Fantasy Basketball

2016 NBA GM POV Mock Draft

I’m not a huge fan of mock drafts. I say this as someone who has invested way too much time in research and analysis to compose a mock draft, only to see said mock draft go up in flames after one trade or one off the wall pick throws everything off, and everything you worked on to formulate that mock imploded instantly. There’s really no sense in throwing darts trying to guess what each team will do in a 30 pick first round. So, I’ve started doing it a different way, a way that I feel gives you a better perspective to my thoughts and beliefs on the franchises and players involved.

Instead of guessing who GMs will actually draft and hoping I get a good amount correct, I am putting myself in the shoes of each GM. With each pick, I will be role playing as each team’s GM on the clock and selecting who I, and only I, would select from that spot. I’m not going to do any mock trading though, I may say in the writing that I’d try my best to make a deal, but in the end, I am picking from each spot as is. So, when you see me drafting a guy in the lottery picks that is going at the end of the first round in most mocks, that’s me stating how much that I like a player and/or the fit that player provides for that team, I don’t care what other scouts or draft analysts think about the player(s) — which will be made obvious when you see where I have Buddy Hield going. This is my research, analysis and gut-feelings, so if you want just another bland mock draft guessing who will be drafted where, look elsewhere.

*Adam Silver steps to the podium*

“Good evening, and welcome to the 2016 NBA Draft, at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets. Thank you to all of our fans here in attendance and those of you watching throughout the world. Before we begin, let me congratulate the Cleveland Cavaliers on winning their first NBA championship in franchise history, led by LeBron James who they drafted number one in 2003 and Kyrie Irving who they drafted number one in 2011. Which of these young men tonight will lead teams to championships in the future? They have all dreamed of this moment, worked their whole lives for this, and all of that is about to pay off. So, let’s not make them wait any longer. The first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers, they have five minutes to make their selection.

(5 minutes later)

With the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select…”

1) Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons – SF/PF – LSU
I don’t want to bore you with this one, I know you’ve all been reading about Simmons for well over a year. We all knew even before he played a game of college ball that he would be the top selection tonight, and the 76ers organization couldn’t be happier to land such a terrific player. He’s got so many positives and we’re confident that we can work with him to improve his abilities as a jump shooter. Either way, LeBron James is viewed as a poor jump shooter, and I think he’s done just fine in the league.

2) Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram – SF – Duke
After saying goodbye to Kobe Bryant who brought us five NBA championships, it’s time to bring in a franchise piece of our future, and we believe that Brandon Ingram is just the guy we needed at this point in our rebuilding process. We try not to ever put pressure on a player by comparing him to a perennial all-star, but Ingram reminds us so much of Kevin Durant coming out of college that it’s difficult not to be overly optimistic of what we’ve landed tonight. We love Brandon’s wingspan, shooting ability and attacking, but we know he has much higher levels to reach as our staff helps him add muscle to his currently lanky frame.

3) Boston Celtics: Kris Dunn – PG – Providence
We tried like hell to trade out of this spot, believe us, but when that failed we knew regardless of our current abundance of guards, we had to take the top player on our board, Kris Dunn. Kris has that “it” factor that people talk about so often, and he’s ready to go at the NBA level right away. We will surely be attempting to move Marcus Smart via trade and believe that a backcourt of Dunn paired with Isaiah Thomas will be a true force to be reckoned with. Brad Stevens is certain he can take Kris from being a solid defender with upside to a lock down defender. Now we desperately need to find a legit big man either with our later picks, in free agency or in a trade.

4) Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender – PF – Croatia
We were expecting the Celtics to snipe our guy, but they let Dragan Bender fall to us, and we couldn’t be happier. I am a total believer in the upside of Bender and the league should fear what we’re constructing here much as those in Westeros fear Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, we’re now the only ones in possession of a Dragan. Although much like the early seasons of Thrones, we just have to wait until this Dragan matures into the apex predator we feel he can be. A 7-footer that runs like a wing, has a shooting stroke, defensive potential, terrific timing for shot blocking and he’s only 18-years-old.

5) Minnesota Timberwolves: Marquese Chriss – PF – Washington
How does “Minnesota Athletic Freaks” sound as a new team name? Well, we may not actually go through with that but our roster is now loaded with physical specimen from Karl-Anthony Towns to Andrew Wiggins to Zach LaVine and now adding Marquese Chriss to that group just solidifies it. Our new coach, Tom Thibodeau is enthused to get to lead this team to the next level both defensively and in the standings. Marquese still has some growing up to do as a player, mostly on his defense and defensive rebounding, and we have the perfect coach to develop that quickly. He’s the ideal new-school four in this league, and we’re happy to bring all of his potential aboard.

