2016 NBA Mock Draft: Predicting Every Pick in Early June
We're at the point in the NBA draft evaluation process when teams begin weighing all of their options. While working out dozens of prospects in the weeks leading up to the big night, scouts and executives begin brainstorming their targets, fallback options and trade possibilities.
Assuming we already know which players will be taken first and second, the draft really starts with the Boston Celtics at No. 3, where there are a number of directions they can go. Their move will ultimately have a domino effect down the rest of the board.
With the Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets each having three first-round picks, and the Toronto Raptors having two, we could see a lot of wheeling and dealing on June 23.
This mock draft has a new top five with a freshman soaring up the board during workouts. That means someone also had to slip out of the top 10.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons (LSU, PF, Freshman)
I've had Ben Simmons to the Philadelphia 76ers since October, and nothing changes now that we're in June. Team fit should not factor into management's draft decision, given the uncertainty about the potential of the franchise's three most valuable players: Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.
Based on a recent report from The Vertical's Shams Charania, Noel may not even be on the roster come draft night.
The Sixers should select who they believe is the No. 1 talent on the board, regardless of position. And that will be Simmons, whose physical tools, versatility and basketball IQ fuel the greatest upside in the class. The unparalleled productivity at LSU just makes him more convincing.
There is a good chance Philadelphia already values Simmons as a better prospect than all three of their high-profile bigs. They'll take him, then shop Noel and possibly Okafor, presumably with the intention of landing another top-10 pick.
Don't be surprised if the Sixers end up selecting again before No. 24—their currently scheduled second first-round choice. Providence's Kris Dunn, Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, Croatia's Dragan Bender, Kentucky's Jamal Murray, Washington's Marquese Chriss and California's Jaylen Brown could each be in play.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram (Duke, SF, Freshman)
There shouldn't be too much stress on the Los Angeles Lakers management. GM Mitch Kupchak will take whoever falls to him at No. 2, whether it's Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram.
L.A. might even be pumped to see Philadelphia take Simmons, given Ingram's picturesque fit into the Lakers lineup. He offers high-scoring and shooting potential to a team that lost Kobe Bryant and finished last in three-point percentage.
With two confident ball-handlers and playmakers (Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell) in the lineup, the Lakers could ease Ingram in as a complementary shot-maker and spot-up shooter. But long term, he'll have the chance to emerge as one of the team's go-to options.
3. Boston Celtics (via Nets): Buddy Hield (Oklahoma, SG, Senior)
There are a ton of different avenues for general manager Danny Ainge to explore at No. 3. With three first-round picks, he can get creative and look to trade up, down or for an established talent.
According to Jay King of MassLive.com, Ainge also just got back from a scouting trip that allowed him to watch Croatia's Dragan Bender practice. Bender is 18 years old and plays only 12.9 minutes per game, making him one of the tougher names to evaluate, given the different setting and lack of playing time.
But based on Ainge's track record, he hasn't shown much of a willingness to gamble overseas. The only international player he's taken in the first round as Boston's decision-maker? Lucas Nogueira, who was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on draft night.
Buddy Hield just makes too much sense for Boston if it sticks at No. 3. Ainge is bound to value his competitiveness and confidence, along with the fact Hield had arguably the most impressive shooting season since Stephen Curry in 2008. Boston loves to jack up threes (No. 11 in three-pointers attempted) but only finished No. 28 in three-point percentage.
He's one of the few players in this draft you can immediately feel good about as a rookie. And given the gradual improvement he's made, along with his work ethic, there is good reason to believe Hield's peak is still a few years away.
The Celtics are in win-now mode, and Hield can help them win now. Something tells me he'll be able to help later, too.
4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender (Croatia, PF/C, 1997)
The Phoenix Suns should be all over Dragan Bender if the Boston Celtics pass. The fit and relationship would make sense—the Suns aren't in any rush to win and need a big man to pair with the guards.
He's still expected to come right over with an NBA buyout over the summer, according to international reporter David Pick, so it would be wise to let Bender play through mistakes next year as a rookie, considering he averages just 12.9 minutes a game overseas.
While it may be natural to view Bender as risky, the fact he's 7'1", moves fluidly, shoots well (36.9 percent from three in the Israeli League) and plays smart should eliminate any bust potential.
The upside kicks in if his off-the-dribble game improves, body strengthens and foot speed translates to defensive versatility.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Marquese Chriss (Washington, PF, Freshman)
The Minnesota Timberwolves could look to fill a need with a shooter like Jamal Murray, but it's more likely they're baited by Marquese Chriss' upside.
He's been able to show off his jump-out-of-the-gym springs in workouts, as well as a mechanically sound jumper with three-point range. During gameplay over the past year, we saw flashes of pull-up scoring, post moves and highlight-reel plays above the rim. His world-class athleticism and offensive versatility scream potential.
But there is also some risk that comes with Chriss, a weak rebounder who lacks physicality inside and the off-the-dribble quickness most wings possess.
