2016 NBA Mock Draft: v 7.0

The draft is tomorrow. Here is my last mock of the year. To be irrelevant after the first two picks.

1. Philadelphia 76ers - SF/PF Ben Simmons, Fr, LSU. Simmons has been the top choice since the 2016 draft process began, and nothing has changed. There has been somewhat of a smear campaign against Simmons as a person and player, but he has the best chance to help bring Philadelphia out of the NBA basement.

2. Los Angeles Lakers - SG/SF Brandon Ingram, Fr, Duke. The Lakers will not overthink this pick. Ingram's game is very NBA friendly and he should start at small forward from day one, and provide shooting and solid defense for a team that hopes to bring Showtime back to Los Angeles.

3. Boston Celtics - SG/SF Jaylen Brown, Fr, California. The Celtics are going to do everything they can to trade this pick by tomorrow night. Danny Ainge was unable to trade away picks in 2015, and has found it difficult thus far. If Boston is forced to stay put, Jaylen Brown looks like the favorite. He will be stuck behind Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, meaning his rookie output would be minimal.

4. Phoenix Suns - PF Marquese Chriss, Fr, Washington. Kris Dunn is the best player here, but Suns fans might revolt if Phoenix adds yet another point guard. Perhaps instead they should go back in time and not trade Isaiah Thomas? Chriss makes the best sense here, as a stretch four who could be Markieff Morris without the baggage and attitude problems.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves - PG/SG Kris Dunn, Jr, Providence. Tom Thibedeau hates rookies, but he may make an exception for Kris Dunn. Dunn is a good defender and a tough scorer, and would instantly make a very good backup combo guard with the ability to overtake Ricky Rubio in a year or two.

6. New Orleans Pelicans - SG Buddy Hield, Sr, Oklahoma. The Pelicans simply need talent wherever they can find it. This is not a good roster. Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray are neck and neck, but New Orleans goes with the senior, who can step in right away and provide shooting off of the bench.

7. Denver Nuggets - PF Dragan Bender, Croatia. Dragan Bender is about as big of a project as there is, but is good value here at 7. Denver has hit the foreign market hard in recent seasons, and have a good track record of developing European big men. It will take Bender a year or two, and he might not ever pan out, but for a team with three picks, this is a good gamble.

8. Sacramento Kings - PF/C Domantas Sabonis, So, Gonzaga. Jamal Murray might be the logical choice here, but the Kings are bad, and may just go with the best player available here. Vlade Divac is very familiar with Domantas Sabonis, and he would make a nice compliment to Willie Cauley-Stein and DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento's front court.

9. Toronto Raptors - PG/SG Jamal Murray, Fr, Kentucky. Guard is not the biggest need in Toronto, but Murray is the best player available. He can shoot, and back up both guard positions. The Raptors are playing with house money thanks to the Knicks terrible Andrea Bargnani trade of a few years back.

10. Milwaukee Bucks - PG/SG Wade Baldwin IV, So, Vanderbilt. A Jason Kidd led team cannot function without a competent point guard. Baldwin is more of a scorer than a distributor, but anything has to be better than the Michael Carter-Williams era.

11. Orlando Magic - C Jakob Poeltl, So, Utah. Poeltl falls to this range because he might be maxed out as a player already. He would make a nice backup to the offensive minded Nikola Vucevic. He can rebound and block some shots.

12. Atlanta Hawks - PF/C Henry Ellenson, Fr, Marquette. The Hawks acquired this pick for Jeff Teague. Word is Atlanta wants to move it, but one day they might want to look at developing some young players. Ellenson is not a great athlete or defender, but can score, rebound and pass the ball.

13. Phoenix Suns -SF/PF Juan Hernangomez, Spain. With so many teams owning multiple first round picks, some foreign players will be drafted higher than anticipated. Hernangomez is a stretch four that fits what the NBA looks for these days. He has stated he can come to the NBA right away, or stay overseas, so the team who drafts him will enjoy that flexibility.

