The 2016 NBA Draft is just around the corner. Scheduled for June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The draft will be televised by ESPN with coverage starting at 8:00 PM ET.
The 76ers received the No. 1 pick and will either take Ben Simmons out of LSU or Brandon Ingram of Duke. Outside of those two going 1-2, there’s a lot of uncertainty after that.
I’ve put together my first round mock with analysis on each pick below.
1st Round Mock
Round 1, Pick 1
The 76ers finally got the No. 1 pick after years of tanking. I believe they go with Ben Simmons over Brandon Ingram, but both are good fits for this team. Simmons game is similar to that of LeBron James. He wants to get others involved just as much as get his own shot. His one year at LSU wasn’t great, but he didn’t have great talent around him. He’s a superstar in the making and the piece that should get Philadelphia over the hump.
Los Angeles Lakers
Round 1, Pick 2
The Lakers are in a great spot here. Like the 76ers, they too need an upgrade at small forward. Ingram will need to get stronger before he’s a force in the NBA, but at 6-9 he’s a defensive nightmare. He has the ability to torment teams with his outside shot and can get to the rim. Reminds me a lot of Kevin Durant.
Round 1, Pick 3
This is where things start to get a little more interesting. There’s a considerable drop off after Simmons and Ingram with a bunch of quality players. Boston doesn’t exactly need another role player, as they an entire roster full of them. The Celtics need a superstar. The big question is whether they try package their three first round picks in a trade for a star player. If they don’t, I look for them to go after Bender from Croatia. He’s a 7-2 stretch 4 that is perfect for today’s small-ball lineups.
Round 1, Pick 4
Phoenix also has three picks in the first round, but unlike the Celtics have plenty of holes to fill. The problem for the Suns is this is a guard heavy draft and they already have Knight, Bledsoe and Booker. That’s not to say Phoenix won’t pull the trigger on someone like Dunn or Hield. I think they pass on the guards here and go with Brown out of Cal. He’s got the size and strength to attack in the open court, but will need to work on his outside shot.
Round 1, Pick 5
The Timberwolves are on the rise. They have two of the games young stars in Wiggins and Towns and a new head coach in Tom Thibodeau. They also have a solid supporting cast in LaVine, Dieng and Rubio. However, they lack depth at the guard positions. I’m also not sold Rubio is a great fit under Thibodeau. I have Minnesota taking Dunn out of Providence. Hield and Murry are also options.
New Orleans Pelicans
Round 1, Pick 6
The Pelicans have a major hole to fill at center. The trio of Asik, Ajinca and Perkins just isn’t cutting it. They will have a chance to fix that problem with this pick. Poeltl out of Utah is a perfect fit in my eyes. He’s a big that can run the floor, score inside and get after it on defense. He’s a perfect compliment to Davis down low.
Round 1, Pick 7
I wouldn’t be shocked if Hield was off the board by now, especially if Boston trades out of the No. 3 slot. As it is, he’s there for the taking for the Nuggets. Hield made a remarkable jump from his junior to his senior season and has the chance to be a star right away in the NBA. This kid has a tremendous work ethic and has transformed his game in his four years on the college hardwood. Would be a nice fit alongside the Nugget’s 2015 first round pick in point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.
Round 1, Pick 8
Here’s another player that could hear his name much earlier than I have him going. He’s a deadly 3-point shooter, which I believe teams are going to covet. The key is he’s not just a 3-point shooter. He can attack the rim. He can play both point or shooting guard and has not reached his full potential. He should get a lot of open looks playing alongside Rondo and with all the attention teams pay to Cousins.
Round 1, Pick 9
The Raptors have to be hoping that Hield or Murray fall to them, as they could really use a 3-point specialist. Both would be upgrades over the shooting guard duo they have now of Powell and Ross. Unfortunately both are off the board and Toronto will likely have to look at one of the bigs. I have them taking Ellenson out of Marquette. He’s a 6-11 forward/center that can stretch defenses with his ability to shoot. Could compete right away for playing time at power forward with Scola and Patterson.
