There is a lot of promise in this year’s 2016 NBA Draft Class. More than depth, there is ultimate skill in this class. Teams have a real chance to capitalize on the height, scoring abilities, and passing abilities of this year’s players.
From Buddy Hield, to Brice Johnson, this draft class’s players are comparable to many NBA players. In fact, they will be very similar to these players if you wait a couple years. For example, Ben Bentil from Providence (who isn’t a top pick) is similar to Andre Drummond, maybe not in skill, but in height and athleticism. Since many of these players had the same trainers, coaches, and teammates, they have similar play styles.
If a person from Davidson was good enough to come to the NBA, they would probably be similar to Stephen Curry, by nature of similar coaching and trainers. Their work habits would be alike to Curry as well.
Beyond vague comparisons, in this list I am really identifying players who are good enough to be like guys in the NBA, and how their playing style is similar to the NBA player. Chances are, a couple of these players will be major busts. If not major busts, some will just be average prospects who may never develop. But I have hope in the 2016 draft class, which brings promise to the NBA, in need of depth.
The 76ers have a real chance to capitalize on their opportunities, and hopefully will not choke. The Lakers could get Brandon Ingram, who could refuel their franchise after Kobe Bryant’s departure. The Celtics may get Dragan Bender, who could be a big man for them to build around. Bender with his size, and experience playing overseas could be essential to the Celtics.
Every player has a role in the NBA, and every year they’re closer to retirement while new stars are coming into the league every year to take their jobs. Here we will examine the top prospects and whom their style of play resembles.
This is TheSportster’s version of the Top 15 NBA Draft prospects and which NBA player they could surpass.
15. Demetrius Jackson / Eric Bledsoe
Demetrius Jackson showed off his unique skill set in the NCAA Tournament, and really all basketball season. As the Notre Dame point guard, Jackson can shoot the ball from the three, drive it in, and make excellent passes.
Eric Bledsoe, on the Phoenix Suns, has a similar skill set. At 6-foot-1, Bledsoe is a strong scorer, and averaged 6.1 assists this past season. Jackson and Bledsoe are similar in body type, and scoring abilities.
14. Denzel Valentine / Nicolas Batum
Denzel Valentine had a rough NCAA tournament. Being eliminated in the first round, to East Tennessee State cannot be easy to wrap your head around.
Though they had a tough first round exit, I trust Valentine can be a solid player in the NBA. With a shooting percentage just below 50%, he can shoot the three if he needs to. As a shooting guard, he averaged nearly eight assists, which is very impressive for someone of his body type. He also is a natural scorer, who can get to the basket impressively.
Nicolas Batum is no superstar, and I’m not sure Valentine will be one. But Batum is a good NBA player, who ranks in the top 20 for shooting guards according to ESPN. At 6-foot-8, he is taller than Valentine but not substantially. Batum can also shoot the three pointer, and a strong rebounder. The two are similar in terms of their body type, and skills.
13. Skal Labissiere / Paul Millsap
At seven feet tall, Skal is athletic for his height. He has a mid range jumper, and isn’t your typical tall guy who can only rebound. Though he didn’t have a great college career, the guy can play basketball. Some people aren’t cut out for college basketball, but for the pros. Skal also is a good blocker, and at his height, makes that an obvious skill set of his.
Millsap is shorter, but for sure like Skal. Millsap is tall, but athletic. He can make big dunks underneath the hoop, and pass the ball nicely under the rim. Though Skal is a little bigger, he is athletic, can rebound, and score like Paul.
12. Taurean Prince / Luol Deng
Prince was one of the standout players for Baylor basketball. He’s a good scorer, and a solid rebounder, like Luol Deng. Deng is alike to Prince because they both are mostly rebounder/scorers. Deng isn’t much of a passer, and Prince isn’t really either. Prince at 6-foot-8, and Deng at 6-foot-9 have very similar body types, meaning we can expect the same type of play style from the pair. Deng is 31 though, meaning within a few years, Prince will be playing that role in the league.
11. Tyler Ulis / Isaiah Thomas
Tyler Ulis, at under six feet, is a good scorer, and passer. As a point guard should be, he makes unique passes under the hoop. Ulis also is an average, to above average shooter. He drives the ball, but may have a tough time doing that in the NBA.
Isaiah Thomas is the NBA’s shorty. He’s an All-Star guard, who can shoot the ball well from behind the arc, and pass the ball pretty great. He’s not a big stealer, but makes great plays, and was really good this season. Tyler has a similar body type, and is basically the same height.
