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The Sideline’s NBA Mock Draft

  • 1. Ben Simmons | LSU

    FORWARD | 6’10”, 240 POUNDS | FR. 

He may be beginning to gain some skeptics, but Ben Simmons is the closest thing to  perennial All Star status that you will find in this draft.

His disappointing team success during his season at LSU was not the fault of his – a mediocre program with mediocre supporting players wasn’t a good foundation from the start.

Via Sporting News
Via Sporting News

It hurts a bit that he won’t be playing in March, but it would still be dumb for anyone to pass up on him, even if Philly is too deep at the four with Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric coming over from Europe.

They have to hit that superstar pick at some point – Simmons is their best chance.

Look for Simmons to hear his name called first in June.

NBA Comparison – LeBron James


2. Brandon Ingram | DUKE

FORWARD | 6’9″, 195 | FR.

 The last few Duke wings (Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Justise Winslow) taken in the lottery have had up and down careers in the pros so far, but it is still way too early to decide their fate.

          Brandon Ingram isn’t going to be any different. Ingram is a lanky, weak, offensive minded wing. But he also is a dead eye shooter and a hell of a shot creator, both things that LA desperately need (then again, what don’t they need? )

         How Ingram fares in the pros is different from where his talent should put him on draft day, and for that he has a solid case for second best.

NBA Comparison – Kevin Durant   


3. Buddy Hield | Oklahoma

GUARD | 6’4″, 215 | SR.

In a league where pure scorers are few and far between, Hield’s talents will be valued in what is a weak NBA Draft.
Boston has lacked a go to scorer since Pierce left, and while Isaiah Thomas fills that role now, it is hard to put all the offensive pressure on a 5’9″ point guard.
Hield could step in and instantly provide this team with an offensive option that their other guards – Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Evan Turner – haven’t provided.
Couple Hield with Thomas, Crowder, whatever big free agent the Cs sign (Al Horford?), and their multitude of other picks and young pieces, and the Celtics will remain a top 5 team in the East for some time.

NBA Comparison – James Harden 

4. Dragan Bender | Croatia

FORWARD | 7’0″, 220 | 18 yrs. Old 

Porzingis 2.0?

You can’t be sure, but Dragan Bender looks just as good, if not better than, Kristaps. Bender plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv, one of the best Euroleague teams in the world, and has been toted as a top NBA prospect since he was 16 years old.

He is a classic stretch four, but his ball handling is on par with that of the best at his position, or even better. His outside stroke is his best asset, but his ability to make plays off the dribble and, at 7′,1″, grab almost all the rebounds, make him a scary prospect.

Besides having the coolest name of anyone probably ever, Bender also has the potential to be the best stretch four in the game in a few seasons. I see a lot of Kevin Love here. Not Cavalier Kevin Love, Minnesota Kevin Love. Scary, right?

But, as with all European stretch fours, his bust potential is among the largest in this class. He is only 18, and that should scare some teams looking to win now.

But Phoenix has a gaping hole at the four, and Bender could step right into a team that is fit for deep playoff runs in a matter of seasons.

NBA Comparison – Dirk Nowitzki / LaMarcus Aldridge


5. Kris Dunn | Providence

GUARD | 6’4″, 220 | SR.

Dunn is a great example of why staying in college another year can, sometimes, really help your stock.

Dunn was projected to go in the 20s of last year’s first round, an accolade few can say they have achieved. But Dunn stayed in school and came back stronger than ever, and he is now a top 5 candidate for this year’s draft, so kudos to Dunn for doing the smart thing and bumping his stock about 4 million dollars higher.


The best ball handler in the draft, Dunn would instantly make Minnesota a better team, even if they have a starting point guard in Ricky Rubio. Whether they trade Rubio or bench him, Dunn would be the starter for this team that needs to start winning next season after racking up two, possibly three Perennial All Stars in the past few drafts to justify their tanking.

If Dunn can legitimise his jumpshot, he could be the best player in this draft. If he doesn’t, Tony Wroten and him can get dinner sometime.

NBA Comparison – Mike Conley


6. Jamal Murray | Kentucky

GUARD | 6’4″, 205 | FR. 

