2016 NBA Draft grades: Sam Vecenie breaking it down pick by pick
CBS Sports Draft Expert Sam Vecenie gives his take on each selection of the NBA Draft
Sam Vecenie analyzes each pick from the 2016 NBA Draft, grading each team on its draft-night selections. Refresh this page for the latest grades.
2016 NBA Draft Grades
|1||A-|| 76ers select: Ben Simmons SF - LSU |
Comment: This is the right pick for the Sixers. He is the best player in the draft, and the team can re-tool the roster on the fly easily. The only reason this gets slightly downgraded is because of the uncertainty of the roster. But Bryan Colangelo should have no problems doing that given all of the assets they have.
|2||A+|| Lakers select: Brandon Ingram SF - Duke |
Comment: The only way to mess this one up would have been to trade it for a middling veteran. Ingram is a perfect fit for the modern NBA, and he's a perfect fit for this Lakers roster in between Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell at the 3.
|3||B-|| Celtics select: Jaylen Brown SG - California |
Comment: Brown is an interesting fit with the Celtics because of his versatility and ability to defend. He will fit right into this team's defensive scheme. Offensively though, there are still some question marks, as he needs to improve as a shooter and ball-handler. It's also somewhat odd the Celtics decided against trading this selection, given the offers that were circulated to be out there at the time. Brown a solid player for them, but you have to wonder what could have been here and if they could have capitalized on this differently.
|4||A|| Suns select: Dragan Bender, PF, Israel |
Comment: Bender is a terrific fit for Phoenix as a stretch-four. The Suns will enjoy his ability to knock down jumpers from the outside, defend on the perimeter, and hopefully grow into a player that could eventually play some 5. He might not be an elite player right away, but no one they were realistically in the mix for was. Long-term, Bender was the best player available, and it is a smart decision from them at No. 4.
|5||B|| Timberwolves select: Kris Dunn PG - Providence |
Comment: Dunn is the No. 3 player on my board, so to get him at No. 5 is solid value. However, his fit with Ricky Rubio is precarious due to each player's inability to shoot. It seems likely this will involve the end of Rubio's time in Minnesota, which means that this grade will be incomplete until we know what value they are able to get from him.
|6||A-|| Pelicans select: Buddy Hield SG - Oklahoma |
Comment: The Pelicans get one of the guys they've wanted all along in Hield, a terrific shooter and scorer out of Oklahoma. He's also the kind of marketable player that New Orleans needs down there. He and Anthony Davis should be a really nice fit.
|7||B+|| Nuggets select: Jamal Murray SG - Kentucky |
Comment: Murray is maybe the best player the Nuggets were going to get in terms of talent, and his fit with Emmanuel Mudiay in the backcourt should really work well. The Nuggets could really use his floor-spacing ability. The key for Murray's career will be the defensive end, as he really needs to improve there.
|8||B-|| Kings select: Marquese Chriss PF - Washington (TO BE TRADED TO SUNS) |
Comment: The Suns are giving up No. 13, No. 28 and Bogdan Bogdanovic here for Chriss, which isn't awful value by any means. He's the end of a tier, and consolidating your value here for a guy in Chriss that plenty of people around the league love is smart. I'm just not the biggest fan of Chriss as a player, especially with Bender already in the mix, so I can't go much higher than B-.
|9||B+|| Raptors select: Jakob Poeltl PF - Utah |
Comment: Poeltl will replace Bismack Biyombo as a backup center this season, and he should be able to help a contending team immediately. This is a smart, valuable pick by the Raps.
|10||D|| Bucks select: Thon Maker, C, Australia |
Comment: This is just not great value. Maker is the rawest player in this draft, and is still two years away from legitimately playing in an NBA game due to his lack of strength and limited basketball instincts. To make matters worse, Maker likely won't be able to get time on the floor to improve because the team does not have a D-League affiliate to stick him with. It's hard for me to see how this one works out well for them.
