Welcome to the fourth installment of our Redraft series! For this post, I will examine the 2016 NBA Draft and all of the great players that were a member of this class. With the 2017 group being prevalent in the media and NBA Twitter, some people forget the type of talent that came to us in 2016. It was a top heavy draft with stars like Ben Simmons and Jaylen Brown going towards the top, but there was some value to be found later. Were you happy with who you team selected in the 2016 Draft? Would you like a do-over? Here’s how I would reselect these players with what we know now.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons (Ben Simmons)
To start things off, the Sixers would obviously still take Simmons. He is blossoming into a star in his “rookie” season and looks like he could become an all-timer. Simmons is still the prized prospect he was back in 2016 and he would still be a member of the Process in this redraft.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram (Brandon Ingram)
This pick presents the first real question of the redraft process. Both Brandon Ingram and Brown present as solid young wings who have the potential to become a go-to player for their teams. While I like Brown and what he means to the Celtics’ young core, Ingram has more star upside and (if the Lakers choose to put their time and effort into fully developing him) could really become great. His offensive talent is off the charts and he will be a great scoring wing for years to come, whether he is in the Purple and Gold or another jersey.
3. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown (Jaylen Brown)
In another standing-pat move, the Celtics reselect Jaylen Brown. Like stated above, Brown is a key player for the Celtics’ young group and will be relied on as a key piece as Boston looks to become a contending squad.
4. Phoenix Suns: Jamal Murray (Dragan Bender)
With the first shake-up of the draft, Jamal Murray lands in this spot over the Croatian Sensation. The backcourt duo of Murray and Devin Booker would be amazing offensively and would give the Suns a solid pairing to build their team around. While I still like Dragan Bender and think he could become a solid stretch big with some grooming, the upside of Murray is just too high to pass up in this spot.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Dejounte Murray (Kris Dunn)
The Timberwolves were looking for a young guard at this spot in 2016 but selected the wrong one. Kris Dunn, who has been revitalized in Chicago, did not work out in Minnesota as he was just not a good fir for that team. That being said, in this redraft the Wolves will select Dejounte Murray. Murray has been great as a member of the Spurs and is looking like an elite young guard for them who came at a great value (29th overall). He would fit right in to the Tom Thibodeau system as defensive star with some offensive skills, making him a great pick for Minnesota at this spot.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Dragan Bender (Buddy Hield)
Dragan Bender was a prospect that many expected to come to the NBA as a raw European big with the potential to become Kristaps-Lite. Unfortunately, he has not lived up to these expectations and is yet to truly make a name for himself on the Suns, who selected him at the fourth spot. In this redraft, he slips two spots to New Orleans. The Pelicans could have used a stretch big to pair alongside Anthony Davis to space the floor. Bender would have had a better chance to grow in New Orleans but he still has time to become a great member of the Suns.
7. Denver Nuggets: Malcolm Brogdon (Jamal Murray)
The player that would make the greatest jump in this redraft would be Malcolm Brogdon. He was originally taken 36th overall but has shown that he has what it takes to be a top member of this class. Brogdon would be a good fit for Denver at the seven spot. He would fit into the role of Murray fairly well and would give the Nuggets another great guard to add to their arsenal.
8. Sacramento Kings: Kris Dunn (Marquese Chriss)
For this redraft, we will assume that Sacramento would hold onto their pick and didn’t trade it away to the Suns in exchange for two other firsts and Bogdan Bogdanovic. If the Kings were to hold this pick, it would be an interesting choice for them. With a lot of the elite talent off the board and with the Kings’ vast amount of needs, the best course of action would be to take the best player available and see what he can do. This player would be Kris Dunn. Dunn, like I stated earlier, did a lot better in Chicago this past season and looks like a guy who could be a rebuilding piece for the Bulls. He would also do the same as a member of the Kings where he would get the usage he would need to shine.
9. Toronto Raptors: Domantas Sabonis (Jakob Poeltl)
In the rare instance of a top team getting a top ten pick, the Raptors acquired this pick in a traded that involved Andrea Bargnani back in 2013. Toronto, who finished second in the East that season, had a golden opportunity to grab a bright prospect and add him to their successful squad. They selected Jakob Poeltl, who has been a pretty good defensive backup center for their team, but hasn’t truly blossomed yet. In this redraft, their better option would be to take Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis would give the Raptors the stretch four they desired while also getting a player how has more potential and a higher upside than Poeltl.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jakob Poeltl (Thon Maker)
With Poeltl falling out of the nine spot, he won’t fall far as he will be snatched up by Milwaukee at tenth overall. With Giannis Antetokounmpo in tow and some other young dynamic wings, the Bucks needed a solid center to develop under Greg Monroe and take over when he leaves town. The debate between he and real life selection Thon Maker would have been interesting, as Maker brings his own strengths to the Bucks, but Poeltl is more of a finished product as a prospect and gives Milwaukee a better player now. Maker still has the upside to become something in the future, but right now Poeltl is the better player and deserves to go above him.
11. Orlando Magic: Buddy Hield (Domantas Sabonis)
The Orlando Magic, a team that has been rebuilding for a majority of this decade, had a lot of solid young players in 2016. They had good pieces of their current core in Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja and Nikola Vucevic and two players that were a part of their core in Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo. This team could have been great if the Magic had just held on a little longer, but that is a story for a different post. With this status, Orlando would go for a best player available approach and select Buddy Hield. Hield was a prospect that had a massive, if not overwhelming, amount of hype surrounding him when he declared in 2016. The hype beast was only fed when the Kings General Manager Vlade Divac compared him to Steph Curry when he acquired him. Regardless of this, Hield is still a solid wing player who is a good three point shooter. He would be a nice addition to a Magic team that could have really been great.
12. Utah Jazz: Taurean Prince (Taurean Prince)
While this pick looks like another repeat, it actually is not. Taurean Prince, who was selected by the Jazz in this spot, never played a minute for them. He was traded after the draft as a part of the Jeff Teague to Indiana and George Hill to Utah deal. Prince has done well in Atlanta and looks like a guy who is going to be a part of their rebuilding core, though he is already 24. In this redraft, I see the same pick being made without the trade. Prince would be a nice addition to the Jazz and would be another dynamic guy that they could rely on at the wing.
13. Phoenix Suns: Thon Maker (Georgios Papagiannis)
At this spot, there is also some team movement and reconfiguration. This pick in 2016 was given to the Kings as a part of the move up to eight for Chriss. If the Suns retained this selection, I see them taking their chance on a project who could become a good big man some day in Maker. He is still very raw but has shown some flashes of what he can be on the defensive side of the ball, especially as a shot blocker.
14. Chicago Bulls: Denzel Valentine (Denzel Valentine)
Rounding out the lottery as the last pick of this redraft is the Chicago Bulls. While Chicago could have used a young point guard to help take the place of an injured Derrick Rose, there are no good ones left at this point in the draft and to take one in this spot would be a massive reach. That being said, the Bulls’ best option is to go best player available and take a player they’re familiar with in Denzel Valentine. Valentine has been a good wing for Chicago this season as he has been given more playing time and usage in the offense. Valentine may be an older prospect at 24 but he is still very solid and is a player that Chicago would be happy to have on their roster.