2016 NBA Draft: v 1.0

Welcome to my first 2016 NBA Mock Draft. I wanted to do one much much earlier but I just did not have the time. With the NBA and college seasons well underway, we are starting to get a good idea of who the top prospects are.

Thanks to the great site www.tankathon.com, I used a lottery to get this selection order, because why not? The real draft will have a lottery.



1. Philadelphia 76ers
SF/PF Ben Simmons, Fr, LSU
6'10, 225 lbs
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
2015-2016 Stats: 19.9 ppg, 14.9 rpg, 6 apg

The Sixers are off to a historically miserable start, but at least have something with the big man duo of Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. With Dario Saric and perhaps Joel Embiid joining the team in 2016, wing players are the biggest need on this roster. Ben Simmons might not qualify as a wing player, but he is the best talent available in this draft. I think Simmons will fit best as a Toni Kukoc/Lamar Odom like ball handling power forward. He runs the floor and passes like a guard. Simmons needs to improve his defense (like most 18 year olds) but he definitely has star potential. He has been a triple double machine thus far at LSU, and it will be exciting to watch as he develops his game and looks for his shot more often. It will be interesting to see where he fits with Saric, who might be the odd man out if this roster stays intact, but the Sixers are so bad they simply need to add the best talent available. As of now, Ben Simmons looks like the clear cut star of this class. If Sam Hinkie does not hit a homerun in this draft, he may be out of a job. Even the most patient owners do not tolerate 1-23 starts.


2. Sacramento Kings
SG/SF Brandon Ingram, Fr, Duke
6'9, 196 lbs
Hometown: Kinston, NC
2015-2016 Stats: 13.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg

It has been yet another wasted year in Sacramento. Perhaps the Kings will parlay another lottery pick into a player who can actually be a core of the roster in the future. He is thin and not that great of a ball handler, but has the ability to be a 3 and D guy that the NBA loves right now. He uses his great length to knock down jump shots over defenders and block some shots as well. He will have to develop some strength to become a better all around scorer, but has strong NBA potential. Ingram started the season slow, but is coming off back to back 20 point games. Ingram has the chance to be a 20 point scorer who can make some all defensive teams, and his potential is well worth grabbing here.


3. Boston Celtics
(from Brooklyn Nets)
C Jakob Poeltl, So, Utah
7'1, 235 lbs
Hometown: Vienna, Austria
2015-2016 Stats: 20.1 ppg,  9.8 rpg, 2.2 bpg


Landing in the top three would be quite a coup for Boston, considering they get this pick for trading past their prime veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the desperate Nets. The Celtics have a deep roster but no one you can say is a future All Star talent.  Jakob Poeltl showed flashes of brilliance as a freshman, and is off to a fantastic start as a sophomore. Stats are always inflated this time of year but scouts have to love the fact that Poeltl has gotten ten shots per game and is still knocking them down with very high efficiency. He has simply been unguardable in the early going. If he can prove that he is a real threat on offense once Pac 12 play begins, he has a chance to go very high, because Poeltl's defense and rebounding is already NBA ready. The Celtics have quite a few front court role players, but no one they could build around like Poeltl.

4. Philadelphia 76ers
(from Los Angeles Lakers)
PG/SG Kris Dunn, Jr, Providence
6'4, 205 lbs
Hometown: New London, CT
2014-2015 Stats: 16.8 ppg, 6.1 apg, 6.9 rpg

If the Lakers fall out of the top three they have to give this pick up to Philadelphia thanks to the near-sighted Steve Nash trade of a few years back. Sam Hinkie has to hit a homerun or two in this draft. With the Simmons pick, he swung for the fences. Here he can hit a safe sacrifice fly to drive in a run and add a talented back court player to the roster. Kris Dunn's stats are simply eye popping, and the Providence Friars are relevant again as a result. What Dunn may lack in upside, he makes up for in determination and production. Dunn is not a great shooter, but is very strong, a good rebounder, and has great defensive potential (as evidenced by his 3.4 steals per game). With ball handlers like Simmons and Dario Saric on the roster, Dunn can focus on rebounding, slashing and playing solid defense.