|11||B|| Magic select: Domantas Sabonis PF - Gonzaga (TO BE TRADED TO THUNDER) |
Comment: Sabonis is going to move to Oklahoma City, as the Thunder have traded Serge Ibaka to the Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to Sabonis. The Thunder immediately become one of the tougher teams inside in the NBA due to the presence of Steven Adams and Sabonis. For Orlando, this is a smart trade to get a perfect fit inside next to Vucevic. For Oklahoma City, Sabonis makes a lot of sense if you think he can stretch out his range a little bit and shoot from 15 feet.
|12||D+|| Jazz select: Taurean Prince SF - Baylor (TO BE TRADED TO HAWKS) |
Comment: Simply put, this is a massive reach for Atlanta, who acquired this pick for Jeff Teague. There's a decent chance Prince would have been there at No. 21. He has massive overlap with Paul Millsap. Why this felt like the right move for the Hawks, I'm not entirely sure, especially when players like Deyonta Davis and Wade Baldwin were on the board.
|13||D|| Suns select: Georgios Papagiannis C - Greece (TO BE TRADED TO KINGS) |
Comment: How this one makes sense, I have no idea. Papagiannis is as pure a center as you get, and the Kings already have DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein as its two best assets (plus Kosta Koufos already in tow). There was a good chance that Papagiannis would have been available for them at No. 22 after the team acquired the pick from the Hornets.
|14||A-|| Bulls select: Denzel Valentine SG - Michigan State |
Comment: Yeah there are the knee questions about Valentine. Maybe he won't be valuable after a certain while due to injury. But even if the knees eventually do give out -- no certain bet -- Valentine will be terrific in Fred Hoiberg's offense as a wing that can move the ball and shoot it at a high level from deep. He'll also help the team transition from the Derrick Rose era due to his ability to create looks for others.
|15||B+|| Nuggets select: Juan Hernangomez PF - Spain |
Comment: This is a special one from the Denver scouting department, the team who does a better job overseas than anyone in the NBA. Hernangomez was the Spanish League's young player of the year last year, and has played at the highest level against tough competition. He fits a need for Denver with the ability to shoot the ball from deep. Solid value here.
|16||C-|| Celtics select: Guerschon Yabusele PF - France |
Comment: Yabusele had a solid season in France this year for Rouen, scoring 11.5 points and grabbing 6.8 rebounds per contest. But he did it on a really bad team, and there are some significant questions about who he defends at 6-8, 260 pounds even if he has long arms. He's not the most fleet of foot guy. But he faces up and can shoot, and that's interesting in Brad Stevens' offense.
|17||A-|| Grizzlies select: Wade Baldwin IV SG - Vanderbilt |
Comment: Baldwin is about as strong a pick as you will find for Memphis. Not only does he provide a security blanket in case Mike Conley leaves, but he'd be able to play with Conley due to his size and length. He needs to work on his ball-handling and finishing ability, but there's a lot to work with there for Memphis.
|18||B|| Pistons select: Henry Ellenson PF-C - Marquette |
Comment: Ellenson is a really solid pickup for Detroit due to his ability to play two positions. The Pistons could use a backup center, and Ellenson could play 5 behind Drummond in some lineups. Also, we know how much Stan Van Gundy likes floor-spacing big men, and Ellenson could provide some of that in lineups surrounding Drummond. The defense is a question though.
|19||B|| Nuggets select: Malik Beasley SG - Florida State |
Comment: Another shooter here for Denver, a team that has clearly prioritized floor-spacing in this draft. He represents solid value here as a scorer from all three levels and all over the floor. But there is a bit of overlap here with Jamal Murray as slightly undersized scorers, which slightly limits the grade here.
|20||B-|| Pacers select: Caris LeVert SG - Michigan (TO BE TRADED TO NETS) |
Comment: This is a risky, risky pick for the Nets, but at No. 20 in a weak draft there are worse options. If LeVert is healthy enough to play, he's a first round value due to his shooting, length, and shot creation ability. If the foot injuries keep popping up, it's hard to see how he provides value. Tough to grade this one now, though.
|21||B|| Hawks select: DeAndre' Bembry SF - Saint Joseph's |
Comment: The Hawks have been discussed as a potential landing spot for Bembry throughout the process. He fits well with Atlanta's need to create offense on the wing. He's a complete player already and could have an impact early. He just needs to work on his shooting a bit more.