The Pelicans would love to get their hands on Buddy Hield or Kris Dunn here, but it doesn’t look like that will be a possibility. Murray is the next best thing, and he is probably the last potentially franchise changing talent available in this draft. Even then, I am weary of his skill set.
He is an undersized shooting guard, so he will have to slide into the combo guard slot for wherever he ends up. Some recent combo guards taken in the lottery? Jimmer Fredette, Dante Exum, Marcus Smart to name a few. Sure, there was also C.J. McCollum and D’Angelo Russell, but for the most part, the lottery combo guard hasn’t been the player teams drafting them thought they would be.
Still, there is no other reasonable option here other than to trade this pick to a team like Houston or Brooklyn, or even trading down with the Bulls to stay in the lottery.
NBA Comparison – Jerryd Bayless / Jamal Crawford 

7. Jakob Poetl | Utah

CENTER | 7’1″, 240 | SO.

The Nuggets are a frustrating team to analyze. They don’t really have a hole in their lineup. Usually a team who finds themselves picking 7th overall has plenty of holes – but Denver has an established starter at each position – Mudiay, Barton, Gallinari, Faried, Nurkic – and bench player behind them that are more than capable – The Serbian star Nikola Jokic, veterans Wilson Chandler and Darrell Arthur, young gun Gary Harris, and French big man Joffrey Lauvergne. They could use a point guard, but for the most part this team just needs to mold together.
That gives the Nuggets two options – take the best player available, or trade the pick. For the sake of this mock draft, I’ll go ahead and say that they will take the best available. Poetl has NBA caliber rim protecting and rebounding abilities. Teams would love to trade an established player for this pick or even after this pick to the Nuggets to take their chance on Poetl.
NBA Comparison – Andrew Bogut

8.   Marquese Chriss | Washington

Forward | 6’9″, 225 | FR.

Chriss was an under the radar NBA talent during the college basketball season, but after the Washington freshman declared for the draft, it was clear he had NBA upside.
A versatile 6’9″ wing is always welcome on NBA rosters, and Detroit’s more so than others.
Chriss is a transition beauty, waltzing down the floor in his massive frame and making plays. His defense and versatilty will make him an instant contributor, much like Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson was this past season.
NBA Comparison – Markieff Morris 

 9. Jaylen Brown | California

SF | 6’7″, 225 | Fr.

Brown’s stock has drastically fallen since his collapse in the NCAA tournament against Hawai’i, and rightfully so. He led the Cal Golden Bears to a very disappointing first round exit after securing a third seed in the tournament.
His outside shooting isn’t supreme, but that is something he can work on. His penetration is among the best in the nation, though. He figures to be a pure scorer and not much else in the NBA, short of his superstar aspirations that many predicted from him earlier this season.
Brown falls out of the top 3 and subsequently the top 8 due to his massive bust potential and inability to prove on the big stage that he deserves such an honor. If he rebounds from the criticism and plays to his full potential, he could be a real steal here.
NBA Comparison – Michael Redd

10.     Skal Labissiere | Kentucky

F/C | 6’11”, 220 | FR.

A very disappointing freshman season at Kentucky saw Skal Labisserie’s stock fall from top 2 to top 20.  He is a lanky, floor stretching big man that needs to put some muscle on to be productive in any capacity.
But he has major upside, which is why he still deserves a top ten pick. The Bucks just need pieces that will help them get back to winning, and developing Labisserie behind John Henson and Greg Monroe is a good start.
Labisserie is similar to Anthony Davis in body type and skill set versatility, but he could easily never resemble Davis in an NBA game ever.
NBA Comparison – Anthony Davis / Ryan Hollins / Who the hell knows

11. Brice Johnson | UNC

FORWARD | 6’9″, 225 | SR.
Some people are high on Brice Johnson – many are not.
I am extremely high on him, as you can see from his lottery projection. Johnson is an NBA ready talent who will be a bench contributor on opening night and forever after.
The explosive power forward has a midrange stroke, back to the basket skills, and aggressive rebounding habits that will instantly make him a coach’s favorite.
While he is 22 years old and that limits his upside, the Magic shouldn’t be drafting for upside at all at this point.
The Magic are a team that need to start winning to warrant their horrible past few seasons that has netted them top ten picks that need to produce. Johnson comes in as a good and still young player to help them do so.
NBA Comparison – A young Elton Brand


12.   Timothy Luwawu | France

G/F | 6’7″, 195  

Luwawu benefits from a lack of star power in this draft – nobody makes much sense at #12 more than him based on upside alone.
Luwawu is an interesting prospect. His offense is unlikely to develop within the first few seasons of his career, but he is a versatile on ball defender and 3&D type of guy.
Utah is in a similar position as Orlando – its time to stop drafting top ten and start playing with the best 16.
Luwawu gives them another component to add to their ever-young roster.
NBA Comparison – Andre Roberson


13.  Henry Ellenson | Marquette

F/C | 6’10”, 245 | FR.

