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SCS Editor’s 2016 NBA Mock Draft

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Mar 12, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) looks on from the court in the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies during the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) looks on from the court in the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies during the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Mar 12, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) looks on from the court in the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies during the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) looks on from the court in the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies during the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 12, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) looks on from the court in the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies during the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Day 2016 is upon us and with that SCS Editor, Tamberlyn Richardson serves up her annual mock draft.

As the clock approaches the moment Adam Silver walks to the Barclays Center podium to say “And with the first pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers select..” Everyone is eager with anticipation for what is sure to be a night full of surprises.  As the Editor of Space City Scoop I’m also excited, and offer my 2016 NBA Mock Draft for your perusal.

Of note, the Houston Rockets aren’t scheduled to select until the 37th and 43rd picks of the second round. That said, something tells me this may well go down as one of the most eventful nights in draft history.

It began yesterday with the Chicago Bulls sending their  home town son Derrick Rose to the Mecca of Basketball: the New York Knicks.  That trade was followed by the Altanta Hawks ridding themselves of malcontent Jeff Teague who in turn sent their point guard George Hill to Utah and the Jazz completed the transaction by trading their 12th pick to the Hawks.

Things didn’t end there as Sean Marks made his first major move as the new General Manager of the  Brooklyn Nets by trading Thaddeus Young to Atlanta for their second pick in the first round (20th).

Coming into this draft many cited the fact it wasn’t a deep draft. Repeatedly the pundits told of a two-horse race and then a huge drop-off. Fans were pointed to next season with the 2017 Draft anticipated to be chock full of talent. Moreover the impending explosion of the salary cap is also slated to coincide with numerous franchise stars hitting free agency making 2017 the most anticipated summer in NBA history.

Still, something kept nagging at me as I looked to the 2016 draft and it finally hit me around 3 AM this morning. Remember the trade deadline of 2015 when a record setting 37 players switched teams?

Well, tonight has the potential to be another such event with numerous teams jumping into the mix, while others have so many picks they can’t possibly use them all.

Sure teams like Boston, Denver, Philadelphia and Phoenix could just keep adding youngsters to the mix and send them overseas to develop for 2020. But with the impending summer of 2017 looming and the spike in salaries for existing players the players in the draft represent the one area of each teams’ salary they can control.

With the Brooklyn trade into the draft there remain 5 teams who do not have a draft pick in either round: Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, and the Washington Wizards. Another 3 teams including the Houston Rockets don’t have a draft pick until the second round (Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz following their trade with Atlanta. The Brooklyn  Nets are the first team to trade into the draft, so they now have a pick. .

In addition 6 teams have multiple first round picks: Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and with yesterday’s trade the Atlanta Hawks.

Again, it’s hard to imagine 4 of the above teams want to keep stock piling talent with a view to being a perennial lottery team, right? So, it further stands to reason they will be bartering with teams looking to either create cap space, add some youth or fill a need.

In essence the current situation in the NBA provides the perfect timing for upper echelon teams to barter with lottery teams and for both to come out ahead. The lottery teams can add vital experience while the top performing teams can either clear space to pursue the one free agent asset who may push them over the top or add some youth to an aging roster.

It’s a watershed moment in the NBA and I personally believe tonight is going to see a record number of trades occur.

Which brings this post to the actual mock draft. Of note, I’m going to post my picks now so they are in well before the draft begins. Please note, the picks are set in stone, but I’ll be adding in my rationale and player/team info, so make sure to return if you read it prior to all the details being input.

Mock drafts are called that for a reason, because they aren’t real. They offer the poster’s best guess at what a team will (or in some cases should do) when it’s their turn to select. To wit, since I expect a number of trades I will outline options as I believe some teams will select players with alternative plans for the prospect (i.e. they will be traded to another team either this evening or during free agency).

Also of note, while it’s true the top two players are set in stone there are tiers that fall after. Though many have cited the 3 through 8 picks as also being locked in stone, I disagree. In fact, I expect at least two players to vault up into the lottery which in turn will effect every pick there after.

An exciting area of the draft falls in the mid 20’s to mid 30’s where there are a number of interchangeable players in terms of ceiling, so it’s likely teams will draft in this area for need rather than BPA (Best Player Available). I’m also of the belief there are a number of players outside the lottery who will become excellent pro’s and some will surpass initial expectations. For example, while concerns of a degenerative knee condition has hurt Denzel Valentine’s stock I believe he will end up being one of the steals of the 2016 draft. Look for him to have an immediate effect on whichever team he lands on and in 10 years if he’s still playing (possibly contributing on an Andre Iguodala level, there will be franchises kicking themselves or firing some of their medical staff.).

With that… the first team on the clock is the Philadelphia 76ers… Enjoy the draft all and be sure to check back with Space City Scoop for our post draft coverage:

Next: Right Guy, Wrong Team

Mar 1, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) goes up to dunk the ball during the first half against the Missouri Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU defeated Missouri 80-71. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) goes up to dunk the ball during the first half against the Missouri Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU defeated Missouri 80-71. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 1, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) goes up to dunk the ball during the first half against the Missouri Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU defeated Missouri 80-71. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

1. Philadelphia 76ers

93. . . SF. Ben Simmons . 1

Not like it’s much of a surprise the Sixers were selecting Ben Simmons given they made it no secret via blasts on social media.

But, is Simmons the transcendent talent of the draft? Surely new General Manager Bryan Colangelo see’s Brandon Ingram would be a far better fit for his Sixers right?

Perhaps Simmons will prove to be everything he’s been touted to be, but there remains questions surrounding whether he has the right character to lead a team or the work ethic and passion required to become an All Star. For example he failed to achieve a C Grade which made him ineligible for the prestigious Wooden Award. Perhaps he viewed his one and done College season as putting in time, but one has to ask where is his competitive spirit and pride.

Notably many of the Raptors core who grew into the team that pushed the Champion Cavalier’s to 6 games after they had sailed through the Eastern Conference playoffs were assembled by Colangelo. He took a struggling franchise and made them relevant by adding veterans like Anthony Parker and Jorge Garbajosa to the mix.

Expect him to do something similar in Philly. In fact, there are reports he is looking to add another prospect within the 3-8 range in the draft. Apparently he is dangling the teams two other picks to get that selection.  The question is whether that trade might be with the Boston Celtics who are eager to add star talent. Will Danny Ainge consider Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor worthy of swapping the third pick for?

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

Space City Scoop Writer Trey Oursler covered the analysis of Ben Simmons and said:

The Skills

Being the size of most power forwards and centers, Simmons is able to bang around with the big men in the paint and grab rebounds with ease. His size helped him average 11.8 rebounds during his season at LSU; in four separate games this season he was able to snag more than 15 rebounds! By numbers, he was the 6th best rebounder in the nation in the 2015-2016 season.

Rebounding the ball isn’t why Simmons is going to go extremely high in the draft, the kid can take the ball coast to coast whenever he wants and makes scoring look easy inside. At 19.2 points per game this year he was top 50 in the nation in scoring and only in 3 games was he held to 10 points or fewer all season.

He will need to work on his outside jump-shot some more in order to stretch the floor in the league, but expect him to add that to his game as he trains and prepares this summer.

Simmons is also a play-maker and leader when he wants to be. He can take over a ball game with his all around skills, even managed to average 4.8 assists per game.

For his complete article on Simmons click here.

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 1, 24, 26

2nd-Round Picks: None

Team Needs

While the Sixers have plenty of youthful talent they are in desperate need of a starting point guard as well as veteran voices and leadership.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Elton Brand, Ish Smith

Restricted: Isaiah Canaan, Hollis Thompson

Next: Transcendent Star?

March 24, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Brandon Ingram (14) reacts during the 82-68 loss against Oregon Ducks during the second half of the semifinal game in the West regional of the NCAA Tournament at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

2. Los Angeles Lakers

20. . . SF. Brandon Ingram . 2

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

Space City Scoop Writer Curt Low covered the analysis of Ben Simmons and said:

The Skills

You are looking at a small forward who can play center at 6’9, but can also guard and play all positions on the court because of his size and versatility. Brandon Ingram plays on both ends of the court. He’s an elite pick and pop shooter who is a natural born scorer.

