It is an exciting time to be an NBA fan right now. Not only do we get to watch the best teams in the league compete on a nightly basis for the championship, but with the NBA lottery upon us we also get to start to think about the upcoming season. It was a historic night, because it was the first time the ping pong balls came up in the projected order. Considering most NBA teams are out of playoff contention, the draft is now the focus of most franchises. This year's pool of talent looks to be the strongest in recent memory, which adds to the already exciting feel the draft brings.
The Sixers earned the well-deserved 1st pick in this year's draft. They went 10-72 so it is only right they get to be the first team to try to upgrade their personnel this year. The Lakers got the 2nd pick in the draft again this year, as they hope to rebuild the franchise into something that resembles some of their historic championship years. The already successful Celtics acquired the 3rd pick in the draft, as they look to build on what was a solid season this past year. Teams that didn't land in the top three are still in a pretty good place, because like I said, the talent of this draft class is incredibly deep so every team has the chance of grabbing a young superstar.
Nothing in the NBA will be the same after this years draft. Teams that have been at the bottom of the standings may now be among the most dominant teams in the league. This is only possible with the right pick at the right time though. The NBA Draft is now approaching fast, so what better time to do some predicting as we envision what the draft results may possibly look like.
Here is our mock draft of the lottery picks for the 2016 NBA Draft!
David Stern walks up to the podium "With the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft The Philadelphia 76ers select...."
14 Ben Simmons - Philadelphia 76ers
A player like Ben Simmons only comes around once in a while, so the 76ers going with the versatile 6-foot-10 Simmons is the right move. With the rebounding skill of a LeBron James and the passing IQ of a Magic Johnson, Ben Simmons may be one of the most talented players to enter the NBA draft in recent years. The Sixers are entering a new phase in their rebuilding process.
Acquiring Ben Simmons could be the gel that holds together the already young and talented team, possibly creating a dynasty in Philadelphia. With some improved shooting in the offseason, Simmons would really be able to do it all. He averaged 19.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 4.8 APG at his lone season at LSU. He showcased his athleticism in college, and didn't disappoint anyone.
Ben Simmons may just be the missing piece for the Sixers to finally become successful again. This is a historic franchise that needs to be revived.
13 Brandon Ingram - Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have a lot going for them right now. They have great young players to build around and they have the money and market to make a splash in the offseason. Getting Brandon Ingram with the 2nd pick in the draft is just the icing on the cake for the Lakers. Ingram is a pure scorer, so pairing him up with Russell and Randle would turn Los Angeles into a dangerous team. Ingram will most likely develop into one of the best scorers in the league, so it is no doubt the Lakers will pick him up in the draft, if they keep their pick. With the addition of Brandon Ingram, the "Lake Show" may just be back in action for Los Angeles.
12 Dragan Bender - Boston Celtics
With the Celtics getting the 3rd pick in the draft, they most likely missed out on Ingram and Simmons, but with being a playoff team, grabbing a potential star such as Dragan Bender may be perfect for Boston. At 7-foot-1, Bender possesses the skills of a guard and a center all in one, so the tools to mold Bender into a superstar is possible for the Celtics. How fast it will take Dragan to become the player the Celtics will envision him to be though is the real question here.
11 Jaylen Brown - Phoenix Suns
This is the first of two picks for the Phoenix Suns in the first round this year, and even though Jaylen Brown didn't do much to impress at the NBA Draft Combine, he still is one of the most athletic and talented players in the draft who the Suns will most likely pick up with their selection. At 6'7, Brown is a big and physical wing guard who is great in the open court and can definitely score at the NBA level.
He averaged 14.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG at Berkeley, but it's the athleticism and build of Brown that is really interesting for NBA teams. Pairing up Jaylen Brown with the already talented young Suns players, Phoenix may be pushed to the forefront of the NBA very soon.
10 Jamal Murray - Minnesota Timberwolves
The T-Wolves are in a great spot with young talent and adding Jamal Murray to stars Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota could be a very dangerous team. Jamal Murray is a knockdown shooter who would fit perfectly with what the Wolves are already working with. Shooting over 40% from deep in his only season with Kentucky, any NBA team would be lucky to grab Murray, who could be one of the best scorers in the league for years to come.
