As the college basketball season tips off, SI.com examines the top 20 prospects for the 2016 NBA draft.
In a recent conversation with an NBA team’s scouting director, I mentioned that I was torn on who to rank No. 1 in my first Big Board of the season. His response: You’re crazy if you don’t go with Ben Simmons. “His talent level is off the charts,” he said. “It’s effortless. He steps on the floor and within minutes you know he’s the best player out there, no matter who he is playing with or against.”
Several similar conversations yielded the same answer. Scouts love Brandon Ingram, the smooth Duke forward. They are tantalized by Skal Labissiere, the most skilled power prospect in the draft. But if they had No. 1? Simmons. Simmons. Simmons. Said one college scout, “It’s not even close.”
OK, got it. Simmons at No. 1. And everyone else? Let’s find out. Here’s SI.com’s first Big Board for 2016: