Welcome to the Hashtag Basketball 2016 NBA Mock Draft 2.0.
In our updated Mock Draft, we provide a final pre-draft night prediction of the 2016 NBA Draft, as well as an explanation behind every team and player chosen in this year’s lottery. As draft day progresses, check back for updates regarding all rumors, decisions, and transactions.
Enjoy the draft, and keep an eye for our corresponding report card.
Mock Draft 2.0 Last updated: 23 June 2016
- 1 Ben Simmons (SF/PF) - LSUPhiladelphia 76ers
As of two days ago, the Philadelphia 76ers have announced they will select Ben Simmons with the first pick of the 2016 NBA Draft.
While finally receiving the coveted number one pick has a twisted sentiment with the departure of Sam Hinkie, the 'process' has finally paid its dues.
While Simmons will face an uphill climb with critics regarding his shooting woes (he took 3 3's all season!) Simmons is the right pick. While the 76ers may have a few too many bigs as of now, Simmons is a value pick that cannot be passed. His potential is a level above his peers in this draft.
The NBA is transitioning into a positionless game. Two-way, well-rounded players are valued at a premium. Simmons already has an elite skill with his passing ability, his size and athleticism suggests he will quickly adapt to the physical NBA nature, and his shooting ability will improve.
After years of "Trusting the Process" the 76ers may finally have found their superstar. Now let’s see if they can develop him.
- 2 Brandon Ingram (SF) - DukeLos Angeles Lakers
While still unannounced, the Ingram to the Lakers is a sure bet. The Lakers crave a superstar to continue to move their organization in the right direction after Kobe’s departure, and Ingram is their best bet. Ingram comes in as a bonafide scorer, and for those yet to hear, his body and playing style show many parallels with Kevin Durant.
However, Ingram also enters the league over 30lbs lighter than Durant did his rookie season at 190lbs. Ingram did not shy away from contact at Duke, but NBA physicality will be a new beast. If Ingram then decides to begin shying away from the lane, he will need to develop his ball handling and shot-creating skill.
The Lakers outlook is bright between D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr, and the Lakers think Ingram can be the final piece. While scouts question if he really has that superstar potential, the Lakers are going to bet big, and their risk may be lower than you realize. Even if Ingram only develops into an All-Star level player, as the Lakers improve, coveted free agents may finally offer the serious consideration. The 76ers need Simmons, or at least one of their youth, to become superstar. The Lakers just need Ingram to lead them towards contention.
- 3 Dragan Bender (PF) - Maccabi Tel Aviv (International: Croatia)Boston Celtics
Bender has often been compared to Kristaps Porzingis as he is a tall, white, and young athlete from Eastern Europe who can shoot the basketball. A year ago taking Porzingis at number four was the most heavily criticized decision of the draft due to questions about his ability to contribute right away as well as his strength and weight. Similar questions exist about Bender, especially since he played such limited minutes last year for Maccabi (14.5 MPG), but in those few minutes he was very effective for playing in such a competitive league averaging 46.6% from the field and 36.9% from the FIBA 3-point line.
The Celtics need a superstar more than anything else, their GM, Danny Ainge, has tried time and time again to trade away their many assets in order to acquire a superstar or a player with superstar potential. Don’t be surprised if a trade does end up happening and a player like Kris Dunn is selected here instead of Bender but since this mock draft is based solely on the order as of now, Bender simply makes the most sense here. Bender arguably has one of the biggest upsides in the draft outside of Simmons and Ingram but also has a bigger bust potential than some of the more ‘sure things’ such as Kris Dunn or Buddy Hield.
Bender has all of the tools to be an extremely successful basketball player and restore the faith in European basketball players that was lost when players such as Darko Milicic, Jan Vesely, and Andris Biedrins quickly washed out of the league despite the hype surrounding them.
- 4 Marquese Chriss (PF) - WashingtonPhoenix Suns
The Suns have struggled ever since the departure of Steve Nash and have failed to make the playoffs since. Today, they have a new coach in Earl Watson as well as promising young talent in Devin Booker, Brandon Knight, Alex Len, Eric Bledsoe, and T.J. Warren.
