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2016 NBA Mock Draft Based on End of the Regular Season Standings
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons SF/PF, LSU- Simmons controversy later in the season regarding him not going to class and his inability to lead LSU to March Madness may have influenced people to heavily criticize him and claim he doesn't deserve the number 1 pick. However, Simmons all year was incredible, averaging 19.8 ppg 11.8 rpg and 4.8 apg shooting 56% from the field and racking up 22 double doubles. While LSU were pretty horrible this season, it's horrifying to think where they would be without Simmons. Had he achieved the required GPA, he almost certainly would've won the Wooden award. While his jump shot needs improvement to play the 3, he is simply too talented and has too much potential to be passed up by the 76ers.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Ben Simmons SF, Duke- It took a while for Brandon Ingram to find his footing while at the collegiate level, but once he did, he was a menace. Averaging 17-6-2, he's a gifted scored who can score from inside or outside. His weight is an issue, at 196 lbs he will need to bulk up in order to perform in the NBA, but that is an issue that can be solved and shouldn't hurt his draft stock too much. He's gifted with a wingspan of 7'3 and a generally long body, if developed in the right system I believe he has the potential to be a Kevin Durant type player. At 19, his ceiling is incredibly high and should be a surefire pick for the Lakers (assuming they hold onto their pick).
3. Boston Celtics (From Brooklyn Nets)
Dragan Bender PF, Croatia- When the Celtics traded for the Nets pick back in 2013, they assumed they would be much farther back in their rebuilding process then they are now. They've already clinched the playoffs and have a very young and strong core to build around. Factor in Coach of the Year candidate Brad Stevens and the Celtics look primed for a string of very successful seasons. Now here is where it gets scary, they receive the Brooklyn Nets, who own the 3rd worst record in the league, lottery pick. While backcourt prospects such as Jamal Murray, Kris Dunn, and Buddy Hield look tantalizing. The Celtics would be smart to work to upgrade their front court. That's where Dragan Bender comes into play. The 7'1 power forward currently plays his game with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, he will declare for the draft this year. His athleticism and mobility is jaw dropping. Likened to rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis, Bender is expected to do big things in the league. At only 18 years old, this matchup nightmare will fall right into the celtics arms.
4. Phoenix Suns
Domontas Sabonis PF/C, Gonzaga- While the suns season went completely awry once Eric Bledsoe tore his meniscus, they can at least feel good about the recent breakout of rookie Devin Booker. With Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe, and Booker in their ranks, the Suns backcourt is set for the longterm future. However, other than Mirza Teletovic's recent run of good games, the Suns front court is in dire need of an upgrade. Enter Domontas Sabonis. Averaging 18-12-2 and shooting 61% Sabonis shined for the bulldogs all year. Almost single handedly carrying Gonzaga in March Madness, he posted double doubles in all three games. At only 20 years of age and progressing at a very high pace, Sabonis is the frontcourt presence the Suns have been lacking
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
Ivan Rabb PF/C, California- The Timberwolves are just one or two pieces away from being very VERY good team. One of those pieces is a Power Forward(Sorry Kevin Garnett) to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt. That's where Ivan Rabb comes into play. Already winning gold with the United Stated U-17s and a former McDonalds All-American, Rabb is no stranger to playing on a big stage. While his stats weren't phenomenal his first and last college season, averaging 13-9-1 per game, his incredibly athletic, and scouts are drooling at his potential. His game has some flaws, but at 19 years old, theres plenty of time to improve and Rabb should bring the Timberwolves one step closer to glory.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
Kris Dunn PG/SG, Providence- The Pelicans season was nothing short of a disaster, after making the playoffs last year and Anthony Davis playing fantastic, expectations were very high for this season. I think it's fair to say they fell short of those expectations, owning this 5th worst record in the NBA. To be fair, the Pelicans were crippled with injures this year, but they were pretty terrible even before the injuries started stacking up. Neither Jrue Holiday nor Norris Cole are the answer at point guard, and the Pelicans need to make a change. Should Providence's Kris Dunn fall to them, the pelicans must snatch him. Averaging 16-5-6 on 44% shooting he won the Big East player of the year for the second time in as many years and also was a second team all american. His game is very polished and has shown he can be a true leader. At 22 years of age, he is older than most players entering the draft, but his talent and leadership should be to much for the Pelicans to pass up this stud