5. New Orleans Pelicans
PF/C Skal Labissiere, Fr, Kentucky
6'11, 225 lbs
Hometown: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
2015-2016 Stats: 10.6 ppg, 3,.5rpg, 2.1 bpg

It is looking like a lost season in New Orleans. The front office will have to reassess an unbalanced roster and figure out how to build around their superstar. Skal Labissiere is the latest lanky, athletic specimen to join John Calipari's team. He is still learning how to play basketball, coming from Haiti, but is already an NBA quality defender and shot blocker. Like Towns before him, Labissiere is being brought along slowly by Calipari. He is simply another big man in Kentucky's rotation, but I expect him to differentiate himself as the season goes along. He has the frame to bulk up and become a solid defensive starting center. Labissiere and Davis share similar defensive attributes, and with both on the court, it will be extremely tough for opposing defenses to drive the lane.

6. Denver Nuggets
PF Henry Ellenson, Fr, Marquette
6'10, 231 lbs
Hometown: Rice Lake, WI
2015-2016 Stats: 16.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.6 apg

Denver started the season pretty well, but a lack of talent was soon apparent. Denver is just too weak personnel wise to compete in the Western Conference, and needs to simply add talent during the next few drafts. I am skeptical that Henry Ellenson will actually declare for the draft after his freshman year, but that is an assumption based on the college he chose. Based on his current production, he would definitely be a one and done lottery pick. He is one of the highest ranked recruits to ever join Marquette, and it is easy to see why he is so well regarded. Ellenson is a great offensive player, who can lead the fast break, shoot the three and post up. His defense and conditioning need work, but that will likely improve once he reaches an NBA training room. His face up offensive game would be a nice fit to the bruising Jusuf Nurkic in Denver's front court.

7. Portland Trail Blazers
PF Dragan Bender, Croatia
7'1, 216 lbs
Hometown: Capljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
2015-2016 Stats: 3.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.8 apg

Portland is in the midst of yet another rebuilding project, and could use youth at any position other than point guard. Everyone is going to compare Dragan Bender to Kristaps Porzingis, especially after Porzingis hot start. Both are tall lanky Euro's. Unlikes Porzingis, Bender has more of a perimeter game on offense at this point in his development. He is not quite the athlete as Porzingis but is more versatile on defense, able to guard small forwards and power forwards. He is very young (will only be 18 when drafted) but looks like the most talented European prospect, even though he is not getting much run for his Euro team. He could do some LaMarcus Aldridge things on offense once he gets his NBA game under him.

8. Milwaukee Bucks
PG/SG Jamal Murray, Fr, Kentucky
6'5, 201 lbs
Hometown: Kitchner, Ontario, Canada
2015-2016 Stats: 15.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.1 apg

The Bucks are off to a pretty bad start. It is now clear to everyone else what was clear to Sam Hinkie last year; Michael Carter-Williams is not a very good basketball player. If Milwaukee has the chance to upgrade with one of the best point guards in this class, it should be an easy decision. It will be interesting to see how Jamal Murray develops at Kentucky. If he can prove he can play point guard, his stock should be very high. Teams love ball handling combo guards who can shoot and play defense. Murray has struggled with turnovers, which caps his draft stock at this point, but has a chance to improve that as the season rolls along.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves
SF Jaylen Brown, Fr, California
6'7, 225 lbs
Hometown: Marietta, GA
2015-2016 Stats: 14.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.1 apg

Thanks to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the Timberwolves are much improved this year, and are already halfway to their win total from last year. They simply need to focus on adding more athletes to what is a very exciting young roster. Jaylen Brown reminds me of Stanley Johnson from last year. If he had a jump shot, he would be in the discussion for a top three pick. But scouts are obsessed with wing players who can shoot. Brown is still developing that area of his game, but there is a lot to like. He is a bull who can get to the rack against anybody and has the potential to be one of the best on the ball defenders in the NBA some day, though scouts would like to see an uptick in those steal numbers. He would be a solid part of the second unit in Minnesota.