Ingram can drive to the rim at will and shoot at an elite level from three. With his 7’3 to 7’4 wingspan (still growing at age 18) makes Ingram an excellent rebounder and a guy who will be able to get his shot up over smaller defenders at the next level.

Ingram has impressive footwork for his size at 6’9. He can spin left or right on drives and can finish at the rim at an top-notch level.

For complete article on Ingram click here.

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 2

2nd-Round Picks: No. 32

Team Needs

Um… everything.  Well they have an exiting super star so many will be looking for Ingram (the likely pick at 2) to take over the mantel. They could also use some depth,  and front court help. Simmons would have been the ideal  selection for the Lakers, but let’s talk in 5 years and see if Ingram is the bigger star.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Brandon Bass, Metta World Peace, Roy Hibbert, Robert Sacre

Restricted: Tarik Black, Jordan Clarkson, Marcelo Huertas, Ryan Kelly

Next: Which team is Ainge picking for?

Mar 16, 2016; Des Moines, IA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Jamal Murray (23) speaks to the media during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men

3. Boston Celtics

Jamal Murray . 3. 18. . . SG

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Jamal Murray brought quick attention to his game prior to ever stepping on a college court when he took over in the Pan Am Games leading Canada to a victory over the United States.

At the time he was only 18 years old. His ranking varies between a high of third and a low of sixth. Though he’s more of a natural shooting guard he does have the ability to play the point. His instincts are sharp and make up for deficiencies in ball handling and natural athleticism.

Murray’s performance at the Nike Hoop Summit initially shot him into the spotlight when he scored 30 points a feat only Kevin Durant and Nicolas Batum had previously accomplished.

Ford lists his assets as the ability to penetrate, high basketball I.Q. and court vision. As he demonstrated at the Pan Am Games and Nike Summit he can deliver in pressure situations and it makes him a highly sought after prospect.

With all the talent on Minnesota he might be a great pick for the T-Wolves. Couple that with word Andrew Wiggins wants him on the team and the writing may be on the wall. For Canadian Basketball that would pay huge dividends by having two talents getting constant run together.

For my full pre draft  article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 3, 16, 23

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 31, 35, 45, 51, 58

Team Needs

Quite simply Brad Stevens is the type of coach who has proven he can get the best out of any player he coaches. The questions surrounding the Celtics are two fold  however: 1) what would Stevens do with top tier talent? and 2) Has Danny Ainge fleeced so many GM’s that no one will make a trade with him any longer?

Scuttlebutt was Ainge was actively trying to trade down or package some of their 8 picks to land a star, but wasn’t getting any bites.

WIth that you might be wondering why I selected Jamal Murray. To be frank he’d be a great addition to the Celtics backcourt and is not afraid of the moment. Case in point as per Chris Forsberg of ESPN:

The general rule in sports is that you don’t acknowledge a milestone until it occurs (think pitchers getting the silent treatment during no-hit bids). But members of the Boston Celtics organization, perhaps trying to test Jamal Murray‘s mettle, alerted him that he was within striking distance of a team record during Wednesday’s pre-draft workout.

Murray, a 6-foot-5 guard out of Kentucky, then calmly drained eight of his final 10 3-point attempts, finishing with 79 makes out of 100 and besting the Brad Stevens-era pre-draft record of 77, set earlier this spring by Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer.

Knowing the record was obtainable entering the final of 10 spots — shooting twice from five different locations beyond the 3-point arc — only fueled the hypercompetitive Murray

Suffice to say I’m high on the Canadian and won’t be surprised if he leads all rookies in scoring.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted:Evan Turner

Restricted: Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger

NOTE: Ainge may tip his hand depending on who he selects. If he picks Kris Dunn or Marquese Chriss it’s a veritable certainty he has made a deal with the  Sixers.

In fact the 6 picks between 3 and 8 are a consensus of Murray, Hield, Brown, Bender, Dunn and Bender. The only thing no one agreed on was exactly in what order. Additionally Jakob Poeltl is predicted by  many to be in the top 9.

Though I’m not privy to work outs to confirm this is the expected order I will caution the NBA Draft has a lottery aspect to it for a reason.  That said from the 9th or 10th pick through to the end of the first round there should be trades and surprises galore. If Danny Ainge has his way he’ll be in that mix.

Next: Will the Suns rise on talent?

March 10, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies forward Marquese Chriss (0) and Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) fight for the rebound during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
March 10, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies forward Marquese Chriss (0) and Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) fight for the rebound during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

March 10, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies forward Marquese Chriss (0) and Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) fight for the rebound during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

4. Phoenix Suns

PF. Marquese Chriss . 4. 66. .

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

Marquese Chriss is young at 18 and has a huge ceiling. He is a shot blocker who can defend, but he also boasts the ability to step out and hit the 3-point shot.

With the league all desirous of power forwards who can spread the floor Chriss offers that and then some.

Sure he needs to work on things like composure and not taking silly fouls (he fouled out of 15 of the 34 games he played) but his upside is so huge.  He’ll also need to improve on the glass, but again he’s 18!

Ranked as high as 8th, but generally a consensus 12 to 13 pick watch to see if Chris is one of those players who climbs higher up the ladder as teams recognize his upside.

Notably the Raptors who ended up with the 9th pick and are desperate for a power forward with range may be one of those teams who lock in on Chriss though the Nuggets might also take a look.

For the rest of my predraft analysis article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 4, 13, 28

2nd-Round Picks: No. 34

Team Needs

WIth so much turmoil the past twp seasons the Suns need to find an identity first and foremost. There is a need to add front court depth given their free agent situation and the loss of both Morris twins.

Further, it feels like there is a need for a veteran voice who can lead this team and offer calmness in adversity.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Chase Budinger, Cory Jefferson, Jon Leuer, Phil Pressey, Ronnie Price, Mirza Teltovic

Next: Team of the FUTURE?

Nov 27, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22), guard Zach LaVine (8), forward Kevin Garnett (21) and center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) look on during a timeout against the Sacramento Kings during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The The Timberwolves won 101-91. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22), guard Zach LaVine (8), forward Kevin Garnett (21) and center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) look on during a timeout against the Sacramento Kings during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The The Timberwolves won 101-91. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 27, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22), guard Zach LaVine (8), forward Kevin Garnett (21) and center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) look on during a timeout against the Sacramento Kings during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The The Timberwolves won 101-91. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

5. Minnesota Timberwolves

Dragan Bender . 5. 86. . . PF

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

As per ESPN’s Chad Ford his top 3 best traits are his ability to penetrate, his court vision and his high I.Q.

Dragan Bender’s versatility to defend multiple positions and his improving 3 point shot will lead to his inevitable comparisons to Kristaps Porzingis. And like surprise rookie sensation Bender will need to add strength and grit.

For the full predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 5

2nd-Round Picks: None

Team  Needs

With Tom Thibodeau at the helm no doubt the Timberwolves will be better defensively this season. As much as there is a need to add depth the truth is this team is on the precipice of becoming a power house int he West. I expect Thibs to make his more telling moves in free agency when he’ll no doubt pursue Luol Deng and/or Joakim Noah.

That said the big man Bender (if still available) offers an intriguing  size advantage to play along side Karl-Anthony Towns.

The other options will be Murray who can add 3-point  shooting to a team who needs it or potentially Kris Dunn who would fit Thibs love of defensive point guard. Offensively Dunn can run the pick and roll already and is a pass first guard. I’ve taken Dunn lower but there is a good argument for him to go to Minnesota.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Tayshaun Prince

Restricted: Damjan Rudez

Next: Finding a partner for Davis

Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Buddy Hield (24) handles the ball during the second half against the Villanova Wildcats in the 2016 NCAA Men
Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Buddy Hield (24) handles the ball during the second half against the Villanova Wildcats in the 2016 NCAA Men

Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Buddy Hield (24) handles the ball during the second half against the Villanova Wildcats in the 2016 NCAA Men

6. New Orleans Pelicans

SG. Buddy Hield . 6. 69. .

