Friday, April 29, 2016

2016 NFL Draft: Round 2 Mock

Round one is in the books, and there are still a lot of quality players available, especially along the defensive line. Here is how Round 2 could shake out.

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32. Cleveland Browns - DE/OLB Kamalei Correa, Boise State. The Browns lack ideal pass rushing from the 3-4 alignment.

33. Tennessee Titans - OLB Myles Jack, UCLA. With three second round picks, the Titans could gamble on Jack's potential.

34. Dallas Cowboys - DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson. The Cowboys are interested in a quarterback, but I think it would be silly to ignore defense and take an inferior prospect like Connor Cook or Christian Hackenberg.

35. San Diego Chargers - CB/S TJ Green, Clemson. The Chargers fortify the secondary with a player who can play either cornerback or safety.

36. Baltimore Ravens - DE/OLB Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State. Ogbah is not a complete end, but he can get after the quarterback. Baltimore needs pass rushing help bad.

37. Kansas City Chiefs - CB/S Sean Davis, Maryland. Davis is built like ex-Chiefs corenrback Sean Smith. Kansas City needs help opposite Marcus Peters.

38. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE/OLB Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky. Spence is a risk due to off the field concerns, but on the field, he would give Jacksonville yet another pass rusher for Gus Bradley to utilize.

39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OLB/S Su'a Cravens, USC. Cravens could pass at safety, but his future lies at strongside linebacker.

40. New York Giants - OG Cody Whitehair, Kansas State. The Giants decided to pass on Laremy Tunsil in round one. Offensive line is still a very big need area. Whitehair is solid, and should start from day one.

41. Chicago Bears - DE/DT Jarran Reed, Alabama. Reed's lack of pass rushing ability pushed him to the second round, but his beef would make him an ideal fit in Chiago's 3-4 alignment.

42. Miami Dolphins - CB Mackenzie Alexander, Clemson. Alexander does not offer the size Miami might prefer, but the Dolphins have to come out of this draft with secondary help.

43. Tennessee Titans - MLB Reggie Ragland, Alabama. A classic 3-4 middle linebacker thumper, Ragland and Myles Jack could represent the future middle linebacker tandem in Tennessee.

44. Oakland Raiders - DT Andrew Billings, Baylor. Billings is able to penetrate and get after the quarterback from the interior, and would be a nice compliment to Dan Williams.

45. Tennessee Titans - WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma. The Titans are committed to getting Marcus Mariota help. Shepard makes an ideal slot receiver at the next level.

46. Detriot Lions - CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech. Fuller might be more talented than his older brother Kyle. He would have been a first round pick if not for a serious injury.

47. New Orleans Saints - OG/OT Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech. The Saints are committed to building a strong running game. Clark is a project, but should be a second round pick due to talent.

48. Indianapolis Colts - RB Derrick Henry, Alabama. Alabama running backs have not fared that well in the NFL, but Henry is good value here. He is a bowling ball who will help take some pressure off of Andrew Luck and the passing game.

49. Buffalo Bills - QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State. Hackenberg will go somewhere in the second round. I am not sure where. Buffalo would like to draft a quarterback to develop behind Tyrod Taylor.

50. Atlanta Falcons - TE Hunter Henry, Alabama. The tight end position was en vogue a few years ago, but has fallen off considerably since then. Henry is the most talented in a weak group.

51. New York Jets - OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana. The Jets need two tackles. Spriggs is great value here and could eventually be passable on the left side.

52. Houston Texans - WR Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina. Could the Texans go back to back at wide reciever? Cooper would be a very good third receiver, who Houston could use in a variety of ways.

53. Washington Redskins - RB CJ Prosise, Notre Dame. The Redskins surprisingly went wide receiver in round one, so why not double up on offense? Matt Jones might not hold up full time, and a rotation at running back would make the most sense.

54. Minnesota Vikings - CB/S Vonn Bell, Ohio State. Bell may be too small to play safety full time, but could backup all four secondary positions in Washington.

55. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Michael Thomas, Ohio State. The Bengals missed out on the receiver run in round one. Thomas is raw, but would have been a first round pick had he played for a team that properly showcased him.

56. Seattle Seahawks - OG Christian Westerman, Arizona State. The Seahawks will likely spend a few picks to address the worst offensive line in football.

57. Green Bay Packers - DE/OLB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State. Fackrell may be a bit atheltically challenged, but can do a little bit of everything on the football field.

58. Pittsburgh Steelers - OLB Josh Perry, Ohio State. Perry might not be the pure pass rusher the Steelers covet, but he can do a bit of everything and has ideal 3-4 outside linebacker size.

59. Kansas City Chiefs - DE/DT Hassan Ridgeway, Texas. Andy Reid is always looking to beef up both the offensive and defensive lines.

60. New England Patriots - WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers. The Patriots love to draft Rutgers players. Carroo does not have the name as other receivers drafted, but could start immediately in New England.

61. New England Patriots - DT Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State. The Patriots cut Dominique Easley, and always prefer to have a deep group of defensive lineman.

62. Carolina Panthers - CB Xavien Howard, Baylor. The Panthers stay true to their board, but eventually they have to address some holes. Cornerback is a huge need area.

63. Denver Broncos - OG/C Nick Martin. Martin is not his brother Zach but should be a solid starter at either guard or center.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 NFL Draft: Live Analysis

I'll post my thoughts as the picks are made. Stay here and refresh.

1. Los Angeles Rams
Projected Pick: QB Jared Goff, California
Actual Pick:QB Jared Goff, California

The Rams tried to keep the suspense up, but there was little drama as to who the pick is going to be. Jared Goff might not ever be a Jamies Winston or Marcus Mariota, but he has the chance to be a serviceable NFL quarterback. He has a quick release, a ton of experience, and should do just fine handing the ball off to Todd Gurley. It will be up to the Rams to develop him and ensure that they build an offensive line to block for him.

2. Philadelphia Eagles
Projected Pick: QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
Actual Pick: QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State

I hate the Eagles trading all of those picks to move up six spots in the draft, but they felt strongly about Carson Wentz and the trade is in the past. On the field, Wentz has the look and arm of a prototypical NFL quarterback. The worry is his level of competition and the fact that he did not even start two full seasons. The plan is for Wentz to sit as a rookie, but he is already 23. He will eventually start, and sink or swim with the new look Eagles.

3. San Diego Chargers
Projected Pick: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
Actual Pick: DE/OLB Joey Bosa, Ohio State

During the past two days I mocked Laremy Tunsil, DeForest Buckner and Jalen Ramsey to the Chargers. Of course, they go with Joey Bosa. I do not like Bosa much as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but Bosa has the frame to bulk up and have a Justin Smith-like impact as a 3-4 end. He is a productive defender, and the Chargers desperately need pass rushing help.

4. Dallas Cowboys
Projected Pick: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Actual Pick: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

Once Joey Bosa came off the board, Ezekiel Elliott was the guy. I like the pick. Dallas was so good in 2014 because they controlled the clock so well. With Elliott, Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden and the NFL's most talented offensive line, this team will run the ball and control the line of scrimmage.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Projected Pick: CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Actual Pick: CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

Jalen Ramsey is a tremendous athlete, but I think the bust factor is high. He was not extremely productive in college, with only 3 career interceptions. Still, he has the size and ability to be a lock down cornerback. Secondary players drafted in the top five often turn into superstars.

6. Baltimore Ravens
Projected Pick: OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
Actual Pick: OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

In recent days, rumor had Ronnie Stanley passing Laremy Tunsil on most teams boards. Stanley does not have the upside of Tunsil, but could be the safer selection. As far as the fit, Eugene Monroe has been a disappointment. He will likely remain on the roster through the 2016 season while Stanley learns the nuances of the position.

7. San Francisco 49ers
Projected Pick: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
Actual Pick: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon

DeForest Buckner is a perfect fit for San Francisco's 3-4 defense. He reminds me a lot of former Duck Haloti Ngata. He has rare pass rushing ability for a man his size. He might not ever be a superstar, but you can plug him in at end and no longer worry about that position.

8. Tennessee Titans
Projected Pick: OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole' Miss
Actual Pick: OG/OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State

The Laremy Tunsil tumble continues. Tennessee was rumored to trade back up into the top ten to land a tackle. I do not think Jack Conklin has a future at left tackle, but he could beast at either guard or right tackle. The Titans need to protect Marcus Mariota, and Conklin could do just that.

9. Chicago Bears
Projected Pick: OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
Actual Pick:OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

The Giants were rumored to be interested in Leonard Floyd, so the Bears had to jump ahead to secure his services. Floyd is an athletic monster, who could be a strong overall 3-4 outside linebacker. No longer just a pass rusher, Floyd has learned to drop back into coverage as well. His lanky frame remind some scouts of Barkevious Mingo, but hopefully for Bears fans he can become more.

10. New York Giants
Projected Pick: OT Laremy Tunsil. Ole' Miss
Actual Pick: CB Eli Apple, Ohio State

This is a curious pick for me, but GM Jerry Reese has always drafted the top player on his board, regardless of team need. Eli Apple will be a large, press nickel back during his rookie year, with the chance to take over for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in 2017. I do not see Apple making much of an impact year one.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected Pick: DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
Actual Pick: CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida

Hargreaves had long been connected to the Buccaneers. Not an athletic freak, Hargreaves has worked very hard to develop into one of the best defensive players in the nation. He is a real ball hawk who can really tackle as well. Hargreaves may never be a Pro Bowler, but should immediately start in a weak Bucs secondary.

12. New Orleans Saints
Projected Pick: DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
Actual Pick: DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

Rankins is an interior pass rushing presence. The Saints announced him as an end, meaning they will continue to sprinkle in some 3-4 looks. He is a bit undersized to hold up as a full time run defender, but plays very hard and should give a terrible Saints defense some character.

13. Miami Dolphins
Projected Pick: OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole' Miss
Actual Pick: OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole' Miss

It was unfortunate that Laremy Tunsil slipped, but as a Dolphins fan, I will gladly take it. The Dolphins offensive line has been a mess for years. Tunsil would be a monster upgrade at either tackle position. He will likely start his career at right tackle, and take over for Brendan Albert in a year or two.

14. Oakland Raiders
Projected Pick: CB William Jackson, Houston
Actual Pick: S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

Karl Joseph went from second rounder to a mid first rounder during the week leading up to the draft. Joseph is a one man bowling ball, who reminds of a young Bob Sanders. He still needs to improve his coverage, but, along with Khalil Mack, will really give the Raiders defense some swagger.

15. Cleveland Browns
Projected Pick: OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
Actual Pick: WR Corey Coleman, Baylor

The Browns still do not have the quarterback of the future on the roster, but will hope to surround their future signal caller with talent first. Coleman is a burner who was the NCAA's best receiver. He gets to catch passes from fellow Baylor Bear Robert Griffin III in Cleveland.

