There are many enticing NBA prospects in the upcoming 2016 Draft. From Ben Simmons to Buddy Hield to Brandon Ingram, there are several potential Wooden Player of the Year candidates, as well as many big-name players from top-tier schools around the country.
In the Big East, there also several alluring pro prospects.
Within the sea of talent in a very deep conference, there are a few standout players who could be making the jump to the NBA come June.
Kris Dunn – Junior, PG, Providence
When you think of the best player in the Big East, Kris Dunn is the consensus pick. The Player of the Year candidate has been a heavy contributor for the No. 10
Providence Friars up to this point, averaging nearly 17.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game.
Dunn has been able to benefit from the rise of sophomore Ben Bentil as well.
That has taken some weight off Dunn’s shoulders and allowed him to play smarter, more controlled basketball.
According to nbadraft.net, Dunn is projected to go No. 4 overall in this year’s draft.
Dunn’s performance at Providence and NBA potential alone make him a near lock as a top-five pick, but he can definitely make an impact as a pro player.
He is the best guard in this draft class, as he not only has the size of a prototypical point guard at 6 feet 4 inches, but he also can penetrate the lane and isolate defenders well.
His turnover-to-assist ratio and free throw percentage must improve, but at this point, it’s almost impossible to pass up Dunn after the third pick of the draft.
Henry Ellenson – Freshman, PF, Marquette
The 6-foot-10-inch freshman was the fifth-ranked player coming out of high school in 2015. So far he has lived up to the potential.
Ellenson is averaging a double-double for Marquette this season with 16.3 points and 10.0 rebounds, as well as 1.7 blocks per game.
A bit erratic at times, Ellenson has still had more good games than bad ones and has shot 42.8 percent from the field.
After this year, Ellenson should be a lottery pick, but more in the teens than in the top 10. Another year as a Golden Eagle would im- prove his draft stock, but he might not necessarily need it.
A 75-percent free-throw shooter and a 29-percent three-point shooter, he has shown he can hit shots.
The three-point shooting efficiency and athleticism need to improve, but his size, intangibles and leadership abilities, even as a freshman, will allow him to make an impact his first year in the NBA. Ellenson has the potential to develop into a quality 4 in his NBA career.
Isaac Copeland – Sophomore, SF, Georgetown
While he does not have the heaviest workload on the Hoyas, Copeland has been able to make a steady impact for the team in his two seasons, averaging 6.8 points his first year and 9.7 this season.
Copeland has also contributed five rebounds and 2.1 assists per game so far in his sophomore campaign. He started off this year strong, but has cooled down in Big East play, scoring in only double-digits twice in 2016.
Copeland does not have the draft stock of the previous two players – he is projected as a second-round pick, per nbadraft.net.
However, he will still have the ability to make an impact on a quality team if selected in the late first round, or can be used as a role player on a lesser-quality team if picked in Round 2.
He has the ability to not only spread the floor, but also play above the rim, which has been seen during conference play.
Another year at Georgetown would definitely make him a first-round pick, though.
The 2016 NBA season will include many, many quality players, and some of them will be players from the Big East. As their teams fight for wins down the stretch, these three players will also be working to improve their draft prospects.
Matthew Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.