The average age of the aforementioned players? 22.8. At age 19, Chriss may be the biggest hit or miss project of the draft. The Suns can offer him the necessary time to develop. He’s an absolutely superior athlete, he brings height and length, has a soft shooting touch for a big (35% from 3), and is a strong rim protector. As he adjusts to the premier NBA caliber, he provides Phoenix their missing link at power forward.
However, Phoenix and their fans will need to remain patient. He consistently found himself in foul trouble at Washington—the NBA will be no kinder. His offensive skill needs to develop to harness his talent. Additionally, his motor and body language has become common criticism, an area of emphasis for Coach Watson.
Regardless, while Phoenix remains youthful, they play with enough talent that Chriss can avoid too hefty of expectations in his rookie year. And in time, if Chriss can reach the ceiling his raw skill set inspires, the Suns may have added the last centerpiece to their adolescent core.
- 5 Kris Dunn (PG) - Providence Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves again rest under new management, leaving the #5 pick as a difficult read. There is a lack of historical precedent in a Tom Thibodeau regime, but the roster’s outlook pushes us to Dunn.
No matter the coach, the Wolves lack shooters, and Dunn fits the mold. His 3-point attempt rate and percentage climbed each season at Providence, up to 38.2% in half-court offense in his last season via synergy. Additionally, as a pick and roll ball handler, he scored 1.068 points per possession (85th percentile in College Basketball), suggesting hope for a quick acclimation into running an NBA offense.
As for roster fit, while the annual ‘trade Rubio’ rumors have surfaced, as the NBA grows small, Dunn fits the Wolves roster surprisingly seamlessly. He can slide into the guard rotation with Rubio and LaVine, while offering a skillset unique to either of these players. Additionally, he fits the Thibs defense-first mantra, as a two time Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
Assuming the Wolves hold onto their fifth pick, look for Thibodeau to add Dunn to his list of young studs.
- 6 Buddy Hield (SG) - Oklahoma New Orleans Pelicans
Lauded for his work ethic and determination, Buddy Hield jumped into the forefront of the NCAA season with stellar performances at Kansas (46 points), Oregon (37 points, 8 threes), and many more 30 point games throughout the season. Averaging 4 made threes a game on 8.7 attempts is a big indicator that he is in fact the real deal. Buddy is advertised as a great shooter and his numbers certainly support this claim. His biggest problem, however, lies in his ball handling and driving abilities which are not nearly as good as some of his peers such as Jamal Murray. If these two things are improved upon then there is a very good chance that he could become a multiple time All-Star in the NBA.
Hield is a perfect fit for the Pelicans as they desperately need shooters around their franchise centerpiece Anthony Davis who experienced a bit of a drop off last year due to injuries and the clogging of the paint. Paired with former All-Star Jrue Holiday in the backcourt would take much of the ball-handling duties away from Hield who will be able to find his spot on the court time and time again due to the playmaking abilities of Holiday.
Buddy is old for a top 10 pick at the age of 22, but his ability to shoot at an excellent clip as well as showing the drive to continue to get better could help take this middling Pelicans team over the hump in the next few years.
- 7 Jamal Murray (PG/SG) - KentuckyDenver Nuggets
Jamal Murray is the best shooter in the draft, and his ability to shoot the long ball should translate immediately to the pro level. He shot 40.8% from downtown at Kentucky on 7.7 attempts per game. The NBA game is obviously becoming more and more perimeter based, so having players that can shoot it from deep are always very valuable.
Murray played both point guard and shooting guard in his career, so he has the upside to be able to translate to both positions in the NBA
The question marks around Murray are his athleticism, and it impacted his ability to defend at Kentucky. He was often the guy that opposing teams tried to target and he got exposed. If the Celtics draft him, they are going to have to develop his defense as best as they can despite his limited athleticism.
- 8 Jaylen Brown (SF) - CaliforniaSacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings fell one spot too low this year. Management wants shooting in the form of a backcourt boost; Buddy Hield is their dream, but imagining a scenario with Buddy falling to #8 is difficult. However, the Kings are also in need of front court help, whether or not they hold on to Cousins, and Marquese Chriss presents a fantastic opportunity.