16. Detroit Lions
Projected Pick: OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
Actual Pick: OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State

Offensive line was a clear area need. Riley Rieff has masqueraded as an over matched left tackle for years. Unfortunately, Taylor Decker's home will probably be at right tackle, but this improves the offensive line as a whole. More of a run blocker at this stage, he has a ton of experience and should be able to start right away.

17. Atlanta Falcons
Projected Pick: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
Actual Pick: S Keanu Neal, Florida

Dan Quinn wins out in the war room. Keanu Neal is a physical presence who could provide Kam Chancellor like power for Quinn's defense. A bit of a reach here and a pretty big project, he might not start right away. The NFL is gravitating towards power safeties who can play linebacker in a punch.

18. Indianapolis Colts
Projected Pick: OG/C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
Actual Pick: OG/C Ryan Kelly, Alabama

I have mocked Ryan Kelly to the Colts for weeks. It makes way too much sense. The Colts need to protect Andrew Luck, and run the football. Kelly is a great pass protector for an interior lineman. Kelly can play either guard spot or center, and will start right away.

19. Buffalo Bills
Projected Pick: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
Actual Pick: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson

The Bills defensive line went from a major strength to a weakness in a year's time. Mario Williams quit on his teammates, and the Bills missed his pass rush desperately. Shaq Lawson's shoulder has some teams worried, but he should step in and provide quality pass rushing ability right away across from Jerry Hughes.

20. New York Jets
Projected Pick: WR Josh Doctson, TCU
Actual Pick: OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State

I always struggled to mock a player to the Jets. Their needs did not coincide with the board. New York takes the best player available. Darron Lee should move to middle linebacker ala Ryan Shazier for the Steelers. He is slight of build, but can cover the entire field.

21. Houston Texans
Projected Pick: WR Josh Doctson, TCU
Actual Pick: WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame

Right position, wrong player. Will Fuller is not as well rounded as Josh Doctson or Laquon Treadwell, but he is a blazer. Brock Oswieler has a big arm, and Fuller will be a complimentary deep threat to all-everything DeAndre Hopkins.

22. Washington Redskins
Projected Pick: DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
Actual Pick: WR Josh Doctson, TCU

A bit of forward thinking here. With both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon entering contract seasons, the Redskins draft the most NFL ready reeiver. Doctson might be a bit like Jordan Matthews. He may never be a star, but will be ready to step in for the 2017 season.

23. Minnesota Vikings
Projected Pick: WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole' Miss
Actual Pick: WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole' Miss

It is strange that Laquon Treadwell is the fourth receiver taken, but a 4.6 40 is a 4.6 40. That's not good for a wideout. He lands in a great position in Norv Turner's offense, and could put up solid numbers as Teddy Bridgewater's security blanket.

24. Cincinnati Bengals
Projected Pick: OLB Myles Jack, UCLA
Actual Pick: CB William Jackson, Houston

Cincinnati takes yet another cornerback in the first round. Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard have not developed as hoped, so the Bengals go to the well once again. Jackson has good height, but needs to gain some bulk. A pass breakup extraordinare, he will compete for snaps with several other defensive backs.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers
Projected Pick: CB/S TJ Green, Clemson
Actual Pick: CB Artie Burns, Miami

The Steelers were likely blindsided by Cincinnati's selection of William Jackson. Pittsburgh was focused on secondary, and I think Artie Burns is a pretty big reach. He is  a strong ball hawk, but has sloppy technique. Pittsburgh's secondary is so weak, that they had to reach. It will take a while for Burns to develop.

26. Denver Broncos
Projected Pick: QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Actual Pick: QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis

It is not often that the defending Super Bowl champions have to draft a quarterback in the first round. Paxton Lynch is set to succeed in a run first offense that prioritizes quick releases. Lynch is a bit of another Brock Osweiler. Time will tell if he is successful, but Denver had to come out of the weekend with a quarterback, and they have.

27. Green Bay Packers
Projected Pick: DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
Actual Pick: DE/DT Kenny Clark, UCLA

There are a plethora of defensive lineman available around this spot. I am a big fan of Kenny Clark. He is not the quickest, but he really got after the quarterback as a junior. He should fill in quite well for BJ Raji at end in the Packers scheme.

28. San Francisco 49ers
Projected Pick: MLB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Actual Pick: OG Joshua Garnett, Stanford

I had no idea who the 49ers were looking for with this trade up. I don't see the need to trade up to land Joshua Garnett, who could have been available with their second round pick. The 49ers have a ton of picks, so if they did not give up much to land their man, then okay.

29. Arizona Cardinals
Projected Pick: DE/OLB Noah Spence, Western Kentucky
Actual Pick: DE/DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole' Miss

I have been projecting the high risk Noah Spence to the Cardinals for a while. The Super Bowl or bust Cardinals still swung for the fences, but with Robert Nkemdiche. Arizona struck it gold with Tyrann Mathieu, and will hope to do the same with Nkemdiche. The Cardinals run a first rate organization, and Nkemdiche could not have landed in a better situation.

30. Carolina Panthers
Projected Pick: CB/S TJ Green, Clemson
Actual Pick: DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech

The Panthers usually go best player available, but with so many needs, this is a questionable selection. I like Vernon Butler, but the Panthers have a superstar tackle duo of Kawaan Short and Star Lotulelei. Short might move to end, but you do not draft first round players unless you expect them to be quick contributors.

31. Seattle Seahawks
Projected Pick: DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
Actual Pick: OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M

The Seahawks have perhaps the worst offensive line in the league. Germain Ifedi is a big time project, and will need a year or two to develop, but could be a solid starter at either guard or tackle in the NFL.

2016 NBA Off Season Preview: New York Knicks



New York Knicks


2015-2016 Record: 32-50
Projected Maximum Cap Space: $29,321,646

Players under contract for 2016-2017

F Carmelo Anthony ($24,559,380)
C Robin Lopez ($13,219,250)
G Jose Calderon ($7,708,427
F Kristaps Porzingis ($4,317,720)
FC Kyle O'Quinn ($3,918,750)
G Jerian Grant ($1,643,040)
G Tony Wroten ($1,050,961)

Player Options

G Arron Afflalo ($8,000,000)
F Derrick Williams ($4,598,000)

Restricted Free Agents

G Langston Galloway

Unrestricted Free Agents

FC Kevin Seraphin
F Louis Amundson
F Lance Thomas
G Sasha Vujacic
F Cleanthony Early
G Jimmer Fredette

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2015-2016 Recap


Another year, another roster overhaul, another sub-.500 finish; New York's 14th losing season in the last 16 years. Derek Fisher was the latest Phil Jackson coaching pupil to flame out in the NBA, lasting less than two years on the job. Speaking of Phil Jackson, the jury is still out as to whether he can bring a winner to New York, but so far, things do not look good.

Players Under Contract

This team begins with Carmelo Anthony. Anthony seems comfortable in New York, even though he has never been further away from an NBA title in his career. He is at home and has control of the organization from an on the court standpoint. Anthony led the Knicks in scoring, rebounding and assists, which says as much about the sad state of affairs in New York as it does Anthony's talent.

The most pleasant surprise of the season was definitely rookie Kristaps Porzingis. "Zinger" was third among rookies in scoring, second in rebound and first in blocked shots, even over Karl-Anthony Towns of Minnesota. Porzingis wore down as the season went on but there is little reason to think he will not be an All Star in his prime, which may come sooner than most NBA fans think.

Robin Lopez may be overpaid, but there is a lot to say about a solid defensive big man who can rebound, and more importantly, play in all 82 games. He is a good compliment to Anthony and Porzingis in the front court.

Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams are solid role players, who might not be worth the salary they are being paid. The Knicks might secretly hope that both players opt out of their contracts during the off season.

Guards Jerian Grant and Tony Wroten could be New York's second string back court of the future. Both are talented play makers who lack the natural point guard skills to play 30 minutes per night.

Jose Calderon and his ridiculous salary remain on the books for one more season.

Free Agents

Langston Galloway has gone from street free agent to solid backup guard, but with the emergence of Grant and the addition of Wroten, there may not be room in the rotation for him.

Other than Lance Thomas, who is a good backup hustle forward type, the unrestricted free agents are all bench fodder. Even as a second round pick, Cleanthony Early was an unmitigated bust.

Free Agent Targets

Priority number one is finding a point guard who can coexist with Carmelo Anthony and the triangle offense. Mike Conley would be a great fit but I do not expect him to leave Memphis. Other than Conley, the free agent point guard pool is extremely shallow, with the likes of Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings and Rajon Rondo at the top of the heap.

The Knicks will most likely be intent on attracting a marquee free agent. Like every other team in the league, they will place a call to Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Like almost every other team, they will be told "thanks but no thanks". Second tier free agents likely to garner the max are guys like Nicolas Batum, Al Horford, Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons.

A dark horse candidate is Dwyane Wade. It is no secret that Wade and Anthony are buddies, and Carmelo could do his best to recruit Wade away from Miami.

Trade Proposal

Knicks trade F Derrick Williams and G Jerian Grant to Kings for G Darren Collison and G Seth Curry.

The Knicks do not have much in the way of tradeable assets. Carmelo Anthony will invoke his no trade clause and Kristaps Porzingis should be untouchable, so they might have to try for a mid-tier starting point guard, such as Darren Collison. The Kings might try to resign Rajon Rondo, and Jerian Grant would give them some cheap youth to develop. A bonus for Knicks fans, they finally land a Curry after just missing out on Stephen several years ago.

NBA Draft

The Knicks, in typical Knicks fashion, traded this pick to the Toronto Raptors for Andrea Bargnani several years ago. That trade predictibly backfired on New York. They would have the 7th overall pick, which could have been used on a guard like Buddy Hield or Kris Dunn.

In Summary

As everyone should know by now, the NBA salary cap is set to explode this off-season, meaning more than half the NBA teams will have max free agent money to spend. The Knicks still have the city of New York as a selling point, but with a roster void of talent and head coaching difficulties, it could be hard to attract marquee talent. New York might have to sign several cheap free agents and hope one or two pans out. That is not to mention the head coaching search. Kurt Rambis would be a lazy, uninspired choice, but he seems to be the leader thus far. Probably because he will maintain the triangle offense status quo that Phil Jackson mandates. The playoffs are always a possibility in the East, but to make it further than that, Anthony and Porzingis need help.

2016 NFL Mock Draft: v 4.0

Late hour update.