|22||B+|| Hornets select: Malachi Richardson SG - Syracuse (TO BE TRADED TO KINGS) |
Comment: The Kings select a solid wing here who can really shoot the basketball off the dribble and create his own shot. He fits what they need, and having acquired this pick for Marco Belinelli, I'm not sure there can be any complaints about this selection.
|23||A-|| Celtics select: Ante Zizic C - Croatia |
Comment: Good pick here for Boston, as Zizic was one of the most productive centers in all of Europe last season. He has a terrific motor, and is probably the most ready European player to contribute next season in the NBA Draft. Really strong pickup there.
|24||B+|| 76ers select: Timothe Luwawu SG - France |
Comment: The Sixers definitely need some help on the wing, and Luwawu is the kind of high motor, high energy athlete that they could use. The swing skill here will be the shot. If he shoots it well and finishes it efficiently, he'll become an NBA player. If not, it's tough to find a fit for him offensively.
|25||A|| Clippers select: Brice Johnson PF - North Carolina |
Comment: Johnson is the kind of player who can help a contending team immediately due to his ability to step in athletically and produce. He's a terrific rebounder, has good touch around the basket, might be the most bouncy athlete in the draft, and has more range on his jump than he got to show. This was a great pickup for the Clips.
|26||B-|| 76ers select: Furkan Korkmaz SG - Turkey |
Comment: Not quite as high on Korkmaz as I am on Luwawu. It fits though, as Korkmaz can provide shooting and floor-spacing if he makes it over to the NBA at some point. The question will be how his body fills out and how his defensive game translates.
|27||C+|| Raptors select: Pascal Siakam PF - New Mexico State |
Comment: Value-wise, this isn't a superb pick. But he fits the team's M.O. in terms of motor and hustle, and he could be a guy who contributes on the offensive glass sooner rather than later. Wish they would have gone with a guy like Deyonta Davis, but Siakam is probably closer to contributing now.
|28||B+|| Suns select: Skal Labissiere PF - Kentucky (TO BE TRADED TO KINGS) |
Comment: On one hand, the value here is tremendous. Labissiere is a terrific talent that had a rough year at Kentucky and didn't quite fit with John Calipari's style. On the other though, is this the best fit for him? He needs a stable situation to succeed and I'm not sure he's exactly going to that in Sacramento. Still, if you're the Kings, this was an easy call to take a chance on the upside.
|29||B+|| Spurs select: Dejounte Murray PG - Washington |
Comment: Lot of talent here in Murray. He can really handle the ball, has solid quickness, and gets out into the open floor. He also struggles to shoot it though, doesn't finish all that well around the rim, and is wild with turnovers. These are all fixable within San Antonio though, so you have to like the upside.
|30||B+|| Warriors select: Damian Jones PF - Vanderbilt |
Comment: Another solid player here for Warriors who fits what they want to do athletically inside. He's a solid rim protector, and can finish above the rim inside. It's easy to imagine him finishing lobs from Stephen Curry as a replacement for Festus Ezeli.
|31||A|| Celtics select: Deyonta Davis PF - Michigan State (TO BE TRADED TO GRIZZLIES) |
Comment: This is a terrific move here from both Boston and the Grizzlies. Davis has a lot of potential as a defensive player, and also may be able to shoot from distance at one point. They do give up an extra first rounder in 2019 that they had from the Clippers, but it's worth while to get Davis, a top-10 player on this board.
|32||A|| Lakers select: Ivica Zubac C - Croatia |
Comment: Upside pick here for the Lakers as a center, which is a position of need for the team. Zubac is massive at 7-0 with long arms and terrific touch around the basket. In the second round, there's not much more you can ask for than drafting for need and getting a potentially valuable player.
|33||B+|| Clippers select: Cheick Diallo C - Kansas (TO BE TRADED TO PELICANS) |
Comment: Nice upside pick here for the Pelicans in getting Diallo, as he could fit well inside with Anthony Davis. Makes sense to consolidate two picks for one and get the guy you like.