6) New Orleans Pelicans: Jamal Murray – PG/SG – Kentucky
While Jakob Poeltl was at the top of our board, we have bigger holes to fill right now, and we’re already paying the center duo of Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca a combined $15-million per year over the next three seasons. This led us to the top guard on our board, Jamal Murray who we absolutely love out of Kentucky. While I’d love to say that he’ll learn so much and have less pressure on himself playing alongside Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, let’s be realistic, they’re always injured. So, it’s good that Murray is physically ready to play and has a very sharp mental. Jamal possesses a terrific motor, is a plus-passer and has great shooting skills both off the catch and release and off the dribble with a nasty step-back. He’s just the kind of guy that we need coming in here with the ability to play the point or at the two after losing Eric Gordon this summer.

7) Denver Nuggets: Jaylen Brown – SF/PF – California
We debated taking Jakob Poeltl here since he was top of our board, but with young up-and-comers Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic already in the fold, we decided to go for the versatile Jaylen Brown. Real talk, while we may be stuck with Kenneth Faried and his contract until we find someone to take him via trade, we have shown no hesitance to bench him for someone playing better. Brown gives us a physical beast that can play either the three or four, so he’ll be there to step in both when Gallinari is out and when Faried is under-performing. While Brown has yet to develop a reliable long-range jumper, he’s a great slasher and his upside is enormous.

8) Sacramento Kings: Devonta Davis – PF – Michigan State
Why has nobody taken Poeltl yet?? It was tough to pass on his skills, but we just drafted Willie Cauley-Stein and signed Kosta Koufos last summer, so adding another strictly center didn’t make sense. Instead, we found talented forward Devonta Davis to play alongside or behind DeMarcus Cousins depending on which lineup we run out there. Davis has all the tools to become a great defending power forward who can also hold his own on the offensive end. We view him as a younger, taller Taj Gibson type but with more upside.

9) Toronto Raptors: Jakob Peltl – C – Utah
Wow, we were not expecting to land Poeltl at this spot, but with Bismack Biyombo set to leave and get a big pay day, we’re incredibly blessed to bring in what we view as a sure thing at this spot in the draft. You name it, Jakob can do it. He’s a nice offensive and defensive player who can rebound and block shots. This is a huge break for our franchise after losing such a key player in Biyombo, we now just have to add strength to this 7-footer and he’ll be a force.

10) Milwaukee Bucks: Buddy Hield – SG – Oklahoma
While Buddy Hield isn’t at the top of our team’s big board, we have a void to fill at guard due to Jerryd Bayless, OJ Mayo and Greivis Vasquez all hitting free agency. We wanted to land an efficient scoring guard here, and while our scouts have very mixed reviews on Buddy, we have decided to take the home run swing here and hope the offensive game of Hield does translate to the big league and him not become the next Jimmer Fredette as one of our scouts likes to call him. Other scouts wanted the younger Malik Beasley here, we decided to go with the older guy due to us wanting to compete right away with the current talent we have rostered.

11) Orlando Magic: Thon Maker – PF – Sudan
Yep, you can be dangerous when you have nothing to lose, and where we sit at in this draft, we knew we wanted to land a player with tons of upside especially as a defender, and Thon Maker has everything we were looking for and more. We don’t care if others had him as a second-round prospect, he’s a raw 19-years-old who blew us away in workouts and the interview process and we feel very confident that people will look back at this pick in a couple years and say he should have gone top-5 overall. And yes, he will be known as Thon “The Magic” Maker around Orlando.

12) Atlanta Hawks: Denzel Valentine – SG – Michigan State
We made a bold trade this week to shed Jeff Teague, cap money and free up playing time for Dennis Schroder, and now the next part of our restructuring is bringing in this extremely talented guard out of the Tom Izzo camp, Denzel Valentine. He was one of our favorite players to watch this season as he can shoot the lights out and distribute at a high level. We have one season left with Kyle Korver, and we think Valentine having him as a mentor early on will be perfect in his transition process to the big league.

13) Phoenix Suns: Skal Labissierre – PF/C – Kentucky
No, it’s not because he’s another Kentucky player. We seriously considered Skal at number 4, but when my guy Danny passed on him we had to grab Bender. Now we have two young, talented power forwards oozing with potential and upside. The NBA is constantly evolving and despite some talented wings being on the board here – Beasley, Bembry, Luwawu – we feel we get the best of both worlds with Skal and Bender. We love the defensive presence he already brings as a raw 20-yr old, and with his developing jumper and big frame we could be looking at a legit stretch 5 once he bulks up.


