NBA Draft 2016: Complete 1st-Round Mock Draft and More

Brian Marron@@brianmarron398Featured ColumnistMay 8, 2016

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 12:  Ben Simmons #25 of the LSU Tigers plays against Jalen Jones #12 of the Texas A&M Aggies in an SEC Basketball Tournament Semifinals game at Bridgestone Arena on March 12, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

NBA championships are won through the draft. A few hits on prospects can reverse the fortunes of a franchise, and the 2016 NBA draft features a few players with serious potential to elevate a new team.

Duke Blue Devils star Brandon Ingram and LSU Tigers star Ben Simmons headline the draft, but there are other players who can become NBA stars in a deep pool of prospects. That should bode well for teams such as the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns, as each has three first-round picks.

While the draft order will likely change, this mock will stick to the current order because there are too many scenarios to accurately predict the lottery. The following projections take into account team needs and how each player fits into the team's style of play.

2016 NBA Mock Draft
PickTeamPlayerSchool/ Team
1Philadelphia 76ersBen SimmonsLSU
2Los Angeles LakersBrandon IngramDuke
3Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn)Dragan BenderMaccabi Tel Aviv
4Phoenix SunsJaylen BrownCalifornia
5Minnesota TimberwolvesJakob PoeltlUtah
6New Orleans PelicansJamal MurrayKentucky
7Denver Nuggets (from New York)Henry EllensonMarquette
8Sacramento KingsKris DunnProvidence
9Toronto Raptors (from Denver)Buddy HieldOklahoma
10Milwaukee BucksDemetrius JacksonNotre Dame
11Orlando MagicDomantas SabonisGonzaga
12Utah JazzDenzel ValentineMichigan State
13Phoenix Suns (from Washington)Deyonta DavisMichigan State
14Chicago BullsFurkan KorkmazAnadolu Efes
15Denver Nuggets (from Houston)Marquese ChrissWashington
16Boston Celtics (from Dallas)Diamond StoneMaryland
17Memphis GrizzliesTimothe LuwawuMega Leks
18Detroit PistonsTyler UlisKentucky
19Denver Nuggets (from Portland)Wade Baldwin IVVanderbilt
20Indiana PacersSkal LabissiereKentucky
21Atlanta HawksMalik BeasleyFlorida State
22Charlotte HornetsStephen ZimmermanUNLV
23Boston CelticsTaurean PrinceBaylor
24Philadelphia 76ers (from Miami)DeAndre' BembrySt. Joe's
25Los Angeles ClippersMelo TrimbleMaryland
26Philadelphia 76ers (from Oklahoma City)Patrick McCawUNLV
27Toronto RaptorsDamian JonesVanderbilt
28Phoenix Suns (from Cleveland)Thon MakerOrangeville School
29San Antonio SpursBrice JohnsonNorth Carolina
30Golden State WarriorsA.J. HammonsPurdue
Bleacher Report

Difficult Decision at No. 1

Ingram and Simmons are both top-notch talents, and each presents different strengths. Yet Simmons is the better overall prospect.

In a league where uptempo offenses are having the most success, a forward who can handle the ball and pass like a guard is a huge asset.

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Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in 2015-16, which shows he has the ability to grab rebounds, push the ball up the floor and either dump it off to an open teammate or finish the play himself.

He is a Draymond Green-type player—more athletic but not as strong and less effective on defense. He is only 19 years old, so after a few years of maturation and time with professional strength coaches, he should be a dominant force in the NBA.

Ingram is a superior scorer and a better shooter, but Simmons is a rare talent and more dynamic. He can solidify Philadelphia's frontcourt and command help defenders to leave Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel near the rim to lead to easy drop-offs and buckets. If the Sixers can keep Ish Smith in the fold, they should finally start becoming relevant again in the near future.

Strong International Crop

International prospects are typically the greatest mysteries. With the exception of the New York Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis, most take years to develop overseas before even joining an NBA roster.

Athleticism and versatility seem to characterize this year's class. Dragan Bender is a raw prospect from Croatia, but he has skills that can turn him into a superstar. Take a look at his highlight reel:

Bender is an explosive athlete with an exquisite ability to pass and shoot for a 7-footer. He is not as tall or as rangy on defense as Porzingis, but he is quicker down the floor and slightly more agile. With Boston making two consecutive playoff appearances and eight in the last nine years, Bender can develop before joining a secure franchise that can maximize his talents.

Furkan Korkmaz of Turkey and Timothe Luwawu of France are similar players in that they are quick slashers who can jump out of the gym while being reliable shooters on the wings. Per DraftExpress, Korkmaz shot 42.3 percent from three-point range this year, while Luwawu hit 37.2 percent of his trifectas, so each can keep defenders honest on the perimeter while still being able to get to the rim.

Luwawu could also find himself in the Slam Dunk Contest one day if he continues to throw down jams like this, via basketball analyst Kevin O'Connor:

Chicago and Memphis have had success with international players—namely Nikola Mirotic and Marc Gasol, respectively—and both need players who can score on the wings. These players should fit well with their teams and become solid contributors within three years.

Late-Round Sleepers

A pair of former Big Ten stars could prove to be steals at the end of the first round.

Maryland's Melo Trimble emerged as a star freshman in 2014-15 and was one of the nation's best players for the first half of last season before he ran into a rough shooting slump. He declared for the draft without an agent, so he could go back to school. However, he has the ability to fit in tremendously with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Per 247Sports' Jeff Ermann, Trimble is already set to work out for the team, which lacks a true backup for Chris Paul. The Clippers love to run the pick-and-roll with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, which Trimble excels at, as Maryland on BTN showed:

With Trimble, the Clippers can continue to run their sets with Paul on the bench, and the Terrapins star can develop his game to take on more minutes as the 31-year-old Paul starts to age. If Trimble can prove his 2016 shooting woes were a fluke, he will be a massive get late in the first round.

Purdue's A.J. Hammons would be an ideal fit for another NBA contender, the Golden State Warriors. The 7-footer is a dynamic center who can control the game inside while also stepping out and knocking down jumpers, as he hit six of his 11 threes (55 percent) a year ago.

The 2015-16 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year can protect the rim while also providing versatile scoring on offense. He is a similar player to Warriors reserve Marreese Speights, but he is a better defender.

This pick would go a long way toward establishing more frontcourt depth for the Warriors, who could use it with Andrew Bogut being an injury-prone starter.

All statistics are courtesy of DraftExpress.