2016 NBA Mock Draft: How All 30 1st-Round Picks Shake Out Right Now
The 2016 NBA mock draft board continues to change.
A new one-and-done freshman has been added to the mix, while another has jumped into our lottery.
Still, nobody is moving faster than Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, who didn't even seem like a first-round lock over the summer.
On the other hand, Kentucky's teenagers have steadily lost ground. And I've taken Cheick Diallo—Kansas' prized 2015 recruit—off the board completely.
We used current NBA standings to create the draft order and accounted for previous trades that affect future picks.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons (LSU, SF/PF, Freshman)
Questions over Ben Simmons' fit in a frontcourt with non-shooters won't stop the Philadelphia 76ers from pulling the trigger. Chances are Sixers management will value Simmons as the superior prospect over Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid.
The focal point of every defense LSU faces, Simmons has unsurprisingly seen his scoring numbers dip in January, but he's still on pace to become the only college player since 1995 to average at least 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a season.
Simmons has ultimately presented himself as the type of player coaches can run their offense through, whether his shooting range develops or not. Meanwhile, showtime athleticism and phenomenal hands should continue translating into easy buckets off drives, improvisation and transition opportunities.
The Sixers may give Duke's Brandon Ingram or Croatia's Dragan Bender a look, but it won't be overly serious. They'll take Simmons—the top talent—and sort out the details and roster issues later.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram (Duke, SF, Freshman)
With Ben Simmons off the board, look for the Los Angeles Lakers to focus their attention on Brandon Ingram, who's backed up obvious pro potential with consistent production.
He's averaging 20 points a game through December and January. He's also caught fire from outside, where he continues to show off shooting range (2.1 threes per game, 40.4 percent) and a mechanically sound jumper.
Ingram clearly has the offensive game to go with extraordinary measurements and bounce. His ball-handling and perimeter shot-making ability highlight a face-up scoring attack that screams mismatch for a small forward with 6'9" size and 7'3" length.
Ingram is quietly starting to look like a promising consolation prize for the team picking at No. 2. And he's just the type of wing player the Lakers could use once Kobe Bryant retires.
3. Boston Celtics (via Nets): Dragan Bender (Croatia, PF, 1997)
Dragan Bender has been quiet overseas, but a low-key 2015-16 season won't kill NBA interest. Having just turned 18 in November, he was never expected to play heavy minutes in Euroleague.
Scouts have ultimately watched enough of Bender over the years, from previous FIBA events to Basketball Without Borders and Eurocamp. He's a skilled 7-footer with ball-handling ability, shooting range, passing instincts and the versatility to protect the rim or switch onto small players defensively. That could look awfully appealing from the NBA's stretch 4 position, especially considering he's made 16 of 39 threes (41 percent) through 23 games.
Bender's stock should actually benefit from a lack of can't-miss star power in 2016's projected field. Teams could end up more willing to gamble on an international prospect, knowing they aren't passing on any no-brainer NCAA options.
Given the Celtics' backcourt and average, uninspiring crop of big men, Bender would seem like the right play for Boston at No. 3 both in terms of fit and risk versus reward.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Ivan Rabb (California, PF, Freshman)
In a guard-heavy lineup, Ivan Rabb hasn't exactly been the focal point of California's offense. But it hasn't masked his potential or limited his production. Per 40 minutes, Rabb is averaging 18.5 points and 13 boards on 63.9 percent shooting.
Rabb clearly improved his upper body over the offseason, and as a result, he's looked stronger and tougher inside.
We already knew about his nose for the ball and spectacular hands. Rabb comes down with loose balls in traffic or from out of position, and he catches and finishes through crowds. We've even seen promising shooting touch (45 percent on two-point jumpers, 75 percent from the line) and various post moves, including fadeaways, hooks and up-and-unders.
Still just 18 years old, Rabb is one of the few high-upside prospects this 2016 class may have to offer. His stock should only rise after the season following measurements, testing and workouts.