9 Buddy Hield - New Orleans Pelicans
Buddy Hield was the best scorer in college, averaging 25 points a game in his senior season at Oklahoma. The Pelicans are in need of wing scoring, and with Eric Gordon leaving for free-agency. Buddy would be a great pickup for New Orleans as he would add high volume scoring for the team. Anthony Davis needs some help on the court, and with Buddy Hield on the floor, teams won't be able to focus on just Davis anymore because they know how threatening Hield is going to be, and they are aware he can score from anywhere on the court.
8 Timothé Luwawu - Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets already have great young players at the point guard and center positions, so getting a high-flying wing player like Timothé Luwawu may just be the right move for the Nuggets. Imagine how athletic the Nuggets back court would be with Emmanuel Mudiay and paired up with Timothé Luwawu. The two would be perfect for each other and would be a nightmare for opposing defenses considering the Nuggets would get down the court in a blur.
7 Kris Dunn - Sacramento Kings
The Kings may be strapped for a point guard if Rajon Rondo leaves for free-agency, so grabbing Kris Dunn with the 8th pick would be the right move for this team. A pure point guard, Dunn is an excellent defender and distributor of the ball. Playing four complete seasons at Providence, Sacramento would be getting a very skilled and mature point guard who could possibly put the Kings on the right path once again.
6 Henry Ellenson - Toronto Raptors
Playing in the Conference Finals yet also having a lottery pick in the upcoming draft, the Raptors are looking to add to their already impressive lineup. This franchise is definitely not in a rebuilding stage, and with most of their lineup set in stone, general manager Masai Ujiri will be able to take a risk in this year's draft. Henry Ellenson is the right pick for Toronto.
The 19-year-old from Marquette is ready to jump into the high-tempo Raptors lineup and would add scoring and rebounding to the team right away. Even though Ellenson could start at the power forward position for the Raptors, he would most likely play behind Jonas Valanciunas. This would mean Ellenson would have some time to sit back and learn from one of the best centers in the league while he developed.
5 Jakob Poeltl - Milwaukee Bucks
Jakob Poeltl is one of the best centers in the draft, and with the Bucks wanting to move Greg Monroe out of Milwaukee, Poeltl would be able to fill the missing piece that Monroe is going to leave. From Austria, Jakob is very physical down low and can initiate and take a lot of contact in the paint. He had a very successful college career at Utah, where he averaged 17.2 PPG and 1.6 BPG, and I believe that he would be able to transition to the NBA with just as much success.
4 Deyonta Davis - Orlando Magic
Another Michigan State Spartan, Deyonta Davis would add athleticism and strength to a young Magic team. Davis is very skilled in the defensive department, so pairing him with Nikola Vucevic who is more adept at scoring than defense would be a perfect duo down low for the Magic. They may add Davis to the starting lineup or bring him in off the bench. Either way Orlando would be getting a strong and physical player who could develop into a dominant defender in just a few years.
3 Denzel Valentine - Utah Jazz
Denzel Valentine is one of the most polished players in the draft. By playing four seasons with Michigan he had more time than many to be able to perfect his game. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Draymond Green, Valentine can really do it all. The Jazz are in need of a true point guard that could spark their sometimes stagnant offense.
Valentine could be the missing piece they need. In his senior year his stats for the Spartans are extremely impressive, averaging 19.2 PPG, 7.8 APG, and 7.5 RPG. The Jazz would be getting a great player in Valentine, if they choose to go with him with the 12th pick.
2 Marquese Chriss - Phoenix Suns
At only 18, Marquese Chriss is one of the youngest players in the draft, and his potential is sky high for the Suns. Phoenix is stacked with young guards such as Bledsoe, Knight and Booker, so adding Marquese to Alex Len at the forward position would balance out the Suns roster. Chriss will need to work on his rebounding skills to succeed at the NBA level, but considering his athletic ability, the Suns are sure to find a way to harness his potential.
1 Domantas Sabonis - Chicago Bulls
With the Bulls possibly losing big men Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah in the offseason, the 6'11 Sabonis would be a great pick for this team. His sophomore season at Gonzaga was very impressive averaging 17.6 PPG and 11.8 RPG per game. With these types of numbers Sabonis would add some much needed scoring and rebounding down low. Domantas would be a nice complementary player to Jimmy Butler, and the Bulls would be getting a player who is ready to contribute right away.
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