NBA Draft Preview 2016
Tonight, the NBA Draft descends upon the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in what looks to be the wildest version in many years. While the top two selections are no longer in question, Ben Simmons to Philadelphia and Brandon Ingram to Los Angeles, picks 3-30 should be a crazy ride. From trades to sleepers and beyond, CoachUp has put together a helpful guide for navigating the NBA seas this evening.
Who is your sleeper? All-Star? What player should we have our eyes on? All that and more below as our team at CoachUp weighs in on the NBA Draft.
Sleeper of the Draft
Korie Grill: I’m going to cheat a bit and go with two sleepers: Jakob Poeltl and Ben Bentil. Poeltl, a big man from the University of Utah, has tremendous upside, standing at 7’1 with an above average ability to run the floor and create space. Although he is considered a lottery pick by many, his return is often underestimated and could be a great addition to a team in the 9th-12th pick range. Bentil, on the other hand, is projected as a late 1st- early 2nd round pick. A long PF coming from Providence at 6’8 with a wingspan of 7’2, Bentil has the ability to be productive offensively from any spot on the court.
Ben Hillman: Thon Maker. He was widely considered to be a lottery pick but dropped due to concerns with his experience. He has nowhere to go but up now that his draft stock has fallen to late 1st, early 2nd. He offers a low risk, high reward in his position and it is up to him and the team that drafts him to ensure that he has all the mental toughness to make it big in the Association.
Sean Koljonen: I see Tyler Ulis as someone who can be a very effective point guard in the NBA. He was an All-American this year at Kentucky and considered by many to be the best point guard in the country. However, he is currently projected to go in the late 1st or early 2nd round. The knock against him is that he is simply too small, at 5’10 and 150, to be effective against most other guards in the NBA. Chris Paul and, more recently, Isaiah Thomas have shown that smaller guards can have success in this league, will Ulis be the next to follow? There is no denying that Ulis has shown the talent and leadership skills over the course of his two years at Kentucky to overcome his lack of size.
Danny Moon: Wade Baldwin, guard from Vanderbilt. In this draft, there is not much that separates prospects between the 10-20 range. In my opinion, Baldwin would be a fantastic pick in this range. With an elite physical profile, 6”4 with a 6”10 wingspan, and excellent lateral quickness, Baldwin has all the physical tools needed to become an effective guard in the league. Not only is Baldwin blessed with physical gifts, but he has also shown the ability to knock down open threes — 40% from three this year — an important skill in today’s NBA.
Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram:
KG: As much as I’d like to go against the grain and say Ingram, I can’t — Simmons is the sure-fire #1. Although Simmons didn’t live up to his hefty expectations as a freshman at LSU, there is just too much upside to pass up and that is exactly why the 76ers have “promised” to take Simmons with the #1 overall pick. I do believe that both the 76ers and Lakers will get they need in Simmons and Ingram, respectively, for what it’s worth. With a young team, look for 76ers to go through some growing pains in 2016-2017, but with Embiid, Noel, and Okafor, it will be a fun team to watch in the near future.
BH: Simmons is the type of talent that you select #1 overall no matter what your team looks like positionally. He offers the mind of a point guard, which he may end up playing with the Sixers anyways, in the body of a power forward. His comparisons to LeBron James are unfair expectations to place on someone so young, but if they end up being true the Sixers will have made a genius selection.
Tristan Amalbert: We can all agree Simmons and Ingram are great players with versatility and tremendous skills, right? But what do the Sixers need? They need someone who will create in transition, score both at the rim and past the arc, and, most importantly, take over on the court. When looking at Ingram, he’s a scorer and you can’t deny that — his shot from the field is hard to stop and he will get you guaranteed points. Ultimately, however, it seems as though he creates shots solely for himself. Simmons creates not only for himself, but his teammates as well — a valuable trait for a ball handler. Ingram is a great shooter, but Simmons is more of an all-around player and that is exactly what the 76ers’ need.
Emily Qin: Simmons could be a great swingman, as he’s very selfless, but his shooting is not perfect. As for Ingram, adding that much of wingspan to a good shooter could make him the next Kevin Durant. However, Ingram doesn’t seem aggressive on defensive end, even taking full possessions off. Although he may have attitude issues, fixing those type of problems are easier than working on a new shooting form. Thanks to that, I’m taking Ingram.
Who Should Your Team Select?
KG: Born and raised in Boston, I’m currently in a self-proclaimed immensely desirable position, supporting a team sitting on 8 draft picks. With the #3 pick, many names have been attached to the Celtics, including Dragan Bender, Jaylen Brown, and Buddy Hield, but, ultimately, I think the Celtics will end up with Marquese Chriss, an 18 year-old forward from the University of Washington. Although he is not exactly NBA-ready, his upside is undeniable with a few years built-in for development.
BH: While I would like to see the Lakers somehow draft Buddy Hield, I know that more moves need to be made so they can balance out the team. The Lakers take Ingram, thusly. He fits into what they need now and what he’ll eventually develop into. His lack of muscle does not concern me, especially with his comparisons to Kevin Durant. At 6’9 with a 7’2 wingspan and a knack for the outside shot, Ingram will grow nicely alongside Russell, Clarkson, Randle, and Nance under the helm of Luke Walton as head coach.
SK: As a Celtics fan, I was happy to see the team exceed expectations in the regular season last year; however, in the playoffs, it quickly became apparent they were lacking the top end talent on their roster to make a serious run at a championship. Rather than take another young player who may takes years to develop, I would like to see the Celtics try and package some of their many picks with their young players for a more experienced player like Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, Jabari Parker, or Jahlil Okafor. While it may be a long shot for Danny Ainge to acquire one of those players, the Celtics certainly have the assets to pull off a blockbuster trade tonight.
EQ: I would love the Spurs to choose Zhou Qi. The Spurs are very good at recruiting international players, and given their success with Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Tony Parker, etc, he makes sense. Zhou is 7’1 and he has a wingspan of 7’6; or, in other words, really, really long. He would be a thinner version of Tiago Splitter for the Spurs, in my mind. He definitely needs to get stronger for confrontations and blocks, but he has time. In addition, Zhou would help the overseas market a lot if he could do as well as Yao Ming did!