This is one man's attempt to review every player likely to be drafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. I will probably be too lazy to do the entire 2nd round, so when we get there will instead focus on potential sleepers.
I'll be going by the order in which prospects are ordered in the most recent draftexpress.com mock draft. Off we go.
1. Ben Simmons. As close to a sure thing as possible to be a future superstar. Knockout measurable's, elite athleticism, dominant and versatile production. The mix of size/athleticism and ball handling and court vision is incredible rare.
2. Brandon Ingram. Doesn't look to have the superstar potential of Simmons, though Ingram is a full year younger, so there's a chance he improves significantly. Despite the similar build, didn't come close to matching Kevin Durant's college production. Ingram actually reminds me of Klay Thompson (who I didn't love coming out of college) in that his stats are solid, not dominant, but has elite length and size for his position, which should give him a lot of added value on defense. I also don't love that his FT% was 68%. Put it all together and he's almost certainly a long time NBA player, probably makes all star teams because of PPG's, but not a lead superstar.
3. Kris Dunn. Pretty unusual for a guard prospect like Dunn to go this high, as his offense looks pretty far behind his defense (NBA teams tend to go for the opposite). Athletically looks excellent, solid rebounding for a guard, and dominant steal rate (over 3 per/40). Adding a decent deep jumper (37% on 3's last season) makes Dunn a safe pick, but because of his age (22) his upside isn't as high as a typical top five pick - very similar size, athletic profile and college stats to Iman Shumpert, who seems like a pretty good NBA comp for what to expect out of Dunn.
4. Marquese Chriss. The loud siren you're hearing...? That's the alarm that should be going off in NBA GM's heads when they look at Chriss. With the caveat that he's very young and crazier things have happened, but I can't remember a prospect being picked this high with as glaring a red flag as Chriss possesses - his rebound rate is truly terrible. His offensive stats are fine and his block rate is good for a PF, but the rebound rate is so bad it suggests either a serious hole in his bball IQ (which seems possible as he started playing the game late), or in his effort level, neither of which bode very well for his NBA future.
5. Buddy Hield. Looks like a solid NBA SG, actually has been good since his sophomore season, which lessons the worry that he's just had a hot senior year. Similar size and statistical profile to my favorite comp for Hield, J.J. Redick - but with a little less pure shooting ability (Redick had a higher FT%), and a little more slashing.
6. Jamal Murray. Similar statistically to Hield, though Murray is of course younger, which means he should have more untapped potential. Two concerns with Murray - 1) his standing reach is somewhat low for a player with his height, and that ties into 2) his game is clearly that of a SG, but because of his size there seemingly is a chance that an NBA team will draft him with the idea of turning him into a PG. When NBA teams try to turn SG's into PG's, it often leads to disappointment.
7. Dragan Bender. He's huge and super young. I'm of the opinion that it's impossible to know with a project like Bender, but NBA teams have improved tremendously at developing foreign bigs since the Darko days. It's still a gamble, but probably a good one.
8. Jaylen Brown. If he could shoot the ball a little better I'd be saying, wave hello to Harrison Barnes 2.0 (and despite the NBA Finals, I would mean that as a compliment). Brown has the same great measurable's and meh stats as Barnes did when coming out of college, except Barnes showed a solid enough jump shot and a low turnover rate to be a valuable 3+D player. Brown is much more of a slasher on offense, drawing over 9 FTA's with 4.5 turnovers per/40. I don't like the low steal rate combined with the sub 50% 2pt FG% and the sub 30% 3pt %. Serious bust potential.
9. Jakob Poeltl. Mixed bag, great inside scoring but only solid rebounding and block rate for the size advantage he had over most opponents. I really like that he improved his FT% a ton - from 43% as a freshman up to 69% as a sophomore. Players that are solid already, but improve on their weaknesses tend to do well. The concern with Poeltl is players like him - offensive minded C's, are dying breed, but with a concrete piece of data showing an ability to improve his game, I'll lean towards Poeltl sticking but I question picking him this high when a guy like Diamond Stone will be available towards the back end of the 1st round and looks about as good.
