 PPG average. Although the Wildcats went home a little earlier than they desired with a second round loss to the Indiana Hoosiers, many of the mock drafts found online now have Ulis going in the first round of the draft. It will be interesting to see a few things for Ulis, though Coach Cal may have already given us a hint on where he’s leaning: 1 – Will he declare, and 2 – Where will he fall out in the draft? No matter what, it has been a pleasure watching the 2016 SEC Player of the Year ball this season.

UK Players to Watch

Alex Poythress has been one of the players that we keep expecting to make a big break through every season when it comes to performance and the ability to play at the next level. He has suffered from a number of injuries during his time at Kentucky, but we just have not seen the consistent play from Alex that is demanded at the NBA level. He definitely has the athleticism and talent to play there. At the time of this writing, he is not currently projected to be drafted in the NBA Draft, but things can quickly change once we get past regular season play when the league starts to really measure up the players declaring for the draft. It is impressive that Alex finished his Bachelor’s degree in just three years, and he has been working on his Master’s degree during his fourth year at school!

When is the 2016 NBA Draft?

The 2016 NBA draft will be held on June 23, 2016 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It will be televised nationally by ESPN, and it will be streamed online for authorized subscribers of ESPN via their respective cable or satellite network provider.