Everyone knows that this year’s 2016 NBA Draft is going to be a “weak” draft, but there are some intriguing players with a lot of upside. The thing that is most intriguing about this draft is that Ben Simmons was arguably the most talked about incoming freshmen/potential No. 1 overall pick since someone like Kevin Durant. Right when Simmons came out of high school, people were not focusing at all on his college career, they were focusing on his game translating to the NBA and seeing if he could become the next elite player in the league.
Now, Simmons might not even go No. 1 overall because of his poor performances down the stretch for the LSU Tigers and due to his inability to shoot does not help either. Many mock drafts out there have Brandon Ingram of Duke going No. 1 overall. Both players are going to be fighting for that No. 1 spot all the way up until draft night, and to be honest, there is no clear No. 1 anymore. Depending on what team gets that No. 1 pick is really what it is going to come down to in the end.
So this is the first version of my mock draft, we just finished the first crazy week of the NCAA tournament where future draft picks did not shine, but there were a few that did. Obviously, we will not know the order of the draft until the lottery, so right now I am going to base it on records
Cheers and enjoy.
Team order as of March 25, 2016 at 9:00 PM ET
1.Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons SF/PF (LSU Tigers)
Wait, didn’t you just say that everyone thinks Ingram is the No. 1 pick right now? The answer is yes, many mock drafts have Ingram going one right now because of how Simmons finished his college career and because Simmons cannot really shoot right now, which is something that Ingram obviously can do. Simmons is still the No. 1 pick in my eyes unless a team like the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns get the first pick. The 76ers need a lot of help, but most importantly they need a facilitator. Simmons is a gifted passer, very unselfish, and his basketball IQ is off the charts. The 76ers need a player that can get the ball to Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and hopefully Joel Embiid.
Now yes, Simmons only shot three shots from beyond the arc in college, which is wild to think about seeing where the NBA is heading, but his shot is certainly not broken, he just never felt comfortable taking the deep shot in college. Simmons going to LSU was not ideal for his game because they never drew up plays for him and because LSU wanted him to be this elite go-to scorer, but he did not have that in his game this year. That part is a little worrisome because in big games, Simmons still always passed the ball and never looked for his shot when LSU needed a bucket. Simmons is still going to need a little time to develop his offensive weapons.
Simmons must develop a jumpshot down the road if he wants to have a long successful career, and he just needs confidence in his shot because he has pretty good mechanics and a nice release point. Simmons has the most upside out of any NBA player in this draft, and it is good that he is college career is over because it was a nightmare situation for him.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram PF (Duke Blue Devils)
If the Lakers get the No. 2 pick overall, they better hope that Ben Simmons goes No. 1 because Brandon Ingram would be a wonderful fit on the Lakers. The Lakers have a pretty promising backcourt with Jordan Clarkson , D’Angelo Russell, and you cannot forget Marcelo Huertas! They also have a nice young frontcourt with players like Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. Now the team is looking for a young exciting wing that can score and Brandon Ingram could certainly be that guy.
At 6-foot-9 he is very hard to defend because of his ability to rise up on his jumpshot. He is very explosive and he has a 7-foot-3 wingspan, which is crazy. He must improve his ball-handling skills at the next level and he must put on a little more weight if he wants to have a long career as a wing in the NBA. He shoots 41.5 percent from three for the year, and over his past five games he has shot 57 percent from three. Other than Buddy Hield, Ingram is probably the best offensive player in this year’s draft and the Lakers would be very happy if they landed him.
Ingram is one of the only lottery picks left in the NCAA tournament, so keep an eye on Ingram and see if he can keep his impressive play up against elite competition. Ingram would fit perfectly on the Lakers, and he has had a really impressive year at Duke.
3. Boston Celtics: Jamal Murray PG/SG (Kentucky Wildcats)
Not many players in this draft can shoot like Jamal Murray can. Murray had those games in college where he could not miss and his ability to catch-and-shoot is probably his strongest trait. Murray averaged 20.0 PPG as a freshmen at Kentucky and he shot 41.4 percent from deep. He is listed at 6-foot-5, and he is primarily a shooting guard. Even though the Celtics have a crowded backcourt, the team could really use Murray’s impressive shooting ability.