10. Deyonta Davis. Similar build and length to Tristan Thompson. Similar stats too - good finishing ability, block rate and offensive rebound rate, with the one huge difference being in ability to draw fouls - Thompson drew a ton (9 FTA's per/40), and Davis barely drew any (2.4 FTA's per/40), which suggests Davis is less aggressive attacking the rim, though Thompson's may have been elevated because he was a terrible free throw shooter so teams chose to foul him. Still the package of size and skills with Davis is very likely to yield a productive NBA player, though it may take a few years.
13. Timothe Luwawu. IME, stats for foreign perimeter players tend to be pretty suppressed with how the international game is played, so Luwawu's seemingly meh numbers are actually fairly impressive for a young wing. He can shoot the 3, has good size, and his steal and rebound rate are solid. Might take a couple years, but seems like one of the safer bets in the draft to be a valuable two way player.
14. Wade Baldwin. Can shoot 3's, draw fouls and pass pretty well. His usage was low as a freshman, and when he took on a larger offensive role his turnovers went up correspondingly, which calls into question how much offensive potential he has, and he's not much of a finisher (43% 2pt FG%). But he's a great fit for the modern NBA, a PG with size and a great outside shot is a guy that can help pretty much every team.
15. Dejounte Murray. Bit of a head scratcher to see him vault up draft boards. A 49% TS% (on % of 45/29/66 for FG/3PT/FT) from a guard in college is usually real bad news for their chances in the NBA unless they are insanely dominant on defense. He's long and tall and averaged about 2 steals per/40, so he's not a slouch, but it's not close to good enough. I would be very surprised if he overcame his lack of scoring ability and stuck in the league.
16. Ivica Zubac. Very limited sample size to draw on, so... many grains of salt, caveats, etc. But the available stats look surprisingly good. Offensive rebounds and blocked shots are up to par. If he goes in the mid teens is an excellent value pick.
17. Malachi Richardson. Yikes. Another player with true bust potential. Not a single major strength in his game, relatively old for a freshman (turned 20 mid season). He's got a 7' wingspan, can jump, and shot 35% on 3's. Everything else is below average to bad. Even if he doesn't completely bust there will certainly be a bunch of players picked after him who are better NBA players.
18. Henry Ellenson. Tough call. The glass half full side - great size/length with versatile skills at a young age and the makings of a solid jump shot. The glass half empty - sub 50% 2pt FG% so not a great inside scorer, and sub 30% on 3's, so not yet actually much of a shooter yet either. Below 2 blocks per/40 also. There's not really any number that stands out. Bigs than can shoot a little bit tend to stick in the league, but when a player doesn't have a particular area where a coach can be confident they'll I'd pass.
19. Juan Hernangomez. Looks pretty good. Impressively complete offensive player for a 20 year old face up PF, with the one hole being that he's not much of a passer. Probably never much of a defensive player, but could be a really good offensive player. I like him.
20. Malik Beasley. One of my fave underrated prospects in the draft. Strong offensive numbers across the board, solid measurable's and athleticism, with the one red flag being a relatively low steal rate. Statistically there's little difference between Beasley and Jamal Murray, except because Murray played on a loaded Kentucky team and Beasley on a blah FSU squad, Beasley will probably be available past the lottery. One of the best bets to outperform his draft position.
21. Furkan Korkmaz. Precious little to go on. In limited high level minutes hit above 40% on 3's and decent assists for a wing. Very young and very skinny. Similar size and game to Sergey Karasev who got picked in the same draft range. The young age is good for Korkmaz's long term prospect of sticking the league, but also means he's unlikely to be much of a contributor for at least 3 years.