10. Phoenix Suns
PF Ivan Rabb, Fr, California
6'11, 220 lbs
Hometown: Oakland, CA
2015-2016 Stats: 12.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg

Ivan Rabb was once considered a prospect on the level of Ben Simmons, but his star faded somewhat. He is off to a nice start with the Cal Bears, showing length, rebound and shot blocking skills, and a nice ability to run the floor. If he can improve the range on his jumper, he would be a perfect fit with what NBA teams are looking for from their power forwards in today's game. Markieff Morris has been a headache and a disappointment in Phoenix this year, and the Suns would love to move on from him if they were able to. Rabb would be a nice replacement.

11. Toronto Raptors
(from New York Knicks)
SG Denzel Valentine, Sr, Michigan State
6'5, 220 lbs
Hometown: Lansing, MI
2015-2016 Stats: 18.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 7.2 apg
The Raptors get a lottery pick for the right to dump Andrea Bargnani's contract on the Knicks several years ago. Toronto could go best player available to beef up their bench. In a month's time, Denzel Valentine has gone from a mid second round pick to a possible lottery selection. The early front runner for college basketball player of the year is averaging close to a triple double, and is knocking down three pointers at a remarkable rate. The numbers are staggering. Valentine is making over three 3 pointers per game, and has a 4:1 assist to turnover ratio. That is on 8 assists per game. His age likely limits his draft ceiling, but a team picking in the teens is going to get one tough gamer.


12. Washington Wizards
PF/C Damian Jones, Jr, Vanderbilt
7'1, 245 lbs
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
2015-2016 Stats: 12.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 bpg

Perhaps no team in the East has been as disappointing as the Wizards. Part of it is due to the fact that they are not getting a lot of contributions from their front court players. Damian Jones has had a very good junior season, even though his stats are in line with what he provided as a sophomore. Vanderbilt has not been tested much. When Jones went up against Kansas in a close loss, he dropped 17 points with 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Jones is not great at any one thing, but provides solid stats across the board. He has the frame to bulk up and play center, which will make him quite coveted once draft time rolls around, even if he is still somewhat of a project.

13. Orlando Magic
SG Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey
6'7, 185 lbs
Hometown: Bakirkoy, Turkey
201452016 Stats: 5.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.9 apg

Scott Skiles has the Magic playing their best basketball in years, but the roster could still use some scoring punch.. Furkan Korkmaz is still very raw and has a teenagers frame, but you cannot deny his offensive potential. He plays like Reggie Miller, running off of screens and shooting from anywhere on the court. A good ball handler as well, Korkmaz has the potential to be a very good NBA scorer, though it will take time.
14. Atlanta Hawks
SG Grayson Allen, So, Duke
6'6, 195 lbs
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
2015-2016 Stats: 21.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.0 apg

