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NBA Draft Profile 2016: Tyler Ulis, Kentucky Wildcats

Could a reported injury risk prevent Tyler Ulis from achieving the first-rounder status that a player of his skill level deserves?

After Tyler Ulis' spectacular sophomore season at Kentucky--one that earned him a plethora of big-time accolades--it seemed as if the Wildcats had in him another sure-fire first rounder.

Now, however, it's questionable if he'll even be drafted that high.

Really, his position on the draft boards as of now does not have a great deal to do with his skill level.  After all, we saw firsthand how quickly he developed at Kentucky from a reliable bench player in his freshman year to a tenacious floor general in his sophomore season.  He was able to do it all at Kentucky, as his incredible athleticism allowed him to be a force on both sides of the ball, a fact that was clearly reflected in his stat line.  (Ulis scored about 17 points per game last season, all while dishing out about 7 assists each game.)

If draft picks were based solely on talent, then Ulis would definitely be a first round pick.  Nevertheless, there are many other factors that go into drafting a player, and many of them are likely to cause teams to shy away from using a pick on Tyler Ulis.

One such factor is a hip problem, reported by Basketball Insiders, that has many teams thinking twice about whether or not they should use a draft pick on the former Wildcat.  While the Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis is reporting that Ulis said his "hips are fine," many teams are still taking stock of whether or not they want to use a pick on a player who, as Basketball Insiders is reporting, might "require surgery down the line."

Another issue that seems to be damaging Ulis' draft stock is his height.  At 5'9", Ulis is currently one of the smallest point guards that is on draft boards.  Even though he is smaller than many other draft prospects, Ulis uses his size to his advantage, as it has allowed him to be a quick, agile player that has always been a threat to steal the ball and dominate on fast break opportunities.

Right now, there is no real consensus on draft boards as to where Tyler Ulis will end up.  Some, like Sports Illustrated's Andrew Sharp, have him going as high as 24th (Sixers), while other outlets like NBADraft.net have Ulis falling all the way to pick number 45 (Celtics).  Other draft boards have him anywhere in between those two points.

Personally, I do believe that Tyler Ulis' name will be called in the first round.  Despite the rumored hip problems, it still seems like Tyler Ulis is too talented of a point guard to pass up on.  This is especially true of teams who find themselves looking for someone to take with a late first round pick.

That being said, I won't be shocked if Ulis slips into the second round, but I highly doubt he'll fall as far as the 45th pick in the draft.  Tyler Ulis, 2016's SEC Player of the Year, just has too much talent to let fall that far.