14. Chicago Bulls - PG/SG Dejounte Murray, Fr, Washington. I am not a fan of Murray as a project, but he is getting a green room invite, which means he could be a lottery pick. The Bulls just traded away Derrick Rose and will need to find a point guard somewhere. Murray could (and I think will) wind up as another Tony Wroten, but the talent is worth gambling on.

15. Denver Nuggets - SG Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey. I think the Nuggets will go foreign with all three picks, if they keep them. Korkmaz is a few years away physically, but has the chance to be a Richard Hamilton like scorer at the NBA level.

16. Boston Celtics - PF/C Deyonta Davis, Fr, Michigan State. Again, the chances of Boston keeping all three first round picks are slim, but it could happen. They were unable to move picks last year. The front court is lacking in beef, and Davis looks the part of a physical rebounder and shot blocker, though he is very raw.

17. Memphis Grizzlies - SG/SF Malachi Richardson, Fr, Syracuse. The Grizzlies have been connected to Richardson for the past week or two. It makes sense, as Memphis does not have much in the way of young wing players.

18. Detroit Pistons - SG Malik Beasley, Fr, Florida State. Stan Van Gundy is always looking for shooting and scoring. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is simply average and Beasley could push him, though his old injury history has some scouts whispering.

19. Denver Nuggets - SG/SF Timothe Luwawu, France. The Nuggets would like to find a defensive wing player to develop. Luwawu faces a steep learning curve, but can play defense and shoot, and could become a solid starter in a year or two.

20. Indiana Pacers - PF/C Skal Labissiere, Fr, Kentucky. Labissiere is talented, but never put it together at Kentucky and faces questions about effort, desire and conditioning. He is worth the gamble here for a Pacers team that is looking for athletic big men.

21. Atlanta Hawks - C Ante Zizic, Croatia. Zizic has the ability to start in the NBA one day, though he will likely stay overseas for a year or two. The Hawks probably will not want to add two rookies to the opening day roster.

22. Charlotte Hornets - SG Denzel Valentine, Sr, Michigan State. Valentine's knees are giving scouts some concern, but a playoff team might look past that to get five good years of production out of one of college basketball's best players. The Hornets love players with stacked college resumes, and Valentine could carve out a bench role immediately.

23. Boston Celtics - C Ivica Zubac, Croatia. This pick is almost guaranteed to be a draft and stash prospect. Zubac has talent, but his body might be too big to forge long NBA career.

24. Philadelphia 76ers - PG Demetrius Jackson, Jr, Notre Dame. Jackson might be more of a backup scorer than starting point guard, but instantly becomes the best early option in Philadelphia.

25. Los Angeles Clippers - SF DeAndre Bembry, Jr, Saint Joseph's. Bembry is a jump shot away from the lottery. Los Angeles needs to find help at a small forward position that was a black hole last year.

26. Philadelphia 76ers - C Stephen Zimmerman, Fr, UNLV. If the Sixers trade either Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel, they could look for another developmental big man here. Sam Hinkie would be proud.

27. Toronto Raptors - PF Thon Maker, Australia. I have serious doubts that Maker will ever make a dent in the NBA, but Masai Ujiri is known to take gambles. Remember Bruno Coboclo? No? Neither do I.

28. Phoenix Suns - PF Guerschon Yabusele, France. Yabusele has the ability to stretch the floor and rebound, though there is zero chance he comes to the NBA right away. The Suns will be okay with that.

29. San Antonio Spurs - SG Malcolm Brogdon, Sr, Virginia. I have a sneaky suspicion that Brogdon will sneak into the tail end of the first round. He is ready to contribute as a shooter right away.

30. Golden State Warriors - PF Cheick Diallo, Kansas. Diallo is a big time project, but the talent is there to develop into a starter. He would fit perfectly with the Warriors philosophy.

Jonathan Carrano

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