2016 NBA Mock Drafts: Gary Parrish

Gary Parrish
By Gary Parrish
CBSSports.com College Basketball Insider


Ben Simmons' decision to finally meet with the Sixers last week should just about do it. He's going to be the top pick of Thursday's NBA Draft. And then Brandon Ingram will go second. And then the draft will really get interesting because the next six prospects on most people's boards -- Jamal Murray, Dragan Bender, Buddy Hield, Kris Dunn, Marquese Chriss and Jaylen Brown -- could reasonably go in any order.

Dunn could go third or eighth or anywhere in between. Same for Murray. Same for Chriss.

So, to me, this draft has three tiers.

1) The Simmons/Ingram tier.

2) The Murray/Bender/Hield/Dunn/Chriss/Brown tier.

3) The everybody else tier.

Yes, I really do think there are about 15 players who could go anywhere from, say, 10th to 24th, which will make the green room excruciating for some. Because just as sure as somebody is going to go higher than they expect, there will be multiple prospects who go much lower than they imagined. And that's always a tough deal even if it often works out OK.
NBA Mock Draft - 06/23/2016
Round 1
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons, SF, LSU: Simmons finally agreed, last week, to meet with Philadelphia's front office, and now it's fairly clear that, barring a surprise, the one-and-done phenom from LSU will be the top pick Thursday. Literally nobody I know thinks otherwise. So the 2016 NBA Draft is going to begin exactly how most have believed it would begin for many years -- with Simmons going first overall.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke: Los Angeles would've preferred Simmons, I'm told. But getting Ingram is still a great outcome for the post-Kobe Lakers. He's a long athlete who shot 41 percent from 3-point range in one season at Duke. I can't promise he's the next Kevin Durant. But when you watch him, it's easy to see why those comparisons exist. Ingram would fit perfectly with the Lakers' young core. He could be the player who helps return the franchise to respectability.
3. Boston Celtics
Kris Dunn, PG, Providence: The Celtics are clearly trying to trade this pick, and there's a decent chance it happens at some point. But, to date, they've been unsuccessful. So they might end up selecting somebody. And it appears the most likely candidates are Dunn and Cal's Jaylen Brown. To be clear, I personally believe Kentucky's Jamal Murray is the third-best prospect in this draft; I'd take him. But the Celtics are reportedly more interested in Dunn or Brown. And I suspect Dunn will be the pick.
4. Phoenix Suns
Dragan Bender, PF, Israel: Bender is widely regarded as the top draft-eligible prospect who didn't play college basketball this season, and there's little doubt he'll be selected in the top half of the lottery. To be clear, Boston, has scouted him extensively and could take him third. But if the Celtics pass, the Suns probably won't -- especially considering Bender is 18-year-old power forward who should develop into a nice stretch-four at the NBA level, and Phoenix has a need at that position.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky: Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau accurately believes the Timberwolves are ready to break through and make the NBA Playoffs soon. So drafting someone who can contribute immediately makes sense, and Murray should be ready to play as a rookie. Like I've written before, I think Murray is the third-best prospect in this draft. He's a guard who can get to the rim and make shots from the perimeter, and he'd be a great addition to a Minnesota team that ranked 25th in 3-point shooting while finishing 29-53 this season.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma: Anthony Davis has played four seasons in New Orleans. He's missed the playoffs three times. He's still never won a postseason game. So the Pelicans need to use this pick to get him somebody who can contribute now, and Hield is that somebody. The reigning CBS Sports National Player of the Year is the best shooter in this draft. I could easily see a Hield-Davis duo being terrific in the Western Conference.
7. Denver Nuggets
Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington: Chriss' rise up draft boards is historic in the sense that he could, and likely will, become the first one-and-done prospect to be selected in the top 10 after not being ranked in the top 50 of his high school class. He's not yet as polished as some other prospects because he hasn't been playing organized basketball as long as most others. But Chriss has a higher ceiling than almost anyone in this draft. That seems to be a consensus opinion. And multiple sources have told me there's just no way he's going to fall past the Nuggets or Kings, and some believe Chriss could go as high as third.
8. Sacramento Kings
Jaylen Brown, SG, California: Brown is another player who could go anywhere from third to eighth, but almost certainly no lower than here. He's a top-shelf athlete. But he's the one guy in this range that everybody seems intrigued by but few love. Why didn't he close more strongly at Cal? Is he coachable or a young guy who thinks he already has all the answers? These are questions scouts are asking, I'm told. But, at some point in the top 10, somebody will take Brown simply because he's a big wing who can play the four in a small-ball lineup, and big wings who can play the four in small-ball lineups are more valuable than ever in the NBA.
