With the NBA Draft Lottery and Combine behind us, it is time to look forward to the NBA Draft. With the rumor mill swirling and everyone around the NBA frantically attempting to create the best mock draft one can possibly create, I thought it was as good a time as ever to make adjustments to my previous mock draft.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, F, LSU
Five months ago, Ben Simmons going first overall in the 2016 NBA Draft was as sure a thing as having to pay taxes. But, after concerns about Simmons’ attitude he displayed throughout his first and only college basketball season and a superb season from Duke forward, Brandon Ingram, Ingram is giving Simmons a run for his money. However, Simmons’ potential, which awarded him comparisons to LeBron James, will be too much for the Sixers to pass up on.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke
With Simmons off the board, Ingram is a great fit for the Lakers at two. With a need at the small forward position and the second worst adjusted offensive rating last season (102.49), the Lakers need Ingram, who is one of the best scorers in the draft.
3. Boston Celtics: Dragan Bender, PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Bender may have the biggest upside in the draft, and the Celtics need a big man if they want to compete for a championship. There is a lot of risk involved in taking Bender due to his age (18 years old) and slim frame (7-1, 225 pounds), but his ceiling is so high that it’s worth the risk for the Celtics.
4. Phoenix Suns: Jaylen Brown, SF, California
The Suns were decimated by injuries last season, losing guards, Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe. With one of the worst net ratings in the league, they were an all-around mess. Jaylen Brown, at the very least, is a crazy athletic defensive stopper, but has potential to be much more.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
One of the more experienced and NBA-ready players in the draft, Dunn is an all-around beast, although his jump shot still needs some work. I originally had Jamal Murray, another guard, getting drafted by the T-Wolves, but with the recent hire of the defensive-minded Tom Thibodeau, I have him leaning towards the defensive prowess of Kris Dunn.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
Like Kris Dunn, Hield is very experienced and at the least, is a knockdown three-point shooter. With the sharp-shooting Eric Gordon likely leaving New Orleans in free agency, the Pelicans will have a big hole to fill at shooting guard, giving the Wooden Award winner a plethora of opportunities to contribute to the Pelicans.
7. Denver Nuggets: Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette
Denver doesn’t have a lot of depth at any position, but also has a huge question mark at power forward with the sub par play of Kenneth Faried. Ellenson is a fantastic three-point shooter for a big man and could be a great fit for Denver.
8. Sacramento Kings: Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
I did not expect Murray to fall this low after debating between him and Dunn at number five so this would be the steal of the draft for the Kings. He is a great fit for Sacramento if he falls to them, but as I mentioned in my first mock draft, it is hard to predict what Sacramento will do during the draft since they are tangling virtually their whole roster on the trade market.
9. Toronto Raptors: Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington
Toronto’s only real whole on their roster—assuming they resign DeMar DeRozan and Bismack Biyombo—is at power forward. Chriss is a great fit for Toronto. He is a freak athlete and a solid perimeter scorer but has only been playing competitively for a few years. Because of this, he could be a bit of a project.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
After a surprising playoff berth last season, the Bucks find themselves back in the lottery. The Greg Monroe experiment didn’t work, so they will be looking for another center. It is possible that Poeltl will be taken before the Bucks pick at ten, but the 7-1 center with a solid low-post scoring attack would be a great pick for the Bucks.