5. Phoenix Suns: Henry Ellenson (Marquette, PF, Freshman)
Henry Ellenson continues to build up a strong case for top-10 consideration. He's averaging 15.9 points and 9.7 boards, having reached double digits in scoring all but once this season.
Highly skilled with 'stretch 4' written all over his NBA outlook, Ellenson has flashed promising shooting touch and a good-looking jumper off pick-and-pops and spot-ups (43.3 percent on two-point jumpers, 15 made threes).
He also has an excellent handle for a big, which allows him to initiate the break off defensive boards or face up and score from the short corner. And we've seen over-the-shoulder touch from Ellenson with his back to the hoop.
He doesn't project as a rim protector or strong perimeter defender, but his offensive versatility should fit right into today's NBA.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Kris Dunn (Providence, PG, Junior)
With Jrue Holiday's contract up after the 2016-17 season, Kris Dunn could be an attractive option for the New Orleans Pelicans, who wouldn't be passing on any obvious choices if they grabbed him at No. 6.
Dunn has hit a number of clutch shots lately, including a buzzer-beater to sink Creighton and a game-sealing three to beat Butler on Tuesday. He also now ranks No. 1 in the country in assist percentage, an achievement the Pelicans should ultimately value.
Dunn excels as a passer and shot-creator for teammates off ball screens and penetration. He projects more as a distributing playmaker than a scorer early on, especially when you consider his shaky jumper. Second in the country in steals, Dunn's defense is another major selling point.
Vanderbilt's Wade Baldwin IV may be a candidate to rise during the predraft process, but at this stage, Dunn looks like the top choice for point guard-needy teams drafting in the top 10.
7. Denver Nuggets: Buddy Hield (Oklahoma, SG, Senior)
Without any high-upside projects worth reaching for at No. 7, this is a spot where the Denver Nuggets can target a quick-fix option. A handful of the scouts I've spoken with voted Buddy Hield as one of the three most NBA-ready prospects in the country.
Hield has been lighting up defenses game after game with jumpers off pull-ups, screens and deep spot-ups. He's averaging 26.1 points and having arguably the best individual shooting season in 20 years.
If he maintains his production, Hield would be the only player to ever make four threes a game, shoot 50 percent from downtown and make 90 percent of his free throws (minimum two games).
His numbers are actually awfully close to J.J. Redick's from his senior at year at Duke. Hield offers a little more length and athleticism, but Redick isn't a bad pro comparison in terms of style of play and projected role.
8. Sacramento Kings: Jaylen Brown (California, SF, Freshman)
Jaylen Brown's strengths and weaknesses have looked pretty well-defined through two months. A major selling point continues to be his physical tools and athleticism.
At 6'7", 225 pounds with a 7'0 ½" wingspan, Brown has textbook size and length, as well as the explosiveness to soar above the rim and the strength to plow through contact below it. He has shot 55 percent inside the arc and averaged 8.9 free-throw attempts per 40 minutes. He's at his best attacking the basket, whether it's off line drives or fast-break opportunities.
However, he struggles to create quality looks for himself in the half court, and his perimeter game looks far from NBA-ready. Brown has shot 27.8 percent on two-point jumpers, 28.8 percent from three and 63 percent from the free-throw line.
It hasn't been too big of a problem with Brown playing minutes at power forward. But as an NBA wing, he'll need to improve his shooting for the chance to earn early playing time in the pros.
9: Milwaukee Bucks: Jakob Poeltl (Utah, C, Sophomore)
The Milwaukee Bucks added Greg Monroe over the offseason and have seen their second-ranked 2014-15 defense in efficiency drop to No. 24 (tie) in 2015-16, per ESPN. Management might want to think about targeting a rim protector as a backup or eventual replacement in the middle.
Poeltl's core strengths ultimately revolve around his rebounding and shot-blocking presence, while his ability to switch in pick-and-roll coverage and defend in space is another major plus.
