2016 NBA Mock Draft: Post-Regular-Season Edition

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterApril 18, 2016

2016 NBA Mock Draft: Post-Regular-Season Edition

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    With the lottery odds set following the conclusion of the NBA's regular season, we're now one step closer to 2016 NBA draft night.

    Most prospects have already made their initial decisions to enter, knowing they can withdraw their names and return to college up to 10 days after May's NBA combine. Duke's Grayson Allen, Florida State's Dwayne Bacon and Arizona's Allonzo Trier are the most notable players who've chosen to stay in school nonetheless. 

    The draft order is based on current NBA standings and accounts for all previous trades. Players are projected based on their college/international production, proven skill sets, future potential and how they might fit with specific teams. 

    For now, I've left Syracuse freshmen Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon off, as I expect both to return after the combine.

1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons (LSU, PF, Freshman)

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    The hiring of new general manager Bryan Colangelo doesn't make it any easier to predict which way the Philadelphia 76ers will lean on draft night. 

    But after years of risky picks that haven't quite yielded desired results, it seems reasonable to think management will favor the surest thing.

    Duke's Brandon Ingram should receive strong consideration, but at 190 pounds, he's thin and offers minimal playmaking, defense or rebounding. At 6'10", 240 pounds, Ben Simmons' physical tools, versatility and unique production (19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, two steals per game) help create the perception he's the safest option. 

    Even without a jumper, Simmons' athleticism, ball-handling and passing should still translate to transition offense, two-point scoring, playmaking and double-doubles. He'll have the chance to be special if his shooting touch ever improves.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram (Duke, SF, Freshman)

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    Brandon Ingram looks like a no-brainer play for the Los Angeles Lakers once Ben Simmons comes off the board.

    It's not crazy to think management could even favor Ingram anyway, given his easy fit in the lineup and questions over how Simmons would work with Julius Randle. 

    Still 18 years old, Ingram managed to average 17.3 points and shoot 41.3 percent from downtown. He's flashed exciting scoring potential fueled by mismatch size and length, long-range shooting and the ability to create his own shot in the mid-range. 

    Assuming he can add some bulk over the next few seasons, the only question is whether Ingram is wired to become an offense's go-to weapon. Either way, it's not an alarming enough concern in what looks like a relatively weak draft. 

3. Boston Celtics (via Nets): Buddy Hield (Oklahoma, SG, Senior)

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    The upside play for the Boston Celtics here is Croatia's Dragan Bender. But with the No. 3 pick, it might be tough to pull the trigger on an 18-year-old averaging 4.6 points per game overseas—especially with a sure thing on the board who happens to fill a major need.

    Buddy Hield just put together one of the most impressive shooting seasons in recent memory. He averaged four three-pointers per game and shot 45.7 percent from deep. 

    Considering the Celtics as a team rank No. 11 in three-point attempts and No. 28 in three-point percentage, Hield helps clog a massive hole in Boston's lineup. 

    The certainty tied to him almost makes it unnecessary to take the risk with Bender. Look for general manager Danny Ainge to buy Hield's work ethic, leadership, confidence and jumper.

4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender (Croatia, PF, 1997)

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    Trading down for California's Ivan Rabb, Washington's Marquese Chriss or Marquette's Henry Ellenson could be on the table. With three first-round picks, trading into the top two could be a possibility as well. But at No. 4, the Phoenix Suns need a big and should be able to bring Dragan Bender over right away, according to a report from Sportando that says there is an NBA out in his contract.

    A versatile, skilled 7'1" power forward, Bender just shot 39.1 percent from three with Maccabi Tel Aviv. He's a big who can stretch the floor as a shooter, as well as make shots out of the post, handle the ball and pass.  

    With impressive lateral quickness, he could also have something to offer defensively in both pick-and-roll coverage and rim protection. 

    At 18 years old, playing just 12.1 minutes overseas, according to RealGM, Bender is a project. But the Suns shouldn't be in any rush, and there aren't any obvious alternative options when selecting fourth. 

5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jamal Murray (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

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    The Minnesota Timberwolves finished the season ranking No. 29 in three-pointers made per game and No. 25 in three-point percentage. Jamal Murray fills an obvious need and seems like an easy fit between Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins—neither of whom is a particularly threatening long-range shooter. 

    Murray just sunk 3.2 threes per game on 42.1 percent from downtown. He also received valuable experience playing off the ball at Kentucky, which should help ease his transition from college to the pros.

    With two established go-to options already in Minnesota's lineup, Murray can focus on doing what he does best: spotting up and knocking down jumpers off screens. 

    Though not an overly threatening playmaker, Murray will earn his money as a shot-maker.

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Kris Dunn (Providence, PG, Junior)

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    The New Orleans Pelicans grab Kris Dunn at No. 6, viewing him as a top prospect available and an intriguing setup man for Anthony Davis. 

    It's easy to envision Dunn and Davis working the two-man game (pick-and-rolls, pick-and-pops) in the half court. Picturing them in transition is even more exciting. Dunn also gives New Orleans a disruptive defender who can pressure the other team's primary ball-handler. 

    "One reason why I stayed in college another year is so that I can come in and make an immediate impact," he told Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy.

    A Dunn-Jrue Holiday backcourt seems like it could work. Holiday in the sixth-man role makes sense as well. 

    Either way, Dunn gives the Pelicans a healthy boost of speed, playmaking and defense.

7. Denver Nuggets (via Knicks): Ivan Rabb (California, PF, Freshman)

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    With 6'11" size, a developing body, terrific hands and bounce, Ivan Rabb offers convincing interior scoring and rebounding ability.

    He recently turned 19 years old and is still on the raw side, but Rabb is consistent and efficient. In doses, we saw flashes of offensive upside this past season between his face-up drives, mid-range jumpers and post moves. 

    His physical tools and athleticism make him a low-risk option on draft night. But the room for growth he's shown skill-wise suggests there is upside for coaches to unlock.

8. Toronto Raptors (via Nuggets): Marquese Chriss (Washington, PF, Freshman)

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    There aren't many high-upside players to take in the 2016 draft. Marquese Chriss will be one of them. 

    Arguably the bounciest big in the field, Chriss is a ridiculous athlete, though he unsurprisingly lacks polish (6.5 fouls per 40 minutes). He also isn't a physical interior presence (8.6 rebounds per 40 minutes), which makes him somewhat risky this high.

    But he managed to shoot 53 percent from the floor and 35 percent from three with a mechanically sound jumper. He flashed promising shooting touch and some nifty post moves. 

    Without any clear immediate contributors available, this is a good spot on the board for the Toronto Raptors to gamble on long-term potential.

    It wouldn't be general manager Masai Ujiri's first time.

9. Milwaukee Bucks: Henry Ellenson (Marquette, PF, Freshman)

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    The Milwaukee Bucks lack bigs who can stretch the floor, making Henry Ellenson a potential target in the lottery. 

    At 6'10", he knocked down 30 threes and 42.7 percent of his two-point jumpers as a freshman, per Hoop-Math.com. Ellenson's shooting stroke looks pure. And he's flashed the versatility to handle the ball, score in the post and clean the glass (9.7 rebounds per game). 

    He doesn't have lateral quickness around the perimeter and explosiveness at the rim, but Ellenson is as skilled offensively as any big in this year's field. 

10. Sacramento Kings: Jaylen Brown (California, SF, Freshman)

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    A below-average shooter and playmaker, Jaylen Brown could slip a few spots in the lottery, but his physical tools and explosive athleticism will keep him in it.

    You just can't teach Brown's strength, length and bounce, while his ball-handling and jumper can be improved. He's only 19 years old and still managed to average 14.6 points.

    He'll take the next few years to work on his shot-creating and jumper. In the meantime, Brown should have something to offer in transition and on defense.

11. Orlando Magic: Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga, PF, Sophomore)

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    Arguably the top rebounder in the 2016 draft, Domantas Sabonis made a big leap offensively. It showed against Utah's Jakob Poeltl in the NCAA tournament, when Sabonis went for 19 points on post moves, face-up drives and a three-point make. 

    Having made 76.9 percent of his free throws and five three-pointers on the season, it's not crazy to think Sabonis could have a jumper down the road. 