I am not nearly as high on Ellenson as some draft experts are. A top ten pick on a guy who really doesn’t do more than stretch the floor seems excessive to me. That is no knock on Ellenson, who is a very productive player, but the late lottery makes more sense.
Phoenix is thankful for that, catching his services with the last of their two lottery picks.
The Suns picked Bender at 4, who is a high risk higher reward type of guy. It is nice to have the luxury of taking the safer version of him later on.
Ellenson provides great size and shooting from the power forward position, and is someone Phoenix can use immediately off the bench, whereas Bender may need time.
 NBA Comparison – Brian Cardinal

14. Deyonta Davis | Michigan State

F/C | 6’10”, 240 | FR.

Davis is one of my favorite players coming out of this draft, and Chicago will be lucky to anchor their team around him and Bobby Portis for the future.
Davis has premier rim protecting skills as well as a good dosage of post moves and a ferocious rebounding motor.
He will immediately fit in the NBA and especially alongside the rough and tough Bulls. His offense will come with time, but Davis could be one of the best big men out of this draft.
Move aside, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. The incoming Chicago rebuild starts with Deyonta Davis.
 NBA Comparison – More athletic Zach Randolph

 15. Furkan Korkmaz | Turkey

GUARD | 6’7″, 175 | AGE: 18

One of the more interesting talents coming out of Europe in recent years, Korkmaz has star potential for wherever he lands.
A pure scorer, Korkmaz can get to the basket or launch it from way downtown. He makes sense as a sixth man in his first years in the NBA to adjust, but Korkmaz will be a starting shooting guard for a team for a long time in this league.
Denver, as noted earlier, really doesn’t have a need here, but Korkmaz is too talented to leave on the board.
NBA Comparison – Gordon Hayward / Manu Ginobli 


16.  Wade Baldwin IV | Vanderbilt

Guard | 6’2″ , 190 | Sr.

A crafty point scorer, Baldwin’s draft stock fluctuates frequently.
Ultimately, I don’t see him cracking the lottery, and I honestly don’t see Boston keeping this pick. But, if they do, Baldwin makes as much sense as anyone.
The Celtics backcourt of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, and Avery Bradley is a talented one, however it lacks a scoring punch besides the All Star Thomas.
Baldwin would be a welcome addition to Boston’s bench and would be another good reason for a star to sign with Boston this summer, which is their main goal.
They already netted Buddy Hield at three overall, so Baldwin and Hield would have no problem bringing buckets to Boston.
NBA Comparison – Randy Foye / Jeremy Lin

 17.   Malachi Richardson | Syracuse

Guard | 6-6, 200 | Fr.

Sources from The Vertical stated that Memphis loves the Syracuse guard so much that they have requested he shut down workouts with other teams, implying a promise to select him at this spot.
Richardson is a lights out scorer in the crunch time, and his scoring versatility could easily translate to day 1 success in the NBA. He could be a go to scorer for Memphis next season.
Richardson went from on nobody’s draft boards to just about everyone’s, so he really could go before this.

 18. Tauren Prince | Baylor

FORWARD | 6’7″, 220 | SR.

At this point, Denver is drafting for depth.

No offense to Prince, but Denver doesn’t really need this pick, and they could go any variety of directions with it.

But taking Prince as a wing backup would be a good call. A spot up shooter, Prince will be a role player in the NBA for some time.

NBA Comparison – Gerald Wallace

 19. Domantas Sabonis | Gonzaga

FORWARD | 6’10”, 240 | SO.


With Ivan Rabb taking his name out of the hat and deciding to return to California for his sophomore season, Sabonis moves up several spots here for a marriage with the gritty Pistons.

The Pistons aren’t getting a superstar here, but they will get an instant contributor who helps them with their main goal – to win now.
Sabonis’ rebounding skills will easily translate to the pros, but his offensive production may not. He will be a bit of a project for the Raptors, but he could easily start from day 1 alongside Jonas Valianciunas.
NBA Comparison – Luis Scola

20.  Demetrius Jackson | Notre Dame

GUARD | 6’1″, 220 | JR.

A homecoming of sorts, Jackson going to Indiana from Notre Dame makes a lot of sense.

He is one of the best ball handlers in the draft, but he lacks the ability to create his own shot. Still, Indiana needs to start fresh at point guard.

Whether George Hill is moved to the bench or traded, Jackson is the right call for Larry Bird and the Pacers in an effort to surround Paul George with title contending talent.

