2016 NBA Mock Draft: v 5.0

With the draft about a month away, and the order and American early entrants set, here is my most recent guess as to how the draft could play out.

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



First off, let me pass on my condolences to Sam Hinkie. His master plan finally paid off, and he is not around to enjoy the fruits of his "labor". This pick will obviously come down to either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. Philadelphia has a month to figure out which direction to go. For right now, I will go with Simmons, who offers a friendly NBA game is has the most chance to develop into a marketable star. Philadelphia has not had a player that fans have cared about since Allen Iverson, and desperately needs some star power. Ingram might be a better fit with the current crop of players, however, and will definitely be in the discussion for this pick. I believe Simmons character and passion concerns are a bit overblown, as some people want to nitpick since he is obviously not the next LeBron James like ESPN stated early on. Simmons is not a great shooter, but he can run the floor, handle the ball, pass, rebound and score. Think Lamar Odom as his ceiling, or Michael Beasley as his floor. I am guessing he will be closer to Odom.


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2. Los Angeles Lakers
SG/SF Brandon Ingram, Fr, Duke
6'9, 190 lbs
Hometown: Kinston, SC
2015-2016 Stats: 17.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.0 apg



There was talk about the Lakers trading the pick if they wound up with the third overall selection. Los Angeles will not have to worry about that now, and will simply get to sit back and select whoever the 76ers do not. Brandon Ingram is the prototypical 21st century wing player; a solid defender who can block shots, guard the perimeter and knock down three pointers. It might take a while for Ingram to bulk up to withstand the long 82 game grind ,but he has solid potential. Think a better offensive version of Trevor Ariza. With Ingram to go along with Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, Luke Walton as the new head coach, and up to $60 million in cap space, this could be the year the Lakers take back Los Angeles.

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3. Boston Celtics
PF Dragan Bender, Croatia
7'1, 225 lbs
Hometown: Capljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
2015-2016 Stats: 4.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.7 apg



This is the first of what could be three lottery picks the Celtics will steal from the hapless Brooklyn Nets. Danny Ainge is the type to gamble on the upside of Dragan Bender. Bender is not as polished as Kristaps Porzingis was when he was drafted, but has great size, a nice shooting stroke and solid defensive ability. The Celtics front court is full of backup rotation types, and Bender would give them a potential difference maker. The key word is potential, of course, as Bender did not play much for his European team, though that is common with teenagers. The Celtics coaching staff is solid, and would likely properly develop Bender.

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4. Phoenix Suns
SF Jaylen Brown, Fr, California
6'7, 225 lbs
Hometown: Marietta, GA
2015-2016 Stats: 14.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.0 apg



The Suns are in a tough spot. With no chance to land Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, they will have to hope the Celtics pass on Dragan Bender. Bender would be a great fit next to Alex Len in the Suns front court. With Bender off the board, there are no other big men worth taking this high. Jamal Murray is the best prospect available, but with ball dominant guards Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Devin Booker on the roster, that would be a waste of a pick. Jaylen Brown would fit well with those current group of guards. He does not need the ball in his hands to be successful. Brown excels at cutting to the rim and overpowering defenders. His jump shot is improving, and he has the potential to be a very solid wing defender. Just as importantly, his character and leadership ability is through the roof, something the Suns are looking for after several players sulked and complained their way through a miserable season.


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5. Minnesota Timberwolves
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



The Timberwolves have the longest current playoff drought in the NBA, but there is reason to believe that could change, even in the brutal Western Conference. First, they have the past two Rookie of the Year winners. Karl-Anthony Towns already is an All Star caliber center, capable of being the centerpiece for a playoff team. Second, Tom Thibedeau, who had great success in Chicago, was brought aboard. His ability to teach should do wonders for a talented, yet undisciplined, group of youngsters. With the fifth overall pick, Minnesota will be able to bring in yet another key contributor. I think Jamal Murray is the third best prospect in this class, and would be a great pickup here. Freshmen do not average 20 points per game very often, but Murray accomplished that, while showcasing great shooting ability. He can handle the rock when given opportunity, and could make a great combo guard at the next level. Ball handlers who can shoot are at a premium, and Murray would immediately push Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio at the guard positions.

