Well, the NBA Combine is over and the NBA Draft Lottery is over. This means we have a better idea on some prospects and we know the draft order for sure (barring trades).
There’s a good chunk of prospects early in the draft who look like quality picks. After that, there’s a lot of parity.
Because of that, guys outside the Top 10 could find themselves falling or rising. To find out exactly where these prospects could go, stay tuned to MVP for Sean Anderson’s Mock Draft 4.0 (coming soon).
With that being said, here’s my current big board for the 2016 NBA Draft:
1. Ben Simmons
6’10”, Forward, LSU
Simmons is clearly the top player in this year’s NBA Draft. However, will he be a fit for the team that lands the #1 overall pick? Simmons also left some unanswered questions following his college season at LSU. The biggest is his jumper which needs improvement, and he’s also shyed away from many shots in late game situations. Not something you see too often with #1 overall picks.
6’9″, Forward, Duke
If Ingram was a better three-point shooter and more of an athlete, he’d be the top prospect in this draft! He boosted his draft stock a tad due to his performance in the NCAA (just ignore the last 11 minutes of the Oregon game). The way I see it, Ingram and Simmons aren’t #1 and #2. They are 1a and 1b.
3. Jamal Murray
6’5″, Guard, Kentucky
Although it pains me to say, Murray is the best SG talent in this year’s draft. His shooting ability and basketball IQ are his biggest strengths. He’s also a versatile player who can play at either of the guard positions. His only knock is his athleticism. However, he has the potential to be a special player in the NBA.
4. Buddy Hield
6’4″, Guard, Oklahoma
If you listen to The Fast Break, you already know that Buddy Hield is my favorite player in the entire NBA Draft. Buddy Hield is an excellent shooter and can put the team on his back when he has to. Yes, Oklahoma looked horrible against Villanova, but everyone is blowing that game out of proportion. the Wildcats were the better team and proved it by winning the NCAA Tournament.
5. Kris Dunn
6’4″, Guard, Providence
Kris Dunn is another player who saw his draft stock rise a tad due to his performance in the NCAA Tournament. Dunn is an athletic slasher which a team needs at the PG position. His only weakness is his turnover numbers. Limit those, and he’ll be a solid NBA point guard.
7’1″, Forward, Croatia
Dragan Bender finally started his first game!!!!! Bad news, he only played 11 minutes and scored a single point. As we get closer to the draft, Bender is going to dip in big board rankings. NBA teams also might select Ellenson over him or select him as a pure “draft-and-stash.”
7. Jakob Poeltl
7’1″, Center, Utah
Poeltl is the kind of player you want in the paint for your NBA team. He’s a long, athletic center with elite defense skills. There have been games where he’s shined (vs Duke) and there have been games were he hasn’t (vs Gonzaga). The big question for Poeltl revolves around his ability to go up against physical players. If he can’t overcome that, life will be rough in the pros.
6’10”, Forward, Marquette
Defense. That’s the main reason why Poeltl is higher on my big board. Ellenson has a nice shot, but it’s streaky. He can score in the paint and can step out beyond the three-point line as well. For teams who will miss on Bender, Ellenson is the next chance to select a stretch-4.
6’7″, Guard, Turkey
You know what you are getting with Furkan Korkmaz. He’s a high-quality thee-point shooter and is versatile. He can play either at the 1 or the 2 which can benefit any NBA team.
10. Denzel Valentine
6’6″, Forward, Michigan State
If Buddy is my favorite prospect, Denzel Valentine is my second favorite! Denzel would be described as a “five tool player” if he played baseball! He can shoot, pass, handle, defend, and has a high basketball IQ. He can also play at multiple position which will help out any team who drafts him.
11. Jaylen Brown
6’7″, Forward, Cal
If you listened to our “Overrated Prospect” podcast on The Fast Break, you’d know that I’m not high on Jaylen Brown. I personally feel as though he needs to go back to Cal for another year and develop his jumper and handles. He’s got the athletic gifts to make it in the pros, but those two glaring holes were shown in Cal’s loss to Hawaii in the NCAA Tournament.
12. Domantas Sabonis
6’10”, Forward, Gonzaga
Sabonis definitely boosted his draft stock following the NCAA Tournament. Getting to see him play live at the United Center for the Sweet 16 was amazing! He’s a physical post player who’s going to muscle in to grab his fair share of rebounds. He’s also a smart player and has nice passing skills for a post player. He’s only knock in my mind is his overall athleticism.
13. Tyler Ulis
5’9″, Guard, Kentucky
Don’t let his height fool you! Tyler Ulis can ball! Ulis can shoot, drive, pass, and defend. He’s the best pure PG in this draft. Only reason he’s behind Kris Dunn? His height… If he was Dunn’s height, he’d be the best PG in this class, but he’ll still make an NBA team VERY happy!
14. Skal Labissiere
7’0″, Forward, Kentucky
Skal was suppose to be one of the best players in this draft…then he played at Kentucky. On paper, he’s great! He’s big, athletic, can shoot, and block shots. However, his poor season had him fall down draft boards all season. Some are even saying that he should return to Kentucky for another year.
15. Deyonta Davis
6’10”, Forward, Michigan State
Davis really received a boost in his draft stock following the news that Ivan Rabb has decided to go back to Cal for his sophomore season. Davis is a tremendous rebounder and shot-blocker. However, he still needs to add strength and work on his offense in the paint.