7. Denver Nuggets
Buddy Hield SG, Oklahoma- Buddy Hield was fantastic this year, arguably the most entertaining player to watch, and the rightful winner of the John Wooden Award. He averaged 25-7-2 per game while shooting 49.6% from the field and 46.4% from downtown. He led the Sooners to the final four and finished with the second most points in March Madness history. So after hearing all these great things about him, why is he falling all the way to 7th in the draft? There are 3 reasons. 1. His age. He's 22 years old and the value younger players on draft day has never been higher. Developing players and exposing their potential is huge now in the NBA and is undeniably harder to develop a 22 year old. 2. His performances in big games this season. He scored 6 points on 1-8 shooting against West Virginia in the Big 12 title Game. He scored 9 points on 1-8 shooting with 5 turnovers in the final four against Villanova who massacred them. People will point to the Kansas game where he put up 46, but forget his 2 crucial turnovers that led to the final 4 points of the game that finished 109-106 in favor the Jayhawks. 3.The lack of need for a shooting guard. All the teams that will have already picked don't need a shooting guard, and while that may be cruel to Buddy, its the enviable truth. Regardless of all these things that will go against Buddy on draft day, he's still a phenomenal talent and if he falls into Denver's lap I have no doubts they will not hesitate to pick him
8.Toronto Raptors (From New York Knicks)
Henry Ellenson PF, Marquette-The Toronto Raptors led by Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan have been tremendous this year and will get even better next year when they get the knicks lottery pick. While their backcourt is tremendous. Their front court, especially the Power Forward position, needs upgrading. Henry Ellenson of Marquette is the perfect fit. At 6-10 245lbs he's the perfect mix between strength and skill. He averaged 17-10-2 per game, earning 1st Team All Big East honors. He's only 19, but is mature and a fantastic leader as anyone in this draft. His failure to lead his team to March Madness may hinder his draft stock, but his pure talent and leadership should prevent him from falling too far in the draft
9. Sacramento Kings
Jamal Murray PG/SG, Kentucky- While Rajon Rondo has been putting up good numbers, he's not turning those numbers into enough wins, he's a locker room cancer, and on the wrong side of 30. It would be wise for the Kings to look in a new direction at the Point Guard position. They should look no further than Jamal Murray. A one in a kind scorer, Murray had initial troubles at Kentucky but soon adjusted to the game quite well. He averaged 20-5-2 per game and knocked down 42% of his triples. He does have some flaws such as his assists numbers, 2.2 per game and never got more than 8 assists, but at 19, he has time to develop and there is no doubt the Kings would snatch him if given the chance
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Skal Labissiere PF/C, Kentucky- The Bucks and Labissiere met very similar fates last season. Both had very high expectations for the upcoming season and were both coming off very good seasons the year before. Skal was a top 2 prospect out of high school and the bucks, after making the playoffs the year before, were predicted to be a major contender. Both flopped big time and now are struggling to find their identities. Skal averaged a measly 7-3-.3 but did average 1.6 blocks per game, but considering he was a McDonalds All American and top 2 prospect along with none other than Ben Simmons, it was a disappointment. The raw talent is there and with a good coach to help him progress, Skal could thrive at the next level, whether he's worth the risk or not is the Bucks decision.
11. Orlando Magic
Jaylen Brown SF, California- Another frosh Cal product rated more on potential than current output, Jaylen Brown is a 19 year old with incredible raw talent just waiting to be polished. Averaging 15-5-2 per game Brown put up good but not great numbers. What really gets scouts raving is the flashes of brilliance he occasionally produces, they believe it could be a sample of his future production. The Magic, who lack a dominant Small Forward, should be overjoyed if he slips to them. If they do pick him, the Magic will be crossing their fingers the scouts were right about Brown.