1. Los Angeles Rams - QB Jared Goff, California
2. Philadelphia Eagles - QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
3. San Diego Charges - CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
4. Dallas Cowboys - RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
6. Baltimore Ravens - OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole' Miss
7. San Francisco 49ers - QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
8. Cleveland Browns - OG/OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
10. New York Giants - OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
11. Chicago Bears - DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
12. New Orleans Saints - DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
13. Miami Dolphins - OLB Myles Jack, UCLA
14. Oakland Raiders - CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
15. Tennessee Titans - OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
16. Detroit Lions - DE/DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole' Miss
17. Atlanta Falcons - DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
18. Indianapolis Colts - OG/C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
19. Buffalo Bills - DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson
20. New York Jets - DE/OLB Noah Spence, Western Kentucky
21. Washington Redskins - S Karl Joseph, West Virginia
22. Houston Texans - DE/DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
23. Minnesota Vikings - WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole' Miss
24. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Josh Doctson, TCU
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - S Keanu Neal, Florida
26. Seattle Seahawks - CB William Jackson, Houston
27. Green Bay Packers - DE/DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
28. Kansas City Chiefs - DE/DT Kenny Clark, UCLA
29. Arizona Cardinals - CB/S TJ Green, Clemson
30. Carolina Panthers - CB Eli Apple, Ohio State
31. Denver Broncos - DE/DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State

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Here is my final Mock Draft, in anticipation of tonight's festivities.

Enjoy.

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1. Los Angeles Rams - QB Jared Goff, California. I applaud the Rams trade up for this pick. Yes, they gave up a steep price. But the roster is very solid thanks to good drafting and the Robert Griffin III trade. Without a real quarterback, the primes of several young players will be wasted. Time will tell if Jared Goff is the answer, but I have preferred him to Carson Wentz throughout this whole process.

2. Philadelphia Eagles - QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State.
The Eagles will most likely be bad in 2016, but they did not want to wait until next year's draft, and traded up to land Carson Wentz. If Wentz had went to USC instead of North Dakota State, he would be the no doubt top pick in the draft. Of course, he only started a handful of games after being a backup for a few years. Scouts love his makeup and leadership abilities. The plan is for Wentz to sit as a rookie, but plans like that never really work out. He will see the field.

3. San Diego Chargers - OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole' Miss.
Nobody on Earth knows what direction the Chargers are going to go. This could be Laremy Tunsil, Jalen Ramsey, DeForest Buckner or even Ronnie Stanley. So I will just go with the best prospect available. Tunsil is still a bit raw, but offers out of this world potential. It is hard to fathom that Ronnie Stanley could be drafted ahead of him, but it is possible.

4. Dallas Cowboys - DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State. This pick is probably 45/45 with Jalen Ramsey and Joey Bosa (Ezekiel Elliott takes the other 10 percent). I think Bosa has the better chance to make an immediate impact for a team that hopes to return to the playoffs in 2016. Dallas had a talented group of defensive ends, but Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence couldn't keep their head on straight. Bosa is the ultimate professional who is stout against the run and a good (but not great) pass rusher.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars - CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State.
Jacksonville will be tempted to take Leonard Floyd here, but Ramsey is too talented to pass up. The Jaguars are still looking to replace Rashean Mathis and Ramsey's future should be at cornerback.

6. Baltimore Ravens - OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame.
This pick could come down to Ronnie Stanley and DeForest Buckner. Stanley's stock has picked up major steam over the past few days, to the point where he could be drafted over Laremy Tunsil. Eugene Monroe has been a disappointment in Baltimore. Though he will likely remain through 2016, Stanley is NFL ready and should start right away. He grades out as a solid run blocker.

7. San Francisco 49ers - QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis. Paxton Lynch is in no way worth a top ten selection, but the board dictates this pick. As does the fact that Colin Kaepernick will not be on the 49ers roster come training camp, and the thought of Blaine Gabbert as the only starting option scares me. So Lynch, who has talent but is extremely raw, is the pick here.

8. Cleveland Browns - OG/OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State. The Browns new analytics brass has decided to load up on as many draft picks as possible, and has over ten selections. Trading down opens up possibilities for pretty much any position. The term "plug and play offensive lineman" has been thrown around a lot the past few years, and Jack Conklin could qualify. Expect a team to draft him in the top fifteen and install him as an immediate starter at guard or right tackle. Cleveland has a need for both.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia. As Myles Jack's stock has tumbled, Leonard Floyd is picking up the slack. Teams on the lookout for a do it all linebacker have to like what Floyd brings to the table. He would be a great fit as a strong side linebacker in Tampa Bay, who can get to the quarterback as well as drop back into coverage.

10. New York Giants - RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State. The Giants need more beef along the offensive line, but with the top three offensive tackles off the board, New York opts for the one true 20 carry per game back in this draft. Elliott has mentioned he would love to play for the Giants, and his arrival would take some pressure off of the passing game.

11. Chicago Bears - DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon. Buckner's game isn't flashy, but he is an ideal fit as a 3'4 end, who reminds me of former Duck Haloti Ngata. The Bears lack beef along the defensive line, and Buckner would immediately come in and start. He is a complete end.

12. New Orleans Saints - CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida.
I am not a huge fan of Vernon Hargreaves here, but the Saints had the worst defense in the NFL last year. What Hargreaves lacks in speed and size, he makes up for in playmaking ability and smarts. He is ready to start from day one.

13. Miami Dolphins - CB William Jackson, Houston.
The Dolphins will be tempted to take Myles Jack here, but should stick to the plan and upgrade an abysmal secondary. William Jackson might be a reach here, but this is a passing league, and cornerbacks are drafted high. His size and strength fits what Adam Gase and company will try to implement on defense.

14. Oakland Raiders - DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville. The Raiders have drafted extremely well the past few seasons, but there are still plenty of needs. A team can never have too much pass rushing, and Sheldon Rankins offers plenty from the interior. His slight build would be negated somewhat playing next to the mountainous Dan Williams.

15. Tennessee Titans - OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State. The Titans have a laundry list of needs, but at the top is more offensive line help. This will be a running team, and Taylor Decker is a ready made run blocking right tackle.

16. Detroit Lions - DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson. The Lions need everything but quarterback. Shaq Lawson is raw, but offers strong pass rushing potential.

17. Atlanta Falcons - OLB Myles Jack, UCLA. It is very difficult to mock players like Myles Jack, who might be the most talented person in this draft but has been flagged for injury. He could fall out of the first round all together. In theory, he would fill a monster need for the Falcons, and might be worth the risk here.

18. Indianapolis Colts - OG/C Ryan Kelly, Alabama. The Colts have done a poor job building a roster around Andrew Luck, and there are holes a plenty. Ryan Kelly is ready to start from day one. His best position is center, but he can play guard in a pinch and would help fortify a terrible Indianapolis line.

19. Buffalo Bills - DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson. Buffalo's ferocious pass rush disappeared in 2015. Mario Williams is gone, leaving only Jerry Hughes. Taking a pass rusher makes sense. Kevin Dodd is a bit of a project, but really made a name for himself during the College Football Playoffs. Pass rushing is at a premium, and he looks like a mid to late first round guy.

20. New York Jets - DE/OLB Noah Spence, Western Kentucky. The Jets are on the cusp of the playoffs, and taking a chance on a guy like Noah Spence could push them over the edge. Spence is a pure 3-4 pass rushing outside linebacker, something the Jets lack.

21. Washington Redskins - S Karl Joseph, West Virginia.
Karl Joseph has rocketed up draft boards this past week or so. He is a stout, hard hitting safety who is solid in coverage as well. The Redskins just signed Josh Norman and continue to rework their secondary with the addition of Joseph.

22. Houston Texans - DE/DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole' Miss. Every mocker on the planet has the Texans taking a receiver here. It's a possibility, but I think the thought of pairing Nkemdiche with JJ Watt could be too tempting for Houston to pass up. They play in the NFL's most winnable division, and Nkemdiche could immediately produce, if he can keep his off the field issues in check.

23. Minnesota Vikings - WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole' Miss. Scouts are obsessed with 40 times, especially with receivers. If Treadwell drops this far the Vikings should pounce. He would be a great fit for weak armed Teddy Bridgewater. Think a young Brandon Marshall. Treadwell is a physical beast who catches anything thrown at him.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Josh Doctson, TCU. Wide receiver is an easy need in Cincinnati. The Bengals cannot afford to have teams load up on AJ Green. Doctson might not be as quick as Corey Coleman or strong as Laquon Treadwell, but he is extremely well rounded and a complete professional. He should make a very good number two and keep the ball moving in Cincinnati.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers - S Keanu Neal, Florida. The Steelers have not traditionally drafted secondary players in the first round, but seem to be locked into that position this year. That is wise. Keanu Neal is raw, but offers traditional safety qualities. He is solid in coverage. It might take a year or two, but the Steelers coaching staff is one of the best at developing defensive players.

26. Seattle Seahawks - DT Jarran Reed, Alabama. The Seahawks deep defensive line has taken a hit in recent seasons. Seattle likes to employ a deep rotation. Reed is not a penetrator, but excels as plugging holes and stopping the run.

27. Green Bay Packers - DE/DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech. Reggie Ragland would make sense here, but Ted Thompson does not spend early picks on traditional middle linebackers. Vernon Butler could play nose tackle, but is agile enough to handle end.

28. Kansas City Chiefs - DE/DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State. The Chiefs lost Mike DeVito to retirement. Andy Reid loves drafting offensive and defensive lineman early. Jones has the versatility to play either end or tackle in a 3-4 alignment.

29. Arizona Cardinals - CB/S TJ Green, Clemson. Throughout the draft process, Mackenzie Alexander was the Clemson cornerback to draft. TJ Green has raced past him late in the process. He has outstanding athletic ability and scouts are enamored with his 6'3, 200 pound frame. Arizona missed out on the pass rushers, but land a hybrid who can fill in at any secondary position.

30. Carolina Panthers - CB Eli Apple. The Panthers lost Josh Norman, so add cornerback to the long list of Carolina needs. Eli Apple is very raw, but offers tantalizing size.

31. Denver Broncos - DE/DT Kenny Clark, UCLA. Everyone assumes the Broncos are going to draft a quarterback here, but I think one will be available at the end of round two.  Denver lost several key defenders during the off season. Kenny Clark has the ability to get to the quarterback from the 3-4 defensive end spot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 NBA Draft Early entrants: April 27, 2016

The rules for entering the draft have changed a bit. As long as a player does not hire an agent he may "test the draft waters" up to three consecutive years. Which is why you will hear John Calipari say every one of his players is declaring for the draft. A statement like that does mean as much as it sounds.

I will break this list down into two sections. The first will be players who have hired an agent, meaning they are in. I will give brief descriptions of each prospect. The second list will be players who have declared, but can return to school at any time.

To be updated daily.


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Updated: April 27, 2016. 3:00 PM EST


Hired an Agent - Officially In


SF/PF Ben Simmons, Fr, LSU
6'10, 225 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 19.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 4.8 apg
Projected Draft Range: Top 2


Ben Simmons was always an easy one and done. His team disappointed big time, failing to even reach the NCAA Tournament, but Simmons did little to hurt his draft stock. He showed Lamar Odom-like skills as a ball handler, slasher, scorer, rebounder and all around threat. His game is very NBA friendly. I think only Brandon Ingram could push him as the top overall pick.