Rich Barnes/Getty Images
Rich Barnes/Getty Images


14) Chicago Bulls: Malik Beasley – SG – Florida State
Top player on our board, period. We actually had Malik Beasley ahead of a few of the guys who went just before us. Beasley has all the tools to become an elite scorer in this league and he’s a very efficient player. We love his impressive shooting stroke, catch-and-release ability and his attacking of the basket. We really feel this kid can develop to be something special, especially learning from a guy like Jimmy Butler everyday.

(Shout out to our own Sam Macey for finishing this out from 15-30. I wasn’t able to find the time to do so, and he bailed me out from having to scrap the work I had done!)

15) Denver Nuggets: Furkan Korkmaz – SG – Turkey
We let Evan Fournier go too soon and he broke out in Orlando, so the chance to snatch up a guy with NBA athleticism and a pure jump-shot with such a strong all-round game was too much to pass up. He should back-up Gary next season and will be able to play some SF in a stretch. We’re set in the frontcourt but we were tempted to snatch up Luwawu or Richardson, but we’ll take the younger guy at this pick.

16) Boston Celtics: Ivica Zubac – C – Croatia
Enough charades with our young bigs, neither Sullinger or Olynyk are long-term options at the starting 5 spot. Neither is Amir Johnson. Zubac is a legitimate monster at 7’1” with a 7’4” wingspan and he’s fill out that frame already as he pushes 260lb. Sure he’s not the most mobile big out there but he has a nice range of post moves and he can block some shots too. It was extremely tempting to go with Sabonis here as he’s slipped further than he should have, but he’s got a little too much Tyler Hansborough in him for our liking and we needed a rim protector.

17) Memphis Grizzlies: Malachi Richardson – SG – Syracuse
Seems like everyone knew about our promise and yet he slipped to us anyway. We’re severely lacking wing depth and youth, so a freshman SG whose 6’6” with a 7-foot wingspan who knocked down 2.1 threes a night at 35% fits our need perfectly. He’ll learn defence from Tony Allen and he’ll likely be thrown into the fire early because we’re in dire need of athleticism and outside shooting. We love his toughness and 3 and D potential and that work ethic is second to none in this draft.

18) Detroit Pistons: Juan Hernangomez – PF – Spain
We need shooting alongside the manchild Andre Drummond – and this kid might end up the best outside shooter in the draft. We knew the Spurs were trying to move up to get him and that was enough vindication that this was the right pick. We liken him to a Gallinari-Rashard Lewis type stretch 4 as he knocked down a three per game at 36%. He’s only 20 and we love that at 6’9” he’ll be mobile enough to slot next to Stanley Johnson and we’ll have two guys who can play either forward spot.

19) Denver Nuggets: Domantas Sabonis – PF/C – Gonzaga
The slip stops here. We don’t overly need frontcourt help but this rebounding monster will be find pairing Lauvergne off the bench in the second unit. It also allows us to explore more Kenneth Faried trade options so we can see what Jokic/Nurkic can do with extended minutes. Sabonis has lottery pick potential and he could even develop into a Kevin Love-lite type guy and everyone knows rebounding translates better than any other College skill. We love that he developed from his freshman to sophomore season, upping his scoring from 9.7 to 17.6pts a night while he hauled down 11.8rebs in just under 32mpg.

20) Brooklyn Nets: Wade Baldwin – PG/SG – Vanderbilt
For a guy talked about as a late lottery pick, we’re ecstatic to land our new starting PG. There’s going to be growing pains and he didn’t really improve over his two years at Vandy, but we LOVE his physical abilities and the fact he shot 40% from three (84-199 for his career). He’s a 6’3” combo guard with a 6’11” wingspan and while we’re not expecting Russell Westbrook as some have thrown about, we do expect him to be able to both create his own shot and for his teammates. The fact he’s oozing with defensive potential means we’ll at least have a potential stopper at the 1.

21) Atlanta Hawks: Timothe Luwawu – SG/SF – France
Valentine is the safer guy we’ve picked but we need insurance in case Bazemore gets paid (he will). We’re getting a consummate pro who ideally is a SG but with some work in the weight room he’ll be able to swing to the 3 too. He’s not Nicolas Batum but he could be turn into Danny Green (2.1 threes at 37% for Mega Leks) with better ball handling. Pairing him with Valentine is ideal as DV is a superior ball-handler while Luwawu can take the other team’s best perimeter threat.