12. Phoenix Suns (From Washington Wizards)
Deyonta Davis PF/C, Michigan State- Bar Skal Labissiere, there is most likely not a player in this draft that is rated more on pure athleticism and potential than actual game performances than Michigan State's Deyonta Davis. He played only 19 minutes per game while putting up averages of 8-6-.7 per game. However, he's nothing short of a freak athlete, and to be honest, that's probably an understatement. He's 6"9, 215 Lbs, and has a 7"1 wingspan, making him a threat from anywhere on the court. He's especially a beast on the defensive interior, averaging 1.8 blocks per game. Like so many other freshman entering this draft, he has put up average numbers, but his age, obvious potential, and flashes of brilliance make him a surefire lottery pick. As I said before, the Suns front court is in need of a major upgrade, and if Davis is still available, the Suns should not hesitate to add him to their ranks.
13. Utah Jazz
Jakob Poeltl PF/C, Utah- Let's get this Clear, Jakob Poeltl is an absolute beast. He averaged 17.2 ppg and 9.1 rpg while racking up 1.6 blocks per game. He's 7 ft but is incredibly agile for his height and can get up and down the court very quick. He is viewed as a player able to contribute from day 1, but many scouts believe he has already reached his ceiling. If you factor in his inability to demand the ball and take over games like other big men in the NBA such as Anthony Davis or Demarcus Cousins, it's understandable that Poeltl isn't a top ten pick. However, he's still a gifted scorer, a talented rebounder, and still only 20 years old. If still on the board, they will take him
14. Chicago Bulls
Diamond Stone C, Maryland- Chalk up the Bulls with the Pelicans and Bucks as projected playoff teams that find themselves now in the lottery. Jimmy Butler's injury can take some off the heat of them, but for a team that took the Cavaliers to 6 games last year in the playoffs, this was a huge step backwards. Whether the Bulls choose to hit reset or not, their front court is in dire need of a new face. Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah are all 30 or older, and Noah will likely be leaving Chicago this summer anyways. Diamond Stone can give the Bulls the player they're looking for. He averaged 12.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 57%. A former McDonalds all american, Stone led Maryland to the sweet sixteen before being eliminated by Kansas. He, like poeltl, lacks to ability to take over games, but is a very solid post player and could be developed into a very productive NBA player. At only 19 years old, he has a very bright future ahead of him and could spark the Bulls back to greatness. I mean come on, his name is freakin Diamond Stone, you can't pass that up
Demetrius Jackson PG, Notre Dame- With Dwight Howard almost certainly on his way out of Houston this summer, it might be logical for them to pick a center. However, none of the centers left on the board, are really an upgrade on Clint Cappella, and that's saying something. Instead they should try to find a player to partner James Harden in the backcourt for the long term future, Patrick Beverly doesn't cut it. Instead, they should use the draft to pick Demetrius Jackson. Averaging solid numbers of 16-4-5, Jackson was a finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard while leading the Fighting Irish to the elite 8, only to be beaten by runners up North Carolina. Jackson is a bright prospect, but lacks to upside of the players drafted before him. Regardless, he's a very solid player who could immediately contribute for the Rockets. On draft day, Jackson should hear his name called when the Rockets pick.
16. Boston Celtics (From Dallas Mavericks)
Furkan Korkmaz SG, Turkey- With 2 top 20 draft picks along with their already very talented roster, the Celtics should take a risk at #16 with Furkan Korkmaz. Currently plying his trade in Turkey, Korkmaz is a naturally gifted scorer with huge upside. He didn't get many minutes this year, but at only 18 years old and he's a boom or bust. With the depth Boston has, they can afford to take the risk, and with the right coaching, their gamble could pay off
17. Detroit Pistons
Denzel Valentine SG/SF, Michigan State- Aside from the round of 64 game against Mid. Tennessee, Denzel Valentine was superb this season. Averaging 19-7.5-8 on the year, Valentine was incredibly versatile and productive in multiple ways. It's no surprise his incredible play earned him several accolades such as AP player of the year, NABC player of the year, 1st Team All-American, The Julius Erving Award (top SF in college), and Big Ten player of the year. His age, 22, goes against him. As does scouts predictions that this year was his ceiling and he won't improve. However, he's a selfless leader with incredible basketball talent and any team picking later in the draft would kill to have him. Don't expect him the pistons to let him slip by as they look to add more firepower into their young core of Stanley Johnson, Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, and Andre Drummond.
