Blakely's Final 2016 NBA Mock Draft
BOSTON – All the rumors, speculation and NBA draft innuendo will come to a head tonight.
With so much parity beyond the top two picks, there’s the potential for lots of draft night fireworks for sure.
Things began to shake down on Wednesday with a pair of multi-team trades headlined by all-stars Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague being traded to New York and Indiana, respectively.
The Boston Celtics certainly hope to be one of the more active teams tonight, especially when you consider they have more picks (8) than any team ever since the NBA went to a two-draft format in 1989.
As one league executive reminded me earlier this week, “this is just the beginning. Free agency is when things will really heat up, especially with so many teams having money to spend.”
But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s enjoy tonight’s draft which could radically shape the futures of some organizations for years to come.
And with that, here’s the final installment of CSNNE.com’s 2016 Mock Drafts.
1. Philadelphia – Ben Simmons, F, LSU
The Sixers were the only team Simmons worked out for leading up to tonight’s draft. That, coupled with him reportedly being told he would be the No. 1 pick by Philly (and not a single soul saying otherwise) makes the first pick of the night a bit anti-climactic.
2. Los Angeles Lakers -- Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke
There’s always a chance that the Lakers could shock the world and go with someone other than Ingram. But that happening is highly unlikely especially when you consider how diverse Ingram’s skills are compared to his fellow draft hopefuls.
3. BOSTON – Jaylen Brown, SG/SF, California
It’s a tough call here between Brown and Providence’s Kris Dunn, but Brown gets the slight edge. The Celtics know for them to continue trending towards contending in the East, they need to go through Cleveland. And that means going through LeBron James which requires as many athletic, big wings (currently the Celtics have one in Jae Crowder) as possible.
Jaylen Brown 2016 NBA Draft scouting report
4. Phoenix: Marquese Chriss, F, Washington
The Suns have a need for a power forward with an inside-outside game which plays into the strengths of Chriss’ game. The Suns add one of the biggest risers in the draft as well as a specific roster need.
5. Minnesota – Kris Dunn, PG, Providence College
As much as Buddy Hield’s shooting would be a nice addition, the idea that Tom Thibodeau would let Dunn, the best defensive guard in the draft pass by? He’ll take Dunn and not look back.
6. New Orleans – Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
You can’t overstate how important it is for the Pelicans to come out of this draft with one of the top guards in this draft. Just as important to them is taking a player in the backcourt who can also make shots which is why Murray is an ideal fit for the Pelicans.
7. Denver – Dragan Bender, PF/C, International
While this is lower than most would expect from the top international prospect, Bender will have an opportunity to grow his game with a team that has a young core that’s still developing.
8. Sacramento – Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
The Kings add the best shooter in the draft after being ranked among the top 10 in a number of offensive categories last season.
9. Toronto – Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga
A high energy forward with great footwork, Sabonis would be a nice addition to a Raptors team that will look to shore up its frontcourt that’s likely to be without free agent-to-be Bismack Biyombo.
10. Milwaukee – Deyonta Davis, PF/C, Michigan State
He didn’t play much in his lone season at Michigan State, but showed tremendous potential as an offensive rebounder/shot blocker. Because of Milwaukee’s depth in the frontcourt, the Bucks can bring Davis along gradually.
11. Orlando – Skal Labissiere, PF/C Kentucky
He could benefit from having a coach like Frank Vogel who is known in NBA circles as being really good in terms of player development. The skills are there to be a really good NBA player. It’s just a matter of Labissiere being coached up to the point where his talents shine and he begins to just play the game rather than think about how to play which was an issue at Kentucky last season.
12. Atlanta (from Utah) – Henry Ellison, PF/C, Marquette
As the Hawks continue to revamp their roster, Ellison is good addition in large part because of what he can bring to the floor offensively. It’s too soon to say what kind of impact he’ll make early on, but Al Horford’s pending free agency will certainly be a factor.
13. Phoenix – Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
The Suns add one of the best centers in this draft who plays with a high level of physicality. Look for Poeltl to compete for minutes early on in large part because his rim-protection potential which is aided by really good footwork.
14. Chicago – Timothe Luwawu, SF, International
Luwawu impressed many NBA teams with his defensive skills, but it’s his offense that elevated him from a marginal first-round pick into a middle-of-the-first round pick.