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SG/SF Brandon Ingram, Fr, Duke
6'9, 190 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 17.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.1 spg
Projected Draft Range: Top 2


Ben Simmons has gotten all the hype, but after a slow start to the season, Brandon Ingram has been toe to toe. Ingram is the prototypical 2016 NBA small forward. He is tall, lanky, athletic, a very good shooter and a strong defender. He can handle the ball, rebound, block shots and commit turnovers. It is a two man race between Ingram and Simmons for the first pick.


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PG/SG Jamal Murray, Fr, Kentucky
6'5, 207 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 20.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.2 apg
Projected Draft Range: Top 5


Kentucky's big men recruits may have disappointed, but the back court of Tyler Ulis and freshman Jamal Murray was fantastic. Murray flawlessly transitioned to full time shooting guard, scoring 20 points per game and knocking down over three 3 point shots per game. Murray did not have the chance to showcase it since Ulis played virtually every minute of the season, but he can play point gaurd in a pinch. That versatility and shooting range will appeal greatly to teams who miss out on Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.


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C Jakob Poeltl, So, Utah
7'0, 235 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 17.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Projected Draft Range: Top 10


Jakob Poeltl flashed lottery potential as a freshman, but put it all together during his second year in Provo. Poeltl became a solid, consistent scorer who knocked down 65% of his shots on the year. He also is a proven rebounder and shot blocker. He needs to bulk up to avoid getting pushed around at the NBA level, but scouts are still on the lookout for big men who can control the paint offensively. Even as the league goes smaller, Poeltl will find a spot in the early to mid lottery.


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PG/SG Kris Dunn, Jr, Providence
6'4, 220 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 16.4 ppg, 6.2 apg, 5.3 rpg
Projected draft range: Top 15


Kris Dunn is a four year junior who has already graduating, so as expected, he will move on to the next level. Dunn began the year on a tear and even made his way into the top five of a few mocks, but cooled down as the season went on. Dunn had a nice showing during the tournament, showing his ability to get to the rack and score tough buckets. His game should appeal to teams like the Kings or Bucks, who need some toughness and leadership from the position. Even though Dunn is not a great shooter, he should be a top 15 pick.

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PF Henry Ellenson, Fr, Marquette
6'10, 245 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 17.0 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Projected Draft Range: Top 15


Henry Ellenson was the highest recruit Marquette signed in years. He led the Eagles in points, rebounds and blocks, and will take his talents to the next level after only one season. Ellenson has a unique skill set. He is not overly athletic but has solid ball handling skills for a big man and offers some stretch four capabilities. Similar to David Lee, teams that can overlook his defensive shortcomings will land a good offensive player.


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PF/C Skal Labissiere, Fr, Kentucky
6'11, 225 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 6.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Projected Draft Range: Top 15


The second ranked recruit in the country, Skal Labissiere lost John Calipari's trust, and never seemed to regain it. A mega project, he showed flashes, including an 18 point, 9 rebound, 6 block performance against LSU in early March. This draft is short on impact talent, so Labissiere could still hear his name called in the late lottery. If Labissiere can be coached up, he offers difference making defensive ability.


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PF/C Domantas Sabonis, So, Gonzaga
6'11, 240 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 17.6 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 0.9 bpg
Projected Draft Range: Mid First Round


Domantas Sabonis exploded as a sophomore, and capped it all off with a fantastic tournament run. He was a one man wrecking crew in a loss to Syracuse with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks. Drafts are typically full of big men long on potential and short on production. Sabonis is the opposite. He might not ever become a legit starting power forward, but the chances of him becoming a solid rotation player are very strong.


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PG Demetrius Jackson, Jr, Notre Dame
6'1, 198 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 15.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.8 apg
Projected Draft Range: Late lottery to late first round


Demetrius Jackson has improved greatly from year to year. As a lead guard playing 36 minutes per game, he managed to have more than a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, which silenced some doubts that he was a scoring only point guard. Jackson might not have the size and speed to be a starting point guard, but he should make a very capable backup, with his ability to handle the ball and shoot the three.


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SG Malik Beasley, Fr, Florida State
6'5, 190 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 15.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg
Projected Draft Range: Mid to late first round


Dwayne Bacon received all of the early hype, but Malik Beasley established himself as the best draft prospect on the Seminole roster. Beasley is the ideal NBA wing scorer. He is athletic, can finish in transition and knock down the open jumper. He should make a living parked at the three point line and driving to the rim. Players like that are always in high demand, and Beasley should be a first round pick.


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PF Deyonta Davis, Fr, Michigan State
6'10, 240 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Projected Draft Range: Mid to late first round


Deyonta Davis is the first Michigan State freshman to declare for the draft since Zach Randolph a decade and a half ago. Davis has serious lottery potential, but is extremely raw at this stage. At his best, he could be bulldozing scorer who can rebound and block shots. The team who drafts him will have to be patient, and properly develop him. With so many teams owning multiple first round picks, Davis should go in the first round.


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C Stephen Zimmerman, Fr, UNLV
7'0, 240 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 10.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.0 bpg
Projected draft range: Mid to late first round


Stephen Zimmerman was a high recruit who chose to stay home in Las Vegas for school. He had a solid freshman season, averaging close to a double double with two blocks a night. He is a good athlete who can run the floor. The issue is he is not a very efficient scorer at this stage of his development, and is not yet ready to play major minutes at the NBA level. He is 7 foot, which is pretty much a guaranteed ticket to the first round, but he will have to be coached and developed into a serviceable rotation player.


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PG Wade Baldwin IV, So, Vanderbilt
6'3, 194 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 14.1 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.0 rpg
Projected draft range: Mid to late first round


The Vanderbilt Commodores had a disappointing season despite having a few NBA draft prospects on the roster. Wade Baldwin might max out as a backup combo guard, but he does have the potential to be a poor man's George Hill. He is a good shooter, strong scorer and decent ball handler. This draft is light on point guards, which should help him find a spot in the first round.


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PF Marquise Chriss, Fr, Washington
6'9, 225 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 13.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Projected Draft Range: Mid to late first round

Marquese Chriss could have used another year to develop his body and game, but he has the skills that teams are looking for in their power forwards. He has a good face up game with range out to 20 feet, can rebound on occasion and block shots. Chriss is still a project that will struggle to see the court early, but he could develop into a decent role player and should hear his name called in the teens or early 20's.


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PF Thon Maker, Australia
7'1, 218 lbs
Projected Draft Range: Mid first to second round


What to make of Thon Maker? The ultimate wild card of all wild cards. He has the body of a teenage Kevin Garnett, the game of an And 1 Mixtape You Tube street baller, and skills that may or may not translate to the NBA. In summary, who on Earth knows. Some team with multiple first round picks could opt to gamble on the oozing potential, or he could find his way well into the second round.


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PG Tyler Ulis, So, Kentucky
5'9, 160 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 17.3 ppg, 7.0 apg, 3.0 rpg
Projected Draft Range: Late first, early second round


The curious case of Tyler Ulis. You would think a player who played 37 minutes a game, had a 7:2 assist to turnover ratio, averaged 17 points per game and hit 34% of his three point shots would be a shoe in first rounder, right? Well. The NBA still is scared of players under 6 foot. Ask Isaiah Thomas if he deserved to be a first rounder. Someone in the late first round is going to get a real gamer who will successfully lead a second unit. It will be a shame if Ulis falls to the second round.


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PG/SG Dejounte Murray, Fr, Washington
6'5, 170 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 16.1 ppg, 4.4 apg, 6.0 rpg
Projected Draft Range: Late first, early second round


Dejounte Murray was not an extremely high recruit, but he outplayed almost all freshman this past season. He reminds me of a Tony Wroten/Rodney Stuckey type. He can handle the ball but is not really a point guard. He could be valuable to the team as a scoring combo guard off the bench. If Murray can show he has real point guard skills he should crack the first round. If not, he looks like a second round guy to me.


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SF DeAndre Bembry, Jr, St. Joseph's
6'6, 210 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 17.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 4.5 apg
Projected draft range: Late first, early second round


DeAndre Bembry did it all for St. Joseph's as he won Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors. Bembry is a bit of a point forward. He takes very good care of the ball and can lead an offense on occasion. Two things could keep him out of the first round. He is not a good shooter or overly committed defender. Like I have said a hundred times, the 3 and D wing player is all the rage in the NBA right now.


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PF/C Damian Jones, Jr, Vanderbilt
7'0, 240 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 13.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Projected Draft Range: Late first, early second round


Looking at Damian Jones, he passes the eyeball test. Blessed with a 7 foot frame and a large wingspan, he has lottery potential. The problem is his game never really progressed during his three years at Vanderbilt. He is a good scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, but he tends to blend in and go with the flow, which probably means he will max out as a backup big man. Still, the fact that he is 7 foot and able to breathe on his own could make him a first round pick.


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SG/SF Patrick McCaw, So, UNLV
6'7, 185 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 14.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.9 apg
Projected Draft Range: Late first, early second round


Patrick McCaw was a high recruit who had two successful years at UNLV. He is a slashing wing who can handle the ball as well. As with virtually all wing prospects, the question is whether he can consistently hit the three point shot. If so, a first round pick awaits.


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SG/SF Wayne Selden, Jr, Kansas
6'5, 220 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 13.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg
Projected draft range: Second round


Top recruit Wayne Selden looked like a mega bust after his first two years at Kansas, but put together a very solid junior campaign, putting himself back on the NBA Draft map. Selden is a tough scorer and a solid defender. Unfortunately, he is not that athletic of a wing, or a fantastic jump shooter, two things that will probably limit his draft stock to the second round.


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PG Anthony Barber, Jr, North Carolina State
6'2, 195 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 23.5 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.6 rpg
Projected Draft Range: Second round

Anthony Barber exploded as a junior, turning into one of the best scorers in the country. With superstar prospect Dennis Smith Jr. heading to North Carolina State next year, Barber decided to move on. Unless a scoring point guard has great size or fantastic speed, it is hard for him to crack the first round. Barber should be drafted somewhere in the second round with a chance to stick in the league as a scoring backup.


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PG Kahlil Felder, Jr, Oakland
5'9, 176 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 24.4 ppg, 9.3 apg, 4.3 rpg
Projected Draft Range: Second round


Perhaps no college basketball player put up better stats than Kahlil Felder. 24 points and 9 assists would be NBA All Star numbers. The problem is he is a 5'9 guard playing against small school competition. Those two hurdles will be tough to overcome. He is hyper athletic, and a tremendous shooter, which separates himself from some of the other small school do it all guards. He could stick in the league as a spark plug type.


