The NBA season has officially ended, and now the NBA draft is only a few days away.
The next breed of NBA talent will be hearing which team they will begin their professional careers with on June 23. These kids have gone through the NBA draft combine, through individual team workouts, through everything that has led up to this moment.
Of course, it is not NBA draft time without some good ol' mock drafts. So without further wait, here is A Sea of Blue's 2016 NBA Mock Draft!
Selection: Ben Simmons, F, LSU
This pick has had loads of disparity and question with it. With Philadelphia already having three young and potentially great power forwards/centers, how will Ben Simmons fit in the mix? In the end, Simmons' talent is too good to pass on. He can facilitate, make plays, and give immediate scoring at the rim. The likelihood of the 76ers trading Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel and playing Ben Simmons at the three is the most likely scenario. This guy brings a lot of skill to the NBA, we just wonder if his attitude will make it work.
Selection: Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke
Lakers fans may want Ben Simmons, but they get a fantastic player here. Brandon Ingram out of Duke has the ability to come out on the floor immediately and provide offense. While size concerns some, Ingram's tall, lanky frame just gives him more of an advantage. Ingram nearly completes a stacked young lineup for the rebuilding Lakers. A lineup with D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle looks terrifyingly good when it comes to potential.
3. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn)
Selection: Jaylen Brown, SF, California
Jaylen Brown fell off the map a bit while playing at Cal, but don't be mistaken, this guy is still an elite NBA prospect. Brown brings solid size and off the charts athleticism which should serve well to the young and growing Boston Celtics. While his offensive game needs some work, there is nobody better at developing players than Brad Stevens. One thing Boston often lacked this year was toughness, and they get a junkyard dog here.
4. Phoenix Suns
Selection: Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington
The power forward position was simply disastrous for the Phoenix Suns last season. Simply put, the Suns need some kind of scoring from the four position desperately. Chriss launched himself up draft boards with impressive showings in several workouts, making him a legitimate choice with the fourth pick. While his motor on the court is a cause for concern, Chriss brings a lot of skill to a Suns team in need of offense. His perimeter shooting and athleticism should make for a solid fit next to Devin Booker and company.
Selection: Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
Whether he plays the one or the two, Jamal Murray brings a dynamic talent to the already stacked Timberwolves. Minnesota was the worst three point shooting team in the NBA last season. Jamal Murray instantly fills that need, shooting over 40% from three in his freshman season while making over 100 of them. Murray would be teaming up with former Kentucky star Karl Anthony-Towns along with Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine, and Gorgui Dieng in what would be the most impressive group of young talent that I personally have ever seen in the NBA.
Selection: Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
With Eric Gordon's contract up, the Pelicans are in need of a two guard. Senior sensation Buddy Hield fits in almost perfectly with what New Orleans wants to do. A potential catch and shoot maestro in Hield would help spread the floor tremendously, and offer more space for Anthony Davis to work. In terms of instant impact, this could be a tremendous acquisition for the Pelicans; who look to build around their superstar in AD.
7. Denver (From New York)
Selection: Dragan Bender, PF/C, Croatia
Bender is a pure hit-or-miss prospect, but his best fit is potentially with the Denver Nuggets. A seven-footer with really good body control and total defensive prowess could help the young Nuggets. Bender offers great rim protection and can check opposing players on the perimeter. While you may not get great offense from him, the potential defensive star you get in Bender is too good to pass on. Bender would have to battle out playing time with Kenneth Faried, Nikola Jokic, and Jusuf Nurkic.
Selection: Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
With Rajon Rondo testing free agency and Darren Collison facing domestic abuse charges, stud point guard Kris Dunn falls right into Sacramento's lap. What Dunn brings to the table is size; has tremendous size and length at the point guard position. This attributes to Dunn's stellar defense and ability to fight his way to the rim. His offensive game needs some work as well as his mentality, but this is a potentially great fit.