    He's competitive, with a nose for the ball and a developing scoring repertoire. Limited athleticism and length hold his ceiling in check, but Sabonis looks like a pro, which could go a long way in this particular draft.

12. Utah Jazz: Jakob Poeltl (Utah, C, Sophomore)

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    Having made major offensive strides, Jakob Poeltl looks like the top center in this year's field. He emerged as a polished go-to post scorer with sharp footwork and soft hands.

    On the other hand, his 5 percent block percentage (two blocks per 40 minutes), per Sports-Reference.com, was unusually low. Poeltl lacks length, and if it turns out he's doesn't stretch the floor or protect the rim well, his value would take a big hit in today's NBA.

    Still, Poeltl's size and mobility should translate to easy buckets, while his back-to-the-basket game can be used in the half court. There isn't a point guard worth reaching on at No. 12, and the Jazz already have Alec Burks, Rodney Hood and Gordon Hayward on the wing. Drafting Poeltl could mean having quality options to play at center along with Rudy Gobert and/or Derrick Favors. 

13. Phoenix Suns: Timothe Luwawu (France, SF, 1995)

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    At 6'7" with long arms, quick feet and bounce, Luwawu hit 1.1 threes per game overseas. And though he was streaky throughout the year, his shot-making improved dramatically. 

    Shot selection and efficiency can be an issue, but his physical tools, athleticism and jumper seem tailor-made for the NBA. Luwawu ultimately passes the NBA eye test for a potential three-and-D 2-guard or wing. 

    We could be talking about a major steal if he can sharpen his two-point scoring repertoire (pull-ups, step-backs, floaters). Luwawu shot just 41.9 percent inside the arc, according to RealGM.

14. Chicago Bulls: Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame, PG, Junior)

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    Call him the best prospect available or a specific need in Chicago—Demetrius Jackson's blend of strength, athleticism and toughness is easy to buy. 

    He'd give the Bulls an explosive athlete, physical defender, high-IQ ball-handler and credible shooter (38.1 percent on threes for his college career).

    Jackson's playmaking numbers (4.7 assists in 35.9 minutes per game) weren't overwhelming, but it's worth noting Notre Dame ranks No. 327 in tempo, according to Kenpom.com. With a little more open floor and freedom in the pros, Jackson could be a steal at No. 14 of a weaker draft.

15. Denver Nuggets (via Rockets): Furkan Korkmaz (Turkey, SG, 1997)

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    I'm betting the Denver Nuggets—with three first-round picks—draft-and-stash with their second.

    At 18 years old, Furkan Korkmaz isn't ready to come over, but his 6'7" size, bouncy athleticism and three-point shooting stroke scream NBA potential and look the part of a Marco Belinelli-like perimeter scorer. 

    Korkmaz has a solid place to develop with Anadolu Efes overseas, where he could use another season to build his reps and skinny body. 

16. Boston Celtics (via Mavericks): Denzel Valentine (Michigan St., PG/SG, Sr.)

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    Despite the monster season, Denzel Valentine could still be available in the mid-to-late first round. His age (turns 23 years old in November) and limited burst won't help his draft stock. 

    But his shooting, passing and ball-handling should create NBA-friendly versatility. At 6'5", 220 pounds, he shot 44.4 percent from three and dished out 7.8 assists per game. 

    Valentine doesn't project as a plus defender, but between his basketball IQ, shot-making and vision, the role-player potential here seems indisputable. 

17. Memphis Grizzlies: Taurean Prince (Baylor, SF, Senior)

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    Taurean Prince's potential frontcourt versatility could look extra attractive under today's NBA lens: He's a 6'7", 220-pound wing with a three-point stroke and the ability to play small-ball 4.

    A physical combo forward capable of scoring in the post or stretching the floor, Prince could fill a big need in the middle of  the Memphis Grizzlies lineup. 

    Though a senior, he's still just 21 years old. Prince looks the part of a DeMarre Carroll-type two-way player.

18. Detroit Pistons: Stephen Zimmerman Jr. (UNLV, C, Freshman)

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    Stephen Zimmerman Jr. didn't receive much national attention at UNLV. But he stands out with 7'0" size, athleticism and inside-out skills. 