It’s no secret that the Denver Nuggets are attempting to rebuild and add some young talent to their roster, and Jaylen Brown could be a guy that brings them one step closer to competing again if he pans out.
The guy is a monster athlete and at around 6’7” 225 he is a good size for an NBA small forward. His one and done season at the University of California was marred with good and bad. He showed off his athleticism and threw down some monster dunks, but was critiqued for average to bad defense and below average shooting.
Despite his struggles in college, it has been reported that he has shot well in workouts and teams aren’t worried about him developing a consistent shot. If that shot develops and he commits himself defensively, I think this guy can turn into an absolute stud and at #7, we could look back and call him a steal in a couple years.
- 9 Skal Labissiere (C/PF) - KentuckyToronto Raptors
As the Raptors look to climb from a top seed to a championship contender, they hold an opportunity to add young talent to a strong roster (à la the New York Knicks). Skal could provide them with the offensive talent they need in the frontcourt that will complement Jonas Valanciunas’ skillset nicely.
Skal is an interesting prospect, projected as a top 3 pick at the beginning of the year, he disappointed greatly during his time at Kentucky, perhaps being underutilized by Calipari. He shot only 2 threes all year despite being talked up as a potential stretch four. After the season was over we saw clips of him hitting three after three, with very good shooting form, from workouts with teams which raises further questions about his time at Kentucky. The talent is buried deep within him since he’s just about as raw as they come, but Skal can certainly become a very good player in the NBA. He also shows great agility and athleticism while standing 6’11” tall with a 7’2.5” wingspan, these attributes could all combine and help turn him into a premiere defensive player and shot-blocker in the NBA .
In the long-term, the Raptors hope that they find themselves with a nineteen-year old capable of becoming an established NBA presence.
- 10 Jakob Poeltl (C) - Utah Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks are in a tough position this year, do they take the explosive yet lackluster shooter in Wade Baldwin or do they go best player available and pick Poeltl. In this writers’ opinion the Bucks are best off picking Poeltl who will bring an immense 7-foot frame with an offensive skillset to match. Poeltl is another European import but has played in the NCAA for the past two years, rather than play professionally overseas like Bender. He will need to amass some weight since he’s currently sitting at 230lbs which is not enough to bang with the big guys down low.
The Bucks currently have 2 centers on contract in John Henson and Greg Monroe, but there is reportedly mutual interest in having Miles Plumlee return next year which would put the Bucks at 3 centers. Drafting Poeltl would put the Bucks in an awkward position of having 4 centers and obviously not enough minutes for all of them. The only solace for Poeltl is that the Bucks are apparently shopping Monroe as hard as they can, fielding as many offers as they can for him which would clear up playing time for Poeltl if Monroe were to be traded.
A wildcard for this draft would be if a trade rumor that has been thrown around a lot recently, Monroe and #10 for Pelicans #6 and a filler, were to come true. If this scenario did come true Poeltl still has a very good chance at being picked as Monroe only has one more guaranteed year left on his contract and Anthony Davis has expressed time and time again that he wants to play PF over the C position as often as possible, and drafting Poeltl would help achieve this goal.
- 11 Henry Ellenson (PF) - MarquetteOrlando Magic
The Orlando Magic have a plethora of young athletes, but lack a true organizational identity. With Frank Vogel at the helm, look for him to transition the Magic from young and athletic into a fast-paced, defensive-minded workhorse of a team. However, no matter the Magic’s defense, if order to space their offense for those athletes, the Magic need shooting.
Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, and Aaron Gordon need space for success, and Ellenson that’s his elite skill on the table--offensively, Ellenson brings symmetry. Defensively, Ellenson moves with an extra ounce of weight, and will likely come with an adjustment period due to the defensive speed of an NBA game. However, at 7-feet and with Vogel’s coaching, over time Ellenson can become serviceable defensively, at the least, and become a vital piece to the Magic core.
