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2016 NBA Draft

Here are The Undefeated’s 2016 NBA mock draft picks

A breakdown of every first-round pick — and we did each one in 140 characters or less

Two days before Thursday night’s 2016 NBA draft, the Philadelphia 76ers informed heralded Louisiana State freshman Ben Simmons that they would be selecting him with the No. 1 overall pick. Not long afterward, Simmons shared his thoughts about the news on his Instagram account by posting a picture of himself in a Sixers practice jersey along with the caption, “Trust the process.”

In a world of self-promotion, the majority of personal branding by this year’s draft prospects, most of whom are younger than 20 years old, takes place on social media. As they enter the NBA, they’ll have to be conscious of what they post on Twitter, Instagram and, as Los Angeles Laker D’Angelo Russell can attest, Snapchat. Every one of your 140 characters matters when you’re an NBA baller, and that especially rings true after you hear your name called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver in the draft.

Heading into Thursday night, The Undefeated’s Aaron Dodson predicted how this year’s draft will shape up, breaking down each pick of the first round — all in 140 characters or less.

1. Philadelphia 76ersBen Simmons, F, Louisiana State, Freshman

Surprise, surprise. Philly’s first No. 1 overall pick since Allen Iverson is the 6-foot-10 do-it-all forward. Can he be the Australian Answer?

2. Los Angeles LakersBrandon Ingram, F, Duke, Freshman

Unfair to compare B.I. to Kevin Durant? Hard not to given their similar wiry frames. If he puts on weight, B.I. will ball out in Hollywood.

3. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn)Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma, Senior

Buddy Buckets to Boston. He can FLAT-OUT score, especially from 3. Maybe this year’s most NBA-ready prospect. Watch out in the East, Cavs.

4. Phoenix SunsDragan Bender, PF, Croatia

Kristaps Porzingis silenced haters of European players last year. The 7-foot-1 Bender can do so too. Future is bright for this 18-year-old.

5. Minnesota TimberwolvesKris Dunn, PG, Providence, Junior

Dunn is a long, elite PG — the draft’s best. Picture this: him, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins and Karl Towns. Youth in revolt in the West.

6. New Orleans PelicansJamal Murray, G, Kentucky, Freshman

Murray is an assassin from deep. In one pre-draft workout, he hit 79 of 100 3-point attempts. Exactly the kind of help Anthony Davis needs.

7. Denver Nuggets (from New York)Marquese Chriss, F, Washington, Freshman

High risk, high reward is the perfect summation of Chriss. At 18 years old and 6-foot-10, the upside is there. Can he develop in the NBA?

8. Sacramento KingsJaylen Brown, F, California, Freshman

The eye test says Brown is a top-five pick. His athleticism is baffling but what happens when he’s matched up with NBA talent? We shall see.

9. Toronto Raptors (from Denver via New York)Henry Ellenson, F/C, Marquette, Freshman

Big men are at a premium. Especially ones as skilled as the double-double threat Ellenson. Post up in the 6ix. Has a ring to it (cc: Drake).

10. Milwaukee BucksJakob Poeltl, C, Utah, Sophomore

Got the big men going back to back. Ellenson is 7-foot. Poeltl is 7-foot-1 with unmatched efficiency around the rim. No slouch D, either.

11. Orlando MagicSkal Labissiere, F, Kentucky, Freshman

Skal was a top-two player out of high school. His stock fell in a year at UK but there’s potential. Shaq, Dwight, now Skal for the Magic.

12. Atlanta Hawks (from Utah)Deyonta Davis, F, Michigan State, Freshman

The Al Horford era in Atlanta might soon be over. Enter Davis, who’s very raw. But where the big man excels? Rebounding and shot-blocking.

13. Phoenix (from Washington)Domantas Sabonis, F, Gonzaga, Sophomore

Sabonis’ father was drafted in the NBA exactly 30 years ago. Now, he’ll utilize that pro bloodline and high IQ as a skilled power forward.

14. Chicago BullsWade Baldwin IV, G, Vanderbilt, Sophomore

Derrick Rose is a Knick — moment of silence for his time in Chicago. Tough shoes to fill at PG but next in line is an overall solid Baldwin.

15. Denver Nuggets (from Houston)Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey

He won the Turkish League dunk contest in a Darth Vader costume? Get him in the NBA! We may see him in the dunk and 3-point contest one day.