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

Ford lists Buddy Hield‘s best traits as shooting and a high basketball I.Q.

Hield is a scorer but his propensity to play a little manic, turn over the ball and his age have him as one of the guys who may drop in the rankings.  That said, he’s not afraid to take the big shot and shot over 47% from deep this past season.

To see the entire predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 6

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 39, 40

Team Needs

A batman for Anthony Davis’ Robin.  There are a ton of free agents on the roster this summer and more next year, so they’ll be even more importance of adding depth this year. Many of the free agents are guards which means there is uncertainty specifically in the back court.

Most importantly is finding someone who can offer scoring alongside Anthony Davis, so he isn’t left feeling like he has to do everything on his own.

Finding a good trainer might be a side project as well given how many players missed significant games this season. Although part of it is luck in terms of staying healthy, a good strength and conditioning coach couldn’t hurt.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Ryan Anderson, Norris Cole, Alonzo Gee, Eric Gordon, Jordan Hamilton, Kendrick Perkins

Next: Make your point

Mar 20, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Providence Friars guard Kris Dunn (3) reacts after the game against the Dayton Flyers in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena. Dayton won 66-53. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Providence Friars guard Kris Dunn (3) reacts after the game against the Dayton Flyers in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena. Dayton won 66-53. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 20, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Providence Friars guard Kris Dunn (3) reacts after the game against the Dayton Flyers in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena. Dayton won 66-53. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

7. Denver Nuggets

7. 73. . . PG. Kris Dunn

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Chad Ford of ESPN lists Kris Dunn‘s best traits as his penetration and court vision. He ranks pretty consistently as the best point guard in the trade with 3 of the 4 major sites listing him as the 4th ranked pick.

Given the guard focus in the league Dunn’s height helps make him an attractive prospect for teams seeking a point guard (we see you Philly). His negatives are listed as his propensity to turn the ball over and his inconsistent jump shot.

Though older than many prospects that can be viewed as a positive or a negative. Some teams prefer the youthful prospects who they can nurture in their system while teams like Toronto, Chicago and San Antonio have shown faith in players who are older and therefore more likely able to be NBA ready. His two shoulder surgeries may also play a factor with where he finds himself selected in the draft.

His numbers have increased each season with a notable improvement to 37.2% from behind the arc this past season.

For the rest of my predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 7, 15, 19

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 53, 56

Team Needs

There is plenty of young talent on this Nuggets team and they’ll be even more after their 5 picks tonight. Though Denver could use more outside shooting prowess. Mudiay and the youngsters seem to gel well with no nonsense coach Mike Malone.

Therefore the true need of the team is to add veteran leadership who can help mold the young core’s identity to emulate their hard working coach. With so many assets stock piled look for the Nuggets to be one of the teams who is active trading in the summer in an effort to land that experience.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Darrell Arthur, D.J. Augustin, Mike Miller

Next: Who knows what Vlade will do!

Mar 19, 2016; Des Moines, IA, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11) passes the ball against Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere (1) in the first half during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2016; Des Moines, IA, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11) passes the ball against Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere (1) in the first half during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 19, 2016; Des Moines, IA, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11) passes the ball against Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere (1) in the first half during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

8. Sacramento Kings

. PF. Skal Labissiere . 8. 67.

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Ford lists Skal Labissiere assets as shooting, defending and size.

Given Ford’s list of pluses Labissiere covers off pretty much all the check boxes. His shooting touch for his size surprised may. With the versatility to stretch the floor and also score in the paint he’ll get lots of looks in the top part of the draft.

The main issue with the young Haitian is all based on his desire. Both Ford and Howard-Cooper had him ranked top 3 to start the season (some said he could be the top draft pick), but then a lack luster start to the college campaign found his stock plummeting as he got pushed around in the paint.

Now he ranks anywhere from a high of 8th to a low of 25th! That’s a wide margin which speaks to how much his commitment to play is in question.

For the rest of the predraft analysis article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 8

2nd-Round Picks: No. 59

Team Needs

In a recent interview Rajon Rondo said the Kings locker room and tension between DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins and former coach George Karl was the worst he has ever experienced.

So, while the Kings need to find a 3 and D player, shore up their backcourt and cement a true identity the real issue for this team is build chemistry.

Coming from a team in Memphis who always functioned as a unified team on and off the court hopefully new coach Dave Joerger can instill similar principles in Sacramento. His first task will be getting Cousins to accept a leadership role that includes being able to take criticism in a positive way.

2016 Free Agents

Restricted: Seth Curry, Eric Moreland

Unrestricted: Rajon Rondo, Caron Butler, James Anderson, Quincy Acy

Next: Northern Rising?

March 18, 2016; Spokane , WA, USA; California Golden Bears forward Jaylen Brown (0) moves to the basket against Hawaii Rainbow Warriors guard Aaron Valdes (32) during the first half of the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
March 18, 2016; Spokane , WA, USA; California Golden Bears forward Jaylen Brown (0) moves to the basket against Hawaii Rainbow Warriors guard Aaron Valdes (32) during the first half of the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

March 18, 2016; Spokane , WA, USA; California Golden Bears forward Jaylen Brown (0) moves to the basket against Hawaii Rainbow Warriors guard Aaron Valdes (32) during the first half of the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

9. Toronto Raptors

. . SF. Jaylen Brown . 9. 81

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Ford ranks Jaylen Brown‘s best assets as ability to penetrate paint, leaping and defense.

Brown seems to be the one player in the top part of the draft who the analysts can’t agree in. He ranks as high as 4th and as low as 10th.

That said, he offers so many tangible assets given his upside. He’s athletic and brings solid defensive skills to the court and already has an NBA ready body. He is driven and competitive which are things GM’s love.

He’ll be beneficial for teams who want a wing who utilize quick offense in transition as he runs the wing and then can finish with a strong drive.

Just as his benefits are aplenty the area of his game that needs work is in developing a consistent shot and/or creating a shot for himself. Can he develop into a three and D player will be the biggest question and likely the reason his ranking is all over the place.

For the remainder of the predraft analysis click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 9, 27

2nd-Round Picks: None

Team Needs

Admitedly this selection is a bit of desire rather than a liklihood. Leading into the week prior to the draft reports surfaced some organizations found Brown to have a bit of attitude. The reality is he’s a smart dude wth confidence which can be mistaken for arrogance.

As for the Raptors they just completed a miracle season in which they broke copious records. They registered the franchises first 50 win season (56), won their first 7 game playoff series (actually they won 2 back to back) and made it to their first Eastern Conference Finals. The accomplishments were made all the more impressive by the fact the team didn’t utilize 5 developing players for most of the season. Bruno Caboclo, Delon Wright, Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira, Anthony Bennett (who was eventually released) and Norman Powell who only began to see minutes in the final few weeks of the season.

Further the acquisition of DeMarre Carroll failed to pay immediate dividends as he dealt with a plethora of injuries. In fact the Raptors playoff run was enhanced given the numerous injuries the core was dealing with.

Heading into next season there is a strong possibility Bismack Biyombo’s  post season performance likely priced him out of the Raptors budget which leaves a hole to feel upfront. Duane Casey will need to learn to utilize his younger players next season in an effort to expedite their development and simultaneously get his backcourt All-Star duo more rest (especially since they both may end up participating in the Olympics).

From a specific roster need the Raptors need to acquire a starting power forward who has 3-point range. In addition look for Ujiri to add more play making ball handlers, 3-point shooters and players who can space the floor with the mandate of grit and strong defensive continuing to take precedence.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: DeMar DeRozan, Bismack Biyombo, Jason Thompson, James Johnson, Luis Scola

Next: It's pronounced YACK-OB PURT-AL?

Mar 17, 2016; Denver , CO, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs guard Paul Watson (3) strips the ball from Utah Utes forward Jakob Poeltl (42) in the second half of Utah vs Fresno State in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2016; Denver , CO, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs guard Paul Watson (3) strips the ball from Utah Utes forward Jakob Poeltl (42) in the second half of Utah vs Fresno State in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 17, 2016; Denver , CO, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs guard Paul Watson (3) strips the ball from Utah Utes forward Jakob Poeltl (42) in the second half of Utah vs Fresno State in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

10. Milwaukee Bucks

10. 89. . . PF. Jakob Poeltl

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Ford lists Jakob Poeltl‘s defense, rebounding and size as his key assets.

