NBA Mock Draft 2016: Edition 2
|Ben Simmons to Philadelphia|
This an important off-season for Philadelphia. They are coming off a horrific season, but they have enough on their roster to start making a move towards at least attempting to win, headed by brand new management. Either Simmons or Duke product Brandon Ingram would be major assets, but the thought here is that Philly management likes Simmons more and his versatility gives this offense a little more immediate spark than Ingram.
2. Los Angeles Lakers Brandon Ingram, G/F, Duke
It is unfair to call anybody "Kobe's replacement" but the Lakers would love to find someone to pair with rising stars D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson in the backcourt, and Ingram could be that guy. He has such impressive length and athleticism, and his jump shot is established, but could still use refinement. He could come in and be the franchise shooting guard the Lakers are searching for as they move on to a new era.
3. Boston Celtics Dragan Bender, F, Croatia
Lets just take a moment and bask in how great the Celtics management has done in the Post-Big Three era. The Celtics were one of the Eastern Conference's best teams this year and yet, their robbery of the Brooklyn Nets (in the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce deal) allowed them to land a Top 3 pick. They don't have any obvious needs, but building around a young, European big man could be a luxury. Bender will have to grow stronger and become a better defender, but the raw tools are there for the Croatian big man.
4. Phoenix Suns Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
The Suns do have an abundance of backcourt talent, most notably Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and Brandon Knight. However, each comes with significant baggage. Bledsoe can't stay healthy, Booker isn't a great ball-handler or defender, and Knight has not proven he can be the leader on a successful team. That could motivate the Suns to land the explosive and proven Dunn and use either Bledsoe or Knight as trade bait.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
John Calipari has seen his fair show of talent pass through at Kentucky (Anthony Davis, John Wall, Karl Anthony-Towns to name a few), and now Jamal Murray. Murray will still have to further develop his jumper and grow stronger, but he has all the tools to be a dangerous guard for a Minnesota team that could use another backcourt asset.
6. New Orleans Pelicans Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
The Pelicans are bound to realize sometime what they have in Anthony Davis. They have a legit superstar who can carry a team for years to come, but needs at least some help. Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Omer Asik isn't the supporting cast he needs to take New Orleans to the next level. Hield could be a helpful piece, a deadeye sharpshooter with experience and leadership.
7. Denver Nuggets Henry Ellenson, F, Marquette
They may not have a glaring hole on their roster, but Denver isn't a good basketball team and they could upgrade basically everywhere. That includes power forward, where the one-dimensional Kenneth Faried sits. Ellenson could immediately signal an upgrade, as the Marquette product brings a polished game with an abundance of versatility.
8. Sacramento Kings Jaylen Brown, G/F, California
For the time being, Sacramento seems content to roll with a core of Demarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and likely Rajon Rondo. Cousins is a force and Rondo was a surprise this past season, but Gay's game has leveled out and he is growing older. The Kings could get his heir apparent here in Brown, an athlete out of Cal that has a tremendously high ceiling.
9. Toronto Raptors Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
A great Playoff showing by Bismack Biyombo has improved his stock enough that the soon-to-be free agent could get overpaid this offseason, which would leave Toronto extremely thin in the frontcourt. The solution could be Poeltl, whose strong, long frame would be a nice addition to pair with Jonas Valanciunas.
10. Milwaukee Bucks Marquese Chriss, F, Washington
Although they have a good young core, Milwaukee has a long way to go before they are serious contenders in the Eastern Conference. Adding another young forward would be a good idea, and Chriss is one of the top available here. The Washington product has a sturdy frame and room to grow on offense.
11. Orlando Magic Skal Labissiere, F/C, Kentucky
They may have been few and far between, but Labissiere had his moments at Kentucky this past season. The big man needs to get bigger and tougher, but can stretch the floor and offers loads of potential. Orlando is very weak in the frontcourt beyond Nikola Vuvecic, which makes this move likely.
12. Utah Jazz Furkan Korkmaz, G, Turkey
European prospects are always hard to read, and Korkmaz is no exception. The Turkish prospect has rarely seen playing time, and it is tough to know how his game will translate to the rugged NBA. However, his wiry, athletic frame could convince a team like the Jazz, who have no obvious holes, to take a chance on him and wait for his game to catch up.
13. Phoenix Suns Deyonta Davis, F, Michigan State
The Suns really don't have any clear long term solution at forward, and if they don't take one at four, it is a necessity here. Davis had his fair share of ups-and-downs in his lone year at Michigan State, but the strong-willed forward continues to show improvement.
14. Chicago Bulls Domantas Sabonis, F/C,Gonzaga
Joakim Noah appears set to leave Chicago in free agency this summer, and Pau Gasol continues to grow older. That makes it imperative the Bulls strike one a big man in this draft, and Sabonis has a chance to be a late-lottery steal. The forward has the bloodline (father is a Hall of Famer) and the game to be a beast at the next level.
