2016 NBA Draft
First Round - Top Ten Picks1.) Toronto: Jaylen Brown - 20 - SF - California - 203cm - 102kg
-----2.) Denver: Malik Newman - 20 - SG - Mississippi State - 193cm - 83kg
With the first pick of the 2016 NBA draft, the Raptors take Jaylen Brown from the University of California. All the pre-draft talk had Australian forward Ben Simmons as the consensus number one pick, but Toronto went with the super-athletic wingman from Georgia. It's an interesting choice that will surely raise many eyebrows. Brown's reaction when Adam Silver read out his name was priceless. Clearly even he had expected Simmons to be the first overall pick.
NBA Comparison: Jimmy Butler
Fan Opinion: "Wow! First just let me say that I think Jaylen Brown is gonna be a star, but I really thought we'd be taking Ben Simmons. I've really got mixed emotions about this pick. It's a huge gamble and I just pray that this isn't another Bargnani type situation."
-----3.) Boston: Ben Simmons - 19 - SF/PF - LSU - 208cm - 102kg
Wow! Now one would have predicted this selection from the Nuggets. They have passed on both Ben Simmons and Skal Labissiere and taken Mississippi State guard Malik Newman with the second pick. There were reports that they had been really impressed with Newman's workout, but he wasn't tipped to go in the top three selections. He is an accomplished scorer and the Nuggets will be hoping that those skills will translate to the NBA and that he can form an effective partnership with Emmanuel Mudiay for the next decade or so.
NBA Comparison: Monta Ellis
Fan Opinion: "Are you serious?! Simmons slipped to our pick and we passed on him? It's decisions like these that keep us from winning a championship. Newman looks like he'll be a solid player but this is just totally wrong, sorry."
-----4.) Indiana: Cheick Diallo - 19 - PF - Kansas - 206cm - 99kg
The Celtics must be pinching themselves that Ben Simmons fell down to pick number three. It's not often that you can call a player taken with the third pick the steal of the draft, but the Australian forward has been hyped as the next LeBron James and it's mystifying that he wasn't taken with either of the first two picks. The future is suddenly very bright again for Boston now as they have a potential superstar player, something they have missed since their "big three" era ended a few years ago.
NBA Comparison: LeBron James
Fan Opinion: "Thank you Toronto and Denver, haha! In the years since the 'big three' left it's been tough supporting this team but now with Simmons arriving we suddenly have hope for the future. I really hope he lives up to the hype."
-----5.) Utah: Damian Jones - 22 - PF - Vanderbilt - 208cm - 109kg
With Skal Labissiere still on the board many people expected the Pacers to take him with this pick to fill the hole left by Roy Hibbert, but they instead went for high-energy Kansas forward Cheick Diallo. He has drawn comparisons to Kenneth Faried and had a dominant season with the Jayhawks. The main priority in Indiana right now is keeping star player Paul George happy and this selection seems like a bit of a risk.
NBA Comparison: Kenneth Faried
Fan Opinion: "To be honest I thought we'd take Skal Labissiere with this pick. But I really like Diallo though. His whole energy when on the court is so positive and aggressive. He's a born winner!"
-----6.) Detroit: Jamal Murray - 20 - PG - Kentucky - 193cm - 88kg
Utah really confused everyone with this selection of Damian Jones. They already have Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors and Trey Lyles on their roster and were in much more need of a scoring guard rather than another tall. Jamal Murray and Brandon Ingram were both still available and would have seemingly been much better fits. Perhaps they are they planning on making a trade at some point?
NBA Comparison: DeAndre Jordan
Fan Opinion: "I don't get this pick at all. We've already got Rudy and Derrick playing well together, so why do we need this guy? I would have liked us to have taken Ingram with this pick instead."
-----7.) Milwaukee: Skal Labissiere - 20 - PF/C - Kentucky - 211cm - 94kg
Skal Labissiere continues to drop as the Pistons surprisingly take Kentucky combo guard Jamal Murray with the sixth overall pick. You would expect him to spend the majority of his time playing at shooting guard with Detroit as they already have both Brandon Jennings and Reggie Jackson on their roster. The Pistons passed up the opportunity to pair star big man Andre Drummond with Labissiere. It's decisions like these that can be the difference between winning championships or not.
NBA Comparison: Chauncey Billups
Fan Opinion: "Terrible, just terrible. We passed on Skal to take a guy who will be behind Reggie Jackson and Brandon Jennings in the rotation? Oh man, we could've had a monster frontcourt!"
