2016 NBA Draft: Live Draft Tracker With Analysis
The 2016 NBA Draft is finally here, as the action officially gets started at 7:00 pm ET on Thursday night. Fans can follow live on ESPN or scour the Twitter wire for the latest rumors, trades and picks.
Or you can just stick with us right here, as we update each pick and provide instant analysis on the player and team fit. We’ve got you covered for both rounds of the 2016 NBA Draft, so just hit refresh to see the latest picks and breakdowns. We’ll also be live tweeting each updated pick on Twitter.
Let’s get it started:
(1) Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons, F, LSU
No surprises here, as the Sixers take a generational talent and arguably the best player in this draft. Simmons has the size and skill-set of a LeBron James and aside from a bad jumper, has all the tools to be a superstar at the next level.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 23, 2016
Philly isn’t a team that could afford to bypass Simmons, even though guys like Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray, Kris Dunn or even Dragan Bender had deserving arguments. Simmons was a man amongst boys in college, however, and when the physical aspect is already cemented, it’s a pretty good start.
The beauty of Simmons is he does just about everything well and can man the three or four spot rather easily. Philly would be best served to clear up some room, either way, and both trade one of their bigs and bring in a legit point guard to help this offense hum a bit.
The Sixers still have a ways to go, but landing Simmons will ignite the fan base and it’s very possible they just drafted the next great NBA player.
(2) Los Angeles Lakers – Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke
The other guy who easily could have gone first overall, Ingram isn’t quite the generational talent Simmons is, but it’s tough to scoff at his upside when you consider just how silky smooth his offensive game already is.
— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) June 23, 2016
Ingram displayed an elite offensive prowess at Duke, as he can stroke it from deep, has a strong mid-range game and can create his own offense. He also brings great size, length and athleticism to the table, which should allow for him to be a complete player at the next level.
Ingram’s main issue is his lack of strength, so bulking up could be key for him at the next level. The Lakers win out here, though, as they secure a legit scorer just as The Black Mamba exits.
They’re almost certainly going to want to make him the face of the franchise moving forward, so don’t be shocked to hear the D’Angelo Russell rumors equate to a big trade.
(3) Boston Celtics – Jaylen Brown, SF, California
Boston selects Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick, which ends up being the first major shock of the draft. For one, it was Kris Dunn and Dragan Bender talked about the most here, with virtually no one seeing this one coming.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) June 23, 2016
Provided this pick wasn’t for someone else as part of a trade, there is still potential for this to be a great pick. Brown brings good size, length and athleticism to the table and is a very natural, effective scorer. Considering the Celtics largely rely on a small Isaiah Thomas for most of their points, it’s not a bad idea to get a bigger guy on the outside to attack the rim and get some mid-range buckets.
The Celtics make a splash here and it will be interesting to see if it’s good or bad. There is no denying Brown was a good prospect coming into the draft, however, and he will absolutely help Boston offensively. In addition, the Celtics have a slew of picks moving forward, so we can expect more trickery from Danny Ainge and co. before the night is up.
(4) Phoenix Suns – Dragan Bender, PF, Croatia
Bender goes to the Suns at four, as Phoenix gets Alex Len a long-term running mate. Phoenix went big a lot last year and seemed to love it and with Bender in tow, they’ve potentially got one of the best duos down low.
The Suns take Dragan Bender.
— ESPN (@espn) June 24, 2016
Bender has a very appealing offensive game, as he has the size and athleticism to both attack the basket and also hit outside jumpers. Built in the mold of Kristaps Porzingis, Bender is big, tough and agile. That’s not something we see every day in the NBA, and the kid is also very young with loads of untapped potential.
The Suns got a good one here, and as long as they give him time to develop, he should blossom into a fine starter – if not a superstar talent.
(5) Minnesota Timberwolves – Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
Coach Thibs gets himself a point guard, which is a little crazy for two reasons: Dunn lasted this long and Ricky Rubio’s days in Minny are officially numbered.
— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) June 24, 2016
Dunn is this draft class’s top point guard prospect in every way, as he’s a two-way guy that can shoot, score, defend and get his teammates involved. Rubio can pass and play a little defense, but he lacks shooting chops and has always been an erratic scorer.
Rubio can be a good fit somewhere, but the writing has been on the wall for him in Minnesota for a while. Landing Dunn gives the Wolves a legit point guard to play at both ends and should force Rubio out of town.
(6) New Orleans Pelicans – Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
Hield heads to New Orleans to give Anthony Davis some scoring assistance. He fills a major need with the Pelicans dealing with numerous injuries a year ago and looking to distance themselves from Eric Gordon and others.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 24, 2016
Hield has an elite outside jumper, as well as the size and athleticism to score the ball on his own. He can even hold his own defensively, which should allow for him to be an effective player at both ends of the court.
He could probably be a star that could eventually carry an offense, but playing behind The Brow, he won’t need to be. That makes him better right away, while Jrue Holiday should still be around to help set him up.
This is a big pick for the Pelicans, as at worst it gives them an elite spot-up shooter and best case, they just landed one of the league’s better up and coming scorers.
(7) Denver Nuggets – Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
The Nuggets beef up their offense here, but oddly take a hit defensively. There is good and bad here, as Murray is a lights out shooter from outside, a natural scorer and he has the size and skill-set to even help out at the point.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 24, 2016
The down side here is Murray is not a technically sound defender. He appears to have the size and athleticism to play his man at the next level, but his angles and anticipation to this point are poor.
Murray at least has the tools to develop defensively and right away can help Denver as a shooter. He’ll likely come off the bench to start his career, but provided he can improve as a defender, he’ll quickly be a solid starter for an organization that is slowly trending in the right direction.
(8) Sacramento Kings – Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington
The Kings reportedly drafted Chriss for the Suns, for a trade that has yet to be announced. This is a good pick no matter which team Chriss plays for, though, as he’s a very balanced big who has great size and athleticism and should be a great two-way player in the near future.
Of course, Chriss is best known for his elite athleticism and maturing offense. He looks to have all the goods to score the ball all over the court and with the trade to Phoenix, projects as a tantalizing stretch four.
.@UW_MBB‘s Marquese Chriss drafted w/ No. 8 overall pick & traded to the Suns.
— Seattle Times Sports (@SeaTimesSports) June 24, 2016
Chriss has maturity and focus questions, and it will be interesting to see how he handles sharing the power forward spot with Dragan Bender, but the upside is there to make this a great pick.
In the deal, the Kings land the 13th and 28th picks from the Suns, along with overseas prospect, Bogdan Bodanovic.
(9) Toronto Raptors – Jakob Poeltl, F/C, Utah
Toronto needed serious help at power forward, and opted to draft a center here in Poeltl. That could be partly because Bismack Biyombo is about to get paid going elsewhere, or hopefully also because they feel Poeltl can be a good power forward.
Poeltl is probably better suited at the five spot, but he certainly helps with his inside scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking, while he also provides upside as a defender.
At the moment, this pick seems a bit odd by the position, but if Poeltl can effectively play the four spot, it could work put nicely for the Raptors.
(10) Milwaukee Bucks – Thon Maker, PF, Sudan
The Bucks pull a huge shocker here with Maker, who was seen as a second round prospect due to being so young and raw.
The Milwaukee Bucks never fail to surprise us. THON MAKER! Welcome to the NBA!
— Bucks Schmucks (@BucksSchmucks) June 24, 2016
Maker is certainly young and inexperienced, but he has amazing size and athleticism and can do everything you ask. He can score down low, he has a mid-range game, he blocks shots and he rebounds.
The obvious plus here is he is so good, yet he’s so young. A fierce competitor with a hunger to improve, Milwaukee may have found a home run in the Sudan native.
This could also be a huge miss, but in a rapidly thinning out field, the Bucks took a big risk at the right time. It’s tough to imagine Maker having a huge impact right away, but his skill-set is impressive. Getting anything out of Maker as a rookie will be a win, but it’s the long con Mil-town is thinking of here.
(11) Orlando Magic – Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga
The Magic keep it real chill with the 11th pick, as Sabonis is certainly not a sexy pick, but fundamentally should end up being a great addition.
Sabonis has the inside game to man both the four and the five at the next level and already can rebound, score and defend down low. Strong two-way players are tough to find, especially this young, with such a good pedigree.
Nothing about Sabonis blows the door off the hinges, but he’s a tough, gritty player who goes hard every single night. Orlando needed to get some grit and hustle on their squad, and here they get a guy who doesn’t just go hard, but also is fundamentally sound.
There’s no guarantee Sabonis is ever a star, but he can be outstanding depth for the Magic at the very worst.
Update: Sabonis is reportedly part of a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He will head to OKC with Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova, while the Magic are said to get power forward Serge Ibaka in the deal.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 24, 2016
Sabonis’ outlook isn’t as great right off the bat in OKC, but with Ibaka gone, they could be thinking long-term here. Only time will tell if that’s a helpful trade for the Thunder, but Ersan Ilyasova would benefit more, while we may also see more of Enes Kanter at the four going forward.
(12) Atlanta Hawks – Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor
Utah gets some size, length and athleticism at the three spot in Prince. Prince can come in and knock down open looks, but is best known for his defense.
The Hawks basically get a younger version of Thabo Sefalosha and he arguably has more upside than Thabo ever provided.
Atlanta needed more shooters and they get one here that isn’t afraid to get dirty and defend. It’s a solid pick for the Hawks, provided the Jeff Teague trade goes through and they get this pick, officially.
(13) Sacramento Kings – Georgios Papagiannis, C, Greece
The Kings (should this deal stand) get a meaty center to groom behind Boogie.
— NBA (@NBA) June 24, 2016
Papagiannis is young and raw, but he has the makings of a beast down low, as he already has the size and strength to muscle in baskets down low, as well as the ability to block shots and rebound.
His shooting touch is already developing, which gives him added offensive upside. The key here is for Papagiannis to be allowed time to develop, as he’s a very passionate and skilled player, but simply isn’t ready to contribute right away.
It’s an odd pick by the Kings – especially in the lottery – but with the field thinning out fast, they took a gamble on a high upside prospect.
(14) Chicago Bulls – Denzel Valentine, G/F, Michigan State
Valentine had some knee concerns, but was a fiery competitor at Michigan State, where he proved to be a do-it-all prospect.
A proven leader and gamer, Valentine gives the Bulls a versatile player who can shoot, score and create for his teammates. He really can do it all, and as long as his medical stuff doesn’t end up being a bigger deal than it appears to be, he could end up being an excellent pick.
It’s worth wondering if Valentine’s presence could have Chicago moving on from Jimmy Butler, as well.
(15) Denver Nuggets – Juan Hernangomez, F, Spain
The rich get richer when it comes to foreign forward talent. Denver has tons of offensive talent across the board, specifically at the four and five spots. They only pile it on here with Hernangomez, who is a slight reach at this point, but still provides serious upside as an NBA-ready, versatile forward.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 24, 2016
There won’t be many minutes for Hernangomez to find as a rookie, which could make this pick even better with the Nuggets likely keeping their young rook overseas to develop further.
(16) Boston Celtics – Guerschon Yabusele, PF, France
Boston has been relatively quiet considering the number of picks they had coming into tonight, but they actually landed a very interesting prospect at 16 overall.
It’s hard to say whether Yabusele can make an immediate impact, but he compares well to Golden State’s Draymond Green, as he can effectively play the four of five spot in a small ball lineup, defends well, rebounds, blocks shots and just as importantly – hits the outside shot.
Boston is already tough and laden with hard-nosed defenders, but adding yet another that can also stroke it from deep can’t be seen as a bad thing. If anything, Yabusele could make some of Boston’s softer, less versatile bigs expendable.
