This article is part of our NBA Mock Draft series.
With the lottery order now officially set, here's a look at my first 2016 mock draft, taking into account team needs, player fits, and Combine/workout performances.
1. PHILADELPHIA 76ERSBen Simmons, F, LSU
This Simmons/Ingram debate has a little bit of an Okafor/Towns feel to it, in that Simmons was, hands-down, the consensus No. 1 pick heading into the college season and that's no longer the case. While he's lived up to the hype, individually, Simmons turned in a few bizarre performances down the stretch as LSU limped to a 3-9 finish amid questions about his effort level. Meanwhile, Ingram's stock has continued to pick up steam, and as of mid-May the debate has become, more or less, a matter of preference.
Simmons' shooting ability remains a legitimate concern, but he's an elite rebounder for his size and passes at a level that can't be taught. As bare as Philly's roster is, overall, the Sixers are already loaded with frontcourt assets -- especially if Joel Embiid stays healthy -- but Simmons is enough of a talent to outweigh the detriments of rostering five high-upside big men. Ideally, Simmons turns into a good enough jump-shooter to play the wing, but in the meantime the 76ers could look to move one of Embiid, Nerlens Noel, or Jahlil Okafor.
2. LOS ANGELES LAKERSBrandon Ingram, F, Duke
While the odds were technically in their favor, the Lakers have to feel like they dodged a bullet Tuesday night. For the second straight year, LA will keep its pick and have a chance to land one of the prizes in what's considered a two-player draft. It's unclear if Simmons or Ingram is the Lakers' preference, but they'll be happy to land either one. On paper, Ingram seems like the better fit. He's the more raw of the two, overall, but is a much better shooter and defender who would immediately step in and start at the three. It's been an unprecedentedly rough three years for the Lakers, but a Russell-Clarkson-Ingram-Randle foursome would be among the NBA's two or three best young cores.
3. BOSTON CELTICS (via Brooklyn)Dragan Bender, F, Israel
Barring the unforeseen, Boston will miss out on the two true prizes of the draft, but at No. 3 they'll have a number of options. Bender seems to be somewhat of a consensus choice after Simmons/Ingram, though opinions on the rangy forward figure to evolve as he goes through the workout process. The Celtics don't have any glaring positional needs, but they have plenty of guard depth, so adding a Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray to the mix wouldn't make a ton of sense. That said, No. 3 isn't where Boston wanted to be, so don't rule out Danny Ainge working a draft-night trade, especially with Boston holding two of the top 23 selections.
4. PHOENIX SUNSBuddy Hield, G, Oklahoma
Phoenix probably pounces on Bender here if Boston goes in another direction. If not, the Suns will have their choice of several dynamic guards. With Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Devin Booker already in place, Phoenix will have to consider the consequences of adding yet another backcourt player, but Hield would bring the offensive firepower to give Earl Watson one of the better top-four guard rotations in the league. Booker will likely see considerable time at small forward next season, and Hield could even shift up to the three in certain lineups.
Like Boston, Phoenix owns three-first round picks, so GM Ryan McDonough figures to be busy testing the market come draft night.
5. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVESJamal Murray, G, Kentucky
Minnesota finished second only to Milwaukee in made threes last season, so acquiring shooting to surround Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio should be the Wolves' top priority. They'd be happy to grab either Hield or Murray here, but Murray's ability to play on the ball would provide Tom Thibodeau with two options to slide between both guard spots depending on whether or not Rubio is on the floor.
6. NEW ORLEANS PELICANSKris Dunn, G, Providence
This seems like a perfect fit for both sides. The Pelicans are in an uncertain place with both Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday entering the final years of their respective deals, and Dunn would step in as Anthony Davis' sidekick of the future. Dunn isn't a great shooter, but he's excellent in the pick-and-roll and defends both backcourt spots an an elite level. Next season could be a bit of a transition year in New Orleans if both Holiday and Evans remain on the roster, so Dunn might take a backseat before grabbing the reins full-time in 2017-18.
7. DENVER NUGGETSJaylen Brown, G, California
Emmanuel Mudiay is in place and the Nuggets have a number of young frontcourt assets, so targeting a combo guard/forward makes sense. The returns of Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari could keep Brown from stepping into a major role right away, but he's still early in his development so that might not be the worst scenario.
8. SACRAMENTO KINGSDenzel Valentine, G, Michigan State
Valentine has been projected all over the first round, and I think Sacramento takes a chance here on one of the best playmakers in the draft. It might be a bit of a reach, but the Kings have swung and missed on a number of shooting guards in recent drafts and are desperate for a stable option. Valentine's floor is considerably higher than that of Jimmer Fredette, Nik Stauskas or Ben McLemore, and he could also offer part-time help at the point if Rajon Rondo signs elsewhere this summer.