The Hawks traded a first round pick for Tim Hardaway Jr., but he has provided absolutely nothing. Atlanta needs scoring off the bench. Grayson Allen was a high recruit who rode the bench as a freshman, but has shown JJ Redick like scoring ability thus far as a sophomore. He has put up big time points against three cupcakes, but struggled against the length and athleticism of Kentucky. Since then he has bounced back with back to back 30 point games and has settled in as a legit 20 ppg scorer at the college level. Scouts are always on the lookout for shooting guards who can actually shoot, and guys like Allen often find their way into the lottery.
15. Utah Jazz
SG/SF Timothe Luwawu, France
6'7, 205 lbs
Hometown: Cannes, France
2015-2016 Stats: 15.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.5 apg
Other than perhaps point guard, the Jazz starting lineup and top bench options seem to be pretty well set. The bench is still pretty shallow, however, especially on the wing. Timothe Luwawu has come out of nowhere to become one of the best players in France, a country that has a very strong track record in the NBA. He is off to even a better start in the Adriatic League (without the stiffest competition), showing the type of 3 and D potential that is all the rage with wing players right now. With continued development, a lottery selection is not completely out of the question.
16. Denver Nuggets
(from Houston Rockets)
SG Malik Beasley, Fr, Florida State
6'5, 190 lbs
Hometown: Alpharetta, GA
2015-2016 Stats: 18.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.3 apg 
The Nuggets get Houston's pick if the Rockets make the playoffs. Denver needs scorers off the bench. Scouts love what they have seen out of the "other" freshman 20 point per game scorer at Florida State. Malik Beasley is shooting the ball at an amazing clip, showing an ability to knock down three point shots and get to the line. Beasley also has the steals numbers to back up his analytical claim to fame.
17. Boston Celtics
(from Dallas Mavericks)
PF/C Jonathan Jeanne, France
7'2, 210 lbs
Hometown: Les Abymes, Guadeloupe
2015-2016 Stats: 10.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.1 apg
With three first round picks and little space on the roster, expect the Celtics to either try to trade these picks or draft some European stash players. Jonathan Jeanne is woefully thin but has some serious NBA talent. He plays like a younger (skinnier) Ruby Gobert, who was thought of as a potential top ten pick before his lack of strength and experience caused him to slip late in the first round. If Jeanne declares for the draft, he won't last that long, even though he is far from NBA ready.

18. Memphis Grizzlies
SG Buddy Hield, Sr, Oklahoma
6'4, 214 lbs
Hometown: Freeport, GB
2015-2016 Stats: 22.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg

For years the Grizzlies have been built around their two big men and Mike Conley. Tony Allen has been a fixture at one of the wing positions due to his defense, but the team has struggled to replace Rudy Gay's outside production. John Hollinger, who is in the Grizzlies front office, has to love what he has seen out of the Buddy Heild, who has one of the highest PER's in college basketball. He has improved every year, and as a senior is pouring in 22 points per game and hitting over 50% of his three point shots. Hield is a bit undersized and might struggle against larger wing players, but has the ability to provide solid scoring off the bench, something the Grizzlies lack.

19. Detroit Pistons
SG/SF Caris LeVert, Sr, Michigan
6'7, 205 lbs
Hometown: Pickerington, OH
2015-2016 Stats: 17.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.0 apg


Stan Van Gundy has the Pistons playing very good basketball this year, but he could never have enough shooters surrounding Andre Drummond. Caris LeVert has bounced back nicely from a serious leg injury, leading an average Michigan team in points, assists, rebounds and steals. He shoots solid percentages, can knock down the three and play point guard in a pinch.

20. Philadelphia 76ers
(from Miami Heat)
PG Demetrius Jackson, Jr, Notre Dame
6'1, 198 lbs
Hometown: Mishawaka, IN
2015-2016 Stats: 18.7 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.6 rpg

The 76ers are currently starting undrafted free agent TJ McConnell at point guard. Yeah. Philadelphia desperately has to come out of this draft with some real talent to build around, especially in the back court. Demetrius Jackson is another guard who is shooting over 50% from the floor early. He has upped his scoring and assist numbers so far this season, and takes very good care of the basketball. Jackson would be a nice contrast to Kris Dunn, Philadelphia's previous pick.
21. Los Angeles Clippers
PF Chieck Diallo, Fr, Kansas
6'9, 218 lbs
Hometown: Centereach, NY
2015-2016 Stats: 7.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg

Cheick Diallo is the latest top recruit to get jerked around by the NCAA eligibility rules, but he has finally been cleared. Diallo is a tremendous athlete who is still learning how to play basketball. He rebounds and plays defense like an animal and can throw down the alley oop. Think a stronger Kenneth Faried. Playing for Bill Self is never the best way to develop your game for the NBA, but he is squarely on the late lottery radar. If he is still available here, this could be quite a pickup for the Clippers.

