After months of discussion on Bright Side about the 2016 NBA Draft, we have finally arrived at draft week. Let's not skip any time and jump right into the mock.
Here is your usual disclaimer that these are not predictions and instead my own opinion on the draft. As always, be sure to let me know how much you disagree with me in the comments.
1. Philadelphia 76ers - Ben Simmons, PF, LSU
I have Brandon Ingram higher (yup, I'm still THAT guy), but the process has finally resulted in the No. 1 overall pick and Philly needs to the player with the most star potential. That's Simmons, who has the size, athleticism, and playmaking ability to be a franchise cornerstone for the Sixers. I have major concerns about his defense and shooting after the year he had at LSU, but his talent is enough to outshine his flaws to go at the top spot.
2. Los Angeles Lakers - Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke
This works out well for the Lakers, who need someone to spot up from the three-point line instead of trying to handle the ball. Ingram can continue to develop his rapidly growing overall scoring game and defense while he drains threes, makes the smart plays and sets up his teammates with his underrated passing.
3. Boston Celtics (from BKN) - Dragan Bender, PF/C, Croatia
Boston just won 48 games and should be looking to win, but I have Bender as far and away the best prospect available on the board. The Celtics desperately need a player of Bender's skill set, and he's not as far away from contributing in the NBA than you think. Whether or not he becomes a star or just a decent role player depends on how his slashing ability and rim protection progresses as he gets older. Remember, he's the youngest player in the process despite being on our radar for three years.
4. Phoenix Suns - Jaylen Brown, SF, California
This is an easier selection for me because I am one of the few who has remained high on Brown. He was asked to do far too much at Cal and will be much better off with more pace, space and a reduced role of hitting open threes and occasionally driving to the basket. His defense is nowhere close to what Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson showed last college basketball season, but he's the best athlete of the three and has shown enough to hold the claim of "having the potential" to be a great perimeter defender.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky
Despite where you have Murray on your board, you can't disagree with how perfect the fit is in Minnesota. Ricky Rubio can handle all of the point guard duties and the most challenging guard assignment on the other end while Murray shows off his diverse offensive arsenal. If the Kentucky combo guard (*shudders) can be as consistent from three as he was in college, look for his offensive game to develop like Klay Thompson's did in Golden State when starting in a smaller role.
6. New Orleans Pelicans - Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
All three guards that brought so much promise to the Pelicans will soon be gone, and the point guard that has the potential to be the best player in the class falls in their lap. Dunn is a breathtaking player with the ball in his hands and has phenomenal passing ability, but he tries to do too much all the time and the same applies to his defense, where he could be an All-Defense type player if he wised up.
7. Denver Nuggets (from NYK) - Timothe Luwawu, SG/SF, France
I love Luwawu. He's a 3-and-D guy with serious upside as a playmaker and scorer. The consistency in his jump shot is going to determine a lot about the type of player he is and he's already 21-years-old, but he has one of the best all-around combination of skills in the group.
8. Sacramento Kings - Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington
I'm not really sure that DeMarcus Cousins is going to be around much longer so I think the Kings have to go for the most upside here and that's Chriss. It's absolutely bananas that he's being so heavily mocked in the top five, but his athleticism and potential as a stretch big is still worthy enough of a top 10 selection.
9. Toronto Raptors (from DEN) - Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
DeMar Derozan is going to get paid and I don't think that's going to be in Toronto. Enter Hield, who can provide a decent amount of the scoring punch that DeRozan did. If he's a for real knockdown shooter and can become an average defender, he's a steal at this point in the draft.
10. Milwaukee Bucks - Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
Milwaukee just gave Greg Monroe a whole lot of money, but Poeltl would be a great fit next to the big man down low. The Austrian is a do-it-all center who excels as the roll man and should do well in all the defensive aspects of a center. He doesn't have a sexy jumper (yet) and lack of athleticism is concerning. With that being said, there's no reason to believe he can't be a better or worse version of what Robin Lopez has become.
