2016 NBA Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Next Year's Class

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 25, 2015

Apr 4, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Oak Hill Academy forward Khadim Sy (31) defends as Montverde Academy  guard/forward Ben Simmons (20)  plays the ball during the second half during the Dick's Sporting Goods High School Nationals boys final game at at Madison Square Garden. Montverde defeated Oak Hill 70-61 to win the national championship. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

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
PositionTeamPlayer, Position, School/Country
1MinnesotaBen Simmons, SF, LSU
2New YorkSkal Labissiere, PF/C, Kentucky
3PhiladelphiaJaylen Brown, SF, California
4Los Angeles LakersBrandon Ingram, SF, Duke
5OrlandoCheick Diallo, PF/C, Kansas
6SacramentoDomantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga
7DenverDragan Bender, PF/C, Israel
8DetroitMalik Newman, SG, Mississippi State
9CharlotteHenry Ellenson, C, Marquette
10MiamiFurkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey
11IndianaJakob Poeltl, C, Utah
12UtahDiamond Stone, C, Maryland
13PhoenixZhou Qi, C, China
14Oklahoma CityKris Dunn, PG, Providence
15BrooklynDemetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
16BostonSviatoslav Mykhailiuk, SG, Kansas
17MilwaukeeNigel Hayes, PF, Wisconsin
18New OrleansCaris LeVert, SG, Michigan
19WashingtonDamian Jones, PF/C, Vanderbilt
20TorontoJustin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
21BostonJamal Murray, PG/SG, Canada
22ChicagoJake Layman, SF, Maryland
23PortlandKennedy Meeks, C, North Carolina
24ClevelandTheo Pinson, SF, North Carolina
25DallasTroy Williams, SF, Indiana
26San AntonioEgemen Guven, PF, Turkey
27HoustonBrice Johnson, PF, North Carolina
28Los Angeles ClippersMarcus Lee, PF, Kentucky
29AtlantaAleksandar Vezenkov, SF/PF, Cyprus
30Golden StateMalik Pope, SF, San Diego State
picks per Mazique, order per NBADraft.net

Skal Labissiere

Apr 17, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; East Team center Skal Labissiere (4) goes up for a shot over a West Team player in the second half during the Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center. The West defeated the East 118-116. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA T
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Jaylen Brown

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

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:

Ben Simmons

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

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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