With the 28th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select big man Skal Labissiere from the University of Kentucky.
He is expected to be a part of a trade package that would send him to Sacramento to join a crowded frontcourt of DeMarcus Cousins, Kosta Koufos, Willie Cauley-Stein and fellow rookie big man Georgios Papagiannis. With all that depth, it makes you wonder if the Kings have yet another (future) move in mind? Labissiere was actually considered a potential top-five pick prior to his freshman season with the Wildcats, but struggled through a difficult year before ultimately being expected to be selected somewhere in the teens by many scouts.
Labissiere will need to continue adding size and strength to fill out an extremely long frame (9’0 standing reach), but is a very good and agile athlete for a man of his size. Listed at just 216 pounds, Labissiere may have the quickness and burst to be effective in transition in the early going, but will definitely benefit from working with NBA trainers and nutritionists. His soft hands, touch and ability to knock down jumpers make him a good target both in the pick-and-roll and lob situations, and Labissiere’s length and footwork allow him to utilize the jump-hook over either shoulder in the post.
He’s a quick leaper and has excellent timing on the defensive end as shot blocker, but could be a more effective rim protector as a weakside defender as he adjusts to the size and speed of the league. Like most young big men, Labissiere will have to continue developing the awareness, patience and focus it takes to be consistently effective on the defensive end, but the skills do seem to be there to improve upon.
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