(17) Memphis Grizzlies – Wade Baldwin, G, Vanderbilt
Memphis gets a likely steal at 17, where versatile combo guard Baldwin finally ends his slide. Some had Baldwin without a true position and sliding into round two, while others thought he had enough upside to sneak into the lottery.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 24, 2016
This could be a perfect pick for the Grizz, who may need a new point guard with Mike Conley scheduled to hit free agency.
Even if Conley returns, the Grizzlies are in a mild rebuilding mode, where they need to address their shaky offense. Baldwin has the size, athleticism and play-making ability to run an offense or operate at the two spot, so chances are he finds his spot with a Memphis offense that could use him at either spot.
(18) Detroit Pistons – Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette
Ellenson has such a pretty jumper that there had been hot talks of him crashing the lottery. His outside shot was touch and go at the college level and he does not defend at all, though, so it wasn’t a shock to see him slide a little further. However, he’s a very balanced offensive player who knows how to score in the intermediate range. His post game needs work when you look at his footwork, but he knows how to put the ball in the basket via mid-range moves and driving.
— SI NBA (@si_nba) June 24, 2016
He’s an odd fit for a Detroit team that is a bit jammed up at the four spot, but he could be a nice spark off the bench for a team that wants to shoot better. Ellenson could easily end up being Stan Van Gundy’s new Ryan Anderson in his offense, where his main jobs are to shoot three’s and rebound.
Ellenson can do both very well and there is upside for him as an inside scorer down the road, as well. For now, he’ll come in and do what he does best – shoot the ball.
(19) Denver Nuggets – Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State
Denver continues to load up the talent, as they bring in a guy Michael Malone is absolutely going to love. Jamal Murray can stroke it better than anyone in college basketball, but Beasley can hit open jumpers and play elite defense.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 24, 2016
Beasley gives a fast-paced Denver offense yet another shooter who knows how to score the rock, but he also gives them a tenacious defender who won’t back down, regardless of the opposition.
Denver is slowly getting more and more potent and Beasley gives them a stingy lock down defender that could very well being a key role player quickly.
(20) Brooklyn Nets – Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan
The Nets gave up Thaddeus Young for this pick, and with it they land a pure scorer in Michigan’s LeVert.
Hindered by foot issues, LeVert brings amazing size and scoring ability to the Nets, who could make him a star right out of the gates. The reality is Brooklyn has Brook Lopez and nothing else, so playing time and shots should not be hard to come by for the Wolverine.
LeVert is instant offense, as he can hit the outside shot, as well as create for himself or others. He also is extremely versatile, with the ability to play the one, two or three.
Brooklyn got a potential gem here, and can now start looking to the future with a healthy LeVert leading the way.
(21) Atlanta Hawks – DeAndre Bembry, SF, St. Joseph’s
Atlanta’s second pick sticks on the wing, with another guy who has a solid offensive feel but is also big, long and is willing to defend.
The Hawks are clearly thinking about life after Kent Bazemore and Kyle Korver and in Bembry they have a guy that can go get buckets and then come back and defend.
Right away their bench is getting better and one of these guys could give them a new start next season.
(22) Charlotte Hornets – Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse
Charlotte needs some extra scoring and Richardson should give them that as a strong catch and shoot player.
What’s really interesting is Richardson’s defensive aptitude, as he obviously was needed in Syracuse’s elite zone defense and he figures to pan out even better at the next level.
Charlotte could be losing some bodies on the wing in free agency and MKG is never healthy, so this is the exact type of pick they had to have been hoping to make.
(23) Boston Celtics – Ante Zizic, C, Croatia
Boston adds more meat to the pile with Zizic, who has great size, bulk and demeanor for the post at the next level.
Zizic is nasty around the rim and runs with a nice motor, giving Boston a big they’re not really accustomed to operating with.
It may be some time until he’s ready to make a big impact, but he provides size and depth right away and down the road could be a huge steal.
