Re-Drafting the 2016 NBA Draft Class
The closer we get to the present, the harder these NBA re-drafts get.
With the 2016 edition, we're not just tallying the numbers from completed careers, and we don't have the benefit of perspective or hindsight to determine which players mattered more to the league than their stats might have suggested. Instead, we're analyzing players who are, mostly, at the outset of their primes.
Several of the top selections in our re-draft just took their first leaps toward stardom this year.
Another oddity: Eight of the new top 30 players were originally undrafted. Um, NBA front offices, you're not getting better at this.
As always, we don't care about positional fit. Every team is going to take the best player available, as determined by the numbers to date and (especially in this year's version) their potential to improve in the future.
Four years after the fact, let's get the 2016 NBA draft right.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam trails Ben Simmons in career win shares, box plus-minus and value over replacement player (VORP), three catch-all metrics that have considerable sway over the order of these re-drafts.
But he's second among 2016 picks in all three, and he's such a different type of player than Simmons that blind statistical comparison doesn't settle the discussion in Simmons' favor. More than that, Siakam's leaps over the last two seasons have him in a place where, today, at this very moment, he's more valuable to a team with title aspirations.
Throw out the fact that Siakam already has a ring as a second/third option. That's helpful to his case, but the reason he comes off the board first has more to do with his game's scaleability and weakness-free makeup.
Having proved in 2019-20 that he's now a viable go-to scorer (an incredible evolution considering Siakam was, as recently as two years ago, a dependent offensive player who scored on spoon-fed spot-ups and in transition), Siakam is the kind of threat to whom defenses must devote their full attention. In stark contrast, smart opponents ignore Simmons whenever he's not running in transition.
That's a foundational distinction. It's basically why every team Simmons plays for will have to build carefully around him, obscuring his weaknesses and searching for specific player types who'll magnify his strengths. Siakam fits anywhere, and he's already proved he can handle any role.
In Siakam, you get a player who shot 6.0 threes per game and hit them at a 35.9 percent clip in 2019-20. His averages of 23.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists warranted an All-Star start, and that's what they earned him. He's long, intelligent and has nearly the same level of defensive versatility as Simmons does. Though not the passer or stealmonger Simmons is, Siakam is his equal or better in virtually every other area.
Though fit isn't a primary consideration, it's illustrative of Siakam's worthiness at No. 1 to imagine what the Philadelphia 76ers might look like with him alongside Joel Embiid instead of Simmons. Suddenly, the spacing crunch is gone. Suddenly, defenses would have to guard a Siakam-Embiid pick-and-roll honestly, rather than going under every screen and daring Simmons to shoot (which he won't). Suddenly, the Sixers offer opponents no place to hide, no weakness to exploit—all while giving up almost nothing on defense.
Philly would rather have Siakam than the player it picked, and so should every other team in this draft.
Actual Pick: Ben Simmons
Siakam's Actual Draft Slot: 27th, Toronto Raptors
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Ben Simmons
There are obvious drawbacks to rostering Simmons; read the Siakam section again if you need to. But his defensive excellence and across-the-board production are too robust to ignore. That's why he goes to the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 2 selection, one spot later than he was picked in reality.
Simmons isn't just the only player in his draft class to have career averages of at least 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists. He's the only one in league history.
Already a two-time All-Star and the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year (don't bring this up to Donovan Mitchell), Simmons is likely ticketed for an All-Defensive team nod for his work in 2019-20. He led the league with 2.1 steals per game before the season ceased, and he's legitimately capable of guarding all five positions.
The 6'10" point guard may never develop the confidence or mechanics to pose a threat from the perimeter, but he's already been more statistically productive than anyone else in his class, topping all 2016 draftees in win shares, VORP, box plus-minus, assists and steals.
And that's with a full year lost to injury.
Though limited by his unwillingness to shoot and poor accuracy from the foul line, Simmons still makes a major impact on the game with his unique combination of size and skill. Case in point: He has the highest game score registered by any player in the 2016 class, a 42.4 on Jan. 20, 2020. All he did in that win over the Brooklyn Nets was pile up 34 points, 12 assists, 12 rebounds, five steals and two blocks on 12-of-14 shooting.
Actual Pick: Brandon Ingram
Simmons' Actual Draft Slot: 1st, Philadelphia 76ers
3. Boston Celtics: Brandon Ingram
A spike in three-point attempts triggered Brandon Ingram's fourth-season breakout, turning what looked like a decent secondary scorer into a highly efficient first option and earning the 22-year-old forward his first All-Star berth.
In 2019-20, Ingram was one of seven players in the league with a usage rate above 28.0 percent and a true shooting percentage of at least 59.0 percent, marking him as one of those rare offensive stars capable of marrying volume and efficiency. A lanky 6'7", Ingram can shoot over most defenders quick enough to match up against him, and though he's not the most intuitive passer, his assist percentage still ranks in the 91st percentile among forwards.
A regression in three-point accuracy could diminish Ingram's value, and it's fair to be skeptical of a one-season accuracy jump like the one he just produced. But if a player is willing to shoot more than three times as many treys per game as he did the prior two seasons, and if the added attempts coincide with a 38.7 percent hit rate, it seems likely his confidence is well-founded.
Ingram also shot 85.8 percent from the foul line in 2019-20. That figure might also be hard to believe in, as Ingram hadn't shot over 70 percent from the stripe in any of his first three seasons. But foul shooting is a good indicator of a three-point stroke's sustainability, and if we step back a bit, isn't the most likely explanation for a leap from a 22-year-old with high-lottery pedigree that he's actually this good?
Occam's razor: This is just Ingram hitting the level he was supposed to.
His defense lags well behind his offense, and Ingram's body type and lack of lateral quickness may mean he'll always be exceptionally easy to screen, but there's time for him to improve. We can't let an All-Star leading scorer who's clearly on the rise slip any further.
Actual Pick: Jaylen Brown
Ingram's Actual Draft Slot: 2nd, Los Angeles Lakers
4. Phoenix Suns: Jaylen Brown
There's a case to be made—based on superior defense and a 13.5-to-9.4 advantage in career win shares—that Jaylen Brown should have gone ahead of Ingram. No small number of Boston Celtics fans are probably happy enough with Brown to prefer him.
At least everyone can agree he's the best wing left, and it's hard to imagine anyone in Phoenix being upset about an alternate history that pairs Brown (and not Dragan Bender) with Devin Booker. Again, fit isn't a major consideration here. But knowing Brown has handled second-banana status alongside Jayson Tatum so well suggests he'd be just as effective as the high-scoring Booker's top support piece.
Brown came into the league a ridiculously bouncy athlete hellbent on turning every play into a highlight. He tried to dunk on everything that moved. In subsequent years, he developed more craft, fine-tuned his three-point shot, tightened what was once a very loose handle and became a complete player.
Brown hit 38.1 percent of a career-high 5.6 three-point attempts per game in 2019-20 while logging 34.0 minutes per game. Though you might think Brown's career-high per-game averages in points (20.4), rebounds (6.4) and assists (2.2) stem from his increase in playing time, those are all personal bests on a per-possession and per-minute basis.
Brown didn't just play more. He played more because he got better.
A two-way wing who will make multiple All-Star teams before he's finished, Brown can create his own shot and punish defenses off the catch. He's a steal at No. 4.
Actual Pick: Dragan Bender
Brown's Actual Draft Slot: 3rd, Boston Celtics
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray's development seemed to stagnate in 2019-20, as his per-game averages barely budged from the prior year.
Two things should make Murray's case as a top-five re-draft pick and assuage concerns he's leveled off for good. First, Murray, who only turned 23 in February, is the second-youngest active player picked in 2016. It's a little ridiculous to think a guard who has already shown so much potential has no more left to realize. And second, Murray did get a bit better in his fourth year.
His true shooting percentage and usage rate both crept up in 2019-20. He finished 65.8 percent of his shots inside three feet, an improvement on 2018-19's 58.3 percent. The percentage of his baskets that were assisted—both overall and from deep—declined, which indicates growth in his shot creation.
Murray wasn't much more valuable this past year than he was in his third season, but developmental trajectories aren't perfectly linear. He's going to get better—not that he has to in order to justify this draft slot.
Murray is a bigger-and-springier-than-you-think 6'4" and ranks second in the class in total points, assists, made threes and made free throws. His 88.2 percent hit rate from the foul line is a dead giveaway that he'll eventually settle in as reliably accurate three-point threat. Don't let that 34.5 percent conversion rate on his 2019-20 triples fool you. Murray's picturesque elevation and stroke, along with his free-throw shooting, say that'll probably be his worst percentage for a while.
Consistency is an issue, as Murray paradoxically produces similar year-over-year numbers by turning in standout stretches in conjunction with a troubling tendency to slump. But we know he's got the chutzpah to take over the biggest games, and he's already proved to be a quality second option on a winner.
Price in almost certain improvement, and Murray's an easy choice here.
Actual Pick: Kris Dunn
Murray's Actual Draft Slot: 7th, Denver Nuggets
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Fred VanVleet
Fred VanVleet only established himself as a full-time starter in the 2019-20 season, but the originally undrafted guard has enough on his resume to nearly crack the top five.
Before his scorching postseason stretch for the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors, which crescendoed offensively when VanVleet hit 14 of his 17 three-point attempts in games 4, 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and defensively when he did admirable work on Stephen Curry in the Finals, VanVleet may not have been on many casual fans' radar.
That's certainly changed now, as he's averaging 17.6 points and 6.6 assists, hitting 38.8 percent of his 7.0 three-point attempts per game and playing some of the best backcourt defense in the league. Pascal Siakam's climb to stardom is the most accepted explanation for Toronto defending its championship far more effectively than expected, but VanVleet becoming a high-end starter shouldn't be far behind.
Though only 6'1", VanVleet handles himself well against every type of guard and all but the heftiest wings. Before the season stalled, he was leading the league with 4.2 deflections and tied for third with 1.9 steals per game.
Opposing coaches have already learned that the size VanVleet surrenders in most matchups is meaningless; he's not a weak link to be exploited. He's the kind of defender smart offenses avoid.
One of three players to average at least 17.0 points, 6.0 assists and shoot 38.0 percent from three in 2019-20 (Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving are the other two), VanVleet is probably a better player right now than Murray and possibly even Brown. The only reason he goes off the board behind them is age. FVV is already 25, which means he has less development ahead than those two.
Actual Pick: Buddy Hield
VanVleet's Actual Draft Slot: Undrafted
7. Denver Nuggets: Malcolm Brogdon
You'd think winning Rookie of the Year as the 36th overall pick would represent a high point for Malcolm Brogdon, but the greatest achievement of his career happened this season, when he made the leap from high-efficiency role player with the Milwaukee Bucks to high-usage focal point with the Indiana Pacers.
Not many have the fortitude (or skill) to make that transition.
Brogdon's sky-high efficiency (he ranked above the 84th percentile at his position in points per shot attempt during each of his first three years) took a hit in his larger role, but he's compensated by boosting his facilitation. He ranked in the 24th percentile in assist rate for 2018-19.
This season: 97th.
Though not gifted with elite speed, Brogdon has a blistering first step. His crafty use of off-time finishes around the rim makes him a player opponents crowd at their own risk. Snooze, and he'll sneak you onto a poster. We've also buried the lede a bit by only just now mentioning that he joined the 50-40-90 club in 2018-19.
He, Murray and Simmons are the only 2016 draftees with at least 3,000 points and 1,000 assists.
The concerns surrounding Brogdon have nothing to do with his game. How could they? He's an efficient scorer, slick passer and sturdy defender. Health is the only worry; he missed 34 games in 2017-18, 18 in 2018-19 and had gone down with a hip injury before this season's stoppage in March.
Actual Pick: Jamal Murray
Brogdon's Actual Draft Slot: 36th, Milwaukee Bucks
8. Sacramento Kings: Domantas Sabonis
Domantas Sabonis is the only player picked in 2016 to average a double-double in any season, which he's doing this year for the Indiana Pacers.
The Oklahoma City Thunder tried to make Sabonis a spot-up shooter at the 4, but the Pacers, who acquired him along with Victor Oladipo in the Paul George trade, were rightly convinced the 6'11" center's true identity is the one that defined his time at Gonzaga.
Sabonis was a bruiser at heart, and Indy let him get back to banging bodies and scoring beneath the foul line.
The result: A 2019-20 All-Star nod and averages of 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
Those assists are uncommon for a center, but remember Sabonis' lineage. It'd be more surprising if he wasn't an elite passer.
Sabonis isn't much of a defender, doesn't stretch the floor and compiles a good portion of his numbers against backups. But when those (mostly fair) knocks are leveled against him, they're never part of an argument that he's a bad player. He may not be quite as impactful as his numbers suggest, and his All-Star trip was dubious. But he's a quality starter with a vast array of offensive abilities. That's more than good enough to go to Sacramento with the eighth pick.
Actual Pick: Marquese Chriss (traded to Phoenix Suns)
Sabonis' Actual Draft Slot: 11th, Orlando Magic
9. Toronto Raptors: Buddy Hield
The best shooter in this draft has lingered long enough. Buddy Hield and his 846 made triples, the most through a player's first four seasons in NBA history, are headed north of the border.
Hield is a defensive liability, and the Sacramento Kings took off after relegating him to the bench in 2019-20. But there's always value in an absolute deadeye gunner, and Hield isn't just the best of those in this draft. He's one of the best in the league.
With a three-point shot as laser-accurate as his, you work around the other shortcomings.
And, increasingly, Hield has shown the capacity to be more than a standstill shooter. His assist percentage in 2019-20 was all the way up to 15.2 percent, which ranks in the 79th percentile among wings. Better still, a career-high 29.1 percent of his threes were unassisted this year. At 27, it's unrealistic to expect a leap from Hield. But small developments like passing and shot creation are still encouraging.
Actual Pick: Jakob Poeltl
Hield's Actual Draft Slot: 6th, New Orleans Pelicans
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Caris LeVert
A smooth ball-handler with innate change-of-pace skills, the size of a wing and the mental approach of a guard, Caris LeVert was one of only seven players (and one of just three from this class) to average at least 17.0 points, 4.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 2019-20.
Injuries have stalled LeVert's path to stardom since college, cropping up to diminish his draft stock in 2016 and interrupting what felt like breakout stretches throughout his pro career. Nonetheless, he's made incremental improvements as a scorer and playmaker, developed his foul-drawing guile and earned more minutes in each of his four seasons.
Because his NBA time has come in fits and starts, it's still somewhat difficult to say whether he'll be best used as a starting combo guard or a dynamic sixth man. That LeVert looks like a player who'd excel in either role speaks to his value.
Despite 103 missed games over his first four seasons, LeVert still owns top-10 rankings among 2016 picks in points, assists, steals, made threes and made free throws.
He also has the second-highest game score produced by a player picked in 2016. That 51-point eruption against the Boston Celtics on March 3, 2020, which included 37 points in the fourth quarter and overtime of a thrilling win, was one of the 2019-20 season's more memorable high points.
Actual Pick: Thon Maker
LeVert's Actual Draft Slot: 20th, Indiana Pacers (traded to Brooklyn Nets)
11. Orlando Magic: Dejounte Murray
We know less about Murray than we do almost any other lottery pick in this re-draft. He spent significant time in the G League as a rookie, logged just 21.5 minutes in his second season and lost his third year entirely to a torn ACL.
A few certainties: Murray is a fearsome defender and one of the league's best rebounders at the 1. Long, spring-loaded and quicker than anyone has a right to be in their first year back from a major injury, he had the NBA's highest deflection rate among players who logged at least 1,300 minutes in 2019-20. Though not a high-usage or high-volume offensive threat just yet, Murray's development as a shooter (37.8 percent from deep this year) is tantalizing.
The San Antonio Spurs were characteristically careful, limiting Murray to 24.9 minutes per game this season. That held his per-game averages down, but analyze him on a per-36 basis, and he already looks like a monster: 15.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.5 steals per 36 minutes.
12. Utah Jazz: Malik Beasley
The deadline trade that sent Beasley from the Denver Nuggets to the Minnesota Timberwolves turned flashes and hot streaks into something that looked more sustainable. Finally a full-time starter with the Wolves, Beasley averaged 20.7 points and 5.1 rebounds on 59.1 percent true shooting over 14 games. Though skeptics might see his 42.6 percent shooting from deep as a fluke, note that he hit 40.2 percent of his treys in 2018-19.
Beasley wasn't really all that different in Minnesota. He just played (and shot) a lot more.
The next step for the 23-year-old shooting guard is shoring up his defense and developing a little foul-drawing craft. If he addresses those areas, he'll become much more than a scorer.
13. Phoenix Suns: Jakob Poeltl
The era of pace and space makes it difficult for a conventional center to accrue value, but Poeltl is the best old-school big left on the board. And yes, it's weird to call a 24-year-old "old school."
Poeltl isn't a standout by any conventional statistic, as his career averages in points and rebounds sit at 5.4 and 4.7, respectively. But look under the hood, and his contributions to winning are obvious. He ranks sixth in the class in win shares, third in box plus-minus and seventh in VORP.
The Austrian center makes a difference with elite rim protection, surprising agility for a legit 7-footer and sneakily useful passing. Poeltl's assist-to-usage rate ranks in the 97th percentile among big men this season.
14. Chicago Bulls: Ivica Zubac
Zubac averaged 8.0 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 60.1 percent from the field in 62 starts for the Clippers this season, getting his numbers while staying out of the way of his star teammates. Nobody dumps the ball into the post anymore, but Zubac doesn't need anything drawn up for him to score. Among players who logged at least 18.0 minutes per game in 2019-20, he had the league's highest offensive rebound rate.
A high-end shot-blocker who generates extra possessions and grades out as one of the best rebounders in the game, Zubac is a star in his very limited role. There's a case for him going ahead of Poeltl, mainly because Zubac is nearly a year-and-a-half younger.
Zubac ultimately loses out because of relatively inferior defense—a weakness he could easily remedy, given his youth.
15. Denver Nuggets: Dorian Finney-Smith
Finney-Smith played 81 games for the Dallas Mavericks after making the team as an undrafted free agent and has since earned a full-time starting role. The 6'7" combo forward developed a three-point shot in 2019-20, and though he's still an extremely low-usage catch-and-shoot option, he's now an efficient one. He checks in around the 86th percentile in points per shot among forwards this season.
Smith's real value is on defense, where he routinely handles Dallas' toughest wing opponents. In a pinch, he can hold up against players at all five positions. He's a true three-and-D role player, and everyone needs one of those.
16. Boston Celtics: Bryn Forbes
Undrafted out of Michigan State, Forbes has been a full-time starter for the Spurs since 2018-19. Strictly a specialist, the 6'2" shooting guard has taken 54.6 percent of his career shots from beyond the arc. He leaned even harder into his niche in 2019-20, attempting 65.6 percent of his shots from deep.
He's one of 14 players to shoot a minimum of 1,000 threes since 2016-17 and hit at least 40.0 percent of them.
Forbes won't provide much defense, and he's not a facilitator despite his point-guard size. But he'll stretch a defense and win a quarter every few games by catching fire.
17. Memphis Grizzlies: Taurean Prince
Prince shot over 38.0 percent on more than five deep attempts per game in his final two seasons with the Hawks, but his jumper didn't follow him to Brooklyn in 2019-20. Though he's always looked the part of a three-and-D wing, Prince is better described as a spot-up threat whose real defensive value is in his ability to survive against power forwards.
He's never been a shutdown wing.
Prince's flashes are still intriguing. He posted a pair of 38-point games less than a week apart in 2018, he had high block and steal rates as a rookie in 2016-17, and we know he can hit threes on the catch. At 26, he could still put everything together.
18. Detroit Pistons: Derrick Jones Jr.
As bouncy as anyone in the league, Jones Jr. leverages his athleticism as a shot-blocker and offensive rebounder. He's been above the 90th percentile at his position in both areas all four years of his career.
The 6'6" forward does almost all of his damage at the rim, where his lift makes him one of the game's most efficient interior finishers. He converted a ridiculous 73.4 percent of his attempts inside three feet this season, and several of them were works of aerial art.
Mainly useful as a second-unit spark, Jones could force his way into a starting gig if his three-point shot ever comes around.
19. Denver Nuggets: Marquese Chriss
Virtually out of the league after just three seasons, Chriss revived his career with the Warriors in 2019-20. Flashing previously hidden passing skills, the No. 8 pick in the actual 2016 draft excelled as a dribble handoff weapon and finished the season in the top 10 percent of bigs in assist percentage.
Chriss profiles as a backup center who can finish lobs and keep the offense humming. If he lessens the frequency of his defensive lapses or ever develops the outside shot with which he dabbled during his first two years in Phoenix, he could be more than that. Athleticism isn't a question. Chriss' 213 blocks are second in the 2016 class.
Four years into his career, Chriss is still an intriguing prospect with room to grow.
20. Indiana Pacers: Kris Dunn
Dunn is a defensive hell-raiser who uses his tenacity and great hands to dominate on the defensive boards while piling up elite block and steal rates. Nobody with a rotation role deflected passes more often than Dunn in 2019-20, and his 2.0 steals per game were second in the league.
The complete lack of an offensive game (poster dunks notwithstanding) means Dunn will have to be content with backup duties for the rest of his career. But there's not a more disruptive defender at the point in this class.
21. Atlanta Hawks: Yogi Ferrell
Ferrell tied an NBA rookie record by hitting nine threes on Feb. 3, 2017, and the 32 points he scored in that game remain a career high. Though he hasn't lived up to the expectations set during an out-of-nowhere first-year performance, Ferrell is a steady, score-first backup guard who takes care of the ball and can wear out second-unit defenses when he catches a hot streak.
He's the fifth undrafted player to crack the first round of our re-draft, and he won't be the last.
22. Charlotte Hornets: Danuel House Jr.
Undrafted out of Texas A&M, the 6'6" House played exactly one minute with the Washington Wizards in 2016-17. Size that allowed for defensive versatility and a workable three-point shot earned him 23 games with the Suns the following year, but then House truly found a home in Houston.
He shot 41.6 percent from deep in 39 games for the Rockets in 2018-19 and then averaged 30.0 minutes per contest and started 47 times this past season. Though his long-range accuracy dipped to 36.3 percent, his true shooting percentage of 57.1 percent remained above the league average.
It may be the case that House wouldn't fit anywhere as well as he does in Houston's system. But he's a regular role-playing starter these days, which is a great find in the last 10 picks of our re-draft.
23. Boston Celtics: Denzel Valentine
Valentine's savvy and mostly highlight-free game was hard enough to evaluate on its own, but injuries have only made that task trickier. After averaging 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 38.6 percent on treys in 2017-18, Valentine seemed on track for a breakout. But he missed the entire 2018-19 campaign and logged just 36 games in 2019-20 before the season screeched to a halt.
Valentine is a great passer for a wing, and he sits at 36.6 percent from distance on 715 career attempts. Those two skills seem legit. If he can stay healthy, we'll see if he can improve on his scoring inside the arc and his perimeter defense. As it is, he's got something to offer as a secondary playmaker and trustworthy shooter.
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Juancho Hernangomez
Like his teammate Malik Beasley, Hernangomez found new life following a February trade to Minnesota. He hit 42.0 percent of his deep attempts in his 14 games with the Wolves, averaging 12.9 points and 7.3 rebounds as a starting power forward.
The stretch he offers would play well anywhere, but it'd make an especially significant difference in Philly, where his defensive shortcomings would also matter less with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons erasing mistakes.
This draft is short on frontcourt shooting. Hernangomez, for all his defensive drawbacks, is the most accurate long-range shooter among players 6'9" or taller in the 2016 class.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Furkan Korkmaz
Considering he won't turn 23 until July, Korkmaz has as much chance to develop as anyone else picked in 2016. Further support for that idea: steady year-over-year improvements to his true shooting percentage, usage rate and box plus-minus over the last three seasons.
There may also be more to his game than three-point shooting, which is all the Sixers asked him to do in 2019-20. The year before, he graded out as a solid passer, ranking in the 73rd percentile in assist rate among wings.
If Korkmaz ever gets a chance to do more than catch and shoot, we might see a more diverse skill set than he's shown to this point. While he's a defensively suspect role player right now, there's a good chance Korkmaz will become something more than that in the coming years.
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Thon Maker
Maker, a legit 7-footer with three-point range, was never better than he was in his rookie season. He set career highs in PER (14.0) and long-range accuracy (37.8 percent) while starting 34 games for the Bucks. He, Siakam and Chriss are the only 2016 selections with at least 160 blocks and 130 made threes since entering the league. And it's worth noting that Maker set a new career mark with a 58.2 true shooting percentage in Detroit this past season.
The hype was real for Maker, originally picked 10th. He didn't live up to it, but there's still value in a center who can deter shots at the rim and stretch the floor on the other end.
27. Toronto Raptors: Damion Lee
The Warriors were the worst team in the league during 2019-20, but they were a lot less terrible when Lee was on the floor. His presence upped the Dubs' net rating by 4.7 points, and he was frequently the only wing on the team with any sense of how to move without the ball in a free-flowing offense.
Lee, undrafted and a G League veteran, got a late start to his career. But the 6'5" wing averaged 12.7 points per game and showed the ability to score at all three levels in 36 starts for Golden State this year. This late, a player with Lee's well-rounded offensive game is a no-brainer pick.
28. Phoenix Suns: Georges Niang
He may only average 4.0 points per game for his career, but Niang has shot 41.0 percent or better on threes in each of his last two seasons. Power forwards with that kind of stroke—even those with as few additional skills as Niang has—are tough to find.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Patrick McCaw
McCaw has always appeared tentative on the floor, too concerned with avoiding mistakes to ever really unleash what still seems like considerable skills. At 6'7", he's a wing with a point guard's mentality and the length to harass players at multiple positions.
His career per-36 averages are only 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists, so it's hard to argue a lack of opportunity is the only thing holding him back. That said, McCaw has the frame of a modern combo guard, and the dynastic Warriors thought highly enough of him to start him 30 times over two seasons. The 2018-19 champion Raptors saw enough worth liking to pick him up for their title run.
There's something here, hiding underneath McCaw's hesitance to let loose.
30. Golden State Warriors: Alex Caruso
The Warriors never really had the energetic, highlight-generating fan favorite at the end of their championship benches. This takes care of that.
Caruso isn't here just because he's something of a cult figure. He's a genuinely helpful defensive guard with top-notch block and steal rates, excellent athleticism and a career 37.5 percent success rate from long range. His intensity and ability to impact a game without scoring would play well anywhere.