2016 NBA Mock Draft: Sixers nab top pick, Simmons-Ingram debate to ensue
In the first mock draft after the lottery set the NBA Draft order here's why Simmons goes to Philly
After a few years of tanking resulting in a visionary general manager resigning, Lady Luck has finally shined down on the 76ers.
Philadelphia has won the NBA Draft lottery after having the highest odds to receive it, which means they will get their pick of the litter in on June 23. Undoubtedly, that pick will come down to either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, a pair of star forward prospects who are pretty clearly the top two players in this draft. Something to watch for going forward: will Simmons visit the 76ers, or try to steer his way toward the Lakers by avoiding Philadelphia? It's a legitimate question, and it will be worth watching Simmons along with his agency, Klutch Sports, closely in terms of how they try to work over the next five weeks.
After that though? Things get extraordinarily murky. I'd say that there are legitimately seven to eight players beyond Simmons and Ingram who could factor in to the top five at this point, including collegiate stars Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray and Kris Dunn, as well as international star Dragan Bender. Beyond that, the rest of the first round is equally as hazy, as the chaos ensues beginning around pick No. 20 to 22.
So without further ado, here is our first mock draft of the season with a set draft order.
NBA Mock Draft
|1. Philadelphia 76ers|
|Ben Simmons, SF, LSU: The 76ers have finally gotten the luck of the lottery balls, and will select No. 1 overall. It's difficult to say which direction they're going to go at this point given the new setup in the front office. For now, we're going to slot Simmons at No. 1, as he is still considered by a majority of NBA front office executives to be the No. 1 player in the draft. He's not a perfect fit with the 76ers. With Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Dario Saric in tow already, that's an awful lot of front court players with very little in the way of floor spacing. But Simmons gives the 76ers a weapon with the ball that they simply haven't had during this rebuild, and he gives them genuine potential star power moving forward.|
|2. Los Angeles Lakers|
|Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke: Mitch Kupchak breathed a massive sigh of relief on lottery night, as the Lakers will keep their selection and get their pick of whoever drops out of Ingram or Simmons. Here, they get Ingram, who is the absolute perfect fit for their roster between D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Depending on how much Walton is planning to bring over from the Warriors' playbook, Ingram represents a perfect weapon in terms of being able to switch defensively as well as knock down shots and space the floor offensively. There's a lot to like about the way things broke down for the Lakers.|
|3. Boston Celtics|
|Dragan Bender, PF, Israel: The Celtics did not get a chance to move into the top two and get one of the top-tiered players in this draft. Now, they will look at a wide variety of players at this spot, and also possibly look at trade options. Here, let's project them to select the 7-foot big man out of Croatia currently plying his trade in Israel. Bender would provide some versatility though, as he's an extremely mobile 7-footer who is comfortable switching out onto smaller players and should become better defending in the post as he gets stronger. On offense, he possesses tremendous feel for the game, with a deft passing acumen and touch from the outside. His stock is still going to be highly variable among teams, and he could end up anywhere from No. 3 to No. 12 in the draft. But Boston's fit would be strong here as they could use a big man who can provide a lot of different looks.|
|4. Phoenix Suns|
|Jaylen Brown, SG, California: The Suns aren't in a perfect spot here. None of the players remaining are the type of prospect that normally goes No. 4 overall. They all have pretty significant holes in one manner or another. But Brown is still a high-upside guy, and the Suns could use a versatile weapon on the wing. There would be a bit of a concern here that the Suns might not have enough ball to go around between he, Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe as the Cal product isn't great off the ball yet. However, he'd provide a strong slashing, athleticism and defense compliment to Devin Booker on the wing in the future, and has as much upside as anyone in this draft beyond the top three players.|