18. Memphis Grizzlies
Caris Levert SG, Michigan- Bar the odd 12/12 shooting game from Tony Allen the Grizzlies lack a consistent scorer at the 2. Caris Levert, a senior from Michigan, can be that guy. While his season was cut short due to injury he was averaging 17-5-5 prior to the injury and led Michigan to an 11-3 record, they finished 12-10 without him. He's talented on both side of the ball and a very well rounded player. He's incredibly selfless and doesn't let his ego get in the way of his game. Considering the war zone that is the Grizzlies locker room, containing players like Matt Barnes, Zach Randolph, Lance Stephen, Chris Andersen. A down to earth, selfless player like Levert could be just what their lockers room needs. The fact he knows a thing or to about how to play ball is a nice bonus too! Levert is exactly what the Grizzlies need and if he's still on the board, they will take him.
19. Denver Nuggets
Melo Trimble PG, Maryland- The parter in crime to Diamond Stone of the Maryland Terrapins, Melo averaged 14.8 ppg and 4.9 apg. He earned 1st Team All Big10 and 2nd Team All-American and at only 20 years old, his ceiling is very high. With the right coaching, Trimble could evolve into a superstar. The logjam in the frontcourt that contains Kenneth Faried, Nikola Jokic, Jusuf Nurkic, and Wilson Chandler means that the only logical draft pick here is a guard. With Trimble almost certainly still on the board, the Nuggets should not hesitate to grab him.
20. Indiana Pacers
Tyler Ulis PG, Kentucky- If Tyler Ulis wasn't cursed with a height of 5'9 he would undoubtedly be a top 10, if not higher pick. However, Ulis's play is phenomenal. Averaging 17.3 ppg and 7 apg, he was the clock the made the Kentucky Wildcats team click. He was a 1st Team All-American, SEC player of the year, winner of the Bob Cousy Award (best PG in college), and SEC defensive player of the year. Coach John Calipari was quoted by the The Jim Rome saying, “Tyler Ulis is, in my mind, the best floor general that we’ve had, since I’ve coached. I mean, the best floor general.” That's pretty high praise for a coach who has coached Eric Bledsoe, John Wall, Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins and countless other NBA superstars. Ulis's height will unfortunately hurt his draft stock, but natural ability to play the game will prevent from falling into the second round. The pacers will grab him, hoping they have found their point guard of the future.
21. Charlotte Hornets
Taurean Prince, SF/PF, Baylor- Need an athletic 6'7 225lbs beast? Call Taurean Prince. Need a interior, mid-range, and 3pt threat? Call Taurean Prince. Need to learn how Yale out-rebounded Baylor in the Round of 64? Call Taurean prince. He's a jack of all trades player and will add much needed depth to an up and coming Hornets team.
Damian Jones C, Vanderbilt- The Boston Celtics are 4th in the east and have 3 first round draft picks! THREE!! Having already added a stretch 4 in Dragan Bender and the sharpshooting Furkan Korkmaz. The Celtics should look to add a big man who dominates the interior. Welcome Damian Jones. The 7'0 junior from Vanderbilt was incredibly dominant down low averaging 13.9 ppg 6.9 rpg and 1.6 blocks per game on 60% shooting. He earned 1st Team All SEC in back to back years and his upside should coax the celtics into selecting him with their 3rd and last(finally) pick in the first round
23. Atlanta Hawks
Malik Beasley SG, Florida State- Kyle Korver's breakout 2014-2015 season is now a distant memory and at 35, his days as the Hawks starting shooting guard in the future seems increasingly bleak. Kent Bazemore's future, while occasionally playing the 2, will be at small forward. The Hawks would be smart to draft a shooting guard to replace Korver once he retires, or even before that. Malik Beasley is a one and done college player out of Florida State. He averaged 15.6 ppg and 5.3 rpg on 46% shooting. He is still incredibly raw and will need some time to develop, but at 19 he has lots of time for his game to improve. If the Hawks take him and everything goes well, they might just find their starting shooting guard for years to come.
