June 21, 2016, 2:04 pm
Update: Mock now finalized following trades that have taken place as of 7 AM PST on June 23rd
We are now just days away from the NBA Draft and the anticipation is starting to mount up. King James just finished his playoff run of terror in the most historic of ways and all NBA fans have to look forward to is four months of offseason speculation and hype.
If you are one of our regular readers, you will notice I have been submitting mock drafts over the past few weeks in an attempt to hit an ever-moving target. As the draft gets closer, fans are able to get a little more transparency as to the mindsets of NBA front offices. There are bound to be curveballs, trades and poor decisions to be made Thursday night.
However, I’m going to project this final mock in a way that I believe makes the most sense without trades impacting the selections too much. In addition, this mock draft will not include a second round as I fear there will be too much movement to accurately guess who will be picked. Make sure to click the ‘next’ button on each page to check out further picks and analysis throughout the entire first round. Finally, come back next week for my article on draft night analysis and fantasy impacts for rookies.
1. 76ers – Ben Simmons, PF/SF, LSU
Simmons is the top talent in the draft and the 76ers are said to be sticking with him. There are plenty of rumors that the 76ers will be moving one or more of their current big men to make room for Simmons in the rotation. Regardless of trade outcomes, the 76ers have to take Simmons and build around him and he is simply too talented to let slide.
2. Lakers – Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke
The Lakers will gladly take Ingram or Simmons, but they will most likely be left with Ingram here. Ingram should immediately start and have fantasy value. The Lakers are said to be looking for another top 5 pick if they can find a team willing to deal. The Lakers worked out Buddy Hield this past week, but it is unlikely they take him as the second overall pick.
3. Celtics – Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
The Celtics could go many directions with this pick, including a trade. They are supposedly very high on Brown after a recent workout, but I believe this may simply be a smokescreen. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rumors are all pre-draft posturing by the Celtics and they decide to go a different route. If I had to bet, I would guess the Celtics are the most likely to trade out of the top five. I see Boston doing whatever it takes to trade out of this spot or simply taking Dunn here for trade bait.
4. Suns – Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington
Chriss has a lot of potential and the Suns are willing to let his potential play out over time. Rumor has it that they see him as a Shawn Marion type in the future. The Suns have worked out Chriss and Bender at this point and could go either direction. Bender would most likely have a more immediate impact, but the hope is that Chriss would develop nicely and reach a higher ceiling aroud the same time Devin Booker hits his prime. Formerly a fringe lottery pick, Chriss has soared up draft boards as NBA front offices are intrigued by his potential. There are plenty of trade rumors involving the Suns as they possess three first round picks. Barring a trade for a player like Jimmy Butler (which I am hoping for), I would expect Phoenix to keep this pick and grab either Chriss or Bender.
5. Wolves – Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
Hield is all over the place on draft boards as we get closer to the draft, but he would fit an immediate need for the Wolves (shooting) if he falls to five. There is a lot of talk that the Wolves trade out of this spot for a veteran player to appease new head coach Tom Thibodeau. Hield is very talented, as evidenced by his senior college campaign, and has displayed his shooting and athleticism during pre-draft workouts.