Mark my words following the success of rim protectors and big men this post season the big man from Austria will find his stock rising come the draft.

He has good mobility, an ever increasing offensive tool box and something all clubs like the determination to put the work in to become better. And like they always say you can’t teach height so being over 7 feet works to make him a valuable commodity.

In terms of weakness like most young bigs he’ll need to hit the gym to add strength as well as improve his toughness in the paint. That said, he doesn’t shy away from contact which bodes well for him once he adds strength.

For the rest of the predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 10

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 36, 38

Team Needs

With so much length on one squad it’s interesting the Bucks need rim protection. In addition, there is a true need for a quality passing big as Milwaukee immediately regressed with the loss of Ersan Ilyasova and Zaza Pachulia last season. Further the Bucks are in desperate need of adding 3-point scoring and offense in general.

If they learned anything from 2 seasons ago when they excelled defensively it’s the need for a calming veteran voice.

2016 Free Agents

Restricted: Miles Plumlee

Unrestricted: Steve Novak, O.J.Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, Jared Cunningham, Chris Copeland, Greivis Vasquez

Next: Will Vogel focus on defense?

Mar 12, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) shoots the ball as Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) defends in the second half during the Big Ten Conference tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) shoots the ball as Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) defends in the second half during the Big Ten Conference tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 12, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) shoots the ball as Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) defends in the second half during the Big Ten Conference tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

11. Orlando Magic

Deyonta Davis . 11. 38. . . PF

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Chad Ford lists Deyonta Davis skill set as defending and leaping.

Any player who Tom Izzo raves about deserves a second look from GM’s. It took Davis the first portion of the year to figure out how to stay on the floor, but there was palpable progress made in the latter half of the season.

He’s a skilled rebounder and shot blocker, but doesn’t offer much offense outside the paint. Having said that, he is a worker who’ll invest in shot improvement and commit to getting better.

The pundits rank him in the middle of the first round though Ford is less sold on his value. He strikes me as the old school prototypical big with great defensive ability and the capacity to grow.

For the rest of the predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 11

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 41, 47

Team Needs

With Frank Vogel at the helm you can be sure the Magic will be looking to improve defensively and it’s likely they’ll also experience significant growth as Vogel is one of the better teaching coaches. There is much to like about the Magic though they’ll need some additional shooting and more veteran voices.

To help deliver Vogel’s defensive strategies Orlando will need to add rim protection and a solid front court defender.

2016 Free Agents

Restricted: Andrew Nicholson, Evan Fournier, Dewayne Dedman

Unrestricted:Brandon Jennings, Jason Smith

Next: The legacy

NCAA Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs Saint Mary
NCAA Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs Saint Mary

12. Atlanta Hawks

Domantas Sabonis . 12. 125. . . PF

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

]The Skills:

The son of the legendary Blazers center Arvydas, Domantas Sabonis greatly resembles his father. He is a talented player in the post (shooting 67%) has a lot of mobility and quickness for a big man, a vast repertoire of plays and excellent footwork playing inside the paint.

He is a good if yet unproven jump shooter but has shown glimpses of being able to add this weapon to his arsenal.

Defensively he is a great rebounder as his averages almost 12 boards per game evidences. Domantas’ great instincts, terrific hands and anticipation more than makes up for his lack of explosiveness when crashing the boards.

For the rest of the predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 12, 21

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 44, 54

Team Needs

The top priority remains adding front court rim protection as the Hawks have survived the past few seasons by utilizing Al Horford who is better suited as a power forward playing center. Adding credence to this is the possibility Horford is a free agent who could walk this summer. In fact the Hawks need to add front court depth in every position.

With the trade to send Teague to Indiana the question remains are the Hawks just cutting a malcontent or are they rebuilding.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Al Horford, Kent Bazemore, Kirk Hinrich, Kris Humphries

Restricted: Mke Muscala

Next: A Valentine Day in June?

Mar 31, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine holds his trophy during a press conference at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine holds his trophy during a press conference at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 31, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine holds his trophy during a press conference at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

13. Phoenix Suns

Denzel Valentine . 13. 66. . . SG

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

A quick jump down to the awards and honors section gives you a solid idea of how special Denzel Valentine is.

What makes him most remarkable is the absence of weaknesses in his game. You’ll often hear him referred to as the small forward version of Draymond Green. That’s not just because he’s coming out of the Tom Izzo Michigan State system, rather it’s his full 2-way game and intelligence that make the comparisons more obvious.

Of his many talents he offers variety on offense where he can be a pull up shooter, can create offense for himself or others including in the pick and roll. the latter two items are under rated talent especially from rookies let alone from a small forward.

Examining his four years under Tom Izzo’s system points to the work ethic of Valentine who improved in every category early except blocks which was 0.1 less. Most impressive are his assists which climbed from 2.4 in his rookie season to 7.8 in his senior year as well as his three point shooting which was an abysmal 28.1% in this rookie campaign and skyrocketed to 44.4% this season. And his attempts also increased each season with him attempted 7.5 per game this season.

To view the entire predraft preview click here

Notably, Valentine is a player I’d like to see the Raptors select as I believe he offers answers across the board for them in terms of his Swiss Army Knife fundamentals, but since Toronto didn’t bring him in for a workout (and they saw 59 players) it’s unlikely to happen.

Team Needs

WIth so much turmoil the past twp seasons the Suns need to find an identity first and foremost. There is a need to add front court depth given their free agent situation and the loss of both Morris twins.

Further, it feels like there is a need for a veteran voice who can lead this team and offer calmness in adversity.

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 4, 13, 28

2nd-Round Picks: No. 34

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Chase Budinger, Cory Jefferson, Jon Leuer, Phil Pressey, Ronnie Price, Mirza Teltovic

Next: The Surprise Lottery Pick?

Feb 27, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) breaks up a pass to Minnesota Timberwolves guard Gary Neal (12) during the second quarter of a game at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) breaks up a pass to Minnesota Timberwolves guard Gary Neal (12) during the second quarter of a game at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 27, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) breaks up a pass to Minnesota Timberwolves guard Gary Neal (12) during the second quarter of a game at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

14. Chicago Bulls

. . PF. Juan Hernangomez . 14. 24

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

After Valentine the next player I’m extremely high on is Hernangomez. I’m expecting him to vault up the ladder, so much that I’m selecting him as the final lottery pick.

In the predraft prospect series I wrote:

Juan Hernangomez is a young’un having just turned 20, yet he’s playing with real men in the Spanish League.

It’s a family affair for the Hernangomez clan. Brother Willy was drafted by the Knicks  and currently plays with Spanish team Real Madrid Baloncestois.

In the 80’s his father Guillermo played with CB Estudiantes. And, not to be outdone by the males in the family his sister Andrea played with Estudiantes.

Other notable NBA players who’ve come out of the Spanish ACB League are Serge Ibaka, Kristaps Porzingis, Ricky Rubio and Ersan Ilyasova to name a few. He registered the second best PER of the last decade behind only current Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic.

Many analysts project Juan to be the best of the lot with untapped potential and an extremely high ceiling.  He showcases all the qualities you would want from a player at his position including fluidity, athleticism, speed and can play at the rim or stretch the floor.

He’s noted for having great foot speed and offensive versatility and due to his quickness scouts believe he’ll be able to easily transition from the power forward role to the small forward with relative ease.

Though his shot from beyond the arc is a work in progress it’s progressed with experience improving each season.

He is gritty, intense and driven with no back down which summons memories of Mirotic’s first season in Chicago. With all these qualities his desire to go the extra mile on defense is a quality rarely seen from a youngster with so much offensive upside. For the complete predraft profile click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 14

2nd-Round Picks: No. 48

Team Needs

With news Derrick Rose has been traded to New York there will be a need to replace him in the starting line-up. Though Calderon has a steady hand his ability to defend is far from his best trait.