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PG Tim Quarterman, Jr, LSU
6'6, 190 lbs
2015-2016 Draft: 11.2 ppg, 3.6 apg, 4.6 rpg
Projected Draft Range: Second round


Tim Quarterman had a nice junior year. He took good care of the ball and still managed 3.6 assists per night despite sharing the rock with Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney. Scouts are always intrigued with 6'6 point guards, though they rarely work out. Quarterman is just an average athlete and shooter, which likely limits his draft range to the second round.


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PF Robert Carter, Jr, Maryland
6'9, 235 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 12.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Projected Draft Range: Late second to undrafted


Robert Carter has made a reputation as a banging big man who can rebound, play defense and even knock down the occasional three pointer. There is not much upside here but he could stick as a camp body somewhere who could eventually live off of 10 day contracts.

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SG/SF Daniel Hamilton, So, Connecticut
6'7, 190 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 12.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 4.7 apg
Projected Draft Range: Late second to undrafted

Daniel Hamilton is one of four brothers to play Division I college basketball, so the talent and bloodlines are obviously there. Older brother Jordan was a former first round pick who did not make much of a dent in the NBA. Hamilton has the skills to help a team. He is a good ball handler and fantastic athlete. But he does not shoot the ball particularly well or play much defense, two traits that are musts with wing players. His career arc will likely include stops overseas and to the D League before he ultimately makes it to the NBA.


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C Mamadou Ndiaye, Jr, UC Irvine
7'6, 290 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 12.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.5 bpg
Projected Draft Range: Late second to undrafted


NBA Draft fans have known the name Mamadou Ndiaye since he blocked 3 shots per game as a freshman. His game has developed slowly, but it is still clear to see he is a very tall person who has been forced to play basketball. Players like that just do not make it in the NBA, but he could still be drafted in the second round as the ultimate wild card project. After all, you can never teach 7'6.

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PG Kareem Canty, Jr, Auburn
6'1, 195 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 18.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.0 apg
Projected Draft Range: Undrafted

Kareem Canty transfered from Marshall to Auburn. He put up great stats before leaving the program during the middle of the year. There have been hundreds of undersized scorers who just do not have that standout skill to make the NBA, and Canty is just that. He will not be drafted.


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PF/C Stefan Jankovic, Jr, Hawaii
6'11, 235 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 15.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.2  bpg
Projected Draft Range: Undrafted


Stefan Jankovic does have some NBA quality skills. He can rebound and knock down the long range three. But he is simply not athletic enough to make an NBA roster. A nice overseas career awaits.


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SF Brannen Greene, Jr, Kansas
6'7, 215 lbs
2015-2016 Stats: 5.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.8 apg
Projected Draft Range: Undrafted


Brannen Greene was a lightly used role player during his time in Kansas. There is a small chance he could carve out a role overseas, but his NBA chances are nill.


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International


PF Dragan Bender, Croatia (Top 10)
SG/SF Timothe Luwawu, France (Late lottery to mid first round)
SG Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey (Late lottery to mid first round)
C Ante Zizic, Croatia (Late first to early second round)
C Ivica Zubac, Croatia (Late first to early second round)
PF, C Zhou Qi, China (Late first to early second round)
SF/PF Juan Hernangomez, Spain (Late first to early second round)
SG Isaia Cordinier, France (Late first to early second round)
PF/C Alpha Kaba, France (Second round)
PF Guerschon Yabusele, France (Second round)
PF/C Emircan Kosut, Turkey (Second round)
PF Marko Arapovic, Croatia (Late second round to undrafted)
SG Blaz Mesicek, Slovenia (Late second round to undrafted)
SF Rade Zagorac, Serbia (Late second round to undrafted)
SG/SF Marko Guduric, Serbia (Late second round to undrafted)
SF Rade Zagorac, Serbia (Late second round to undrafted)
PG Ognjen Jaramaz, Serbia (Undrafted)
C Jordan Shanko, Spain (Undrafted)
PF Adam Pechacek, Czech Republic (Undrafted)
PF Matthias Lessort, France (Undrafted)


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Testing the Waters

SG/SF Jaylen Brown, Fr, California (Top 15)
C Diamond Stone, Fr, Maryland (Late lottery, mid first round)
PF/C Skal Labissiere, Fr, Kentucky (Mid first round)
PF/C Chinanu Onuaku, So, Louisville (Late first, early second round)
PF Thon Maker, Australia (Late first, early second round)
PF Ben Bentil, So, Providence (Late first, early second round)
SG Isaiah Whitehead, So, Seton Hall (Late first, early second round)
PG/SG Isaiah Briscoe, Fr, Kentucky (Late first, early second round)
PG/SG Melo Trimble, So, Maryland (Late first, early second round)
PF Caleb Swanigan, Fr, Purdue (Second round)
PF Cheick Diallo, Fr, Kansas (Second round)
PF Marcus Lee, Jr, Kentucky (Second round)
SG Malachi Richardson, Fr, Syracuse (Second round)
PG/SG Malik Newman, Fr, Mississippi State (Second round)
SF James Webb, Jr, Boise State (Second round)
PF Nigel Hayes, Jr, Wisconsin (Second round)
SF Justin Jackson, So, North Carolina (Second round)
SF Jaron Blossomgame, Jr, Clemson (Second round)
C Isaac Humphries, Fr, Kentucky (Second round)
SG/SF Peter Jok, Jr, Iowa (Second round, undrafted)
SG/SF Trevon Bluiett, So, Xavier (Second round, undrafted)
C Amida Brimah, Jr, Connecticut (Second round, undrafted)
SG Antonio Blakeney, Fr, LSU (Second round, undrafted)
SF Troy Williams, Jr, Indiana (Second round, undrafted)
SG Josh Hart, Jr, Villanova (Second round, undrafted)
SG James Blackmon Jr., So, Indiana (Second round, undrafted)
PF Abdul-Malik Abu, So, North Carolina State (Second round, undrafted)
PG Xavier Rathan-Meyes, So, Florida State (Second round, undrafted)
PG/SG Tyler Dorsey, Fr, Oregon (Second round, undrafted)
SF Vince Edwards, So, Purdue (Second round, undrafted)
PF/C Kennedy Meeks, Jr, North Carolina (Second round, undrafted)
PG Ike Iroegbu, Fr, Washington State (Undrafted)
PF/C Trevor Thompson, So, Ohio State (Undrafted)
PF Jalen Reynolds, Jr, Xavier (Undrafted)
SG Charles Matthews, Fr, Kentucky (Undrafted)
PG Jamal McMurray, Fr, South Florida (Undrafted)
SG Deonte Burton, Jr, Iowa State (Undrafted)
PF Cam Oliver, Fr, Nevada (Undrafted)
PG/SG Rodney Purvis, Jr, Connecticut (Undrafted)
PG Maurice Watson Jr., Jr, Creighton (Undrafted)
PF Devin Williams, Jr, West Virginia (Undrafted)
PF Josh Hawkinson, Jr, Washington State (Undrafted)
PG Julian Jacobs, Jr, USC (Undrafted)
PF Derek Willis, Jr, Kentucky (Undrafted)
SG Que Johnson, Jr, Washington State (Undrafted)
PF Tony Anderson, Fr, SE Missouri State (Undrafted)
PG Makai Mason, So, Yale (Undrafted)
SF Jalen Moore, Jr, Utah State (Undrafted)
C Connor Clifford, Jr, Washington State (Undrafted) 
PF BeeJay Anya, Junior, North Carolina State (Undrafted) 
PG Ian Baker, Jr, New Mexico State (Undrafted)
C Lamous Brown, Eastern Washington CC (Undrafted)
PF Antonio Campbell, Jr, Ohio (Undrafted)
PF Moustapha Diagne, Fr, Northwest Florida State JC (Undrafted)
PG Bakari Copeland, So, Maryland Eastern Shore (Undrafted)
SF Jimmy Hall, Jr, Kent State (Undrafted)


Officially Returning to School


PG Joel Berry, So, North Carolina
PG Bryant Crawford, Fr, Wake Forest
PG Devonte Graham, So, Kansas
PG Aaron Holiday, Fr, UCLA
PG Derryck Thornton, Fr, Duke
SG Grayson Allen, So, Duke
SG Aubrey Dawkins, So, Michigan
SG Tyler Dorsey, Fr, Oregon
SG Allonzo Trier, Fr, Arizona
SF Dwayne Bacon, Fr, Florida State
SF VJ Beachem, Jr, Notre Dame
SF Kyle Kuzma, So, Utah
SF Tyler Lydon, Fr, Syracuse
SF Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, So, Kansas
SF OG Anunoby, Fr, Indiana
SF Devin Robinson, So, Florida
SF Tyler Roberson, Jr, Syracuse
SF Dedric Lawson, Fr, Memphis
PF Chris Boucher, Jr, Oregon
PF Carlton Bragg, Fr, Kansas
PF Isaac Copeland, So, Georgetown
PF Moses Kingsley, Jr, Arkansas
PF Ivan Rabb, Fr, California
PF Zach Smith, So, Texas Tech
PF Craig Victor, So, LSU
C John Egbunu, So, Florida
C Jessie Govan, Fr, Georgetown

2016 NFL Mock Draft: v 3.0

I originally wanted to compose a seven round mock draft, but every time I got near the end, I had to go back and change the beginning.

Yes, mock drafts this close to the real thing is a futile exercise, but NFL Draft nerds have to do them anyway. Here is my Wednesday edition, with one more likely to come Thursday.

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1. Los Angeles Rams - QB Jared Goff, California. I applaud the Rams trade up for this pick. Yes, they gave up a steep price. But the roster is very solid thanks to good drafting and the Robert Griffin III trade. Without a real quarterback, the primes of several young players will be wasted. Time will tell if Jared Goff is the answer, but I have preferred him to Carson Wentz throughout this whole process.

2. Philadelphia Eagles - QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State. The Eagles will most likely be bad in 2016, but they did not want to wait until next year's draft, and traded up to land Carson Wentz. If Wentz had went to USC instead of North Dakota State, he would be the no doubt top pick in the draft. Of course, he only started a handful of games after being a backup for a few years. Scouts love his makeup and leadership abilities. The plan is for Wentz to sit as a rookie, but plans like that never really work out. He will see the field.

3. San Diego Chargers - DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon. The draft intrigue starts here. The Chargers are in prime position to trade down, but seem to be maintaining status quo as they workout their stadium issue. This pick will likely come down to DeForest Buckner and Jalen Ramsey. Buckner fills the team's biggest need as a run stopper who can also get to the quarterback, two areas the Chargers had a ton of problems with last year.

4. Dallas Cowboys - CB/S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State. Jalen Ramsey was a workout warrior who punched a ticket to the top five despite a junior season where he did not intercept a pass. Dallas has spent quite a few early picks on the secondary in recent seasons, with little results. Ramsey could play either safety or cornerback, two big needs on the Cowboys depth chart.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole' Miss. Offensive line is a sneaky need in Jacksonville, and with Tunsil still on the board, Jacksonville could snatch him up. This would allow the overmatched Luke Joeckel to move to the right side, hopefully improving the offensive line as a whole.

