2016 NBA Draft: Top 60

The 2016 draft should be an interesting one. At the top are Ingram and Simmons in some order that I have yet to determine. After those 2 there are a couple of groups that both intrigue. The first is the young bigs. These are freshmen and sophomore centers and PFs who have flashed a lot of potential, but still have enough flaws that a lot of bust potential is there. The next group is seniors who are outperforming their previous career numbers so well that they have forced themselves into the draft picture. Such players always come with question marks though as such years are often just aberrations. Several of these seniors are old enough to get the dreaded 5th-year senior label hung around their necks. Both groups are deep and I’m glad we have another month and the tournaments before we really have to get this all sorted out.

These rankings are always fluid at this point. These are all skilled young players playing the game at a high level in a competitive league. This year the pool is deeper than it has been in years and the prospects, after the top 2, are just a difficult group to get a real feel for.  Players are listed in order of how I would draft them, specific team needs and systems being the same.

1. Brandon Ingram, SG Duke and Ben Simmons, PF LSU: It’s time to turn this into a debate. Simmons is a terrific prospect. He’s a great rebounder and passer. As a scorer he isn’t dominant yet, but is very good for a freshman. His defensive numbers—high steals/low blocks—suggest he’s more of a perimeter defender than a dominant inside stopper. He hasn’t shown 3-point range in a game situation yet and development of that will be necessary for a player whose strengths are mainly on the perimeter. Ingram has no questions as far as his game is concerned. He can score easily and efficiently from inside and out. His defensive numbers are stellar for a wing. Comparing the 2 I have to give Simmons a slight edge on upside, but Ingram looks like more of a sure-fire star to me at this point.