22. Boston Celtics
PF/C Zhou Qi, China
7'2, 209 lbs
Hometown: Henan, China
2015-2016 Stats: 19.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.5 apg


Danny Ainge is all about asset collecting.  China gave the NBA Yao Ming, who was a homerun, and Yi Jinlain, who was a dud, and Zhou Qi is the latest 7 foot prospect from the country. He is woefully thin, but can shoot the ball, block shots and run the court. If an NBA team can pack on 30-40 pounds of muscle, they could have themselves quite a find. It's an easy risk worth taking at this point in the draft for a team with multiple picks.


23. Indiana Pacers
PF Domantas Sabonis, So, Gonzaga
6'10, 231 lbs
Hometown: Kaunas, Lithuania
2014-2015 Stats: 14.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 0.9 apg


Domantas Sabonis is having a great sophomore season for Gonzaga, but I do not think he offers enough in one particular area that screams "lottery pick". He is a good passer and rebounder, though not as tough or strong as one would want from a big man. He also does not possess terrific range on his jump shot. Sabonis will most likely fit in as a backup big man who can come in and knock down some midrange jump shots.  The Pacers are woefully thin in the front court and Sabonis could carve out a few minutes per night.
24. Charlotte Hornets
SG/SF Dwayne Bacon, Fr, Florida State
6'7, 210 lbs
Hometown: Lakeland, FL
2015-2016 Stats: 17.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.1 apg
Steve Clifford has the Hornets playing some fantastic basketball this year. Picking this low, the Hornets should focus on scoring depth, especially with PJ Hairston showing little thus far in his career. There is little to dislike about Bacon as a scorer. He has good size, can drive to the rack and knock down the three point shot. He does not offer much else at this stage of his development but has the ability to become a solid defender.

25. Chicago Bulls
PG/SG Melo Trimble, So, Maryland
6'3, 185 lbs
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD
2015-2016 Stats: 15.8 ppg, 5.3 apg, 2.8 rpg
There has been a revolving door at backup point guard behind Derrick Rose for years. While Trimble does not have the natural ball handling instincts to play the position full time, he could make a very dangerous scoring combo guard off the bench. Trimble can shoot the three, drive the lane and is adept at getting to the free throw line, where he shoots a very high percentage.
26. Toronto Raptors
PF/C Alpha Kaba, France
6'10, 225 lbs
Hometown: Blois, France
2015-2016 Stats: 7.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 spg
With two first round picks Masai Ujiri might try to get creative with a foreign draft and stash guy. Alpha Kaba shows plenty of tools but is a long way away from contributing on an NBA team. However, you cannot teach his size, length and athleticism. He has the chance to be a solid shot blocker and rebounder who can run the floor and could be a popular late first/early second round gamble by a playoff team.
27. Philadelphia 76ers
(from Oklahoma City Thunder)
PF Petr Cornelie, France
6'11, 225 lbs
Hometown: Calais, France
2015-2016 Stats: 7.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.8 apg
With four first round picks, Philadelphia could go for a draft and stash guy. Petr Cornelie is a sweet shooting French big man who makes it four players in this mock from the country.

28. Phoenix Suns
(from Cleveland Cavaliers)
SG Damion Lee, Sr, Louisville
6'6, 200 lbs
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
2015-2016 Stats: 18.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.9 apg
The Suns are yet another team with multiple first round picks. Teams ahead of them have picked the overseas prospects clean, so Phoenix drafts a player who can help them right away next year. Damion Lee was a big time scorer in Drexel during his first three years, and has transferred to Louisville where his scoring ways have continued. Lee shoots a very high percentage from three point and the free throw line and can rack up some steals as well. That type of player is coveted by NBA franchises, and Lee could squeak into the first round as a result.