Murray really knows how to get open on the offensive end, and Isaiah Thomas could certainly drive and dish to Murray around the perimeter. He will need to get better on defense at the next level, especially if he want to play big minutes on the Celtics.
4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender PF/C (Maccabi Tel Aviv| International)
Many of these lottery teams in the NBA are hopeful that Dragan Bender can be the Kristaps Porzingis of this year’s draft. Bender’s statistics are not going to jump off the page at you, but if you watch some of his highlights, you can see that he has an awesome feel for the game.
He is around 7-foot-1 and he has great touch around the rim, but he is going to hang out around the three-point line. He is a pretty good deep shooter and he is athletic, but not as athletic as Porzingis. The Suns have had a terrible season, but to be honest, if Ingram and Simmons are off the board, none of the other players really fit their need. Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe, and Devin Booker make up an impressive backcourt. The team really needs a scoring big like Bender, who can stretch the floor as well with Tyson Chandler on the floor or Alex Len.
Bender would be a nice fit in Phoenix, and it might take a little time for him to start playing meaningful minutes, the Suns just have to be patient and play him every night so he can get a feel for the NBA.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Buddy Hield SG (Oklahoma Sooners)
Before the college basketball season started, Buddy Hield was a late first or early second round pick, but now he is looking like a top 10 pick and maybe even a top five pick. Hield was the best scorer in college basketball this season and he shot an impressive 46.2 percent from deep. He averaged 25.3 PPG on the season and he can score in a variety of ways. Hield has a beautiful jumper and he can attack the rim at will.
Hield does turn the ball over a lot and he is not great on defense, which are his two main weaknesses. Minnesota needs more three-point shooting on their roster and if a player like Jamal Murray is off the board, then they might take Hield to help in the backcourt with Ricky Rubio. Also, Hield is putting up all these crazy impressive numbers against some of the best players and teams in the country, which is certainly something to take into account.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Jakob Poeltl C (Utah Utes)
Poeltl is a really gifted center on both ends of the floor. He averaged 17.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, and 1.6 BPG. Poeltl is an excellent rim-protector, which is why the Pelicans might want Poeltl on their squad. Anthony Davis and Poeltl would make up a very scary frontcourt that can protect the rim and get it done on the offensive end. Poeltl plays very close to the basket, while Davis gets the ball around the free-throw line usually, which is why the spacing would work.
Poeltl has great touch around the rim on the offensive end and he does not have many weaknesses on defense, unless he has to guard a stretch-four. A small-ball center could really do damage against Poeltl due to the speed of a small-ball center or even a stretch-four. Poeltl can guard traditional centers well, but any frontcourt player that can step out and take a deep mid-range or three will give Poeltl a lot of problems. The good news is that Anthony Davis is on the Pelicans who can guard just about anyone if New Orleans takes Poeltl.
7. Sacramento Kings: Kris Dunn PG (Providence Friars)
The Kings do not really need to fill any voids on their team, but they could use some unselfish players who understand the importance of getting DeMarcus Cousins going. Kris Dunn is the best true point guard in this draft, he is a terrific facilitator and he can attack the rim at will. He is also a very physical guard that has the ability to makes plays on both ends on the floor, and he is pretty good on defense, which is something the Kings desperately need.
Dunn must improve his outside shooting, but he is definitely already a better three-point shooter than Rajon Rondo. The Kings would love to have Dunn’s playmaking ability, gritty defense, and high basketball IQ on their team.
8. Orlando Magic: Skal Labissiere PF/C (Kentucky Wildcats)
Before the college basketball season started, Labissiere was certainly a top five pick, but he did not impress at all during his time at Kentucky until the end of their season. He started to show why he is lottery pick towards the end of SEC play. He did not have numbers that really jump off the page, but he affected the game on both ends of the floor in a big way. He is an elite rim-protector and he is really good at finishing around the rim, plus he has the ability to knock down the mid-range shot.