22. Denzel Valentine. There's some genuine risk, as he wasn't dominant offensively in college until his age 22 season, and he's never had great defensive stats (roughly 1 steal per/40). His sophomore year was okay overall, but he didn't score frequently enough to be a serious prospect yet. His junior year was strong offensively, which makes me more optimistic. He was a great rebounder for a guard in college, but I would be even more optimistic if his offensive rebound rate was higher, vacuuming up defensive rebounds can sometimes be more system/teammate related. The key with Valentine will be finding the right situation - he can shoot 3's, pass and has good size for a guard. I've compared him to a guy like Dellavedova a couple times, and that seems like a good comparison, though with higher potential because of the chance that the rebounding translates.
23. Cheick Diallo. There's a lot to like in very limited minutes, which was unfortunate and completely avoidable. If he gets picked in the 20's could be a massive steal, his block and steal rate are both excellent, and he's the perfect size for a mobile defensive minded big - quick/athletic, not too tall (6'8"/6'9") but very long (7'4" wingspan, 9' standing reach).
24. Taurean Prince. Strange career trajectory. Super productive in limited minutes as a freshman. So productive actually that it's bizarre his coach kept his minutes so low. Then a pretty bad sophomore year, still in limited minutes. Then he exploded for a great junior year, with strong offensive numbers across the board and 2 steals per/40. Then a disappointing senior year where his stats mostly flatlined or declined, except for his assist rate going up. Add it all up and I actually like him a lot as a prospect. I think there's a legit chance he was poorly coached and mis-used. He's a young senior, who at varying times in college has shown - good steal rate, 39% on 3's, can score with enough frequency to keep defenses honest, 3 offensive rebounds per/40 shows hustle/desire, improved enough as a passer to keep the ball moving on offense. Think he could be a steal.
25. Brice Johnson. Dominant senior season statistically. Rough per/40 numbers: 24pts, 15rebs, 2asts, 1.5stls, 2blks and a .65 TS%. Also similar to Prince he was a relatively young senior. In Johnson's favor is that he was decent as a sophomore and junior, also that he improved his FT% from 56% as a freshman, to 78% as a senior. The kid can play, the question is about his size and fit - he's super skinny and it's unclear if his frame will allow him to add more weight, so could struggle to defend the paint if played at C, but he's also never attempted a 3, so his fit as a modern PF is in question. It might seem a little lazy, but he really is pretty reminiscent of another star UNC PF, Brandan Wright, in both build and game, and could vary well follow a similar NBA career arc - solid to very good, but bounces around the league.
26. Demetrius Jackson. Not a lot of upside, meh steal rate and when he ramped up his usage as a 21 year old junior his scoring efficiency tanked. Can stick as a 2nd/3rd PG in mold of a Donald Sloan.
27. DeAndre Bembry. Good passer for a wing, overall pretty well rounded game, solid rebounding, add in the length and 2 steals per/40 as a sophomore and he seems likely to stick as a reserve SG/SF, but not much upside because of meh shooting.
28. Ante Zizic. Huge euro C with solid stats and is young. Lotto ticket. Definitely worth a late 1st round pick.
29. Damian Jones. Not great. Started very raw, and improved a decent amount by his junior year, but not nearly enough. Was young for his class so there's maybe still untapped potential, and has good size/length and athleticism, but I'd look elsewhere.
30. Diamond Stone. Looks good, I'm surprised he's expected to go this late. Decent enough shot blocking (3 per40), good size/length and good touch (75% on FT's). He's big and not in great shape, so I guess teams are scared off by the concern that he won't be able to effectively guard pick and rolls on the perimeter. But should be a useful player for a long time in the league.
31. Guerschon Yabusele. From here on, with the foreign players we're firmly into "who knows" territory. Stretch big from France with good touch on his shot. Doesn't block a lot of shots, but okay steals. Supposedly a draft 'n stash, so regardless won't be seeing him in the NBA for a bit.
32. Paul Zipser. Cool name. Wildly all over the place stats, which is pretty common for euro players in limited minutes. Does seem to have a legit great jump shot, and his passing and steal rates are good enough. If he can hack it on defense, could be a pretty big steal.
