2016 NBA Mock Draft
2016 NBA Mock Draft - Pre NCAA Tournament Edition
The initial 2016 CSNmidatlantic mock draft looks at the lottery selections. Is LSU's Ben Simmons a lock for No. 1? Will Maryland's Diamond Stone make the cut?
1. Philadelphia - Ben Simmons, SF, LSU
Sometimes when a prospect is considered the clear No. 1 choice months out, analysts will look for holes to poke. In this case, the Aussie's lackluster play at times fueled this search. It's clear that the love for Simmons took a dip after a rock star start with the Tigers in part because of some uneven performances, shooting concerns and fears he lacks that eye-of-the-tiger attitude. There's no mistaking the 6-foot-10 forward's high-level court vision, athleticism and hoops IQ. Factoring in his rebounding knack and it's easy to see why all fell in love. Alas, nobody will see Simmons in the NCAA Tournament or ever again playing in an LSU uniform
2. L.A. Lakers - Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke
If LSU's Ben Simmons isn't the first pick, good bet this freshman forward receives the nod. No adjustment period from distance for the 6-foot-9 Ingram, who sank 41 percent from beyond the arc on 179 3-point attempts. Blessed with a decent handle and 7-foot-3 wingspan, Ingram can get to the basket. Flashed legit star potential during the season and now enters the NCAA Tournament's big stage
3. Phoenix - Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette
Polished and powerful freshman led the Big East in rebounding and finished third in scoring with 17.0 points. Low post and mid-range moves are pro-worthy now. Needs work on perimeter shot, but will eventually hit from beyond the arc.
4. Boston (via Brooklyn) - Dragan Bender, PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
The 7-foot-1, 18-year-old is playing for European power Maccabi Tel Aviv and more than holding his own against physical and much older men. More small forward than low post center, Bender blends agility with hoops arrogance. Danny Ainge hasn't landed a franchise player yet. Perhaps he drafts one if Bender's reality matches his potential.
5. Minnesota - Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
Who says there are no more young centers? The 7-foot Austrian dominated during his award-winning sophomore season, winning Pac-12 Player of the Year honors. The Timberwolves have young studs all over the place. Adding another big would free up Karl-Anthony Towns to take perimeter shots and avoid some nightly pounding.
6. New Orleans - Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
In terms of physical traits, style and triple-double potential, the John Wall comparisons are fair. Dunn drops jaw with highlight passes and daring drives. Like Wall coming out of college, his shot needs some work. Under 70% free throw shooter.
7. Sacramento - Jaylen Brown, SF, California
Another wing oozing athleticism and blessed with coveted long wingspan. Averages 15.0 points, but scored big in big games, including 27 at Utah and 23 in a win over Washington. Brown should be a two-way threat on the next level which is why he could be a top-3 by draft day.
8. Denver (via New York) - Jamal Murray, PG/SG, Kentucky
While it's unclear if the 6-foot-5 Murray is truly a point guard on the NBA level, there's no doubt he brings deep range and moxie. Sinks 43 percent of his attempts, but knocked down 3-pointers at a higher clip late in the season. The Canadian paces Kentucky in scoring with 20.1 points.
9. Toronto (via Denver) - Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
Felt like Hield played this season as one big heat check. Second nationally with 25.0 points while shooting 46 percent on 3-pointers. The Raptors need a power forward most of all, but could seek a possible wing guard hedge with DeMar DeRozan entering free agency.
10. Milwaukee - Ivan Rabb, PF, California
Anyone who doesn't consider rebounding a skill will change their mind watching the 6-foot-11 Rabb attack caroms. Snatched 8.5 rebounds through the Pac-12 tournament while shooting 62% from the field.
11. Orlando - Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey
Some teams will target talented international draft-and-stash types. Seeing as Orlando already possess lots of young players and appear set for a big push in free agency, why not the Magic? Korkmaz brings good two-guard size at 6-foot-7 and gets splashy from beyond the arc.
12. Phoenix (via Washington) - Denzel Valentine, SF, Michigan State
Some proclaim Buddy Hield as the best player in the country this season, but any such conversation must include the Spartans' 6-foot-6 wing. Valentine, a constant triple-double threat, enters the NCAA Tournament averaging 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists while shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc. Wizards nation will track this pick with great interest following the Markieff Morris trade.
13. Utah - Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
Teams seeking a pass-first point guard will show interest in the 6-foot-1 junior. Jackson makes up for lack of size with explosive athleticism, smarts and a quick first step. 3-point shot waned during his junior season, but went over 40 percent during his first two seasons.
14. Detroit - Skal Labissiere, PF, Kentucky
The long big man figured to be the next one-and-done standout for John Calipari, yet has endured many struggles so far throughout his freshman season. Confidence wavered and the 7-footer didn't always appear ready for the physical battles. Yet the soon-to-be 20-year-old pops with potential because of his size and skill. The NCAA Tournament could improve or sink his draft projection.
Just missed lottery - Diamond Stone, C, Maryland
There's no doubting Stone's offense capabilities. Based on the Wisconsin native's struggles defensively during his one season on the college level, it's unclear how he'll get minutes as a rookie. That's not expected to stop him from turning pro. Other potential lottery picks include Michigan State PF Deyonta Davis, Vanderbilt PG Wade Baldwin, Washington PF Marquese Chriss and Gonzaga C Domantas Sabonis.