- 12 Dejounte Murray (PG) - WashingtonAtlanta Hawks
After the Jeff Teague trade, it looks as though the Hawks have announced their transition into the Dennis Schroeder era. However, with Teague gone, the Hawks have further depleted their guard rotation. With Horford's future up in the air and Schroeder's ability to fulfill a fulltime point guard role yet to be determined, Dejounte Murray can offer the Hawks an infusion of youth and a long-term back up plan to Schroeder.
Dejounte Murray has as high of a ceiling as any point guard in this draft. He has the size of a combo-guard and the skills of a point guard. His innate toughness pairs well with his elite size, speed, and strength. He is an innately creative passer and strong defender. And while critics are quick to note his lack of shooting (29% from 3, 66% free-throw shooter), scouts are equally quick to suggest that shooting is the simplest skill to teach. You cannot teach creativity and toughness.
While Murray is young and inexperienced, the Hawks are facing potential regression. While Murray is likely a bit farther behind their preferred timeline, he can fully develop under Budenholzer and should be a nice fit into his system. Reportedly, the Hawks are looking to move this pick for another veteran, but assuming they keep #12, look for Murray to be the newest addition to Bud and Hawks' long-term vision.
- 13 Furkan Korkmaz (SG) - Anadolu Efes (International: Turkey)Phoenix Suns
The Suns will shoot for the stars at #4 with Marquese Chriss. Thus, look for them to find a bit of stability in Furkan Korkmaz. While only 18, Korkmaz comes with an established ability to shoot. At 6’6’’, he has the length and touch to position himself as a 2, but he has the ball handling ability to play at the point.
Phoenix will lose Teletovic in free agency, a reliable shooter, and Korkmaz will provide them their replacement. He should come in ready to play, and assuming Tyson Chandler sticks around, his defensive adjustment has at least a presence of a safety net. Over his first couple of seasons, Korkmaz will need to add strength to his slender frame (200lbs), but a shooting guard who can handle the ball and attack off the catch can find a role in today’s NBA.
At only 18, Korkmaz will fit well in the Sun’s youthful timeline, and his shooting should provide him an outlet to stay on the floor his rookie year.
- 14 Wade Baldwin (PG) - VanderbiltChicago Bulls
In the 2016 Draft, Baldwin will leverage his elite size, length and strength to potential suitors. He is competitive as hell, he stands at 6’4’’ while holding a 6’11’’ wingspan, and plays with a recklessly athletic style.
While a Westbrook comparison is a bit extreme, Baldwin would offer the Bulls an elite athlete who could possibly provide them with a replacement for the recently traded Derrick Rose. At age 20, Baldwin should still have enough time to develop his point guard instincts before the Bulls are ready to contend. Rotationally, he can play himself into a point guard or even a combo guard role when Jimmy Butler is off the floor.
With the departure of Rose and the veteran Calderon now at the helm, Baldwin is a great short and long term pickup for this retooling Bulls team.
- 15 Deyonta Davis (PF) - Michigan StateDenver Nuggets
- 16 Denzel Valentine (SG) - Michigan State Boston Celtics
- 17 Domantas Sabonis (PF) - Gonzaga Memphis Grizzlies
- 18 Demetrius Jackson (PG) - Notre Dame Detroit Pistons
- 19 Malachi Richardson (SG/SF) - SyracuseDenver Nuggets
- 20 Timothe Luwawu (SG) - Mega Leks (International: France)Brooklyn Nets
- 21 Ante Zizic (C) - Cibona Zagreb (International: Croatia) Atlanta Hawks
- 22 Malik Beasley (SG) - Florida State Charlotte Hornets
- 23 Ivica Zubac (C) - Mega Leks (International: Croatia) Boston Celtics
- 24 Juan Hernangomez (SF/PF) - Estudiantes (International: Spain)Philadelphia 76ers
- 25 DeAndre’ Bembry (C) - St. Joseph’s Los Angeles Clippers
- 26 Patrick McCaw (SF/PF) - UNLV Philadelphia 76ers
- 27 Thon Maker (PF) - AustraliaToronto Raptors
- 28 Brice Johnson (PF) - UNC Phoenix Suns
- 29 Ben Bentil (C) - Providence San Antonio Spurs
- 30 Diamond Stone (C) - Maryland Golden State Warriors