There is still a good chance the Wolves opt to chase upside with this 18-year-old project. In a few years, it's easy to envision Chriss fitting in with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins as a hybrid stretch 4. You may not find a more athletic 3-4-5 trio.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Kris Dunn (Providence, PG, Junior)
The New Orleans Pelicans should be all over Kris Dunn if he gets by the Minnesota Timberwolves. There is an argument to be made he's actually good enough to warrant consideration at No. 3 overall.
Either way, the Pelicans can get a steal at No. 6; Dunn would give them a fresh burst of playmaking and pressure defense at the point. New Orleans would likely then let Eric Gordon walk in free agency, while Jrue Holiday would move to either 2-guard or sixth man, both fitting roles for his particular game.
Fans should ultimately be salivating at the two-man-game potential between Dunn and Anthony Davis. California's Jaylen Brown and Kentucky's Jamal Murray will get looks, but I expect management to favor Providence's point guard—the better fit and more promising overall talent.
7. Denver Nuggets (via Knicks): Jaylen Brown (California, SF, Freshman)
The Denver Nuggets are searching for talent in any shape or form. No guard, wing or big is likely to come in and immediately outperform Gary Harris, Will Barton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried or any one of the three centers.
At No. 7, Denver will look to chase long-term upside with Jaylen Brown, a powerful, explosive wing whose athleticism is ahead of his ball skills. He's only 19 years old and has time to improve his handle and jumper. The Nuggets can afford to bring him on slowly and hopefully unleash him in 2017-18.
Behind Ben Simmons, Brown projects as the draft's next biggest transition weapon. He puts heavy pressure on the rim with open-floor attacking and half-court line drives (9.2 free-throw attempts per 40 minutes). But if he's able to start knocking down the pull-up and spot-up jumper, and he keeps improving with the floater, he also has the potential to emerge as a two-way star.
8. Sacramento Kings: Jamal Murray (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
The Sacramento Kings would feel good about landing Jamal Murray at No. 8. Nobody they've added over the years has run away with the starting 2-guard position.
The Kings could actually use Murray in a sixth-man role his rookie year too. He's more effective playing off the ball than on it, excelling as a shooter and shot-maker off screens and spotting up.
Murray averaged 20 points a game and drilled 113 threes his freshman season. He will need the green light to play through mistakes, but he's one of a few prospects who gives off an NBA-ready impression.
9. Toronto Raptors (via Nuggets): Henry Ellenson (Marquette, PF, Freshman)
Henry Ellenson could be the most skilled power forward in this draft. He'd be higher on boards if he packed a little more explosiveness, but Ellenson's inside-out game looks tailor-made for today's stretch 4 position.
The Toronto Raptors could ultimately use a versatile scorer between DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas. Good thing Ellenson—6'11 ½", 242 pounds, 7'2 ¼" wingspan—hit 30 threes and shot 42.7 percent on two-point jumpers, per Hoop-Math.com, while averaging 17.0 points and 9.7 rebounds his freshman year.
A promising shooter with face-up skills, post moves and the willingness to throw his body around under the boards, Ellenson justifies top-10 consideration in 2016. He may even be undervalued heading into June.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Wade Baldwin IV (Vanderbilt, PG, Sophomore)
The Milwaukee Bucks could use shooting and guard play, which makes Wade Baldwin IV an interesting lottery option.
Baldwin shot at least 40 percent from three in both years at Vanderbilt. He also has the chance to develop into a monster on-ball defender, given his absurd 6'11 ¼" wingspan and foot speed that translated to the second-fastest lane agility time at the combine.
With Baldwin, Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Henson, the Bucks could have extreme length at three positions.
Even if they run the Greek Freak at point guard for stretches during the year, there's still room for an additional ball-handler. Michael Carter-Williams isn't safe in Milwaukee moving forward.
11. Orlando Magic: Jakob Poeltl (Utah, C, Sophomore)
The Orlando Magic take Jakob Poeltl at No. 11 as the best player available. And without a backup center under contract for next season, it couldn't hurt to add another 7-footer, particularly one who can move like Poeltl.
At the least, he gives the Magic a strong finisher and rebounder coming off the bench. But it's impossible to just write off the strides he made as a post scorer. Poeltl developed into a legitimate go-to option in back-to-the-basket situations. Even his hands looked softer. He's improved his footwork and touch dramatically.
Though not a big shot-blocker, Poeltl should be capable of becoming a better defender than Nikola Vucevic over the long haul. If Poeltl blows up, Vucevic becomes attractive trade bait.
12. Utah Jazz: Dejounte Murray (Washington, PG/SG, Freshman)
Upside is going to carry Dejounte Murray into the lottery, where the Utah Jazz will covet his scoring and playmaking potential.
Utah still doesn’t know what it has in Dante Exum after two years. It knows what it has in Trey Burke, who’s made himself expendable. Consider Murray insurance in case the team misread Exum’s ceiling on draft night in 2014. Either way, this is an opportunity for the Jazz to add a potentially potent weapon to their backcourt.
Domantas Sabonis' rebounding and energy could earn Utah’s attention, but rather than settle on Rudy Gobert’s backup in the lottery, look for the Jazz to take a bigger swing.
13. Phoenix Suns (via Wizards): Furkan Korkmaz (Turkey, SG/SF, 1997)
The Phoenix Suns aren't likely to walk away with three first-round rookies. While Dragan Bender looks like a good bet to come over and play next year, Furkan Korkmaz is an attractive draft-and-stash candidate, even though he does have an NBA out in his contract this summer, according to his agent.
A terrific shooter overseas, Korkmaz has garnered NBA attention despite playing just 11.9 minutes a game while making over 40 percent of his threes for the second straight year against quality competition (Euroleague, Turkish League). Korkmaz has also created his fair share of highlights with effortless leaping ability.
Still 18 years old, he'd be better off returning to a bigger role with Anadolu Efes for now.
14. Chicago Bulls: Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga, PF/C, Sophomore)
The Chicago Bulls may have to restock their frontcourt with the possibility they lose both Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. Management could also view Domantas Sabonis as the top prospect available at No. 14.
He took his game to a new level in 2015-16, having improved his post skills and shooting touch while still converting at 61.1 percent from the floor. He also registered the highest rebounding percentage of any first-round-caliber prospect.
Sabonis, 6'11", 240 pounds, should offer the versatility to play both the 4 and 5.
He isn't the most intimidating rim protector or interior defender, but between his nose for the ball, competitive edge, patented hook shot and developing shooting range, Sabonis looks like a surefire rotational big man.
15. Denver Nuggets (via Rockets): Skal Labissiere (Kentucky, PF/C, Freshman)
At No. 15, there isn't any international draft-and-stash option worth reaching on. So this is a good spot to gamble on Skal Labissiere, particularly for the Denver Nuggets with their second first-round pick.
Labissiere will likely need time both on the bench and in the NBA Development League, but it's his long-term potential that's expected to keep the interest alive. He's still 6'11 ¾ with bounce, a sweet shooting stroke and post skills.
The big questions concern his 215.8-pound frame, lack of toughness and feel for the game.
Labissiere is ultimately a boom-or-bust option, but for a team with three top-20 selections, the potential reward is worth the risk here for Denver.
16. Boston Celtics (via Mavericks): Deyonta Davis (Michigan St., PF/C, Freshman)
Deyonta Davis should attract the Boston Celtics, regardless of whom they take at No. 3. They have no exciting options up front, and Davis offers the versatility to play both the 4 and 5.
He projects as a defensive-minded big, something coach Brad Stevens doesn't quite have. Davis—6'10 ½", 237.2 pounds, 7'2 ½" wingspan—has NBA-center size with enough foot speed to guard power forwards. He blocked 3.9 shots per 40 minutes and demonstrated the lateral quickness to switch out onto on the perimeter.
Though still a work in progress offensively, he's a high-percentage target around the basket (shot 59.8 percent) with a developing back-to-the-basket game and hint of mid-range touch.
Boston can afford to take on a project like Davis using its second of three first-round picks.
17. Memphis Grizzlies: Malachi Richardson (Syracuse, SG, Freshman)
Malachi Richardson will end up being one of the bigger predraft risers following his NCAA tournament breakout and the NBA combine, where he first met with teams and measured 6'6 ¼" with a 7'0" wingspan.
He'd be a nice fit in Memphis, given the team's lack of depth and upside at the off-guard slot.
Richardson has prototypical size and adequate athleticism for the position. And though he didn't catch fire until midway through his freshman year, his shooting stroke looks pure and convincing.
He'll need another year to develop the rest of his game, particularly his off-the-dribble skills and mid-range scoring. But between his tools, jumper and natural offensive ability, there is enough here for the Grizzles to bite with a mid-first-round pick in a relatively weak draft.
18. Detroit Pistons: Denzel Valentine (Michigan State, PG/SG, Senior)
The Detroit Pistons lack backcourt depth and finished in the bottom third of the league in three-point percentage. Denzel Valentine has the potential to help in both departments with his shot-making and passing instincts.
He knocked down at least 100 threes in back-to-back seasons and finished this past one ranked second in the country in assist percentage, per Sports-Reference.com.
With Detroit in win-now mode, Valentine—a productive four-year senior—could look more attractive than higher-upside projects such as Kansas' Cheick Diallo, Turkey's Furkan Korkmaz and Florida State's Malik Beasley.
19. Denver Nuggets (via Blazers): Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame, PG, Junior)
After taking a wing and a big man, the Denver Nuggets will use their third first-round pick to grab a ball-handler.
Demetrius Jackson is strong and bouncy, though he isn't the flashiest half-court playmaker. A reliable shot-maker (hit at least 40 percent from deep in two of three seasons at Notre Dame) and sound passer, he does a nice job of patiently picking his spots while managing the offense.
It's possible the Nuggets won't even be picking at No. 19 after already selecting twice in the top 15. Either way, Jackson figures to go somewhere in the mid-to-late first round. He'd have the chance to upgrade Denver's point guard depth by 2017-18.
20. Indiana Pacers: Cheick Diallo (Kansas, PF/C, Freshman)
Often the best player on the floor during five-on-fives at the NBA combine, Cheick Diallo reminded scouts what drove all the preseason hype.
He's a pogo-stick big man with an incredible 7'4 ½" wingspan and nonstop motor. Easy finishes, rebounds, blocked shots—Diallo's physical tools, athleticism and energy translate to off-ball plays at the rim.
The only notable bigs under contract for the Indiana Pacers next season are Myles Turner, Lavoy Allen and Rakeem Christmas. Indiana takes Diallo here as an insurance policy for impending free agent Ian Mahinmi.
21. Atlanta Hawks: DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph's, SG/SF, Junior)
DeAndre Bembry carried his strong postseason performance into Chicago at the NBA combine, where he was an obvious standout during five-on-fives.
It's now difficult to imagine him falling outside this year's first round, especially considering how many wing-needy teams are picking in the 20s, starting with the Atlanta Hawks, who could lose Kent Bazemore in free agency. Bembry recently auditioned for the Hawks, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chris Vivlamore.
Bembry's versatility is an obvious selling point. Along with Ben Simmons and Denzel Valentine, he was one of three players in the country to average at least 16 points, seven boards and four assists this year, per Sports-Reference.com.
Bembry becomes a steal if he can improve his long-range shooting consistency, and his stock should only rise during workouts and interviews.
22. Charlotte Hornets: Malik Beasley (Florida State, SG, Freshman)
Malik Beasley quietly crept into this year's first-round discussion and now finds himself in position to rise even further. He has that workout-friendly blend of high-flying athleticism and dangerous shooting ability.
He's still 19 years old and has production to back up the potential. As a freshman, Beasley averaged 15.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while registering an efficient 58.3 percent true shooting percentage, per Sports-Reference.com.
Nicolas Batum, Courtney Lee and Jeremy Lin each have the option to sign elsewhere this summer. So Beasley's three-and-D image, along with some developing scoring potential, should make him an attractive insurance option for Charlotte at No. 22.
23. Boston Celtics: Ante Zizic (Croatia, C, 1997)
According to international reporter David Pick, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge took a scouting trip overseas and got a chance to watch Ante Zizic, one of the most productive young prospects in Europe.
He's playing a major role and putting up numbers. During 22 Adriatic League games, Zizic has averaged 12.9 points and 7.8 boards in 25.5 minutes on 63.3 percent shooting.
Though not overly skilled, he does his damage by rolling, cutting and diving to the hoop or crashing the offensive glass. Listed at 6'11", 254 pounds with a 7'3" wingspan, per The Vertical's Jonathan Givony, Zizic projects as a hustle-and-energy big whose motor drives his value.
According to Pick, Zizic will come straight to the NBA.
24. Philadelphia 76ers (via Heat): Timothe Luwawu (France, SG/SF, 1995)
Showtime athleticism, shooting potential and textbook physical tools fuel Timothe Luwawu's intriguing two-way potential.
He'd certainly fill a need for the Philadelphia 76ers, whose most exciting wing is Robert Covington.
Luwawu's three-point numbers dropped as the year progressed, and he's only converting at a 40.2 percent clip from the floor. But he's flashed enough in a high-usage role for Mega Leks to garner first-round interest.
Improving his shot selection and mid-range scoring will be atop the priority list moving forward, but Luwawu's three-and-D potential is no doubt enticing.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Taurean Prince (Baylor, SF/PF, Senior)
This would seem like a slide for Taurean Prince and good value for the Los Angeles Clippers. He didn't make the big senior jump, but in an NBA role that asks him to shoot, finish and defend (not create), Prince has the tools and game to succeed.
His body is built to compete at the NBA level right away. Prince measured a quarter-inch under 6'8" and weighed in at 220.2 pounds with a 6'11 ½" wingspan—textbook numbers for a wing and enough for a small-ball 4.
He's not overly explosive or a particularly sharp one-on-one scorer. Whether he thrives in the pros will come down to his three-point shooting consistency. Prince has nailed at least 36 percent from deep in each of his last three seasons, but he's never hit the 40 percent mark.
The Clippers, who lack depth at both forward spots, get a quality three-and-D role player if Prince can max out his potential.
26. Philadelphia 76ers (via Thunder): Thon Maker (Athlete Institute, PF, 1997)
By No. 26, the Philadelphia 76ers are simply looking to acquire an asset. It won't matter that Thon Maker is another big man.
He shouldn't be playing many NBA games next year, anyway. Just 216 pounds with no experience at the Division I level, Maker is the perfect candidate for the Developmental League. The Sixers could essentially view Maker as a draft-and-stash player, only they'd pay him while he develops with the Delaware 87ers.
Though skilled for a 7-footer, it's Maker's energy and motor that are likely to hold the most NBA value. He isn't physical down low or smooth around the perimeter, but he's athletic, runs the floor hard and gets himself easy buckets off effort and athleticism.
Don't expect results right away, but if the Sixers trade Nerlens Noel, Maker could be his long-term replacement.
27. Toronto Raptors: Ivica Zubac (Croatia, C, 1997)
Ivica Zubac is still in action, having recently gone for 31 points in 31 minutes two weeks ago. He struggled through two playoff games against Crvena Zvezda, but Zubac's size, mobility and finesse in the post have led to NBA buzz since last summer's European and World Championships.
At 7'1", 265 pounds, he has giant size and a strong feel for scoring around the basket off rolls, dives and back-to-the-basket moves. It's unclear whether he'll be coming right over, but between his physical tools and production at different levels, Zubac looks to offer high-end backup potential.
Assuming Bismack Biyombo opts out and commands a ton of interest from other teams, Zubac could become an attractive late-round gamble for Toronto.
28. Phoenix Suns (via Cavaliers): Pascal Siakam (New Mexico State, PF/C, Soph.)
There is always one late first-round pick surprise who comes out of nowhere.
The Phoenix Suns could view Pascal Siakam the same way the Los Angeles Lakers viewed Larry Nance Jr. These are bigs whose athleticism and motors translate in energizer roles.
At the NBA combine, Siakam picked up his fair share of easy buckets by beating defenses down the floor. He was ultimately one of the most productive scorers and rebounders in the country, and though his 20.2 points per game won’t carry over, his finishing ability, rebounding presence and shot-blocking tools should.
With Alex Len and Tyson Chandler the only bigs currently under contract in Phoenix next season, the Suns might as well continue to stock up on frontcourt talent in this draft.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Petr Cornelie (France, PF, 1995)
The San Antonio Spurs should opt to draft-and-stash Petr Cornelie, a stretch 4 who shoots 39.3 percent from three in LNB Pro A, France's top league.
Cornelie's blend of 6'11" size, fluidity and shooting is no doubt NBA-friendly. But he isn't the strongest around the basket and doesn't project as a shot-creator. Still, there is obvious value tied to his strengths, particularly his ability to space the floor.
Nobody at No. 29 is coming in next year and making an impact in San Antonio, especially on such a perennially deep roster. Cornelie's signature skill (shooting) could make him a late-round steal by 2018.
30. Golden State Warriors: Brice Johnson (North Carolina, PF, Senior)
The Golden State Warriors aren't looking for upside at No. 30.
With Harrison Barnes, Marreese Speights, Festus Ezeli, James Michael McAdoo and Anderson Varejao entering free agency, it would be wise to secure another big for the bench.
Johnson isn't a versatile scorer or defender, but his energy and bounce are still bound to translate to easy buckets and rebounds. His job in the pros will be exactly what it was at North Carolina. The Warriors will want him running the floor, crashing the glass and putting pressure on the rim.
He projects as the type of high-motor finisher who makes plays without needing them run through him.
31. Boston Celtics (via 76ers): Ben Bentil (Providence, PF, Sophomore)
Ben Bentil deserved a little more national attention this year for averaging 21.1 points. He was a scoring machine all season and continued to cook at the NBA combine, where he showcased his inside-out attack in front of more than 100 scouts and executives.
He measured just 6'8 ¼", a disappointing number for a power forward who won't log minutes at the wing. But he compensates with a 7'1 ½" wingspan and terrific skill level. Bentil has a silky smooth jumper with plenty of arc and range; he can face up and take his man from the short corners or punish him with his back to the basket.
Bentil would be a first-round lock if only he were a better rebounder, defender and decision-maker, which seem like requirements for an NBA role player.
His scoring ability is still enticing, so Bentil projects as one of those backup bigs who sticks around for years, thanks to his ability to put the ball in the hole.
32. Los Angeles Lakers: Zhou Qi (China, C, 1996)
NBA scouts and executives had the chance to watch and meet Zhou Qi at the NBA combine in Chicago. He's clearly been on their radar over in China, where he's averaged 15.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks.
But the more important numbers are his 7'2 ¼" size and ridiculous 7'7 ¾" wingspan, which give him Rudy Gobert-like secret-weapon potential. He's even flashed some promising shooting touch, which eventually figures to be part of his game down the road.
Zhou seems like more of a reach in the first round but a value pick in Round 2 for the Los Angeles Lakers.
33. Los Angeles Clippers (via Nets): Isaiah Whitehead (Seton Hall, PG, Soph.)
Isaiah Whitehead earned himself an NBA combine invite after scoring at least 20 points during 11 of Seton Hall's final 14 games. He ended up looking like one of the better players in Chicago and now finds himself hoping to secure a late first-round spot.
He won't get it, but a team like the Los Angeles Clippers could scoop him up early in the second.
Whitehead is a power guard with a dangerous jumper, strong attack game and excellent vision. He struggled converting inside the arc and turns the ball over too much, but at this point in the draft, these aren't reasons for the Clippers to pass at No. 33.
34. Phoenix Suns: Damian Jones (Vanderbilt, C, Junior)
Damian Jones never made the big leap scouts had been hoping for, but he was more efficient in 2015-16, despite the underwhelming production. He shot a career-best 59.5 percent and raised both his per-40-minute rebounding and scoring averages.
Still 20 years old, there is time for him to improve his post game and jumper. We've seen impressive glimpses of both, just not consistently.
Regardless, you can't teach his 6'11 ½", 243.6-pound size, 7'3 ¾" wingspan and above-the-rim athleticism, which have helped create some margin for error through three seasons at Vanderbilt.
35. Boston Celtics (via Timberwolves): Juan Hernangomez (Spain, SF/PF, 1995)
If the Boston Celtics don't trade this pick by this point, Juan Hernangomez should be an attractive early second-round target. At 6'9", 220 pounds, he's a solid athlete, active rebounder and threatening spot-up three-point shooter.
One of the most productive young players in a competitive Spanish ACB, his combo forward versatility and energy highlight appealing role-player potential.
He'll be 21 years old in September, and given his production at a high level overseas, one has to wonder whether a team like the Celtics will look to bring him over immediately.
36. Milwaukee Bucks (via Pelicans): Stephen Zimmerman Jr. (UNLV, C, Freshman)
Stephen Zimmerman Jr. fits the bill of a risk-reward pick. He only played 26 games, none of them meaningful, and averaged 10.5 points his freshman year.
On the flip side, his 6'11 ¾" size, above-average athleticism and inside-out versatility pass the eye test. Zimmerman has soft shooting touch, sound footwork and some bounce—he just lacks the visible toughness to bang around the basket.
We could be talking about a second-round steal or a long-term Development League player.
37. Houston Rockets (via Knicks): Tyler Ulis (Kentucky, PG, Sophomore)
Tyler Ulis might be vulnerable to getting leapfrogged on draft boards during the workout process, when bigger and better athletes typically rise.
He weighed in at just 149.2 pounds at the combine, a number that's difficult to look past in the first round. However, in the second round, Ulis' skill level, super IQ and competitive edge are worth investing in. The Houston Rockets could use a backup ball-handler as well.
38. Milwaukee Bucks: Patrick McCaw (UNLV, SG, Sophomore)
Patrick McCaw is beyond skinny, having weighed in at just 180.8 pounds at the combine, an unusually low number for a wing. He'll spend next season in the D-League, but long term, offensive versatility and defensive potential make him an enticing second-round gamble.
At a quarter of an inch under 6'7", McCaw flashed three-point shooting (2.1 threes per game), playmaking (3.9 assists) and lightning-quick hands (2.5 steals). He plays on and off the ball, with the ability to facilitate, initiate the break or spot up around the arc.
If he can become more consistent from deep and eventually get closer to 200 pounds, McCaw could settle in as a two-way role player.
39. New Orleans Pelicans (via Nuggets): Guerschon Yabusele (France, PF, 1995)
Guerschon Yabusele played significant minutes in France's top league, where he averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 boards on 53.9 percent shooting.
He's undersized for a big at just 6'8", but he's also powerful (270 pounds), long and capable shooting from outside, having hit 26 of 61 three-point attempts in 2015-16.
Despite his strength and length, Yabusele does not project as a defensive asset, which hurts his overall value. But there is still enough here with his athleticism, rebounding and jumper to warrant early second-round consideration.
40. New Orleans Pelicans (via Kings): Diamond Stone (Maryland, C, Freshman)
Diamond Stone could be in for a long night on June 23.
His offensive game alone can't pull the weight of poor rebounding numbers (9.3 boards per 40 minutes), weak defensive instincts and the second-highest body fat percentage at the combine.
He still offers nice value at No. 40, given his 6'10 ¼", 254.4-pound frame, mobility and back-to-the-basket game. Stone also flashed some promising touch around the key (76.1 percent on free throws).
He won't see many NBA minutes as a rookie, though. He'll need to improve his conditioning and one-on-one fluidity first.
41. Orlando Magic: Kay Felder (Oakland, PG, Junior)
The country's leader in assists, as well as a top-three scorer (24.4 points per game), Kay Felder became impossible to ignore as the season progressed, despite his 5'9 ½" size.
He's obviously small, but Felder compensates with a strong 177.2-pound frame and big-time leaping ability. He looked like he belonged next to fringe first-rounders at the NBA combine, where he harassed the opposition with pesky defense and consistently found the lane.
The Orlando Magic could ultimately use another ball-handler, so Felder projects as a spark-plug playmaker off the bench.
42. Utah Jazz: A.J. Hammons (Purdue, C, Senior)
The Utah Jazz may be able to find their backup center in the second round with A.J. Hammons.
He passes the eye test, thanks to monster 7'0", 261-pound size, and though not very bouncy, he's powerful and moves well.
Hammons is coming off his best season at Purdue after underachieving the previous two years. He's a back-to-the-basket scorer and physical presence on the block. As long as he can keep his motor pumping, Hammons has a good shot at sticking with a team that's missing an anchor and lacks depth at center.
43. Houston Rockets: Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia, SG, Senior)
Veteran teams should be intrigued by Malcolm Brogdon, who projects as a team-first role player.
He lacks quickness and athleticism, which will keep him outside the first round. But Brogdon's shooting, passing, defensive versatility and IQ should allow him to stick around.
He'll have a chance at succeeding long term by playing to his strengths as a member of the Houston Rockets' supporting cast.
44. Atlanta Hawks (via Wizards): Caris LeVert (Michigan, SG, Senior)
Caris LeVert would go in the first round and potentially the lottery if he hadn't gone down with a foot injury for the second straight season.
Unfortunately, foot problems tend to linger, making him a risky play.
On the other hand, he's a steal if he holds up physically. At 6'7", LeVert has terrific size and athleticism for a 2-guard who creates for teammates and shoots the lights out.
His versatility is ultimately built for today's NBA. The big question is whether his foot is, too.
45. Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies): Rade Zagorac (Serbia, SF, 1995)
Another Boston Celtics draft pick likely means either trading or drafting-and-stashing. If they keep it, Rade Zagorac should get consideration.
He plays with first-round prospects Timothe Luwawu and Ivica Zubac, who get most of the attention, so Zagorac's NBA potential has largely gone unnoticed.
A fluid 6'9" wing, he handles the ball and can beat his man in space. He's also a capable three-pointer shooter with some playmaking ability.
It wouldn't be surprising if someone else is picking for Boston at No. 45, but Zagorac is bound to draw interest in the mid-second round regardless.
46. Dallas Mavericks: Robert Carter Jr. (Maryland, PF, Junior)
A transfer from Georgia Tech, Robert Carter Jr. was consistently effective for Maryland and flashed a polished half-court skill set.
He isn't quick or bouncy, but Carter looks the part with strong physical tools and an inside-out game. One of the top performers during five-on-fives at the NBA combine, he impressed with low-post scoring and mid-range shooting.
He doesn't offer any any upside, but you get the impression he can settle in as an offensive-minded backup.
47. Orlando Magic (via Bulls): Jake Layman (Maryland, F, Senior)
An inability to create or rebound at a high level will likely keep Jake Layman from first-round consideration. However, 6'9 ¼" size, three-point shooting and fluid athleticism could work for him in a supporting role.
He projects as a complementary shot-maker who can attack open lanes. Otherwise, Layman does little dribbling and moves the ball without hunting for shots.
His ceiling only goes so high, but in the right fit, Layman will have the chance to succeed in the same role he played for Maryland.
48. Chicago Bulls (via Blazers): Sheldon McClellan (Miami, SG, Senior)
Sheldon McClellan's NBA calling card will be shot-making. He has textbook size (6'6 ¼") and athleticism for the 2-guard position, and though he's not the slickest isolation scorer, McClellan has a sweet stroke that connected on 40.6 percent of his threes last season.
For what it's worth, there was a stretch at the NBA combine where he caught fire.
McClellan doesn't offer much else, so his career will come down to how consistent he can be from long range. If he pans out, he'd fill a need for the Chicago Bulls, who lack backcourt firepower off the bench.
49. Detroit Pistons: Joel Bolomboy (Weber State, PF/C, Senior)
Joel Bolomboy had another big year at Weber State, though you wouldn't know it from college basketball's national coverage.
He's a hidden gem out in the Big Sky conference, where he averaged 12.6 rebounds, the third most in the country.
Known mostly for his athleticism and presence under the boards, he showed off some interesting stretch potential by nailing 20 threes as a senior. One of the top performers at the combine, particularly during testing, Bolomboy has made a strong case for himself as a potential backup big.
50. Indiana Pacers: Michael Gbinije (Syracuse, SG, Senior)
If Michael Gbinije were only a few years younger, he'd go a lot higher in the 2016 draft. Unfortunately, being 24 years old won't help his stock.
Still, unique versatility makes Gbinije worth drafting. At 6'6 ¾", he has good size for a guard and plenty of athleticism. And he's shot at least 39 percent from three in back-to-back seasons.
But it's his playmaking and facilitating ability that differentiates Gbinije from most wings. By No. 50, age shouldn't matter too much. He's a rare breed worth looking at in training camp.
51. Boston Celtics (via Heat): Isaiah Cousins (Oklahoma, PG/SG, Senior)
With Buddy Hield hogging all of the attention at Oklahoma, Isaiah Cousins was underappreciated.
He finished his career having hit at least 40 percent of his threes during each of his final three seasons. He also dished out a career-high 4.5 assists per game as a senior while sharing the backcourt with Hield and Jordan Woodard.
Cousins had some nice flashes at the NBA combine and could see his stock rise during workouts. He'll have the chance to make a roster in training camp, though expect most of his minutes next year to come in the Development League.
52. Utah Jazz (via Celtics): Isaia Cordinier (Denain, SG, 1996)
Isaia Cordinier spent the year in France's second division, where he was able to get regular playing time. He did enough to earn himself an invite to April's Nike Hoop Summit, though he didn't do himself any favors while there.
He's a combo guard with an exciting blend of 6'4" size, burst and shooting potential. But his handle isn't tight, and he doesn't project as a shot creator.
Cordinier will need to become a consistent shooter for a shot to crack the NBA. He's worth drafting-and-stashing late with the hope that his ball skills and jumper improve over the next year or two abroad.
53. Denver Nuggets (via Hornets): Gary Payton II (Oregon State, PG/SG, Senior)
Gary Payton II had a breakout year at Oregon State, but there are still a few question marks difficult to look past: He's a 23-year-old guard who shoots below 32 percent from three and 65 percent from the line.
However, Payton has enough going for him to warrant a second-round selection, including defensive playmaking, improved passing and elite rebounding ability (for a guard).
He can score in the open floor, but Payton's calling in the NBA will be defense and athleticism off the bench.
54. Atlanta Hawks: Chinanu Onuaku (Louisville, C, Sophomore)
There aren't any questions about what Chinanu Onuaku does and doesn't bring to the table.
His skill level is minimal, and considering he attempts his free throws underhand, he offers zero shooting range.
If Onuaku is going to earn a living in the pros, it will be for his finishing, shot-blocking and rebounding. He projects as a high-activity big around the basket, where his job is to dunk, track down loose balls, convert second-chance points and protect the rim.
With the right fit and opportunity, Onuaku may have a chance at earning a role as a dirty-work big man and interior specialist.
55. Brooklyn Nets (via Clippers): Wayne Selden (Kansas, SG, Junior)
Wayne Selden doesn't do any one thing well enough to warrant first-round consideration. He lacks playmaking ability for a guard, and though he started hitting threes more consistently as a junior, the fact that he's shot below 66 percent from the charity line every year is troubling.
Considering he's not a shot-creator, Selden must become an above-average three-point shooter to stick long term. He's still worth drafting based on his strength, athleticism and the idea that his jumpers can improve over time.
56. Denver Nuggets (via Thunder): Anthony Barber (N.C. State, PG, Junior)
Anthony Barber blew up for averages of 23.5 points and 4.5 assists his junior year. But for a 173-pound ball dominator, scouts saw too much shot hunting and not enough facilitating.
Barber isn't a good enough athlete or shooter to lean on scoring moving forward. To stick in the pros, he'll want to study Ish Smith, who's been able to get jobs with his ability to break down defenses and create shots.
57. Memphis Grizzlies (via Raptors): James Webb III (Boise State, PF, Sophomore)
James Webb III's plummeting three-point percentage kept his NBA draft buzz in check during the year. His long-range mark dropped from 40.9 percent to 24.8 percent.
But the drop-off shouldn't automatically cancel out the shooting potential he'd previously flashed. Webb clearly has three-point range, which is a huge plus for a 6'8" power forward with above-the-rim bounce.
It's worth finding out late in Round 2 if Webb can be an athletic stretch 4 option down the road.
58. Boston Celtics (via Cavaliers): Georgios Papagiannis (Greece, C, 1997)
Strong showings at the World and European Championships over the summer made Georgios Papagiannis a prospect to monitor. He's only played 12 minutes a game this year in Greece, but at 18 years old, it's all about potential.
Papagiannis stands 7'1" and moves well, while his skill set covers mid-range shooting, low-post scoring and rim protection.
He's just far away from tying it all together.
59. Sacramento Kings (via Spurs): Tyrone Wallace (California, PG, Senior)
Tyrone Wallace suffered a tough blow when his hand broke just before the NCAA tournament.
Nevertheless, he wouldn't have been able to ease concerns over his shooting, regardless of how far California went—Wallace never finished a season above 33 percent from three or 65 percent from the line.
However, with 6'6" size, his ability to facilitate and score in the lane is worth looking into. Wallace can pass out of different situations, and he excels at getting into the lane and converting with various runners and layups.
He'll still need to become capable of shooting off two feet, but at No. 59, the potential reward here is worth the risk.
60. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Ron Baker (Wichita State, SG, Senior)
A below-average playmaker and athlete without traditional 2-guard size (6'4 ¼"), Ron Baker has his limitations.
He's still a worthy pick at No. 60 because he is a tough defender and high-IQ offensive player with a dangerous shooting stroke. He doesn't pass the eye test, but with his shot-making ability, efficiency and grit, there is a chance he can catch on in a Matthew Dellavedova-type role.