Much of what the Bulls will need roster wise won’t be known fully until their free agents determine if they’ll return or leave. There is a potential for a large hole to exist in the front court though if both Gasol and Noah leave.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Aaron Brooks, E’Twaun Moore

Next: Mile High Roster Shuffle?

Oct 28, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) defends the ball from Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the second half on opening night at Toyota Center. Denver won 105 to 85. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 28, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) defends the ball from Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the second half on opening night at Toyota Center. Denver won 105 to 85. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 28, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) defends the ball from Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the second half on opening night at Toyota Center. Denver won 105 to 85. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

15. Denver Nuggets

73. . . SG. Timothe Luwawu . 15

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

Another of the many Mega Leks youngsters Luwawu is an exciting prospect who could bring more defensive presence for Mike Malone.

In the predraft article I wrote:

The Skills:[/h]

Mock draft boards list him in a wide range from being a lottery pick to just inside the first round. The reason some have him climbing into the lottery teams is his 2-way game, ability to pass with either hand and his constantly improving game.

Playing with Mega Leks in Serbia alongside a plethora of other 20 somethings Luwawu was given the opportunity to grow his game and develop via in game situations.

With so few 2-way players in the draft Luwawu has seen his stock rise and with the draft just days away he’s now more likely to be among the lottery picks then his originally projected mid to late 20’s rank.

His commitment to improvement saw his shooting range improve this season and while he had bouts of inconsistency the fact he’s a gym rat will bode well for him.

Despite that, it’s his amazing defense which is his major advantage. While most rookies enter the NBA with offensive skill sets for the most part it’s their defense which trails behind. With the league leaning toward positionless players and 2-way players Luwawu’s ability to guard multiple positions makes him a rare commodity.

The article in it’s entirety can be found here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 7, 15, 19

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 53, 56

Team Needs

There is plenty of young talent on this Nuggets team and they’ll be even more after their 5 picks tonight. Though Denver could use more outside shooting prowess. Mudiay and the youngsters seem to gel well with no nonsense coach Mike Malone.

Therefore the true need of the team is to add veteran leadership who can help mold the young core’s identity to emulate their hard working coach. With so many assets stock piled look for the Nuggets to be one of the teams who is active trading in the summer in an effort to land that experience.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Darrell Arthur, D.J. Augustin, Mike Miller

Next: Ainge shopping?

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Marquette vs St. John
NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Marquette vs St. John

16. Boston Celtics

18. . . PF-C. Henry Ellenson . 16

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

Henry Ellenson  is often compared to Kevin Love given his complete game. He can play close to the basket or stretch the court. Is an able rebounder, passer and ball handler. Like his NBA comparison the area of his game needing work is defense.

One interesting fact is his actual physical stats vary which one could assume was due to a weight loss regime but I also found 3 different heights listed with a low of 6’10” and a high of 7’0″, so I chose to split the difference.

Another plus for the big man was electing to stay near his home town for college when he could have played with other colleges who boasted far greater talent. It helped expedite the growth of the youngsters game ans defenses keyed in on him being the main offensive threat for Wisconsin.

The full predraft article can be viewed in it’s entirety here

TeamNeeds

Quite simply Brad Stevens is the type of coach who has proven he can get the best out of any player he coaches. The questions surrounding the Celtics are two fold  however: 1) what would Stevens do with top tier talent? and 2) Has Danny Ainge fleeced so many GM’s that no one will make a trade with him any longer?

Scuttlebutt was Ainge was actively trying to trade down or package some of their 8 picks to land a star, but wasn’t getting any bites.

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 3, 16, 23

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 31, 35, 45, 51, 58

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted:Evan Turner

Restricted: Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger

Next: New regime at the Grind House?

Mar 15, 2016; Dayton, OH, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Wade Baldwin IV (4) reacts during the second half against the Wichita State Shockers of the First Four of the NCAA men
Mar 15, 2016; Dayton, OH, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Wade Baldwin IV (4) reacts during the second half against the Wichita State Shockers of the First Four of the NCAA men

Mar 15, 2016; Dayton, OH, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Wade Baldwin IV (4) reacts during the second half against the Wichita State Shockers of the First Four of the NCAA men

17. Memphis Grizzlies

211. . . SG. Wade Baldwin IV . 17

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills

Most analysts report Wade Baldwin’s defensive skills as one of his best features. He is quick on his feet, able to guard taller players contesting their shots due to his ridiculous wingspan and has great lateral movement.

However Baldwin is also a great player leading the fastbreak as you can clearly see in his highlights below. He is resourceful and look to finish his plays from drives to the basket, attacking the rim, rather than settling for the long shot.

For the predraft analysis in it’s entirety click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 17

2nd-Round Picks: No. 57

Team Needs

Uncertainty over Mike Conley’s free agency has to lead to Memphis looking to add more back court depth. Certainly the Grizzlies should perform better this season if they can stay healthy after a season where they had more injuries than whole divisions.

The other main areas the Grizzlies need to prioritize in the offseason is adding shooters specifically from the perimeter and front court scoring.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Mike Conley, Chris Andersen, Matt Barnes, Jordan Farmar, PJ Hairston, Ray McCallum, Lance Stephenson

Restricted: Xavier Munford

Next: Stan hunting for shooters?

Oct 23, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy gives instructions to guard D.J. Augustin (14) and forward Josh Smith (6) and forward Cartier Martin (35) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons beat the Sixers 109-103. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy gives instructions to guard D.J. Augustin (14) and forward Josh Smith (6) and forward Cartier Martin (35) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons beat the Sixers 109-103. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 23, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy gives instructions to guard D.J. Augustin (14) and forward Josh Smith (6) and forward Cartier Martin (35) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons beat the Sixers 109-103. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

18. Detroit Pistons

64. . . SG. Furkan Korkmaz . 18

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Chad Ford lists Furkan Korkmaz skill set as shooting and ball handling.

Interesting there is a wide discrepancy of Korkmaz physical stats ranging from 170 pounds to 200. That in itself is a huge difference as it’s hard to imagine the young Turk having success in the Association if he’s as slight as 170 pounds.

That said, scouts refer to Korkmaz as the prototypical shooting guard given his height and athleticism. The fact he’s been playing in a professional league garnering success bodes well for him however.

Scouts talk about Korkmaz as the prototypical NBA 2-guard. He has size and athleticism, can shoot it from deep and can handle the ball. His turnovers and lack of strength can be attributed to his age, as he’s just 18. His experience playing for in the Euroleague is considered a major plus by scouts.

As Howard-Cooper opines the issue will be adding weight and strength. Still given the youngster is just 18 and already has great ball handling skills and ability to hit from deep he becomes a worth while project especially for teams needing to add those two specific skill sets.

For the entire predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 18

2nd-Round Picks: No. 49

Team Needs

The Pistons are a team on the precipice of joining the upper echelon of the Eastern power teams. Stan Van Gundy made big strides with Detroit in just his first year at the helm.

The Pistons have a storied legacy which has helped SVG channel the youthful clubs focus on defense. Moving into his second season the Pistons will look to add outside shooting and increase their offensive efforts to match their defensive intensity.

Roster wise Detroit will look to add depth via perimeter shooters with emphasis on adding a stretch four (much like the restof the league).

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Steve Blake, Anthony Tolliver

Restricted: Andre Drummond

Next: Mile High Addition

Mar 8, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Malik Beasley (5) drives as Boston College Eagles guard Jerome Robinson (1) defends in the second half during round one of the ACC tournament at Verizon Center. Florida State Seminoles defeated Boston College Eagles 88-66. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Malik Beasley (5) drives as Boston College Eagles guard Jerome Robinson (1) defends in the second half during round one of the ACC tournament at Verizon Center. Florida State Seminoles defeated Boston College Eagles 88-66. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 8, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Malik Beasley (5) drives as Boston College Eagles guard Jerome Robinson (1) defends in the second half during round one of the ACC tournament at Verizon Center. Florida State Seminoles defeated Boston College Eagles 88-66. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

19. Denver Nuggets

SG. Malik Beasley . 19. 73. .

