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The 5 Riskiest Picks In The 2016 NBA Draft

Tons of talent, but hardly certainties.
LSU freshman sensation Ben Simmons -- an Australian native -- has been hyped to no end, but red flags persist.
LSU freshman sensation Ben Simmons -- an Australian native -- has been hyped to no end, but red flags persist.

The NBA draft is, by nature, filled with risk. Scouts, coaches, GMs, owners -- each has a different opinion about how to best approach it.

Do you try to find players to fit your program, or do you simply gamble on the best talent available? How much should character come into play, and can you excuse a checkered past? And how much stock do you put into upside and overall potential, compared with a prospect's floor?

My previous sleeper picks include: Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, Elfrid Payton, Kenneth Faried, Dennis SchroderGiannis Antetokounmpo and C.J. McCollum. Previously profiled busts include: Anthony Bennett, Michael Carter-Williams, Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel.

Below are the players -- four freshmen and one junior -- whom I consider to be the five riskiest in the 2016 draft.

Also, see my list of the five safest players here, and read The Schultz Report for full draft coverage throughout the week.

  • Skal Labissiere, PF/C, Kentucky
    Labissiere came to&nbsp;Lexington as arguably the most <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/22-best-college-basketball-fre
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    Labissiere came to Lexington as arguably the most coveted recruit in the country not named Ben Simmons. Labissiere is a 6-foot-11 rangy athlete who can shoot it out to 16 feet, but his best asset right now is his weak-side shot-blocking prowess. He will need to add 25 pounds to his lean frame to become a consistent pro, and desperately needs to improve his low-post arsenal. Also, Labissiere's lack of basketball acumen contributed to him averaging more than 3 fouls per game as a freshman, in just 16 minutes of play. Moreover, his inability to take over games offensively continues to be a massive concern. Bottom line: He remains a monumental project.
  • Ben Simmons, F, LSU
    Simmons will become a <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/22-best-college-basketball-freshmen_n_56af9e53e4b057d7d7c79c10"
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
    Simmons will become a productive NBA player, but for the likely top overall pick in the draft, he comes with a litany of uncertainties: subpar shooter, not a legitimate go-to scorer, porous defender. Simmons is a remarkably fluid athlete with rare ball handling, finishing ability and passing skills for a 6-foot-10 19-year-old. But you have to be a dominant half-court weapon to excel offensively at the NBA level and that simply is not his game. Can you really build a franchise around him?
  • Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt
    Jones, a junior declarer, has become a hot name whose meteoric rise up draft boards is not&nbsp;without question marks. Physi
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    Jones, a junior declarer, has become a hot name whose meteoric rise up draft boards is not without question marks. Physically, he is extremely imposing at 7 feet and 245 pounds. Similarly to Labissiere, though, Jones lacks natural basketball tools and is prone to careless and soft play. Jones completely disappeared against an undersized Wichita State team in the NCAA Tournament (5 points, 5 rebounds). He is an explosive athlete who will always block shots, but whether he can stay on the floor (foul trouble, conditioning, free throw shooting) and become a decent offensive weapon remains to be seen.
  • Diamond Stone, C, Maryland
    Stone flashed brilliance during his lone season in College Park (39 points and 12 rebounds versus Penn State), but a lack of
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    Stone flashed brilliance during his lone season in College Park (39 points and 12 rebounds versus Penn State), but a lack of conditioning and overall inconsistency overshadowed those moments. The Milwaukee native is an atrocious defensive player, showing zero desire to properly hedge high ball screens or defend the paint. At 6 feet 11 inches, he lacks the necessary components of a modern-day NBA big man: pick-and-pop ability, defensive versatility and passing. Fifteen years ago, Stone might have been the top pick in the draft. Simply put, he is the ultimate example of buyer beware in 2016.
  • Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky
    Murray has clearly been <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/22-best-college-basketball-freshmen_n_56af9e53e4b057d7d7c79c1
    Associated Press
    Murray has clearly been trending upward: He is a terrific 3-point shooter (41 percent) and gifted scorer. Murray's 20 points per game as a freshman last year were the most by any John Calipari player since Cal has been at Kentucky. Murray, however, is not without weaknesses. For a guy being discussed as a top five pick, he is hardly a "can't miss" prospect. Defense was a problem throughout the season, with Murray struggling against explosive guards in the half-court. He isn't an especially gifted athlete and he lacks explosion in his own game, often relying on ball screens to free himself. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Murray converted a measly 36 percent of his shots in isolation opportunities. Moreover, at 6 feet 4 inches, he really doesn't make anyone around him better. Bottom line: Is he Randy Foye 2.0 or can Murray develop into a true combo man?

Email me at jordan.schultz@huffingtonpost.com or ask me questions about anything sports-related on Twitter at @Schultz_Report, and follow me on Instagram at @Schultz_Report. Also, check out my SiriusXM Radio show Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Bleacher Report channel 83.

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