9. Toronto Raptors
Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga: Sabonis' unusually short wingspan for a player his size is concerning, on some level. But he's one of the safest picks in this draft in the sense that it's hard to imagine the former Gonzaga standout not becoming at least a quality rotation player for a good team. And Toronto is a good team. The Raptors finished second in the Eastern Conference this season. So this is a luxury pick, clearly. But Sabonis is among the few players who should be available and able to help immediately.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Henry Ellenson, PF-C, Marquette: Ellenson played college basketball in Milwaukee, which suggests the Bucks are familiar with his ability. He could be a really nice power forward in the NBA. And though the one-and-done prospect didn't shoot a good percentage from beyond the arc in college, he has the tools to do so. Combine that with his polished low-post game, and Ellenson would be a steal at 10.
11. Orlando Magic
Jakob Poeltl, PF, Utah: There are reports that Orlando would prefer to use this pick on a big, and Poeltl could be the most accomplished big available. He's a big who plays big -- proof being that 94 percent of his buckets this past season came around the rim. The 7-foot-1 center would help Orlando shore up an interior defense by adding a rim protector who is a better-than-most-realize athlete.
12. Utah Jazz
Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State: This is actually Atlanta's pick thanks to a three-team trade on Wednesday. But there are reports that the Hawks are trying to package it with the 21st pick in another trade. In other words, who knows where this is going? But Davis would be a nice upside pick that could eventually help ease the potential loss of Al Horford. At worst, Davis should be a difference-maker on the defensive end. He can rebound and block shots.
13. Phoenix Suns
Skal Labissiere, PF, Kentucky: The Suns have three first-round picks. So they can afford a big swing here. And Labissiere is the biggest swing in this draft. Once considered a possible top overall selection, he mostly struggled in his one season at Kentucky. But the possibility for greatness is still there and intriguing because he's a 6-11 prospect with a natural shooting ability. So he's definitely worth a gamble somewhere in the lottery of a weak draft.
14. Chicago Bulls
Wade Baldwin IV, SG, Vanderbilt: Baldwin is a versatile guard who can play multiple positions and shoot, and the way he measured at the combine suggests he could use his length and wingspan to be a nice perimeter defender in the NBA. There are questions about his leadership at Vanderbilt, and those are fair. But the Bulls wouldn't need Baldwin to be a leader. They'd just need him, at first, to be a dynamic backcourt option -- especially now that Derrick Rose is gone.
15. Denver Nuggets
Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey: Korkmaz is a terrific shooter with ideal size for his position, and the fact that he decided to remain in the NBA Draft suggests he has a promise somewhere in the top 20. For a team that needs depth everywhere and shooting -- the Nuggets tied for 25th in 3-point shooting this regular season -- Korkmaz is a smart option.
16. Boston Celtics
Timothe Luwawu, SG, France: The Celtics have so many picks that they're going to need to either package them for a player or select multiple international prospects that can theoretically be stashed. So someone like Luwawu is a real possibility. He's a wing with size who is an above-average athlete and defender. He shot 40 percent from 3-point range this season, which, again, is ideal for a Boston franchise that really needs to add shooting.
17. Memphis Grizzlies
Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse: There was a report this weekend that Memphis had made a promise to Richardson. Whether that's true is unclear. The But the Grizzlies have long needed athleticism and playmakers in their backcourt, and Richardson could provide both. So it's easy to see why the front office is intrigued by the one-and-done prospect from Syracuse who is a bit of a risk but perhaps a risk worth taking.
18. Detroit Pistons
Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State: Valentine reportedly has a "fairly significant knee issue" that is causing concern with some teams, and, I'm told, it could cost him on draft night. At some point, somebody will weigh the risk vs. the reward and snag the former Michigan State star. But, at this point, it's hard to pin things down -- although the Pistons pulling the trigger and adding a local player who can help immediately would hardly be surprising.
19. Denver Nuggets
Juan Hernangomez, PF, Spain: The Nuggets do not need three players on rookie contracts. So they could go with a draft-and-stash prospect here. Hernangomez qualifies as a great option. He's a 6-9 stretch-4 who shot roughly 40 percent from 3-point range in Spain.
20. Indiana Pacers