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Beasley occupation is a little surprising given he comes from a family of actors. His parents and his grandfather are all thespians. But, it’s no surprise Malik chose to utilize his copious skills to his advantage.

Though only 19 Beasley has shown the ability to play both ends and has consistently demonstrated extremely high character with a great motor.  His ceiling is high which should have teams who can afford to take the time to develop him sitting up and taking interest.

Add in the tangible qualities of length, efficiency and overall strong fundamentals and Beasley is a prospect who’ll surely go in the first round.

Many scoring prospects  enter the draft with prowess either via drives or an ability to hit from the field, seldom are they adept at both. Beasley is one of those rare prospects that fits that bill.

For the full predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 7, 15, 19

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 53, 56

Team Needs

There is plenty of young talent on this Nuggets team and they’ll be even more after their 5 picks tonight. Though Denver could use more outside shooting prowess. Mudiay and the youngsters seem to gel well with no nonsense coach Mike Malone.

Therefore the true need of the team is to add veteran leadership who can help mold the young core’s identity to emulate their hard working coach. With so many assets stock piled look for the Nuggets to be one of the teams who is active trading in the summer in an effort to land that experience.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Darrell Arthur, D.J. Augustin, Mike Miller

Next: Marks first move

Nov 11, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) drives to the basket as Brooklyn Nets center Andrea Bargnani (9) defends during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 11, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) drives to the basket as Brooklyn Nets center Andrea Bargnani (9) defends during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 11, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) drives to the basket as Brooklyn Nets center Andrea Bargnani (9) defends during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

20. Brooklyn Nets

147. . . C. Ante Zizic . 20

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

Ante Zizic would be a guy Mike D’Antoni might very well salivate over adding to his roster, but the reality is he’s unlikely NBA ready. Rather he’ll be a grab and stash project who’ll be best spending time either overseas for another year or with the majority of his time spent in the D-League.

That said Zizic is a player who could surprise and develop quicker than anticipated given his international time playing against pro type players as opposed to College.

Despite the potential of Zizic and possibility he could  contribute immediately the problem is the Rockets would likely have to trade up to get him, and it’s unlikely Morey and D’Antoni will want to do that with the other areas in the roster carrying a heavier priority.

For complete predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 20

2nd-Round Picks: No. 55

Team Needs

Feels like a trick question because the Nets literally need everything except a GM and starting center.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Andrea Bargnani, Wayne Ellington, Sergey Karasev, Shane Larkin, Thomas Robinson, Donald Sloan

Restricted: Willie Reed, Markel Brown

Next: Princely Hawk?

Mar 16, 2016; Providence , RI, USA; Baylor
Mar 16, 2016; Providence , RI, USA; Baylor

Mar 16, 2016; Providence , RI, USA; Baylor

21. Atlanta Hawks

Taurean Prince . 21. 125. . . SF

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Taurean Prince plays above the rim, is fluid, a decent athlete and has a body ready made for the pro level.

As far as his shooting he’s got a decent stroke connecting on 38% of his college three pointers. His work ethic has allowed his game to grow as he’s added versatility

His other major attribute is his defensive versatility which offers the potential to guard deep in the post and quickness to defend stretch fours as well.

For complete pre draft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 12, 21

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 44, 54

Team Needs

The top priority remains adding front court rim protection as the Hawks have survived the past few seasons by utilizing Al Horford who is better suited as a power forward playing center. Adding credence to this is the possibility Horford is a free agent who could walk this summer. In fact the Hawks need to add front court depth in every position.

With the trade to send Teague to Indiana the question remains are the Hawks just cutting a malcontent or are they rebuilding.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Al Horford, Kent Bazemore, Kirk Hinrich, Kris Humphries

Restricted: Mke Muscala

Next: Who has the sting?

Feb 28, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Saint Joseph
Feb 28, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Saint Joseph

Feb 28, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Saint Joseph

22. Charlotte Hornets

DeAndre' Bembry . 22. 170. . . SF

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills

A flashy athletic forward/guard, capable of making highlight plays on any giving night. DeAndre Bembry can excel in transition both with the ball or filling in the lanes. In a half court offense, Bembry’s explosive first step is quick enough to get past any defender and attack the basket. With his crafty Euro-step Bembry can often get to the line easy to convert with spectacular finishes.

Outside of his scoring, Bembry has shown flashes of becoming a great play maker. Due to his excellent on court vision and passing skills. The most underrated aspect of his game is his ability to rebound.

For the second year in a row, Bembry was one of the top rebounders at St. Joseph averaging a little under eight borads a game. At 6’5” Bembry may be undersized on the nightly basis when battling on the boards, yet his 6’9 wingspan makes up for the loss in height.

Getting to the lane for easy buckets will not be as simple in the NBA as the collegiate level, which means Bembry has to improve his shooting if he wants to exceed at the pro level. So far, his jump shot is the only negative flaw in Bembry’s game.

To view complete predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 22

2nd-Round Picks: None

Team Needs

Two seasons ago Steve Clifford developed  defensive schemes that allowed Charlotte to rise to the top of the ladder one of the leagues best defenders. This past season with the addition of Jeremy Lin and Nic Batum the Hornets thrived offensively.

Throughout the course of the season when the team was primarily healthy they found a way to balance success on both ends of the floor. Moving forward it’s inherent the Hornets add depth and more shooting  while trying to retain the 2 free agents who were the catalyst of the newfound offensive success of the Hornets.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Nic Batum, Tyler Hansbrough, Al Jefferson, Courtney Lin, Jeremy Lin, Marvin Williams

Restricted: Troy Daniels, Jorge Gutierrez

Next: Ainge STILL trying to trade picks!

Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Malachi Richardson (23) reacts after a play during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2016 NCAA Men
Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Malachi Richardson (23) reacts after a play during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2016 NCAA Men

Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Malachi Richardson (23) reacts after a play during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2016 NCAA Men

23. Boston Celtics

23. 18. . . SG. Malachi Richardson

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Perhaps due to sharing the same position and college, people compare Malachi Richardson to Carmelo Anthony. It’s true they share some similarities: they both like shooting the ball, have good balance and footwork.

To wit Malachi also has an even quicker release than Melo. He is also great at drawing fouls and driving through traffic to the basket in which he resembles Houston Rockets very own James Harden.

He played as a SF in college but will probably have to settle as a shooting guard in the NBA which will likely give him advantages in isolation situations shooting the ball over his defender due to his insane 7’0” wingspan.

For the full predraft article click here

Team Needs

Quite simply Brad Stevens is the type of coach who has proven he can get the best out of any player he coaches. The questions surrounding the Celtics are two fold  however: 1) what would Stevens do with top tier talent? and 2) Has Danny Ainge fleeced so many GM’s that no one will make a trade with him any longer?

Scuttlebutt was Ainge was actively trying to trade down or package some of their 8 picks to land a star, but wasn’t getting any bites.

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 3, 16, 23

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 31, 35, 45, 51, 58

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted:Evan Turner

Restricted: Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger

Next: More youth in Philly?

May 17, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown represents his team during the NBA draft lottery at New York Hilton Midtown. The Philadelphia 76ers received the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

24. Philadelphia 76ers

93. . . C. Ivica Zubac . 24

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

His main weapons feature him working in the post where he has a number of scoring options at his disposal.

Unlike most players his size he has proven the ability to keep up with speedy transition and showcased an agility and mobility with quick feet.

He has excellent hands showcasing a soft touch and reacts well to know which offensive weapon is best utilized in the moment.

Yet another of the Mega Leks young squad who’ll likely get selected in the first round.

This center may epitomize the term grab and stash as he is a youngster who’ll surely benefit from another season overseas or learning a team’s concepts with a D-League affiliate.

For full predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 1, 24, 26

2nd-Round Picks: None

Team Needs

While the Sixers have plenty of youthful talent they are in desperate need of a starting point guard as well as veteran voices and leadership.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Elton Brand, Ish Smith

Restricted: Isaiah Canaan, Hollis Thompson

Next: Doc ready to make a point?

Tyler Ulis, a perfect fit for Houston Rockets?
Tyler Ulis, a perfect fit for Houston Rockets?

