Blakely's 2016 NBA Mock Draft 1.0
Blakely's 2016 NBA Mock Draft 1.0
By A. Sherrod Blakely
BOSTON – It’s that time of year again when we “NBA experts” make a mockery of ourselves with a string of mock drafts. After watching most of the top prospects during the college basketball season and several international players via video replays, this is how I see the first round of June’s NBA draft play out based on where teams – if the ping-pong balls fall as they are supposed to which never seems to be the case – are slated to make their selection.
1. Philadelphia - Ben Simmons, F, LSU
Poor coaching at LSU raised questions about Simmons’ game. Will be a much, much better pro than his two semesters in Baton Rouge.
2. Los Angeles Lakers - Brandon Ingram, F, Duke
The closest thing we’ve seen to Kevin Durant since, well, Kevin Durant.
3. BOSTON - Dragan Bender, F/C, International
The tools are all there to be a difference-making, high impact big man. But are you getting the next Kristaps Porzingis, or Darko Milicic?
Blakely: Why Celtics should roll the dice on Bender
4. Phoenix - Jaylen Brown, G/F, California
Has NBA-body and a knack for scoring the ball, but his shooting mechanics and ball-handling could use some work.
5. Minnesota - Kris Dunn, G, Providence
Ricky Rubio may be the Timberwolves’ playmaker (for now), but Dunn’s scoring and playmaking skills only adds to one of the most exciting on-the-rise teams in the league.
6. New Orleans - Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
Arguably the most complete guard in this draft, Murray addresses one of the many voids in the Pelicans roster.
7. Denver - Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma
Arguably the best shooter in the draft, Hield should provide a nice boost to a Nuggets team that ranked 20th in the league in scoring last season.
8. Sacramento - Henry Ellenson, PF/C, Marquette
Can score the ball with the best of them in this draft among bigs, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired.
9. Toronto - Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
Provides some added muscle inside for a team that’s looking to move up from being ranked 16th in the league in rebounding this past season.
10. Milwaukee - Skal Labissiere, F/C, Kentucky
Once projected as a potential top overall pick, a humbling rookie season for the Wildcats showed both the promise and potential problems Labissiere might have at the next level.
11. Orlando - Timothe Luwawu, SG/SF, International
Has good size (6-7) and strength for his position, looks and plays the part of a talented two-way player. Needs to improve his ball-handling.
12. Utah - Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Gonzaga
Exceptional footwork, nice touch around the basket. Would be a good, quality pick-up for the Jazz at this spot.
13. Phoenix - Furkan Korkmaz, G, International
Exciting, high energy scorer who is at his best in transition.
14. Chicago - Wade Baldwin IV, G, Vanderbilt
Combo guard who should be an above-average defender with a 6-10 wingspan despite being just 6-3.
15. Denver - Denzel Valentine, G/F, Michigan State
Solid, do-it-all kind of player that provides depth to a Nuggets roster with plenty of holes to be filled.
16. Boston - Marquese Chriss, F, Washington
A tremendous all-around talent with above-average athleticism, his questionable motor and shoddy defensive rebounding skills will see this 18-year-old taken just outside of the lottery (top-14).
17. Memphis - Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
Gritty, tough guard – just how the Grizzlies like them - would make for a nice understudy to Mike Conley.
18. Detroit - Deyonta Davis, F, Michigan State
This isn’t just a hometown pick folks. Davis has a 7-2 wing span which makes him an ideal option as a rim-protecting big that the Pistons can turn against small-ball lineups.
19. Denver - Brice Johnson, F, North Carolina
Had a brilliant four-year career for the Tar Heels. Needs to get stronger if he’s to rebound anywhere close to the double-digit clip he did as a college senior.
20. Indiana - Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State
Shocked many with a surprisingly strong freshman season amid several high-profile first year players. Has lots of upside, but defense and ball-handling are among the biggest areas he needs to improve upon.
21. Atlanta - Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor
A definite 3-point shooter who can defend (3 and D player), Prince would provide some added depth and size at the wing position.
22. Charlotte - Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky
Ulis provides added depth regardless of whether the Hornets are able to re-sign Jeremy Lin this summer.
23. BOSTON - Stephen Zimmerman, C, UNLV
Above average athleticism for a more traditional 7-footer, confidence and consistency are the two biggest areas of concern.
24. Philadelphia - Dejounte Murray, PG, Washington
More of a scorer than set-up man, Murray at No. 24 falls under the “best player available” category.
25. Los Angeles Clippers- Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt
DeAndre Jordan is a dominant center, but the Clippers have nothing remotely close to strong rim-protection when he’s on the bench. Jones could be that guy for them.
26. Philadelphia - Diamond Stone, C, Maryland
You love the talent and skills that Stone brings to the table. But bigs that don’t stretch the floor and have attitude concerns will, like Stone, find a home in the bottom-10 of the first round.
27. Toronto - Thon Maker, PF/C, International
Maker’s lithe frame, well-traveled past and lack of big performances against the best competition, could result in him slipping out of the first round.
28. Phoenix - Cheick Diallo, PF/C, Kansas
Has great speed which should bode well for him as a help-side defender at the next level. But his offensive game is extremely raw, with whoever takes him doing so based heavily on potential.
29. San Antonio - Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse
Richardson has big-play potential, but learning at from Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Popovich? … priceless.
30. Golden State - Zhou Qi, C, International
Extremely lithe frame, but this 7-2 center has offensive skills that stretch beyond the 3-point line which helps spacing, and he’s an above-average rim protector.