The Magic really need rim-protection in the frontcourt, which is why Labissiere would be great in Orlando. They are not going to rely on him for offensive too much, they are going to need him to protect the rim and make big plays on the defensive end.
9. Denver Nuggets: Jaylen Brown SF (California Golden Bears)
Jaylen Brown certainly did not end the college season on a high note. If he chooses to come out, he might be the prospect with most questions. He has the ideal frame and size for the wing position in the NBA and he is really athletic, but he struggles to score the basketball on the offensive end. He averaged 15.0 PPG this season, but only shot 43.5 percent from the field and he shot 30 percent from deep. He also averaged 3.0 TPG, which is not ideal, and he had a poor stretch during the end of the season. Right now, Brown does not look like a player that an NBA team could rely on to get them scoring off the bench, but he could reach that point in the future if he works on his shooting.
Brown’s athleticism is what makes him so intriguing and the fact that he has a similar game to Stanley Johnson, who was drafted in the top 10 last year. Johnson silenced many doubters this year in the NBA before he got hurt, and they had similar weaknesses. The Nuggets have a very young and promising roster, which is why they could use a guy like Brown, who might need a little time to truly develop his game.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Timothe Luwawu SG/SF (Mega Leeks| International)
Dragan Bender is the top-rated International prospect, but Timothe Luwawu is not very far behind. Luwawu has great court vision and he is a pretty good knockdown shooter. He is a 6-foot-7 small forward/shooting guard that has a 6-foot-11 wingspan. He is really athletic and he would fit in nice on the athletic and big Milwaukee Bucks.
He adds shooting and scoring that the Bucks really need and he will fit in quite nicely on one of longest and biggest teams in the NBA.
11. Toronto Raptors: Henry Ellenson PF (Marquette Golden Eagles)
Henry Ellenson had a pretty impressive freshmen season at Marquette. Ellenson can step out an knock down the three or he can use his soft touch in the paint. He certainly not a great three-point shooter, but that is something that he could improve on. The Raptors need another scoring big that can add that deep shooting threat.
Ellenson is a poor defender, which would not help the Raptors’ frontcourt. Ellenson is a ideal NBA power forward, and in the future he could become a small-ball center with the ability to stretch the floor, which is why the Raptors could really use Ellenson.
12. Houston Rockets: Deyonta Davis PF/C (Michigan State)
Deyonta Davis is 6-foot-10 power forward that can really protect the rim. His offensive game is not great, but he does have good touch around the rim. He can hit the mid-range and he is a good rebounder. Davis is an elite rim-protector, and he could help the Houston Rockets, especially if Dwight Howard signs somewhere else in the offseason.
Davis is certainly known for his defense, but he has the potential to develop a strong offensive game at the next level. He already has great feel in the paint and he would be a nice fit on the Rockets off the bench.
13. Phoenix Suns: Ivan Rabb PF (California Golden Bears)
Ivan Rabb is one of the hardest players to read in this year’s draft. Some night’s he would totally bring it in college on both ends and sometimes he would not. Rabb never really dominated in the Pac-12, but he did show that he can score in a variety of ways this season. His defense is questionable because of his size, he must put on more weight to be a power forward at the next level. He shot two shots from the beyond the arc at California and made one of them.
He is not a stretch four, he is not a great defender, but he does have some nice tools on the offensive end. Suns could use some young depth in the frontcourt, and it might take some time for Rabb to start playing meaningful minutes.
14. Chicago Bulls: Demetrius Jackson PG (Notre Dame Fighting Irish)
Demetrius Jackson could certainly go a little higher in the lottery because he is still playing in the NCAA tournament, but right now he is looking like a good fit at No. 14 for the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls might have to go through a little bit of a rebuilding phase, especially if they do not make the playoffs. Jackson would a be a great fit on the Bulls as a point guard. He is extremely athletic, and a elite playmaker. Jackson also has great size at the point guard position.
