We're just days away from the start of the NBA Draft Combine, which tips off Wednesday in Chicago.
The NBA invited more than 70 players to work out at the combine, including a number of college players who have yet to sign with agents. These prospects will have until May 25 to decide whether to officially enter the draft or withdraw and return to school.
As we head into the combine, here's a look at where the top prospects stand with an early mock draft:
|NBA Mock Draft|
|1.||Philadelphia 76ers||Brandon Ingram||F||Duke|
|2.||Los Angeles Lakers||Ben Simmons||F||LSU|
|3.||Boston Celtics (via BKN)||Henry Ellenson||F/C||Marquette|
|4.||Phoenix Suns||Dragan Bender||F/C||Croatia|
|5.||Minnesota Timberwolves||Jamal Murray||G||Kentucky|
|6.||New Orleans Pelicans||Kris Dunn||PG||Providence|
|7.||Denver Nuggets (via NYK)||Jaylen Brown||G/F||California|
|8.||Sacramento Kings||Buddy Hield||G||Oklahoma|
|9.||Toronto Raptors (via DEN)||Jakob Poeltl||C||Utah|
|10.||Milwaukee Bucks||Marquese Chriss||F||Washington|
|11.||Orlando Magic||Timothe Luwawu||G||France|
|12.||Utah Jazz||Skal Labissiere||F/C||Kentucky|
|13.||Phoenix Suns (via WAS)||Furkan Korkmaz||G/F||Turkey|
|14.||Chicago Bulls||Tyler Ulis||PG||Kentucky|
|15.||Denver Nuggets (via HOU)||Demetrius Jackson||G||Notre Dame|
|16.||Boston Celtics (via DAL)||Denzel Valentine||G/F||Michigan State|
|17.||Memphis Grizzlies||Domantas Sabonis||F||Gonzaga|
|18.||Detroit Pistons||Deyonta Davis||F/C||Michigan State|
|19.||Denver Nuggets (via POR)||Wade Baldwin IV||G||Vanderbilt|
|20.||Indiana Pacers||Damian Jones||C||Vanderbilt|
|21.||Atlanta Hawks||Brice Johnson||F||North Carolina|
|22.||Charlotte Hornets||Taurean Prince||G||Baylor|
|23.||Boston Celtics||Dejounte Murray||PG||Washington|
|24.||Philadelphia 76ers (via MIA)||DeAndre' Bembry||G||St. Joseph's|
|25.||Los Angeles Clippers||Ante Zizic||C||Croatia|
|26.||Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC)||Patrick McCaw||G||UNLV|
|27.||Toronto Raptors||Melo Trimble||PG||Maryland|
|28.||Phoenix Suns (via CLE)||Stephen Zimmerman||C||UNLV|
|29.||San Antonio Spurs||Malcolm Brogdon||G||Virginia|
|30.||Golden State Warriors||Thon Maker||C||Orangeville Prep|
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Brandon Ingram
The combine should have presented scouts with the opportunity to compare Duke's Brandon Ingram and LSU's Ben Simmons, but Simmons intends to skip the event.
This is common for top prospects—Karl-Anthony Towns skipped the combine last year, for example—but it could impact how Simmons is viewed because of his unique circumstances.
After a sloppy season at LSU, which culminated in the team deciding to skip the postseason tournaments, there are some lingering concerns about Simmons' effort and competitiveness. He could have put these concerns to rest with a strong showing at the combine.
Ultimately, Simmons is too talented to fall far on draft day, but his decision to skip the combine could be another factor to help swing the Philadelphia 76ers' decision at No. 1 in favor of the equally talented Ingram.
4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender
The Phoenix Suns are loaded with young talent at the guard positions, led by 2015 first-round selection Devin Booker. But they need to come out of this draft with a talented big man to help ease the losses of Marcus and Markieff Morris over the past year.
The ideal addition could be Croatian big man Dragan Bender.
Bender is listed at 7'0" by NBADraft.net, giving him the size to play in the post. But he also has the athleticism to play on the perimeter, making him an ideal big man for today's NBA game.
USA Today's Derek Bodner reported that Bender's athleticism allowed him to regularly match up with ball-handlers on the perimeter while playing in Israel—a defensive skill that few NBA big men outside of Anthony Davis possess.
Obviously, there are questions about Bender's ability to transition from the competition in Israel to the NBA, but a rebuilding team such as the Suns may be willing to swing for the fences and hope for a Kristaps Porzingis-like performance from Bender.
8. Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield
The Sacramento Kings have their big men in place with DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein. Now they need to find their perimeter players to complete the rebuilding process.
With all the attention Cousins demands in the paint, Sacramento could be an ideal landing spot for Buddy Hield and his dangerous three-point shot.
Hield lacks the quickness to create his own shot at the NBA level with the same consistency he did at Oklahoma, but in Sacramento, Cousins receives so much attention that it often creates open looks on the perimeter for spot-up shooters.
Sacramento lacked the consistent shooters last season to take advantage, which allowed opponents to further collapse and defend Cousins down low. In fact, Hield hit more threes in 37 games at Oklahoma last season (147) than Omri Casspi, the Kings' leader in threes, hit in 69 games (112).