2016 NBA mock draft
The 2016 NBA season has concluded. Now the focus shifts to the draft tonight. Here's a look at how the first round could unfold. Check it out. Don't like your team's pick? Sound off in the comments section below and say what you would like them to do.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, PF, LSU - The Process has finally paid of for the 76ers. They've already informed Simmons they will select him with the first pick. Simmons has been the top-rated player in the draft since day one, and it's easy to see why.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke - With Simmons guaranteed to go first, Ingram becomes the obvious second choice. He needs to put on some weight (checked in at just 196 pounds), but he possessed freakish athleticism and can shoot the lights out, hitting forty-one percent from three on over five attempts a game.
3. Boston Celtics: Dragan Bender, PF, Croatia - I believe the Celtics will try to trade this pick to get an established star. The problem is there is a significant drop off in talent after Simmons and Ingram, and everyone knows it. Few of the prospects in the second tier really fit Boston's roster, but Bender has high upside and can play multiple positions, so he could work.
4. Phoenix Suns: Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington - The Suns have three picks in the first round. They also have no bigs under contract for next season. They would do well to draft Chriss here. He's a great athlete who can score both inside and from long range and protect the rim. The only real flaw in his game is he does not collect rebounds at a high rate. That's a concern for a power forward, but it's something the Suns can probably live with.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kris Dunn, PG, Providence - Minnesota is another team I can see trying to pull off a trade. They are stocked with young talent, and might look to accelerate their ascension. If they hold onto it, Dunn makes a lot of sense with his solid all-around game. He can play both guard positions and is an excellent defender with a talent for racking up steals. His jump shot needs work and he has problems with turnovers, but there may not be another prospect more ready to contribute right away.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Jamal Murray, PG/SG, Kentucky - This might be the perfect scenario for the Pelicans. They need a dynamic wing player for Anthony Davis, and Murray could just be the guy. He averaged 20 points a game and shot over 40 percent from the three point line as a freshman for Kentucky. Injuries forced New Orleans to start twelve different players in the back court last season, so they would definitely appreciate additional depth.
7. Denver Nuggets: Jaylen Brown, SF, California - The Nuggets also have three first rounders. They desperately need to break out of their seemingly endless rebuilding project. Brown is very risky prospect, but his upside is among the highest in the class. He has superstar potential if he can ever develop a consistent jumper. At the very least, he should be a capable defender.
8. Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma - Anyone who watched college basketball at all last season knows what a dominant force Hield was. He scored twenty-five points a game shooting over fifty percent from the field and over forty-five percent from three. The dysfunctional Kings need some stability in their organization. Drafting a safe, but talented prospect like Hield would be a step in that direction.
9. Toronto Raptors: Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah - Bismack Biyombo is about to hit the free agent market and could be due for a big pay day after his playoff performance. The Raptors could draft Poeltl as Biyombo's successor. Poeltl can score around the basket, rebound, and is a tough defender.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette - It would be almost fitting for the Bucks to draft Ellenson. The Wisconsin native led Marquette in scoring, rebounding, and blocks in 2016. He also has a good perimeter shot, though he could improve from beyond the arc. The Bucks are reportedly shopping Greg Monroe, so Ellenson could be looking at significant playing time early on.
11. Orlando Magic: Skal Labissiere, C, Kentucky - Labissiere underwhelmed in his one season at Kentucky. He scored just 6.6 points a game to go along with a very disappointing 3.1 rebounds a game. And he was frequently pushed around in the paint by opponents of lesser talent. But he should be a lottery pick on upside alone. The reward may outweigh the risk at this point.
12. Utah Jazz: Dejounte Murray, PG, Washington - The Jazz are set in their front court, but they seriously need to upgrade both guard positions. They would do well to get Murray here at twelve. He has all the physical tools needed to succeed at the NBA level. He is a poor shooter right now (under thirty percent from three and under seventy percent on free throws), but that can always be corrected.
