Vaught’s note: Jessica Jones doesn’t pretend to be a basketball expert, but she is a die-hard Kentucky fan who certainly knows her basketball. She’s a vaughtsviews.com contributor and done her homework to provide her insights on the upcoming NBA Draft. This is part two of a four-part series on UK players hoping to be drafted June 23.
By JESSICA JONES
Kentucky has four young men who have potential to be drafted in the 2016 NBA draft: Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere, Tyler Ulis, and Alex Poythress. All four have been participating in pre-draft workouts. John Calipari thinks the three early entrants will all be lottery picks. Here’s a look at how they may fair in this month’s draft:
Outlook: Everyone knows that the Bob Cousy Award winner and SEC Defensive Player of the Year is the best point guard in the draft. Tyler definitely has top 10 draft pick talent but his height makes teams a bit cautious. Tyler is pegged on the draft boards from late lottery to the mid twenties.
Could he land with the hometown Chicago Bulls with their 14th pick? Some say this is the highest Tyler could go in this draft. This would be a perfect fit for Tyler. He would get to play in his hometown of Chicago behind the great Derrick Rose. With Rose’s mounting injuries it appears the Bulls may be shopping for their next point guard. Tyler could learn the system under Rose and become the most solid back up in the league.
Ulis could also land at 17 with the Memphis Grizzlies. I like this spot for Tyler because of their two established veteran bigs in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, not to mention he would stay near Kentucky. Tyler would definitely rack up the assist numbers feeding the ball to Gasol and Randolph. Also, all of the Memphis point guards are slated to become free agents. Memphis could, however, retain some as Mike Conley has player option and Jordan Farmar and Bryce Cotton are restricted free agents. If Memphis does lose all their point guards it will be a great chance for Andrew Harrison (playing with Memphis’ D-League team) to get his NBA shot and possibly play with Tyler again. This also opens up a lot of minutes for their draft pick to get minutes right away. We’ll see what happens but that is definitely something Kentucky fans should keep an eye on.
Another spot I like for Tyler Ulis is at 22 with the Hornets. Jeremy Lin has declined his player option with the Hornets and will become a free agent leaving Charlotte in need of a solid backup behind Kemba Walker. Tyler Ulis could be that guy. Several other boards have Tyler landing anywhere from 17-25 with teams like Detroit, Indiana, and Atlanta. In fact, if the Atlanta Hawks do trade Jeff Teague as rumored, some believe they will go after Ulis with their 21st pick. Tyler is going to be great where ever he goes. I look forward to tracking his progress in the league.
Best Fit: I really think Tyler would flourish with Memphis or Charlotte. However, he’s going to force a coach wherever he goes to give him minutes with his toughness, skills, and basketball IQ. I’m rooting for Chicago to take him at 14 because I know it would mean a lot to Tyler to play in his hometown.
Predicton: 17 Memphis Grizzlies
Next: Skal Labissiere