Harr's Mock Draft: Picks 1-5
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons LSU
*Photo via Getty Images
Strengths: Ben Simmons has been the consensus number 1 draft pick in the 2016 NBA Draft since last year when he was a senior in high school. Yes he´s that good. His body and physical attributes are light years ahead of where most 18 to 19 year old freak athletes would be. He´s 6´9¨ and 240 pounds of pure muscle with a 41 inch vertical it´s really hard to do any better than that, and we haven't even begun to talk about his actual basketball skills yet.
Playing pretty much the point-forward role, while being the LeBron James of the LSU Basketball Team. Simmons is averaging almost 20 points a game to go along with 12 rebounds and 5 assists a game. Being a triple-double threat every time you play a game -- especially in a shortened and slower paced college game -- is almost unheard of. He has excellent court vision and finishes through contact very well. I could go on and on about how much I love him as a prospect I'm just going to sum him up in one sentence. If LeBron James played college basketball his stats would be nearly identical to the numbers you see Simmons put up every night.
Weaknesses: The outside shot is an obvious concern. Simmons attempts 0.1 3 pointers a game which basically means every 10 games Simmons will take 1 three pointer. This lets defenders sag off and play the drive. Even though that does not work in college because Simmons is a far superior athlete compared to most collegiate players, he should not be counted on as a go to scorer in the NBA like he is in college. With superior athletes in the NBA, defenders only playing the drive only on him will be much more effective. Simmons also has shown himself to be quite lazy at times making weak passes, not playing defense, etc, but to me it seems like Simmons thinks nobody is on his level in the college game and he gets bored every once in awhile. That can be taken as a blessing and a curse.
NBA Projection: Multi-Time All Star
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram SF Duke
*Photo via USA Today
Strengths: After a slow start to the season, Brandon Ingram has emerged as a can't miss NBA draft prospect and is starting a bit of Number one overall pick buzz. Ingram is a 6´9¨ wing player with a great wingspan and superb athletic ability and he can flat out score the basketball. Whether it's knocking down a contested three or getting to the basket Ingram can score in any way imaginable.
A lot of the one on one moves you see Ingram make you can't help but to think, that’s an NBA move. Ingram has an exceptional first step which will also help him translate to the next level. His athleticism and length will most likely give him potential to be very good two way player. In my opinion, he is the best player in this draft.
Weaknesses: Ingram needs to work on his twig like stature, which is the major concern about his abilities translating to the next level. He will struggle finishing through contact until he puts on some more muscle. I'd also like to see Ingram play a little bit more aggressive as you see many times there´s little effort shown but that mostly happens on the glass and on defense.
NBA Projection: Multi-Time All Star
3. Phoenix Suns: Jaylen Brown SF California
*Photo via Getty Images
Strengths: I don't see nearly as much upside in Jaylen Brown as most NBA Scouts do, but I can see what gets them excited and it is his outstanding athleticism, 7 foot wingspan, and a solid body. Those tools alone should make him an above average defender at worst at the next level. His offensive game right now is mostly centered around transition opportunities and jump shots 18 feet and in. His ball handling ability isn't great but it's good enough for him to become a lethal slasher. I also think that Brown is a very safe pick with a very little chance of him becoming a bust. His above the rim style of play fits the NBA game nicely and he is sure to be at least a very good defender which will put him on the court no matter what.
Weaknesses: His jump shot isn't very good at all, attempting 3 a game at Cal and not even averaging 1 make a game. His decision making with the ball in his hands is also pretty bad averaging an assist to turnover ration of 1 to 1. He also isn't very consistent and has not been a reliable scorer. As you can see by his game logs some games he will put up double figures easily and in others he will barely get 6-8 points a night.
NBA Projection: Above Average Defender and Low End Starter/Average Role Player
4. Boston Celtics: Dragan Bender PF Bosnia
*Photo via Unknown source
Strengths: Dragan Bender is a little bit of a do it all player that plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv, one of the top European Clubs in the Euro League. Bender stands at 7´1¨ with an abnormal ability to play the point-forward role. His speed and footwork for a 7-footer really sets him apart on both sides of the floor. It helps him run the floor very well on the offensive side and it also gives him the potential to be a good rim protector in the future.
His passing ability is also superb for a player of his stature, it´s very rare to see players of Bender´s size pass like they are point guards. He also has a decent mid range shot which is useful for pick and pop situations and his ability to handle the ball will make him even deadlier in the pick and pop.
Weaknesses: He´s 7´1¨ but barely weighs 200 pounds. He would get bullied by the big fierce players down lown in the NBA. Which, despite his height and long arms, makes him a pretty mediocre rebounder. Bender also hasn't really found an area that he excels at scoring wise. Bender´s jump shot from mid range is decent but very unpredictable, along with his 3 point shot. Bender shoots 25% from beyond the arc in games in the Euro League that have closer 3-point lines. Despit his talent and potential to protect the rim, Bender has never really lived up to that potential, but most are hoping that will come once he gets a little bit older and has a more developed and advanced defensive IQ.
NBA Projection: Bust and Bench Warmer
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kris Dunn PG Providence
*Photo via USA Today
Strengths: Kris Dunn could’ve been a lottery pick in last years NBA Draft but he elected to return back to college and now he’s looking at landing a spot in the top 5. Dunn is a 6’4” guard out of Providence who should probably be labeled as your prototypical point guard in the NBA. An above average athlete that can get in the lane and make plays but possesses a below average jump shot.
Dunn excels in isolation situations and in the pick and roll game on offense. With the isolation and the pick and roll being two major staples of the modern day half court NBA offense, this gives Dunn a lot more offensive value than he probably should have. His combination of size and athleticism give him the potential to be a very good defender in the NBA. All his weaknesses are minor and should be able to be improved upon. I think he’s a very safe pick.
Weaknesses: Dunn will be turning 22 before the draft which is something NBA Scouts will wave a red flag over because he’s so much farther along athletically than all the top prospects. He won’t have much room for developing his body and his athleticism. It also looks like Dunn’s jump shot hasn’t improved much since last season, he is shooting almost the exact same percentage from the 3-point line that he shot last season. The turnovers are also a major concern with Dunn. He’s cut them down from last year but he is still averaging 2.5 turnovers a game. A faster paced NBA game will probably lead Dunn to committing more turnovers than he did in college. The 2 surgeries Dunn had in college will also be a concern to his durability in the NBA especially with Dunn’s aggressive and slashing offensive game.
NBA Projection: Average Role Player