2016 NBA Draft: Mark Schanowski's Mock Draft 2.0

2016 NBA Draft: Mark Schanowski's Mock Draft 2.0

As we move closer to the NBA Draft, here's another look at how things might fall in the first round with more lottery teams making their intentions known and several players dropping back because of injury concerns.

1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, F, LSU

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown has a relationship with the Simmons family from his years coaching in Australia. Plus, the versatile 6-foot-10 forward might be the only player in this draft with superstar potential, making it an easy choice for the 76ers.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram, F, Duke

L.A. needs scoring punch in the frontcourt, and the 6-foot-9 Ingram has been compared to Kevin Durant by some scouts. Should fit in well with the uptempo style preferred by new head coach Luke Walton.

3. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown, G/F, California

Danny Ainge is having a tough time deciding between Brown, Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield, but the athletic Brown has the chance to be a dynamic offensive talent, while Murray and Hield are more of the spot-up shooter mold. Guess here is that Ainge will go for the home-run pick.

4. Phoenix Suns: Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma

Hield is probably the best pure shooter in the draft, and the Suns could use another floor spacer to play off the point guard duo of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kris Dunn, PG, Providence

Tom Thibodeau's first pick as head of basketball operations could be a defense-first point guard who could complement and eventually replace incumbent starter Ricky Rubio. Not exactly a position of need, but Dunn is the best player on the board.

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky

Murray might be a little undersized to play shooting guard in the NBA, but there's no question about his ability to create his own shot. This is a position of need for the Pels with Eric Gordon most likely leaving in free agency.

7. Denver Nuggets: Dragan Bender, F, Croatia

With three picks in Round 1, Denver can afford to roll the dice on the skilled 7-foot-0 teenager who scouts say is not nearly as good a prospect as the Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis.

8. Sacramento Kings: Wade Baldwin, PG, Vanderbilt

Baldwin is one of the late risers in this year's draft. Scouts love his size and defensive potential at 6-foot-4, with a 6-foot-11 wing span. With last year's starter Rajon Rondo likely leaving in free agency, the Kings get the chance to draft the next version of Rondo in the rangy Baldwin.

9. Toronto Raptors: Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington

Toronto has been looking to upgrade the power forward spot for the last two years. Chriss is one of the youngest players in the draft, with the highest ceiling among the power forwards still on the board.

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah

Milwaukee could use another big man to complement their collection of athletic wing players. Free agent Greg Monroe is likely available in a trade after a disappointing first season in Beer City.

11. Orlando Magic: Skal Labissiere, F, Kentucky

Labissiere has a good shooting touch at nearly seven feet tall and impressed teams in workouts. He's painfully thin, which means he'll need a lot of extra work in an NBA weight room, but the Magic like his long-term potential.

12. Utah Jazz: Domantas Sabonis, F, Gonzaga

Sabonis refused to workout with teams below No. 12, leading a lot of scouts to think he's already received a promise from the Jazz. He could back up both Rudy Gobert and Derrek Favors in Utah.

13. Phoenix Suns: Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette

With their second pick in the first round, the Suns can go for a stretch power forward like Ellenson, who also can score in the post. Ellenson showed he has range to the NBA 3-point line during individual workouts.

14. Chicago Bulls: Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame

With the future of Derrick Rose in Chicago very much up in the air, the front office needs to get serious about finding the heir apparent at point guard. Jackson is a scoring point guard in the mold of Toronto All Star Kyle Lowry and helped Notre Dame reach the Elite Eight in each of the last two seasons.

15. Denver Nuggets: Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Michigan State

Projected as a lottery pick in many mock drafts, Valentine is now dealing with medical questions about the health of his knees. Still, the Big Ten Player of the Year has a unique skill set and tremendous court vision. Could be tremendous value for the Nuggets at this spot.

16. Boston Celtics: Deyonta Davis, PF/C, Michigan State

Make it two straight Spartans off the board in the middle of Round 1. Davis didn't play a lot during his one season in East Lansing, but his shot-blocking ability and offensive potential make him an attractive prospect.

17. Memphis Grizzlies: Timothe Luwawu, F, France

Memphis was looking to draft a point guard to protect against Mike Conley's upcoming free agency, but with Baldwin and Jackson off the board, the Grizzlies can address a need for some youth at the wing spots with the explosive athlete from France.

18. Detroit Pistons: Malachi Richardson, G, Syracuse

Detroit could use another reliable guard off the bench to play behind Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Richardson burst on to NBA scouts' radar after a strong showing in the NCAA tournament.

19. Denver Nuggets: Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey

Scouts says Korkmaz is a smooth, athletic wing scorer in the mold of Mario Hezonja, who the Magic took with their top pick last season. Don't be surprised if the Nuggets look to move this pick with so many young players already on the roster.

20. Indiana Pacers: Cheick Diallo, F, Kansas

Diallo didn't play much in his one season at Kansas, but showed a lot of potential at the NBA Draft combine. The Pacers have had a lot of turnover on their frontline in recent years, and Ian Mahinmi could be leaving in free agency.

21. Atlanta Hawks: Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor

Atlanta could lose versatile wing Kent Bazemore in free agency after losing Demarre Carroll a year ago. Small forward is a position of need, and the athletic Prince showed well in workouts.

22. Charlotte Hornets: Malik Beasley, SG/SF, Florida State

Charlotte needs to fortify the wing spots with Nic Batum, Courtney Lee and Marvin Williams all free agents. Beasley is coming off a strong season in the ACC, and scouts like his aggressiveness on the offensive end.

23. Boston Celtics: Ante Zizic, C, Croatia

Ainge will look to trade out of this pick, but if he can't find a taker, Zizic might be the best big man prospect out of the international draft-and-stash pool.

24. Philadelphia 76ers: DeAndre Bembry, SG/SF, St. Joe's

The Sixers could go in a number of directions with so many needs, so why not take a local Philly product like Bembry? He showed very well at the combine and has the versatility to play both wing spots off the bench.

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Brice Johnson, F, North Carolina

Coming off a strong NCAA tournament, Johnson would give the Clippers a talented forward to add to their bench. Doc Rivers is still looking for more consistency on that second unit.

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Juan Hernangomez, F, Spain

The Sixers don't want to add three more rookies to an already young roster, so barring a trade, look for Bryan Colangelo to take at least one future prospect who can stay in Europe to develop for another year or two.

27. Toronto Raptors: Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt

With Bismack Biyombo ready to cash in after a strong playoff run, the Raptors need a center to back up Jonas Valanciunas. Jones has good size and played well against SEC competition.

28. Phoenix Suns: Ivica Zubac, C, Serbia

Another team with three first-round picks goes with a player they can leave in Europe until a roster spot comes open. The Knicks and Wizards are looking to trade into the first round, and this could be a possible spot.

29. San Antonio Spurs: Thon Maker, F, Australia

The international man of mystery in this year's draft. Intriguing size at 7-foot-1, but NBA scouts aren't sure what position he'll play. The Spurs can let him develop overseas for a couple years before bringing him over.

30. Golden State Warriors: Isaiah Cousins, SG, Oklahoma

What could the team that has everything possibly want? How about another shooter? Cousins played well as Buddy Hield's running mate at Oklahoma and could fit right in with Golden State's small-ball offense.

The Bulls also have a second-round pick (No. 48 overall). They could possibly pick up a developmental center like Purdue's A.J. Hammons, UNLV's Stephen Zimmerman or Chinese seven-footer Zhou Qi or maybe a wing shooter like Michigan's oft-injured Caris LeVert, Seton Hall's Isaiah Whitehead or Wichita State's Ron Baker.

And there’s always the possibility of the Bulls trying to make a trade to move up in Round 1. The Trib’s K.C. Johnson reported their interest in Providence point guard Kris Dunn, but it would take a major deal to move into the top five. Look for a lot of trade activity around the league on draft night.

Five observations from Bulls-Sixers: Well, at least the first quarter was good


Five observations from Bulls-Sixers: Well, at least the first quarter was good

Here are five observations from the Bulls' season-opener loss to the Sixers on Thursday night.

1. How about that first quarter?

In what could wind up being the most exciting quarter all year, the Bulls began the year with a 41-point explosion. The Bulls shot 63 percent in the quarter, at one point scoring on an absurd 11 consecutive possessions. Bobby Portis scored 13 points and hit all five shots, while Zach LaVine added 15 of his own. The ball was moving, they played quickly and caught Philadelphia out of position at times and took care of the ball. The fun times didn't last, but it wound up being the highest scoring first quarter in a Bulls season opener. It was fun. The other three quarters? Well, the first quarter was fun.

