This is my final ranking of small forwards in the 2016 NBA Draft. We've already scouted these players ad nauseam. If you want a more basic evaluation or to read more about their strengths and weaknesses, head to last month's small forward ranking. So let's talk about something different yet equally as important.
Fit is often discussed in a negative light. Plenty of analytic models and people around the league believe in a best player available strategy when selecting due to rapid roster turnover and the difficulty of scouting. However, I'm not quite behind that. Often, systemic and emotional fit is just as important as skill level -- and this draft is going to show that in a pretty high-level manner. The players are all bunched so tightly together based on skill level that the way they fit in a certain roster or situation could make or break whether or not they can carve out an NBA career. The right fit can foster better player development, and it can accentuate the best skills a player has.
What are the best fits for the top 10 power forwards in the class within their draft range? Let's take a look.
1. Brandon Ingram | Duke | Draft Range: No. 1 or No. 2
Ingram is likely going to end up in Los Angeles at No. 2, but the reason this isn't quite a done deal yet is because of the way he fits with Philadelphia. Ingram's shooting ability and positional versatility is exactly what the 76ers need on the perimeter with Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel in the fold. With the Lakers, the fit is just as strong. Putting him in between D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle helps with a lot of their problems as players, and should put them in a stronger position to succeed. Plus, his ability to attack switches both inside and out should play well with Luke Walton's scheme coming from Golden State. Ingram is the perfect prospect coming along at the perfect time in the NBA, and it'll be fascinating to see his career play out.
2. Jaylen Brown | California | Draft Range: No. 3 to No. 10
Boston (No. 3): The Celtics have worked him out and apparently are fans. He's the kind of multi-positional player the team has had success with. Their skill development staff has also proven to be pretty strong, which could help with Brown.
Phoenix (No. 4): If Boston takes Dragan Bender at No.3, this would be my pick for the Suns at No. 4. He fills a direct need, and would mesh well with Devin Booker on the wing to provide some length and athleticism while Booker provides shooting and scoring.
Minnesota (No. 5): I'm not super sold on this fit, but Tom Thibodeau has a history with big wings who can defend, and Brown could be a terrific piece in that capacity.
New Orleans (No. 6): Again, not super sold that this is the direction they should go with upcoming holes in the backcourt, but Brown would be a really nice fit with Anthony Davis as Davis ability to stretch the floor could make up for some holes.
Denver (No. 7): The Nuggets could really use a big wing in the mold of Brown. This would be a pretty superb fit in my mind.
Sacramento (No. 8): Brown would have a ton of overlap with Rudy Gay, but should this team really be looking at Gay as a centerpiece for the future? He also wouldn't be the best fit next to DeMarcus Cousins spacing-wise, but it's likely he'd be the highest upside player on the board if he's there at No. 8.
Toronto (No. 9): Again, not a great fit because he doesn't really space the floor. But the Raptors developmental staff is superb and might believe they can get the most out of him.
Milwaukee (No. 10): Would be difficult to see him getting past here. Checks a lot of boxes for John Hammond. He's the kind of long, athletic, young player with high character that the team has prioritized under Hammond.
3. DeAndre Bembry | St. Joseph's | Draft Range: No. 14 to No. 29
Chicago (No. 14): If the team decides to move on from Jimmy Butler, Bembry could be the kind of do-it-all wing they need to replace him.
Boston (No. 16/23): As mentioned above, the Celtics have had success with versatile players in the past, and the only thing Bembry struggles with is shooting. He could also help to replace Evan Turner as an initiator on offense from the wing.
Memphis Grizzlies (No. 17): Definitely have a need for some youth on the wing, especially with news that Jordan Adams' knee issues are continuing.
Detroit (No. 18): A team that could use some significant bench help on offense, Bembry could help a lacking point guard situation initiate offense in the second unit.
Atlanta (No. 21): The Hawks are probably planning to lose Kent Bazemore this offseason. Bembry could help replace the many areas that Bazemore helped as a role player.
Charlotte (No. 22): Nicolas Batum is a free agent, and the Hornets may have to be preparing for life without him in case he doesn't re-sign.