29. San Antonio Spurs
PF Kyle Wiltjer, Sr, Gonzaga
6'10, 240 lbs
Hometown: Portland, OR
2015-2016 Stats: 20.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 apg
The Spurs would love to draft a Euro here, but the pickings are slim. Kyle Wiltjer was once a top recruit for John Calipari and Kentucky who has found a home playing for his hometown Gonzaga squad. Wiltjer will have to make his role in the NBA as a sweet shooting stretch four. Matt Bonner has lasted in the NBA for over a decade doing just that, and Wiltjer could be a very good fit for the Spurs.

30. Golden State Warriors
SG Malik Newman, Fr, Mississippi State
6'3, 178 lbs
Homewotn: Jackson, MS
2015-2016 Stats: 12.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.1 apg
The defending champs are off to a historically good start. Last draft, they selected talented but raw rookie Kevon Looney. They could look to do the same this draft with Malik Newman, who was highly recruited but is far from NBA ready. He is not a point guard, and might become a Lou Williams like scorer off the bench. He could learn from the best of the best behind Stephen Curry in Oakland.

Round 2
31. Boston Celtics (from Philadelphia 76ers) - PG Tyler Ulis, So, Kentucky
32. Los Angeles Lakers - SG/SF Michael Gbinije, Sr, Syracuse
33. Sacramento Kings (from New Orleans Pelicans) - PG Monte Morris, Jr, Iowa State
34. Brooklyn Nets - SG/SF Daniel Hamilton, So, Connecticut
35. Sacramento Kings - SF/PF Aleksandar Vezenkov, Cyprus
36. Philadelphia 76ers (from Denver Nuggets) - SF Taurean Prince, Sr, Baylor
37. Milwaukee Bucks - PF Nigel Hayes, Jr, Wisconsin
38. Chicago Bulls (from Portland Trail Blazers) - SF Troy Williams, Jr, Indiana
39. Boston Celtics (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - PF Paul Zipser, Germany
40. Phoenix Suns - PF/C Daniel Ochefu, Sr, Villanova
41. Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks) - C AJ Hammons, Sr, Purdue
42. Atlanta Hawks (from Washington Wizards) - SF DeAndre Bembry, Jr, St. Joseph's
43. Utah Jazz - PG/SG Tyrone Wallace, Sr, California
44. Houston Rockets - SF/PF Jarrod Uthoff, Sr, Iowa
45. Orlando Magic - PF Ante Zuzic, Croatia
46. Dallas Mavericks (from Memphis Grizzlies) - SG Danilo Fuzaro, Brazil
47. Dallas Mavericks - PG Marcus Paige, Sr, North Carolina
48. Detroit Pistons - SG Ron Baker, Sr, Wichita State
49. Atlanta Hawks - SF/PF Juan Hernangomez, Spain
50. Boston Celtics (from Miami Heat) - PF Guerschon Yabusele, France
51. Memphis Grizzlies (from Boston Celtics) - PG Gary Payton II, Sr, Oregon State
52. Brooklyn Nets (from Los Angeles Clippers) - PF/C Josh Scott, Sr, Colorado
53. Indiana Pacers - C Egidijus Mockevicius, Sr, Evansville
54. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Charlotte Hornets) - PG/SG David Walker, Sr, Northeastern
55. Chicago Bulls - PF Zach Auguste, Sr, Notre Dame
56. Memphis Grizzlies (from Toronto Raptors) - PG George De Paula, Brazil
57. Oklahoma City Thunder - PG Boris Dallo, France
58. Boston Celtics (from Cleveland Cavaliers) - C Ilimane Diop, Senegal
59. Sacramento Kings (from San Antonio Spurs) - PF Brice Johnson, Sr, North Carolina
60. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors) - SF Jake Layman, Sr, Maryland 

Jonathan Carrano

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