The NBA Draft is upon us. After a thrilling season and playoffs, it is time to look forward to the future. We are excited to see these star college and international players finally join the ranks of the Association. Experts have labeled this as a two player draft between Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram, but we think there is value up and down the board for teams. Many of today’s stars were not top picks in the draft including Kawhi Leonard (#15 overall), Jimmy Butler (#30), Draymond Green (#35), and DeAndre Jordan (#35). When we look back at the 2016 draft in a few years, who will be the Kawhi and Draymond of 2016?
One thing is certain. Our beloved Wizards will not find their star of tomorrow in the 1st round after they traded their pick to Phoenix earlier this year for Markieff Morris. No worries, they will need the open roster spot anyways for Kevin Durant. #KD2DC
Now back to reality. Similar to our NFL Mock Draft, we will go back and forth on each pick, starting with Randy taking the top pick. We will each give a reaction to the other person’s pick as well. With that, Randy and the Sixers are on the clock…
- Philadelphia – Ben Simmons, F, LSU
Randy Haines: THE PROCESS!!! The Sixers finally get their franchise player. Also, look for them to try and move either Noel or Okafor on or around draft night. Dario Saric is also possibly coming over this season, Hinkie lives on!!
Nick Bair: I am a big fan of Simmons, but Ingram might be a better fit with the big man rich Sixers. Besides Sauce Castillo, the team has zero shooters right now, and adding Simmons will stunt their growth a bit further. If the front office has some trades lined up to get rid of some of their big men and put shooters around Simmons, this could be a great pick. As their roster is currently constructed, Ingram would have been my pick.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Brandon Ingram, F, Duke
NB: The Lakers are salivating right now. They might be in the best position in the draft. They will get one of the two studs, but will never have to worry about the what-ifs if they went the other way (e.g. Oden-Durant, Bowie-Jordan). The Lakers will be pumped to get Brandon Ingram to replace Kobe and build their young nucleus around him. D’Angelo Russell and Ingram could bring some flash back to Hollywood and give Lakers fans a reason to cheer again, not that anyone really feels bad for them.
RH: Ingram looks to be legit, him along with D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle appears to be the start of a nice young core. Will the Lakers find a way to ruin any of these players? Will they grow frustrated and give one of them away 45 games into the season if they are struggling?
- Boston (From Brooklyn) – Marquese Chriss, F, Washington
RH: This pick may seem crazy, but Boston’s entire mission right now is to acquire a star or the assets to get them a star. Chriss is one of the only players left that has chance to fall under both categories, his ceiling is crazy high. I’m sure Boston will also attempt to trade this pick, but if they keep it I can see them taking a risk here.
NB: LOL. Way too early to pick Chriss, who has never really proven anything on a basketball court. Yes in theory he projects to have the third highest ceiling in his class, but a lot has to fall in place for him. Boston desperately needs to trade some of their picks in this draft, so I am hoping they are able to do that with this pick. I think we will look back at Chriss like Stromile Swift and Tyrus Thomas.
- Phoenix – Dragan Bender, F, Croatia
NB: Phoenix will love the big Croatian baller. Bender is one of the best players in the draft and projects well into the NBA. The Suns have a plethora of guards, so they need to go big with this pick and get someone with some size. The Suns front office will probably draft another guard to trade in two years, but they should go for Bender.
RH: Best name in the draft goes to a great situation. Not a lot of immediate pressure to win and Phoenix is in need of help in the frontcourt.
- Minnesota – Kris Dunn, G, Providence
RH: The Timberwolves will try everything in their power to trade this pick for an impact player, since this team is ready to make a playoff push this season. If they fail to make a move for someone like Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Dunn is a nice consolation prize and should provide immediate scoring off the bench.
NB: Kris Dunn is my favorite player in the draft. I love pairing his toughness with Thibs. Make this happen.
- New Orleans – Jaylen Brown, F, Cal
NB: The Pellies need to stockpile talented players who are not perennially injured. I think Jaylen Brown will be an excellent NBA player in a few years and a great third or fourth option on a contender. He can really help Anthony Davis in the short term with his athleticism, and could develop into a solid running mate for the Brow. The arm length between the two players will be enough to scare most opposing defenses from going to the basket when the Pellies go small.
RH: Please Basketball gods give The Brow some help, please just do it. I cannot watch another Pelicans game the way they are currently put together. It is just too painful.
- Denver (From New York) – Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
RH: Murray slides right into Denver’s lap here. Murray should be the perfect fit alongside Emmanuel Mudiay.
NB: The Nuggets are the most boring and unimportant franchise in the NBA right now. That being said, I do not really see how Murray fits in with this team and last year’s top pick Mudiay. They seem redundant at best. I think Denver needs to make a trade to have any chance of really improving their roster.
- Sacramento – Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma
NB: Why not? You know Vlade Divac will do five minutes of scouting for the draft and just go for the most popular player. Yet, I think this is a good fit. The Kings need shooters around Boogie. If Rondo re-signs, he does not need shots, so Buddy can have free reign to keep firing from deep. It might not work, but it will at least be entertaining.