11. Orlando Magic - Skal Labissiere, C/PF, Kentucky
Labissiere is very raw, but the player he could become would be nearly a perfect match with Nikola Vucevic. He could stretch the floor and protect the rim while Vucevic swallows up rebounds and dominates from the post. If Orlando isn't sure about their point guard situation, this is a spot in the draft when it could start to get really weird.
12. Utah Jazz - Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor
If you believe in Dante Exum (which I do), the only hole on this very well put together roster is the extra minutes on the wing behind Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood and Alec Burks. Prince can score, shoot, defend and plays both smart and hard. He also has the added bonus of projecting as a good small ball four. If teams are looking for more of a sure thing, watch out for Prince to go possibly even higher than this. He's one of the most NBA ready players in this draft.
13. Phoenix Suns (from WAS) - Deyonta Davis, PF/C, Michigan State
I have Henry Ellenson ranked higher, but Davis' two-way potential is a perfect match for what the Suns could use with a perimeter-oriented attack. In terms of all-around defensive potential, Davis is somewhere in the top three or five. He's bouncy, has terrific lateral quickness and has shown signs that he could become a fantastic rebounder if he got stronger. If Phoenix is patient, he could be the future of the team on the interior.
14. Chicago Bulls - Furkan Korkmaz, SG/PG, Turkey
Chicago's in a position where they need to take the best available player and that happens to be Korkmaz, who is a fascinating combo guard for the future. A sharpshooting two guard, Korkmaz has no problem handling the ball and running the offense. He's a bucket-getter and has some real flare and craft to his game. He needs to put on a lot of weight (6-foot-7 185 pounds) and change a lot on defense to be just passable, but he could be brought along slowly or kept overseas.
15. Denver Nuggets (from HOU) - Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette
Denver's roster is all over the place. Ellenson has to prove he's a consistent shooter in order for his smooth and versatile offensive game to flourish, but if he does, he could be a real force on that side of the ball. Defense is a huge red flag, however, so he needs his offense to stay at that level.
16. Boston Celtics (from DAL) - Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Michigan State
Isaiah Thomas can't bring all the offensive firepower to the perimeter and Evan Turner is probably on the way out. Valentine is the complete package as far as a perimeter player. He's an excellent shooter, provider, and rebounder while also being able to score off the bounce. The problem is he's one of the worst defenders being selected in this draft, and at nearly 23-years-old with reported injury issues, that puts him out of the lottery, where an offensive game like his should be.
17. Memphis Grizzlies - Mailk Beasley, SG, Florida State
Memphis needs young talent and my best available player is Beasley. Besides some reported injury concerns, I can't understand why Beasley isn't higher ranked. Like Valentine, he's a gifted offensive player. Beasley has one of the prettiest jumpers in the draft and combines that with a lethal and punishing slashing game, showing no fear of contact and has all the floaters and such you want in-between the three-point line and the rim. He's one of the hardest workers in this class and is spoken very highly of as a teammate and person. He only has average size, which brings pause for plenty on both ends, and needs a better handle, but only turns 20 in November. As you can tell, I'm in.
18. Detroit Pistons - Wade Baldwin, PG/SG, Vanderbilt
Baldwin's scouting report gets off to a really great start because of his shooting and potential as a defender with a nearly 7-foot wingspan. I have hesitations about the rest of his game, however. He doesn't shoot well off the dribble or look good as an attacker, and that along with his passing bring serious doubts to if he can play point guard or not. His skill set is very particular and if a team can find the right players to put around him, he's a steal. You have to find those players though if he doesn't make drastic improvements and that's why he's closer to 20 for me than 10 like most.
19. Denver Nuggets (from POR) - Juan Hernangomez, PF/SF, Spain
Seriously? The Nuggets? Again? We are running out of roster spots at this point so I'm grabbing my best available draft and stash. Hernangomez does all the smart and annoying things international players do and can stretch the floor with his shot.