He is one of the most athletic guards in the draft and he has shown at Notre Dame that he has the ability to takeover games and make big plays down the stretch.
15. Utah Jazz: Tyler Ulis PG (Kentucky Wildcats)
Wait, Tyelr Ulis is a lottery pick and the second best point guard in this draft? The answer is yes. Ulis is one of the best facilataotrs in this draft and this is something the Utah Jazz desperatley need. Raul Neto is fine, Trey Bruke is fine, and Dante Exum is still a mystery. Ulis is a safe pick right here because of his high basketball IQ and his ability to get the ball to primary scorers. He would feed the Jazz’s frontcourt and help Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood, who have to create for themselves most of the time. Ulis can also shoot the deep ball pretty well, unlike a lot of point guards in this draft not named Wade Baldwin IV, and the Jazz really need shooting. Baldwin would be a good fit on the Jazz as well, but he loses control of the game as a floor general, which is something that Ulis never does.
I would not be shocked if the Jazz took Demetrius Jackson or Baldwin, but Ulis would fit best on the Jazz because of great decision-making.
16. Boston Celtics: Marquese Chriss PF (Washington Huskies)
Now, Marquese Chriss could be a top 10 pick, but as of right now he is looking like a mid-first round pick. Chriss would be a good fit on the Celtics because he could give the team the ability to play small at times, especially if they do not have the same roster in tact next year. He can shoot it from deep, he is very strong in the paint, and he is a high-flyer. Chriss is also a solid rim-protector.
Chriss is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft because he does have a lot of potential. He is a dangerous offensive player, but he definitely needs to make better decisions on that end of the floor at the next level.
17. Denver Nuggets: Furkan Korkmaz SG (Anadolu Efes| International)
Furkan Korkmaz is a talented prospect out of Turkey, who can really shoot the ball. He has a fantastic release and he can really knock down shots off the catch. He must improve in off-the-dribble shooting, but he does know how to use his body when he attacks the rim. Denver could use a shooter like Korkmaz and he has great size at 6-foot-7. He must put on a little more weight for the next level, but he could certainly help out Denver’s shooting woes.
18. Detroit Pistons: Denzel Valentine SG (Michigan State Spartans)
Denzel Valentine and Buddy Hield were the two best players in college basketball this season, and Hield is lotter pick, Valentine will go a little later in the first-round because he is not elite at one thing, he is just above average at everything. He is a great passer, pretty good shooter, and a decent defender.
19. Indiana Pacers: Domantas Sabonis PF/C (Gonzaga Bulldogs)
Domantas Sabonis’s draft stock has been rising as of late after his great performance against Jabok Poeltl and Utah Utes in the NCAA tournament. In that game, Sabonis showed practically everything that he can do. He has great footwork around the rim, he can step out and make the mid-range jumper, and he can even step out hit deep shots. Sabonis would be a nice fit on the Pacers. He would add depth to a young frontcourt and he could share minutes with players like Myles Turner and Jordan Hill.
Sabonis is a really gifted player on both ends of the floor.
20. Memphis Grizzlies: Wade Baldwin IV PG (Vanderbilt Commodores)
Wade Baldwin is a athletic point guard with great playmaking ability. He has great size for a point guard at 6-foot-3 and he shot over 40 percent from deep this year. The Grizzlies definitely need shooting and scoring in the backcourt, which is what Baldwin could add. He is also a decent defender, which is another reason why he would fit in Memphis.
Baldwin could be a lottery pick, but I think he is behind true point guards like Ullis, Jackson, and Dunn.
21. Philadelphia 76ers: Taurean Prince SF (Baylor Bears)
Taurean Prince had an impressive career at Baylor because he could score in a variety of ways. He is very versatile on offense; he can beat you off the dribble, create his own shot, and knockdown the deep ball. The thing is really great about Prince is that he put up impressive numbers during his final season against some of the best teams in the country. Prince will add shooting and scoring in general for the 76ers. He will be able to step in right away for the 76ers.