|34||A-|| Suns select: Tyler Ulis PG - Kentucky |
Comment: I'm a believer in Ulis becoming at least an NBA backup point guard, and with the Suns uncertainty in the backcourt this is a tremendous pick up.
|35||A-|| Celtics select: Rade Zagorac SF - Serbia (TO BE TRADED TO GRIZZLIES) |
Comment: The Grizzlies need more creativity on the wing, and Zagorac can certainly provide that due to his ability to shoot and make plays off the dribble. Solid offensive-minded selection here.
|36||A-|| Bucks select: Malcolm Brogdon SG - Virginia |
Comment: Milwaukee just picked up a first-round value in the second round in Brogdon. The Virginia product was a back-to-back All-American and was probably the best perimeter defender in the entire draft. I think he carves out a solid NBA role.
|37||B+|| Rockets select: Chinanu Onuaku C - Louisville |
Comment: Onuaku can really defend inside and is nimble enough to shut down pick-and-rolls outside. He's an analytics darling as well, so it makes sense the Rockets would grab him.
|38||B+|| Bucks select: Patrick McCaw SG - UNLV (TO BE TRADED TO WARRIORS) |
Comment: Another solid second round selection here. McCaw can both handle the ball and defend, which is something the Warriors could use. The key to his fit in their scheme will be how he shoots it, but he has potential to do that well at the next level.
|39||C+|| Pelicans select: David Michineau PG - France (TO BE TRADED TO CLIPPERS) |
Comment: I don't love the value here necessarily, but Michineau is a good athlete who might eventually be able to make it over to the NBA. He needs to iron out some of his more wild tendencies though to do it.
|40||B|| Pelicans select: Diamond Stone C - Maryland (TO BE TRADED TO CLIPPERS) |
Comment: This is an upside play, pure and simple. If you believe in Stone's touch and ability to improve as a defender and rebounder, he might be able to carve out an NBA role.
|41||B|| Magic select: Stephen Zimmerman Jr. C - UNLV |
Comment: Another solid upside pick here, Zimmerman is a freshman that didn't have the best season at UNLV, but has potential to become a decent player in the NBA in Frank Vogel's defense as a rim protector who can move on the perimeter.
|42||A-|| Jazz select: Isaiah Whitehead SG - Seton Hall (TO BE TRADED TO NETS) |
Comment: It's a homecoming for the Brooklyn Nets, who bring Whitehead home. He's a scorer off the dribble and has good vision, he just needs to iron out some of his wildness and decision making. In the second round though, everyone has questions and he has a shot.
|43||B|| Rockets select: Zhou Qi C - China |
Comment: I'm not the biggest believer in Zhou's game. He's a good shooter at 7-2 and blocks shots, but he moves slowly and doesn't quite make the quickest decisions. It's hard to complain about an upside pick in the second round, but I just don't really believe in this one working out.
|44||B+|| Hawks select: Isaia Cordinier SG - France |
Comment: Cordinier is another upside European player from France. He is bouncy, has tremendous change of direction skill with the ball and can really shoot it. He needs to get much stronger, particularly through his lower half, though, to play in the NBA.
|45||B|| Celtics select: Demetrius Jackson PG - Notre Dame |
Comment: From a value standpoint, it's impossible to complain with this one. Jackson was considered a likely first round pick throughout the draft process that just ended up slipping. Still, it's another point guard in a team where they are ubiquitous.
|46||B|| Mavericks select: A.J. Hammons C - Purdue |
Comment: Center is a position of need for the Mavs, and Hammons is highly skilled. Just need to get him into slightly better shape and in better position to deal with NBA players on the perimeter.
|47||B-|| Magic select: Jake Layman SF - Maryland (TO BE TRADED TO TRAIL BLAZERS) |
Comment: Portland moves into the draft to get Layman, a big combo forward who can really shoot it from distance. The question is whether or not he can find anyone to defend at the next level.