His scoring numbers have been down lately, though it was to be expected after he'd hit the 20-point mark in four of Utah's first eight games. Still, since then, he's gone for 19 points and 14 boards against Duke and 19 and 10 against California. Poeltl's hands and footwork have looked much improved, while he continues to clean the glass (13.5 rebounds per 40 minutes) and flash defensive upside.
He's even raised his assist percentage to 15.4 percent from 6.6 percent, per Sports-Reference.com, highlighting better awareness as a passer out of the post.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Skal Labissiere (Kentucky, PF/C, Freshman)
Slotting Skal Labissiere at No. 10 means I still expect improvement and an eventual breakout performance.
Coach John Calipari hasn't given him back his minutes, but Labissiere has at least been making some plays when given the chance over the past two games (Mississippi State and Auburn). His potential was highlighted in one 10-second stretch against Auburn that saw Labissiere block a shot, run the floor and finish an alley-oop in transition.
The big concern early on has been his lack of strength and toughness. He's gotten moved under the boards and only averages 7.3 rebounds per 40 minutes.
But in flashes, we have seen the bounce, shooting touch and post moves that initially fueled all the hype. If he can't put more of them together by March, he'll continue to slide. At this stage, I'm just not ready to stick a fork in Labissiere's freshman season.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Jamal Murray (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
The production has been there for Jamal Murray, who's now hit the 20-point mark in four straight games.
And it seems safe to say his eventual NBA role will look just like the one he's playing for Kentucky. Murray's value lies within his scoring ability against set half-court defenses. Coaches can slide him off the ball, where he spreads the floor and spots up from three (2.7 threes made per game, 38.7 percent) or shoots off curls and screens.
With the ball, Murray has the handle to create and the shot-making skills to hit every look in the book, from pull-ups and step-backs to lefty runners and acrobatic finishes. But he isn't a great playmaker or decision-maker. Murray tends to dance around, overdribble or force the issue. And he's totaled more turnovers (51) than assists (43).
He isn't the same caliber athlete as most successful scoring 2-guards in the league, either, and hasn't looked particularly sharp defensively.
12. Washington Wizards): Timothe Luwawu (France, SG/SF, 1995)
After playing in France's second division and withdrawing his name from the 2015 draft field, Timothe Luwawu has broken out this season in the Adriatic League.
He's averaging 14.9 points and 2.2 threes made per game. Luwawu, whose 6'7" size, long arms and smooth athleticism seem built for the NBA wing, has really improved his jumper and consequently strengthened his three-and-D image.
Luwawu can still be erratic—he's been slumping prior to erupting for 29 points on January 2. His shot selection isn't overly disciplined, and he rarely gets to the line (4.1 times in 30.5 minutes per game).
But Luwawu's NBA potential isn't difficult to spot. And the league loves wings who can stretch the floor, play above the rim and guard multiple positions. Without any slam-dunk NCAA-available prospects, he's an attractive upside play late in the lottery.
13. Toronto Raptors (via Knicks): Deyonta Davis (Michigan State, PF, Freshman)
He hasn't played as many minutes as the other lottery candidates, but Deyonta Davis seems to always come through when given time.
Davis surely passes the eye test with 6'10" 245-pound size and bounce. He's shooting 67 percent, dong almost all of his work as a finisher at the basket off dump-downs and putbacks. And he's been able to score off jump hooks and over-the-shoulder improvisation around the key.
Davis has to work on his body and offensive versatility, but he's flashed promising mid-range touch and he's been super active inside, averaging 11.6 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per 40 minutes.
Though he'll need to play more over the next few months, something tells me Davis' role will only increase.
14. Orlando Magic: Wade Baldwin IV (Vanderbilt, PG, Sophomore)
The Orlando Magic have a handful of ball-handlers, but none have been too convincing. That could put Wade Baldwin IV in play. Baldwin—6'3", 194 pounds, 6'10" wingspan—sure looks the part physically and athletically.
He's an excellent defender, difficult to pass or dribble around, thanks to his quick feet, strong frame and incredible length. And unlike Elfrid Payton, Baldwin's shooting potential remains bright. After hitting 43.9 percent of his threes as a freshman, he's making 45.8 percent of them in 2015-16 and sinking 80 percent of his free throws.
Otherwise, Baldwin is dynamite in transition and a tough line driver. He's also capable of making all the right reads and passes, though he'll need to improve his handle and decision-making (4.1 turnovers per 40 minutes).
There is hidden upside here not shown by Baldwin's 14.4-point and 4.5-assist averages. He'll be a candidate to rise even further during workouts and NBA combine testing.
15. Utah Jazz: Diamond Stone (Maryland, C, Freshman
Diamond Stone has consistently delivered when called on, having now scored in double figures in all but two games. The Maryland offense doesn't run through him, but he's capitalized on the majority of his dump-downs and low-post touches.
Per 40 minutes, he's averaging 25.4 points and 10.3 boards on 59.9 percent shooting.
Stone does a nice job of using his soft hands and 6'11", 255-pound frame around the basket. He's shown he can finish at difficult angles or through contact—something we saw a ton of during his 39-point eruption against Penn State. He's even shooting 80.2 percent from the line and has shown some promising mid-range touch.
Stone isn't a jump-out-of-the-gym athlete, but his combination of power and finesse is enticing.
16.Denver Nuggets (via Rockets):: Furkan Korkmaz (Turkey, SG/SF, 1997)
Just 18 years old, Furkan Korkmaz has been recently drawing starts for Anadolu Efes. His minutes are still up and down depending on the week, but he's still taken on a significant role for a teenager in the Turkish League and Euroleague.
Korkmaz offers that friendly blend of athleticism and shooting. He's made 26 of his 56 threes and shot a solid 54.8 percent inside the arc—a strong number for a 180-pound teenager.
He's also already created a number of highlights in transition, where his hops and coordination translate to high-flying finishes. And he can handle the ball a bit in the half court. We've seen instances of Korkmaz separating into pull-ups, step-backs and floaters.
He isn't explosive turning the corner, as he's taken just 10 free-throw attempts in 327.6 minutes all year. But Korkmaz's size, leaping ability and shot-making form an intriguing combination.
17. Boston Celtics: Denzel Valentine (Michigan State, SG, Senior)
There isn't flashy upside tied to Denzel Valentine, but there is a sense of security attached to his shooting credentials and passing.
The Boston Celtics rank No. 7 in the NBA in three-pointers attempted, but No. 28 in three-point percentage. Valentine, 22 years old, could potentially help here right away, having hit 102 triples as a junior and 39.3 percent of his 112 attempts (2.9 threes made per game) this season.
Valentine ultimately has deep range and a quick release shooting off curls and screens. Meanwhile, he ranks No. 4 in the country in assist percentage, per Sports-Reference.com. Valentine can handle the ball and has an excellent feel as a facilitator in ball-screen and drive-and-kick situations.
Coaches should be able to play him at either backcourt position—on or off the ball—without having to worry about him fitting into the offense. He looks like a safe mid-first-round bet and future NBA role player.
18. Detroit Pistons: Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV, C, Freshman)
Stephen Zimmerman has rattled off three consecutive double-doubles, bringing his per-40-minute averages to 16.5 points and 14.8 rebounds.
An above-average athlete for a 7-footer, Zimmerman has good hands and coordination around the basket, as well as some ball skills away from it. We've seen touch on his hooks and jumpers and strong passing instincts.
The concern with Zimmerman was whether he could bang down low and protect the rim. But he's done a better job of anchoring the paint than expected.
At 19 years old, he'll need a year in the D-League before having much to offer, but long term, Zimmerman's stretch potential appears worth chasing in the mid-to-late first round.
19. Philadelphia 76ers (via Heat):: Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame, PG, Junior)
Demetrius Jackson was sharp in Notre Dame's recent road win at Duke, having scored 24 points and making 10 two-point field goals.
