2016 NBA Draft: Winners and losers

The 2016 NBA Draft has come and gone and while most franchises likely feel pretty good about their Thursday night hauls, there are undoubtedly some parties that came out better than others. Here’s a quick look at the winners and losers from the 2016 draft.


Philadelphia 76ers — No.1 Ben Simmons, No. 24 Timothe Luwawu, No. 26 Furkan Korkmaz

Not only did Philadelphia come away with the best prospect available at the top of the draft in LSU’s Ben Simmons, but the Sixers were also able to land two high-quality international prospects with their picks in the 20s. Timothe Luwawu is an athletic wing with two-way potential and Furkan Korkmaz is one of the draft’s best outside shooters. Finally things are looking up in Philadelphia. If only Sam Hinkie were around to see it.

Memphis Grizzlies — No. 17 Wade Baldwin IV, No. 31 Deyonta Davis, No. 35 Rade Zagorac, No. 57 Wang Zhelin

Memphis’ success on the night can largely be attributed to their first two picks. Baldwin has the potential to be an excellent two-way point guard because of his ability to shoot threes and the defensive potential that’s a result of his massive wingspan. He’ll likely back up Mike Conley if the Grizzlies bring him back and could even spend a few minutes alongside him because of his spot up shooting. Davis, meanwhile, was a potential lottery pick who is loaded with talent. He can protect the rim and step out to guard smaller guys on the perimeter when switched onto them. He’s a developing prospect offensively, but the 19-year old is great value at pick 31.

Prep school

Thon Maker set this one in motion by declaring for the draft straight out of high school, becoming eligible for the draft by graduating high school and then attending prep school for a year. There’s some promise in Maker’s game, but in no way was he worth the 10th pick in the draft. Skal Labissiere absolutely dominated Maker at the 2015 Hoop Summit and still went 18 picks after the Bucks’ newest member. The message to top high school recruits was loud and clear:

NBA fans

Likely because few teams were enamored with the talent in the 2016 class, this draft seemed incredibly unpredictable and as a result it was a lot of fun watching the events unfold on Thursday night. Twitter was abuzz for every trade rumor and each of the seemingly out of place draft picks. It was an excellent night for discussion and a good way for us to all admit that we really can’t know exactly what is going on behind the closed doors of NBA franchises.

Honorable mentions: Taurean Prince for going no. 12 to Atlanta, Iowa State for having two players drafted, Caris LeVert for being a first round pick, and Marco Belinelli for getting the heck out of Sacramento. 


Boston Celtics — No. 3 Jaylen Brown, No. 16 Guerschon Yabusele, No. 23 Ante Zizic, No. 45 Demetrius Jackson, No. 51 Ben Bentil, No. 58 Abdel Nader 

For a team that supposedly held the keys to the entire draft, the Celtics sure didn’t feel like they were in control on Thursday night. After allegedly discussing a number of potential deals centered around the no. 3 pick, Boston ultimately settled on Cal’s Jaylen Brown, a high upside, but risky prospect. Yabusele and Zizic will likely be draft and stash options for down the line. Jackson and Bentil represent nice second round value and both could potentially make the roster this season, but Abdel Nader is a 22-year old from Iowa State who seems like a bit of a wasted selection despite his agreement to head straight to the D-League.

Milwaukee Bucks — No. 10 Thon Maker, No. 36 Malcolm Brogdon

The Bucks nailed their second round selection by grabbing Malcolm Brogdon, a lengthy guard out of Virginia who should be a solid 3-and-D roleplayer in the NBA, but Milwaukee’s pick at no. 10 is what earns them this honor. It’s likely that the Bucks could have had Maker much lower in the first round, so even if you believe in his talent, the fact that the Milwaukee front office failed to extract some additional value here is a loss in itself.

Mock drafts

The writing was on the wall well before the draft actually started. The 2016 NBA Draft was set to be one of the wildest in recent memory because nobody could seem to agree on which players were actually good. The result was a mock draft bonfire as pretty much nobody was able to pin down what teams were actually planning to do on draft night. At least they’ll keep somebody warm. Let’s do it again next year!

Honorable mentions: DeMarcus Cousins, the cameraman that Ben Simmons gave the Allen Iverson treatment, and the global economy (seriously, have you read about the Brexit?!)