20. Indiana Pacers - Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Gonzaga
How do you capitalize on a supremely skilled, but flawed prospect like Sabonis? Pair him with a player like Myles Turner. Sabonis is a master in the post, with eloquent footwork and has the passing ability of his father, which is incredibly high praise coming from someone who worshiped Arvydas. He never stops working, but that can only do so much for himself on defense and he has some serious T-Rex arms. Turner can stretch the floor and protect the rim, though, and that would make the two a terrifying duo.
21. Atlanta Hawks - Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt
Jones has the physical package with an underrated stretch five game on offense to be a steal in the late first round. There's questions about how limited he is and was one of those wildly inconsistent types in college, so it could be sink or swim very quickly.
22. Charlotte Hornets - Ivica Zubac, C, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Zubac is a massive dude who is strong while also being quick. He showcases some impressive skill in the post and has some nice touch. How much can standard centers who have questions defensively fit in today's NBA? That answer awaits who selects Zubac.
23. Boston Celtics - Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
Best available here and that's Jackson, who slides all the way past 20. He checks a ton of boxes as a prospect, but I have concerns about how good he is at each skill. Is he really a good shooter? Can he be an effective playmaker? The Celtics are in a position where they can afford to find out with some spare backup point guard minutes.
24. Philadelphia 76ers (from MIA) - Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky
The Sixers are in the right spot to discover if Ulis can really play point guard in the NBA at only 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds. He plays with beautiful purpose and can do pretty much everything you could ask for out of a point guard. Size is the only issue along with some injury questions, which are a giant red flag for someone his size.
25. Los Angeles Clippers - DeAndre Bembry, SF, Saint Joseph's
Bembry is a wonderful fit for a playoff team in need of wings. He should thrive in a more reduced role, where his tremendous versatility can fill in a ton of blanks. He must be able to hit his perimeter jumper so he can stay on the floor.
26. Philadelphia 76ers (from OKC) - Isaia Cordinier, SG, France
Cordinier's a great athlete who needs more time overseas to develop. Attacking the basket, shooting and defense are all parts of his game that could use tweaks. If he fills out his frame and improves, though, he could be a very good player very fast.
27. Toronto Raptors - Rade Zagorac, SF, Serbia
Zagorac is one of the most fascinating prospects in the draft. He has a herky-jerky way of scoring and thrives in isolation situations. He has the frame to succeed at finishing around the rim and the crafty way he weaves through defenders should make scoring no problem at the next level. The rest of his game has questions marks, but a lesser version of what T.J. Warren is right now is enticing at this point in the draft as a draft and stash.
28. Phoenix Suns (from CLE) - Cheick Diallo, PF/C, Kansas
Like the aforementioned Davis, Diallo has some of the best defensive upside in the draft. He's going to be an energy big who excels at rim runs, protecting the rim and general hustle plays. A player in that role that is skilled and has a high level of athleticism can be very valuable, and the Suns can send him to Prescott Valley for a year as he gets better at the basics.
29. San Antonio Spurs - Petr Cornelie, PF, France
Cornelie has an attractive combination of shooting, athleticism and energy that's difficult to project how it entirely translates to the NBA level. Leave it to the Spurs to figure that out and turn him into a gem right?
30. Golden State Warriors - Patrick McCaw, SG, UNLV
The Warriors might need wings in a hurry. McCaw is one of three guys in this draft that has shown enough to be a legitimate 3-and-D prospect. He has to keep hitting jumpers, but his combo guard skills and defensive potential are a perfect fit for what Golden State looks for and could use after they could potentially lose Leandro Barbosa and Harrison Barnes.
31. Boston Celtics (from PHI) - Chinanu Onuaku, C, Louisville
Onuaku has burst onto the draft scene and has a strong chance to become a solid NBA role player. He's terrific around the basket and has the strength to battle both on the glass and in post defense situations. What breaks the mold for him is having the quickness to run the floor and switch on screens. With his build and age, that's extremely appealing. One of my favorite prospects outside the top 20.