RH: Poor Buddy, poor Boogie, poor Sacramento. This team is still a mess and shows no signs of getting any better. The Wizards will gladly take Boogie off their hands if they would like completely blow this dumpster fire up.
- Toronto (From Denver via New York) – Skal Labissiere, F/C, Kentucky
RH: Toronto has a huge need at power forward and Labissiere is a good shot blocker and should develop the ability to stretch the floor. A solid pick for a team in danger of losing their best player Demar DeRozan this off season.
NB: I am not buying the hype on Skal. I think the Drakes will need a Biyombo replacement. I would have gone Poeltl here to shore up their front line.
- Milwaukee – Wade Baldwin IV, G, Vanderbilt
NB: Worst case scenario, Baldwin IV will be a solid backup point guard for the Bucks. Jason Kidd knows this position better than most anyone in the world, and he would love to groom a young point guard in Milwaukee.
RH: Outside of the Greek Freak, there is not much I enjoyed watching about the Bucks last season. Baldwin should give them a shooting aspect that could make them at least bearable to watch.
- Orlando – Domantas Sabonis, F, Gonzaga
RH: Sabonis should fit well enough with Nik Vucevic and make up for Vucevic’s lack of defensive ability. I still do not buy this Magic team will ever get out of this 7-13 pick range with the core of Vucevic, Oladipo and Gordon. Free agency is their only real chance to get out of this run of mediocrity.
NB: T-Rex armed Sabonis over Poeltl is bold, even though he dominated the head to head matchup in March Madness. The Magic still need more help in the paint. I would love to see Orlando make a big trade in the near future to improve their squad. New coach Frank Vogel will be big for player development as well.
- Atlanta (From Utah) – Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
NB: I still like Poeltl to go here in the 12 spot. I think Atlanta needs to add depth on their front line, especially if Al Horford leaves in free agency. I also would not be surprised if the Hawks turned around and dealt this newly acquired pick.
RH: Utah should be able to make the playoffs in the 2016-17 season, especially with the addition of George Hill in this trade. I agree with the Horford insurance as well for the Hawks.
- Phoenix (From Washington) – Dejounte Murray, G, Washington
RH: Murray sort of fits the Eric Bledsoe mold for a guard. Good size, can create for himself and teammates, but isn’t the greatest shooter. Phoenix can take time and develop him and pray Bledsoe stays healthy in mean time. This could be a trade spot also.
NB: I love Murray. He is Tyler Ulis with some actual weight on his body. While he is a great dribbler and penetrator, he is not NBA ready right now. Luckily, the Suns have enough guards to let him develop slowly as he acclimates to the league.
- Chicago – Henry Ellenson, F/C, Marquette
NB: Jimmy Butler will be happy to have another Golden Eagle on the roster. The Bulls front line is old and depleted, so adding some more size is much needed at this point with the possible imminent departures of Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol.
RH: Not buying that this pick provides the Bulls or anyone immediate help. Is the best case for Ellenson’s career Ryan Anderson? He wasn’t even a great shooter in college so I have my doubts.
- Denver (From Houston) – Deyonta Davis, F, Michigan St.
RH: The Nuggets will likely be busy on draft night with having three first round picks. I doubt they actually keep this selection, but I like Davis as a potential fit for them. There’s a lot of athletic ability here. Manimal 2.0?
NB: Davis was in Tom Izzo’s doghouse for awhile at Michigan State, but showed flashes of brilliance when he got a chance to play. He could have a solid career as a bench big man, but I do not see him ever developing into a starter.
- Boston (From Dallas) – Furkan Korkmaz, G, Turkey
NB: The Celtics do not have any roster space for all of these first round picks. If they do not trade some of these picks, they will need to stash some guys overseas for a few seasons. I think Korkmaz is a great candidate for this and could be a great addition for the Celtics in a few years.
RH: I agree with my partner on this one. Boston is likely to trade one of or all of their picks. If by chance they cannot make a deal, stashing someone over seas is the move here and fits Danny Ainge’s adding assets mentality.
- Memphis – Ivica Zubac, C, Bosnia
RH: This off season is crucial for the Grizzlies. They start it off on the right foot by grabbing a big who has major offensive upside in the post.
NB: I think Memphis should go for some more skilled wing players and possibly a point guard replacement for Mike Conley. I know Z Bo and Marc Gasol have a ton of miles, but big men is their strongest position right now.
- Detroit – Denzel Valentine, F, Michigan State
NB: East Lansing to Auburn Hills is a short trip for Mr. Valentine. The Pistons continue to add tough, versatile players as they try to build on their playoff berth from a season ago. Worst case scenario, this puts a few extra Sparty fans in the stands.
RH: Could not agree more with this pick. What is happening to me?
- Denver (From Portland) – Ante Zizic, C, Croatia
RH: As I said earlier the Nuggets could be very busy on Thursday. If they keep this pick it makes sense to use it on an international player they can stash. They have had some success going this route as well.
NB: Sure why not. He will fit in well with Jokic and Nurkic to create the IC Big Three in Denver. I hope I do not fall asleep during all of these Nuggets picks.