  1. Gary Payton II, PG Oregon State: I don’t see how Payton stays out of the lottery. He keeps making improvements where he needs to without hurting his game. He is a 5th-year senior who is a little late to the draft party, but his numbers can’t be ignored.
  2. Chinanu Onuaku, C Louisville: There are a lot of good freshmen and sophomore bigs out there. Right now I like Onuaku the best of all of them. He’s the best defender. He has improved a lot since his freshman year. His P40 has tripled, without a loss of efficiency. He’s rebounding much better. His foul rate, while still too high, is down. He’s passing better. His turnovers are up, but they’re actually down when increased usage is taken into account. He’s a young sophomore who won’t turn 20 until next year’s NBA season starts.
  3. Devonta Davis, PF Michigan State: A freshman playing 18 minutes per game at a powerhouse program. Davis has been dominant when he gets on the court. I think he’s the best of the freshmen bigs.
  4. Kris Dunn, PG Providence: Similar to Michael Carter-Williams in that he posts some dominating passing and defense numbers, but also is inefficient on offense and turnover-prone. His upside is so great that he shouldn’t slide too far down in the lottery.
  5. Malik Beasley, SG Florida State: A very impressive freshman year by Beasley. Like all freshmen not named Ingram or Simmons there are some good and some bad things in his numbers. Beasley’s steals and assists are on the low side, but he’s a freshman so we can look past that for now. As a scorer he’s been pretty amazing.
  6. Jaylen Brown, SF California: Brown has improved his game in the past month to the point where I’ll buy into him as a top 10 pick. Specifically he has stepped up his defense.
  7. Jakob Poeltl, C Utah: Poeltl is going through the same conference struggles he did last year. Looking like a good offense/weak defense rotation center.
  8. Henry Ellenson, PF Marquette: Ellenson does a lot of things well and his defense has been improving. The big negative is his 2PP remains under .500.
  9. Buddy Hield, SG Oklahoma: Hield is hovering near 30 P40 for the season with solid numbers in all the other important stats. The only problem I have is that he is so far above his career norms that this year looks like an aberration.
  10. Zhou Qi, C Xinjiang Guanghui: I’m not sure if he’ll even be in the 2016 draft, because China has rules about when their players become draft eligible. He is a solid NBA center prospect whose diverse skills should fit well in the league.
  11. Moses Kingsley, PF Arkansas: Continues to be one of the best PF prospects in the nation.
  12. Cheick Diallo, PF Kansas: He hasn’t played a lot of minutes, but he has been very good when he has played. Obviously any team drafting him would be looking at a year or two of development, but the potential looks good.
  13. Jamal Murray, SG Kentucky
  14. Josh Hart, SG Villanova: His scoring chances increased this year and he has put up some very solid numbers. He’s a super-efficient scorer with solid skills everywhere else.
  15. Stephen Zimmerman, C UNLV: Zimmerman’s game had been improving, but a knee injury Saturday will keep him out until the tournament. He’s like many of the young bigs, there’s both a lot of potential and question marks.
  16. AJ Hammons, C Purdue: Hammons has been posting great numbers since about midway through last year. Over his 4 years his game has improved steadily to the point where there are no real weaknesses. The marks against him as a prospect are that his minutes were always lower than a typical starter, around 24 per game, and he’ll turn 24 in August.
  17. Patrick McCaw, G UNLV: A very intriguing prospect. McCaw hasn’t scored that often, but he is very efficient. His 3.2 S40 is a dominant number. He has flashed some PG skills. He’s only a soph, so there’s upside here. A player to watch.
  18. Ivan Rabb, PF California: Rabb has had a solid freshman year, but the defensive numbers need to improve.
  19. Caris LeVert, G Michigan: He has missed a few games, putting a damper on what had been breakout year. He had been on the map as a prospect, but had never scored or passed this well. LeVert is one of those players whose numbers aren’t wildly impressive, but if you scan his career there have been times he has done all the important things very well. If he keeps up the pace he was on pre-injury when he returns he’s a solid late lottery pick.
  20. Chris Boucher, PF Oregon: Boucher was the NJCAA POY last year at Northwest College in Wyoming. In his first year at Oregon he has been a stellar scorer from inside and out, a decent rebounder and one of the best shot-blockers in the nation. He is a 5th-year senior having had a couple of JC stops. He’s also extremely thin for a PF, checking in at 6’10” 200lbs.
  21. Jared Uthoff, F Iowa: One of the better 3/D prospects in the draft. Strong defensive numbers, a career 3-point mark of .408 and very low turnovers. Those are the 3 big skills such a player needs. Uthoff comes with a 5th-year senior label.
  22. Denzel Valentine, PG Michigan State: Valentine is having a nice senior year in what looks like a pretty good, and high end great, PG draft.
  23. Domatas Sabonis, PF Gonzaga: Sabonis has made some nice improvements this year. The defensive numbers are still too low, but they are improving.
  24. Georges Niang, SF Iowa State: There are 2 solid senior SFs coming out of the state of Iowa this year. Uthoff is the defensive wiz. Niang is better on offense and passing. In a year that’s thin on NBA-ready SFs, either player is a good value pick starting late in round one.
  25. Pascal Siakam, PF New Mexico State
  26. Dedric Lawson, F Memphis: One of the more intriguing freshmen to come into the game this year. Lawson has great defensive numbers and has shown good efficiency from behind the arc. His offense is weak overall though and he’s thin for a prospect with mainly PF skills.
  27. Diamond Stone, C Maryland
  28. Egidijus Mockevicius, C Evansville
  29. Wade Baldwin IV, PG Vanderbilt: Sophomore has stepped up his game enough to be on the first round bubble. Nothing really stands out as a strength with Baldwin, but he does everything well enough. He is a better gunner than most and that should help his stock.
