The 2015-16 college basketball season is coming to a close over the next few days, and it has been an action packed exhilarating season so far. Throughout this season there have been a select few that have proven they are ready to make an impact at the NBA level. There has been a lot of parity in college basketball this year, but the stars shine bright, and a few have shined even brighter during the current NCAA tournament. During the NCAA tournament, Buddy Hield has carried Oklahoma to the final four, and in the process improved his draft stock. Other top prospects such as Denzel Valentine and Jaylen Brown had lackluster performances in the tournament, and could not lift their teams out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. The 2016 NBA draft is set to have some great prospects this year.
When examining prospects it is always essential to articulate what the player’s strengths and weaknesses are, and which teams have a real need for a player who possesses these talents. It is also fun to debate which current or former NBA players these prospects most resemble. Comparing these prospects to NBA players gives fans a good idea of what the prospects bring to the table, and these comparisons are a good way to analyze a prospect that has not been seen much by some fans. We are going to assess what some of the top prospects in college basketball accomplished, and then compare the way they play to current NBA players. Some of these players may even become better than the NBA player that they most resemble. There are also busts in every draft, and none of these prospects want to find themselves included on the long list of players who under exceeded in the pros. Here are some of the best 2016 college prospects, and who they resemble most in the NBA.
15 Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma - James Harden
14 Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State - Tyreke Evans
Which NBA player does Denzel Valentine most resemble? Tyreke Evans can do a little bit of everything for his team, which is why Denzel Valentine is an ideal resemblance to him. Evans may not be a great NBA player, but lets not forget that he won the NBA rookie of the year award. Valentine can fill up the stat sheet, and he proved this while averaging 19 points, seven rebounds, and close to eight assists per game this season. Valentine can also shoot the three very well, and perhaps even a little bit better than Tyreke Evans.
13 Tyler Ulis, Point Guard, Kentucky - Isaiah Thomas
Which NBA player does Tyler Ulis most resemble? Isaiah Thomas is also a very undersized guard, who has thrived in the NBA. He can score when his team needs him too, but can also distribute the ball amongst his teammates creating scoring chances for them. Tyler Ulis perfectly resembles Isaiah Thomas. Ulis is more than capable of scoring the basketball, and averaged seventeen points per game for the Wildcats this season. The outside jump shot is a shot Ulis is more than capable of knocking down.
12 Kris Dunn, PG, Providence - Russell Westbrook
11 Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky - Randy Foye
Which NBA player does Jamal Murray most resemble? Randy Foye may not be the flashiest player, but he has had a long NBA career. Foye has a decent jump shot, and can play the point guard position if needed. The biggest reason Jamal Murray resembles Randy Foye is because of both players ball handling skills. Jamal Murray does not have the handles to be a true point guard like a Damien Lillard or Stephen Curry has.
10 Jaylen Brown, SG, California - Jimmy Butler
Which NBA player does Jaylen Brown most resemble? Many people forget that Jimmy Butler was not expected to be an elite NBA player coming out of Marquette. Butler was very raw, and he seemed like a player that had the potential to be a role player on a team for years to come. Jaylen Brown is also a bit raw coming into the league. He has always had the upper hand physically on his competition, but that will not be the case once he gets to the NBA. Jimmy Butler also did not have a consistent jump shot coming into the league. Jaylen’s biggest weakness is his shooting.
9 Perry Ellis, PF, Kansas - Jared Sullinger
Which NBA player does Perry Ellis most resemble? Jared Sullinger is broader than Perry Ellis in build, but plays the game in a very similar fashion. College success was achieved by both players coming into the NBA. Sullinger has not been a super star in the NBA, but he has been a good contributor for a Boston Celtics team that is beginning to blossom. Perry Ellis's forte is his ability to score the ball in a variety of ways.
8 Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina - Blake Griffin
Which NBA player does Brice Johnson most resemble? Blake Griffin coming out of college was an athletic freak much like Brice Johnson. Blake Griffin has made many improvements to his game while in the NBA, and Brice Johnson will have to make similar improvements to attain the success Griffin has in the NBA. The one attribute that Johnson and Griffin both had coming out of college was the ability to ferociously rebound.
7 Yogi Ferrell, PG, Indiana - Kyle Lowry
6 Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor - DeMarre Carroll
5 Gary Payton II, PG, Oregon State - Dwyane Wade
4 Melo Trimble, PG, Maryland - Jarrett Jack
3 Wayne Selden, SG, Kansas - Kentavious Caldwell Pope
Which NBA player does Wayne Selden most resemble? Kentavious Caldwell Pope seems to be a fair comparison considering they both have a lot of size at the two guard position. They also both do a lot of things good, but do not really do anything that is great. Caldwell Pope was drafted in the lottery. He has underachieved in the NBA, but still plays a role in a much better Detroit Pistons team of late.
2 Brandon Ingram, SG, Duke - Kevin Durant
1 Ben Simmons, SF, LSU Tigers - LeBron James
Which NBA player does Ben Simmons most resemble? LeBron James is still often accused of being too passive, the same ways Simmons has been in college. LeBron came into the league as a man-child, possessing physical attributes that had rarely been seen in a basketball player. Ben Simmons not only resembles LeBron in his physical stature, but also resembles him in the way he plays the game.
LSU fans often saw Simmons grab a defensive rebound, dribble the length of the court, and finish with the right or left hand at the basket. Simmons can play the point forward, and he averaged around five assists per game despite having a lackluster team. Double doubles were a common occurrence for Ben Simmons and LeBron James. Ben Simmons averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds per game in his only season for the LSU Tigers.
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