Round 1, Pick 10
The Bucks are another team that would like to see one those guards fall to them. That’s unlikely to happen, which means the Bucks need to go with the best player on the board. For me, that’s Davis out of Michigan State. I don’t think we came close to seeing what this kid has to offer in his 1-year with the Spartans. He’s got big time athleticism at 6-10 240 lbs. Will be force on defense right away and can finish on the other end. Offensive game will get better as he matures.
Round 1, Pick 11
The Magic are a team that’s in a position to gamble and I believe they do just that. Prior to the start of last season, Labissiere was considered a top three pick. Some even had him No. 1 overall. He’s dropped down board because of questions surrounding his love for the game. I just think it was a lack of maturity for the freshman. He’s a 7-0 big man who can shoot lights out from deep and has the size and athleticism to be a force on both sides of the ball. Worth the risk at this point and could be the steal of the draft.
Round 1, Pick 12
Utah has some nice pieces in place and are a team that figures to push for a playoff spot next year. The Jazz are very good defensively, but can struggle to score. Their biggest needs are in the backcourt and I have them selecting Korkmaz out of Turkey. He’s an all-around good offensive player. Only thing is he needs to bulk up some to reach his full potential in the NBA.
Round 1, Pick 13
We have the Suns take Brown at No. 4 to take over at small forward. Now we have them filling a void at power forward with Chriss out of Washington. Here’s a player that is climbing up draft boards and could potentially end up in the Top 10. He’s a power forward that can shoot from the outside and attack his man off the dribble. Possesses outstanding quickness and explosiveness for a man his size.
Round 1, Pick 14
The Bulls were arguably the biggest disappointment this past year. Most had Chicago as the biggest threat to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. Instead they find themselves with a lottery pick. The Bulls have some nice pieces if they keep the roster together, but need depth at both guard positions. Murray out of Washington can provide just that. He’s got great handles and size for a guard. Could give Chicago a big spark off the bench and serve as insurance in case Rose goes down with another injury.
Round 1, Pick 15
I have the Nuggets taking Hield with the No. 7 pick and now I have them snagging Valentine out of Michigan State. Like Hield, Valentine is a senior superstar out of college who can do it all. He would fit in nicely as a either a replacement or backup to Gallinari at small forward. Most scouts are calling him to slow an unathletic, which is only going to make him work harder. Too much talent to pass up at this point.
Round 1, Pick 16
Here’s a player that I think is flying a bit under the radar. Beasley out of Florida State lays it all on the line whenever he’s on the floor. He can knock down the open shot from the outside. He also has the strength and athleticism to be a force in the open court. More than capable of coming in an competing for a spot at shooting guard. With all that said, I have a hard time seeing Boston not making at least one big trade, so this pick could go else where.
Round 1, Pick 17
Even if the Grizzlies lock up Conley to a long-term deal, they need to add some more talent at point guard. Baldwin out of Vanderbilt is a good fit for this Memphis team. He’s only 6-4, but has a 6-10 wingspan. He’s not elite at one thing, but solid across the board. Could also move to shooting guard if Conley sticks around.
Round 1, Pick 18
Detroit has a lot of nice pieces in place and are a team headed in the right direction. The Pistons don’t have a glaring need in their starting five, so they can go a number of directions here. I have them taking Luwawu out of Serbia. Luwawu is an athletic forward that can score the basketball. He’s going to need to add to his frame an keep improving his outside shot to find a home in the NBA.
Round 1, Pick 19
The Nuggets are up again and this time I have them taking Prince out of Baylor. Prince figures to be more of a role player in the NBA, but does have the potential to be a starter down the road. He’s a lengthy 6-8 forward that can excel on both sides of the ball. His biggest strength is his defense. Could be a future lockdown defender at a key position.
