NBA Draft Big Board: Top 150 player rankings shuffle after combine
The top remains the same, but after that the top 150 prospect rankings have a new look
The NBA Draft Combine has come and gone, and in the process has shaken up a good portion of the CBS Sports NBA Draft Board.
One place that wasn't shaken though was the top, as it remains unchanged at this point. LSU forward Ben Simmons is still No. 1 followed by Duke forward Brandon Ingram at No. 2. Ingram was at the combine to participate in interviews with teams, and Simmons did not attend. It's really not a big deal that neither player participated in the front-facing portion of the combine, and it won't affect either player's draft stock positively or negatively. Behind them, Israel forward Dragan Bender is still at No. 3, Providence guard Kris Dunn is No. 4, California guard Jaylen Brown is No. 5 and Kentucky guard Jamal Murray is No. 6.
The most interesting player in that group at this point is going to be Brown, who has had an interesting pre-draft process already. At the combine, there were reports out there that Brown did not perform well in interviews. Having spoken with some people around the league, Brown's intelligence certainly was portrayed in the interviews, but some believed he had a bit less than ideal picture of where his game is at this stage and came off in a less-than-humble manner. They weren't the worst interviews in the world by any stretch, but for a guy who already has relatively volatile draft stock -- teams who value analytics more highly than others will not have a particularly favorable view of the Cal teenager, particularly -- it wasn't the best week either.
Then this week after the mixed reception to his combine, it was reported by The Vertical that Brown will not hire a basketball agent before the draft, meaning he will be navigating the pre-draft process on his own and using the NBPA to negotiate his first contract. It's a fascinating strategy for the thoughtful prospect. On one hand, it could save him hundreds of thousands of dollars if he can maximize his draft stock. However, he could also lose out on a bit of money if he ends up having issues before the draft and falls on draft night.
In a lot of ways, the pre-draft process is a logistical nightmare for players trying to work out for teams. They're flying all over the country for a month straight trying to impress teams throughout the course of the process with their game while also having to mentally be prepared for interviews. Oh, and they're also training in the days where they don't have team-based workouts. Brown is now adding to that grueling process by taking the responsibility himself of setting up his visits, creating travel plans, and learning the intricacies of the NBA business -- as well as actually having to go in and then work out for teams. Truly, it's going to be a grind for him. Typically, that's the work that agents do to make the process easier for their client so they can just focus on their game.
Brown's always been considered an intelligent, unique kid in terms of his mindset, even going back to his high school days. I respect his desire to attempt this, and it could absolutely work out. Plus, I'm still generally a believer in Brown's game. Getting him out of that Cal system that hindered his abilities both in transition and in terms of his half-court offense due to their spacing should be a massive boon for his game, and he already defends at a high level. That's why I have him at No. 5 on my board.
Having said that, I do think this lowers the absolute floor for where he could be taken in the draft. Simply put, I'm not sure that a teenager has ever taken this on his shoulders. Sure, he probably still goes in the top 10, but what happens if he starts to slip? It's difficult to predict how it will work, creating a bit more of a variant set of potential outcomes in terms of his performance in the pre-draft process. Also, it's worth noting that agents and agencies can often create a bit of a soft landing spot for a client if he starts to fall by working the phones. It's a different sport, but you can read about a good example of the behind-the-scenes machinations of agencies and teams in this article about the Laremy Tunsil saga during last month's NFL Draft. These relationships do really often help, and they won't be there for Brown.
Again, good for Brown for taking this on his shoulders. But he's got one crazy month ahead of him that will directly affect the rest of his life.
Here are some of the more interesting shifts further down the NBA Draft board:
- French wing Timothe Luwawu shifts down the board a bit from No. 10 to No. 14. That move comes based on information gathered at the combine, where it would seem his stock is much more volatile than has been portrayed. Some teams really like him and think he could be a second half of the lottery pick, where as others have him more toward the end of the first round. I've split that difference a bit here.
- Point guards Wade Baldwin and Demetrius Jackson make slight moves up the board into slots No. 17 and 18, directly behind Tyler Ulis at No. 16. One of those three is likely to be the second point guard off of the board behind Kris Dunn, and it's just going to be a matter of preference for the team.
- DeAndre Bembry also moves up slightly into a more solid place in the first round, sitting at No. 21 after a really solid combine. Bembry can really pass it, handle the ball, score inside the arc, and generally just create plays. The key for him will be showing teams that there is something there with his jump shot.
- The group of college big men in the No. 28 through 39 range is intriguing, and again is all a matter of preference at this stage. Some like Damian Jones' athletic ability, think he was misused a bit at Vanderbilt, and could be a better pro than he was a college player. Some like Stephen Zimmerman's upside as a big who can defend the rim, pass, and shoot it a bit. Cheick Diallo had a superb combine, and could go higher than No. 30. Ben Bentil's athletic fluidity and shooting could see him fall in the first round. A.J. Hammons has suitors as a rim-protecting floor-spacer. Thon Maker is a lottery ticket. Diamond Stone has touch and can score inside. Chinanu Onuaku defends and rebounds at a high level. You could put these players into a hat, mix them up, and put them in any order and I wouldn't really have much in the way of qualms.
