2016 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Top Prospects Alive in NCAA Tournament

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2016

Mar 19, 2016; Providence, RI, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Brandon Ingram (14) looks to pass around  Yale Bulldogs forward Brandon Sherrod (35) during the first half of a second round game of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Dunkin Donuts Center. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

With the NCAA tournament in full swing and some of the nation's finest prospects strutting their stuff on a national stage, the time has come to ponder when and where the country's most esteemed collegiate players will be playing their professional ball.

But before breaking down a few key prospects who are still standing in the NCAA tournament, here's a full first-round mock draft. Note the projected draft order was based on NBA standings as of Saturday, March 19. 

2016 NBA Mock Draft (1st Round)
1. Philadelphia 76ersBrandon Ingram, F, Duke
2. Los Angeles LakersBen Simmons, F, LSU
3. Phoenix SunsDragan Bender, PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
4. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets)Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
5. Minnesota TimberwolvesKris Dunn, PG, Providence
6. New Orleans PelicansJamal Murray, SG, Kentucky
7. Sacramento KingsJaylen Brown, SF, California
8. Denver NuggetsSkal Labissiere, F/C, Kentucky
9. Toronto Raptors (via New York Knicks)Ivan Rabb, C, California
10. Orlando MagicHenry Ellenson, F, Marquette
11. Milwaukee BucksBuddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
12. Phoenix Suns (via Washington Wizards)Timothe Luwawu, G/F, Mega Leks
13. Utah JazzDemetrius Jackson, G, Notre Dame
14. Detroit PistonsDenzel Valentine, G/F, Michigan State
15. Boston Celtics (via Dallas Mavericks)Brice Johnson, F, North Carolina
16. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets)Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt
17. Chicago BullsDomantas Sabonis, PF/C, Gonzaga
18. Denver Nuggets (via Portland Trail Blazers)Isaia Cordinier , SG, Denain
19. Indiana PacersWade Baldwin, PG, Vanderbilt
20. Memphis GrizzliesTaurean Prince, F, Baylor
21. Boston CelticsDiamond Stone, C, Maryland
22. Charlotte HornetsGrayson Allen, G, Duke
23. Philadelphia 76ers (via Miami Heat)Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky
24. Atlanta HawksMalcolm Brogdon, G, Virginia
25. Los Angeles ClippersA.J. Hammons, C, Purdue
26. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC Thunder)DeAndre Bembry, F, St. Joe's
27. Toronto RaptorsWayne Seldgen, G, Kansas
28. Phoenix Suns (via Cleveland Cavaliers)Nigel Hayes, F, Wisconsin
29. San Antonio SpursCheick Diallo, PF/C, Kansas
30. Golden State WarriorsMelo Trimble, PG, Maryland
Source: Alec Nathan's Projections

Brandon Ingram, F, Duke

LSU's Ben Simmons once looked like a lock to be drafted No. 1 overall, but Duke's Brandon Ingram has put on a show thus far in the NCAA tournament.

And with the Philadelphia 76erswho are the odds-on favorites to snag the 2016 NBA draft's No. 1 pick—in dire need of a go-to presence on the wing who can score in catch-and-shoot isolation or dribble-drive situations, Ingram feels like a seamless fit.

Although Simmons arguably has the most unique skill set in the draft thanks to his ball-handling capabilities at 6'10", Ingram has the outside shot and shooting traits that would allow the Sixers to space the floor around Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel.

"His handling and passing at his size while also having NBA-ready perimeter stroke and ability to score in a variety of ways makes him tantalizing," an NBA scout told Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel. "He needs to physically develop, but he’s certainly in the running to be drafted No. 1."

Consider the Sixers also have a point-forward player in Dario Saric ready to make the trip stateside from Europe this summer, and Philadelphia could have a loaded lineup full of young studs if Ingram winds up being the pick.

Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma

The Milwaukee Bucks have the makings of a fun, young team thanks to the presences of Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, but they desperately need some more outside shooting. 

Entering Saturday night, the Bucks ranked dead last in total threes attempted and a below-average 18th in three-point shooting percentage (34.9). 

One way those problems could be remedied would be the selection of Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, who shot an outrageous 49.8 percent from the floor and 46.4 percent from three despite launching 8.5 triples per game this season.

Although he may never develop into a superstar like Ingram or Simmons could, Hield has the refined tools necessary to become a staple of Milwaukee's rotation upon arrival. With the ability to hit in catch-and-shoot or pull-up situations, as NCAA March Madness on Twitter documented, Hield should be on the Bucks' radar entering draft season. 

Grayson Allen, G, Duke

With backup point guard Jeremy Lin able to decline a $2.2 million player option this summer, according to Basketball Insiders, the Charlotte Hornets may need to think about drafting a ball-handler to play second fiddle to Kemba Walker.

Kentucky's Tyler Ulis and Maryland's Melo Trimble will both be intriguing when the Hornets are on the clock, but drafting a more upside-laden combo guard such as Duke's Grayson Allen could wind up being a major score for the Hornets. 

Not only is Allen an imposing presence at 6'4", but he flashed a wildly improved three-point shot throughout the 2015-16 season. After hitting 34.6 percent of his long-range attempts in limited action as a freshman, Allen entered Saturday's second-round tournament showdown with Yale hitting 40.9 percent of his threes.

With the ability to slash into the teeth of the defense, play off the ball and knock down spot-up jumpers, Allen fits the mold of a backup point guard who could give the Hornets flexibility as they seek to tinker with a lineup that's already quite versatile. 

Stats current as of Saturday, March 19, and courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and Sports-Reference.com.