The NBA world may still be recovering this morning from an incredible Game 7 in Oakland on Sunday night, but that recovery will have to happen fast — we’re only three days away from the 2016 NBA draft. As we quickly transition into the 2016 offseason, let’s round up a few of the highlights from Chad Ford’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link), which features a handful of interesting draft tidbits…
- The Sixers have had “vigorous internal debates” about the No. 1 pick, with Brandon Ingram and Kris Dunn – who would both be good fits on the roster – receiving consideration. But, as Ford writes, the team keeps coming back to the fact that Ben Simmons is the best prospect in the draft in terms of “sheer talent and upside.” Ford adds that head coach Brett Brown believes he could find a way to use Simmons as a point guard of sorts.
- Although there has been some talk of the Lakers eyeing Marquese Chriss and Jaylen Brown at No. 2, Ford believes those prospects would only be in play for L.A. if the club acquired another lottery pick. Either Simmons or (more likely) Ingram figures to be the pick for the Lakers.
- The Celtics have come up empty so far in their trade talks involving the No. 3 selection. That doesn’t mean Boston will definitely keep the pick, but the team doesn’t have a deal it likes for the time being. If they keep the pick, the Celtics may be leaning toward Brown, who had a “terrific” workout in Boston, says Ford.
- The four players strongly in the mix for the Timberwolves at No. 5 are Brown, Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray, and Dragan Bender, according to Ford.
- While the Kings are “praying” that Buddy Hield falls to No. 8, Ford says Domantas Sabonis could be a dark horse candidate for that spot, since Sacramento is very high on him.
- We heard last week that Malachi Richardson may have received a promise from the Grizzlies at No. 17, and Ford’s mock draft does send Richardson to Memphis. However, the ESPN.com scribe notes that the Grizzlies are also very fond of Croatian big man Ivica Zubac, who could be in play for that slot.