|48||A|| Bulls select: Paul Zipser SF - Germany |
Comment: This is tremendous value here for Chicago. Zipser was the MVP of Adidas Eurocamp this summer, and is legitimate potential NBA role player due to his size, shooting ability, and explosive athleticism.
|49||A-|| Pistons select: Michael Gbinije SG - Syracuse |
Comment: Gbinije is older and a good shooter, so he might be able to contribute sooner rather than later. He'll fit right into Detroit's offense under Stan Van Gundy.
|50||B-|| Pacers select: Georges Niang SF - Iowa State |
Comment: It's hard to see who Niang defends at the next level, but he has experience in the uptempo style of offense that it seems Indiana wants to run. Maybe he can carve out a role off the bench.
|51||A-|| Celtics select: Ben Bentil PF - Providence |
Comment: It wouldn't surprise me if Bentil was able to carve out a bigger role on the Celtics than any of their other picks beyond Jaylen Brown. He can really shoot it from deep for a big guy, and is more mobile than most of the players who will defend him.
|52||B|| Jazz select: Joel Bolomboy PF - Weber State |
Comment: Bolomboy is a tremendous athlete at his size, and was a great collegiate rebounder at Weber State. Can he move well enough defensively? Can he carve out enough of an offensive role with his jump shot? Big questions, but it's a good chance to take for Utah.
|53||B|| Nuggets select: Petr Cornelie PF - France |
Comment: Early in the process, it seemed like Cornelie might be in the mix in the first round. But he didn't perform well and build buzz throughout his workouts and at Eurocamp, so here he falls. At 6-11, he's a skinny shooter who needs to put on a ton of strength to play at the next level.
|54||B+|| Hawks select: Kay Felder PG - Oakland (TO BE TRADED TO CAVS) |
Comment: The Cavs bought this pick and Felder is a strong reason to do something like that. He's a powerfully built 5-foot-9 scoring guard who could carve out an NBA role in time.
|55||B|| Nets select: Marcus Paige PG - North Carolina (TO BE TRADED TO JAZZ) |
Comment: Paige doesn't have a ton in the way of measureables, but he's a highly intelligent kid who might be able to carve out a role as a bench scorer and caretaker point guard.
|56||C-|| Nuggets select: Daniel Hamilton SG - Connecticut (TO BE TRADED TO THUNDER) |
Comment: Don't really see Hamilton as an NBA player offensively due to his lack of explosiveness, finishing ability, and shooting skill. Oklahoma City bought this pick from Denver.
|57||C-|| Grizzlies select: Wang Zhelin PF - China |
Comment: At one point was considered a potential NBA player after performing well at Nike Hoop Summit, the luster has mostly come off at this stage. It's unlikely he sees the NBA as he hasn't really developed well in the last few years.
|58||D+|| Celtics select: Abdel Nader SF - Iowa State |
Comment: We're getting speculative in Boston. Nader isn't a guy I had as a ranked prospect, and there are plenty of players on the board who would have fit well here, including Jarrod Uthoff, Sheldon McClellan and Robert Carter, among others.
|59||B+|| Kings select: Isaiah Cousins SG - Oklahoma |
Comment: Has potential to stick as a 3-and-D guy in the backcourt as a point guard for a ball-dominant wing. Wouldn't be a surprise at all to see him get a guaranteed deal from Sacramento.
|60||B|| Jazz select: Tyrone Wallace PG - California |
Comment: A Doug Gottlieb special, Wallace is a solid rebounder, defender and slasher at the point guard spot. He could move over to the 2 due to his size if he gets his jump shot down.
CBS Sports HQ Daily Newsletter
Get the best highlights and stories - yeah, just the good stuff handpicked by our team to start your day.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
That's two career 3s for Simmons, who also hit a fadeaway jumper on Saturday
Doncic has put up at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in 18 straight games
The Timberwolves received a second delay-of-game penalty that helped the Thunder beat the Wolves...
Mike McClure, a DFS pro with almost $2 million in career earnings, gives optimal lineup advice
A trio of championship coaches don't think that Fizdale was given a fair shake in New York
Giannis and the Bucks led by as much as 41 before cruising to a 119-91 win