16. Marquese Chriss
6’9″, Forward, Washington
Chriss is being described as a “high risk, high-reward” player. I guess I see more of the risks than the reward. He’s lower on my board than other big boards. Yes, he has potential, but his foul trouble and body language are red flags to me. Not major red flags. However, I don’t have him as high because of mainly those two things.
6’1″, Guard, Notre Dame
DJ is a well rounded guard in my mind. He can shoot, he can defend, he’s athletic, and he’s tough. What more do you want for a PG? I’m not sure if he’ll ever develop into a superstar in the NBA. However, I could see him as a solid starter who’s other bigger stars.
6’6″, Guard, Syracuse
Let’s be honest. The only reason Malachi Richardson is on this list is because of his performance and his team’s performance during the NCAA Tournament. He can shoot, put the ball on the floor, and is athletic. However, he’s not the most consistent player. He’ll need a good combine performance in order to stay as a first round prospect.
19. DeAndre Bembry
6’6″, Forward, St. Joseph’s
Bembry really impressed me in the NCAA Tournament. He scored 26 points in a entertaining game against Cincinnati and then scored 16 points in a loss to Oregon, but St. Joe’s only lost by five points to the #1 seeded Ducks! If Bembry can develop his shot from the perimeter, he could become a well-rounded player for an NBA franchise. I can see him being a late first round steal who impacts a team in the future like Jimmy Butler and the Bulls.
20. Malik Beasley
6’4″, Guard, FSU
Your team can never have enough shooters, right? Beasley is an athletic wing who can shoot the ball, but can also get to the rim and score.
6’11”, Center, Croatia
According to Chad Ford, NBA are labeling Zizic as “the third-best (and for some teams the second-best) international long-term prospect in the draft.” The interesting questions surrounding Zizic is “should a team buyout his contract now or leave him overseas?” Depends on the team, but Ante Zizic could be a name we see in the NBA next season.
22. Ben Bentil
6’9″, Forward, Providence
Bentil is a tough PF who can develop into a quality stretch-4. He’s got the skills to work down in the post offensively, but he’ll need to work on his shot. If he can emerge as a PF who can add the three to his game, he will most definitely be nabbed up by an NBA squad. His main weakness however is his defense.
23. Cheick Diallo
6’9″, Forward, Kansas
Without the NBA Combine, there’s no way Diallo makes this list. He had himself a weekend at the combine, arguably the winner of it all. Cheick Diallo is a raw talent at this point in the NBA Draft process, but I can say I like him better than I do Thon Maker.
7’0″, Forward, Australia
Speaking of Thon Maker… What do you do with Thon Maker? I’ve made it clear on The Fast Break, I don’t think Thon is going to be that amazing his first year in the NBA. There’s so much upside, but this is the time to prove if there is anything there. Great high school mixtapes can only get you so far…
25. Wade Baldwin IV
6’3″, Guard, Vanderbilt
Baldwin has some very good positives, but he also has some very concerning negatives. The true question Baldwin will need to answer is “whether or not he more than just a tweener?” He’s a really solid defender, but might not have enough tools to be a starter or even a solid backup. Right now, Baldwin would be a solid rotation player to add extra D off the bench.
26. Dejounte Murray
6’5″, Guard, Washington
There’s no doubt. Murray has a bunch of tools and skills for an NBA to work with. However, Murray falls into the same category as Ellenson, some like him and some don’t. IMO, Murray has the potential, but he’s not ready to make a major impact in the NBA Day One. Workouts could see him rise up on this board. Right now, he’s a late-first rounder.
7’0″, Center, UNLV
I see a lot of former Illini and current Blazers center Meyers Leonard in Stephen Zimmerman. The main difference between them is that Leonard stayed in college an extra year to develop into a prospect who was selected 11th overall in 2012. NBA coaches will need to develop Zimmerman’s raw tools, but I see a team like the Cavs or Warriors taking that type of a chance.
7’1″, Center, Bosnia
If this big board came out before the combine, Zubac wouldn’t even be on here. However, there are some NBA scouts that really like what he brings to the table, some saying he’s the 3rd-best international prospect. Zubac was the back-up to Zizic and could be seen as his polar opposite. He’s great offensive, but lacks in the rebounding department. Plus, he has a history of knee injuries…
29. Isaiah Whitehead
6’4″, Guard, Seton Hall
When watching Whitehead play, I see a player who is a combination of Damian Lillard and James Harden. Now, before you throw your phone or computer out the window in anger, I’m not saying that in a “superstar” kind of way. I’m saying his play style is similar to both. In the team’s win in the conference tournament championship against Villanova, he scored 26 points and really put the team on his back. Much like we’ve seen Lillard do time and time again. However, Whitehead can be selfish with the basketball much like James Harden. Against Gonzaga, he scored only 10 points on 4-of-24 shooting.
30. Patrick McCaw
6’7″, Guard, UNLV
McCaw really turned some heads (especially mine) during his second 5-on-5 game at the NBA Combine this weekend. He scored 14 points, dished out four assists, and racked up a steal in that second game. He’s the kind of player teams want on their team. He can score (close or far), pass the ball, and defend multiple positions. Like a lot of prospects, he’ll just need to bulk up and get stronger.