9. Toronto Raptors (From Denver via New York)
Selection: Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette
Power forward is an obvious need for the Raptors, and in a league dependent on three point shooting Henry Ellenson would be a solid pick for Toronto. While likely filling out a stretch four-type role in the NBA, Ellenson also has solid muscle definition and strength that allows him to be effective at different parts of the floor. Getting a good three point shooting big may be what Toronto needs to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals next year.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Selection: Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
Simply put, the Bucks roster is a mess heading into the offseason. The lineup of Michael Carter-Williams, three small forwards, and Greg Monroe at center just didn't do anything last year. The Bucks have been a mediocre team at best ever since they traded away Brandon Knight, and point guard would make sense here. Except, that Jason Kidd plans to start Giannas the "Greek Freak" at point guard. Which only leaves more mystery. In the end, the Bucks will likely go center to try an insert next to Greg Monroe. Poeltl is skilled even though his ceiling doesn't go that high.
11. Orlando Magic
Selection: Skal Labissiere, PF/C, Kentucky
Skal is notoriously noted for his massive struggles at Kentucky, but is still regarded as the most skilled big man in this draft. Orlando is a potentially perfect fit, as long as Frank Vogel can develop him. If Labissiere can put on a lot of muscle within a few years, he could wind up becoming a top power forward in the league. He has a long way to go, but he already has one of the best jump shots of any seven-footer I've seen come out of college. Skal could add to a Magic team that already has their fair share of high level talent.
12. Utah Jazz
Selection: Dejounte Murray, G, Washington
Now I'm the biggest Shelvin Mack fan, but Utah really needs some insurance at point guard. I had Tyler Ulis at this pick for a while, and I still think it should be Ulis. But, since injury rumors have helped lower his stock, it is unrealistic now. So, I give the Jazz the best scoring option available with Washington's Dejounte Murray. While Murray is a ways away from being a great contributor to an NBA team, his upside seems to be worth the risk. Murray has a Jamal Crawford-esque game in terms of having those long arms and being slippery around the rim. Quin Snyder is phenomenal at player development, and could make Murray a decent contributor.
13. Phoenix Suns (From Washington)
Selection: Timothe Luwawu, SG/SF, France
With the Suns' second lottery pick, I have them taking foreign wing man Timothe Luwawu. I studied Luwawu a lot before the 2015 NBA draft, hoping he would go that year. He smartly waited another year and declared for this draft, and the improvement he made is phenomenal. Small forward is another mystery for Phoenix, with PJ Tucker and TJ Warren being the only wings they currently have. Luwawu can come in and provide efficient scoring from the wing position, especially from the perimeter.
14. Chicago Bulls
Selection: Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Gonzaga
Many speculate that Domantas Sabonis has already received a promised selection from a lottery team. If that's the case, there is a good chance that it came from the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls will be in desperate need of a center this offseason with Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah hitting the free agency market. Sabonis is among the most NBA-ready big men in this draft, and could have an immediate impact on a Bulls team that's suddenly in rebuilding mode.
15. Denver Nuggets (From Houston)
Selection: Furkan Korkmaz, SG/SF, Turkey
The Nuggets continue to go foreign here. Furkan Korkmaz fills an immediate scoring need at the two guard position, though will have to fight off third-year pro Gary Harris for that starting spot. Suddenly, the young and underachieving Nuggets don't look so bad now.
16. Boston Celtics (From Dallas)
Selection: Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State
Man, if this plays out then the Boston Celtics wouldn't even be fair. Deyonta Davis has potential to be the best big man from the class after a few years of NBA experience. He is young, extremely talented, fairly athletic, and spent just one year at Michigan State so still has plenty of fine years ahead of him. Boston needs better production around the rim, and depending on Davis' development, the Celtics could be looking really, really good in the future.
Selection: Wade Baldwin, PG, Vanderbilt
With looming speculation that Mike Conley will more than likely leave the Grizzlies on free agency, the sudden need for a new point guard emerges. Again, Tyler Ulis would be my pick here, but GMs seem to be favoring on passing on him. So, I give Memphis Vanderbilt stud Wade Baldwin. Baldwin has all the tools to be a quality NBA point guard, he just has to put it together on the court. He underachieved greatly in his sophomore season at Vanderbilt, and his motor continues to be a question.
Ford & Jay Bilas project lottery; Murray in top 5
It looks like Jamal Murray is battling the likes of Buddy Hield and Marquese Chriss for spots in the top five of Thursday's NBA Draft.
18. Detroit Pistons
Selection: Thon Maker, PF, Canada
The biggest mystery of the draft is former highlight reel sensation Thon Maker. Most notably known for being a seven-footer with handles and scoring ability like Kevin Durant, Maker makes for an interesting pick here for Detroit. Maker certainly has the talent and the skill, but how will he fit in the NBA? I believe Stan Van Gundy could develop Thon into a quality NBA stretch-four.