Dejounte Murray, PG, Washington: Murray's invitation to attend the NBA Draft and sit in the green room suggests he's going in the first round somewhere, and the Pacers make sense. Murray is a total upside pick, to be sure. But he has the size, athleticism and natural abilities to be great, and that's why he's worth gambling on somewhere in the top 20.
21. Atlanta Hawks
Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor: Prince is a 6-8 wing has the athleticism and wingspan to guard his position, and even multiple positions, at the NBA level. I know some teams in the teens really like him -- most notably the Grizzlies. So there's no guarantee Prince will be available at 21. But, if he is, the Hawks would be wise to snatch him up.
22. Charlotte Hornets
Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina: Johnson was a monster while averaging 16.6 points and 10.6 rebounds and leading North Carolina to the national championship game. The quick leaper improved his stock enough to where going in the top 25 of this draft isn't out of the question. And, yes, I could absolutely see this former UNC star playing for another former UNC star - namely Michael Jordan in Charlotte.
23. Boston Celtics
Ivica Zubac, C, Croatia: Again, the Celtics have three first-round picks. So draft-and-stash prospects will be possible targets at both 16 and 23. And Zubac is a terrific candidate for such given that he's only 19 years old and maybe willing to stay in Serbia for another year. He averaged double-figures in Europe for a team that could have multiple draft picks.
24. Philadelphia 76ers
DeAndre' Bembry, SF, Saint Joseph's: Bembry was, by all accounts, terrific at the combine. He tested well and played magnificently in the five-on-five games. His ability to guard multiple positions at the NBA level should prove useful, and the way Bembry sees the floor and passes could allow him to, at times, play the role of point-forward, which Philadelphia's front office should know well considering Bembry played down the street at St. Joe's.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame: Jackson tested and interviewed well at the combine and will be the second straight Notre Dame guard to go in the first round. His ability to flourish in the pick-and-roll while being a respectable shooter -- he shot better than 41 percent form 3-point range in his freshman and sophomore years -- should allow him to become an NBA starter. But he'll begin his career as a back-up PG, which is something the Clippers could use.
26. Philadelphia 76ers
Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State: An injury has prevented Beasley from working out for franchises. But he still received an invitation to the green room, which suggests he's likely to go in the first round regardless. Beasley would be a steal this late because, without the injury, he might've been somebody teams sincerely considered in the lottery.
27. Toronto Raptors
Thon Maker, C, Australia: Maker is still mostly an unknown in the sense that he's never played basketball consistently against high-level competition. But he measured, tested and interviewed well at the combine, where he gained lots of fans. And now it seems more likely than not that Maker will go in the first round based on little more than the idea that his ceiling is higher than most prospects' ceilings.
28. Phoenix Suns
Ante Zizic, C, Croatia: The Suns do not need three players on rookie contracts. So they could go with a draft-and-stash prospect here -- like Zizic. The 19 year old is a great rebounder with a terrific motor and good size. He could easily someday develop into a starting center in the NBA.
29. San Antonio Spurs
Cheick Diallo, C, Kansas: Diallo measured and tested well at the combine -- then played well in the five-on-five games. He was active. He rebounded. He guarded. Simply put, the 6-9 forward genuinely helped himself by reminding scouts why he was once a projected lottery pick. And now it looks like that subpar season at Kansas won't cost Diallo too much money. And he'd be a great fit with San Antonio, which needs and athletic big.
30. Golden State Warriors
Diamond Stone, C, Maryland: Stone has not helped himself in interviews, I'm told. And there are background issues that concern some franchises. Still, he's just so much more talented than most other prospects in this range. And that's why the Warriors might be willing to take a swing late in the first and hope the talent develops, and the other concerns disappear, with time.
Round 2
31. Boston Celtics (from PHI via MIA)
Zhou Qi, C, China : The Celtics are probably going to select multiple international prospects that they can leave overseas considering the amount of picks they possess. Qi would be the best available here.
32. Los Angeles Lakers
Stephen Zimmerman Jr., C, UNLV: Zimmerman is a one-and-done prospect who is a former top-10 recruit. He's worth a flyer in the second round.
33. Los Angeles Clippers (from BKN)
Ben Bentil, PF, Providence: Bentil is a long and athletic forward who can score from multiple spots -- around the rim and all the way out to the 3-point line. He was terrific this season at Providence, and he played well in the five-on-five games at the combine.
34. Phoenix Suns
