2016 NBA Mock Draft: Do the Phoenix Suns or Boston Celtics Make a Monster Trade?


The NBA Draft is tonight. For fun, you can see how our mock draft morphed from June 2015 to December 2015 to May 2016. And yes, of course we’ll have a mock draft tomorrow for 2017.

1. Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons, F, LSU. No change.

2. LA Lakers – Brandon Ingram, F, Duke. No change, but there was more chatter than I thought there’d be about trading D'Angelo Russell, sliding back a pick and snagging Kris Dunn. But if you caught Speak for Yourself, you know I like Ingram’s fit.

3. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn) – Kris Dunn, PG, Providence. Whether the Celtics end up keeping Dunn or dealing him (Minnesota trading up?), it feels like he’s going in the Top 5.

4. Phoenix Suns – Marquese Chriss, F, Washington. The high riser in the draft, ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla came on my show last month and said he was potentially the best athlete in the draft and an “All-Star down the road.” Chriss averaged 13.8 ppg, but only played 24.9 mpg. He is too young to make an immediate impact, so the Suns could trade the pick, but what veteran are they getting?

5. Minnesota Timberwolves – Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma. Flip-flopping Murray and Hield, not because it’s what I’d do, but it feels like Hield is a better defender and that’s something Thibs will value. I feel like Murray has a much better chance of being an all-star.

6. New Orleans Pelicans – Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky. The Kentucky connection of Murray and Davis will be a force by 2019. Other than Simmons and Ingram, I’m not sure I’d take any other players over Murray.

7. Denver Nuggets (via New York) – Jaylen Brown, SF, California. No change. The perception is Brown’s stock is down; he’s a raw piece of clay that could be molded into something special. He’s not a similar player to Stanley Johnson in 2015, but I think Brown could have that type of impact next season.

8. Sacramento Kings – Dejounte Murray, G, Washington. An embarrassing omission from the last mock draft. Athletic combo guard who just needs to improve his shooting. Averaged 16.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.4 apg for the Huskies. The problem in this draft is there’s a dropoff at PG after Dunn. Next year’s draft is loaded at the position – and NBA free agency will be as well – so a team or two may reach for lead guards Thursday.

9. Toronto Raptors (via Denver) – Dragan Bender, F, Croatia. This would qualify as “falling” since he’d been in the Top 5 for awhile, but that just means he’s a great value pick for the Raptors.

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Wade Baldwin, PG, Vanderbilt. Yes, I saw the Wichita State game. But he quietly shot 42/40/79 last season and while he excels at nothing, it’s the measureables that’ll get him drafted in the lottery.

11. Orlando Magic – Henry Ellenson, F, Marquette. The power forward that Dwight Howard never had? Would certainly add toughness to a meek interior.

12. Atlanta Hawks (via Utah) – Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State. The Hawks could be active Thursday, possibly packaging the 12 and 21st picks to slide up higher, though I’m not sure what the target is. A replacement in case Al Horford leaves? Or maybe that’s what Davis is.

13. Phoenix Suns (via Washington) – Thon Maker, F, High School. I know it’s early, and the Suns would be looking at drafting two players who are a couple years away from being factors, but I’m irrationally bullish on Maker, probably because he’s such an unknown.

14. Chicago Bulls – Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah. The once-powerful Bulls appear ready to build around Jimmy Butler, having traded Derrick Rose to the Knicks and ready to let Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol walk. Poeltl might be the most NBA-ready plug-and-play post player. I’m not sure there’s a PG worth taking here.

15. Denver Nuggets (via Houston) – Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga. I much prefer Sabonis to Ellenson, but that’s just me. Sabonis has the “unathletic” tag, and it’s really unfortunate he couldn’t fall to the Warriors.

16. Boston Celtics (via Dallas) – Skal Labissiere, C, Kentucky. Labissiere is a few years away from being a rotation guy. The only reason he’ll go this high – he wasn’t a back-to-the-basket player, which is why he didn’t fit at UK– is he’s still got tons of offensive potential and he’s 6-11. I don’t see the Channing Frye comparisons (yet).

17. Memphis Grizzlies – Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State. The shooting guard they’ve been lacking for years? Beasley shot 47/38/81 as a freshman, and scored over 20 points 11 times, though he wore down late in the season.

18. Detroit Pistons – Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey. I really like Detroit’s roster, and if you watched the Cleveland series, it was fairly tight despite being a sweep. I’m not sure any pick here could have immediate impact because Stanley Johnson looked so good as a rookie. KCP gets another year as starter before Korkmaz comes to the NBA?

19. Denver Nuggets (via Portland) – Denzel Valentine, G/F, Michigan State. Feels like something of a steal to land a complete All-American here from the same school that produced another complete All-American in Draymond Green. He’s having an OK NBA career so far.

20. Indiana Pacers – DeAndre Bembry, SF, St. Joseph’s. Feels like the quintessential Larry Bird player. Rugged, hard-worker, long defender. Offense isn’t quite there, but I’m bullish on Bembry.

21. Atlanta Hawks – Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame. I think he should go higher. Losing Teague opens up a backup PG spot (Hinrich is 35, and a free agent, though maybe they bring him back on a 1-year deal).

22. Charlotte Hornets – Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse. No change.

23. Boston Celtics – Brice Johnson, F, UNC. Find it hard to believe such a talented player could fall this far. Johnson appears ready to contribute immediately.

24. Philadelphia 76ers (via Miami) – Timothe Luwawu, SG, France. No change.

25. LA Clippers – Patrick McCaw, SF, UNLV. No change.

26. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC) – Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky. Don’t think he’s a starter, but a a rotation player who brings energy off the bench. I’d love for him to fall into the 2nd round with the Knicks.

27. Toronto Raptors – Ben Bentil, F, Providence. They’ll almost certainly lose Biyombo in free agency, and while Bentil isn’t the shot blocker/defender Bismack is, Bentil can score. A Bender/Bentil 1st round feels like a win for the Raptors.

28. Phoenix Suns (via Cleveland) – Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor. If anyone has any clue what the Suns are doing, please let me know. They’ve got a lot of OK small forwards, but why couldn’t Prince slide into a defensive role and beat out Tucker and Budinger?

29. San Antonio Spurs – Malcolm Brogdon, G, Virginia. No change.

30. Golden State Warriors – Diamond Stone, C, Maryland. Bogut turns 32 in November and it’s not like his backups looked very good in the Finals. Stone isn’t the defender Bogut is, but offensively he can at least provide pop.