NBA Comparison – Jonny Flynn  

21. Malik Beasley | Florida State

SG-SF | 6’4″ | 185 lbs

Beasley is an exciting wing prospect, one who can create and make their own shot consistently.
He also fills a huge need for Philly, who has been starting D-league caliber talent at the two and three for years.
Beasley is a day one starter for Philly, something you rarely get in the 20s.

 NBA Comparison – Wesley Matthews

22. Denzel Valentine | Michigan State

G/F | 6’6″, 220 | SR.

I have always been a huge advocate of Valentine’s unique game.
He provides his team with distribution, shooting, on ball defense, and the ability to attack the basket.
Thats all you can really ask for from a wing, right?
He may not be great at any of them, but he is very good at them, and any NBA GM would like to have such a great utility player like him this late in the draft -Boston especially.
 NBA Comparison – Tyreke Evans minus the athleticism


23. Zhou Qi | China

Center | 7’2″, 210 | 20 yrs.

Qi had me excited at last year’s draft, but he withdrew beforehand. His physical intangibles – 7’2″ and 210 at just 20 years of age – are very intriguing.

With the right coaching, anyone who stands at a massive 7’2″ can be productive. The Hawks already have 7’1″ Walter Tavares in the wings, as well as 7’0″ center Mike Muscala coming off the bench, but they could always have another project big (very big) man.

This is also an insurance pick if longtime Hawk Al Horford decides to bolt in free agency, which looks very possible.

NBA Comparison – ???

24. Thon Maker | Orangeville District Secondary School

Center | 7’1″, 218 | Canada

I don’t understand why some experts don’t have Maker in the top 25, some not even in the first 40.

Maker is the rawest player in this draft by far – he is coming straight out of high school. But his physical measurements and rare skills are things noone has seen in the NBA and, in a league that drafts for upside, it amazes me he isn’t projected to be a lottery pick.

Maker stands at a massive 7’1″, but he played guard in high school and can shoot the three. Yes, you read that right.

Those are the foundations of league-changing skills, and I am sure the now-rebuilt Hornets would love to gamble on him.

NBA Comparison – None


25. Guerschon Yabusele | France

PF / C | 

Yabusele is nothing more than a defensive presence – something the Clippers need.
He is a lanky rim protector that will never start in this league but will easily be one of the most oft used players off of teams’ benches.
The Clippers are not looking for young stars here, so a safe Yabusele pick makes sense.
NBA Comparison – Clint Capela


26. Melo Trimble | Point Guard

PG | 6’3″, 190 | SO.

The Sixers desperately need a point guard with game breaking talent, and Trimble is the right fit here. Gary Payton II and Tyler Ulis should get looks here, but Trimble is the most NBA ready.
I am high on Trimble, and I believe he could evolve to be a talented scoring point guard in a league dominated by such players.
Philly gets Ben Simmons, Malik Beasley, and Trimble all in the the first round of this draft, which would likely be their starting 1, 2, and 3 come opening day. Not a bad draft.
NBA Comparison – Allen Iverson without the HOF status

27. Juan Hernangomez | Spain

PF | 6’9″, 225 | Spain

Purely an insurance pick behind no. 8 overall Domantas Sabonis, Hernangomez is another big to toss on the bench or maybe even stash overseas.

Hernangomez is a raw talent, but Toronto has plenty of players like that. Look for him to develop and not see much court time.

NBA Comparison –  Nikola Mirotic without the shooting


28.   Anthony Barber | NC State

PG | 6’2″, 185 | Jr.

Barber was one of college basketball’s best scorers last season, and he is a bargain for one of the last picks of the first round.
Phoenix doesn’t need a starter here, as their logjam at combo guard of Devin Booker, Brandon Knight, and Eric Bledsoe is plenty busy. But a bench scorer like Barber can’t hurt.

 NBA Comparison -Monta Ellis


29. Stephen Zimmermann | UNLV

C | 7’0, 240 | Fr. 

I don’t see Tim Duncan’s replacement on the roster yet, do you?
Zimmerman is a talented big man that, in the Spurs system, will be more than ready to replace one of the best big men of all time whenever the Big Fundamental hangs up his sneakers.
NBA Comparison – Steven Adams / Brook Lopez


30.  Diamond Stone | Maryland

C | 6’10”, 255 | Fr.

