NBA Draft 2016: Updated 1st-Round Mock Draft as Regular Season Draws to a Close

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2016

Buddy Hield has the attention of the pros after his NCAA tournament run.
Buddy Hield has the attention of the pros after his NCAA tournament run.Eric Gay/Associated Press

A handful of games separate the league from the path to the 2016 NBA draft.

Along the path, prospects will go through the whole extensive process, from workouts to interviews and beyond, while teams see their fates decided in terms of draft order while carving out plans of attack.

It's a busy time for the majority of the Association, but especially for those watching the playoffs from home. For fans, it's hard to pull double duty, so here is a mock draft based on team need and prospect value to help pool as much draft information into one resource as possible.

2016 NBA Mock Draft

PickTeamPlayer
1.Philadelphia 76ersF Ben Simmons, LSU
2.Los Angeles LakersSF Brandon Ingram, Duke
3.Phoenix SunsSG Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
4.Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn)SF Jaylen Brown, California
5.Minnesota TimberwolvesPF Dragan Bender, Croatia
6.New Orleans PelicansSG Jamal Murray, Kentucky
7.Denver NuggetsC Jakob Poeltl, Utah
8.Sacramento KingsPG Kris Dunn, Providence
9.Toronto RaptorsPF Henry Ellenson, Marquette
10.Milwaukee BucksC Skal Labissiere, Kentucky
11.Orlando MagicPF/C Deyonta Davis, Michigan State
12.Phoenix Suns (via Wizards)C Diamond Stone, Maryland
13.Houston RocketsPG Wade Baldwin IV, Vanderbilt
14.Chicago BullsSG Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey
15.Utah JazzPF Ivan Rabb, California
16.Boston Celtics (via Mavericks)SG Timothe Luwawu, France
17.Denver Nuggets (via Blazers)PG Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame
18.Memphis GrizzliesG Caris LeVert, Michigan
19.Detroit PistonsSG Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
20. Indiana PacersF Marquese Chriss, Washington
21.Charlotte HornetsPF Brice Johnson, North Carolina
22.Philadelphia 76ers (via Heat)SG Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
23. Atlanta HawksC Damian Jones, Vanderbilt
24. Boston CelticsPF Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga
25.Los Angeles ClippersC Thon Maker, Orangeville Prep
26.Toronto RaptorsF Paul Zipser, Germany
27.Philadelphia 76ers (via Thunder)F Dorian Finney-Smith, Florida
28.Phoenix Suns (via Cavaliers)F Taurean Prince, Baylor
29.San Antonio SpursPG Melo Trimble, Maryland
30. Golden State WarriorsC Stephen Zimmerman, UNLV
Author's projections

Notable Picks as Season Ends 

3. Phoenix Suns: SG Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

Some might not like the idea, but Oklahoma's Buddy Hield is absolutely in the conversation for a top-three selection. 

With an NBA frame at 6'4" and 208 pounds, Hield posted a gaudy 25.0 points per game as a senior with 12 matches of 30 points or more. A bona fide scorer, he not only shot 50 percent from the floor but hit on 46 percent of his attempts from deep, that last number a major improvement over his prior three seasons.

It's encouraging to see Hield continue to improve, even if some teams might be reluctant to draft him because he's a bit older than some would prefer. Hield took home an award due to this improvement, too, as illustrated by ESPN Stats & Info:

The Phoenix Suns don't have an excuse to take a pass on Hield at No. 3, especially with so many picks coming in the first round as is.

Some might point out the Suns already have Devin Booker on board, but that's a positive, not a negative. Whereas Booker is a stud shooter, what he lacks in physicality Hield has, helping to round out a strong complementary starting lineup right out of the gates. 

Going guard-heavy seems odd, but Hield isn't a player a rebuilding team can get away with passing on when the opportunity presents itself.

11. Orlando Magic: PF/C Deyonta Davis, Michigan State

Deyonta Davis is one of the most interesting upside picks in the draft.
Deyonta Davis is one of the most interesting upside picks in the draft.Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA world can only hope Michigan State's Deyonta Davis decides to hit the pros.

A beast at 6'10" and 240 pounds, Davis has it all when it comes to what the NBA looks for in its big men these days.

Davis is the definition of an enforcer as a guy who averaged 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. And while the Spartans didn't ask him to do a ton offensively, Davis showed good range on his jumper and hit 60 percent of his shots from the field.

ESPN Insider hit many of the critical points right on the head:

Davis is a pure upside play. His length, shot-blocking ability and ability to step out and hit midrange jumpers appeal to scouts. His role has been pretty limited for Michigan State offensively, but defensively, he has been a monster. He probably should return for another year of school. But if he does declare, he has a shot at the lottery.

A flirtation with the top 10 makes sense, especially if a team such as the Orlando Magic wants to play with the idea of an upgrade.

The Magic have Nikola Vucevic down low on a nice contract (four years,  $53 million), but it's not the most ridiculous thing to get rid of down the road if necessary. The team has taken a guard-heavy approach as of late with Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo, so adding an enforcer down low couldn't hurt.

Adding a guy like Davis to a budding young core does nothing short of boost the long-term outlook.

21. Charlotte Hornets: PF Brice Johnson, North Carolina

North Carolina's Brice Johnson didn't exactly get the end-of-career moment he had hoped for in the NCAA title game, but he put on enough of a show that he's close to a top-20 prospect. 

Johnson, 6'9" and 228 pounds, put the Tar Heels on his back all season, averaging a double-double at 17.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game while shooting 61 percent from the floor.

No longer a scrawny recruit with little in the way of what the NBA wants, Johnson is an explosive player who can get big underneath the basket and run the court well.

Rest assured the NBA has a close eye on him. Think of a team like the Charlotte Hornets, a club experiencing a bit of a breakout year right now with the combo of Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin giving opposing teams fits at the point.

Adding Johnson to the mix down low wouldn't hurt, as meshing him with other young core players such as Frank Kaminsky could give the Hornets the depth necessary to tackle the Eastern Conference. 

This is how it goes for a team that cannot lure a LeBron James or Kevin Durant type of superstar. Loading up on sheer talent such as Johnson, position of need or not, is the rebuilding strategy necessary. If Johnson's continued fast development is any sign, he's just getting started. 

All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

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