With the 2016 NBA Draft Combine set to get underway in Chicago this week, the NBA and its talent evaluators will gather in one spot, which is when the action of the draft season really starts.
Not only will teams be talking with and evaluating draft prospects, the Combine is also where the two remaining coaching jobs likely get filled and where the seeds of draft-day trades begin to be laid.
Basketball Insiders will be on site with a ton of interviews and insight on the 2016 NBA Draft class, including dropping our first weekly Consensus Mock Draft.
In advance of that, it seemed smart to drop an updated Mock Draft and some notes that are starting to flow out of the process:
While opinions at this point vary greatly, there are some things starting to make their way around the NBA that are worth commenting on. Here are a few:
Ingram has turned into the darling of the 2016 NBA Draft class mainly because some teams soured on potential top pick Ben Simmons’ season at LSU. However, while it is popular to bash the top guy at this point in the calendar, few executives who would comment on the concept would admit to taking Ingram over Simmons.
All said basically the same thing: Ingram is a compelling and interesting prospect, but few saw his ceiling as being higher than Simmons’ and that if it we’re their pick (and it wouldn’t be for most), they would have a hard time taking Ingram with the top overall selection.
The upside for Ingram is that almost uniformly everyone who commented said it was doubtful that he wouldn’t go in the top two and almost none of the executives believed there was anyone below Ingram who could unseat him unless something surfaced in his medical review.
The talk on Bender is mixed. There are some real Bender fans among talent evaluators, with some believing he could be as very serious NBA player and possible high-level starter. The problem with Bender is sample size. He did not play a huge role for Maccabi and while he has been thoroughly scouted and evaluated, there are many who still don’t feel like they have a real read on Bender yet and are eager to work him out and meet with him.
The prevailing commentary is that, unlike Kristaps Porzingis (who was ready to play in the NBA right away), Bender may need more time. Bender has favorable buyout language in his Maccabi deal, so getting to the NBA next season really will not be a problem. The question becomes how good is he really and how long will it take for him to acclimate to the NBA game?
Few talent evaluators see a better point guard in the 2016 NBA Draft class than Dunn. But with that said, almost none of them thought Dunn was a day one starter in the NBA and many wonder if he can become enough of a scorer – more specifically a shooter – to be a high-impact guard.
Dunn’s defense, playmaking and maturity are appealing in a draft class lacking many go-to options. There is little doubt that Dunn will be the first point guard taken in the 2016 NBA Draft, but it’s clear that many of the teams considering him don’t view him as a future star in the NBA, which could just be a lowering of the bar on what Dunn’s NBA ceiling could be.
If only Buddy were two years younger. That’s a common comment from evaluators on Hield as a draft pick. There is no question Hield might be the most ready to contribute player in the draft class, but his age is a problem for many teams. As one executive framed it, a 23-year-old should dominate in college, especially when facing younger, less experienced players. But at the next level when Hield isn’t the most polished guy on the floor, does he have the athleticism and quickness to be anything more than an outside shooter? Not that being an outside shooter is bad, it just makes it hard to put Hield in the top three or four, where most of the teams covet a potential star.
Hield has a number of fans, so it’s safe to say he’ll be gone in the top 10, but in workouts he’s going to have to prove he has NBA-level speed and quickness, which is likely why he is working with renowned trainer Tim Grover, who has a long history of helping guys dial up their athleticism for draft workouts.
The NBA Combine gets underway Wednesday night with face-to-face meetings. The on-court work will begin on Thursday and conclude Friday with complete medical evaluations taking place through Sunday.
From there most of the prospects will start individual workouts that will carry them right up to the 2016 NBA Draft on June 23 in New York.
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