22. Charlotte Hornets: Diamond Stone C (Maryland Terrapins)
The Hornets really need a solid center for the future, and if they do not land one in free agency, they need to draft a center. Diamond Stone would be a good fit on this team because he is solid around the rim and he has great footwork in the paint. He cannot stretch the floor very well, but he has the ability to score in a variety of ways. He is a pretty good defender and he is very strong, which makes him hard to guard.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Ivica Zubac C (Mega Leks| International)
You might not know much about the 7-foot-1 center from Croatia, but that does not mean that he cannot help out an NBA team right away. He has excellent touch around the rim, and he is a very good shot-blocker. He would be a nice fit on the Hawks, who lack frontcourt rim-protection, especially if Al Horford is not the team next year.
24. Boston Celtics: DeAndre Bembry SF (Saint Joseph’s Hawks)
The Boston Celtics need wings and they needed expereinced wings that can help out on both ends of the floor. DeAndre Bembry was incredible for Saint Josephs this year and he had played pretty well in the NCAA tournament. Bembry is really good at attacking the rim and he is a good finisher. He is not a great three-point shooter, but he can knock it down. He has good size for a small forward and he always seems to make the right decision.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Damian Jones C (Vanderbilt Commodores)
Damian Jones is a talented center that has great low-post moves. He has great size and he is very strong down in the paint. He is a pretty good shot-blocker, and he would be a nice fit on the Clippers coming off the bench. Jones had games in college where he did not do much at all, which is a little concerning. In the game against Wichita State in the NCAA tournament, Jones had a bad game, which is unacceptable due to how small Wichita State is. Jones needs to show that he can bring it every night if he wants to play meaningful minutes in the NBA next season.
26. Toronto Raptors: Stephen Zimmerman C (UNLV Rebels)
Stephen Zimmerman was projected to be a top 20 pick before the college basketball season started, but his stock fell as the season went on. He obviously still has a lot of potential to be a solid center at the next level, but it might take some time before he totally finds his game. Before he suffered a season ending knee injury in February, Zimmerman had a pretty solid freshmen season. He is 7-feet tall and he has a 7-foot-3 wingspan. He has the ability to knockdown the mid-range jumper and he shot 29.4 percent from deep. He needs to improve his three-point shooting and put on a little more size for the next level. He would be a decent fit on the Raptors because they need depth in their frontcourt. He is very young and versatile, which is something the Raptors could use.
27. Philadelphia 76ers: Grayson Allen SG (Duke Blue Devils)
Grayson Allen is a really skilled shooting guard that can score in a plethora of ways. He obviously can shoot the basketball pretty well from deep, but he also very good at driving to basket and finishing. He draws a lot of fouls and gets to free-throw line, which is why he led the Blue Devils in scoring. Allen is a winner and that is something the 76ers could seriously use… #trusttheprocess.
28. Phoenix Suns: Isaia Cordinier SG (Denain| International)
Isaia Cordinier is from France and he is anther International prospect with a lot of upside. He can really shoot the basketball and he is a high-flyer. Cordinier can get to the rim at will, and he has good size at 6-foot-5. He must put on a little more weight to become a better player in the future. He probably will get stashed by the Suns because their backcourt in pretty crowded and because he is not fully ready for the NBA.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Juan Hernangomez SF/PF (Estudiantes| International)
Juan Hernangomez is 6-foot-9 and he can play multiple positions. He can shoot the basketball from beyond the arc and he can hurt you with his inside game. He is pretty athletic and not a bad defender. Hernangomez would be a nice fit on the Spurs because he could add shooting and the ability to play multiple positions.
30. Golden State Warriors: Malik Beasley SG (Florida State Seminoles)
Malik Beasley is a gifted scorer, and he can really shoot the ball on the catch. He is also very athletic and is not afraid at all to take it to the rim. He certainly does not lack confidence on the offensive end, and he is not scared to take the big shot. Golden State does not need much obviously, but a shooter and scorer like Beasley would be nice to have.