The 2016-17 NBA regular season is over, and we can now look back and analyze the selections made by NBA franchises on draft night the year before. Considering it is still so early in all of these guys' careers, the 2016 NBA Draft class could either become one of the worst or one of the most legendary batches in the history of the league. With 82 games played, the way the draft went months ago would definitely be a bit different if teams were able to go back and change their picks. That is exactly what we will be doing in this article.
In here, we will be re-drafting the 2016 NBA Draft, and seeing where the players of the class should have actually been taken based on their play from the season, because franchises had to make these decisions without ever seeing their prized prospect play a single minute of an NBA game. . That is the fun that comes with the NBA Draft. Would Ben Simmons still go first overall considering he sat out all season with a foot injury? Would Brendan Ingram still end up in L.A? Find out here.
Here is our re-draft of the 2016 draft.
30 Philadelphia 76ers - Ben Simmons
Original selection: Ben Simmons
With the first pick in the 2016 NBA Sportster Re-Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Ben Simmons!
Yes, even without playing an NBA game yet, Simmons is still the best prospect of the 2016 draft class, as he has all the tools to be the next great NBA superstar. Listed at 6'10", even though he has apparently grown about two inches over the course of this year, and 240 lbs of muscle, Ben Simmons has a body ready to dominate the league. Not to mention the guy can play literally every position on the court from point guard to center, the potential of Simmons is just too great to not take with the first pick. Drawing comparisons to guys like LeBron James and Magic Johnson, the future is bright for Ben Simmons in Philadelphia.
29 Los Angeles Lakers - Jamal Murray
Original selection: Brandon Ingram
It looked as though the Lakers made the right choice in going with the lengthy scorer from Duke in Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick; however, Ingram did not have the best of seasons in Los Angeles. While still very young with lots of room to improve, Ingram did not shoot the ball very well this season and definitely did not have the standout rookie year that Kevin Durant had, as the two were often compared to each other due to their height and shooting ability.
Jamal Murray, on the other hand, had an excellent rookie season, as he has shown that he can shoot the ball from the NBA three and facilitate the offense as a point guard as well. His minutes were not always consistent, but if he is ever given a chance to play, there is a 25-point-per-game season awaiting in Murray's future. A great young combo guard, he and D'Angelo Russell would make a dangerous shooting backcourt that the Lakers could build around very nicely.
28 Boston Celtics - Brandon Ingram
Original selection: Jaylen Brown
Many were surprised when Jaylen Brown was announced to be the Celtics' selection with their third overall pick at the 2016 NBA Draft. Brown is incredibly athletic and attacks the rim with attitude. He is also not afraid to stick on the best player on the other team, as he is primed to be one of the best defenders in the league.
Brown did not have a lot of time to show his talents with the Celtics this year due to their deep roster, but looking back on it, he should not have been taken this high in the draft. With Brandon Ingram still being available at this time and all the potential he has, we have Boston grabbing him as he could be the big scoring small forward the squad has been looking for.
27 Phoenix Suns - Kris Dunn
Original selection: Dragan Bender
Kris Dunn was supposed to be the best point guard in last year's draft class. While he was not anything special with the Timberwolves this year, we still have him moving up one pick to the Suns.
The Suns have some seriously nice young pieces to build around, and even though Dragan Bender could be something special, Kris Dunn may just be the next top point guard in the league. While his shooting is not great, Dunn is very athletic and can get to the rim and create space very nicely.
Eric Bledsoe is a great guard in this league, but he is just a few years too old for the Suns rebuild. Dunn would have been Phoenix's guy at the point guard position, while the team could trade Bledsoe for some younger assets.
26 Minnesota Timberwolves - Marquese Chriss
Original selection: Kris Dunn
Marquese Chriss had one of the best rookie seasons in the league. He not only showed his athleticism throughout the regular season, he also showed he can shoot the ball from deep and go inside and grab rebounds like a center. With Dunn off the board already, the Timberwolves would be happy to grab Marquese Chriss to start at their power forward position to join Karl-Anthony Towns inside, creating a very interesting young frontcourt.