(24) Philadelphia 76ers – Timothe Luwawu, SF, France
Philly keeps adding youth talent with Luwawu, who gives them a long, athletic wing player from France. Luwawu is simply a pure athlete who can hit the outside shot and defend.
Those are all things the Sixers need more of, but more than anything they just need solid talent that can come together and play hard. Luwawu is a good get and should be able to carve out a role in a short amount of time.
(25) Los Angeles Clippers – Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina
This could easily be seen as the steal of the draft. Johnson was a man amongst boys in college, rebounding and blocking at will and also making buckets in the paint look like a breeze.
He won’t find life to be quite as easy at the next level, but all he really needs to do is focus on defense off the bench for the Clippers. Coming out behind Blake Griffin, Johnson just needs to figure out his role and provide L.A. with the depth he appears to be offering.
He’s probably never going to be a star, but he has a nice skill-set and even has a decent stroke. He could provide some nice mid-range offense and improve the Clips’ B squad defense. That’d be a win at the 25th slot.
(26) Philadelphia 76ers – Furkan Korkmaz, G/F, Turkey
Philly continues to draft well, as they add a second strong wing talent beyond #1 pick, Ben Simmons. Korkmaz is oddly the more tantalizing prospect when you compare him with Luwawu, who was drafted two slots ahead of him.
Korkmaz’s calling card is his offensive ability, as he can shoot outside and score just a seasily. He’s also versatile and should be able to play the two or three effectively.
The crazy thing is both Korkmaz and Luwawu were seen as potential lottery picks, with Korkmaz going as high as top-10. Philly gets them both, and in reverse order. Their strong draft night rages on.
(27) Toronto Raptors – Pascal Siakam, PF, New Mexico State
Toronto attacks their post bodies some more with Siakam at the 27th spot. They already got Poeltl in the lottery, so they grab a guy who lives in the paint and can rebound and block shots.
Unfortunately, that’s about all Siakam does. He’s not an elite athlete and he doesn’t have a well-rounded offensive game. Then again, the Raptors may just seen another version of Bismack Biyombo here and may just want Siakam merely for the goods he does bring to the table.
If so, this is a solid pick. However, Siakam was a second round talent when you look at his game from an overall perspective. A stud scorer like Dejounte Murray was still available and would have been a much more appealing pick, especially considering star scorer DeMar DeRozan could be leaving in free agency this summer.
(28) Sacramento Kings – Skal Labissiere, C, Kentucky
Holy centers, Batman. The Kings may be sending a message to DeMarcus Cousins here, as they already had two centers behind Boogie on their roster and added their second here in the Kentucky big man.
There is no doubt that Labissiere has talent and upside, but he was a grand disappointment in his lone season with the Wildcats. There is a chance to blossoms in the NBA, but he also could quickly get buried in a very busy post rotation.
DeMarcus Cousins tweeted this during the draft. pic.twitter.com/0Vhj32cAlP
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 24, 2016
As for Boogie, may the Lord give him strength.
(29) San Antonio Spurs – Dejounte Murray, G, Washington
Man, the Spurs are annoying. Just when you think they’re going to trade their pick or draft a guy you never heard of, they take one of the best talents left in the draft.
Murray is a lottery-type talent with elite scoring ability and the Spurs know it. They grabbed a guy they can slide into their system and groom for the future, while possibly using off the bench now for a scoring spark.
The kid can score the ball and simply needs to grow with maturity and consistency. He also could use the humility from this slide, which should only add some fuel to the fire. Talent-wise, this is a great pickup by the Spurs.
(30) Golden State Warriors – Damion Jones, C, Vanderbilt
The Dubs close out the first round of the draft by taking a big man in Vanderbilt’s Damion Jones. There is no denying Golden State could use some size, as Festus Ezeli is bound to jet in free agency and Andrew Bogut has heated up as a trading chip.
That does it for us with the closing of the first round. Hopefully your team had a good draft or your favorite college prospect landed in a good spot.
Bang it here tomorrow as we take a look at the whole draft with a look at some of the best and worst picks.
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