Patrick McCaw, SG, UNLV: McCaw is a long backcourt prospect who will be able to guard multiple positions in the NBA. He averaged 14.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals in his final season at UNLV.
35. Boston Celtics (from MIN via PHX)
Damian Jones, PF, Vanderbilt: Jones is another prospect who could go late in the first round or early in the second. If he reaches his potential, the Vandy product could develop into an NBA starter.
36. Milwaukee Bucks (from NO via SAC)
Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky: Ulis reportedly has a "pretty significant hip issue" that could cost him on draft night. How many tiny guards with hip issues have ever gone in the first round?
37. Houston Rockets (from NY via SAC)
Chinanu Onuaku, C, Louisville: Onuaku is a tough big who would be a relative still in the low 30s. He could help a Houston franchise that might lose Dwight Howard this offseason.
38. Milwaukee Bucks
Paul Zipser, SF, Germany: Zipser is an athletic wing who was the MVP of the Adidas Eurocamp in Italy. He can score off the dribble and make perimeter jumpers comfortably.
39. New Orleans Pelicans (from DEN via PHI)
Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Virginia: Brogdon is the rare second-round prospect who could make a rotation as a rookie. He's the reigning ACC Player of the Year.
40. New Orleans Pelicans (from SAC)
Isaia Cordinier, SG, France: There were 11 French players in the NBA this season. Cordinier is among the reasons that number should increase next season.
41. Orlando Magic
Jarrod Uthoff, SF, Iowa: Uthoff is the type of athletic forward with 3-point range who could be a nice rotation player in the NBA. He could go later in the first round and, if he doesn't, he'll definitely go somewhere in the second round.
42. Utah Jazz
Anthony Barber, PG, NC State: Barber was a fabulous player in the ACC even if he spent his final season of college on a mostly bad team. He'd be nice for a Utah franchise that needs backup point guard help.
43. Houston Rockets
Petr Cornelie, PF, France : Cornelia has the tools to be a stretch-4 in the NBA. He's a good athlete with 3-point range on his jumper.
44. Atlanta Hawks (from WAS)
Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan: The only thing keeping LeVert out of the first round is injury concerns. If he'd been healthy the past two seasons, he might be a lottery pick.
45. Boston Celtics (from MEM)
Rade Zagorac, SF, Serbia: Zagorac is another stash option for Boston. He's a 6-8 wing who can handle the ball and bury shots.
46. Dallas Mavericks
Jake Layman, SF, Maryland: Layman is the type of second-round pick who could develop into a real NBA player. He's a shooter with size worth a look in the 40s.
47. Orlando Magic (from CHI)
Guerschon Yabusele, PF, France: Yabusele is a power forward who can shoot 3-pointers. The only issue is that he's undersized for his position.
48. Chicago Bulls (from POR via CLE)
Gary Payton II, PG, Oregon State: Payton is more of a combo guard than a point guard. But when he's on the floor, good things seem to happen.
49. Detroit Pistons
Kay Felder, PG, Oakland: Felder is small but can obviously play. His hometown Pistons would be wise to snatch him up right here.
50. Indiana Pacers
Isaiah Whitehead, SG, Seton Hall: Whitehead is a shooter who doesn't shoot it too well. But he's a relentless scorer and a possible steal in the second round.
51. Boston Celtics (from MIA)
A.J. Hammons, C, Purdue: Hammons is a first-round talent. But questions about his character, and his age, won't allow him to go in the first round.
52. Utah Jazz (from BOS via MEM)
Michael Gbinije, SG, Syracuse: Gbinije is already 24, which is a concern. But he's a versatile wing who can shoot and worthy of a serious look in the second round.
53. Denver Nuggets (from CHA via OKC)
Georgios Papagiannis, C, Greece: Papagiannis has first-round talent but will probably slip well into the second round. He has good hands and can score in a variety of ways.
54. Atlanta Hawks
Pascal Siakam, PF, New Mexico State: Siakim is a long and athletic big with a great motor. He averaged 20.3 points and 11.6 rebounds in his final season at New Mexico State.
55. Brooklyn Nets (from LAC)
Yogi Ferrell, PG, Indiana: Ferrell wasn't invited to the combine, which was a surprise. But I won't be surprised if he ends up in the NBA anyway.
56. Denver Nuggets (from OKC)
Ron Baker, PG, Wichita State: Baker is a terrific shooter with deep range. Questions about his size for a shooting guard, and his athleticism, are the only things that might make him go undafted.
57. Memphis Grizzlies (from TOR)
Kyle Wiltjer, PF, Gonzaga: The Grizzlies have forever needed shooting. So taking one of the best shooters in this draft wouldn't be silly this late in the draft.
58. Boston Celtics (from CLE)
Robert Carter, PF, Maryland: Carter is a possible stretch-4 at the NBA level. He's one of three Maryland Terrapins that could be selected in this draft.
59. Sacramento Kings (from SA)
Fred VanVleet, PG, Wichita State: VanVleet is a small guard with limited size. But he really knows how to run a team and could easily become a backup point guard.
60. Utah Jazz (from GS)
Gracin Bakumanya, C, France: Bakumanya is a 19-year-old center who somebody will take in the second round. If he's available here, it should be Utah.
 
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