-----8.) Philadelphia: Brandon Ingram - 19 - SF - Duke - 206cm - 88kg
Finally someone picks Skal Labissiere. After genuinely being touted as a top three prospect in this draft for a long time, he somehow fell to Milwaukee at pick seven. Suddenly the Bucks have a very balanced looking and talented roster, with Labissiere, Greg Monroe and John Henson in the frontcourt; Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the wings and Michel Carter-Williams running the show. If they keep this core together they could become a major force in the east for the foreseeable future.
NBA Comparison: LaMarcus Aldridge
Fan Opinion: "I'm speechless! I don't think any Bucks fans ever expected to land Skal with our pick. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but all the pieces for a long title run are falling into place for us. The next few years should be fun!"
-----9.) Minnesota: Antonio Blakeney - 20 - SG - LSU - 193cm - 82kg
The Sixers may have just beaten the Celtics' claim to the biggest steal of the draft by taking Duke swingman Brandon Ingram with pick number eight. The lanky forward has been touted by some NBA scouts as the next Kevin Durant and, on paper at least, is exactly what the Sixers needed. Their frontcourt now looks set for the future with Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and now Ingram. Expect them to use their two remaining first round picks to strengthen their backcourt.
NBA Comparison: Kevin Durant
Fan Opinion: "It sucks that we didn't get a shot at taking Ben Simmons, but landing Ingram with pick 8 is a great consolation prize! If Hinkie can work some magic in the free agency market I think we can go even further in the playoffs next season."
-----10.) Charlotte: Dragan Bender - 20 - PF - Croatia - 213cm - 106kg
Yet another lottery pick for the Timberwolves. This time they resist the urge to pick a point guard and instead opt to add another shooter to their team in Ben Simmons' LSU team mate Antonio Blakeney. Minnesota are slowly becoming a force out west with Andrew Wiggins emerging as a genuine star and Karl-Anthony Towns looking very good in his first NBA season. Don't be surprised to see them fighting for the eighth seed out west next season.
NBA Comparison: Nick Young
Fan Opinion: "I like this pick. Blakeney definitely could be a perfect replacement for Kevin Martin, who might retire in the next couple of years. It's important to give Wiggins and Towns as much scoring help as we can."
Michael Jordan sure loves picking up tall white guys with his lottery picks, doesn't he? First there was Cody Zeller (pick 4 - 2013), then Frank Karminsky (pick 9 - 2015) and now Croatian Dragan Bender with the tenth pick this year. To be fair to MJ though, Bender supposedly has a much higher ceiling than the two others mentioned. The legit seven-footer is still a very raw prospect, but was rated as having top three potential in this draft class. It's a classic high-risk, high-reward pick.
NBA Comparison: Kristaps Porzingis
Fan Opinion: "Awesome pick! This guy could be anything in the NBA. I think he'll do really well for us if he plays anything like Porzingis."
It was a surprisingly quiet night for transactions this year, with only one deal completed.
The trade saw Philadelphia acquire guards Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker from Phoenix in exchange for Joel Embiid, Kendall Marshall and several draft picks.
It seems that the Suns wanted to cash in on Bledsoe after signing Brandon Knight to a five-year $70 million contract a year ago. The partnership between the two natural point guards last season proved too inconsistent and didn't allow either player to fully utilise their talents properly. This trade also lands them a long-term replacement for veteran center Tyson Chandler.
Former number-three-pick Embiid had tested the patience of Sixers' Management once too often it seems. The straw that broke the camel's back apparently came when he publicly questioned his playing time during their playoff series against Miami. They took the decision to trade him whilst he still had value and strengthened a weaker area of their roster in the process. Marshall returns to the team that drafted him with pick 13 in 2012.
This deal marks a shift in philosophy from Sam Hinkie and seems to signal the end of the Sixers' alleged tanking agenda. Quoted after the draft was finished, Hinkie said "We felt like the time was right to make a deal like this after picking up Brandon [Ingram] earlier. We weren't overly confident in the depth of this draft class, so we explored some options to add more experienced guys to our team. We heard Phoenix were shopping Eric around and we were very interested, so we sat down with them and worked out a deal that I think benefits both parties."
Philadelphia received: Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker
Phoenix received: Joel Embiid, Kendall Marshall, pick 18, pick 23, pick 31