He plays a lot bigger and stronger than 6'1". But he also operates with poise and control. Jackson only turns it over 2.2 times per 40 minutes and converts 55.8 percent of his shots inside the arc. Behind it, he's already a proven shooter. After hitting at least 40 percent of his threes in each of his first two seasons, he's making 1.8 threes per game at a 39 percent clip in 2015-16.
And the Philadelphia 76ers rank No. 27 in three-point percentage.
Jackson doesn't have blow-by jets—he only averages 5.9 assists and 4.7 free-throw attempts per 40 minutes. He's a sound passer, but a better playmaker in the open floor than he is in the half court. Still, Jackson is an excellent athlete, decision-maker, shooter and scorer in the lane. The Eric Bledsoe comparison is intriguing.
20. Indiana Pacers: Melo Trimble (Maryland, PG, Sophomore)
Melo Trimble hit somewhat of a rough patch recently, which included arguably his worst performance at Maryland—a 1-of-7 showing in 30 minutes during a loss to Michigan.
He did bounce back with 18 points and six assists in an overtime win over Northwestern on Tuesday. And overall, his floor game has looked improved. Trimble's assist percentage is up to 33.7 percent from 21.2 percent, per Sports-Reference.com, and he's making 57.3 percent of his two-point attempts, up from 46.8 percent a year ago.
Limited explosiveness and defensive potential hold Trimble's upside in check. There should be concerns over his ability to finish in traffic, and without much length, he could have a tough time covering starting point guards.
But among his quickness, ball skills, shooting ability and swagger, Trimble's offensive package looks NBA quality—even if it's for a backup ball-handling role.
21. Boston Celtics (via Mavericks): Caris LeVert (Michigan, SG, Senior)
Caris LeVert continues to miss games with a lower leg injury, a troubling sign for a prospect whose foot has already been operated on twice. It's too early to say for sure, but this doesn't bode well for his draft stock.
Still, in what looks like a draft field that's going to lack depth, LeVert could be an enticing risk-reward play late in Round 1.
Before going down, he was actually have a strong season, averaging 17.6 points, 5.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds on 44.6 percent from three. A proven shooter and impressive playmaker, LeVert's versatility seems tailor-made for the NBA 2-guard position.
He'll just need to stay healthy.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Dwayne Bacon (Florida State, SG, Freshman)
Dwayne Bacon has flashed the offensive game to go with the NBA physical tools, including 6'7", 210-pound size and smooth athleticism.
He just went for 18 points and nine rebounds in Florida State's win over Virginia.
Bacon has been a huge weapon in transition, where he's already converted a whopping 52 field goals through 17 games, per Hoop-Math.com. And he can score from all three levels in the half court, with the ability to attack and finish on the move, pull up in mid-range and spot up from three.
He's still a work in progress from deep (17-of-56 on threes) and isn't a particularly good defender. But Bacon's Arron Afflalo-like offensive game looks convincing enough to draft this year in Round 1.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Malik Beasley (Florida State, SG, Freshman)
Malik Beasley's NBA case has looked stronger by the week. The big early-season numbers no longer appear flukey.
He just went for 17 points in an upset win over Virginia on Sunday after scoring 22 points against North Carolina State.
Beasley is an explosive athlete capable of launching himself above the rim or slicing through the defense to the rack. He's also making 41.2 percent of his threes and 85.7 percent of his free throws, which helps translate to an impressive 61.3 percent true shooting percentage, per Sports-Reference.com.
He isn't much of a playmaker, but he rebounds well (8.3 per 40 minutes) and could potentially guard both backcourt positions.
24. Chicago Bulls: Grayson Allen (Duke, SG, Sophomore)
It's no sure thing Grayson Allen will declare for the 2016 draft, but should he choose to enter his name, the first-round interest is likely to be there.
Teams are bound to value Allen's shooting stroke and athleticism. He's averaging 20.1 points, though more importantly, he's shooting 41.1 percent from three, making 1.9 triples per game and taking 7.4 free-throw attempts per 40 minutes.
Allen looks comfortable from behind the arc and explosive turning the corner. His 4.2 assists per 40 minutes also highlights some drive-and-kick playmaking ability.