  30. Isaac Haas, C Purdue: If he does make the NBA I suspect he’ll be the first player with “aa” appearing twice in his name to do so.
  31. Dwayne Bacon, SG Florida State: The other FSU freshman, Bacon was about even with teammate Beasley, but has fallen off this past month. Biggest issue is the drop in 3-point percentage.
  32. Dragan Bender, PF Maccabi Tel Aviv: A project. He struggled a lot as a rebounder in his step up to the better leagues this year and that’s a big issue for a PF. It isn’t that his rebounding numbers are a tad low. His 6.4 R40 is worse than most SFs. He’s also very foul prone. On the plus side he has good range and his defensive numbers are impressive. Very much a long range project though. This is not the next Porzingis.
  33. Grayson Allen, G Duke: He’s another young player with numbers that are both impressive (Offense and passing) and bad (low steals).
  34. Brice Johnson, PF North Carolina: Johnson’s road to this place has been slow and incremental, but steady. He started out as too thin, but has added enough bulk at 230 lbs that he should be a decent enough rotation banger. His numbers have always been strong and they’re better than ever his senior year.
  35. Fred VanVleet, PG Wichita State: VenVleet is having a rough year with efficiency, hitting only about 40% of his 2-pointers. He has been much better than this in the past and the number is starting to tick up, so I’ll call it a slump for now. The rest of his game is solid. He’s one of the best passers in the nation. He hits the trey at over 40% and his defensive numbers are solid. He can help a team in the backcourt.
  36. Marshall Plumlee, C Duke: His numbers have been very Plumleeesque. He does have the advantage of having 2 brothers with similar games having made the NBA as journeyman bigs. Marshall might be looked at as a safe pick because of this.
  37. Daniel Ochefu, C Villanova
  38. Monte Morris, PG Iowa State: Good prospect. His 4.7/1 A/TO is one of the best I’ve ever seen. He scores very efficiently, but not frequently enough. If he stays at ISU he could see more chances on offense next year and we’ll have a better idea of what he can do offensively.
  39. Isaiah Briscoe, G Kentucky
  40. Josh Scott, PF Colorado: Scott is another senior having his best year. Like the others he’s been good enough to put himself in the first round chatter. His best chance for an NBA career will be as a stretch 4. He has hit 3 of 8 from behind the arc this year, so there are some signs of ability there.
  41. Shawn Long, PF Louisiana-Lafayette
  42. Jameel Warney, PF Stony Brook: Warney has been a solid 4-year player and is now a decent NBA prospect. He’s more of a throwback PF, meaning he’s an inside player. He has yet to attempt a 3-pointer in his college career. He should be an effective banger though. The defensive and rebounding numbers have always been great. He has consistently hit over .600 on his 2-pointers and he’s a solid passer with low TOs.
  43. Skal Labissierre, PF Kentucky: I do respect the athleticism that placed him at #2 overall in this year’s prospect rankings. He is a good shot blocker. Beyond that there isn’t a lot to say Skal Labisseire is much of an NBA prospect. He’s young and we’ll see what transpires from here, but there are too many better options available to even think about drafting him in the lottery.
  44. Kennedy Meeks, C North Carolina
  45. Demetrius Jackson, PG Notre Dame
  46. Mamdou N’Daiye, C UC-Irvine: He has some impressive numbers and is 7’6”, but the more he plays, the more he seems too slow for the NBA. His low, 0.2, S40 is a red flag. Still, at 7’6” with shot blocking skills he should be drafted at some point.
  47. Alex Hamilton, PG Louisiana Tech: He has excellent numbers other than his 3PP, which has yet to top .300 in 4 years.
  48. Cameron Ridley, C Texas: Ridley was having his best year before being sidelined with a foot injury in late December. The 3 prior years he had been an up-and-down prospect, but definitely a banger with pro potential. Texas is hoping he can return before the season ends.
  49. Melo Trimble, PG Maryland: There are some very good things about Trimble’s game. He’s a terrific passer and an efficient scorer. His defensive numbers are so anemic that I can’t see drafting him before round 2.
  50. James Farr, PF Xavier: A 5th-year senior having his best year. He has always been a great rebounder, but has stepped up the rest of his game as well. He’s a 3-point threat which helps his stock.
  51. Kevin Punter, G Tennessee: Punter is scoring like crazy this year both in frequency and efficiency. He looks like he has some PG skills, though is probably more of a combo. He’s another senior who has emerged as a prospect this year. Two years ago he was first team NJCAA all-American at State Fair CC.
  52. Kyle Wiltjer, F Gonzaga: He’s an offensive machine, but weak defense and so-so passing skills reduce him to an NBA role player at best.
  53. Adrian Diaz, C Florida International
  54. Kyle Collinsworth, PG BYU: I have to keep him in the mix, because some of his numbers are very impressive for any college player, specifically his 8.5 A40 and 12.8 RSB40. It is a fact that players who top 8.0 in both numbers typically have long NBA careers, though such a stat combo hardly makes one an all-star lock. The fact that he’ll be 25 before the 2016-17 NBA season starts is a huge negative. Collinsworth is worth a 2nd round pick, in spite of his advanced age.
  55. Yogi Ferrell, PG Indiana: Ferrell was a top 25 prospect 4 years ago and has started for 4 seasons at Indiana. He has never been good enough to be called an NBA prospect until this season.
  56. Damion Lee, SG Louisville: Transfer from Drexel, Lee has improved his defensive numbers and efficiency in this, his 5th-year senior year.
  57. Tyrone Wallace, G California
  58. AJ English, PG Iona: Another older, 23, PG who is performing well enough to merit a look. He shoots more 3-pointers than 2-pointers, but still manages to get to the line frequently.

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