NBA Mock Draft 2016: ESPN's Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton's Latest Top 10

Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2016

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) goes up for a basket against VCU in the second half during a second-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Oklahoma won 85-81. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Alonzo Adams/Associated Press

While the NCAA tournament is down to its Sweet 16, some of the nation's top prospects who have seen their college careers come to end, along with NBA fans, are already looking ahead to the league's draft in June. 

NBA teams that know their seasons are also over can look ahead to the draft as a light at the end of the tunnel as they are one big draft pick away from turning things around. 

For fans wondering what direction those NBA teams might go come June's draft, ESPN draft experts Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton are here to help, as they released their top-10 mock draft Thursday.

Ford and Pelton used ESPN's lottery mock draft generator to determine the draft order and picked what the top-10 teams of the draft should do. So this isn't a prediction of what team will pick which player.  

Chad Ford 2016 Mock Draft: Top-10
PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
1Los Angeles LakersBen SimmonsFLSU
2New Orleans PelicansBrandon IngramFDuke
3Philadelphia 76ersJamal MurrayGKentucky
4Sacramento KingsDragan BenderF/CCroatia
5Phoenix SunsHenry EllensonF/CMarquette
6Boston CelticsMarquise ChrissFWashington
7Minnesota TimberwolvesBuddy HieldGOklahoma
8Denver NuggetsKris DunnGProvidence
9Toronto RaptorsFurkan KorkmazFTurkey
10Orlando MagicJaylen BrownFCalifornia

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers: Ben Simmons

Simmons didn't have a postseason to create a lasting image for NBA scouts to go off of heading into the offseason. 

Instead, his last game at LSU was a 71-38 smackdown from Texas A&M in the SEC tournament. LSU declined an invitation to the NIT. 

So if Simmons does go No. 1, he joins some exclusive company, via ESPN:

During his first and only college season, Simmons averaged a double-double of 19.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He was fifth in the nation with 23 double-doubles on the season, which trailed only Julius Randle and Michael Beasley for most in a single season by a freshman in NCAA history, via ESPN Stats & Info

At 6'10", Simmons is incredibly athletic, can run the floor with the best and is capable of putting the ball on the floor, which has made him a nightmare to cover in college. 

With the Lakers, Simmons would join the young core that consists of guards D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, along with forward Julius Randle. It will give the team just another big-time, household name to introduce next season, the first without Kobe Bryant, as they try to work out of the basement of the Western Conference.

 

No. 2 New Orleans Pelicans: Brandon Ingram 

Ingram, unlike Simmons, is still playing and impressing in the NCAA tournament with Duke, via ESPN Stats & Info:

The 6'9" forward can score anywhere on the floor with a 44-percent mark from the field and a 41-percent clip from three-point range. It's helped him become Duke's second-leading scorer behind guard Grayson Allen this year with 17.1 points per game to go with 6.8 rebounds. 

Don't let his prowess from distance fool you, though. He's not afraid to go inside and bang around with larger players:

His kind of skill set would be a welcome sight for the Pelicans, who are looking for some frontcourt help for franchise player Anthony Davis. He would certainly be an upgrade to Dante Cunningham or Alonzo Gee, two small forwards that have averaged a combined 9.1 points per game. 

Ingram's ability to score from both the perimeter and the inside could open things up for Davis and the Pelicans offense even more next season. 

 

No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves: Buddy Hield

There's no arguing that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is the most dangerous pure scorer that is coming out of the draft this season. 

He's averaged 25.4 points per game this year while shooting 50 percent from the field and 46 percent from three-point range. 

Hield has been making plenty of noise in the NCAA tournament as well after he dropped 27 on Cal State Bakersfield in the first round of the dance and wreaked havoc on VCU's intense defense with 36 in the second. 

The guard also showed that he was capable of putting his team on his back:

Pelton, though, believes that if the Timberwolves take Hield, he would start his career on the bench behind Zach LaVine at the shooting guard position. But LaVine could be moved to point guard, which would open a spot for Hield to start. 

With the kind of scoring ability he's exhibited in college, it would be hard not only to pass him up, but to keep him on the bench in the NBA. 

 

Stats courtesy of ESPN.com.