Finishing and separating against much longer NBA defenders will be a challenge, but Allen's burst, jumper and competitiveness are worth gambling on in the 20s.
25. Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam (New Mexico State, PF, Sophomore)
Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has been willing to gamble in the past. With a second first-round pick, he could roll the dice on Pascal Siakam, who's averaging 22.2 points and 11.9 rebounds.
Siakam—6'9", 230 pounds—blends strength, length, agility and explosiveness around the basket. He runs the floor, finishes above the rim, rebounds and blocks shots (2.2 per game).
His physical tools and athleticism are still ahead of his skills, but the Raptors could give him a year to build up his post game and shooting touch in the D-League.
26. Los Angeles Clippers: Brice Johnson (North Carolina, PF, Senior)
Brice Johnson has ramped up his activity and production without having added much to his game. He's averaging 24.6 points and 14.8 rebounds per 40 minutes, doing just about all of his damage around the rim, where he's finishing at a remarkable 95.1 percent clip, per Hoop-Math.com.
Johnson brings a ton of bounce and energy to the paint, which has led to easy buckets off dump-downs, lobs and putbacks (27 total). And he's making 78.9 percent of his free throws, a good sign regarding his mid-range shooting touch.
His role in the pros won't be to score; rather, it will be to inject a frontcourt with some athleticism and life. He projects as an energizer capable of making plays without needing his number called.
27. Philadelphia 76ers (via Thunder): Taurean Prince (Baylor, SF, Senior)
Taurean Prince hasn't exploded offensively, but he has expanded his versatility. He's already totaled more assists (51) than he did all last year (42), showing an improved off-the-dribble game and playmaking skills.
And he's still kept his three-and-D potential alive, even though he hasn't made as many triples per game. Prince's jumper, which has connected on 24-of-65 threes and 83.3 percent of his free throws, is more convincing than his long-range 36.9 percent mark suggests.
At 6'7", 220 pounds, Prince has strong physical tools for a wing, along with impressive agility and body control attacking the basket. He'll have a strong chances of carving out a role for himself if he can capitalize enough on his spot-up shooting opportunities.
28. Phoenix Suns (via Cavaliers): Kahlil Felder (Oakland, PG, Junior)
Though just 5'9", Kahlil Felder has made it impossible to write him off as a potential NBA playmaker.
Against power-conference competition, he's already put up 38 points against Washington, 37 against Michigan State and 30 against Virginia. Blazing quick with a dazzling handle, Felder can create and make every shot in the book, from long pull-ups and step-backs to crafty runners and floaters.
But he's also leading the country in assists, having shown off impressive setup ability—not just volume shooting and scoring. It's not crazy to think a team could view Felder as a change-of-pace spark off the bench.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga, PF, Sophomore)
Domantas Sabonis has been a machine for Gonzaga, averaging 17.8 points and 10.9 rebounds. His nose for the ball around the hoop is second to none. He does a great job of boxing out and tracking down loose balls inside, where he also has soft touch and the ability to convert with either hand at awkward angles.
He's also raised his free-throw percentage to 82.6 percent and hit 48 percent of his two-point jumpers, per Hoop-Math.com.
Sabonis' lack of length, athleticism and rim protection—he's totaled just 25 blocks in 56 career games—makes it tough to buy him as anything more than an energizer and hustler. But this late, if you can land a specialist, you take him.
30. Golden State Warriors: Damion Jones (Vanderbilt, C, Junior)
Though loaded with potential, Damian Jones has had trouble tapping into it. He's averaging 5.4 fouls per 40 minutes, up from the 3.5 from a season ago. And it's limited his opportunities and impact. Vanderbilt's seven losses sure won't reflect favorably on Jones' stock, either.
He's still worth looking at late in the first round, given his unteachable 7'0" size and athleticism. In doses, we've also seen high-post moves and impressive finishing ability around the block.
But unless he starts turning up his rebounding motor and asserting himself offensively, teams aren't likely to view him as anything more than a risky project.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!