2016 NBA Mock Draft: Final Predictions For Both Rounds
The next group of superstar NBA talents prepares to enter the fray on Thursday night, as the 2016 NBA Draft hits ESPN and Twitter at 7:00 pm ET.
Rumors and trade talk will be flying wildly around on the web and we must prepare ourselves for arguably the most chaotic night for the NBA during this offseason. Well, short of Kevin Durant pulling a DeAndre Jordan.
The important thing is to soak up the here and now, however, with Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram almost surely locked in at #1 and #2 and then pure insanity slated to follow.
Truth be told, we’ve seen three big trades go down just in the past two days and more trades are likely to come. We won’t be predicting those, but our final mock draft should still give you a good idea as to which prospects are valued the most and where team’s heads (and needs) are at.
Without further haste, let’s take one last look at the 2016 NBA Draft with our final predictions:
- Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons, F, LSU
The Sixers need all kinds of help and a generational talent will do the trick. Simmons has his question marks, but he has the most upside of anyone in this draft and would give the 76ers a legit franchise player to build around. This pick is about as locked in as it can get.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Brandon Ingram, F, Duke
Ingram had an argument as the #1 pick due to a silky smooth offensive game and excellent range on his jumper. Once he gets a little stronger he could be a real problem at the next level, but he’s already skilled enough to be his franchise’s top scorer. The Lakers say goodbye to a retiring Kobe Bryant, but just might find their answer for his replacement in Ingram.
- Boston Celtics – Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
Dragan Bender was a popular fit here, but Boston and others seem to have soured on his ability to provide an impact early on. Dunn is far less of a project and is without a doubt the top point guard prospect in this draft. He’d give the Celtics an answer at the lead guard spot, or they can trade this pick to Minnesota or Philadelphia. One way or another, Dunn is getting drafted at the three spot and whoever gets him won’t be disappointed.
- Phoenix Suns – Dragan Bender, PF, Croatia
The souring on Bender isn’t overly warranted, as the Kristaps Porzingis comparisons are spot on. The Suns liked the idea of rolling out a big lineup last year and it was pretty effective. It’ll be even more effective once Bender bulks up and adjusts to the rigors of the NBA. He already runs the floor extremely well and can shoot all the way out to the NBA three. He needn’t endure a tragic slide.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
This is half about Murray’s upside, and half about Minnesota probably being done with Ricky Rubio. Some believe Murray could be a phenom point guard at the next level, but even if he’s not, he could be a stud shooting guard. Murray gives them possibly the best player available and options, rather than just attacking their biggest need – power forward.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
The Pelicans can go after just about anyone here, as the only guy on their roster that they won’t trade is The Brow. They also need to surround their franchise player with talent and shooting, and Hield offers both. He’s a more efficient version of Tyreke Evans, who would become very expendable, along with Eric Gordon. A poor man’s James Harden, Hield was a ridiculous scorer in college and projects well to the pros.
- Denver Nuggets – Jaylen Brown, SF, California
Denver has loads of bigs and their point guard of the future, so the play here is talent on the wings. Brown fits the bill, as he brings solid size and nice scoring ability to the table. There is the case of Danilo Gallinari never being healthy and Gary Harris might not be the answer at the two, so going after a high upside swing man makes a ton of sense.
- Sacramento Kings – Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington
It’s the Kings, so they’ll probably find a way to go Kangz this pick. It might not be completely their fault, as the talent starts thinning out hard and fast beyond the top seven picks. Chriss still brings nice versatility and upside to the table, though, and he also fills a big need at power forward. If he can start right away, Sacramento can shift Rudy Gay to small forward full-time and they suddenly might have something brewing.
- Toronto Raptors – Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette
Toronto’s current power forward crop of Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson and Jason Thompson simply will not do. All of those guys are better defensive options than Ellenson, but he’s a legit scorer who can shoot all the way out to the NBA three. He can score the ball and space the floor, something no one has been able to do for the Raptors yet.