33. Tyler Ulis. Could stick as a pesky change of pace back-up. He has a rep as a good individual defender, but didn't get above 2 steals per/40. Improved his finishing a ton from freshman to sophomore year, up from 38% to 48% on 2's, but saw his accuracy on 3's dip from over 40% to 34%. Shooting FT's at 85% is a good sign. With a player Ulis's size he'll have to be a knockout shooter to really make an impact. There's other guys who will be picked after him that I prefer.
34. Zhou Qi. I have no idea. In the 2nd round the risk is minimal. But there are a bunch of likely NBA pros still available...
35. Georgios Papagiannis. Another lumbering euro C. Huge, super young with high level experience. Another lotto ticket to Mozgov.
36. Thon Maker. Bonkers measurable's. Nothing else to this point. Again, if he falls to the 2nd round the risk is minimal, so why not.
37. Rade Zagorac. Euro SG/SF with strong across the board stats, except inconsistent on 3's. Really like him, well above average ball handling skill for a player with his height, and good passer. A potential steal.
Now where I skip to just guys who I think have a good chance to surprise.
39. Chinanu Onuaku. Baffling that he's not projected to go much higher. Great rebounder and good shot blocker. Efficient scorer. Tall/long and super young for a sophomore. Averaged almost 3 assists per/40, so not a black hole on offense. If he gets a legit chance, could be a major surprise.
42. Patrick McCaw. Another head scratcher that he's not ranked higher. Good across the board numbers, except not quite as much pure scoring as you'd like to see in a SG. Was in a terrible situation at UNLV, so that could have affected things though. The combination of high steal rate with 2.6 per/40 and over 4 assists per/40, with good size and length for a SG bodes well for McCaw to be a major surprise.
43. Pascal Siakam. Winner of The Trevor Booker award for scrappy PF. Solid all around. No red flags in the numbers, just that he's already 22. But started playing the game late and has improved rapidly. Another guy with potential to be a big surprise out of the 2nd round.
50. Caris Levert. This is coming from a Michigan fan, so homer alert. Above 40% on 3's. Great passer. Got above the 2 steals per/40 mark as a junior. Tall and long. The concern is health and to a lesser extent finishing ability due to lack of strength. The well rounded game and the massive improvement bode well. If he can remain healthy can be a really good NBA player, one of the biggest sleepers in the draft if he goes in the 2nd round.
52. Gary Payton II. The negatives - old for his class and a senior, not a great shooter. The positives - elite athleticism, which is borne out in his steal rate (about 3 per/40) and his rebounding from the guard position (9 per/40, with almost 3 offensive). Even if he had a medical condition that made him literally incapable of shooting a basketball he could still be effective in a Lindsay Hunter role of a harassing defensive minded back-up. He's a guy who it will all depend on getting an opportunity - if he gets a legit chance at a roster spot and minutes I think he'll be a big surprise.
57. Kay Felder. Short, stout, got just enough steals, almost 85 FT% suggests has a good natural shot, improved a ton as a passer. Basically the next Shane Larkin.
58. Joel Bolomboy. Limited PF/C without much offensive ability, but elite rebounding is probably the most likely of all skills to translate from college to the NBA and Bolomboy has it. If he gets a chance will stick as a dirty work type.
And one undrafted guy:
Daniel Ochefu. Another really strong prospect who seems to be way underrated. Size and productivity are both good, plays really hard, dished 3 assists per/40 to go with dominant rebounding and good shot blocking. He's a senior, so upside is limited sure, but for a back-up C he's as close to a sure thing as there is in the draft.
Overall I actually like this draft a lot. It's deep with guys who I think are good bets to be at least solid NBA players, plus there are an unusual number of foreign players who are more of the lotto ticket variety, but if a handful of them work out down the road this could be thought of as a particularly strong group.
That's all I got, now your thoughts?