22) Charlotte Hornets: Dejounta Murray – PG/SG – Washington
He was overshadowed by Marquisse Criss’ highlights in Washington, but he may have more upside than his ex-teammate. The shots didn’t fall last season as he barely hit 40% from the field while failing to make 30% from three or 70% from the charity stripe, but the physical abilities and ball-handling outweigh the stats. He’s got quick feet and a huge wingspan and at worst we feel we’re looking at an MCW type player here – hard to pass that up at 22. We’re set at PG with Kemba, but Murray’s size should see him play alongside Walker allowing him more shooting opportunities.

23) Boston Celtics: Henry Ellenson – PF/C – Marquette
Unbelievable he slipped this far. Sure he looks like he runs in quicksand sometimes, but he can score and his intangibles will fit perfectly on our squad. We need outside shooting and he’s a guy who made 0.9 threes a game – albeit at only 29% on the season. Not many freshmen can average 17pts-9reb-1.5blk. He’s a big, smart, humble kid who should have been a lottery pick. Again with our assets, it allows us to look at moving Sully or Olynyk…cos we sure as hell don’t want to end up paying either of those guys $10m a season, even with the exploding cap! We feel he’s got a little Spencer Hawes in him – which isn’t a bad thing looking at what Hawes did early in his career.

24) Philadelphia 76ers: Brice Johnson – PF – North Carolina
We don’t care that he’s already 21. We need maturity and we need a reliable back-up at PF/C to be the energy guy off the bench. He’s a great athlete who improved across the board from his freshman to senior year, culminating with a 17pts 10.4reb 1.5ast 1.5blk 1.1stl season where he also shot 61% from the field and 78% from the line. Plain and simple, we want some character on this team and Johnson oozes that. He’ll be able to play with Ben Simmons as we feel he can defend SF through to C, especially with his length at 6’9” with a 7’0” wingspan.

25) Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Bembry – SG/SF – St Joseph’s
We need some athleticism, some youth and some versatility on the wings and Bembry checks all three boxes. Taurean Prince was the other option we looked at here, but we think Bembry is more versatile and better in transition, as we’re going to try and play faster next season. He’s not a particularly good shooter but next to two plus outside shooters (CP3, Redick) as well as Blake’s improving mid-range, we see him becoming a reliable corner 3pt shooter.

26) Philadelphia 76ers: Demetrius Jackson – PG/SG – Notre Dame
He has his flaws as both a playmaker and as a shooter, but he’s a rotation NBA guard, that much is true. Although slightly undersized at the 1, we like him playing next to Ben and Robert Covington as while Ben can’t shoot the long ball, Demetrius made 1.3 threes per game at 38% over his three-year career. At this stage we were pondering another big, but we’ve got enough horses in that stable – for now.

27) Toronto Raptors: Cheick Diallo – PF/C – Kansas
We’re probably going to experiment with DeMarre Carroll playing some undersized PF, but Diallo was too good of an athlete with an unstoppable motor to pass up this late. Bismack probably priced himself out of T-Dot, so we’ll all be hoping Diallo can be that defensive presence off the bench right off the bat. Much like Biyombo, he’s YEARS away from being any sort of threat on the offensive end, but we don’t need that, we need a rebounder-shotblocker to give us 18-20 minutes off the bench.

28) Phoenix Suns: Taurean Prince – SF – Baylor
We have PJ Tucker the incumbent and TJ Warren the successor, but Prince fills an immediate need in terms of outside shooting at the 3 spot. He has the perfect size and frame to be the glue guy on a good team, and with our two current SFs both ahead of him on the depth chart, there’s no need to rush him into big minutes. He’s a little older than our recent picks, but with Bender and Skal we see another addition with significant defensive upside in the frontcourt.

29) San Antonio Spurs: Ante Zizic – C – Croatia
We want smart, mature, polished players who play within themselves and the team framework. Boban’s a FA and while we’d like to keep him, long term he’s simply not a starting C in this ‘new’ NBA. Zizic has been on our radar a long time and while we wanted to move up to get him, the way the draft panned out we made some calls and figured he’d fall to us. He’s not a great shot-blocker but we love his frame, rebounding ability and long-term we think he’ll slot perfectly next to LMA and Kawhi.

30) Golden State Warriors: Pascal Siakam – PF/C – New Mexico State
With Harrison Barnes’ FA potentially stretching our resources, we love getting a polished athlete at the end of the first. We love the defensive versatility and any time you can get a 6’9” PF/C with a 7’3” wingspan who averaged 20pts-12reb-2asst-2blk-1stl as a sophomore, you have to do it. He’ll play a lot of small-ball C and with Festus Ezeli also a restricted FA there’s a chance he turns into a 25-30mpg guy right off the bat. We love his ability to cover quicker players on the perimeter and he’s far from a finished product as well.

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