The 2016 NBA Draft will be taking place on June 23, 2016 at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets. With now about two months left till the draft, it’s time to take a look at the top prospects, the sleeper picks, and the players who might do themselves better to return a year from now for the 2017 draft.
THE TOP DOGS
First, there is the obvious discussion of who will go number one overall, and the debate in recent weeks has strictly been between Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram, two college superstars who look ready to get on a roster and contribute from the get-go. Simmons has an NBA-ready body, with incredible statistics and playmaking skills to back it up. Furthermore, he is being commended on having the poise of an NBA-seasoned veteran. Ingram also boasts an unbelievable basketball body, with great speed to match. His greatest strength has been using his size to create opportunities for both himself and his teammates.
Other sensational first round talents include Buddy Hield, Dragan Bender, and Jamal Murray.
The first interesting draft prospect who isn’t generating a lot of buzz is Nigel Hayes, junior forward out of Wisconsin whose all-around versatility and passing strengths have drawn comparisons to the Golden State Warrior’s Draymond Green.
Another player to keep tabs on is junior guard DeAndre Bembry out of Saint Joseph’s. The 6’6″ talent, who can line up at the two-guard or small forward positions, was one of three players this past year who averaged at least 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists, per Sports-Reference.com. His Achilles heel will be his 26.9 percent shooting from deep and 63.1 percent free throw shooting.
BETTER LUCK NEXT SEASON
Finally, these two players might be better served returning to their respective colleges in order to hone their skills before they declare themselves ready for the draft. The first mention here is freshmen guard Isaiah Briscoe from Kentucky. Although Briscoe has proven himself to be an exceptional perimeter defender, his 5-of-37 shooting from deep leaves a lot to be desired. He needs to prove he can score in ways other than backing down defenders in the paint.
A player whose production has not been too shabby, but could be even better next season is sophomore small forward Justin Jackson out of UNC. He quietly averaged 12.8 points last season in the march to the title game, and while his athleticism certainly could help him shine in the individual workouts, he could be better served returning to the Tar Heels next season, serving as their go-to guy, and exponentially increasing his draft stock. He could even be a 2017 lottery pick.