|5. Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky: The Wolves failed to move up in the draft, but that's no matter given how lucky they got last year to select first overall and get a franchise-altering talent like Karl-Anthony Towns. I've been stating for about a month now in this space that Murray to the Timberwolves is about as perfect a fit as you'll find for a player and situation. The Wolves could use shooting between Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins, and Murray could use some length and defensive prowess around him as he continues to develop and mature on that end. He'll give Tom Thibodeau's offense some punch in the first season.|
|6. New Orleans Pelicans|
|Kris Dunn, PG, Providence: The Pelicans have a relatively unsettled situation in the backcourt, with Eric Gordon a free agent, and Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday in the final years of their contract next season. Dunn would immediately reinvent their backcourt, providing a pick and roll partner for Anthony Davis and a reliable two-way guard who can make plays despite the turnovers. I do think there's a chance that a team tries to move ahead of the Pelicans to acquire Dunn though, given that point guard is a relative position of weakness in this class.|
|7. Denver Nuggets|
|Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma: The Nuggets had multiple chances to move up due to the Knicks and their own picks, but unfortunately did not. They need shooting in the worst way, and at the very least we know Hield can provide that. The guy is coming off of one of the best volume shooting seasons in recent college basketball history, and would combine well with Emmanuel Mudiay in the backcourt of the future in Denver. He'd also help reinvent a wing situation that badly needs an infusion of talent, as you'll see below.|
|8. Sacramento Kings|
|Henry Ellenson, PF-C, Marquette: The Kings avoided getting incredibly unlucky in the lottery and kept their pick at the No. 8 spot. They could use some shooting and they could use a power forward. So let's kill two birds there with one stone and give them Ellenson. It's questionable how he would work on the floor with DeMarcus Cousins due to each of their lack of foot speed, however he'd be able to stretch the floor and hit some shots for the Kings as well as create some offense.|
|9. Toronto Raptors|
|Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington: The Raptors are in the conference finals and still lucky enough to have a pick in the top 10 after the lottery held steady. They have been starting Luis Scola and Patrick Patterson this season, neither of whom have been quite effective enough at the power forward. Chriss wouldn't be ready to start next season -- and could even spend some time in the D-League -- but he'd be a high upside pick that would fit really well with Jonas Valanciunas in the frontcourt.|
|10. Milwaukee Bucks|
|Jakob Poeltl, PF, Utah: The Bucks could use some size inside, and that's something Poeltl is capable of providing to go with terrific feel for the game and the potential to be a solid defender. I'd expect Poeltl to turn into a solid starter at some point in the NBA, and placing him in a situation where assistant coach Sean Sweeney's defense is heavy on switches would work well for Poellt, who has good foot speed for a true 7-footer. Point guard could also be in play here, as the Bucks could use someone behind presumed starter Giannis Antetokounmpo next season.|
|11. Orlando Magic|
|Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State: This is a team in total flux right now following the resignation of Scott Skiles. They could really go in a wide variety of directions here. Let's go for Davis at the moment, who fits the Magic's M.O. of athletic players who are young with good length. He'd also be a solid fit inside as a backup 5 man behind Nikola Vucevic who provides something different, or even in lineups next to him due to his length and activity level. Without the coach in place though, it's hard to say who the best fit is here.|
|12. Utah Jazz|
|Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame: The Jazz have a pretty major need at point guard due to the relative ineffectiveness of Trey Burke and the injury to Dante Exum. Simply, the Jazz just don't know when Exum will be able to return to full strength. So let's go with Jackson here, who was a fairly big winner of the combine process after posting explosive athletic measurements and solid length to make up for a lack of height. He'll probably come off the board anywhere from No. 10 through No. 20 and is right in the mix as the second point guard taken along with Wade Baldwin and Tyler Ulis.|
|13. Phoenix Suns|
|Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga: Sabonis decided not to attend the combine, prompting rumors as to whether or not he had been quickly given a promise by someone in the top 15 or 20. While that may or may not be the case as of right now, Sabonis certainly didn't hurt himself by not coming to the combine. He's a guy that isn't going to show well in the front-facing portion of that event, as he's relatively short-armed and not particularly explosive athletically. He'll get his chance to wow teams in the interview process throughout the next month, as he's known as a highly intelligent player.|