- Indiana – Timothe Luwawu , G, France
NB: Luwawu is an NBA ready two way player in the mold of other French standouts Nic Batum, Tony Parker, and Boris Diaw. This might be a steal when we look back on this draft in a few years. He is also the best player available on my big board for the Pacers to take. Larry Bird hates taking international players, but he might have to make an exception.
RH: I do not understand this pick just as I do not understand why Frank Vogel was let go. Good job Pacers, keep wasting Paul George’s prime.
- Atlanta – Thon Maker, F, Australia
RH: This just feels like a Hawks pick. I think they will try everything in their power to keep Al Horford and they should. Maker has tremendous upside and an awesome name to go with it.
NB: Another LOL pick from GM Randy. Great name. Ton of upside. Someone will gamble on him, but I guarantee he will never make it in the NBA (I can’t wait to look back on this in five years when Maker is an All Star).
- Charlotte – Demetrius Jackson, G, Notre Dame
NB: After years of terrible drafting and decision making, Charlotte has surprisingly turned it around and built a deep, talented roster. They hopefully continue that this year taking a solid future bench player in the super athletic Jackson. Watch out for MJ meddling and taking another four year college senior though.
RH: This would be a classic Charlotte pick under MJ, should be a solid back up. Very little upside here. Has Charlotte replaced Memphis as the most boring good team in the league?
- Boston – Malachi Richardson, G, Syracuse
RH: When you’ve had as many picks as the Celtics have had over the last few seasons (LOL Brooklyn) you can take risks. The Celtics took a chance on R.J. Hunter last year late in the first round and can do the same here. I’m setting the over/under at 5.5 times they say “wingspan” on ESPN when Richardson gets drafted.
NB: One of the best names in the draft. He had a great NCAA tournament, but I do not think he will have very much NBA success. Malachi will take a few years to develop at the least.
- Philadelphia (From Miami via Cleveland) – Tyler Ulis, G, Kentucky
NB: I want Tyler Ulis to succeed in the NBA. He gives undersized ballers like Randy Haines hope, amiright? The Sixers have a roster of all big men, so I think it would be pretty great if they picked the smallest guy in this draft. He will be able to get the ball to the big men and hit some big shots of his own.
RH: It’s getting late in the draft and my partner is starting to run out of shots he can take at me. It does not really matter who Philly picks here. The Sixers now have Ben Simmons, the Eagles have Carson Wentz, the Phillies appear to have young starting pitching for days, I could care less about the Flyers or hockey. All is good in the City of Brotherly Love.
- Los Angeles Clippers – Cheick Diallo, F, Kansas
RH: This pick is in preparation of the Clippers panicking and giving away Blake Griffin for 50 cents on the dollar this summer. Doc the GM needs to go away.
NB: The Clippers need to get young and athletic. Could be a very poor man’s Blake Griffin replacement if Blake is traded, injured, or punches another staff member.
- Philadelphia (From Oklahoma City via Denver and Cleveland) – Brice Johnson, F, UNC
NB: If MJ and the Hornets stay smart and pass on this Tar Heel (don’t count on it), I think the Sixers will nab him as a possible replacement if they trade Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel. I think he is a bit overrated (dodges Jordan Curet’s shoe), but he should go late in the first round.
RH: Refer to pick #24 for my current thoughts on the Sixers. Speaking of our colleagues here at H&H, will Sean Demetrakis be upset if we leave Diamond Stone out of our first round?
- Toronto – Juan Hernangomez, F, Spain
RH: With already adding a potential impact player early in the draft thanks to the Andrea Bargnani trade a few summers ago (LOLKnicks) this pick for the Raptors is a luxury. Hernangomez can contribute this season or the Raptors can keep him stashed overseas. They could even trade this pick. Good job Canada.
NB: Raptors GM Masai Ujiri is one of the best in the business. I expect him to find a solid player here. Maybe it will be Hernangomez, even though he feels like a future Spur.
- Phoenix (From Cleveland via Boston) – Taurean Prince, F, Baylor
NB: With the Suns on the clock again, they should keep adding depth at the wing positions. This will be a great moment for Prince, who overcame homelessness on his path to the NBA. He projects to be a solid “3 and D” player in a few years.
RH: Remember when Phoenix was really fun to watch on League Pass with Dragic and healthy Bledsoe? Good times.
- San Antonio – Guerschon Yabusele, F, France
RH: This is classic Spurs here. Fast forward three seasons when this guy is a major contributor on a conference finals team.
NB: Spurs draft a little known international player? That will never happen.
- Golden State – Malik Beasley, G, Florida State
NB: If you read our Game 7 reaction piece, you will know that at least one of our writers might make you think the Warriors should start trying out some Steph Curry replacements. While I do not agree with that flaming hot take, the Dubs would be smart to add some depth at guard in case Curry or Shaun Livingston gets hurt. Beasley is also a lights out shooter, which would fit in well with the Splash Bros.
RH: Can they just get someone to play in place of Harrison Barnes so we do not have to suffer through that again? (Dodges Jordan Curet’s other shoe)
-Nick Bair & Randy Haines
Photo Credit: ESPN.com