6. Baltimore Ravens - DE/OLB Joey Bosa, Ohio State. The Ravens will go with defense here. Luckily for them, Bosa is still on the board. He is not a pass rushing dynamo, but is a complete end who has the athleticism to make it as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

7. San Francisco 49ers - QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis. Paxton Lynch is in no way worth a top ten selection, but the board dictates this pick. As does the fact that Colin Kaepernick will not be on the 49ers roster come training camp, and the thought of Blaine Gabbert as the only starting option scares me. So Lynch, who has talent but is extremely raw, is the pick here.

8. Cleveland Browns - OG/OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State. The Browns new analytics brass has decided to load up on as many draft picks as possible, and has over a dozen selections. Trading down opens up possibilities for pretty much any position. The term "plug and play offensive lineman" has been thrown around a lot the past few years, and Jack Conklin could qualify. Expect a team to draft him in the top fifteen and install him as an immediate starter at guard or right tackle. Cleveland has a need for both.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame. Everyone in Mock Draft land has Vernon Hargreaves III here, but protecting franchise quarterback Jameis Winston should be priority number one. Stanley has the look of a prototypical left tackle, and those guys are hard to come by. His addition could push the over matched Donovan Smith to the right side.

10. New York Giants - RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State. With the three top offensive lineman off the board, this pick makes too much sense. The Elliott hype train is running full steam. Elliott himself has said he would love to play for New York. The Giants have tried a patchwork backfield since the days of Tiki Barber/Brandon Jacobs/Ahmad Bradshaw. It might be time to add a true talent.

11. Chicago Bears - OLB Myles Jack, UCLA. Jack is the wild card of this draft. He has been mocked everywhere from 5 to 17, so I will split the difference here. The fact is, he is a dynamic play maker who could realistically play linebacker, safety or running back. But the knee will scare teams off. Eventually the reward will outweigh the risk. For a defense lacking an identity, Chicago could be a great landing spot.

12. New Orleans Saints - CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida. The Saints had the worst defense in the league last season, so the best defender available would be the way to go here. What Hargreaves lacks in height and athleticism, he makes up for in cover skills and interception abilities. After the Brandon Browning era, Saints fans would welcome Hargreaves.

13. Miami Dolphins - CB William Jackson, Houston. The Dolphins are rumored to be interested in trading up, after moving back to land bad contracts earlier this off-season. As a Dolphins fan, it's more of the same. Miami needs to stay put or trade down, as the team has a plethora of needs. At the top is cornerbacks who can play in Miami's new press scheme. William Jackson has great size and could excel at the role.

14. Oakland Raiders - DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville. The Raiders have drafted extremely well the past few seasons, but there are still plenty of needs. A team can never have too much pass rushing, and Sheldon Rankins offers plenty from the interior. His slight build would be negated somewhat playing next to the mountainous Dan Williams.

15. Tennessee Titans - DE/OLB Shaq Lawson, Clemson. The Titans have a big need for an offensive tackle, but the top three are off the board. Taylor Decker is a possibility, but with so many picks, they can try to address that need later. Shaq Lawson's shoulder is a concern, but he has reportedly been medically cleared.

16. Detroit Lions - DE/OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia. The Lions need practically everything except quarterback. Leonard Floyd has transitioned from a pass rushing specialist to an all around linebacker during his junior year at Georgia. He can line up at end, on the outside or even in the middle, and offers a solid all around game.

17. Atlanta Falcons - OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State. Dan Quinn and the Falcons lack the speed on defense to make the same impact he made in Seattle. Darron Lee would definitely add to that element. He is raw, but has the ability to be Quinn's LEO.

18. Indianapolis Colts - OG/C Ryan Kelly, Alabama. The Colts have done a poor job building a roster around Andrew Luck, and there are holes a plenty. Ryan Kelly is ready to start from day one. His best position is center, but he can play guard in a pinch and would help fortify a terrible Indianapolis line.

19. Buffalo Bills - DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson. Buffalo's ferocious pass rush disappeared in 2015. Mario Williams is gone, leaving only Jerry Hughes. Taking a pass rusher makes sense. Kevin Dodd is a bit of a project, but really made a name for himself during the College Football Playoffs. Pass rushing is at a premium, and he looks like a mid to late first round guy.

20. New York Jets - OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State. Even before D'Brickashaw Ferguson's retirement, offensive line was a need. Taylor Decker would fit well with New York, as a powerful run blocker. He may lack the footwork to block the NFL's premier pass rushers, but should do just fine at right tackle.

21. Washington Redskins - DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech. Vernon Butler has drawn Muhammad Wilkerson comparisons because of the rare athletic ability for a man his size. He has the strength to play nose tackle and the quickness to handle end in Washington's 3-4 alignment.

22. Houston Texans - DE/DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole' Miss. Every mocker on the planet has the Texans taking a receiver here. It's a possibility, but I think the thought of pairing Nkemdiche with JJ Watt could be too tempting for Houston to pass up. They play in the NFL's most winnable division, and Nkemdiche could immediately produce, if he can keep his off the field issues in check.

23. Minnesota Vikings - WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole' Miss. Scouts are obsessed with 40 times, especially with receivers. If Treadwell drops this far the Vikings should pounce. He would be a great fit for weak armed Teddy Bridgewater. Think a young Brandon Marshall. Treadwell is a physical beast who catches anything thrown at him.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Josh Doctson, TCU. Wide receiver is an easy need in Cincinnati. The Bengals cannot afford to have teams load up on AJ Green. Doctson might not be as quick as Corey Coleman or strong as Laquon Treadwell, but he is extremely well rounded and a complete professional. He should make a very good number two and keep the ball moving in Cincinnati.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers. S Karl Joseph, West Virginia. Rumors have Karl Joseph going in round one, and the Steelers make sense. Pittsburgh rarely spends top picks on the secondary, but safety is a monster need, and a player who can control center field like Joseph would improve the defense as a whole.

26. Seattle Seahawks - DT Jarran Reed, Alabama. The Seahawks deep defensive line has taken a hit in recent seasons. Seattle likes to employ a deep rotation. Reed is not a penetrator, but excels as plugging holes and stopping the run.

27. Green Bay Packers - DE/DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State. Reggie Ragland would make sense here, but Ted Thompson does not spend early picks on traditional middle linebackers. Chris Jones is a big, strong tackle who could take over for BJ Raji at end in Dom Capers 3-4 scheme. This draft is extremely deep along the defensive line.

28. Kansas City Chiefs - CB Eli Apple, Ohio State. The Chiefs struck it rich with Marcus Peters last draft, but still need another starting corner. Apple has great size but is still a project at this stage. This is solid value late in the first round.

29. Arizona Cardinals - DE/OLB Noah Spence, Western Kentucky. With the trade for Chandler Jones, the Cardinals are in Super Bowl or bust mode. So this would be a good spot to gamble on Noah Spence. If he can keep his head in check, his situational pass rushing ability would be exactly what the Cardinals need.

30. Carolina Panthers - CB/S TJ Green, Clemson. Throughout the draft process, Mackenzie Alexander was the Clemson cornerback to draft. TJ Green has raced past him late in the process. He has outstanding athletic ability and scouts are enamored with his 6'3, 200 pound frame. The Panthers could snatch him up here and transition him to cornerback full time to make up for the loss of Josh Norman.

31. Denver Broncos - DE/DT Kenny Clark, UCLA. Everyone assumes the Broncos are going to draft a quarterback here, but I think one will be available at the end of round two. I still expect Colin Kaepernick to be on the roster come training camp. Denver lost several key defenders during the off season. Kenny Clark has the ability to get to the quarterback from the 3-4 defensive end spot.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2016 NBA Mock Draft v 4.0

The regular season has come to an end, so the temporary draft order is set. Of course, the official draft order will be determined during the draft lottery, which will be held on May 17

You can view the unofficial Early Entrants List at the below link, to be updated regularly.

2016 NBA Draft: Early Entrants

The entrants will be based off of this list, with a limited number of freshman. All will not stay in the draft, obviously. There is no risk to declare for the draft, as long as you do not hire an agent, which is why the list is so large. Most will withdraw by the deadline.

Unlike other drafts, I did not run a lottery generator to determine this order.

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1. Philadelphia 76ers
SF/PF Ben Simmons, Fr, LSU
6'10, 225 lbs
Hometown: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2015-2016 Stats: 19.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 4.8 apg


Sam Hinkie wasn't able to see his vision through, as he "stepped down" shortly before the regular season ended. His plan to duplicate the Oklahoma City Thunder's blueprint was bold and solid, but it shows how much luck goes into the NBA Draft. He could not find his Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. Whoever replaces him as GM will have a plethora of future assets and a ton of cap space to play with as he attempts to reconstruct this empty roster.

This pick will come down to Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. I think Ingram may be a better fit for the currently constructed roster. However, the 76ers need to bring their fans back to the arena and Ben Simmons offers the most star power. He is a marketable talent and Philadelphia needs that right now.

Ben Simmons was always an easy one and done. His team disappointed big time, failing to even reach the NCAA Tournament, but Simmons did little to hurt his draft stock. He showed Lamar Odom-like skills as a ball handler, slasher, scorer, rebounder and all around threat. His game is very NBA friendly. I think only Brandon Ingram could push him as the top overall pick.

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2. Los Angeles Lakers
SG/SF Brandon Ingram, Fr, Duke
6'9, 200 lbs
Hometown: Kinston, NC
2015-2016 Stats: 17.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.0 apg


The Lakers were able to remain relevant this year, based on Kobe Bryant's retirement tour. This off-season, they will finally be "free" of their aging superstar, and can truly rebuild with a new identity. Do not be surprised if a marquee free agent finally joins the Lake Show, who will be searching for the new face of the franchise.

There is young talent on this team to build around. Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle are solid building blocks. If the Lakers land in the top three, that will be yet another good, young player on a rookie contract to either add to the nucleus or sweeten the trade pot.

Ben Simmons has gotten all the hype, but after a slow start to the season, Brandon Ingram has been toe to toe. Ingram is the prototypical 2016 NBA small forward. He is tall, lanky, athletic, a very good shooter and a strong defender. He can handle the ball, rebound, block shots and commit turnovers. It is a two man race between Ingram and Simmons for the first pick.

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3. Boston Celtics
(from Brooklyn Nets)
PF Dragan Bender, Croatia
7'1, 225 lbs
Hometown: Croatia
2015-2016 Stats: 4.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.7 apg


It is hard to believe how bad the trade between the Celtics and Nets was. For one year of Paul Pierce and two of Kevin Garnett, the Nets gave up first round picks in 2016 and 2018, and gave Boston the option to swap picks in 2017. This is the first of three years that Boston will get to reap the rewards of that legendary fleecing.