The Timberwolves did not have the breakout season many thought they were going to have this year, and maybe the reason had something to do with their draft selection. Maybe Minnesota would have been in the playoffs right now if Chriss was taken instead of Dunn, who knows?
25 New Orleans Pelicans - Buddy Hield
Original selection: Buddy Hield
The Pelicans used this pick to grab Buddy Hield, a high volume scorer during his days at Oklahoma who could really be one of the next best scorers in the league. New Orleans then used Buddy Hield and a few other pieces to get DeMarcus Cousins, which was a great trade for the Pelicans as they possibly took the best big man in the league from the Kings.
There would be no reason for the Pelicans to take anyone else with this pick, because obviously, Sacramento was interested in Hield. This would allow NOP to make the same deal for DeMarcus Cousins, creating the most dominant frontcourt in the league today. Even if the pick was just for an eventual trade chip, it's still a good trade.
24 Denver Nuggets - Malcolm Brogdon
Original selection: Jamal Murray
The Nuggets got a steal when they took Jamal Murray with the seventh pick at the 2016 NBA Draft. The combo guard had a great rookie season, outplaying many of his fellow rookies, which is why we have him being taken second in this re-draft. With him already gone to the Lakers, Denver would have to take someone else.
We still have the Nuggets getting an excellent young player in Malcolm Brogdon, who had one of the best rookie seasons in all of the league this year, if not the best outright. This is even more shocking considering he was taken by the Bucks as the 36th pick. People knew Brogdon was NBA-ready due to his four years at Virginia, yet he still slipped to the second round. Despite that, he still showed he was one of the best players in the draft class.
23 Phoenix Suns - Dragan Bender
Original selection: Marquese Chriss
Dragan Bender could be one of the league's next superstars. What team would not want a seven-footer who can shoot the ball from deep, get down the court quickly, and has vision like a point guard?
While he does have all of these skills, Bender is still very raw being so young, and there is still a chance of him never adapting to NBA gameplay. The Suns originally took him as the fourth pick in this past draft, and he did not have the best of seasons as he lost time to fellow rookie Marquese Chriss. Still, Bender has some very intriguing qualities to his body and game, which is why we have Phoenix still grabbing him with the eighth pick instead of the fourth.
22 Toronto Raptors - Jaylen Brown
Original selection: Jakob Pöltl
Jaylen Brown would be a perfect fit in the Raptors' system, as he would be a great defender for Toronto. He would probably be the starting small forward for the team since he is the type of player who would be able to grow while taking a backseat to guys like DeRozan and Lowry.
Brown is very athletic, and has a higher ceiling than most of the guys in this draft class due to the fact that you can always learn to shoot, but you cannot learn to jump out of the gym. Jaylen was originally taken as the third pick at the 2016 NBA Draft, which was just a bit too high considering the interesting talents this class had to offer. We do not have him falling out of the top ten, but Brown is not a top three draft pick.
21 Milwaukee Bucks - Thon Maker
Original selection: Thon Maker
There were many question marks surrounding Thon Maker. People just did not know what he was capable of, and his real age was a mystery to some, who speculated he could be as old as 30 years old, considering his history in South Sudan being a bit of a blur.
Swearing that he was 19, Maker was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks as the tenth pick. Maker is listed at 7'1", and like we are starting to see more of, he can also shoot the ball from deep.
The team gradually integrated Maker to their rotation. When he did play however, he showed he could bang with the big boys of the NBA and shot a nice percentage from deep. Thon Maker could be an NBA MVP one day, and we have the Bucks taking him again in this re-draft.
20 Oklahoma City Thunder - Domantas Sabonis
Original selection: Domantas Sabonis
Domantas Sabonis was a nice piece that fit in the Thunder's offense this season. He is a big body, but what sets him apart from a lot of the guys in this class is that he can shoot the ball very nicely at a good rate.
Watching him play, you can see he can get open from the three-point area and is not afraid to let it fly. He definitely helped Russell achieved some of those triple-doubles as Sabonis was always knocking down shots for Oklahoma City. Domantas will be a nice stretch four throughout his career, as I could see him developing into a really good NBA player who could average 18 and nine at his prime. No reason to change this pick.
19 Atlanta Hawks - Denzel Valentine
Original selection: Taurean Prince
Denzel Valentine would have been a better pick for Atlanta than Taurean Prince. Valentine played for four years at Michigan State University, and is one of the more seasoned rookies of the class, coming into the league ready to play.
The Hawks are a little short with guards, and Valentine could have been a key piece in their season. He can shoot the ball very well and it does not hurt that he's a big body who can also make plays off the dribble with his splendid court vision. He has been compared to Draymond Green for his versatility, which bodes a nice career is in store for Valentine. Valentine seems to have a fine career ahead of him with the Chicago Bulls.
18 Sacramento Kings - Georgios Papagiannis
Original selection: Georgios Papagiannis
The Kings made the right decision, in my opinion, in trading DeMarcus Cousins. However, many believe that they were completely robbed in that exchange as they did not get as much in return as they should have.
Considering they lost their best player who was a center, Georgios Papagiannis was the logical pick with the 13th overall selection. Georgios could be a dominant force in the league in a few years, as he can rebound the ball excellently, attempting to grab every missed shot in his vicinity. Low post moves and a nice touch around the rim leads to some easy buckets for the big man, making him a solid selection for the Kings. It's too early to tell if Georgios was a mistake or not.
17 Chicago Bulls - Jakob Pöltl
Original selection: Denzel Valentine
With the last selection of the lottery picks, we have the Chicago Bulls taking Jakob Pöltl from the University of Utah. He was originally taken as the ninth pick by the Toronto Raptors to fill a hole on the frontcourt, but the Raptors have since traded for Serge Ibaka, which hurt Pöltl's playing time.
The Bulls took Denzel Valentine with this pick, but we have him being taken two slots earlier in this re-draft, so we have the Bulls selecting Pöltl instead. He is an ideal big man for many NBA teams since he goes for rebounds and blocks a lot and can score in bunches as we saw in college, where he averaged almost 20 points per game to lead the Utes.
16 Denver Nuggets - Juan Hernangómez
Original selection: Juan Hernangómez
Juan Hernangómez did not get much opportunity to show his talent in Denver this season, but he did reveal that he has the talent to be a really good big man in this league.
We do not have Juan being chosen by any other team at this point, and the Nuggets are eager to nab him as he could be a nightly double-double guy as early as next year if they decide to give him more playing time. He averaged about four points and three rebounds a night with only a bit over ten minutes a game, so I can definitely see Hernangómez's stats taking a big leap next season. The Nuggets are still rebuilding, so he has time.
15 Boston Celtics - Taurean Prince
Original selection: Guerschon Yabusele
The Celtics originally took big man Guerschon Yabusele from France with their 16th overall pick in the draft. Guerschon never ended up playing for Boston, and instead went overseas to China where he actually had a dominant season.
Taurean Prince has had a successful first season of his own at the NBA with the help of his league-ready body, and he can become a versatile player throughout the course of his career. Prince was actually selected 12th by the Hawks, but in this re-draft, we have the Celtics grabbing the young prospect, capping a fruitful first round after plucking Brandon Ingram earlier.
14 Memphis Grizzlies - Wade Baldwin IV
Original selection: Wade Baldwin IV
The Grizzlies were so beaten up and riddled with injuries at the beginning of the season that first round draft pick Wade Baldwin IV was starting for them and running their offense. It was a great time for Wade to show his talent and grow as a player in the league, and he proved he can do it all as he could score, pass, and even rebound. Wade is a big point guard, standing 6'4", and is quite athletic as well. He could have a really nice career ahead of him in Memphis, which is why we do not have the Grizzlies taking anyone else with their 17th overall pick. The Grizzlies need young stars to emerge and hopefully Baldwin is one of them.
