NBA Draft 2016: Latest Mock Draft for the Best Prospects Atop Round 1

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2016

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 23 - Ben Simmons #25 of the LSU Tigers dribbles during a game against the Marquette Golden Eagles in the Legends Classic at Barclays Center on November. 23, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
Porter Binks/Getty Images

For almost half of the NBA, the next big event on the schedule is June 23's draft from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

One of sports' most exclusive drafts features just 60 picks, which makes a player's selection all the more special. 

Here is my latest first-round mock draft. The top half of the draft order will not be set until May 17's lottery drawing, so the order of picks is based on regular-season records.

2016 NBA Mock Draft: 1st Round
PickTeamPlayerPositionSchool
1Philadelphia 76ersBen SimmonsFLSU
2Los Angeles LakersBrandon IngramSFDuke
3Boston CelticsJamal MurraySGKentucky
4Phoenix SunsDragan BenderPFCroatia
5Minnesota TimberwolvesBuddy HieldSGOklahoma
6New Orleans PelicansKris DunnPGProvidence
7Denver NuggetsHenry EllensonPF/CMarquette
8Sacramento KingsJaylen BrownSG/SFCalifornia
9Toronto RaptorsJakob PoeltlCUtah
10Milwaukee BucksIvan RabbPFCalifornia
11Orlando MagicSkal LabissierePF/CKentucky
12Utah JazzFurkan KorkmazSGTurkey
13Phoenix SunsMarquese ChrissSFWashington
14Chicago BullsDenzel ValentineSGMichigan State
15Denver NuggetsTimothe LuwawuSGFrance
16Boston CelticsDomantas SabonisPF/CGonzaga
17Memphis GrizzliesCaris LeVertSGMichigan
18Detroit PistonsMalik BeasleySGFlorida State
19Denver NuggetsDejounte MurraySGWashington
20Indiana PacersDemetrius JacksonPGNotre Dame
21Atlanta HawksBrice JohnsonPFNorth Carolina
22Charlotte HornetsMalachi RichardsonSGSyracuse
23Boston CelticsCheick DialloPFKansas
24Philadelphia 76ersTyler UlisPGKentucky
25Los Angeles ClippersDiamond StoneCMaryland
26Philadelphia 76ersWade Baldwin IVSGVanderbilt
27Toronto RaptorsDeyonta DavisPFMichigan State
28Phoenix SunsMelo TrimblePGMaryland
29San Antonio SpursDamian JonesPFVanderbilt
30Golden State WarriorsStephen ZimmermanPF/CUNLV

 

The 76ers Could Have the Best Draft

This statement has been made annually over the past three or four years. The problem is injuries and a subpar supporting cast has kept Philadelphia rooted to the bottom of the league standings. 

If the pingpong balls fall in the right way, the Sixers will have the No. 1 overall pick along with another two picks in the 20s that they received from the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, per NBADraft.net

Speaking hypothetically, if the 76ers get the No. 1 pick, there shouldn't be much deliberation, as Ben Simmons is the best all-around athlete in this year's draft. 

In his lone season at LSU, Simmons averaged a double-double of 19.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. 

At 6'10", he can run the floor, shoot from mid-range and provide a low-post game, something that could stretch Philadelphia's frontcourt. 

Teaming up with Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and, if he's healthy, Joel Embiid, the 76ers could have a young, talented and explosive combination at the 4 and 5. 

Outside of the big men, Philadelphia's roster might as well be a blank canvas, as anyone acquired in the draft provides the possibility of being an upgrade at each position. 

Kentucky's Tyler Ulis could be available toward the end of the first round, and he could be a point guard of the future. Despite his 5'9" frame, Ulis can score and facilitate, having averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 assists per game last season with the Wildcats. 

Having a true floor general could give the 76ers structure and provide a supplier for those promising big men. 

With one more pick in the round coming from the Thunder, which will likely be one of the final five picks of the round, the 76ers could look for a shooter who can stretch the floor and provide a solid wing presence. 

That could come in the form of Vanderbilt's Wade Baldwin IV, who shot almost 41 percent from downtown last season. 

Developing a deep shooter like that would give opposing defenses something else to contend with other than Okafor, Noel, Embiid and possibly Simmons. 

If they have a successful draft like this, the 76ers could flirt with the chance of being a lower lottery pick instead of contending for a top-two pick like they have lately. 

 

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com.