The Celtics have a deep, young core, and could simply be looking to add the best available talent. As a playoff team with multiple first round picks, this would be a good spot to gamble on the upside of Dragan Bender. The Kristaps Porzingis hype has elevated Bender's draft stock. Bender is not the athlete or defender Porzingis is, but has good three point range and can rebound. He is still young and raw, and has not played much for one of the best teams in Europe, but has the talent to become something special in this draft. A wise investment for Danny Ainge.

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4. Phoenix Suns
PG/SG Jamal Murray, Fr, Kentucky
6'5, 207 lbs
Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
2015-2016 Stats: 20.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.2 apg


For the last few years, the Suns were perhaps one of the best teams to ever not make the playoffs. However, in 2015-2016, the bottom fell out. An unbalanced roster, injuries, and locker room headaches were the cause of a ton of losses. Going forward, the front office will need to figure out how to build a front court and likely choose between Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe as the lead guard, as Devin Booker is ready for big minutes at the two.

Speaking of guards, Jamal Murray is the best player available here. Phoenix is not good enough to draft for talent, so they grab yet another player who can play both guard positions and absolutely stroke the ball. Murray quietly put together a fantastic freshman season, averaging 20 points per game for the disappointing Kentucky Wildcats. Playing next to Tyler Ulis, Murray was not able to show his point guard chops, but can play that position in a pinch at the next level. Shooting has never been more coveted, and Murray will go high.

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5. Minnesota Timberwolves
SG Buddy Hield, Sr, Oklahoma
6'4, 214 lbs
Hometown: Freeport, GB, Canada
2015-2016 Stats: 25.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.0 apg


The Timberwolves have the talent to make a push in the West, but it will take time. Karl-Anthony Towns is already one of the best bigs in the league, and Anthony Wiggins is learning how to become a more efficient 20 ppg scorer. Minnesota simply needs to keep adding talent and let the young core continue to develop.

Buddy Hield, fresh off a National Player of the Year award and Final Four appearance, seems destined for the lottery. A fringe first round pick coming into the season, he was the best major conference scorer, looking like a collegiate Dwyane Wade. He can shoot the rock, drive to the basket and knock down free throws at a very high percentage. Of course, at only 6'4, he will find that much more difficult at the NBA level, but his experience and scoring instincts should make him a lottery pick, with a real chance to land in the top five.

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6. New Orleans Pelicans
C Jakob Poeltl, So, Utah
7'0, 235 lbs
Hometown: Vienna, Austria
2015-2016 Stats: 17.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg


Injuries and bad roster management caught up to the Pelicans in 2015-2016, who have been out of it since practically the beginning. The front office will have a lot of work to do to surround superstar Anthony Davis with a winning organization before he gets frustrated and decides to move on. That seems to be the ultimate goal for small market teams who have drafted an all NBA talent.

The Pelicans have trotted out sub level talent like Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca next to Anthony Davis in the front court. To help keep Davis healthy, they need to keep him from the center position as much as possible. Jakob Poeltl would be a nice front court mate. Poeltl gets pushed around a bit too much for a big man, but has the frame to pack on strength. He has a nice mid range game, can rebound and block shots, and most importantly, keep Davis from constantly getting double teamed.

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7. Denver Nuggets
SG Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey
6'7, 185 lbs
Hometown:  Bakirkoy, Turkey
2015-2016 Stats: 2.7 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.5 apg


The Nuggets have three first round picks to go along with a solid, young nucleus and a strong head coach. The key will be to draft as much young talent as possible. 

It may be hard to fathom a player who averaged 2 points per game going in the top ten, but we saw something similar with Mario Hezonja last year. This draft is very short on impact talent, and Furkan Korkmaz has the potential to develop into a solid scorer. With three picks in the top 20, and a front office who will not mind losing 50 games in 2016-2017, Korkmaz represents a worthwhile gamble here.

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8. Sacramento Kings
PG/SG Kris Dunn, Jr, Providence
6'4, 225 lbs
Hometown: New London, CT
2015-2016 Stats: 16.4 ppg, 6.2 apg, 5.3 rpg


It was another year or turmoil and dissatisfaction in Sacramento. This off-season will go a long way towards determining if DeMarcus Cousins sticks around or not. On the plus side, the Kings actually got some production out of their first round pick, Willie Cauley-Stein.

This pick will be Jaylen Brown if he declares, but so far he has not announced his intentions. Kris Dunn is a four year junior who has already graduating, so as expected, he will move on to the next level. Dunn began the year on a tear and even made his way into the top five of a few mocks, but cooled down as the season went on. Dunn had a nice showing during the tournament, showing his ability to get to the rack and score tough buckets. His game would appeal to teams like the Kings, who need toughness and leadership from their lead guard.

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9. Toronto Raptors
(from Denver Nuggets)
PF/C Skal Labissiere, Fr, Kentucky
6'11, 225 lbs
Hometown: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
2015-2016 Stats: 6.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg


The Raptors will be picking in the top ten, and perhaps even higher if they get extremely lucky with the ping pong balls, for the right to dump Andrea Bargnani's contract on the Knicks. Is there any doubt why bad teams remain bad?

The Raptors could look to swing for the fences with Skal Labissiere. The second ranked recruit in the country, Labissiere lost John Calipari's trust, and never seemed to regain it. A mega project, he showed flashes, including an 18 point, 9 rebound, 6 block performance against LSU in early March. This draft is short on impact talent, so Labissiere could still hear his name called in the late lottery. If Labissiere can be coached up, he offers difference making defensive ability.

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10. Milwaukee Bucks
C Diamond Stone, Fr, Maryland
6'11, 250 lbs
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
2015-2016 Stats: 12.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg


The Bucks have gone from a playoff team to one without a point guard, a big man who may be traded and an egotistical head coach who may be fired. Things can change fast in the NBA. Milwaukee does have one of the NBA's most unique talents in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and must figure out how to build a team around him.

Diamond Stone could have been a top five pick in the NBA 15 years ago, but the game has changed. Big, lumbering centers are not in demand right now. Still, Stone has the talent to warrant a lottery selection. Stone showed his chops with a 39 point, 12 rebound performance against Penn State on December 30. He could have used another year in college to work on his consistency, but his hometown Bucks need front court beef, and could jump at the opportunity.

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11. Orlando Magic
PF/C Domantas Sabonis, So, Gonzaga
6'11, 240 lbs
Hometown: Kaunas, Lithuania
2015-2016 Stats: 17.6 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 0.9 bpg

Orlando looked like a potential playoff team before a terrible tailspin to end the season. This is still a roster who is long on athletes but short on basketball players. Drafting a guy to do the little things would be a solid choice here.

Domantas Sabonis exploded as a sophomore, and capped it all off with a fantastic tournament run. He was a one man wrecking crew in a loss to Syracuse with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks. Drafts are typically full of big men long on potential and short on production. Sabonis is the opposite. He might not ever become a legit starting power forward, but the chances of him becoming a solid rotation player are very strong. His game would contrast quite nicely with Aaron Gordon.

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12. Utah Jazz
SG/SF Timothe Luwawu, France
6'7, 205 lbs
Hometown: Cannes, France
2015-2016 Stats: 14.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.8 apg


The Jazz just missed out on the playoffs, but have a very solid nucleus going forward. If this team can find a legitimate point guard, they could be a perennial playoff contender.  That will not happen picking 12th in a weak draft, but Utah can add a solid peice to a bench that was shallow at times in 2015-2016.

Timothe Luwawu has been one of the most productive players in Europe. He plays big minutes for his Euro team, and has shown that three and D game that is all the rage with NBA wing players. The fact that he is from France bodes well for his NBA future as well, as that country routinely produces quality NBA players. Nearly every team in the league can use someone who can play lockdown wing defense, and I do not see Luwawu falling out of the top fifteen or so.

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13. Phoenix Suns
(from Washington Wizards)
PF Henry Ellenson, Fr, Marquette

6'10, 245 lbs


Hometown: Rice Lake, WI
2015-2016 Stats: 17.0 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg


With three first round picks, this draft will go a long way towards shaping the future of the Suns.

Henry Ellenson was the highest recruit Marquette signed in years. He led the Eagles in points, rebounds and blocks, and will take his talents to the next level after only one season. Ellenson has a unique skill set. He is not overly athletic but has solid ball handling skills for a big man and offers some stretch four capabilities. Similar to David Lee, teams that can overlook his defensive shortcomings will land a good offensive player.

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14.  Chicago Bulls
SG Malik Beasley, Fr, Florida State 6'5, 190 lbs
Hometown:  Alpharetta, GA
2015-2016 Stats: 15.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg


Tom Thibedeau might have been a grump who clashed with the front office, but Chicago looks lost without him. For the first time in years, the Bulls face serious questions about their future.

Dwayne Bacon received all of the early hype, but Malik Beasley established himself as the best draft prospect on the Seminole roster. Beasley is the ideal NBA wing scorer. He is athletic, can finish in transition and knock down the open jumper. He should make a living parked at the three point line and driving to the rim. Players like that are always in high demand, and Beasley should be a first round pick. Chicago is always on the lookout for bench shooters.

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15. Denver Nuggets
(from Houston Rockets)
PF Deyonta Davis, Fr, Michigan State
6'10, 240 lbs
Hometown:  Muskegon, MI
2015-2016 Stats: 7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.9 bpg


Deyonta Davis is the first Michigan State freshman to declare for the draft since Zach Randolph a decade and a half ago. Davis has serious lottery potential, but is extremely raw at this stage. At his best, he could be bulldozing scorer who can rebound and block shots. The team who drafts him will have to be patient, and properly develop him. With so many teams owning multiple first round picks, Davis should go in the first round. Denver happens to be one such team.

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16. Boston Celtics
(from Dallas Mavericks)
SG Denzel Valentine, Sr, Michigan State
6'5, 220 lbs
Hometown: Lansing, MI
2015-2016 Stats: 19.2 ppg, 7.8 apg, 7.5 rpg

The Celtics went for potential with their first pick, and draft one of the most ready to contribute players in this draft. Denzel Valentine went from a late second round pick to a mid first rounder after a tremendous senior year. There is a lot to like from a rotational player standpoint. Valentine is a solid shooter, a good defender and can handle the ball. His lack of athleticism or upside may confine him to role player status, but he should immediately be a part of Boston's deep rotation.

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17. Memphis Grizzlies


PG Demetrius Jackson, Jr, Notre Dame
6'1, 198 lbs
Hometown: Mishawaka, IN
2015-2016 Stats: 15.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.8 apg



The Grizzlies are led by the big three of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph. But once one of those players goes down, the team is in trouble, as the lack of depth on this roster is alarming. The 17th overall pick is not likely to help, but the Grizzlies need to develop some young players to round out their trio.

Demetrius Jackson has improved greatly from year to year. As a lead guard playing 36 minutes per game, he managed to have more than a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, which silenced some doubts that he was a scoring only point guard. Jackson might not have the size and speed to be a starting point guard, but he should make a very capable backup, with his ability to handle the ball and shoot the three. Memphis needs to just draft the best player available here.