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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



The Pelicans roster is a complete mess, so best player available should be the way to go here. Jakob Poeltl improved by leaps and bounds as a sophomore, and is cemented as a lottery pick. He still needs to work on improving his strength, but has great touch around the rim, a nice jump shot and the ability to rebound and block shots. Most importantly, his presence would be able to keep Anthony Davis out of the center position. For as good as Davis is, nagging injuries are a constant issue. Poeltl is still a project, but with only Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik in his way, should be starting sooner than later.

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7. Denver Nuggets
(from New York Knicks)
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



Buddy Hield put together one of the best scoring seasons we have seen in a long time, and solidified himself as an easy lottery selection. In a draft full of projects, Hield should be able to produce right away. The Nuggets have three first round picks, so they could use the first of those three on Hield, who could step in right away and start at shooting guard. He would make a nice compliment to the defensive minded Gary Harris and great bench scorer Will Barton, and give the Nuggets a very nice three shooting guard combo.

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8. Sacramento Kings
PG/SG Kris Dunn, Jr, Providence
6'4, 220 lbs
Hometown: New London, CT
2015-2016 Stats: 16.4 ppg, 6.2 apg, 5.4 rpg



The Kings suffered through another miserable season, but at least finally got production out of a first round pick. Willie Cauley-Stein looks like a quality big man who will play for a long time. If the draft shakes out this way, Sacramento would have to feel great about drafting Kris Dunn, who some think is the third best player in this class. Dunn is not much of a shooter, but is a tough scorer who has the chance to be one of the best defensive guards in the NBA. Rajon Rondo rehabbed his image enough that he could land a longer contract elsewhere, which would open up point guard minutes for Dunn. The Kings are looking to get tougher defensively, and Dunn would help in that area.

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9. Toronto Raptors
(from Denver Nuggets)
PF/C 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 DeMar DeRozan an upcoming free agent, the Raptors could be a vastly different team next year. One thing that could change is the usage rate for Jonas Valanciunas. If Valanciunas plays more minutes, the Raptors could look to pair him with a floor stretching power forward. Henry Ellenson was not quite Kevin Love 2.0 at Marquette, but is a good ball handler and rebounder who can hit the three point shot, though not with much consistency as a freshman. Ellenson is a project who needs to work himself into NBA shape, but could becme a nice counterpart to Valanciunas in time.

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10. Milwaukee Bucks
SG/SF Timothe Luwawu, France
6'7, 205 lbs
Hometown: Cannes, France
2015-2016 Stats: 14.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.8 apg





The biggest cause for the Bucks downfall was the down tick in defensive efficiency. A lot of blame can be placed on Greg Monroe, but Jabari Parker is also a very poor defender. Jakob Poeltl or Jaylen Brown would be ideal, but with both off the board, the Bucks turn their attention to Timothe Luwawu. Luwawu has the potential to play very solid defense and knock down three point shots, which makes him an ideal wing player in today's game. The main concern is his level of competition overseas was less than stellar, though French players usually translate well to the NBA.

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11. Orlando Magic
PF/C Deyonta Davis, Fr, Michigan State
6'10, 245 lbs
Hometown: Muskegon, MI
2015-2016 Stats: 7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 bpg



There are so many talented, yet extremely raw players in this draft. Bigs such as Deyonta Davis, Skal Labissiere, Marquese Chriss, Diamond Stone and Stephen Zimmerman could develop into solid starters, or flame out of the NBA before their rookie contracts come to an end. The Magic have a need for front court defenders and shot blockers, and Davis could quality. He was fantastic as a part time freshman for Tom Izzo and the Spartans, showing strong rebounding and shot blocking ability. He has NBA size and could develop into a solid rotation piece for Orlando.

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12. Utah Jazz
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



At some point the reward of drafting Skal Labissiere outweighs the risk. The late lottery would be a good spot to swing for the fences. Labissiere, of course, was the second overall recruit who was neck and neck with Ben Simmons for the first pick when the college basketball season started. He never could get out of John Calipari's doghouse and put up an uneventful season as a freshman, though he did show flashes of scoring and shot blocking. The Jazz have a similar player on the roster in Rudy Gobert, who slowly developed from a late first round pick to one of the best defensive big men in the league. Hopefully for Utah, they can unearth the same potential in Labissiere, who would make a great backup to Gobert.