2. The defense is as bad as we thought it was

Granted, Kris Dunn is far and away the Bulls' best defender and was out while attending the birth of his baby boy. But this was still about as bad a defensive performance as the Bulls could have had, even against an offensive juggernaut like the Sixers. Communication was off almost from the start, and they always looked two steps behind. The Sixers got just about anything they wanted in transition, meaning it was a moot point that they struggled from beyond the arc. From Jabari Parker to Zach LaVine, it wasn't pretty. They're going to struggle all year long. Dunn isn't going to make enough of a difference. Shoutout to Wendell Carter's block on Ben Simmons, the lone defensive highlight of the night

3. Bobby Portis' bet is off to a good start

Portis was guilty of an ugly defensive performance, as Dario Saric posted a monster line by out-hustling his counterpart much of the night. But offensively Portis continues to shine after a great preseason. Portis, now officially in a contract year, went for 20 points and 10 rebounds and added a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Without Lauri Markkanen he's the Bulls' No. 2 scorer behind LaVine. We'll add her, too, that LaVine continued to look smooth on offense. He had 29 points on 19 shots and had seven of the Bulls' 12 free throw attempts.

4. The backup point guard job is up for grabs

Cam Payne's leash is incredibly long. He's the best option for now once Kris Dunn eventually returns, but it's probably time for Ryan Arcidiacono and Tyler Ulis to get a look. Payne finished 0-for-4 with five assists and a turnover in 22 minutes. No one was expecting Payne to match Ben Simmons stat for stat (Simmons went for his third career-triple double in four games against the Bulls). But the ball routinely stopped when it got into Payne's hands, and he didn't seem to know where to go once he pushed in transition. His speed is a positive, but once he gets to his spot he struggled to make the right play. And he's a clear negative defensively. Arcidiacono and Ulis aren't exactly Gary Payton, but they deserve looks at some point in the near future. Arcidiacono had 8 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists in 28 minutes. That came against Philly's second unit, but he was decidely better.

5. Jabari Parker will want a do-over

Friday feels like forever ago. For all Portis did well to close the preseason, it was gone on Thursday. Parker's final line is a bit misleading because of the points he scored when the game was well out of reach. The truth was Parker's shot selection early was awful, and his defense was a real liability. It was the "cons" side of his scouting report played out on the court. There's still hope he can improve, of course, and Hoiberg will need to find the right combinations to make him successful. But we can probably rule out him at small forward if he's having trouble staying in front of power forwards.

Bulls turn to Cam Payne as they take on Sixers


Bulls turn to Cam Payne as they take on Sixers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Bulls’ starting point guard missing the team’s season opener is less than ideal, but that is the dilemma Fred Hoiberg and company are faced with.

Hoiberg made the announcement during shoot around that Kris Dunn would miss the first game of his third NBA season for personal reasons, but noted that his absence is “excused.”

The Bulls will turn to Cameron Payne as they get set to play the Sixers in Philadelphia Thursday night. The 24-year-old guard out of Murray State will be tasked with running the offense against one of the better defensive teams in the league.

Because of injuries and the numbers game at guard, Payne hasn’t had a chance to show Bulls fans much since he came over from Oklahoma City in a trade that sent Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Thunder.

“I feel like I can be way better,” Payne said when asked about the opportunity to show what he can do. “I know I didn’t make a lot of shots but it’s really not about that. It’s about getting my team involved and make sure everyone gets the ball in their spots to contribute.”

Payne showed flashes over the last 22 games of the 2017-18 season (14 starts), shooting 42 percent from three and averaging 4.6 assists per game in that stretch. The shooting stroke didn’t show up early in the preseason for Payne.

He was better in the team’s final exhibition against Denver and has shown enough to Hoiberg to earn the starting nod. He’ll have his work cut out for him tonight.

“Obviously we’ve been working on different coverages based on having a full roster, but things like this happen,” Hoiberg said when asked what this does to his game prep. “It’s going to be electric in here. They’re going to come out and play extremely hard and extremely physical. That’s who they are and we have to be ready for that. It’s a little bit of shock and awe with (the Sixers). You have to weather that first storm and hopefully give ourselves a chance with great effort.”

After Payne, the Bulls will have Ryan Arcidiacono as the first point guard off the bench. They’ll also have the services of newcomer Tyler Ulis, who will be in uniform tonight. Hoiberg mentioned that he feels comfortable with Zach Lavine bringing the ball up as well. He also mentioned that Jabari Parker will have his hands on the ball an awful lot with the team’s second unit.

The season hasn’t even started yet and the Bulls are already missing several key players. After an impressive rookie season, Lauri Markkanen will start the season on the shelf with a high grade lateral elbow sprain. Denzel Valentine will also miss tonight’s game with an ankle injury. The team may have Cristiano Felicio, also dealing with an ankle injury, depending on his pregame workout goes.

“It’s not ideal but it is what it is,” Hoiberg said. “It happens at this level. You just have to go out and do the best job you can. It’s an opportunity for our guys to step up with two of our better players out of the lineup – really three with Denzel as a guy that can make plays in that second unit.”