13. Phoenix Suns: Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Gonzaga - Phoenix already one big in Chriss earlier in the draft. Sabonis gives them two. The Gonzaga product lacks elite athleticism, but excels in rebounding and efficiency, both of which usually translate to the NBA level.
14. Chicago Bulls: Deyonta Davis, PF/C, Michigan State - The Bulls have some tough decisions to make. Jimmy Butler could be traded, and Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah are unrestricted free agents. Deyonta Davis is purely an upside play, but he can be an inexpensive replacement for one of their bigs.
15. Denver Nuggets: Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse - Just like with Jaylen Brown earlier, the Nuggets select a high upside prospect with their second pick. Richardson wasn't on most teams' radar at the end of the college season, but rapidly ascended after his terrific performance at the NBA combine.
16. Boston Celtics: Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey - As mentioned before, the Celtics don't have too many holes on their roster. They could look to add more shooting with Korkmaz, and they would have the option of stashing him overseas.
17. Memphis Grizzlies: Wade Baldwin, PG/SG, Vanderbilt - Mike Conley is about to hit unrestricted free agency and could command a max contract. The Grizzlies may not be willing to pay out that much to keep him and opt to draft a replacement instead.
18. Detroit Pistons: Thon Maker, PF/C, Australia - This late in the draft, the Pistons are probably best served rolling the dice on someone like Maker. If he reaches his potential, he and Andre Drummond would give the Pistons a dynamic front court.
19. Denver Nuggets: Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State - The Nuggets continue to stack talent on the wings. Beasley was more productive in college than Brown and Richardson - he averaged over fifteen points a game and shot over forty-seven percent from the field and almost thirty-nine percent from three - so he should be more ready to make immediate contributions.
20. Indiana Pacers: Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Michigan State - The Pacers need help in multiple areas, so why not take a player who can do a little bit of everything? Valentine was one of the top players in college basketball in 2016, averaging more than 19 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. He also shot over 45 percent on three pointers.
21. Atlanta Hawks: DeAndre Bembry, SG/SF, St. Joseph's - The Hawks could need a replacement for unrestricted free agent Kent Bazemore. Bembry has the versatility to play both the guard and forward positions. He is a good defender and can attack the basket, but struggled a bit with his perimeter shooting.
22. Charlotte Hornets: Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky - Jeremy Lin has opted out of his contract, leaving the Hornets in search of a backup point guard. Ulis has the skills to succeed in the NBA - he was the 2016 SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. But at 5'10", he is below the ideal height. Would the Hornets pull the trigger on him in the first round? I think they would.
23. Boston Celtics: Cheick Diallo, PF, Kansas - Another luxury pick for the Celtics. Diallo played only 7.5 minutes per game in his only season at Kansas. But the potential is there, and Boston can afford to wait on him.
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Patrick McCaw, SG, UNLV - A 76ers team desperately in need of playmakers takes a flyer on one near the end of the first round. McCaw offers intriguing potential as a "3 and D" prospect.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame - Austin Rivers is opting for free agency. The Clippers need another point guard to back up Chris Paul or take command in the event Paul gets hurt again.
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Timothe Luwawu, SF, France - The 76ers get another wing player. They can hold Luwawu in Europe for a season or two if he is not ready to play right away.
27. Toronto Raptors: Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina - The Raptors select another big after snagging Poeltl earlier. Johnson had a very productive four-year career at North Carolina. He needs to bulk up in order to carry that over into the pros.
28. Phoenix Suns: Diamond Stone, C, Maryland - Three bigs for the Suns? They have room for them, so why not? Stone probably would go much higher in previous drafts, but the game is evolving. Traditional centers aren't in high demand anymore.
29. San Antonio Spurs - Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt - Tim Duncan is finally starting to look like he's forty years old. The Spurs need more youth and athleticism at the center position. Jones would be an ideal replacement. He's a good shot blocker with a strong midrange game. He needs to improve as a free throw shooter, though.
30. Golden State Warriors: Chinanu Onuaku, C, Louisville - There is not much you can do to make a 73-win team better. At the very least, Onuaku can contribute with defense and rebounding. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but the Warriors don't demand much scoring from their centers.