13 Detroit Pistons - Ivica Zubac
Original selection: Henry Ellenson
The Lakers got a steal by taking Ivica Zubac with the 32nd pick, as he has displayed through his play that he could be an all-star center in a few years. Many scouts and fans knew that Zubac could have been taken in the first round, but he ended up slipping to the second round, fortunately for the Lakers.
Henry Ellenson, meanwhile, did not have a good rookie season, as he almost did not get any playing time in Detroit, spending most of the year at the D-League. This might be hard for Pistons fans to hear, but it is time to ship away some of your best players and start rebuilding. Andre Drummond looks like he is not interested while on the court, which means he just cannot be your go-to guy if you expect to win games.
12 Denver Nuggets - Caris LeVert
Original selection: Malik Beasley
The good thing that comes with being on the atrocious Brooklyn Nets is that guys who would not get much playing time on another team are able to show what they have in Brooklyn. Caris LeVert did a great job of cashing in on the playing time given to him, as he had a solid season at the shooting guard position for the Nets.
Malik Beasley did not get a lot of playing time in Denver, and this would have been most likely the same case for LeVert. But considering LeVert had a better year than Beasley, we have LeVert jumping up one pick to the Nuggets at pick 19. Would he have had a better year in Denver? Who knows, but we have to go with what we have seen.
11 Brooklyn Nets - DeAndre' Bembry
Original selection: Caris LeVert
I know that if DeAndre' Bembry was given a good amount of playing time in Brooklyn, he could have been one of the front runners for the Rookie of the Year award. Bembry is a point forward, a guy who has the body of a small forward but is comfortable enough to bring up the ball and run the offense on some possessions, much like LeBron James. No, I am not comparing Bembry to "King James", and never will, but I do see some similarities between the two. DeAndre could be a triple-double guy in the future, and he might have been the first real rebuild piece of the Nets if they took him with the 20th pick. But, what would Brooklyn know?
10 Atlanta Hawks - Tyler Ulis
Original selection: DeAndre' Bembry
The Hawks just lost out on original draft pick DeAndre' Bembry to the Nets, so we have the Hawks taking Tyler Ulis, the small point guard from Kentucky, instead. If Ulis was just a few inches taller, he could be one of the better scorers in the league. He had some big games for Phoenix near the end of the season, and he had an excellent Summer League showing as well. The Suns may seem like a directionless ship, but they have accumulated some young talent. Who knows, perhaps Ulis would have fared better as an Atlanta Hawk, where he'd be surrounded by a lot more veterans than in Atlanta. We'll have to see how Ulis improves in his second season next year.
9 Sacramento Kings - Isaiah Whitehead
Original selection: Malachi Richardson
Malachi Richardson did not have an ideal rookie season with the Kings. He missed time after suffering a partial thickness tear of his right hamstring early in the season. He was then shut down for the remainder of the year.
Isaiah Whitehead, on the other hand, stayed healthy the entire season with the Nets, and similar to the case of Caris LeVert, Whitehead got a lot of playing time in Brooklyn. The guard from Seton had some decent games, and it looks as though he could be a solid player in this league for years.
8 Boston Celtics - Skal Labissière
Original selection: Ante Žižić
I do not get how someone could get drafted in the first round to one of the best teams in the league and just decide they want to stay overseas. That was the case of Celtics' 23rd overall draft pick Ante Žižić.
While Žižić still could come to the Celtics next year or the year after that, Skal Labissière of Kentucky had a eye opening rookie season.
Skal got to demonstrate his dominance once DeMarcus Cousins was traded by Sacramento. Labissière became one of the youngest players to score over 30 points in a game, which is why we have him moving up from the 28th pick to the 23rd spot in this re-draft. At least he played in the NBA this year.