|14. Chicago Bulls|
|Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State: Valentine is a tough guy to place right now. Based on his production this season, he should probably be in the top seven or so players. More statistically inclined teams will likely love him even despite his age, as will pace-and-space type teams due to his shooting and passing ability. Chicago is one of those teams, as Valentine would really fit in with exactly what Fred Hoiberg wants to do, and he'd be a good fit in the backcourt next to Jimmy Butler.|
|15. Denver Nuggets|
|Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey: As reported this weekend by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress/The Vertical, Korkmaz has negotiated a buyout into his contract for around $2 million, and wants assurances from a team that he would be selected in the lottery. My guess would be that if Denver gets to him at 15, that would probably be adequate as far as getting him to stay in the draft. This or the next pick at Boston -- who has three first rounders and eight picks overall -- would be his absolute floor, otherwise I'd expect him to pull out.|
|16. Boston Celtics|
|Skal Labissiere, PF, Kentucky: Labissiere did not participate in the combine beyond measurements and interviews, but he created as much buzz as anyone in Chicago due to a workout that his agency allowed media to attend. NBA teams know that Labissiere can dominate in that type of setting. He looks like a near-perfect player in those types of settings, in reality. But I'm not sure they're buying in nearly as much as the hype seems to have been portrayed. They still like his long-term future, but worry about where he is in terms of his rawness. His range is probably anywhere from No. 8 through No. 22 or so right now, and I don't think a workout really did much to change that.|
|17. Memphis Grizzlies|
|Wade Baldwin IV, SG, Vanderbilt: Baldwin also had a good week of measurements and testing, posting a 6-11 wingspan, solid height, and strong athleticism. There is a bit of concern in terms of his personality, but Memphis at 17 fits pretty well due to their impending free agency situation with both Mike Conley and Mario Chalmers. Baldwin would give them versatility to play two point guard lineups if Conley returns, or would give them a potential replacement if he leaves.|
|18. Detroit Pistons|
|Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky: The one major problem the Pistons had was bench production from the backcourt this season. Ulis did not necessarily have the best combine, as he came in at 149 pounds -- 11 pounds lighter than the lightest point guard measured in the last decade-plus at the combine. That has prompted some concern in terms of his body's ability to take punishment over a rough 82-game NBA season. Still, he'd be the perfect backup for Reggie Jackson, and give the Pistons some immediate stability when he's out of the game.|
|19. Denver Nuggets|
|Timothe Luwawu, SG, France: This is not where I think Luwawu should be taken on talent alone. I have a bit higher than this on my board. However, teams around the league are highly divided on where exactly to slot him in on their boards. Some have him in lottery, others more in the 20s range. Some think of him as the second-best international prospect behind Bender, others think there are three or four more who are ahead of him. Nonetheless, this would be a steal for Denver, who polish off the remaking of their wing position in this draft after doing well to get big men Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic recently and point guard Mudiay last season.|
|20. Indiana Pacers|
|Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina: Johnson was among the most productive players in college basketball last season, and Larry Bird does tend to like college kids who saw a level of success. It just so happens that Johnson fits really well with what the Pacers need, as a big man who can really run and jump as well as an improving jump-shooter and defensive player. This would be a solid pickup for the Pacers, and he would immediately step into their rotation.|
|21. Atlanta Hawks|
|DeAndre' Bembry, SF, Saint Joseph's: The Hawks may lose Al Horford, putting a potential big squarely in their crosshairs this time around. However, they also will likely lose Kent Bazemore, creating a rather large hole on the wing. Bembry was given the choice of playing 5-on-5 or not this week at the combine, and he decided to do so and really helped his stock by performing well on Thursday. He has basically everything you'd hope to ask for from a wing beyond a jump shot, and the mechanics there certainly aren't broken. This would be a really solid fit.|
