What to Watch For In Tonight’s NBA Draft
The 2016 NBA Draft happens tonight and we have a complete breakdown of what names you should be watching for, who the future stars are, and who the duds of the draft will be. The NBA draft doesn’t quite get the DFS hype that the NFL draft gets, NFL is king… No FanDuel War Room, or instant analysis from fantasy experts, but between trades and instant impact players, it will change the landscape of the NBA right away.
The first thing you have to realize is that there are likely only 5-6 players in this draft… It’s too soon to grade last season’s picks, but let’s look back at the previous four seasons to see how many players are actually making a sizable impact in this league. I think 2011 and 2012 were fairly loaded drafts, and you still have only about 44/240 players drafted making a real impact in this league, and really only 11/240 are in the discussion as being stars and franchise players.
2011 NBA Draft
Stars: Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler,
Solid Players: Jonas Valanciunas, Brandon Knight, Alec Burks, Markieff and Marcus Morris, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Kenneth Faried, Nikola Mirotic, Reggie Jackson, Chandler Parsons, Isaiah Thomas
2012 NBA Draft
Stars: Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, Draymond Green
Solid Players: Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, Meyers Leonard, Jae Crowder, Khris Middleton
2013 NBA Draft
Stars: Giannis Antetokounmpo,
Solid Players: Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Nerlens Noel, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, C.J, McCollum, Michael Carter-Williams, Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert,
2014 NBA Draft
Stars: Andrew Wiggins
Solid Players: Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, Zach Lavine, Jusuf Nurkic, Rodney Hood, Nikola Jokic
Who are This Year’s Stars?
Looking at this year’s draft class, I think it compares favorably to the 2012 class with one superstar at the top and then a handful of players that could develop into stars.
Ben Simmons is the star of this draft. He’s a point forward that is a gifted passer, and has the chance to develop into an elite level defender. His shot isn’t broken, and I don’t think there is any way he doesn’t develop a consistent 18 foot jumper.
Of the remaining players, I think there are 6 can’t-miss prospects: Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield, Dragan Bender, Kris Dunn, Marquese Chriss, Jaylen Brown, and Henry Ellenson. Dunn, Brown, Chriss and Bender have the upside to be elite defenders and are more likely to be stars than pure scorers Ellenson and Hield. I think 5 years from now we are talking about Ingram, Chriss, and Simmons as the stars of this class, but Dunn, Brown, and Ellenson are all going to be in the discussion as borderline stars.
If you are looking for sleepers who could go late in the first or even in the second round, and eventually become a star in this league, there are a few names to keep in mind. Wing players Malik Beasley, Timothe Luwawu, Malcom Brogdon, and Caris Lavert are potential 3-D players that can play/defend multiple positions.
To me, Beasley is the star of this group. I like all four guys, but if you can get a long, athletic defender, that can already shoot, can play multiple positions, and is only 19 in the back half of the first round, it’s a steal.
Given his size, Luwawu has the highest upside of the group, but also comes with the most risk. Lavert would have been a lottery pick if hadn’t gotten hurt. Brogdon was coached extremely well, can guard anyone, is a solid shooter, and is the reigning ACC player of the year.
The unsexy but smart pick of the draft will be Brice Johnson in the back half of the first round. He’s a quick leaper that will be a solid rotational defender and rebounder. If he can fill a Tristan Thompson type roll where he just works, doesn’t need touches, then I think you are getting a solid player late in the first round.
Looking for a steal in the back half of the second round? The fact that A.J. Hammons is going in the 50’s in most mock drafts is CRAZY… We are talking about a legit 7-footer with a polished offensive game, consistent mid-range jumper, and the second best on-ball post defender in the draft behind Poeltl. He needs coaching… If somehow Boston gets Hammons in the second round of this draft, look out.