The season is halfway over, so this is a good time for my second 2016 NBA Mock Draft.
This draft includes a mock lottery drawing, courtesy of the fantastic www.tankathon.com website.
This draft looks extremely weak, but Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram should be quality NBA players.
1. Boston Celtics
(from Brooklyn Nets)
SF/PF Ben Simmons, Fr, LSU
6'10, 225 lbs
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
2015-2016 Stats: 19.6 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 5.1 apg
How bad was the trade that netted the Nets Paul Pierce for one year and Kevin Garnett for two? Not only does Boston get the Nets picks in 2016 and 2018, but they have the ability to swap picks with Brooklyn in 2017. That could be three straight lottery picks for Danny Ainge. Wow. Moving on, ESPN is over-reacting calling Ben Simmons the best prospect since LeBron James. Of course, that is not true. Simmons game hasn't really helped LSU win games, but he is built for the faster paced NBA game. Simmons reminds me of a Lamar Odom, in that he can rebound, run the floor, handle the rock and block some shots. He has an NBA friendly game and could attract some big time free agents to Boston. Also, if Danny Ainge decides to move this pick, you would have to think he could try to swing a package for someone like Demarcus Cousins.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
SG/SF Brandon Ingram, Fr, Duke
6'9, 200 lbs
Hometown: Kinston, NC
2015-2016 Stats: 17.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.6 bpg
The Lakers have to trade this pick to the 76ers if it falls out of the top three. If Los Angeles is unable to land in the top two, that might be a blessing in disguise, as the 2017 draft looks a lot deeper. Ben Simmons gets all the hype, but I think Brandon Ingram has a chance to be a great player in his own right. After a slow start, Ingram has shown that he is in the short two player discussion for the first overall pick. Ingram offers exactly what the NBA looks for in wing players these days. He can knock down three point shots and has All NBA defensive potential as a shot blocker and on the ball defender. He reminds me of Trevor Ariza.
3. Phoenix Suns
SF Jaylen Brown, Fr, California
6'7, 225 lbs
Hometown: Marietta, GA
2015-2016 Stats: 14.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.6 apg
Things have fallen apart in Phoenix this year. Injuries have ruined Eric Bledsoe's season, Markieff Morris is a cancer and Tyson Chandler was a free agent flop. The front office has struggled to put together a balanced lineup, and while their is talent, it just hasn't fit. After Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are off the board, there are several prospects that make up a questionable second tier. Jaylen Brown offers the best mix of production and talent. He is a tough, determined scorer who has shown a decent ability to knock down the three. While scouts would like to see an uptick in steals, he has the ability to be a solid defender as well.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
PG/SG Jamal Murray, Fr, Kentucky
6'5, 207 lbs
Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
2015-2016 Stats: 17.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.4 apg
This is the worst case scenario for the 76ers. Not only do they fall all the way to the fourth overall pick, but they don't even get the Lakers pick. Fortunately, the 2017 draft looks loaded, and the Sixers should be bad enough to have a chance at one (or two) of a handful of studs. . Jamal Murray is probably the best fit available. If it wasn't for Tyler Ulis playing virtually every minute this season, Murray would be able to show his point guard chops. Still, he leads the Wildcats in scoring and has shown the ability to handle the rock and knock down a three pointer. The backcourt in Philadelphia is a wasteland, and Murray would be a great pick up.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
PF/C Dragan Bender, Croatia
7'1, 220 lbs
Hometown: Capljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
2015-2016 Stats: 4.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.7 apg
After the first month or so, it looked like the Timberwolves could possibly flirt with .500 and a final playoff spot, but things have gone south quickly. Still, the Timberwolves have a great duo to build around with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. This looks like a good spot to gamble on the talent and potential of Dragan Bender. He is not doing much for his Euro team, but everyone is going to want to find the next Kristaps Porzingis. They are different players, as Bender is not nearly the interior presence as Porzingis. Still, his perimeter potential would be a very nice contrast to Towns in Minnesota's front court.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
C Jakob Poeltl, Jr, Utah
7'0, 235 lbs
Hometown: Vienna, Austria
2015-2016 Stats: 16.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.8 bpg
It has been a lost season in New Orleans, which is troubling because a team with a superstar the potential of Anthony Davis should contend for the playoffs on a yearly basis. I have never liked how that roster was constructed. Perhaps a top ten pick will help. Jakob Poeltl has cooled off since a blistering start to the season, but has still improved in virtually every category as a sophomore. Poeltl can rebound and block shots, and has a better offensive game than someone like Omer Asik. His presence would allow The Brow to spend more of his time at power forward.