Tyler Ulis, a perfect fit for Houston Rockets?

25. Los Angeles Clippers

77. . . PG. Tyler Ulis . 25

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills

At only 5’9, Ulis is obviously at a disadvantage, but just like smaller guards Chris Paul and Isaiah Thomas he plays his own game and doesn’t try to be something he isn’t. Ulis was born to be a floor general, he directs his team and knows how to get teammates open shots. He is a master with the ball, averaging only 2 turnovers in each of his 35 games this season.

In his sophomore season he averaged 7.0 assists a game in his 37 minutes per outing; however that wasn’t his biggest statistical jump from his freshman to sophomore year, Ulis brought his scoring average up from 5.6 PPG to 17.3. A large increase although he wasn’t sitting behind the Harrison twins this past year.

He has a lot of great games, but his best of the season came against South Carolina on February 13th where he scored 27 points and had 12 assists. Only in five games did he have under 10 points, he had eight double-doubles this season and was only 2 assists shy of a triple-double in a loss to Auburn in January.

For full predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 25

2nd-Round Picks: No. 33

Team Needs

While the Clippers have a strong starting line-up there remains questions regarding whether the two stars will ever make it through a season injury free (Chris Paul, Blake Griffin).

Assuming Doc rivers and the Clippers organization sticks with them (i.e. doesn’t trade one or both of them to shift the direction to being younger) the new issues for the Clippers arise in free agency with most of their quality depth players on the market. Entering the draft it’s logical for Doc to focus on adding either a back-up point guard or wing assistance.

Once the draft is over Doc needs to assess his priorities. First and foremost will be how much he wants to pay to retain their best bench player Jamal Crawford. Then there are 7 other free agents  to make decisions about. With fully half the team entering free agency it will be an extremely active summer for Doc as he tries to maneuver between retaining players or pursuing ones with more talent.

Best Immediate Contributor Avail/ Backup PG, SF, backup SG, 3-and-D

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, Pablo Prigioni, Luc Mbah a Moute, Wesley Johnson, Jeff Green, Jeff Ayres, Cole Aldrich

Next: And yet more youth in Philly?

Feb 3, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) is fouled by Arizona State Sun Devils guard Gerry Blakes (4) on his way to the basket during the second half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Washington defeated Arizona 95-83 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 3, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) is fouled by Arizona State Sun Devils guard Gerry Blakes (4) on his way to the basket during the second half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Washington defeated Arizona 95-83 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Dejounte Murray (5) is fouled by Arizona State Sun Devils guard Gerry Blakes (4) on his way to the basket during the second half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Washington defeated Arizona 95-83 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

26. Philadelphia 76ers

. . PG. Dejounte Murray . 26. 93

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

At 6’5 Washington guard Dejounte Murray offers good height but at 170 lbs he’s extremely thin. That said he demonstrates tenacity on court attacking the paint without fear of contact which affords him multiple trips to the lane. Though Washington weren’t an elite College team Murray specifically benefited as it offered him additional playing time.

He is also a complete player who can score, assist and rebounds extremely well for his size.  Likewise his offensive game has versatility that will only improve as he adds size. Once the muscle is added to his frame he’ll be able to be even more aggressive in the paint with the potential to finish, and also get to the line.

He’s excellent at quarterbacking plays particularly in transition and at utilizing change of pace (something many guards don’t master until later in their careers).

For full predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 1, 24, 26

2nd-Round Picks: None

Team Needs

While the Sixers have plenty of youthful talent they are in desperate need of a starting point guard as well as veteran voices and leadership.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Elton Brand, Ish Smith

Restricted: Isaiah Canaan, Hollis Thompson

Next: Is there a Diamond in the rough?

March 20, 2016; Spokane , WA, USA; Maryland Terrapins center Diamond Stone (33) moves to the basket against Hawaii Rainbow Warriors forward Stefan Jankovic (33) during the second half in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
March 20, 2016; Spokane , WA, USA; Maryland Terrapins center Diamond Stone (33) moves to the basket against Hawaii Rainbow Warriors forward Stefan Jankovic (33) during the second half in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

March 20, 2016; Spokane , WA, USA; Maryland Terrapins center Diamond Stone (33) moves to the basket against Hawaii Rainbow Warriors forward Stefan Jankovic (33) during the second half in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

27. Toronto Raptors

C. Diamond Stone . 27. 81. .

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

When you watch video of Stone or read reviews on his skill set it’s impossible not to conjure images of Zach Randolph.

Like ZBo Stone he can be a beast in the post and doesn’t need to jump like most centers given his crazy wing span and standing reach.

He’s nimble on his feet for a big man, and while he hasn’t quite figured out how to use that size to his fullest advantage his time in College did find him winning most battles against his own position.

He’s young and there are questions regarding how his assets will translate in the new NBA in terms of his reluctance to operate anywhere outside the paint. That said at just 19 he’ll have plenty of time to gain confidence in expanding his range especially if he lands with the right team who can capitalize on his strength.

For the full predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 9, 27

2nd-Round Picks: None

Team Needs

As for the Raptors they just completed a miracle season in which they broke copious records. They registered the franchises first 50 win season (56), won their first 7 game playoff series (actually they won 2 back to back) and made it to their first Eastern Conference Finals. The accomplishments were made all the more impressive by the fact the team didn’t utilize 5 developing players for most of the season. Bruno Caboclo, Delon Wright, Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira, Anthony Bennett (who was eventually released) and Norman Powell who only began to see minutes in the final few weeks of the season.

Further the acquisition of DeMarre Carroll failed to pay immediate dividends as he dealt with a plethora of injuries. In fact the Raptors playoff run was enhanced given the numerous injuries the core was dealing with.

Heading into next season there is a strong possibility Bismack Biyombo’s  post season performance likely priced him out of the Raptors budget which leaves a hole to feel upfront. Duane Casey will need to learn to utilize his younger players next season in an effort to expedite their development and simultaneously get his backcourt All-Star duo more rest (especially since they both may end up participating in the Olympics).

From a specific roster need the Raptors need to acquire a starting power forward who has 3-point range. In addition look for Ujiri to add more play making ball handlers, 3-point shooters and players who can space the floor with the mandate of grit and strong defensive continuing to take precedence.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: DeMar DeRozan, Bismack Biyombo, Jason Thompson, James Johnson, Luis Scola

Next: Check out Cheick

High School Basketball: McDonald
High School Basketball: McDonald

28. Phoenix Suns

Cheick Diallo . 28. 66. . . C

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

After a season warming the bench for the Kansas Jayhawks, Cheick Diallo backed up the hype around him with some strong showings in the NBA Draft Combine.

There we were able to see a potential defensive phenom in the makings. And even as a relatively undersized player Diallo can make up for it due to his off-the-charts physique, length and quickness which in turn makes him an above average rebounder and rim protector.

Further he is also great switching on the pick and roll and given his great mobility can guard players from different positions. Finally his explosiveness and leaping skills makes him a huge threat as a shot blocker as well.

His offensive game definitely needs some polish as Diallo is able to only finish with a limited number of plays such as put backs, dunks and easy layups. Given that his jump shot obviously will need some major work. With no sign of much offense the questions will be asked as to whether he’ll be able to add much versatility to his game.

Another aspect of his game that needs improvement are his free-throw numbers which barely surpasses the 50% mark.

Team Needs

WIth so much turmoil the past twp seasons the Suns need to find an identity first and foremost. There is a need to add front court depth given their free agent situation and the loss of both Morris twins.

Further, it feels like there is a need for a veteran voice who can lead this team and offer calmness in adversity.

For the full predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: Nos. 4, 13, 28

2nd-Round Picks: No. 34

Team Needs

WIth so much turmoil the past twp seasons the Suns need to find an identity first and foremost. There is a need to add front court depth given their free agent situation and the loss of both Morris twins.

Further, it feels like there is a need for a veteran voice who can lead this team and offer calmness in adversity.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Chase Budinger, Cory Jefferson, Jon Leuer, Phil Pressey, Ronnie Price, Mirza Teltovic

Next: Will Spurs find yet another hidden gem?