19. Denver Nuggets (From Portland)
Selection: Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Michigan State
Yes, Denver has three picks in the top 20 of this draft! Here, I have them picking up Michigan State's Denzel Valentine. The National Player of the Year could be of great use to the Nuggets. Valentine obviously has tremendous play-making ability, and also brings potential leadership and simply an adult prescience to a rather youthful Nuggets locker room.
20. Indiana Pacers
Selection: Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse
The Pacers are getting a potential star here. Malachi can flat out ball, and is in my opinion the most underrated player in this draft. He is a big kid that can get to the rim and shoot pretty darn well from the three point line. The thought of Richardson and Paul George potentially playing off of each other is one that should frighten opposing teams.
21. Atlanta Hawks
Selection: DeAndre Bembry, SG/SF, St. Joe's
This is a guy who has been on the Hawks' radar and he should be. There are a lot of things about Bembry that impress and he certainly has room to improve. This could be the missing piece for an Atlanta team that has had their share of issues with the wing position.
Selection: Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State
Buzz Town is going to be in desperate need of wing talent with Nicolas Batum and Courtney Lee hitting free agency. While Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be returning from shoulder surgery, the two spot will be a need. This is a great spot for FSU's Malik Beasley to get drafted, providing solid scoring right off the bat.
23. Boston Celtics
Selection: Ante Zizic, C, Croatia
Ants Zizic is considered one of the best long term foreign prospects available. While he may not be heading to the states for another year or two, Brad Stevens has showed patience with prospects before, and had been scouting Zizic overseas earlier this year. This pick potentially makes a lot of sense.
24. Philadelphia (From Miami)
Selection: Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor
Wing scoring is a spot that the 76ers will eventually need to fill, and Baylor's Taurean Prince could fill the need. Prince is long and athletic, can shoot the three extremely well and get to the rim. You can't expect a star out of this guy, but it's much better than anything Philadelphia has now.
Selection: Brice Johnson, PF/C, North Carolina
The Clippers are still really good, but their bench did them no favors last year. When Cole Aldrich is your best big man reserve, it's obvious you need an upgrade. First-Team All-American Brice Johnson can come in and add a whole bunch of size off the bench, which will be vital if Blake Griffin doesn't come back completely healthy.
26. Philadelphia 76ers (From Oklahoma City)
Selection: Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Virginia
I like Malcolm Brogdon as Philadelphia's third pick, he is a player that can straight up lock down on defense and brings good leadership skills. Brogdon has shown flashes of a decent offensive game as well. Brogdon would be an ideal role player to help build a backcourt that is currently awful.
27. Toronto Raptors
Selection: Cheick Diallo, PF/C, Kansas.
We didn't see much of Diallo in his sole season at Kansas, but to get a player like him at this stage in the draft is certainly a steal. Diallo was a top ten recruit coming out of high school and was projected to be a top ten pick in the pre-season. With Bismack Biyombo likely seeking a loaded paycheck his offseason, the Raptors could use a high quality backup center.
28. Phoenix Suns (From Cleveland)
Selection: Ivica Zubac, C, Croatia
This is the Suns' third pick of the draft, which is, in my opinion, the perfect place to stash up a big European body. Zubac is currently playing in the Serbian league, and when he is coming to the NBA is unknown. If you're Phoenix, then this is ideal. Zubac is 7'1" and 265 pounds, a potential behemoth down low whenever he does decide to play in the league.
Selection: Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky
If I could say one thing to the NBA GM's of this draft, i would be daring all of them to let this happen. Ulis is a lottery talent,and is arguably the best point guard in this draft despite his size. If San Antonio was able to snatch him at 29, it would undoubtedly be the steal of the draft. This is a Spurs team that is in need of a point guard for the future, and Ulis unquestionably fits the mold of everything that the San Antonio Spurs are about.
Selection: Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt
If Festus Ezeli winds up leaving the Warriors in free agency, fellow Vanderbilt alum Damian Jones would be a perfect replacement. Jones comes in with NBA size, but various issues will more than likely have him dropping to here or maybe even the second round. He struggled with his motor in college, and recent surgery on a torn pectoral isn't helping either. Nevertheless, Golden State is adding another skilled big body here.