2016 NBA Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions for Most Intriguing Prospects

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2016

LSU forward Ben Simmons (25) looks to pass as North Carolina State forward BeeJay Anya (21) defends in the second half of an NCAA college basketball matchup in the Legends Classic consolation game, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Now that the order of the top 14 selections has been established with the 2016 NBA draft lottery on Tuesday, organizations can begin planning for who they will take on June 23 in Brooklyn, New York. 

This might not be the deepest draft the league has seen, but a pair of can't-miss prospects in LSU's Ben Simmons and Duke's Brandon Ingram are projected to go off the board first and second. 

After my latest first-round mock draft, I will try to shed some light on what the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers could be thinking at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively:

2016 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft
1Philadelphia 76ersBen SimmonsFLSU
2Los Angeles LakersBrandon IngramSFDuke
3Boston CelticsDragan BenderPFCroatia
4Phoenix SunsJaylen BrownSFCalifornia
5Minnesota TimberwolvesBuddy HieldSGOklahoma
6New Orleans PelicansKris DunnPGProvidence
7Denver NuggetsJamal MurrayPG/SGKentucky
8Sacramento KingsDomantas SabonisPF/CGonzaga
9Toronto RaptorsJakob PoeltlCUtah
10Milwaukee BucksDeyonta DavisPF/CMichigan State
11Orlando MagicMarquese ChrissPFWashington
12Utah JazzFurkan KorkmazSGTurkey
13Phoenix SunsHenry EllensonCMarquette
14Chicago BullsDenzel ValentineSGMichigan State
15Denver NuggetsMalik BeasleySGFlorida State
16Boston CelticsTaurean PrinceSFBaylor
17Memphis GrizzliesSkal LabissierePF/CKentucky
18Detroit PistonsBrice JohnsonPFNorth Carolina
19Denver NuggetsDejounte MurrayPG/SGWashington
20Indiana PacersStephen ZimmermanPF/CUNLV
21Atlanta HawksDiamond StoneCMaryland
22Charlotte HornetsTimiothe LuwawuSFFrance
23Boston CelticsDamian JonesCVanderbilt
24Philadelphia 76ersTyler UlisPGKentucky
25Los Angeles ClippersMalachi RichardsonSGSyracuse
26Philadelphia 76ersWade BaldwinGVanderbilt
27Toronto RaptorsCheick DialloCKansas
28Phoenix SunsThon MakerCAustralia
29San Antonio SpursPetr CorneliePFFrance
30Golden State WarriorsCaris LeVertSGMichigan

The Lakers might find it more beneficial to draft Ingram instead of Simmons because they have their point guard of the future with D'Angelo Russell. 

Drafting Simmons, who despite his 6'10" frame could play almost like a point forward, could inhibit the growth of Russell, along with young power forward Julius Randle and shooting guard Jordan Clarkson. 

Ingram, on the other hand, is a 6'9", 196-pound small forward who still has to work on bulking up for the physicality of the NBA, but he can shoot well from deep. 

His 41.0 percent mark from three would add another dimension to the Lakers offense that was dead last in three-point shooting in the league at 31.7. 

Meanwhile, Simmons would be a perfect fit for the 76ers, who are looking for that big-time player who can do it all. They already have a young core in the frontcourt with Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, but no one on the current roster has the versatility of Simmons. 

He is the kind of player who can stretch the floor in a 76ers offense that needs everything. Philly was second-to-last in the league with 97.4 points per game along with a field-goal percentage of 43.1 in 2015-16.

His acquisition could also give the 76ers some wiggle room in terms of finding a legitimate point guard. Philadelphia wouldn't need to acquire the biggest name or the best-scoring one; all it would need is a facilitator who could take hold of the offense when Simmons is not on the court or unavailable. 

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.


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