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13. Phoenix Suns
(from Washington Wizards)
PF Marquese Chriss, Fr, Washington
6'9, 225 lbs
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
2015-2016 Stats: 13.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg


The Suns traded Markeiff Morris to the Wizards for this pick, and draft a player with a very similar skill set. Marquese Chriss is as raw as they come, but is an ideal 2016 power forward. He is athletic, an emerging shot blocker, and has range out to the three point line, where he made 20 shots as a freshman. Like Morris, Chriss is not a dedicated rebounder or defender at this point in his development, but could be an ideal piece next to Alex Len in the Suns front court.

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  14. Chicago Bulls
C Diamond Stone, Fr, Maryland
6'11, 255 lbs
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
2015-2016 Stats: 12.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg
 



Fifteen years ago Diamond Stone would have been a top five pick, but the NBA has gone away from lumbering big men in the way or smaller, quicker athletes. There is still a spot for Stone, especially for a team like the Bulls who could lose two of their top three big men. Stone showed how doinating he could be with a 39 point, 12 rebound performance. He is strong and smart, and could have a Kendrick Perkins-like impact in the paint for Chicago.

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15. Denver Nuggets
(from Houston Rockets)
SG Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey
6'7, 185 lbs
Hometown: Bakirkoy, Turkey
2015-2016 Stats: 4.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.6 apg


With so many teams possessing multiple first round picks, expect quite a few European players to be drafted in the first round. Denver owns three picks in this round. With a full roster, they will not have the spots available for so many rookies. Even with a number of shooting guards now on the roster, Furkan Korkmaz is a great pick here. He is extremely raw and frail, but the talent is there for Korkmaz to develop into a Richard Hamilton type scorer. The Nuggets can let him develop his game and body overseas for a year or two.

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16. Boston Celtics
(from Dallas Mavericks)
 PF/C Domantas Sabonis, So, Gonzaga
6'11, 240 lbs
Hometown: Kaunas, Lithuania
2015-2016 Stats: 17.6 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.8 apg



The Celtics have approximately 736 picks in this draft, so predicting what they are going to do is a futile exercise. Even more futile than doing mocks drafts to begin with. Boston's front court was a weak spot last year, so expect Danny Ainge to attack that position during the draft and free agency. Domantas Sabonis had an incredibly productive sophomore season for Gonzaga. His stats scream top ten, but Sabonis is a below average athlete and defender, which will push his stock down. Still, he is a creative scorer and aggressive rebounder and should, at the least, carve out a solid bench role in the NBA.

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17. Memphis Grizzlies
SG Denzel Valentine, Sr, Michigan State
6'5, 220 lbs
Hometown: Lansing, MI
2015-2016 Stats: 19.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 7.5 apg



The Grizzlies have long been built around the big three of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph. With Conley an upcoming free agent and Randolph winding down a long career, it may be time to rethink that strategy. Whoever the Grizzlies draft here will not alter any plans, but could provide some much needed depth. Denzel Valentine is not the most athletic player in this draft, but he was well coached, is experienced and can do almost everything on the basketball court. He could immediately start at shooting guard for a team that lost Courtney Lee last year.

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19. Denver Nuggets
(from Portland Trail Blazers)
SF Taurean Prince, Sr, Baylor
6'7, 220 lbs
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
2015-2016 Stats: 15.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.3 apg


Denver's perimeter defense was not strong, to put it kindly, especially for a Mike Malone led team. Taurean Prince has taken advantage of the pre draft process to work himself safely into round one, and perhaps as high as the late lottery. He is experienced, a willing defender and a solid three point shooter. The term "3 and D" wing applies to Prince, who would be a welcome addition to a Nuggets team that lacks players of his skill set.

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  20. Indiana Pacers
PG Demetrius Jackson, Jr, Notre Dame
6'1, 198 lbs
Hometown: Mishawaka, IN
2015-2016 Stats: 15.8 ppg, 4.7 apg, 3.5 rpg



Larry Bird foolishly let Frank Vogel go because he is obsessed with wanting to push the pace. Interestingly enough, new head coah Nate McMillan was known for some of the slowest paced offenses during his time in Portland and Seattle. Demetrius Jackson could be a good fit for what Bird wants to bring to the table. More of a scorer than a facilitator, he nevertheless offers speed, solid decision making and would make a fine backup point guard to George Hill. 