7 Philadelphia 76ers - Dejounte Murray
Original selection: Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot
Yet another young talent going to Philadelphia. The Sixers should have definitely selected Dejounte Murray from Washington State University. The Sixers played their last few seasons with no truly talented point guard, and Dejounte would have been a vital piece for the Sixers season this year. The 76ers took Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot with this pick, and while he does have some potential as a wing player for Philly, Dejounte just makes much more sense with this selection. Philadelphia could have had three front-runners for Rookie of the Year in Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Dejounte Murray. The Sixers keep asking fans to trust the process, but the process would have been quicker had they elected to go with Murray a year ago.
6 Los Angeles Clippers - Paul Zipser
Original selection: Brice Johnson
Paul Zipser could have been a factor that gives the Clippers the edge in their playoff series they do not currently have now. He is currently with the Chicago Bulls helping them beat the top seed of the East.
Brice Johnson has not even played a minute this playoffs because he has battled injuries all season, and it looks as though he was the wrong pick for the Clippers at this spot. Zipser was grabbed by the Bulls 48th overall in the draft, and he continues to show night after night that he can contend with NBA-level talent, starting for Chicago multiple times this season. Keep doing your thing, Zipser.
5 Philadelphia 76ers - Furkan Korkmaz
Original selection: Furkan Korkmaz
An example of a draft and stash, the 76ers took Furkan Korkmaz knowing he would not see action at the NBA for a few seasons. That is OK though, as he is still only 19 years old.
Furkan is athletic and quick, and he is an absolute sniper from deep as well. He could be the next Dario Šarić for the Sixers. Being a fan of the team, I hope this draft pick turns out to be a win, as Furkan could be a nice addition to our excellent young core. It's way to early to say whether the Sixers hit on this pick or if they missed badly. So for now, we're going to give Korkmaz the benefit of the doubt.
4 Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam
Original selection: Pascal Siakam
Toronto needed to fill a hole at the power forward position, which led them to taking Jakob Pöltl and Pascal Siakam with their two first round picks. In this re-draft, we had the Raptors opting for Jaylen Brown with the ninth pick and we still have them taking Siakam at 27th.
Pascal averaged about four points and three rebounds per game in only about 15 minutes a night. He could emerge as a dependable forward in the league in a few years, which is why we have the Raptors taking him again in this re-draft.
3 Sacramento Kings - Yogi Ferrell
Original selection: Skal Labissière
Skal Labissière was a great pick for the Kings at this point in the draft, as he proved throughout the season that he could be a very good big man in this league. He is already off the board at this point in our re-draft, so we have the Kings taking point guard Yogi Ferrell from Indiana, who originally went undrafted on draft night but fought his way into the Mavericks' roster where he showed he belongs in this league. Yogi had a few big games leading the Mavericks and was one of the best feel-good stories from this season. Who knows what kind of leap he can make in his second year, but he is already looking like a very promising young player.
2 San Antonio Spurs - Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot
Original selection: Dejounte Murray
The Spurs made a great pick with their 29th overall selection when they went with Dejounte Murray from Washington State. The young guard is a promising talent and could be a solid player for the Spurs in a year or two.
In this re-draft, we have Murray being plucked 24th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, so we have the Spurs taking who the 76ers originally selected with that pick in Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot. The Spurs have a good eye for international talent, and Cabarrot is an athletic slasher who would have been able a productive career in San Antonio. He'd definitely be learning from the best there in Gregg Popovich. Nevertheless, we'll have to see how Cabarrot plays out in Philadelphia.
1 3o. Golden State Warriors - Cheick Diallo
Original selection: Damian Jones
The Warriors had to take a big man with their only first round pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, and they took Damian Jones from Vanderbilt. Jones spent a lot of his first season at the D-League and never really got his foot in in Golden State as he did not make much of an impact at all for the team that drafted him.
Cheick Diallo spent his first season with the Pelicans, and while he did not get much playing time at all, he was given enough exposure at the homestretch of the regular season to unravel that he can be a solid player in this league. Diallo could have been a nice addition to the Warriors' superteam this season.
With this final pick, we conclude our re-draft of the 2016 NBA Draft!