32. Los Angeles Lakers - Gary Payton II, PG, Oregon State
The Lakers could use someone who is, you know, good at defense, and that's where Payton II shines. He's a big-time playmaker on that end, picking up highlight reel blocks, steals and is also a terrific rebounder for his position.
33. Los Angeles Clippers (from BKN) - Paul Zipser, SF, Germany
The Clippers should always take a wing, and Zipser is 22-years-old and ready to play now. He has the size, inside-outside versatility and unlike most of the international prospects in this part of the draft, can play defense. His ceiling is very low and that shouldn't detract teams like the Clippers from taking him.
34. Phoenix Suns - Ben Bentil, PF, Providence
The Suns have their project bigs so now they take maybe the most productive one left on the board. Bentil was a monster at Providence, scoring over 20 points 17 times in his sophomore season. His rebounding and defense are two black holes of his game and he needs to keep improving as a shooter. With the lack of a power forward currently on the roster, Bentil is worth a shot here.
35. Boston Celtics (from MIN) - Guerschon Yabusele, PF, France
Yabusele is an absolute load at 6-foot-8 and 270 pounds with a surprising amount of development on his jump shot and a 7-foot-2 wingspan. The issue is Yabusele does not play the way you expect a man of his size to when it comes to finishing at the rim, rebounding or defending. He's a project, and the Celtics' fourth pick of the draft can stay overseas.
36. Milwaukee Bucks (from NOP) - Malachi Richardson, SG/SF, Syracuse
Richardson has the length the Bucks crave and offers a different skill set than their other wings in the rotation. If he can improve his shot selection and gets put in the right situations, he's a steal at this point, which is why some have him way higher than this.
37. Houston Rockets (from NYK) - Stephen Zimmerman, C, UNLV
To steal something from The Ringer podcast featuring Danny Chau and Jonathan Tjarks, fans of the team that picks Zimmerman are going to be blown away at how good he is. His combination of superior athleticism, ball-handling, passing and shooting for his size should be enticing enough for the first round. He sort of faded away at UNLV, though, and simply needs to be much more physical as a center to find a way on an NBA roster.
38. Milwaukee Bucks- Georgios Papagiannis, C, Greece
International prospects are going to benefit from teams with a high amount of selections and full rosters that need to use their picks. Papagiannis is a giant man who didn't play much for his team overseas, making him a project.
39. New Orleans Pelicans (from DEN) - Robert Carter Jr., PF/C, Maryland
Carter is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft. He can shoot the ball, put it on the deck and has the NBA athleticism and body at the power forward position. His appeal as a stretch five is significant if he's able to do the rest of what they ask out of him. He's another guy I'd watch to be possibly be selected higher.
40. New Orleans Pelicans (from SAC) - Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina
The Pelicans need capable rotation players and while Johnson has a very low ceiling, he could easily become a decent role player with his insane productivity.
41. Orlando Magic - Dejounte Murray, PG, Washington
Murray falls all the way down here and the Magic get great value for the ceiling Murray has. He can get to the rim and has some nifty ways of going about it, but he's very far behind as a shooter, defender and point guard. I'm not buying the first round hype at all despite his athletic profile.
42. Utah Jazz - Malcolm Brogdon, SF, Virginia
Brogdon's become a much better shooter and everyone knows about his defense. I'm not sure how good of a shooter he truly is, however, and there are concerns about his role offensively and if his athleticism will let him keep up on defense.
43. Houston Rockets - Sheldon McClellan, SG, Miami
McClellan's one of the 1320894847 prospects in this draft that needs to worry about the consistency of his jump shot. The athleticism and defensive potential is there to be a steal in the second round.
44. Atlanta Hawks - Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan
The Hawks are in the type of team in the right drought in terms of young talent where they can take a chance on a guy like LeVert. He would have been grouped slightly after Prince in the first round when it comes to a do-it-all wing with upside to be more, but he's had two foot surgeries and those are scary stuff.
45. Boston Celtics (from MEM) - Thon Maker, PF/C, Australia
The Celtics have another pick and they get another project. Maker seems like your prototypical highly skilled and sought after high school prospect that never pans out. He's got a long way to go to becoming an NBA player and Boston can afford to wait and find out.