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21. Atlanta Hawks
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



The Hawks do not have the deepest bench around, and will have decisions to face with several key rotational players. Atlanta has ignored the draft in recent seasons but could look to take the best player available if they choose to keep the pick. Dwayne Bacon was the hyped Florida State freshman, but it was Malik Beasley who put together the better season of the two. Beasley scored at a very efficient rate, both from the arc and free throw line, and has the look of a prototypical scoring two guard.

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22. Charlotte Hornets
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



Brice Johnson, the Carolina native, fits what the Charlotte franchise looks for in their draft picks. The Hornets are attracted to upper classmen with productive college resumes, and Johnson's definitely applies. He is a bouncy, athletic big man who can run the floor, rebound and throw down dunks. On the negative side, he is still skinny and may be pushed around at the NBA level. His best fit could be as an energy backup behind the likes of Frank Kaminsky and Cody Zeller in Charlotte's front court.

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23. Boston Celtics
C Ante Zizic, Croatia
6'11, 240 lbs
Hometown: Split, Croatia
2015-2016 Stats: 14.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 0.6 apg



Three first round picks, three big men. Obviously, there are not enough roster spots for Celtics draft picks, so expect Danny Ainge to do two things: trade trade trade and draft European players. Since I do not predict trades I have Boston selecting one of many draft and stash guys who could be taken in the latter third of the first round. Ante Zizic has emerged rather quickly, putting up big numbers in the Adriatic league. Zizic is a classic post banger, who possesses nice strength and the ability to defend and rebound. He is likely to spend a couple years overseas before making his way to the states.

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24. Philadelphia 76ers
(from Miami Heat)
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


Now that Sam Hinkie is out of town, maybe the 76ers can draft some guards. I know, not fair to kick  a man while he is down. But Philadelphia has the most pathetic collection of guards in the NBA, bar none. Any point guard they draft here could instantly be the leader to begin the season in the starting lineup. Wade Baldwin's lack of athleticism and raw point guard skills knock him down the board a bit, but he is a very good shooter with solid size. Philadelphia desperately needs guards who can score, and Baldwin can do that.

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25. Los Angeles Clippers
SF DeAndre Bembry, Jr, Saint Joseph's
6'6, 207 lbs
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
2015-2016 Stats: 17.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 4.5 apg



For better or for worse, DeAndre Bembry reminds me of Evan Turner. Bembry was a stat stuffer in college, who is a plus ball handler and rebounder for his size. While his jump shot isn't broken, it is not a weapon at this point, which will likely limit his draft ceiling to the latter part of the first round. Small forward was quite a black hole for the Clippers last year, as they were not able to get any production from guys like Paul Pierce, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a host of others. Banking on solid minutes from a late first round pick is foolish, but Bembry could pay off down the line.

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26. Philadelphia 76ers
(from Oklahoma City Thunder)
PG Tyler Ulis, So, Kentucky
5'10, 149 lbs
Hometown: Matteson, IL
2015-2016 Stats: 17.3 ppg, 7.0 apg, 3.0 rpg



When you have guys like TJ McConnell, Isaiah Canaan, Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten starting games at point guard, doubling up on the position in the draft might be a wise thing to do. Tyler Ulis, pound for pound, (all 149 of them) might have been the best player in college basketball last season. Ulis was John Calipari's most trusted player, who often times played all 40 minutes of the game. He flashed an incredible 3.5 assist to turnover ratio, and gives you everything you want out of an offensive point guard. Except, of course, size. He is undersized and could get beat up on defense, but the NBA is getting smaller, so his size might not kill you like it could have in the past. If I am a GM, I am taking Ulis in the first round easily. He is too good to let slip.


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27. Toronto Raptors
SF/PF Juan Hernangomez, Spain
6'9, 220 lbs
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
2015-2016 Stats: 9.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.5 apg




Juan Hernangomez, the younger brother of Willy, who was picked by the Knicks last year, is a clone of fellow Spaniard Nikola Mirotic. Hernangomez is producing in the top league in all of Europe, demonstrating the type of stretch four capabilities that is all the rage in the NBA right now. Even better for his draft chances, he could come to the NBA as soon as next year. He is not a great athlete, and does not bring much to the table other than scoring at this point, but he is a definite first round possibility, and would be a good fit with the Raptors, who could lose quite a bit of scoring this off season if DeMar DeRozan departs.

