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Simmons.

The top three prospects heading into the 2016 NBA draft

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57 college players have notified the NBA that they wish to be removed from the list of 'early entry' players eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft.

Following the NBA's early entry withdrawal deadline of 17:00pm ET on June 13, 2016, a comprehensive release will detail the final withdrawals from the draft process, but at this stage, the top 10 players available for selection are all but confirmed.

This year's draft class has been criticised as shallow at the top and lacking true star power. Depending on who you listen to, Ben Simmons of LSU ranges from the next LeBron James to a lazy competitor with a shaky jump shot.

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That, of course, is the beauty of the very thorough and extensive NBA draft. Not every number one draft pick is a slam dunk - excuse the pun - success. Karl-Anthony Towns has the potential to be a once in a generation talent after the Minnesota Timberwolves picked him as the top overall pick in 2015.

As a unanimous Rookie of the Year, Towns is only scratching the surface of this vast array of talents. LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson and Shaquille O'Neal all delivered what the top-billing demands, and talents like Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving are still in the process of trying to figure out their ceiling.

Talent nearly always slips through the cracks. DeAndre Jordan and Draymond Green were second round picks, and both men have received All-NBA honours this season. Isaiah Thomas was actually selected dead-last at number 60 in the 2011 draft and he became an All-Star this year.

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics - Game Six

This term's Defensive Play of the Year, Kawhi Leonard, also fell outside of the top 10 back in 2011.

However, many quarters of the media have stated that while this draft class may be not be spectacular, it is quite solid through the board. Here's a look at the top three picks set to emerge from the class of 2016 and some bold predictions about their chances of cutting the mustard in the NBA.

Ben Simmons

The 19-year-old, 6'10" power forward prospect out of Melbourne, Australia has long been considered the nailed on number one pick on June 23 in New York, at least until recently.

Simmons has been remarked for having fantastic passing ability for his size and he operates like a guard in a forward's body. He put up 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists for a stuttering LSU side that really should have achieved more.

Kentucky v LSU

If Simmons was the franchise player many believe him to be, it's fair to argue that he should have driven LSU to success this season. The Australian is a shaky three-point shooter, at best, when he actually decides to take that shot.

Although it's still popular belief that Simmons will go to the Philadelphia 76ers and wind up the number one pick, he will need to address his shooting flaws very quickly to survive in today's NBA.

Brandon Ingram

The 18-year-old small forward from North Carolina has a lot going for him that could easily be transferred into the big leagues. If he is still available when the Lakers have their second pick, Ingram would be the perfect fit for their roster.

Hailing from the highly-esteemed Duke University, Ingram has flourished over the course of the season to establish himself as a potent shooter from beyond the arc. He dropped an average of 17.3 points while grabbing 6.8 rebounds, too.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - West Regional - Duke v Oregon

He's also got active hands and averaged just over one block and one steal every outing. In a day an age where a stretch forward is a golden commodity in the NBA, Ingram looks like a star in the making. He went for 41 percent from deep this year and has no problems running the floor either.

The only thing that holds the 6'9" man back at the moment is his frame. Ingram is an almost frail 195 lbs and in the physical world of the NBA, the likes of Kevin Durant, King James and Leonard at small forward could serve as harsh introductions to life in the big time.

Dragan Bender

Remember last year when the New York Knicks drafted an enormous European with the fourth pick and collective eyebrows were raised everywhere? Well, it seems to be working out quite well for the Knicks and that's a lesson learned for the rest of the NBA.

ISRAEL-CROATIA-BASKET-LIFESTYLE-US

That's not to say that the 7'1" Bender from Croatia is the same as the 7'3" Kristaps Porzingis from Latvia, but they do share some similarities. The pivot has been playing professionally in Israel for Maccabi Tel Aviv and he has shown he can shoot from the outside and protect the rim in a way that makes him a hot commodity already to franchises around the league, even if he is a little raw.

He's the youngest player in the draft and the fact that he doesn't turn 19 until November means there is plenty of upside for organisations to get excited about. It's hard to know how he will adapt to the NBA, but Porzingis' meteoric rise last year - which catapulted him to fourth in the league in jersey sales - has certainly given players of his breed more stock than they ever had before. The Celtics' need for a presence at the middle other than Jared Sullinger could also play a part in the Croatian moving third off the board.

Topics:
NBA Draft
Eastern Conference
NBA
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Western Conference
Philadelphia Sixers
LA Lakers
Pacific Division

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