15. Denver (from Houston) – Wade Baldwin IV, PG, Vanderbilt
At 6-4 Baldwin has point-guard size, but also the skills and length that would allow him to play with Emmanuel Mudiay.
16. Boston (from Dallas) – Denzel Valentine, SF, Michigan State
The reports about Valentine’s right knee may scare off some teams, but don’t count the Boston Celtics among them. Here’s what you have to remember about Valentine: He only missed four games in four years in college, with those four missed games coming this past season with a cartilage injury to his left knee. He returned to action and didn’t miss a beat as he went on to earn national player of the year honors.
Denzel Valentine 2016 NBA Draft scouting report
17. Memphis – Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse
Multiple sources indicate Richardson will not fall any further than the Grizzlies. Memphis loves the instant offense dynamic he brings in addition to an impressive 7-foot wingspan despite being just 6-4.
18. Detroit -- Furkan Korkmaz, SG, International
This should be the beginning of a run on international players. Only 18 years old, Korkmaz is great at getting to the rim and would add a nice change-of-pace dynamic to the Pistons.
19. Denver (from Portland) – Cheick Diallo, PF, Kansas
There’s a decent chance that Kenneth Faried will be on the move this summer, creaking an opportunity for Diallo to play decent minutes from Day One.
20. Indiana – Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina
He’ll be an undersized power forward in the NBA, but Johnson brings a certain toughness to the floor that will get him in the good graces of head coach Nate McMillan quickly.
21. Atlanta – Dejounte Murray, SG, Washington
One of the best flat-out scorers in this draft, Murray has quietly made his way up the draft boards and is considered a solid first-round pick at this point.
22. Charlotte – Demetrious Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
Considered an old man by NBA draft standards, this 21-year-old playmaker has the tools to be a decent scoring point guard in the NBA. He needs to work on his court vision and defensively he doesn’t have great size, but his length and overall feel for the game are positives.
23. Boston – Ante Zizic, C, International
If the Celtics are going to keep its first-round picks, at least one will be a draft-and-stash pick. Zizic is a good selection for that purpose. The 7-footer finishes well in transition and does a decent job of defending the paint but could use another year or two playing overseas.
24. Philadelphia (from Miami) – Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky
If not for Ulis being (generously) listed at 5-10 and weighing just 149 pounds, he would be long gone before the Sixers are on the clock with this pick.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – DeAndre Bembry, SF, St. Joseph’s
Doc Rivers’ crew has one of the best starting units in the NBA, but their bench looks as though it’ll be radically different next season with so many players hitting free agency. Bembry has a very diverse set of skills which will give Rivers some options to play with in terms of where to play the 6-foot-6 utility player.
26. Philadelphia (from Oklahoma City) – Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State
One of the few players in this draft with a great shooting touch and the ability to be an effective scorer in transition, Beasley is a good addition for the Sixers at this point in the draft.
27. Toronto – Thon Maker, F, International
Opinions on where Maker will be drafted are all over the map, but the consensus at this point among most agents and league executives CSNNE.com has spoken with is that Maker will be a late first-round selection. And of the teams near the end of the draft, the Raptors make a lot of sense for a player who will need time to develop who isn’t quite as far behind as many believed.
28. Phoenix (from Cleveland) – Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor
Prince is one of the more mentally tough players in the draft which bodes well for him to work his way into a meaningful role for the Suns as a rookie. While he’s known primarily for his defense, Prince has gradually improved his 3-point shooting which has made him one of the better two-way wings in this draft.
29. San Antonio – Juan Hernangomez, F, International
No team canvases the globe the way the Spurs do, and seemingly always come up with a talented player. And with Manu Ginobili likely to play one more season for the Spurs, Hernangomez could stay overseas for one season and then come to the league to help fill what will be a sizable void if Ginobili calls it quits after the 2016-2017 season.
30. Golden State – Ben Bentil, F, Providence College
He showed teams through workouts and the NBA combine last month that he can in fact impact the games around the rim and from the perimeter, the kind of versatility that should fit in well with the Warriors.
THE NEXT FIVE
The Celtics have five, second-round picks. They are not expected to use all of them but just in case, here’s a look at the players Boston should target in the second round. No. 31: Ivica Zubac, C, International No. 35: Zhou Qi, C, International No. 45: Jarrod Uthoff, SF, Iowa No. 51: Jake Layman, SF, Maryland No. 58: Kyle Wiljter, PF, Gonzaga