A year ago today, Skal Labissiere was a high school prospect whose potential mirrored that of a No. 1 overall pick. Standing 6-foot-11, 225 pounds and blessed with a strong interior presence and explosive dunking abilities, Labissiere was the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2015, trailing only LSU’s Ben Simmons and seemingly primed to be a one-and-done after committing to Kentucky.
Except, Labissiere’s freshman season has been what most would call an absolute dud. Despite his size, he has proven to be absolutely incapable of rebound the ball. He is averaging 6.4 points and three boards over 15.8 minutes per game, having been banished to a rotational role long ago. Even worse, he is shooting just under 50 percent from the field. For someone of his build, especially in the SEC and in Kentucky coach John Calipari’s dribble-drive offense, that number should be much higher.
Simply put, on numbers alone, the last thing that Labissiere should do is enter the 2016 NBA Draft. Rather, he should stay in Lexington another year and work on getting stronger in the paint. Instead of playing face up, he needs to get down low and use his size to his advantage. Only then will he produce numbers worthy of a player of his recruiting caliber.
And yet, despite all of that, NBADraft.net projects Labissiere to go 14th overall to the Detroit Pistons and goes so far as to compare him to San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge. I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong considering how Aldridge posted 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and shot 59 percent from the field in two years at Texas before being drafted second overall in 2006. O
n top of that, Aldridge showed improvement over each of his years in Austin before becoming a five-time NBA All Star.
In terms of Labissiere, he’d be lucky to even crack an NBA lineup in the D-League. This young man looks more lost on the court than Waldo in the desert. Long story short, in the opinion of this writer, Labissere’s draft stock is near rock bottom and any team that drafts him in the first round will seriously regret it.
He has the basketball body, but certainly not the basketball brain.