- Some big fallers on this board include those who had a poor combine: Melo Trimble, Nigel Hayes and Troy Williams all moved down the board, while guys like Jaron Blossomgame, Michael Gbinije, and Robert Carter moved up.
Here's one final note before getting to the entire board. This draft is showing a strong amount of depth at this point. The group from No. 26 through No. 50 features a lot of players who might be hearing feedback that they are first round picks. Every team in this draft is going to have favorites in that mix, and they're all going to have vastly different boards based on schematic and personality fits. For instance, whereas some teams likely consider Dejounte Murray's upside worth developing and have a first round grade on him, it's relatively easy to see a circumstance where another team values a late first rounder that can come in and contribute positively more quickly, like a Malcolm Brogdon. The difference there could genuinely be one team having Brogdon No. 25 and Murray No. 50, and the other team having it the exact opposite based on a variety of factors. That's how close in talent the players on this board are in that tier.
Some of that glut might clear out when early entry decisions are made, but it's going to be impossible for it to all clear. There's going to be some depth in the second round this season, and teams are going to be able to find either intriguing lottery tickets or potentially early contributors there this season. Throw the strong international group into that mix, and there are likely even going to be some undrafted players who really end up cashing in on the open market as prioritized free agents.
Here is the full board.
|2016 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings|
|10||Denzel Valentine||Michigan State||Sr.||SG||6-5||220|
|12||Deyonta Davis||Michigan State||Fr.||PF||6-10||240|
|17||Wade Baldwin IV||Vanderbilt||Soph.||SG||6-3||194|
|18||Demetrius Jackson||Notre Dame||Jr.||PG||6-1||201|
|20||Malik Beasley||Florida State||Fr.||SG||6-5||196|
|21||DeAndre' Bembry||Saint Joseph's||Jr.||SF||6-6||210|
|24||Brice Johnson||North Carolina||Sr.||PF||6-10||230|
|29||Stephen Zimmerman Jr.||UNLV||Fr.||C||7-0||240|
|45||Isaiah Whitehead||Seton Hall||Soph.||SG||6-4||210|
|46||Gary Payton II||Oregon State||Sr.||PG||6-3||190|
|51||Wayne Selden Jr.||Kansas||Jr.||SF||6-5||230|
|56||Pascal Siakam||New Mexico State||Soph.||PF||6-9||230|
|59||Malik Newman||Mississippi State||Fr.||G||6-3||190|
|61||Marcus Paige||North Carolina||Sr.||PG||6-2||175|
|63||Fred VanVleet||Wichita State||Sr.||PG||6-0||186|
|65||Anthony Barber||NC State||Jr.||PG||6-2||190|
|67||Joel Bolomboy||Weber State||Sr.||PF||6-9||235|
|70||Shawn Long||UL Lafayette||Sr.||PF||6-11||246|
|72||Jameel Warney||Stony Brook||Sr.||PF||6-8||260|
|79||Georges Niang||Iowa State||Sr.||SF||6-8||230|
|80||Ron Baker||Wichita State||Sr.||PG||6-4||210|
|82||Malik Pope||San Diego State||Soph.||SF||6-10||210|
|83||James Webb III||Boise State||Jr.||SF||6-9||202|
|88||Danuel House||Texas A&M||Sr.||SG||6-7||212|
|92||Julian Jacobs||Southern California||Jr.||PG||6-4||180|
|95||Zach Auguste||Notre Dame||Sr.||PF||6-10||245|
|98||Alex Caruso||Texas A&M||Sr.||PG||6-5||186|
|101||Derrick Jones Jr.||UNLV||Fr.||SF||6-7||190|
|102||James Blackmon Jr.||Indiana||Soph.||SG||6-4||195|
|103||Isaiah Miles||Saint Joseph's||Sr.||SF||6-7||216|
|104||Tonye Jekiri||Miami (Fla.)||Sr.||C||7-0||248|
|114||Wes Washpun||Northern Iowa||Sr.||PG||6-1||175|
|116||Zeek Woodley||Northwestern State||Jr.||SG||6-2||209|
|117||Bryn Forbes||Michigan State||Sr.||SG||6-3||190|
|126||Shevon Thompson||George Mason||Sr.||C||6-11||243|
|132||Kyle Collinsworth||Brigham Young||Sr.||G||6-6||215|
|135||Thomas Walkup||Stephen F. Austin||Sr.||PG||6-4||195|
|142||Marvelle Harris||Fresno State||Sr.||SG||6-4||210|
|143||Mamadou Ndiaye||UC Irvine||Jr.||C||7-6||300|
|145||Marcus Georges-Hunt||Georgia Tech||Sr.||SG||6-5||216|
|148||Kevin Punter Jr.||Tennessee||Sr.||PG||6-2||190|
|149||Devin Williams||West Virginia||Jr.||PF||6-9||255|
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