7. Denver Nuggets
PF Ivan Rabb, Fr, California
6'11, 220 lbs
Hometown: Oakland, CA
2015-2016 Stats: 12.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg
There was a point in time where Ivan Rabb was considered on the level of Ben Simmons as a high school prospect. His star faded, but I love what he is doing at California. He is a lanky, springy big man who can run the floor, rebound and block shots. He would be a great fit as a backup energy big man for the Nuggets, who would like to get back to using the altitude to it's advantage by running opposing teams off the floor.
8. Milwaukee Bucks
PG/SG Kris Dunn, Jr, Providence
6'4, 220 lbs
Hometown: New London, CT
2015-2016 Stats: 17.2 ppg, 6.7 apg, 6.2 rpg
Michael Carter-Williams puts up decent fantasy stats, but he has not shown he can be a point guard that can consistently lead a playoff team. Kris Dunn seems like a Jason Kidd type of lead guard to me. Like Kidd, Dunn is not a great shooter, but is tough as nails, can rebound and play defense and lead an offense. He seems to have shaken off early career injury concerns and has helped put the Providence Friars back on the map.
9. Portland Trail Blazers
C Diamond Stone, Fr, Maryland
6'11, 250 lbs
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
2015-2016 Stats: 13.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Diamond Stone started the season out slowly, but has been unleashed in recent weeks, culminating in a dominating 39 point, 12 rebound performance against Penn State. Stone is an old fashioned back to the basket center. He can rebound, block shots and hit his free throws. It seems the Trail Blazers have been looking for a legit center since passing on Michael Jordan to draft Sam Bowie. Stone is still a project, but has the ability to hold down the middle long term in Portland.
10. Utah Jazz
PF Henry Ellenson, Fr, Marquette
6'10, 245 lbs
Hometown: Rice Lake, WI
2015-2016 Stats: 15.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.2 apg
Other than point guard, Utah's lineup seems to be set long term. Unfortunately, this draft is not very deep in that area, so Utah drafts the best player available here. Henry Ellenson can handle the ball, rebound and has three point range. He is the type of stretch four the Jazz lineup is missing, and would be a nice contrast to Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors in Utah's front court.
11. Orlando Magic
PF/C Skal Labissiere, Fr, Kentucky
6'11, 225 lbs
Hometown: Port au Prince, Haiti
2015-2016 Stats: 7.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Skal Labissiere is very difficult to figure out. He was the second overall recruit in the nation behind Ben Simmons and had a 26 point game during his second appearance of the season. Since SEC play has started however, he has rarely seen the court, and has made next to no difference for the disappointing Wildcats. With even more reinforcements coming in 2016-2017, I still think Labissiere is one and done. If he is, some team in the late lottery to teens will snatch him up. The Magic have played much better under Scott Skiles, and with the Magic, Labissiere will be able to concentrate on blocking shots and doing the dirty work off the bench.
12. Charlotte Hornets
SG Buddy Hield, Sr, Oklahoma
6'4, 210 lbs
Hometown: Freeport, Canada
2015-2016 Stats: 25.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.5 apg
The Hornets are fans of drafting players with impressive college resumes. Buddy Hield might be the best scorer in college basketball as a senior. His percentages are sky high and he has shown shooting stroke and toughness down low. Hield put himself on the map with a tremendous 46 point barrage in a triple overtime loss to Kansas on January 1. He might not ever be a starting shooting guard in the NBA, but with this draft, the Hornets will gladly take someone who can provide some scoring punch off the bench.
13. Toronto Raptors
(from New York Knicks)
SG Grayson Allen, So, Duke
6'5, 205 lbs
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
2015-2016 Stats: 20.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.8 apg
The Raptors are a perennial playoff contender that could use a late lottery pick to add shooting off the bench, something teams never have enough of. The Blue Devils suffered through a rare three game losing streak in January, but Allen has been a consistent source of buckets all year long. Hovering around 20 ppg the entire season, shooting over 50% from the field and playing quite a bit of point guard, he would make an ideal combo guard coming off the bench in Toronto.
14. Washington Wizards
C Stephen Zimmerman, Fr, UNLV
7'0, 240 lbs
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
2015-2016 Stats: 10.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.1 bpg
The Wizards are set long term in the back court, and Otto Porter has slowly grown into a decent small forward. Washington has little youth to speak of in the front court, and could use a developmental project. Stephen Zimmerman is a project on offense, but is athletic and can rebound and block shots. He has the agility to play either front court position and could grow into a decent starter with proper development.