Stone is a pretty talented player to slide to Golden State at 30, but they won’t complain.
More depth for whatever the future holds in Oakland. 
NBA Comparison – Brandan Wright


 31 <a href='' title='Celtics receive the Sixers 2016 second-round pick.' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Boston</strong></a> Boston – Gary Payton II | Oregon State
32 <strong>LA Lakers</strong> LA Lakers – Dejounte Murray | Washington

33 <a href='' title='Clippers have the right to swap 2016 second-round pick with Nets. (55-60 protected on LA Clippers pick)' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Brooklyn</strong></a> *Brooklyn –  Tyler Ulis | Kentucky

34 <strong>Phoenix</strong> Phoenix – Damian Jones | Vanderbilt

35 <a href='' title='Celtics receive Timberwolves 2016 first-round pick (via Suns). (top 12 protected in 2016, or second-round picks in 2016 and 2017)' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Boston</strong></a> *Boston – Cheick Diello | Kansas
36<a href='' title='Bucks receive Pelicans or Kings 2016 second-round pick. (more favorable)' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Milwaukee</strong></a> *Milwaukee – Patrick McCaw | UNLV
37<a href='' title='Rockets receive the Knicks 2016 second round pick.' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Houston</strong></a> *Houston – DeAndre Bembry | St. Joe’s
38 <strong>Milwaukee</strong> Milwaukee – Ante Zizic | Serbia
39 <a href='' title='Bucks receive Pelicans or Kings 2016 second-round pick. (more favorable)' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*New Orleans</strong></a> *New Orleans – Caris LeVert | Michigan 
40 <a href='' title='Sixers receive the Nuggets 2016 second round pick.' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Philadelphia</strong></a> *Philadelphia – Ben Bentil | Providence
41 <strong>Orlando</strong> Orlando -AJ Hammons | Purdue 
42 <a href='' title='Hawks receive the Wizards 2016 second-round pick.' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Atlanta</strong></a> *Atlanta – Yogi Ferrell | Indiana
43 <strong>Utah</strong> Utah – Sheldon McClellan | Miami
44 <a href='' title='Magic receive 2016 Bulls second-round pick. ' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Chicago</strong></a> *Chicago – Danuel House | Texas A&M
45 <a href='' title='T'Wolves receive the Rockets 2016 second-round pick (top 45 or extinguished)' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Minnesota</strong></a> *Minnesota -Malik Newman | Miss. St. 
46 <a href='' title='Celtics receive the Mavs or Grizzlies (more favorable) 2016 second-round pick.' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Boston</strong></a> *Boston – Ivica Zubac | Bosnia
47 <a href='' title='Mavericks receive the Grizzlies' 2016 second-round pick.' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Dallas</strong></a> *Dallas – Marcus Paige | UNC
48 <a href='' title='Magic receive more favorable Bulls second round pick via Bulls receive the Trailblazers 2016 second-round pick (via Cavs)' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Orlando</strong></a> *Orlando –  Dorian Finney-Smith | Florida
49 <strong>Detroit</strong> Detroit – Nigel Hayes | Wisconsin
50 <strong>Indiana</strong> Indiana – Malcom Brogdon | Virginia
51 <a href='' title='Thunder receive the Hornets 2016 second-round pick. (55-60 protected or 2017 second round pick)' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Charlotte</strong></a> *Charlotte–  Zach Auguste | Notre Dame
52 <a href='' title='Jazz receive the Celtics or Raptors 2016 second-round pick. (more favorable)' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Utah</strong></a> *Utah – Wayne Selden | Kansas
53 <a href='' title='Celtics receive the Heat 2016 second-round pick.' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Boston</strong></a> *Boston – Michael Gbinje | Syracuse
54 <strong>Atlanta</strong> Atlanta – Jake Layman | Maryland
55 <a href='' title='Cavaliers receive the LA Clippers 2016 second-round pick (top 55 protected) or extinguished' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Cleveland </strong></a> *Cleveland – Joel Bolomboy | Weber. St
56 <strong>Oklahoma Cty</strong> Oklahoma City – Damion Lee | Louisville
57 <a href='' title='Grizzlies receive the Celtics or Raptors' 2016 second-round pick (less favorable)' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Memphis</strong></a> *Memphis – Tyrone Wallace | California 
58 <a href='' title='Celtics receive the Cavs 2016 second-round pick.' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Boston</strong></a> *Boston – Isaiah Cousins | Oklahoma
59 <strong>San Antonio</strong> San Antonio – Jarrod Uthoff | Utah
60 <a href='' title='Jazz receive the Warriors 2016 second-round pick.' class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Utah</strong></a> *Utah – Ron Baker | Wichita State



NBA Draft

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