    Zimmerman flashed everything from post moves and shooting range (five made threes) to active rebounding (13.4 per 40 minutes) and shot-blocking (three per 40 minutes). At this stage, he doesn't play through contact well, and considering he totaled just 680 minutes and averaged 8.2 field-goal attempts, we're looking at a probable Developmental League player in 2016-17.

    The Detroit Pistons don't have many attractive options behind Andre Drummond or Tobias Harris, and the NBA typically covets Zimmerman's versatility and stretch-big potential. Consider him a strong candidate to rise up boards after testing and workouts. 

19. Denver Nuggets (via Blazers): Tyler Ulis (Kentucky, PG, Sophomore)

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    The Denver Nuggets could look to use one of their three first-round picks on a backup point guard. 

    At 5'9", Tyler Ulis' ceiling only goes so high, but his razor-sharp skills and decision-making should still hold NBA value.

    He registered a terrific 7-2 assist-to-turnover ratio, and though his 34.4 percent three-point mark won't win any awards, he's clearly comfortable and threatening as a shooter (85.6 percent from the line), both off the catch and dribble.

    Ulis ultimately finds ways to compensate for limited size and burst with basketball IQ, toughness and shot-making ability (pull-ups, floaters).

    He should be capable of running Denver's second unit in time.

20. Indiana Pacers: Malik Beasley (Florida State, SG, Freshman)

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    Malik Beasley's explosiveness and shooting fuel intriguing NBA potential.

    He was both productive and efficient in one year at Florida State, having averaged 15.6 points on 47.1 percent from the floor and 38.7 percent from three. At 6'5", Beasley can soar above the rim, spot up and guard both backcourt positions.

    His one-on-one game needs work, but the physical tools, jumper and athleticism are convincing. Beasley has the chance to fit in as a two-way role-playing 2-guard like Wesley Matthews.

21. Atlanta Hawks: Ivica Zubac (Croatia, C, 1997)

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    A standout this summer at the European and World Championships, Ivica Zubac started the year with Cibona before signing with Mega Leks. 

    He hasn't played in a real game since January (ineligibility), but scouts have been attending his practices, and he's produced in friendly exhibitions. According to his agent, Miodrag Raznatovic, Zubac just went for 17 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Partizan. 

    At 7'1", 265 pounds, he's a strong back-to-the-basket scorer with soft hands and nifty footwork. And though not overly explosive, he's capable of beating his man down the floor and finishing above the rim. 

    With an NBA out this summer, he'll be a player the Atlanta Hawks can bring over right away.

22. Charlotte Hornets: Skal Labissiere (Kentucky, PF/C, Freshman)

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    This is a good spot in the first round to buy low on Skal Labissiere, who still offers untapped potential. 

    At 7'0", he blends size and bounce with a post game and shooting touch. Labissiere also has flashed the ability to create his own shot from the elbows or knock down mid-range jumpers.

    His lack of production and visible toughness could lead to a draft-night slide. For example, Labissiere finished with just five more total rebounds than fouls during his lone college season. 

    But at some point, it's worth looking at him as a possible value pick. 

23. Boston Celtics: Deyonta Davis (Michigan State, PF, Freshman)

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    Deyonta Davis projects as a defensive-minded big man, given his 3.9 blocks per 40 minutes and foot speed to contain around the perimeter. 

    There isn't anything flashy about his game, and he isn't likely to offer much as a rookie, having played just 18.6 minutes per night during his one-and-done freshman year. But with 6'10", 245-pound size, length and decent bounce, his 16.5 percent rebounding percentage, per Sports-Reference.com, and offensive efficiency (shot 59.8 percent) should carry over. 

    Davis is more of a project than a quick fix, but long term, he seems like a good bet to develop into a role-playing big. 

24. Philadelphia 76ers (via Heat): Wade Baldwin (Vanderbilt, PG, Sophomore)

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    The Philadelphia 76ers could use their two late first-round picks to build a backcourt. Wade Baldwin IV isn't an immediate solution, but with 6'3", 194-pound size, monster length and above-the-rim athleticism, he packs some sneaky long-term upside.

    Baldwin will enter the league having shot at least 40 percent from three in each season at Vanderbilt. His 5.2 assists per game aren't spectacular, but he improved as a facilitator and can make all the right reads and passes. 