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28. Phoenix Suns
(from Cleveland Cavaliers)
C Ivica Zubac, Bosnia and Herzegovina
7'1, 265 lbs
Hometown: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
2015-2016 Stats: 10.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg



The Suns are yet another team with three first round picks. Like the others, they might to go for a European prospect with upside late in the first round. Ivica Zubac plays in the same Adriatic league as Ante Zizic. He may be more talented, but is definitely the rawer of the two prospects. Zubac has a chance to be a Jusuf Nurkic type as a solid under the basket scorer, though, like Nurkic, could struggle with conditioning. The Suns could develop him into a long term backup or fringe starter at center.

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29. San Antonio Spurs
PF Ben Bentil, So, Providence
6'9, 235 lbs
Hometown: Wilmington, DE
2015-2016 Stats: 21.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.0 bpg


The Spurs usually draft European prospects, but every once in a while they will draft an American player to fill out the roster. Ben Bentil reminds me a lot of a poor man's David West, the current Spurs backup forward. He is a stretch four that is mostly offense, little defense, and some rebounding mixed in. He has the ability to be a solid scorer off the bench for a team that always needs an injection of youth.

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30. Golden State Warriors
PF/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


The Warriors might want to save money for free agents here, but with the cap exploding, this could be a cheap way to fill out the roster. Stephen Zimmerman has talent to be a rotational big man, but he is very far away from producing at an NBA level, mostly from a physicality standpoint. If Golden State can develop him, he could provide shot blocking and rebounding, and is athletic enough to keep up on the fast break.

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Round 2

31. Boston Celtics (from Philadelphia 76ers) - PF/C Zhou Qi, China
32. Los Angeles Lakers - PF Cheick Diallo, Fr, Kansas
33. Los Angeles Clippers (from Brooklyn Nets) - SG/SF Patrick McCaw, So, UNLV
34. Phoenix Suns - PF Thon Maker, Australia
35. Boston Celtics (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - PG/SG Dejounte Murray, Fr, Washington
36. Milwaukee Bucks (from New Orleans Pelicans) - PG Anthony Barber, Jr, North Carolina State
37. Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks) - PF/C Chinanu Onuaku, So, Louisville
38. Milwaukee Bucks - PF Petr Cornelie, France
39. New Orleans Pelicans (from Denver Nuggets) - SG/SF Malachi Richardson, Fr, Syracuse
40. New Orleans Pelicans (from Sacramento Kings) - PF/C Damian Jones, Jr, Vanderbilt
41. Orlando Magic - PF Guerschon Yabusele, France
42. Utah Jazz - SF Paul Zipser, Germany
43. Houston Rockets - SF Rade Zagorac, Serbia
44. Atlanta Hawks (from Washington Wizards) - PF/C Robert Carter, Jr, Maryland
45. Boston Celtics (from Memphis Grizzlies) - C AJ Hammons, Sr, Purdue
46. Dallas Mavericks - SG Isaiah Whitehead, So, Seton Hall
47. Orlando Magic (from Chicago Bulls) - SG Malcolm Brogdon, Sr, Virginia
48. Chicago Bulls (from Portland Trail Blazers) - PG Gary Payton II, Sr, Oregon
49. Detroit Pistons - PF Pascal Siakam, So, New Mexico State
50. Indiana Pacers - PF Joel Bolomboy, Sr, Weber State
51. Boston Celtics (from Miami Heat) - C Andrey Desyatnikov, Russia
52. Utah Jazz (from Boston Celtics) - PG Kahlil Felder, Jr, Oakland
53. Denver Nuggets (from Charlotte Hornets) - C Georgios Papagiannis, Greece
54. Atlanta Hawks - SG/SF Wayne Selden, Jr, Kansas
55. Brooklyn Nets (from Los Angeles Clippers) - SF Dorian Finney-Smith, Sr, Florida
56. Denver Nuggets (from Oklahoma City Thunder) - SG Diego Flaccadori, Italy
57. Memphis Grizzlies (from Toronto Raptors) - SG Isaiah Cousins, Sr, Oklahoma
58. Boston Celtics (from Cleveland Cavaliers) - SG Isaia Cordinier, France
59. Sacramento Kings (from San Antonio Spurs) -  SF/PF James Webb III, Jr, Boise State
60. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors) - PG Ognjen Jaramaz, Serbia

Jonathan Carrano

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1 comment:

Samuel Foster said...

You've skipped pick 18