46. Dallas Mavericks - Zhou Qi, PF/C, China
Qi has a ton to work on already for how old he is and is incredibly thin for his size. But, he's 7-foot-2 with a ridiculous wingspan and can shoot threes.
47. Orlando Magic (from CHI) - Kay Felder, PG, Oakland
Why not let Felder and Murray duel it out for a spot on the NBA roster? Felder had the second-highest AST% in this draft group and averaged 24 points a game. He's got some Isaiah Thomas to his game, and that's not because he's a small lefty. He's one of my guys to watch at summer league.
48. Chicago Bulls (from POR) - Dorian Finney-Smith, SF/PF, Florida
Get Hoiberg more shooters! Finney-Smith's limited upside shouldn't be overlooked by how good he could become as a role player.
49. Detroit Pistons - Pascal Siakam, PF, New Mexico State
Siakam's a fascinating case of a big man who put up huge numbers while also having some range on his jumper. Detroit could find the right spot for him to succeed in.
50. Indiana Pacers - Jake Layman, SF, Maryland
When Layman is on his game, he's a first round pick. Inconsistency has plagued his career and despite being the type of forward all NBA teams want, he might not get selected.
51. Boston Celtics (from MIA) - Ante Zizic, C, Croatia
Zizic is an energy big who needs to improve on defense. If he does, he's absolutely a rotation player.
52. Utah Jazz (from BOS)- Michael Gbinije, SG/SF, Syracuse
I'm doing the same thing I did with the Magic where a team drafts the same position with multiple second round picks and creates a position battle. Like Brogdon, he's a smart, team player who does a lot of things well, but is very old for a prospect.
53. Denver Nuggets (from CHA) - Isaiah Whitehead, SG, Seton Hall
Whitehead can score on 95 percent of the guys in this draft class and lives in the mid-range area. He reads the floor so well and if he didn't have his struggles at the rim, he'd be much closer to the first round bubble than potentially going undrafted.
54. Atlanta Hawks - Wayne Selden, SG, Kansas
In his freshman season, Selden looked like your prototypical two-way wing who makes "winning plays." A terrible sophomore season put a strong halt to his NBA draft chances. He's the type of pick who could explode with the right amount of progression or fizzle out rather fast.
55. Brooklyn Nets - A.J. Hammons, C, Purdue
The Nets made the right call last season in going with the highest upside on the board in Chris McCullough and they do the same here In the late second round. Hammons has a filled out frame and can protect the rim.
56. Denver Nuggets (from OKC) - Cat Barber, PG, North Carolina State
Barber gets buckets and his game contrasts well with Mudiay. I've also run out of positions for the Nuggets to select.
57. Memphis Grizzlies (from TOR) - Joel Bolomboy, PF, Weber State
Bolomboy is a man's man and you would be silly to doubt him. Owen Sanborn's profile is a good look at why you shouldn't.
58. Boston Celtics (from CLE) - Damion Lee, SG, Louisville
Yes, the Celtics still have some picks left somehow. Lee reminds me of Wesley Matthews. He's a scorer who shoots it juuuust well enough and has the athleticism and motor to contribute in other areas. He has potential in every aspect of the court and if he can tighten some things up on defense and get his own shot against NBA defenders, watch out.
59. Sacramento Kings (from SAS) - Yogi Ferrell, PG, Indiana
One of my favorite parts of watching college basketball is seeing major contributors for four years grow as basketball players. That's exactly what happened to Ferrell, who was a great shooter from three in his last three seasons for the Hoosiers. I for one would want to find out if the rest of his game can stick with the way he plays on offense.
60. Utah Jazz (from GSW) - Fred VanVleet, PG, Wichita State
VanVleet wasn't even invited to the NBA combine, which is silly. He has a ton of depth to his game on offense besides just running it and if he defends well enough, there's no reason why he can't make a living as a backup point guard.