    Given his physical tools and quickness, Baldwin has the chance to be a disruptive on-ball defender. There may be some questions about his decision-making and attitude, but the potential reward should be worth he risk at No. 24 overall. 

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Damian Jones (Vanderbilt, C, Junior)

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    Damian Jones' impact and numbers were slightly deceiving this year. His 13.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game didn't suggest a breakout season, but per 40 minutes, his scoring, rebounding and assists were up, while his field-goal percentage rose to an impressive 59 percent. 

    At 7'0", he's an excellent athlete and easy-bucket finisher with go-to moves in the post. Jones has hook shots, turnarounds and baseline spins up his sleeve when playing with his back to the basket. 

    Being able to convert free throws and mid-range jumpers will be key moving forward. That he hasn't made many strides as a shooter through three years is somewhat troubling. But Jones just may need the right coach and setting—something he didn't have at Vanderbilt. 

    He could in Los Angeles with Doc Rivers, a center (DeAndre Jordan) to learn from and an elite point guard (Chris Paul) to play off. 

26. Philadelphia 76ers (via Thunder): Dejounte Murray (Washington, G, Freshman)

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    After taking a point guard at No. 24, the Philadelphia 76ers can add another piece to their backcourt at 26.

    Dejounte Murray is still rough around the edges, but it's tough to ignore his 16.1 points and 4.4 assists. And at 6'5", he mixes size, speed and lively athleticism. 

    Murray is a combo capable of scoring in bunches by getting into the lane and capitalizing on uptempo pace. He can't shoot yet and gets reckless with the ball, but the Sixers could try tapping into his playmaking and versatility. 

27. Toronto Raptors: Thon Maker (Athlete Institute, PF, 1997)

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    Officially eligible for the 2016 draft, Thon Maker should give late first-round teams something to think about. 

    He's a bit stuck between the 4 and 5 positions. Though skilled, he isn't fluid or sharp enough to play around the perimeter. And he lacks the strength to bang down low. 

    But at 7'0", Maker brings size, bounce and an unquestioned motor, which should still lead to easy buckets and blocked shots.

    He projects more as an energizer than a scorer. 

28. Phoenix Suns (via Cavaliers): Ante Zizic (Croatia, C, 1997)

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    The Phoenix Suns will draft-and-stash at No. 28 if they don't with either of their first two picks. 

    The most productive and efficient international prospect on the first-round radar, Ante Zizic has made himself easy to spot. His latest performance: an 18-point, 14-rebound, three-block line against KK Zagreb on Saturday. 

    On the year, the 6'11", 240-pounder is averaging 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds on 64.8 percent shooting in 27.5 minutes. 

    Zizic's activity level is high thanks to his physical tools, athleticism and motor. He picks up buckets without needing plays to run for him. And he's registered a terrific 19.2 percent rebounding percentage, per RealGM.

29. San Antonio Spurs: DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph's, SG/SF, Junior)

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    An athletic, playmaking wing, DeAndre Bembry offers unique versatility. He's one of three players, along with LSU's Ben Simmons and Michigan State's Denzel Valentine, to average at least 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. 

    Bembry would be much higher on draft boards if he didn't shoot 26.6 percent from three as a junior. He's struggled with long-range consistency, though he's looked capable, having hit 120 threes over his three-year career. 

    Otherwise, Bembry's passing sets him apart, while his transition game, attacking ability and defensive tools are strong. The San Antonio Spurs could get away with robbery (yet again) if their coaches can straighten out his jumper.

30. Golden State Warriors: Brice Johnson (North Carolina, PF, Senior)

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    Though highly productive throughout the year (17 points, 10.4 rebounds per game), Brice Johnson doesn't stretch the floor or protect the rim. And that hurts his value in today's NBA game. 

    There is still a role waiting for him, particularly one that calls for finishing within the offense, making plays on the ball and putting pressure on the rim. Johnson packs plenty of length and athleticism, which represent the driving forces behind his interior activity. 

    It would be nice if he can add the mid-range jumper to his everyday arsenal, but regardless, it's his energy and bounce that will earn him minutes and money.

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