15. Denver Nuggets Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State
The tough part about the NBA Draft is that so many teams are willing to take chances on guys that are less proven but offer greater potential (Labissiere, Korkmaz), instead of proven commodities. That could leave names like Denzel Valentine, who was a four-year star at MSU, too drop a bit. If he does, Denver would love to add the versatile wing to improve their shooting.
16. Boston Celtics Malik Beasley, G, Florida State
After adding talent to their frontcourt by selecting Bender at three, expect Boston to look at adding explosiveness to their backcourt here. Beasley was a pleasant surprise this past season at Florida State, and showed terrific long term potential. He would be a welcome addition to the roster.
17. Memphis Grizzlies Dejounte Murray, G, Washington
Even if Mike Conley doesn't leave in free agency (which will be interesting to watch this summer), the Grizzlies are very thin at guard and could use a quality backup for their star. Murray still has to grow as a shooter and as a defender but his athleticism and quickness will add more excitement to the Memphis offense.
18. Detroit Pistons Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky
The Pistons dealt away Brandon Jennings midseason and will search for a quality backup to Reggie Jackson here. Tyler Ulis was wonderful in his two years at Kentucky, but questions about his size should drop him out of the lottery. If that happens Detroit would be getting a major steal here.
19. Denver Nuggets Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
Although it is early, Denver has a rising superstar in last year's first-rounder Emmanuel Mudiay at point guard. Well they will look to add more pieces to grow around him, they could add a possible long term backup in Jackson Jackson is undersized and inconsistent, but he has his moments where he is dominant and he is lightning quick.
20. Indiana Pacers Stephen Zimmerman, C, UNLV
Zimmerman remains a relatively unproven commodity in this year's Draft. The former UNLV Rebel had his fair share of ups-and-downs with the team before suffering a season-ending knee injury in February. Even so, his 7'3" wingspan and shot-blocking prowess would help Indiana, who misses Roy Hibbert's defense.
21. Atlanta Hawks Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt
Al Horford is set to hit free agency this summer and it isn't unreasonable to think he might be heading elsewhere, considering he'll get big money and Atlanta could look to move on from an era that hasn't given them much Playoff success. Jones has all the tools to be a force down low but looked lost at times with Vanderbilt. He will need to improve his jumper and at the free throw line, but the Hawks could still take him as a high-upside replacement for Horford.
22. Charlotte Hornets Taurean Prince, G/F, Baylor
There is a real possibility Charlotte loses both Nicholas Batum and Courtney Lee to free agency this offseason making it imperative they find help on the wing here. Prince has good size and excels as a rebounder and defender. He will have to improve his jump shot, but he could still learn quickly in Charlotte.
23. Boston Celtics Timothe Luwawu, G, France
Considering they own a ton of picks in this Draft and in the near future it wouldn't be surprising to see Boston test out some International prospects. That could include the high-upside Luwawu, who is extremely raw and unproven but has enough athleticism and bounce to add some explosiveness to the C's offense.
24. Philadelphia Sixers Malachi Richardson, G, Syracuse
A strong showing in March helped Richardson's stock so much the former Orange guard decided to stick in the Draft this year. He still has holes in his game; he is as streaky as they come as a shooter and not a great defender, but his play against Virginia, when he was the best player on the court, evidences his vast potential.
25. Los Angeles Clippers Patrick McCaw, G, UNLV
The Clippers backcourt was thin already last year, and it will become an even greater liability when a number of guards hit the open market. They should invest in a guard here, and McCaw is among the best available. The UNLV product is a wiry, energetic guard who could become Chris Paul's backup in the near future.
26. Philadelphia Sixers Thon Maker, C, High Schooler
Even though the Sixers have moved on from Sam Hinkie's crazy focus on unproven players with loads of potential, they could still a chance on Maker, who could be something special. While they already have an overture of big men, Maker is a much better shooter and ball-handler than either Jahlil Okafor or Joel Embiid.
27. Toronto Raptors Brice Johnson, F/C, North Carolina
In a Draft stocked to the brim with high-risk, high-reward prospects, Toronto could get a proven, solid big in Brice Johnson here. The former Tar Heel was dominant in his senior season, but probably won't go very high because he doesn't have much room to grow. Even so, the Raptors are in the market for bigs, and Johnson would help.
28. Phoenix Suns Juan Hernangomez, F, Spain
Already equipped with plenty of young pieces, Phoenix could go with a stash player here. Hernangomez would fit the role perfectly for the Suns. The Spanish forward has good size and could stretch the floor but will need time to get bigger and stronger before he hits the NBA.
29. San Antonio Spurs Guerschon Yabusele, F, France
The Spurs are as good as anyone at going the International route and they need to consider stocking their frontcourt, considering Tim Duncan is starting to really show his age and David West isn't young either. Yabusele is a prototypical French bruiser that would add a true back-to-the-basket player to the Spurs system.
30. Golden State Warriors Ben Bentil, F, Providence
While Kris Dunn got most of the attention at Providence this past season, Bentil averaged over 20 points and seven rebounds a game and was one of the Big East's best overall players. The Warriors don't need a ton of help, but Bentil could offer a proven scorer to a frontcourt that could use a developmental guy behind Draymond Green.