16. Boston Celtics (from Dallas)Ante Zizic, C, Croatia

Boston has three first-round picks, so why not take a chance on this big, aggressive Croatian? Spoiler: Don’t expect him to play right away.

17. Memphis GrizzliesMalachi Richardson, G, Syracuse, Freshman

Pomp and circumstance. A monster freshman year has Richardson out of school and in the draft. A nice athletic piece for the veteran Grizz.

18. Detroit PistonsDenzel Valentine, F, Michigan State, Senior

Valentine makes you love the game. He’s an NBA triple-double machine waiting to happen. Hopefully his knee problems don’t hold him back.

19. Denver Nuggets (from Portland)Ivica Zubac, C, Croatia

Another one *DJ Khaled voice*. A lot of European potential in this draft, and the 7-foot-1 Zubac could be valuable for Denver down the road.

20. Indiana PacersCheick Diallo, F, Kansas, Freshman

Small sample size for Diallo, who barely played as a freshman. Still a first-rounder whose athleticism will eventually lead to NBA minutes.

21. Atlanta HawksTaurean Prince, F, Baylor, Senior

Prince is that guy every roster needs. Physical. Great defender. Solid 3-point shooter. He also sure can explain the concept of rebounding.

22. Charlotte HornetsMalik Beasley, G, Florida State, Freshman

Some consider him undersized. Some worry about a leg injury. Bottom line is he can shoot and is athletic. Could be a late first-round steal.

23. Boston CelticsBrice Johnson, F, North Carolina, Senior

Drafting on potential is overrated. With Johnson, you get all you could ask for. All-American experience from a four-year college player.

24. Philadelphia 76ers (from Miami via Cleveland)DeAndre Bembry, F, St. Joseph’s, Junior

How many players still rock the Afro? Bembry does. Oh, he can ball, too. Philly needs the roster depth a two-way player like him could add.

25. Los Angeles ClippersDemetrius Jackson, G, Notre Dame, Junior

Jackson’s current game makes him a future NBA starting point guard. You heard it here. And the chance to learn behind Chris Paul? Oh, baby.

26. Philadelphia (from Oklahoma City via Denver and Cleveland)DeJounte Murray, G, Washington, Freshman

Murray: the polarizing prospect. He’s a lottery pick in some mocks, a second-rounder in others. He has the ability but needs development.

27. Toronto RaptorsThon Maker, F, Australia

A skilled, 7-foot Sudanese-Australian — the NBA is ready. But can the 19-year-old pan out? Let’s hope Toronto can assure he’s here to stay.

28. Phoenix Suns (from Cleveland via Boston)Timothe Luwawu, G, France

Usually European prospects are young. This guy is 21, and is a polished defensive wing. He could go higher but is a certain late-round gem.

29. San Antonio SpursTyler Ulis, G, Kentucky, Sophomore

How often do guys play two years at UK? Well, Ulis did and was a top college PG last year. Tony Parker is 34. Ulis = his future replacement.

30. Golden State Warriors Ben Bentil, F, Providence, Sophomore

Golden State lacked frontcourt depth down the stretch of the NBA Finals. So why not add a versatile guy like Bentil? And boy can he score.


Liner Notes

Photo credits: All photos by Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Top row: 1. Frederick Breedon; 2. Mitchell Layton; 3. Tom Pennington; 4. Dean Mouhtaropoulos; 5. Jim Rogash; 6. Jim Rogash. Second row: 7. Leon Bennett; 8. Ezra Shaw; 9. Eric Francis; 10. Justin Edmonds; 11. Kevin C. Cox; 12. Michael Hickey. Third row: 13. Jamie Squire; 14. Andy Lyons; 15. Ayhan Mehmet/Anadolu Agency; 16. Roberto Serra/Iguana Press; 17. Ronald Martinez; 18. Jamie Squire Fourth row: 19. Courtesy of FIBA.com; 20. Jamie Squire; 21. Lance King; 22. Grant Halverson; 23. Streeter Lecka; 24. Ezra Shaw. Bottom row: 25. Streeter Lecka; 26. Gene Sweeney Jr; 27. Kelly Kline; 28. BCmegabasket; 29. Jonathan Daniel; 30. Grant Halverson

Aaron Dodson is a sports and culture writer at Andscape. He primarily writes on sneakers/apparel and hosts the platform’s Sneaker Box video series. During Michael Jordan’s two seasons playing for the Washington Wizards in the early 2000s, the “Flint” Air Jordan 9s sparked his passion for kicks.