Mar 24, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Malcolm Brogdon at a press conference during practice the day before the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 24, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Malcolm Brogdon at a press conference during practice the day before the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 24, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Malcolm Brogdon at a press conference during practice the day before the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

29. San Antonio Spurs

29. . . SG. Malcolm Brogdon . 29

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:[/h]

If you are looking for a player with character and high basketball I.Q Malcom Brogdon fits the bill. Sure he’s an older candidate among the prospects but teams who have solid cores and want a contributing rookie will need to give Brogdon a second and third look.

Brogdon won’t knock you out with any one asset, rather his fundamentals are so strong across the board it makes for few weaknesses. He can handle the ball and make wise decisions when under pressure. He can shoot when it’s called for and is able to score even under pressure. He’s also a guy who’ll play with energy and go the extra mile to come up with loose balls, get deflections and steals or grab a rebound when the paint is congestion. In short he’s like a young Andre Iguodala type who may not steal the headlines but his presence on the court makes all line-ups better.

This also translates to his defense where he’s demonstrated the ability to play within the team’s defensive strategies. When you add in his NBA ready body, large hands, natural defensive instincts and above average I.Q. it all bodes well for Brogdon to be a lock down defender but carve out a niche for himself to be a contributing pro for years to come.

While he’s listed as falling somewhere between the late 30’s and mid 40’s I won’t be surprised to see him leap up into the late first round since he’s a player you can give minutes immediately in the NBA.

For full predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 29

2nd-Round Picks: None

Team Needs

With uncertainty surrounding the future of both Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili the Spurs may focus on Ginobili and look to add a backcourt player especially since the issues (if any) for the team was the regression of the backcourt players. It’s hard to isolate many problems for the Spurs though as they continue to provide the template for developing players in their system. Undoubtedly after the draft as everyone reflects back on the evening pundits will end up citing the steal the Spurs got at 29.

The decisions made by Duncan and Ginobili will effect Pops and Bufurd’s decisions this summer as they systematically reformat their core.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Martin, Matt Bonner, Rasual Butler, Andre Miller, David West

Restricted: Boban Marjanovic

Next: Can Warriors rediscover Golden touch?

Apr 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson (11) dunks the ball during the first half against the Villanova Wildcats in the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men
Apr 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson (11) dunks the ball during the first half against the Villanova Wildcats in the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men

Apr 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brice Johnson (11) dunks the ball during the first half against the Villanova Wildcats in the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men

30. Golden State Warriors

41. . . PF. Brice Johnson . 30

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

Johnson’s athleticism and explosiveness are his best assets. He is capable of creating his own shot and due to his foot speed, leaping ability and quick moves he is adept in the paint. Though he’s added size he’ll need to continue to bulk up to be effective at the pro level.

His pluses will work well in a transition game specifically or with a strong guard who can work in concert with him to utilize his speed and finishing ability.

His leaping ability and instinct for the ball also produced double digit rebounding this past season. In fact he is equally adept at jumping off either foot or both and has a quick second jump. when you combine his leaping ability, high percentage of finishing at the rim and his quick second  jump it equals strong offensive rebounding.

His foot speed also could  translate to the defensive end where his lateral quickness would  allow him the ability to stay in front of opponents. Though he’s yet to demonstrate consistency in that regard if he commits to improving defensively the skill set is there.

For the full predraft article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: No. 30

2nd-Round Picks: None

Team Needs

Let’s be honest if there were lessons to be learned from the NBA Finals for the Warriors it was the need for more toughness on the team. Their depth is solid, but players like Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli (both free agents) failed to bring any grit and toughness in the series. Had they, perhaps the series could have finished long before a Game 7.

As far as the draft goes it would be logical for the Warriors to look at any of the 3 different front court positions to add depth. The need moving forward is finding a player would can play either forward position or a center.

I’ve earmarked Brice Johnson since he can play either forward position and because he is tenacious. With solid coaching from Kerr surrounded by other strong defensive players and sharp shooters could help Johnson become a vital piece of the Warrior’s units.

Heading into the summer expect the Warriors to go for broke to land Kevin Durant who might be more open minded to the prospect now that GSW lost in the Finals. If KD decides to stay put in Oklahoma then the Warriors need to make some tough decisions regarding Harrison Barnes specifically who is likely to get some substantial offers from other teams. Do the Warriors match even if it means giving Barnes max money?

If they decide not to then does Iguodala return to the starting line-up or do they earmark a free agent?

Ultimately, outside of grit the Warriors should took to add back up help at all front court positions.

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Anderson Varejao, Leandro Barbosa, Mareese Speights, Brandon Rush

Restricted: Harrison Barnes, James Michael McAdoo, Festus Ezeli, Ian Clark

Next: Replacing Roster Exits?

December 17, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) during a stoppage in play against Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
December 17, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) during a stoppage in play against Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

December 17, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) during a stoppage in play against Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

37. Houston Rockets

Caris LeVert . 37. 169. . . SG

Draft Prospect

The one player the SCS team didn’t get a draft prospect written for is LeVert. That’s not to say he isn’t a valuable commodity. LeVert could easily have been a mid first round or higher draft pick had he not suffered injuries that led to GM’s questioning if he was injury prone. It’s reasonable teams have this assumption given his 3 foot surgeries in less than 2 years.

If the foot isn’t a chronic issue LeVert offers a solid option. One the Rockets could get a real steal with if he falls to the second round.  He checks off many of the boxes Houston need in that he can create his own shot and shoots the three at a 45% clip.  He also offers size at 6’7″ and an impressive 6’10” wingspan. Offensively he’s versatile given his ability to either distribute the ball (averaged 5APG) or intermix with his shot where he can hit pull ups as well as catch and shoot shoots with equal aplomb.

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: None

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 37, 43

Team Needs

If the team learned anything this season it’s how desperately they need more ball handlers. Far too often ball movement came to a complete stand still. It’s easy to blame James Harden because he handles the ball the most. Yet, if the Rockets add players with the ability to handle the ball and better still can also create shots for themselves it would ease the pressure on Harden and make the team more mobile.

Obviously there is also a need to add defensive players ideally with 2-way capabilities so the opponent doesn’t collapse on the ball handler.

Bottom line: ball handlers, players who can create their own shots, defensive minded players, 3-point shooters, and positionally the priorities are at point guard and center (assuming Howard is gone).

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Jason Terry

Restricted: Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones

Next: A new big man?

Dec 23, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) reacts against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 23, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) reacts against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 23, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) reacts against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

43. Houston Rockets

43. 169. . . C. Zhou Qi

Excerpt from SCS Draft Prospect Series

The Skills:

More from Space City Scoop

At over seven feet tall, size alone makes Zhou Qi hard to pass up, but it’s also enough to keep Daryl Morey on his toes with suspicion. Qi comes in at a lean 218 lbs. which has allowed him to be mobile for his size with quick feet. He also is one of the best rim protectors this year’s draft has to offer. In 42 games in the Chinese Basketball Association, Qi registered just under double-digit rebounds per game (9.8) and blocked 3.2 shots per contest. At the draft combine, Qi registered at 7’7.75″ wingspan, only three active NBA players have a longer reach (Alexis Ajinca, Rudy Gobert and Boban Marjanovic). It was the first time in over a decade that a Chinese player was invited to the combine.

For the full predraft profile article click here

Picks in Draft

1st-Round Picks: None

2nd-Round Picks: Nos. 37, 43

Team Needs

If the team learned anything this season it’s how desperately they need more ball handlers. Far too often ball movement came to a complete stand still. It’s easy to blame James Harden because he handles the ball the most. Yet, if the Rockets add players with the ability to handle the ball and better still can also create shots for themselves it would ease the pressure on Harden and make the team more mobile.

Obviously there is also a need to add defensive players ideally with 2-way capabilities so the opponent doesn’t collapse on the ball handler.

Bottom line: ball handlers, players who can create their own shots, defensive minded players, 3-point shooters, and positionally the priorities are at point guard and center (assuming Howard is gone).

2016 Free Agents

Unrestricted: Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Jason Terry

Restricted: Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones

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