24. Philadelphia 76ers (From Miami Heat)
Wade Baldwin IV PG, Vanderbilt- Sam Hinkie is gone and so is his "Process". Another thing that should leave with Hinkie is the Sixers repeatedly picking (or acquiring) big men. They picked Joel Embiid and acquired Nerlens Noel in 2014, picked Jahlil Okafor in 2016, and Dario Saric is coming this summer from overseas to play for the Sixers. When Ish Smith, at 27, is your most promising backcourt player, you need to make a change. They could've drafted a much better backcourt player with the first pick, but Ben Simmons is simply too good to be passed up. At #24, there are still many solid backcourt players on the board, but the most promising is Wade Baldwin. Another one and done player, he averaged 14-4-5 per game and earned second team All-SEC honors. His upside is high and IF, I cannot emphasize the IF enough, well coached and developed; he could steady the ship that is the Philadelphia 76ers organization, and sail them to greatness.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
Deandre Bembry SF, St. Joesphs- There might not be a better match in the entire draft than the Clippers and Deandre Bembry. None of Paul Pierce, Wesley Johnson, or Jeff Green are a realistic longterm option at small forward, and the clippers should use their pick to draft a small forward that they can develop into a superstar. Enter Deandre Bembry. Unfairly overlooked throughout the regular season, Bembry averaged 17-8-4 per game while shooting 48% from the field. He failed to score in double digits in only one game all season, earning A10 player of the year, A10 All First Team, and A10 All First Defensive Team. He finally got the spotlight he deserved during March Madness, scoring 23 against Cincinnati and scored 16 points while grabbing 12 rebounds in a loosing effort against Oregon. He's a natural born leader and extremely skilled in almost every aspect of the game. Pair that with the Clips need for a small forward, and this pick is a no brainer
Gary Payton II
26. Philadelphia 76ers (From Oklahoma City Thunder)
Gary Payton PG/SG, Oregon State- The Sixers and Celtics picks make up 1/5 of the picks in the draft, it's crucial (less for the Celtics than the Sixers) that they make the correct picks. Gary Payton wasn't a walking highlight reel like Buddy Hield or Brandon Ingram in college and he won't be one in the NBA, but he was very productive throughout his career and is incredibly mature. He averaged 16-8-5 for Oregon State and as the captain of the team, led Oregon State to a March Madness birth. He's no stranger to the NBA, as his dad was a star for the Seattle Supersonics, and his leadership and skill set should make him an attractive prospect that won't fall out of the first round.
27. Toronto Raptors
Malik Newman SG, Mississippi State- Newman's first and only season in college was quite underwhelming considering he was a blue chip recruit out of high school. However, the skill is there and his upside is very high. His occasional outbursts of brilliance throughout his freshman season should have teams drooling at the thought of him playing if properly developed.
28. Phoenix Suns (From Clevland Cavaliers
Thon Maker PF/C, Orangeville District Secondary School- Before we go into detail, this pick is assuming Thon Maker's appeal to declare for the draft straight out of high school is accepted, if it is denied he will not be eligible for the draft. Now let's get things straight, Thon Maker is an animal. At 7'1 he completely dominates the paint, he has the agility of a guard, and athleticism like no other. His ceiling is endless and at only 18 years old, his potential is incredibly high. He's still very raw and needs to be well coached, but that won't force him out of the first round, should he be eligible for the draft.
Wayne Selden Jr.
29. San Antonio Spurs
Wayne Selden Jr. SG, Kansas- This is all you need to know about what Wayne Selden Jr. can do. He's incredibly athletic, very skillful, and played under a fantastic coach in Bill Self. He still needs to learn to harness his athleticism and improve other aspects of his game besides scoring. However, in the correct system with great coaching, he can be a superstar in NBA. It's a shame the Spurs only have this guy named Gregg Popovich to coach him...
30. Golden State Warriors
Monte Morris PG, Iowa State- How do you improve a team that needs little, if not any change? It's simple, you don't. Whoever the Warriors draft, assuming they don't trade their pick away, will most likely spend most of their rookie in the D league as there is no reason for the Warriors to try to fit another player into their near perfect rotation. Morris averaged 14-4-7 per game while limiting himself to only 1.7 turnovers per game. Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa are both over 30 and while Morris won't make an impact on the Warriors team immediately, it'll be nice for the warriors to have a replacement for their aging backcourt role players waiting in the wings