While it’s still early, if the 2016 NBA Draft was done today it would certainly look a bit different.
Sports are unique because there is no set script and the future is unknown. Sports aren’t like a movie or a Broadway show where the ending scenes are written out, which is what makes them so great. Prior to the start of every season, the NBA holds its annual draft, bringing in an influx of talented young players. Some players turn out to be stars, while others turn out to be busts. This article takes a look at how the 2016 NBA Draft might have looked if it were to happen now, almost halfway into the season.
First Overall: Philadelphia 76ers
Actual Selection: Ben Simmons
Re-Draft Selection: Ben Simmons
Even though Simmons has yet to suit up for the Sixers this season with a broken right foot, his potential alone propels him (and keeps him) at the top of this draft class. With comparisons to LeBron James and Magic Johnson, Simmons’ ability to play the point-forward position allows him to be a matchup nightmare for defenders. His playmaking style and physical attributes overshadow his lackluster outside shooting, which figures to improve over time. Along with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, Simmons gives the 76ers and their fans hope for the future.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Second Overall: Los Angeles Lakers
Actual Selection: Brandon Ingram
Re-Draft Selection: Jamal Murray (Originally 7th to Denver)
Drafted out of Calipari’s system at Kentucky, Murray has already proven that the Nuggets got a steal selecting him with the seventh pick. Per 36 minutes, Murray is averaging 14.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists. He’s shown an ability to score in bunches, scoring 18, 24, 23, and 20 in four straight November games. He could have moved right into Kobe Bryant’s starting shooting guard slot, allowing Jordan Clarkson to continue coming off the bench as the backup point guard. This would create a constant pairing of him with Lou Williams and Nick Young, who have played pretty well thus far this season.
Third Overall: Boston Celtics
Actual Selection: Jaylen Brown
Re-Draft Selection: Marquese Chriss (Originally 8th to Phoenix)
When Danny Ainge and the Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown, the move seemed way out of the left field. No one saw the University of California product being drafted so high, but Ainge looked to outsmart the rest of the league. He should have drafted Marquese Chriss, who has been impressive thus far for the Suns. Per 36 minutes, Chriss is averaging 15.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. He has quickly squeezed his way into the Suns starting lineup over Dragan Bender and Jared Dudley. Chriss could have fit in nicely for Boston, either starting next to Al Horford or as a threat off the bench.
Fourth Overall: Phoenix Suns
Actual Selection: Dragan Bender
Re-Draft Selection: Brandon Ingram (Originally 2nd to LA Lakers)
Ingram has taken a bit of time to adapt to the NBA game. While he presents a good work ethic, his skills are yet to translate with averages of just 7.3 points and 4.1 rebounds on 34.7% shooting in 27.4 minutes per game. Still, he is only 19 years old and it will take time for him to grow. Especially with Brandon Knight looking to get out of town leaving more minutes for Devin Booker, Ingram could have slotted in nicely at the small forward position playing beside him in Phoenix.
Fifth Overall: Minnesota Timberwolves
Actual Selection: Kris Dunn
Re-Draft Selection: Kris Dunn
Going into the draft, the Timberwolves puzzle seemed almost complete. After a long rebuild, they finally had young stars Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns to count on. With Ricky Rubio running the show at point guard, the Wolves were looking to upgrade that position and rightfully selected Kris Dunn with that selection. While Dunn’s statistics are underwhelming to this point, he still presents the best fit for the Wolves. If nothing else, his presence creates leverage if Coach Tom Thibodeau decides to swing some of the team’s young talent for an already proven superstar, potentially Jimmy Butler.
Don’t sleep on Kris Dunn. https://t.co/5HT5nUIVsY— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 2, 2017
Sixth Overall: New Orleans Pelicans
Actual Selection: Buddy Hield
Re-Draft Selection: Buddy Hield (Originally 6th to Chicago)
After a shaky start to his career, Buddy from the Bahamas has come on strong lately picking up Rookie of the Month in December. More in-game experience combined with the return of point guard Jrue Holiday into the Pelicans lineup has allowed Buddy to become more comfortable on the floor. He has been a solid addition to a team that lacked a true shooter with the loss of Eric Gordon this past offseason. Per 36 minutes, Hield is averaging a very respectable 16.4 points on 36.4% from downtown and 48.7% overall. All signs are pointing up for him in New Orleans, where he definitely fits their system and style of play at least on offense.
Seventh Overall: Denver Nuggets
Actual Selection: Jamal Murray
Re-Draft Selection: Malcolm Brogdon (Originally 36th to Milwaukee)
In the annual Rookie Survey conducted by the NBA after the draft, Malcolm Brogdon finished tied for third in terms of which rookie would be the biggest draft steal. Thus far, the rookies seem to know what they are talking about. Brogdon has been fantastic for the Bucks thus far in his young career, averaging 12.9 points, 5.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. He has really fit in nicely next to star Giannis Antetokounmpo, and it has already been discussed that he will take the starting point guard role away from Matthew Dellavedova. It is worth noting that the Brogdon-Giannis combo is the best two-man group for net rating among the 14 most-used Bucks lineups with a +15.9 (Source: Rotoworld). In Denver, Brogdon could have played alongside point guard Emmanual Mudiay creating a two point guard set allowing Gary Harris to lead the second unit. Both Nikola Jokic and Danilo Gallinari would have positively been impacted as well, with Brogdon showing he can distribute and create open looks.
Re-Live Malcolm Brogdon’s Triple-Double from last night!! pic.twitter.com/iQr2avFPkE— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 1, 2017
Eighth Overall: Phoenix Suns
Actual Selection: Marquese Chriss
Re-Draft Selection: Jaylen Brown (Originally 3rd to Boston)
In his short time in Boston, Brown has shown his crazy athleticism and leaping ability on multiple occasions. He is clearly still a project out there on the floor who will take a few years to truly make an impact out on the court. He works hard, is not afraid to defend the best player on the other team, and attacks the rim. In Phoenix, he could have filled the small forward position as a nice staple for the future, especially if the team was to trade current starting small forward PJ Tucker. Brown could have gained valuable experience on a team that won’t be playing for much come late March and early April.
Ninth Overall: Toronto Raptors
Actual Selection: Jakob Poltl
Re-Draft Selection: Pascal Siakam (Originally 27th to Toronto)
In June, the Raptors were lucky enough to have Siakam fall into their laps with the 27th selection in the first round. He’s been so good for them that he actually fits the bill to have been the ninth selection instead. Per 36 minutes, Siakam averages 9.8 points and 7.1 rebounds, while currently sitting in second among field goal percentage for rookies and 12th in defensive rating. Siakam has started every game at power forward for the Raptors this season, and continues to impress across the league. He looks to play a major role for the Raptors moving forward and appears to be a steal for the team as his career goes on.
NBA (@NBA) January 2, 2017
Tenth Overall: Milwaukee Bucks
Actual Selection: Thon Maker
Re-Draft Selection: Dragan Bender (Originally 4th to Phoenix)
Compared to Kristaps Porzingis going into the draft, Bender has certainly not lived up to the hype to start his career. Still, he entered the league a year younger than when Porzingis did. Bender is seen as potentially playing the point forward role because of his ball handing ability. He has also shown he can be a very solid three-point shooter back when he played in Israel. Milwaukee has shown a willingness to be patient with its young players, currently being Thon Maker whom they selected in the draft in June. The team also still lacks true three-point shooting threats. Bender has been deemed as having more potential than Maker, and in a few years could fit nicely with Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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