- Milwaukee Bucks – Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
Greg Monroe is a poor fit for the Bucks, which has him on the trading block and Milwaukee looking for an answer at center. The worst case scenario could shift Moose to the four spot and have Poeltl take over the five, but one way or another they need a new center. Poeltl is a big body who can score down low and hit the boards, so right away he could be an improvement.
- Orlando Magic – Deyonta Davis, F/C, Michigan State
The Magic seem to be set at every position, but they lack a lot of high energy defensive guys. That’s where Davis comes in, as he can play either the four or five and will provide defense, rebounding and hustle.
- Atlanta Hawks – Skal Labissiere, C, Kentucky
With Al Horford possibly leaving in free agency, the Hawks need to think ahead and grab a solid center prospect in this draft. Labissiere is certainly inexperience and raw, but he has talent and upside worth investing in.
- Phoenix Suns – Furkan Korkmaz, G/F, Turkey
The Suns have a ton of draft picks, so I’m not so sure they don’t trade several away to land an impact player. Either way, Korkmaz is a versatile swing man who brings solid offense to the table. Phoenix could use him to eventually replace P.J. Tucker.
- Chicago Bulls – Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga
Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah are likely gone, so the Bulls need to start over down low. Sabonis is probably ideal at the four spot, so he could rotate with Bobby Portis. The Bulls are getting younger across the board, but they badly need big bodies to roll with going forward. Sabonis is a good start.
- Denver Nuggets – Timothe Luwawu, SF, France
Denver has plenty of offense, but they could use some length and athleticism to give their defense a boost. Luwawu provides both and is also a natural scorer than can shoot it from deep.
- Boston Celtics – Thon Maker, F/C, Australia
This may be the first big shocker of the first round, but I can’t see Maker lasting far beyond the lottery picks. Heck, he might even go higher. A poor man’s Kevin Garnett, Maker is just 19 and busting with talent. He just might be a generational talent and Boston would love it if they can snag him at 16.
- Memphis Grizzlies – Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State
Memphis needs outside shooting in the worst way and Beasley can certainly provide that. Luckily he’s also a hard-nosed defender, so Memphis can keep their gritty defensive ways while getting younger at shooting guard in the process.
- Detroit Pistons – Denzel Valentine, G/F, Michigan State
Valentine has some red flags due to shaky knees, but he was a total gamer in college and remains one of the more versatile prospects in this draft class. It only makes sense that the hometown Pistons would take a shot at him here. If his knees check out, he’ll be a major steal.
- Denver Nuggets – Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse
Again, Denver needs more defensive bodies and Richardson gives them a stingy perimeter defender that can also score the ball. Head coach Michael Malone complained last year that he simply didn’t have the personnel to defend. He’s slowly getting the pieces he needs.
- Brooklyn Nets – Dejounte Murray, G, Washington
Brooklyn traded Thaddeus Young away for this pick and it works out beautifully, as an elite scoring presence slides into their laps at 20. Murray is a project as a point guard and struggles with efficiency, but he can score in bunches and could quickly be the face of the Nets.
- Atlanta Hawks – Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor
Atlanta would love to add some stellar outside talent that can both knock down shots and defend at a high level. If that’s the case, Prince is a good route to go, as he can do both. Of course, there has been chatter involving the Hawks shipping off their first round picks in order to keep Al Horford in town. Still, Prince probably will go around this area of round one.
- Charlotte Hornets – DeAndre Bembry, G/F, St. Joseph’s
Here’s another solid defender who can also fill it up offensively. Just as it’s been working for the Nuggets and Grizzlies, Charlotte gets the perfect shooting guard that can come in and be a solid two-way option. Courtney Lee isn’t a long-term fix and MKG is always hurt, so this is a smart pick for the rising Hornets.
- Boston Celtics – Brice Johnson, F/C, North Carolina
Johnson was a monster in college, but the lack of a jumper has knocked his stock back a bit. Even so, the Celtics get a serious steal and continue to beef up their paint talent with a guy who can block shots, rebound and get easy buckets at the block.