10. Wade Baldwin IV / Kentavious Caldwell – Pope
Wade Balwin IV, is a pretty good shooter, and a slasher. He’s a strong guard who is versatile. He rebounds solidly, and passes well. Baldwin turns the ball over a good amount, which could come back to bit bite him.
Caldwell – Pope is actually really similar to Wade. They both are decent scorers, and rebounders. Their main skill set really is the mid-range to three jump shot, and slashing to the basket. Wade Baldwin may not be a good or even great NBA player, but he is like Pope because of height and driving abilities.
9. Deyonta Davis / John Henson
Davis was nothing comparable to John Henson in college. But in the pros, they could be alike.
Davis’s stats weren’t great in college, but they don’t show his skill set completely. He’s an athletic forward, who can rebound well. He gets a good amount of blocks, which is above average in his college career.
Henson and him are alike in body type and abilities primarily under the hoop. They both shoot high percentage shots, mid range, and layups.
8. Henry Ellenson / Kristaps Porzingis
Henry Ellenson is a really good scorer, who can shoot. He is very tall and rebounds like a beast. At only 19 years old, Ellenson could be a young threat in this league. Porzingis is also a lengthy big man who can shoot the three; in fact, he shoots a lot of three pointers. Porzingis can take it to the basket and do post moves like Ellenson. Porzingis is taller (7-foot-3), but they both can shoot and drive.
7. Jaylen Brown / Will Barton
At 6-foot-7, Jaylen Brown is a versatile small forward. He has a unique wingspan of seven feet.
Jaylen Brown had an okay/to above average college career, but I am confident he will be better in the pros. He didn’t have a great three point shooting percentage, but averaged a solid 5.4 rebounds, and 14.6 points.
Will Barton has a very similar statistic line at 14.4 points ppg, 5.8 rebounds. Barton bad a breakout season, and will continue to build on his good season. Jaylen Brown and him both aren’t major scorers, but could be one day.
6. Kris Dunn / Kemba Walker
Kris Dunn may be actually the best player in this draft when all is said and done, due to his athleticism as a point guard and scoring abilities. He capitalizes on assists, and is very clutch, as seen in March Madness.
Kemba Walker is a natural scorer, who can rebound, and athletically make good passes. Though Dunn is a little taller, I am confident in Dunn’s clutch scoring abilities as means for success in his career.
5. Jamal Murray / Bradley Beal
Murray was very solid at Kentucky. He shot high percentage shots, and is the same height as Wizards guard Bradley Beal. Murray is an athletic guard who can pull up shots within his range. He played big minutes at UK, and could be dominant in the NBA.
Bradley Beal has been an awesome company for John Wall. He has averaged double digits throughout his career in points, and gets rebounds and assists often. Beal and Murray can both be very good one day.
4. Dragan Bender / Nikola Vucevic
Bender has a lot of potential in the NBA, and can be a dominant big man. With a shot like Dirk, and big man moves like Vucevic, I think he is more similar to Nikola than Dirk. At 7-foot-1, Bender could be valuable to any team.
Vucevic is like him because of their talent under the rim (Bender and Nikola). Nikola is a big rebounder at nearly 8.9 rebounds per game this past season. Both could be valuable for fantasy basketball frankly, as big men who can shoot are highly regarded in that field.
3. Buddy Hield / Jimmy Butler
Buddy Hield is a very valuable prospect, who can shoot the deep three. Hield is aggressive, and is similar to Jimmy Butler.
Jimmy Butler is also like Hield in body type, athleticism, slashing abilities, and shot. Hield is a great scorer and averaged nearly 26 ppg this past season. Butler averaged 20 ppg, and 5.3 rpg. Hield can pull down the board, and shoot. He could be a great NBA player.
2. Brandon Ingram / Rudy Gay
At 6-foot-9, Brandon Ingram is lanky and gets to the basket easily. He’s a proficient rebounder, and passer. At Duke, Brandon shot the ball well the entire season.
He’s similar to Rudy Gay, because they both aren’t overly aggressive players in my opinion. I don’t think either are big scorers, as Gay averaged around 18, and Ingram around 17. But both do other things, like rebound, and steal the ball. Ingram is a solid defender who can make a difference in this league.
1. Ben Simmons / LeBron James
Ben Simmons is a very athletic forward, who can dunk it home, shoot, but mostly drive the ball. He is a similar basketball player to LeBron James, because of his talent level, and abilities to get to the hoop. Though Simmons isn’t a great three shooter (like LBJ), he scores other ways, with his wingspan of 6 feet 11 inches.
I am confident Ben Simmons will be a threat in the NBA for years to come, as he is highly athletic and productive. He might even be better than “The King” one day, who knows?
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