What an outstanding, competitive and compelling 2015-16 season that was. Now, enough wallowing in nostalgia. On to new business ...
We're already peeking ahead at 2016-17, and we have come up with our first rankings of the nation's top 25 players. As with any April list, this one comes freighted with assumptions.
Specifically, I'm assuming the following projected first-round picks, who would otherwise be eligible in 2016-17, will pursue their aspirations at the professional level: Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray, Henry Ellenson, Kris Dunn, Jaylen Brown, Marquese Chriss, Jakob Poeltl, Ivan Rabb, Deyonta Davis, Tyler Ulis, Skal Labissiere, Domantas Sabonis, Diamond Stone, Demetrius Jackson, Wade Baldwin IV, Dejounte Murray, Thomas Bryant, DeAndre Bembry, Cheick Diallo, Ben Bentil and Stephen Zimmerman Jr.
In addition, several other top-25-level players are reported to have already hired agents: Anthony Barber, Malik Beasley, Brannen Greene, Stefan Jankovic, Tim Quarterman and Wayne Selden Jr. For his part, Damian Jones announced in October that he intends to try his luck at the next level. You won't find any of those names here.
Granted, it's unlikely that every single player named above will go pro (Dunn, for example, faked me out last year). Mindful of this fact, you'll want to watch for an update as this picture becomes clear. In the meantime, here are my way-too-early rankings of the top 25 players for 2016-17: