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2016 NBA Mock Draft by EDG - 6.9
By: EDG
Published at 6/11/2016 4:41:12 PM

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Round 1

1. 76ers: Ben Simmons, Forward, LSU

Philadelphia lacks a clear direction at the moment, and Simmons is widely seen as the best franchise cornerstone in this draft class. His athleticism, rebounding, passing, and scoring ability are all extremely impressive, and Philly cannot afford to pass up on a player who some scouts view as a generational talent.


2. Lakers: Brandon Ingram, Small Forward, Duke

The Lakers currently have some promising young players and an exciting young coach coming in next season. With that said, they conceded 106.9 points per game last season and shot 31.7% from 3 (worst in the league). This team still has massive flaws to address, but they will most likely to find themselves in a spot to draft a sharp shooter who projects as a defensive asset. Ingram fits the team's two biggest needs very well and adds another exciting piece to the puzzle in LA.


3. Celtics: Kris Dunn, Point Guard, Providence

I still think Boston should shore up its shooting with this pick rather than acquiring the best trade bait/talent on the board, but a lot of sources are calling Dunn the favorite to be picked at 3. It will give Boston interesting leverage and a coveted asset, so it's definitely not a terrible pick.


4. Suns: Dragan Bender, Power Forward, Maccabi Tel Aviv

Phoenix would be an excellent landing spot for Bender. The team's frontcourt is shallow and unimpressive, so Bender could be given sufficient playing time to continue developing his overall game while adjusting to the NBA's pace and physicality. I believe that Bender's success or lack thereof in the NBA will ultimately be determined by the environment in which he develops, and Phoenix provides him with a fairly patient environment where he can shamelessly make the same mistakes most players his age will make.


5. Timberwolves: Jamal Murray, Shooting Guard, Kentucky

Minnesota shot 33.8% from 3 last season (Tied for 25th in the league), and they should look to address this glaring flaw in this year's draft. Murray shoots the 3 ball extremely well and fits the trend of Minnesota drafting one and dones from major programs.





6. Pelicans: Buddy Hield, Guard, Oklahoma

The Pelicans get a more durable replacement for Eric Gordon. Buddy isn't a brilliant playmaker who will spearhead the Pelicans' offense, but he should provide the same shooting prowess Gordon offered when healthy and an exceptional character in the locker room.


7. Nuggets: Jaylen Brown, Forward, California

Denver should probably just draft the best player available if they can't bundle their picks together and trade them for something better. They shot 33.8% from 3 (Tied for 25th) and conceded 105 points per game last season. Needless to say, they have a lot of issues to address. Acquiring a stellar athlete who projects as a solid defender and capable slasher would not be the end of the world for a Denver team that is a few years away from relevance.


8. Kings: Marquese Chriss, Small Forward, Washington

Chriss has been flying up draft boards lately, and I have seen him mocked as high as #3. He is a phenomenal athlete with a promising shooting stroke, and many scouts have already disregarded his underwhelming season at Washington. I still see him as a fairly risky pick, but Sacramento really should take a chance on a project player to put alongside Cousins for now.

If Cousins leaves either via trade or free agency in the next few years, the team will need a new face of the franchise. If Chriss pans out, the Kings will have a hometown standout to lead the team. If he doesn't develop into a quality player, the team will need a massive overhaul in order to rebuild successfully anyway. The Kings aren't anywhere near contending right now, so they should take a risk and put faith in a project with this pick.


9. Raptors: Henry Ellenson, Power Forward, Marquette

Toronto needs a power forward who can score and preferably space the floor a bit. Ellenson fits the bill, but his 3 point shooting percentage at Marquette was very disappointing (below 30%). I believe that playing alongside an outstanding point guard like Kyle Lowry would help Ellenson's efficiency considerably. His lack of elite athleticism and defensive struggles have lowered his stock a bit lately, but I think his offensive game fits what Toronto needs them most: frontcourt scoring. Deyonta Davis and Skal are interesting picks that I could see at this venture, especially considering Ujiri's audacity when drafting. With that said, Ellenson has the most polished offensive game and best scoring track record of the three.


10. Bucks: Deyonta Davis, Power Forward, Michigan State

I changed this pick because I feel like the Bucks want an upside-heavy big man who they can attempt to mold into everything Greg Monroe hasn't been for them. They need shot blocking and want better floor spacing, and I think Davis can definitely provide the rim protection while honing his abilities as a shooter. This pick seems a bit more in line with the Bucks' general vision than the Poeltl pick I mocked earlier.


11. Magic: Skal Labissiere, Power Forward, Kentucky

I could easily see Skal getting picked before the 11th pick considering his impressive workouts and preseason hype, but, if he's available at this spot, I see Orlando drafting him. They've proven their willingness to take a chance on an exciting prospect who will need a few years to develop (Gordon and Hezonja), and Skal's upside is immense. If Skal isn't available, I still expect Orlando to add depth and upside to their frontcourt.


12. Hawks: Jakob Poeltl, Center, Utah

Poeltl can step in and contribute on a playoff team early on, and Atlanta can use him as insurance in case Horford signs with a different team. If they resign Horford, they will have a capable reserve big who can be groomed as his successor. This pick fortifies a frontcourt that, while excellent at the starting level, lacks a lot of viable contributors in its rotation.

TRADE!

13. Suns: Timothe Luwawu, Shooting Guard, Mega Leks

Phoenix adds a different type of wing into the mix with this pick. It also offers roster flexibility and a player to replace PJ Tucker even if TJ Warren pans out. Having a lethal shooter in Devin Booker, an athletic 3-D winger who can slash well in Luwawu, and an efficient scorer in TJ Warren would leave Phoenix fairly well equipped on the wings for years to come.


14. Bulls: Wade Baldwin IV, Point Guard, Vanderbilt

After the D-Rose trade, Chicago either sees Jerian Grant as a future starter or plans on drafting a successor with this pick. I think they should, at the absolute least, draft another young PG to grow alongside Grant and ideally become the long term starter for the Bulls. Baldwin passes the eye test with his outstanding 3 point shooting percentages, massive wingspan, and defensive abilities, so I think Chicago will bring him into the mix with this pick.


15. Nuggets: Furkan Korkmaz, Shooting Guard, Anadolu Efes

The Nuggets will most likely draft and stash with one of their first round picks, and they acquire a quality young shooter in Korkmaz. He fits a massive need, and he also gives Denver some cap and roster flexibility.


16. Celtics: Domantas Sabonis, Power Forward, Gonzaga

For Boston's sake, I hope one of these late lottery bigs falls to them at 16. Sabonis is crafty on offense, industrious on the glass, and a relentless defender. He is a fierce competitor who will find ways to contribute right away in the NBA. Drafting a fairly polished and intelligent big man who dominated Poeltl should serve a playoff team like Boston rather than reaching for a project at this venture.


17. Grizzlies: Malachi Richardson, Shooting Guard, Syracuse

Sources around the NBA say that the Grizzlies are massive fans of Richardson, and they have supposedly told him to cancel his other workouts with teams who draft after Memphis. Despite having a very inefficient season from the field, Malachi has dazzled scouts with his 3 point shooting stroke and outstanding footwork. Memphis is in dire need of a 3 point shooter, and Richardson stressed his defensive abilities during his Draft Express interview on his pro day, an integral part of the Grizzlies' identity. His shot selection definitely needs to improve, but his potential and fit in Memphis are both very promising.


18. Pistons: Demetrius Jackson, Point Guard, Notre Dame

Steve Blake is 36, and Spencer Dinwiddie was traded to Chicago. All signs point to Detroit acquiring a point guard to play in relief of Reggie Jackson. Jackson is a high character point guard who Stan Van Gundy will most likely appreciate at this point in the draft.


19. Nuggets: Dejounte Murray, Guard, Washington

I'm not sold on Murray at all, but Denver needs some young blood behind Mudiay to bring the ball up the court. Both Mudiay and Murray are slashers who offer great length on defense. Denver is very much a work in progress, but adding a similar point guard to motivate Mudiay could be a savvy move down the road.


20. Nets: Isaiah Whitehead, Shooting Guard, Seton Hall

I honestly don't know what Brooklyn has in mind with this pick, but they supposedly rate Whitehead, a Brooklyn native, very highly. This pick would almost unanimously be seen as a massive reach, but they need a young point guard who isn't Shane Larkin. I assume they have their eyes on Murray at this point, but I see Baldwin, Murray, and even Jackson off of the board at this point. Whitehead definitely showed some promise at Seton Hall, but his decision making in terms of both shooting and distribution both need work. Brooklyn should be able to offer him a sizable portion of minutes to mature as a facilitator and scorer.

TRADE!

21. Hawks: Taurean Prince, Small Forward, Baylor

Just like Indiana, this pick comes down to the team's free agency plans. If Al Horford will leave, I expect Atlanta to acquire a big man here who can be groomed into a starting in the near future. If they expect Bazemore to leave, I see them targeting a 3 and D winger. Even if they attempt to resign both, I think acquiring a quality 3 and D guy would be an astute decision at this point. Prince has drawn Demarre Carroll comparisons, and Atlanta fans would love his defensive presence, work ethic, and ability to drill 3's in their system.


22. Hornets: Denzel Valentine, Shooting Guard, Michigan State

I feel bad about dropping Valentine 10 spots over knee injury rumors, but I've heard that NBA scouts are fairly concerned about it. Charlotte, a team that has an affinity for seniors, would not hesitate to acquire an excellent 3 point shooter and passer late in the 1st round. Charlotte saw its record improve considerably as its 3 point shooting improved, so I expect them to acquire a shooter who will assure that they maintain this facet of their game even if some of the wing scorers leave during free agency.

Assuming the knee concern is overblown, Charlotte gets a tremendous value in drafting Valentine at this point. He has a very high basketball IQ and the 3 point shooting that NBA GM's adore. He isn't chock full of upside, but I don't see his shooting disappearing any time soon.


23. Celtics: Ante Zizic, Center, Cibona

Having the ability to draft and stash one of the players acquired in the first round would be an intelligent move by a Celtics team that has a whopping 8 picks this year. Zizic projects as a high energy rebounder who contributes through pick and rolls and putbacks. Boston should look to bolster their frontcourt through this draft, and the addition of Zizic would provide them with depth and flexibility.


24. 76ers: Tyler Ulis, Point Guard, Kentucky

This Sixers team is in dire need of some creativity and playmaking. Ulis is undersized, but his basketball IQ and eye for a pass are both undeniable. Philly's offense needs a lot of help in several areas, so adding a capable facilitator who can generate good looks for his teammates would help their cause considerably. I doubt he'll ever lock down a guy like Russ, Kyrie, or John Wall, but he did a great job of containing Wade Baldwin IV in both of their match-ups this past season. People's opinions on Ulis vary immensely, but Philly needs people who can generate offense and create chances. Ulis fits the ball, and Philly can afford to take a risk on him at this point.


25. Clippers: DeAndre Bembry, Small Forward, St. Joseph's

The Clippers need depth in...well, a lot of areas. Bembry has impressed scouts during his workouts, and I see him getting picked late in the first round. Jonathan Wasserman speaks extremely highly of high, and I expect a depth-depleted team like LAC to add a solid all-around contributor like Bembry to their ranks with this pick.


26. 76ers: Malik Beasley, Shooting Guard, Florida State

The Sixers need quality shooters, and Beasley has been linked with them by a few sources. He fits a need quite well considering he had a very efficient season shooting the 3 ball at Florida State. Philly should look to acquire a sharp shooter with one of their picks. and they get their guy with the 26th overall pick.


27. Raptors: Cheick Diallo, Center, Kansas

Toronto acquires an athletic energizer to replace Bismack Biyombo at this point. Some mocks have Diallo going higher than 27, so, in addition to providing depth and upside, this pick also offers good value. Although Diallo is still very raw, his work ethic and character should serve him well as he develops his overall game in Toronto. His shot blocking, rebounding, and overall energy should make him a useful reserve during his first year in Toronto.


28. Suns: Ivica Zubac, Center, Cibona

Phoenix will most likely draft and stash with one of their first picks, and Zubac has caught the eye of several NBA scouts this past season despite ineligibility limiting his game time considerably. He has impressed scouts with his back to the basket game and screens, and Phoenix can afford to give him a season or two over in Europe to continue developing his overall game.


29. Spurs: Juan Hernangomez, Forward, Estudiantes

Hernangomez has generated considerable hype lately, and I think he will go in the first round at some point. San Antonio's track record with foreign players is phenomenal, and I expect them to continue this trend by drafting a guy who could come over next season or spend another year in Europe. Hernangomez is known for his quality 3 point shooting and craftiness on offense, two traits that the Spurs covet.


30. Warriors: Ben Bentil, Power Forward, Providence

Pardon the lazy explanation, but I get the Warriors vibe from Bentil. He's a talented stretch 4 whose overall game would probably work quite well with Golden State. They could swing for the fences on a guy like Maker or draft and stash as well, but I think they'll take someone who can serve as a regular season reserve for their small ball lineups.


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