15. Chicago Bulls
(from Sacramento Kings)
SG Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey
6'7, 175 lbs
Hometown: Bakirkoy, Turkey
2015-2016 Stats: 5.0 ppg, 1.5 apg, 0.8 rpg
With two first round picks, the deep veteran Bulls could go with a stash prospect with one of their picks. Furkan Korkmaz has the look (physically at least) of a young Richard Hamilton. He is lanky, a good ball handler and excels at fighting through screens to catch and pop some three pointers. He is very immature physically and needs a couple years of development, but could develop into one of the better shooting guard scorers in the league.
16. Denver Nuggets
(from Houston Rockets)
SG Malik Beasley, Fr, Florida State
6'5, 190 lbs
Hometown: Alpharetta, GA
2015-2016 Stats: 17.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.1 spg
If the Rockets make the playoffs this pick goes to Denver for the right to dump Ty Lawson on Houston. The Nuggets have a plethora of needs, and wing players who can shoot it from deep are right at the top of the list. Malik Beasley has been consistently great as a freshman for the Seminoles. He knocks down threes at a 41% clip, and 51% from the field overall. He is a bit undersized but could make it next to the physically dominating Emmanuel Mudiay in Denver's back court.
17. Boston Celtics
PF Domantas Sabonis, So, Gonzaga
6'10, 240 lbs
Hometown: Kaunas, Lithuania
2015-2016 Stats: 17.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 0.7 bpg
With three first round picks, the Celtics will be wheeling and dealing in this draft. So I will just give them the best player available. Domantas Sabonis is having a fantastic sophomore season for Gonzaga. So why is he not a lottery pick? Sabonis does not have that must have skill that scouts are looking for in their big men. He doesn't stretch the floor or play much defense. But he has a nice mid round game and is rebounding at a very high rate. Of course, he has the bloodlines and that mythical "Basketball IQ" to become a productive rotation player.
18. Indiana Pacers
PF/C Chinanu Onuaku, So, Louisville
6'10, 230 lbs
Hometown: Lanham, MD
2015-2016 Stats: 10.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.0 rpg
Frank Vogel caught a lot of flack for his Eastern Conference Final folly's a few years ago, but he has once again shown that he is one of the best coaches in the league. The front office transformed this team into a small ball unit. The Pacers need big men who are athletic and can run the floor. Chinanu Onuaku might not ever be much of a scorer, but he can rebound and block shots, and most importantly, keep up with the guards on the break.
19. Philadelphia 76ers
(from Miami Heat)
PG Demetrius Jackson, Jr, Notre Dame
6'1, 198 lbs
Hometown: Mishawaka, IN
2015-2016 Stats: 16.6 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.3 rpg
Like I mentioned earlier, Philadelphia has to add talent to a weak (to put it kindly) back court. Picking this low, a normal team would not find an instant starting point guard, but the 76ers are not a normal team. Demetrius Jackson is more of a scorer than distributor, but he can knock down the three and shows toughness in relation to his size. He should instantly shoot up to the top of the heap that includes castoffs or never-were's like TJ McConnell and Isaiah Canaan.
20. Detroit Pistons
SG Denzel Valentine, Sr, Michigan State
6'5, 220 lbs
Hometown: Lansing, MI
2015-2016 Stats: 18.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 6.6 apg
Stan Van Gundy has done a good job of turning this team around, building from Andre Drummond out. As Van Gundy teams go, the more shooting, the better. Denzel Valentine is not exactly a knock down shooter, but he's a gamer who can do a little bit of everything. Pistons fans will love the Michigan native's toughness, hustle and all around game. He can handle the rock, shoot and rebound, and could be the leader of Detroit's second unit.
21. Memphis Grizzlies
SG/SF Timothe Luwawu, France
6'7, 210 lbs
Hometown: Cannes, France
2015-2016 Stats: 14.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.7 apg
Since trading Rudy Gay, the Grizzlies have struggled to provide consistent offense from the wing positions. Picking this low, that isn't expected to change, but there are rotation guys available. In theory, Timothe Luwawu is exactly what the NBA looks for in wing players. He can knock down three pointers, rebound and plays very good defense. Of course, the problem is his level of competition in the Adriatic League, which is virtually non-existent. Still, he should go somewhere in the latter half of the first round.
22. Boston Celtics
(from Dallas Mavericks)
PF/C Zhou Qi, China
7,2, 209 lbs
Hometown: Henan, China
2015-2016 Stats: 17.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.4 apg
No way the Celtics bring in three rookies, so this is a perfect spot for a draft and stash candidate. Yao Ming was a stud, Yi Jianlian was a bust, and that is about all we have to go on with Chinese prospects. Zhou Qi is tearing up the historically weak Chinese basketball circuit, but it is tough to figure out if that will translate to the NBA. He can shoot the ball and rebound, but is painfully thin and needs to pack on at least 30 pounds before he has a chance to make a dent on an NBA team. Though he is still several years away from contributing, his talent could make him a late first round pick.