|22. Charlotte Hornets|
|Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor: The Hornets will likely lose Marvin Williams in free agency this time around, and their best lineups this season came with a type of stretch 3/4 combo forward in the lineup. Prince would be about as perfect a replacement for Williams as you'd find, as he possesses the exact same skill set in terms of being able to step away and shoot 3s to go with a powerful frame. He's a bit more on the wing side than big side, but he'd be a really nice approximation.|
|23. Boston Celtics|
|Ante Zizic, C, Croatia: Zizic's countryman, Ivica Zubac, is actually a bit more highly regarded by NBA teams. However, at the end of the draft, seven of the final eight picks will come from teams that either have multiple first round picks or could be major players in free agency. Both of those circumstances could lead to them wanting more of a stash opportunity -- like Zizic, who will likely not come over in 2016 -- as opposed to an immediate asset -- like Zubac, who wants to come over now. Here, Boston has a bunch of selections and will need to stash at least a few. Zizic represents a solid opportunity there for a team that could use some further depth inside going forward.|
|24. Philadelphia 76ers|
|Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State: Beasley would give the 76ers some more scoring from the outside, something they desperately could use, as well as a solid guard with actual scoring instincts in terms of both slashing and creating his own shot from the wing. This would be a really solid situation for Beasley, as he'd likely get some early playing time as the 76ers continue to develop.|
|25. Los Angeles Clippers|
|Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse: Richardson was someone few had a great feel for in terms of his NBA stock coming into the week. However, when the NBA did not make him participate in the 5-on-5 portion of the event, it was a pretty clear sign that his stock is a bit higher around the league than anticipated. Richardson has extremely long arms, solid size, and good quickness, but he lacks a lot in the way of explosiveness and efficiency in production this season. I'd say his range is anywhere from No. 18 through No. 40 or so, but indeed it's higher than many thought when he declared for the draft, myself included.|
|26. Philadelphia 76ers|
|Cheick Diallo, C, Kansas: Few players helped their stock in Chicago this week as much as Diallo. He tested extremely well in terms of measurements and athleticism, and also was superb jn the 5-on-5. He officially decided to stay in the draft on Friday, and feel confident with where he'll end up in terms of the draft. If he keeps showing the motor and rim-running ability that he did on Thursday and Friday in workouts, he could rise even higher than this.|
|27. Toronto Raptors|
|Ivica Zubac, C, Croatia: Backup center Bismack Biyombo might be playing himself into an eight-figure contract this offseason in the playoffs, and it's unclear if the Raptors will be interested in giving him that when free agency begins. So taking a flier on Zubac makes sense as a center they can stick in their D-League affiliate for a year or so, see how he develops, and maybe they'll have a solid backup in the future behind Valanciunas.|
|28. Phoenix Suns|
|Juan Hernangomez, PF, Spain: A draft and stash here for a team that likely will have three first-round picks. Again, it's possible Hernangomez goes a bit higher than this after the tremendous season he had in Spain, but his loss would be the Suns gain if this was to happen.|
|29. San Antonio Spurs|
|Paul Zipser, SF, Germany: The Spurs fell out of the playoffs with a bit of a sudden thud this time around, prompting speculation in terms of who will retire and who stay for another season. Given all of that uncertainty and given the fact that they could be players for some high level free agents in the offseason, it might make sense to take a guy like Zipser who would give a team some options in terms of whether or not they want to bring over a rookie or keep him overseas to develop.|
|30. Golden State Warriors|
|Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Virginia: Brogdon doesn't necessarily fit perfectly in terms of getting out and running, but few players run off of screens better and even fewer defend as well as this 23 year old. He also has the ability to run the point guard in a pinch, and could be a replacement for Shaun Livingston after his contract runs out as a big "combo" kind of guard who can defend a lot of different positions and also create some shots and offense.|
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