Round 1, Pick 20
The Pacers appear to have struck gold with last year’s first round pick in Myles Turner. Giving Indiana a solid foundation with George, Ellis and Hill. Mahinmi was solid inside, but an upgrade could be used. I look for them to go after Sabonis out of Gonzaga, who reminds me a lot of Marc Gasol.
Round 1, Pick 21
It’s going to be interesting to see what the Hawks do with their roster after getting swept again by the Cavs. Atlanta’s big knock is they have a lot of really good players, but no superstars. They likely aren’t going to find one with the 21st pick, but they can add a nice piece. I have them taking Johnson out of North Carolina. He’s got big time size and athleticism, but needs to work on his jump shot and defense. Both things that you can improve on with hard work.
Round 1, Pick 22
The Hornets really came on strong in the second half and are team to keep an eye on. They did a lot of their damage without a great year from Al Jefferson, who only played in 47 games. While Jefferson still has some good years left, he turns 32 next January. I think someone like Kansas’ Diallo is a great fit. This kid has not reached his full potential and has the tools to develop into a All-Star caliber player.
Round 1, Pick 23
Boston is on the clock for a third time. Assuming they haven’t traded this pick away, I look for them to add Stone out of Maryland. Once considered a top 10 talent, Stone had an up and down freshmen year with the Terrapins. There are some concerns with his attitude and lack of athleticism, but the potential is there.
Round 1, Pick 24
The 76ers have already added Simmons to take over at small forward. They already have a trio of bigs to play at the 4 and 5 with Okafor, Noel and Embiid. Now it’s time to target some help on the outside. Richardson out of Syracuse is a player that I don’t think is getting enough respect. Really came on strong for the Orange in his freshman season and has the tools to develop into a quality role player. Will need some time to reach his full potential.
Los Angeles Clippers
Round 1, Pick 25
Assuming the Clippers don’t blow up the roster, there’s not a lot of glaring holes on the roster. The starting five is as good as any in the league and the depth was much improved. I have them taking Zimmerman out of UNLV, who would be a nice compliment to Jordan off the bench. He’s a much better scorer than Jordan down low and can hold his own on the defensive side of the ball.
Round 1, Pick 26
Philadelphia needs to continue to look for help in the backcourt. They need a point guard who can facilitate the offense. That’s why I feel Ulis out of Kentucky is a good fit. He’s got a pass-first mentality and is deadly quick with the ball. Only concern is his size (5-9), but he makes up for it with his effort on the court.
Round 1, Pick 27
I have Toronto adding a stretch four with the No. 9 pick. They could reach for a guard, but are unlikely to find a player who can make a serious impact at this point. I instead look for them to add a big who they can develop. Jones out of Vanderbilt is 6-11 with a near 7-4 wingspan at 244 lbs. He’s a poor man’s DeAndre Jordan.
Round 1, Pick 28
Phoenix has added to really nice pieces to this point with Brown and Chriss. They now have the option of taking a risk and going after Maker from Australia. Maker is a 7’1 freak of nature who can do it all. He can attack off the dribble, shoot from the outside and is a quality passer. He’s also a great finisher and can be a force blocking shots on defense.
San Antonio Spurs
Round 1, Pick 29
It’s not official that Trimble will enter the draft, but I believe he will when he makes his decision. While I’m sure he would like to be a lottery pick, going to San Antonio to play under Popovich isn’t all that bad. Trimble could learn from one of the best in Parker and take over as the point guard of the future down the road.
Golden State Warriors
Round 1, Pick 30
The Warriors don’t really need immediate help with the roster they have in place. I expect Golden State to either trade this pick or take someone they can stash overseas like Zizic. Could be a potential replacement for Bogut inside. He’s an outstanding rebounder who likes contact and get hold his own defensively.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the draft and free agency impact NBA win totals for next season. As well as team’s odds to win the NBA Finals.
If you are looking for help handicapping the NBA, we have a number of experts who excel on the pro hardwood. Get expert advice and start building your bankroll with our premium NBA picks.