- Philadelphia 76ers – Patrick McCaw, G, UNLV
The Sixers got a superstar with their first pick and here they just look to round out their roster with another guy who can hurt defenses on the offensive end. McCaw is slender in frame, but he has the size you look for in a shooting guard and has improved as a shooter and scorer just in the past year. He still has a ways to go in that department, but will find himself on the court early due to elite defensive ability.
- Los Angeles Clippers – Ivic Zubac, C, Croatia
The Clippers almost lost their star center to free agency last year and all they have behind him is Cole Aldrich. They need more depth down low and get a pure brute in Zubac.
- Philadelphia 76ers – Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
Philly continues to add pieces around Simmons and lands a potential gem in Jackson, who could possibly end up starting at the point, or at the very least give them a terrific backup if they land Kris Dunn via trade.
- Toronto Raptors – Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan
With DeMar DeRozan hitting free agency, the Raptors need to think about what life could look like without their star scorer. LeVert wouldn’t make Toronto fans completely forget about DMR over night, but he packs a serious scoring punch and could easily develop into a regular starter quickly.
- Phoenix Suns – Juan Hernangomez, PF, Spain
The Suns have a ton of picks and not enough roster spots, so they’re either going to make some trades or snatch up some stellar talent they can leave overseas. Hernangomez qualifies, as he’s evolving offensively and has tons of untapped potential. He’s a steal here if Phoenix can keep him in the euro leagues and allow him to progress.
- San Antonio Spurs – Ante Zizic, C, Croatia
Ditto for the Spurs, who are kings at stocking up overseas talent, either to use it for depth or save it for down the road. San Antonio just traded away Tiago Splitter, lost David West and could soon lose the likes of Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw. They’d be wise to nab a high upside big man and Zizic could be just that.
- Golden State Warriors – Cheick Diallo, F/C, Kansas
Golden State pulls the classic Warriors move and nabs a tantalizing athlete who can fill a number of roles. Diallo lacks experience due to a murky college history, but he has good size, excellent athleticism and a high motor. He has a lot of work to do, but he should progress nicely learning from the best on the Dubs’ bench.
- Boston Celtics – Gary Payton II, PG, Oregon State
- Los Angeles Lakers – Zhou Qi, C, China
- Los Angeles Clippers – Ben Bentil, PF, Providence
- Phoenix Suns – Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Virginia
- Boston Celtics – Kahlil Felder, G, Oakland
- Milwaukee Bucks – Jarrod Uthoff, PF, Iowa
- Houston Rockets – Diamond Stone, C, Maryland
- Milwaukee Bucks – Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky
- New Orleans Pelicans – Anthony Barber, PG, N.C. State
- New Orleans Pelicans – Petr Cornelie, F/C, France
- Orlando Magic – Damion Jones, C, Vanderbilt
- Utah Jazz – Paul Zipser, SF, Germany
- Houston Rockets – Georgios Papagiannis, C, Greece
- Atlanta Hawks – Isaiah Whitehead, G, Seton Hall
- Boston Celtics – Wayne Selden, SG, Kansas
- Dallas Mavericks – Isaiah Cousins, PG, Oklahoma
- Orlando Magic – Chinanu Onuaku, C, Louisville
- Chicago Bulls – Guerschon Yabusele, PF, France
- Detroit Pistons – A.J. Hammons, C, Purdue
- Indiana Pacers – Pascal Siakim, PF, New Mexico State
- Boston Celtics – Shelden McClellan, SG, Miami
- Utah Jazz – Jake Layman, SF, Maryland
- Denver Nuggets – Rade Zagoric, C, Serbia
- Atlanta Hawks – Isaia Cordinier, SG, France
- Brooklyn Nets – Zach Auguste, PF, Notre Dame
- Denver Nuggets – Ron Baker, SG, Wichita State
- Memphis Grizzlies – Georges Niang, F, Iowa State
- Boston Celtics – Andrey Desyatnikov, C, Russia
- Sacramento Kings – Stephen Zimmerman, C, UNLV
- Utah Jazz – Robert Carter, F/C, Maryland