Philadelphia (No. 24/26): Any help on the wing could be of use, although they'd probably default more to a shooter with this pick.
Los Angeles Clippers (No. 25): The perfect fit due to his ability to help in a wide variety of ways. If he was available at No. 25, it would be hard for me to see a circumstance where they can pass up on him given that they're a contender and he might be able to help sooner than most prospects.
Phoenix (No. 28): Again, another team that could use help on the wing. He'd be a nice fit with Devin Booker next to him on the wing due to his ability to create offense.
San Antonio (No. 29): Can you imagine his basketball IQ in that scheme? It would be pretty perfect. Hard for me to see him falling past this spot.
4. Paul Zipser | Bayern Munich (Germany) | Draft Range: No. 21 to No. 40
Atlanta (No. 21), Charlotte (No. 22): Both teams with free agency questions in the frontcourt who could use a floor-spacer at the 3 position.
Boston (No. 23/31/35): The Celtics are going to need to stash some players overseas. Zipser's situation at is superb, and he could either stay or go depending on the team that selects him.
Philadelphia (No. 24/26): The Sixers could use a stash player, but they also could really use an athletic wing who can shoot and defend. Zipser is terrific at both.
Los Angeles Clippers (No. 25/No. 33), Toronto (No. 27), Phoenix (No. 28/34), Houston (No. 37), Milwaukee (No. 36/38), New Orleans (No. 39/40): A bunch of teams, most of whom have multiple picks in this area, that could really use a combo forward who can defend and shoot.
San Antonio (No. 29), Golden State (No. 30): Two teams that could use some roster flexibility and scout overseas well.
5. Taurean Prince | Baylor | Draft Range: No. 15 to No. 34
I don't know that it's a lock Prince goes in the first round, but he likely will. If he falls to the second round, it's tough to see him getting past the Suns second pick. You can add all of the teams mentioned above for Zipser, as well as these teams below.
Denver (No. 15/19): The top end of his spectrum. The Nuggets could look to add some shooting in the frontcourt, especially if Danilo Gallinari is moved.
Memphis (No. 17): New coach David Fizdale is an Erik Spoelstra disciple, so it's possible he'll want to add some floor spacing to this roster from the forward positions.
Detroit (No. 18): The Pistons always love guys who can space the floor at the 3/4 positions. Prince can do that well.
Indiana (No. 20): Definite need in the frontcourt, could provide a ton of versatility next to guys like Paul George and Myles Turner.
6. Rade Zagorac | Mega Leks (Serbia) | Draft Range: No. 23 to No. 45
Many of the same teams fit him as above with Zipser and Prince, his range is just a bit wider than theirs due to questions about his athleticism and defense. But with a lot of teams in that range -- as noted above -- looking for an offensive-minded 3 man who can shoot it and create, Zagorac fits well in most of those spots. Also, I'd point out that his flexibility in terms of whether or not he'll come over could be a bit of a help for teams looking to keep their roster sheet open heading into a wild summer.
Other small forwards worth noting:
It would be a surprise to see any other small forward than these six drafted in the first round. This position, along with point guard, is the weakest in the draft. Here is a quick rundown on the rest of the players in my top 125.
7. Jake Layman | Maryland | Draft Range: No. 35 to undrafted
8. Georges Niang | Chicago | Draft Range: Mid-second round to undrafted
9. James Webb III | Boise State | Draft Range: Mid-second round to undrafted
10. Elgin Cook | Oregon | Draft Range: Early second round to undrafted
11. Troy Williams | Indiana | Mid-second round to undrafted
12. Derrick Jones Jr. | UNLV | Draft Range: Second round to undrafted
13. Dorian Finney-Smith | Florida | Draft Range: Second round to undrafted
14. Isaiah Miles | St. Joseph's | Second round to undrafted
15. Rosco Allen | Stanford | Draft Range: Second round to undrafted
16. Brannen Greene | Kansas | Draft Range: Second round to undrafted
17. Marius Grigonis | Manresa (Spain) | Draft Range: Second round to undrafted