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18. Detroit Pistons
PF Marquise Chriss, Fr, Washington
6'9, 225 lbs
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
2015-2016 Stats: 13.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg


The Pistons will probably go with the best player available here with an eye towards big men with some stretch capabilities.

Marquese Chriss could have used another year to develop his body and game, but he has the skills that teams are looking for in their power forwards. He has a good face up game with range out to 20 feet, can rebound on occasion and block shots. Chriss is still a project that will struggle to see the court early, but he could develop into a decent role player and should hear his name called in the teens or early 20's.

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19. Denver Nuggets
(from Portland Trail Blazers)
PG Tyler Ulis, So, Kentucky
5'9, 160 lbs
Hometown: Lima, OH
2015-2016 Stats: 17.3 ppg, 7.0 apg, 3.0 rpg


The curious case of Tyler Ulis. You would think a player who played 37 minutes a game, had a 7:2 assist to turnover ratio, averaged 17 points per game and hit 34% of his three point shots would be a shoe in first rounder, right? Well. The NBA still is scared of players under 6 foot. Ask Isaiah Thomas if he deserved to be a first rounder. Someone in the late first round is going to get a real gamer who will successfully lead a second unit. With three first round picks, the Nuggets could pounce on Ulis, who would be a great leader of the second unit with Will Barton and company.

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20. Indiana Pacers
C Stephen Zimmerman, Fr, UNLV
7'0, 240 lbs
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
2015-2016 Stats: 10.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.0 bpg


Frank Vogel once again proved that he is one of the top coaches in the country. Indiana's front office transitioned the roster from a lumbering half court team to a group of undersized scorers, and he brought his team to the playoffs once again.

Stephen Zimmerman was a high recruit who chose to stay home in Las Vegas for school. He had a solid freshman season, averaging close to a double double with two blocks a night. He is a good athlete who can run the floor. The issue is he is not a very efficient scorer at this stage of his development, and is not yet ready to play major minutes at the NBA level. He is 7 foot, which is pretty much a guaranteed ticket to the first round, but he will have to be coached and developed into a serviceable rotation player. Myles Turner is the future of Indiana's front court, but the team is still pretty small otherwise. More size would never hurt.

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21. Atlanta Hawks
PF Brice Johnson, Sr, North Carolina
6'9, 228 lbs
Hometown: Orangeburg, SC
2015-2016 Stats: 17.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.5 bpg


The Hawks will face question marks this off season with franchise player Al Horford entering free agency. Atlanta has not typically had much of a use for first round picks, but the bench is shallow and finding a player to provide minutes might not be a bad idea.

Brice Johnson worked his way from a skinny, 190 pound recruit to one of the better players in college basketball. He is a lanky, wiry, athletic big man who can run the floor, rebound and block shots. Even as a senior, there is still room for development, and his skill set and potential could appeal to playoff teams in the 20's looking for a Taj Gibson-like long term rotation piece.

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22. Charlotte Hornets
SF Taurean Prince, Sr, Baylor
6'7, 215 lbs
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
2015-2016 Stats: 16.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.3 apg


The Hornets were one of four Eastern Conference teams to win 48 games, a testament to the coaching of Steve Clifford and continued development of Kemba Walker. Charlotte tends to gravitate towards productive upper classmen with their draft picks.


Taurean Prince has developed from a lightly recruited freshman to one of the better two way players in college basketball. As I have mentioned too many times to count, every NBA team is looking for wing players who can play defense and knock down jump shots. Prince definitely qualifies as just that, and should have a role as a bench player on a playoff team picking at the end of the first round.


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23. Boston Celtics
C Ivica Zubac, Croatia
7'1, 265 lbs
Hometown: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
2015-2016 Stats: 8.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 bpg


There are a glut of European prospects who could find their names called at the end of the first round. Ivica Zubac is a bull of a prospect. He can rebound, block shots and give a team six fouls. He is not much of a threat beyond 8 feet and has already dealt with a couple of injuries, but could represent solid draft and stash value for a team like the Celtics who has more draft picks than roster spots.

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24. Philadelphia 76ers
(from Miami Heat)
PG Anthony Barber, Jr, North Carolina State
6'2, 195 lbs
Hometown: Newport News, VA
2015-2016 Stats: 23.5 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.6 rpg


Anthony Barber exploded as a junior, turning into one of the best scorers in the country. With superstar prospect Dennis Smith Jr. heading to North Carolina State next year, Barber decided to move on. Unless a scoring point guard has great size or fantastic speed, it is hard for him to crack the first round, but Barber offers fantastic scoring potential, and should make it as a solid scoring backup, at the worst. The 76ers definitely have back court minutes available.

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25. Los Angeles Clippers
SF/PF Juan Hernangomez, Spain
6'9, 220 lbs
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
2015-2016 Stats: 9.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.5 apg


The Clippers have an extremely top heavy roster. Picking this low in the first round, it is hard to find solid contributors, but if they choose to go the foreign route, Juan Hernangomez could become a solid bench player in time. He will likely spend another year or two in Spain, but could follow the career path of Nikola Mirotic. Hernangomez has a similar game, and could thrive off of wide open threes when the paint collapses on Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.

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26. Philadelphia 76ers
(from Oklahoma City Thunder)
PG Wade Baldwin IV, So, Vanderbilt
6'3, 194 lbs
Hometown: Belle Mead, NJ
2015-2016 Stats: 14.1 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.0 rpg


The Vanderbilt Commodores had a disappointing season despite having a few NBA draft prospects on the roster. Wade Baldwin might max out as a backup combo guard, but he does have the potential to be a poor man's George Hill. He is a good shooter, strong scorer and decent ball handler. This draft is light on point guards, which should help him find a spot in the first round. He, along with Anthony Barber, would represent an upgrade over the three headed non-monster of TJ McConnell, Isaiah Canaan and Kendall Marshall in Philadelphia.

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27. Toronto Raptors
PF Thon Maker, Australia
7'1, 218 lbs
Hometown: Sydney, Australia




What to make of Thon Maker? The ultimate wild card of all wild cards. He has the body of a teenage Kevin Garnett, the game of an And 1 Mixtape You Tube street baller, and skills that may or may not translate to the NBA. In summary, who on Earth knows. Some team with multiple first round picks could opt to gamble on the oozing potential, or he could find his way well into the second round. Masai Ujiri is not afraid to take a first round gamble on a complete unknown (remember Bruno Coboclo anyone? No? Me neither.)

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28. Phoenix Suns
(from Cleveland Cavaliers)
C Ante Zizic, Croatia
6'11, 240 lbs
Hometown: Split, Croatia
2015-2016 Stats: 14.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.4  bpg


Yet another European draft and stash candidate, Ante Zizic has had a successful overseas career, and will hope to follow fellow Adriatic big men Nikola Pekovic, Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic, who are all enjoying varying levels of success at the NBA level. Zizic profiles similarly to Jokic, both in body type and game. The Suns have three first round picks and could opt to go the stash route with one of them.

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29. San Antonio Spurs
SG Isaia Cordinier, France
6'5, 190 lbs
Hometown: Creteil, France
2015-2016 Stats: 10.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.0 apg


You know the Spurs were going to get in on the Euro party. It might be a bit of a stretch to put Isaia Cordinier in the first round, but he can shoot, pass the ball and play both guard positions. That could intrigue San Antonio, who needs a young guard in their European farm system. He could eventually carve out a role as a backup combo guard.

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30. Golden State Warriors
PF/C Zhou Qi, China
7'2, 209 lbs
Hometown: Henan, China
2015-2016 Stats: 15.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.5 apg


The Warriors will likely save every penny they can for a run at Kevin Durant, so selling this pick or drafting a stash talent will probably be the direction they go. Zhou Qi's NBA potential is a complete mystery. Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian are the only two Chinese prospects to be drafted in the first round, and their careers could not have turned out more different. At the least, Oakland's large Asian population could have a countryman to cheer for in a few years.

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Round 2

31. Boston Celtics (from Philadelphia 76ers) - SF DeAndre Bembry, Jr, St. Joseph's
32. Los Angeles Lakers - PF/C Damian Jones, Jr, Vanderbilt
33. Los Angeles Clippers (from Brooklyn Nets) - PG/SG Dejounte Murray, Fr, Washington
34. Phoenix Suns - PG/SG Melo Trimble, So, Maryland
35. Boston Celtics (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - SF/PF Paul Zipser, Germany
36. Milwaukee Bucks (from New Orleans Pelicans) - SG/SF Patrick McCaw, So, UNLV
37. Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks) - C AJ Hammons, Sr, Purdue
38. New Orleans Pelicans (from Denver Nuggets) - SG Isaiah Whitehead, So, Seton Hall
39. Milwaukee Bucks - SG Malcolm Brogdon, Sr, Virginia
40. New Orleans Pelicans (from Sacramento Kings) - PF Guerschon Yabusele, France
41. Orlando Magic - PF/C Chinanu Onuaku, So, Louisville
42. Utah Jazz - SF/PF Jarrod Uthoff, Sr, Iowa
43. Houston Rockets - PG/SG Caris LeVert, Sr, Michigan
44. Atlanta Hawks (from Washington Wizards) - PG Kahlil Felder, Jr, Oakland
45. Boston Celtics (from Memphis Grizzlies) - SF Jarron Blossomgame, Jr, Clemson
46. Dallas Mavericks - PF Ben Bentil, So, Providence
47. Orlando Magic (from Chicago Bulls) - SG/SF Michael Gbinije, Sr, Syracuse
48. Chicago Bulls (from Portland Trail Blazers) - PF Cheick Diallo, Fr, Kansas
49. Detroit Pistons - SG/SF Damion Lee, Sr, Louisville
50. Indiana Pacers - SG/SF Wayne Selden, Jr, Kansas
51. Denver Nuggets (from Charlotte Hornets) - C Andrey Desyatnikov, Russia
52. Utah Jazz (from Boston Celtics) - PF/C Alpha Kaba, France
53. Boston Celtics (from Miami Heat) - C Mamadou Ndiaye, Jr, UC Irvine
54. Atlanta Hawks - SG Josh Hart, Jr, Villanova
55. Brooklyn Nets (from Los Angeles Clippers) - PF Joel Bolomboy, Sr, Weber State
56. Denver Nuggets (from Oklahoma City Thunder) - PF Kyle Wiltjer, Sr, Gonzaga
57. Memphis Grizzlies (from Toronto Raptors) - SG Sheldon McClellan, Sr, Miami
58. Boston Celtics (from Cleveland Cavaliers) - PG Gary Payton II, Sr, Oregon State
59. Sacramento Kings (from San Antonio Spurs) - PG/SG Tyrone Wallace, Sr, California
60. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors) - SG/SF Daniel Hamilton, So, Connecticut