23. Atlanta Hawks
PF Ben Bentil, So, Providence
6'9, 230 lbs
Hometown: Wilmington, DE
2015-2016 Stats: 19.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.3 bpg
The Hawks have been one of the better teams in the NBA the past couple of seasons, but have not used their first round picks wisely. They traded Adreian Payne after half a season and traded their 2015 pick for Tim Hardaway Jr., who is keeping the end of the bench warm. Atlanta could hope to find a rotation player here, though it might not be easy. Kris Dunn has not been a one man show at Providence. Ben Bentil has been a great complimentary player, averaging close to 20 points per game. He can rebound, block shots and has some traces of an NBA three point shot, and could find his way into the late lottery with continued development.
24. Chicago Bulls
PG Melo Trimble, So, Maryland
6'3, 185 lbs
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD
2015-2016 Stats: 14.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.7 apg
Somehow Kirk Hinrich has hung around Chicago for another half a decade as Derrick Rose's backup. Chicago could look to develop a young backup during this draft. Melo Trimble is more of a combo guard who could come into the game looking to shoot, but he can lead an offense in spurts if need be. He would not be a threat to Rose's starting spot, but could carve out a few minutes per game as a solid backup.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
PF/C Damian Jones, Jr, Vanderbilt
7'0, 245 lbs
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
2015-2016 Stats: 12.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.8 bpg
The Clippers have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA, but the bench, front court in particular, is weak. Damian Jones had a solid sophomore season but has not really improved as a junior, posting virtually the same stats. He is big, and can block some shots, but is still a big time prospect who will likely go in the latter stages of the first round based on size and potential alone.
26. Toronto Raptors
PF/C Jonathan Jeanne, France
7'2, 200 lbs
Hometown: Les Abymes, Guadeloupe
2015-2016 Stats: 10.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.0 apg
With two first round picks, the deep Raptors could draft a prospect for the future. Skinny does not do the 7'2 Jonathan Jeanne justice. Generously listed at 200 pounds, he is several years away from contributing at the NBA level. Unlike most European players his age, he gets plenty of run for his Euro team, and is a constant double double threat who can block shots. If he can build that body up to at least Rudy Gobert levels, he could have a future in this league.
27. Phoenix Suns
(from Cleveland Cavaliers)
PF Brice Johnson, Sr, North Carolina
6'9, 230 lbs
Hometown: Orangeburg, SC
2015-2016 Stats: 16.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Few people mention Brice Johnson, but he is definitely in contention for College Basketball player of the year. A big boy, 39 point, 23 rebound, 3 block, 3 steal performance against Florida State in early January shot him square into first round consideration. He is undersized, but very athletic and could be a good fit for a team that runs an up tempo scheme like the Suns.
28. Philadelphia 76ers
(from Oklahoma City Thunder)
SF/PF Juan Hernangomez, Spain
6'9, 220 lbs
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
2015-2016 Stats: 11.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.1 spg
Even the 76ers might not have room on the roster for three first round rookies, so this is yet another spot that a European prospect could be drafted. Juan Hernangomez is on fire for his Spanish League squad, putting up numbers reminiscent of a young Nikola Mirotic. Although not a superior athlete, his game is very NBA friendly and he could make a living as a backup stretch four, or perhaps more, in time.
29. San Antonio Spurs
PF Pascal Siakim, So, New Mexico State
6'9, 230 lbs
Hometown: Douala, Cameroon
2015-2016 Stats: 22.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 2.1 bpg
The Spurs have to be bummed that they missed out on the run of foreigners at the end of the first round. With the top prospects off the board, San Antonio reluctantly drafts a player who at least was born in a different country. Pascal Siakim has put up an NBA quality double double this year for New Mexico State. It hasn't translated to wins, which is troubling, but he has squarely entered the first round conversation in a weak draft.
30. Golden State Warriors
PG/SG Malik Newman, Fr, Mississippi State
6'3, 190 lbs
Hometown: Jackson, MS
2015-2016 Stats: 13.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.2 apg
Like Golden State did with Kevon Looney last year, they could swing for the fences with a talented freshman who has tumbled down the boards. Malik Newman has no business declaring for the draft after a mediocre freshman year, but he could anyway. His scoring ability could, in theory, be a great fit for the fun and gun Warriors.