On Thursday night, the 2015 NBA draft will take place, and as soon as that is over, speculation on the 2016 draft will begin in some small way. We figured we'd get a jump on things and hit you with an extra early mock for next year's draft just before the 2015 draft gets underway.
Look at this more as a player ranking than a true mock draft, because we obviously have no idea what order teams will finish in next season. The draft order is based on the lowest winning percentage from the 2014-15 NBA season with traded picks observed per NBADraft.net.
Just below the table is a closer look at three prospects you'll hear the most about over the next year. These three players will likely compete to be the top player taken in the 2016 draft.
|2016 NBA Mock Draft|
|Position||Team||Player, Position, School/Country|
|1||Minnesota||Ben Simmons, SF, LSU|
|2||New York||Skal Labissiere, PF/C, Kentucky|
|3||Philadelphia||Jaylen Brown, SF, California|
|4||Los Angeles Lakers||Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke|
|5||Orlando||Cheick Diallo, PF/C, Kansas|
|6||Sacramento||Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga|
|7||Denver||Dragan Bender, PF/C, Israel|
|8||Detroit||Malik Newman, SG, Mississippi State|
|9||Charlotte||Henry Ellenson, C, Marquette|
|10||Miami||Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey|
|11||Indiana||Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah|
|12||Utah||Diamond Stone, C, Maryland|
|13||Phoenix||Zhou Qi, C, China|
|14||Oklahoma City||Kris Dunn, PG, Providence|
|15||Brooklyn||Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame|
|16||Boston||Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, SG, Kansas|
|17||Milwaukee||Nigel Hayes, PF, Wisconsin|
|18||New Orleans||Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan|
|19||Washington||Damian Jones, PF/C, Vanderbilt|
|20||Toronto||Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina|
|21||Boston||Jamal Murray, PG/SG, Canada|
|22||Chicago||Jake Layman, SF, Maryland|
|23||Portland||Kennedy Meeks, C, North Carolina|
|24||Cleveland||Theo Pinson, SF, North Carolina|
|25||Dallas||Troy Williams, SF, Indiana|
|26||San Antonio||Egemen Guven, PF, Turkey|
|27||Houston||Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers||Marcus Lee, PF, Kentucky|
|29||Atlanta||Aleksandar Vezenkov, SF/PF, Cyprus|
|30||Golden State||Malik Pope, SF, San Diego State|
|picks per Mazique, order per NBADraft.net|
On the strength of a stellar performance at the Nike Hoops Summit, Haitian-born Skal Labissiere has emerged as the early favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, per DraftExpress.
Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress raved about Labissiere's versatility. Schmitz wrote:
Labissiere was much more than just a defensive presence, however. The 7-footer knocked down a couple of mid-range jumpers, finished several jump hooks in the lane, some with great range, and finished over length at the rim due to his excellent leaping ability. The bouncy big man also flashed his quick second jump on the offensive glass. Labissiere's physical tools, versatility on defense, and offensive skill-set him up for a monster season at Kentucky and should make it tough for whatever team ends up with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft to pass him up.
As a legitimate 7-footer with above-average athleticism, Labissiere looks to have the tools to follow in the Kentucky Wildcats' growing tradition of dominant big men. Labissiere will join a Wildcats team that already has standouts like point guard Tyler Ulis and forward Alex Poythress.
Thus, he'll be surrounded with talent that takes some pressure off him. However, with the hype he's already generated, he'll have to have a huge year to keep his status as the top pro prospect in college basketball.
Athletically, Jaylen Brown reminds me a little of Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins. Brown (6'7", 217 lbs) is about the same size as Wilkins (6'7", 200 lbs) was during his playing days, but the recently graduated Georgia native looks to be a better passer with more fluid handles. The similarities to 'Nique are in his power and extraordinary leaping ability off two feet.
If you couple that with his handle, he should live on the free-throw line in college and presumably in the NBA once he gets there. Brown is headed to play for the California Golden Bears along with another highly touted prospect, Ivan Rabb.
Cal will also have the returning Tyrone Wallace to form a formidable Big Three on the collegiate level. It'll likely only be together for one year, though. Brown's talent level is enormous, and he knows it. Take a look at this interview with DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony.
Brown seems mentally prepared to be a professional:
If you're looking for the most skilled player in the draft regardless of position, within question, it's Australia's Ben Simmons. The 6'9" small forward has drawn comparisons to Tracy McGrady from NBADraft.net.
He has a sweet left-handed stroke on his jump shot, above-average athleticism that features an explosive first step, handles with a variety of crossovers and spin moves and great vision. He's also ultra-confident in his abilities and not afraid to lead.
There's no prospect in the nation—or world—who has as many ways to score and impact the game overall as Simmons. If I were picking first, Simmons would be my selection.
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