9. TORONTO RAPTORS (via New York)Henry Ellenson, F, Marquette
The Raptors' roster could look dramatically different next season, but the power forward position has been an area of need for a couple of years now. Luis Scola will almost certainly move on this summer, while Patrick Patterson's deal is up in 2017, opening the door for Ellenson to step in as a building block as Masai Ujiri begins to really put his fingerprints on this roster. Ellenson's production at the college level was elite, but his outside shooting ability has been exaggerated (29% 3PT, 3.2att./game). He'll need to refine his three-point shot into the mid-30% range to truly fill out his potential at the next level.
10. MILWAUKEE BUCKSMarquese Chriss, F, Washington
I really like Timothe Luwawu here, but it's unclear if the Bucks' have legitimate interest, so I'll go with Chriss. Most speculation around Milwaukee's pick has centered on big men: Chriss, Jakob Poeltl, Skal Labissiere, among others. The Bucks could certainly use help at the four, but acquiring outside shooting has to be priority No. 1 after ranking dead last in made threes last season. Chriss is far from a prolific outside shooter, but he hit 35% of his 60 attempts as a freshman and is much further along in that regard than Poeltl or Labissiere. Jabari Parker still seems a couple of years away from developing a respectable three-point shot, so Chriss would be a welcomed contrast off the bench.
11. ORLANDO MAGICJakob Poeltl, F/C, Utah
Aaron Gordon is Orlando's future at power forward, and Nik Vucevic is locked up through 2019, so Poeltl steps in as the third big, capable of playing both spots. It's not a perfect fit, but the Magic could use the influx of size, especially if Dewayne Dedmon signs elsewhere as a restricted free agent. While Poeltl probably isn't a future star at the NBA level, he has the physical tools to score in the paint and projects as an above-average defender.
12. UTAH JAZZSkal Labissiere, F/C, Kentucky
I'm not a huge believer in Labissiere after a woefully underwhelming freshman season, but he recently worked out for a number of NBA teams and reportedly wowed those in attendance. His blend of size and skill should be enough to keep him from falling beyond the lottery, and a team like Utah, with Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors firmly in place, can afford to take a gamble on Labissiere's upside at No. 12. Of course, the Jazz have a glaring need at point guard, so it's certainly possible they look to fill that with Demetrius Jackson, Tyler Ulis or Wade Baldwin. But Utah also gets Dante Exum back from injury, so adding another lottery point guard to the mix could complicate things long-term.
13. PHOENIX SUNS (via Washington)Timothe Luwawu, F, France
Luwawu's name has been increasingly thrown around the last few months, and it's difficult to get a read on where, exactly, his stock stands. Talent-wise, he might be a top-10 prospect, but he's a relatively unproven commodity who might not be ready to contribute in more than a minor role right way. On film, Luwawu has the appearance of a Nic Batum-lite, a prototypical 3-and-D wing who already has a nice stroke from beyond the arc.
14. CHICAGO BULLSDeyonta Davis, F, Michigan State
Whether the Bulls accept it or not, they're heading toward at least some degree of a rebuild as the core of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson ages, while Jimmy Butler's future with the organization remains somewhat clouded. Even if Noah is back next season, Chicago will need to add depth to replace the likely departure of Pau Gasol. Davis would be somewhat of a redundancy after the Bulls took Bobby Portis in 2015, but Gibson's deal is up next summer and Davis' upside is high enough to warrant the gamble.
15. DENVER NUGGETS (via Houston)Malik Beasley, G, Florida State
The Nuggets double down on aggressive wings and go with Beasley after jumping on Jaylen Brown at No. 7. Shooting guard isn't exactly an area of need, but it's tough to look at the roster GM Tim Connelly has assembled and point to a glaring hole. Beasley brings size and elite perimeter scoring to a team that ranked 25th in three-point percentage last season.
16. BOSTON CELTICS (via Dallas)Furkan Korkmaz, G, Turkey
Korkmaz has already negotiated a buyout into his Turkish club team contract, but it's no guarantee that he'll come to the NBA next season. The 6'7" wing is believed to be seeking a lottery guarantee, though a team with Boston's' considerable guard depth could grab Korkmaz here with the luxury of waiting until 2017-18 to bring him over -- a scenario that might appease both sides.
17. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIESDemetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
Whether Mike Conley signs elsewhere or not, Memphis will be in need of help at point guard with Mario Chalmers also set to hit free agency. The debate between Jackson and Wade Baldwin is a matter of preference. As an in-state college product, Baldwin might be the fan favorite, but Jackson is the more accomplished player, and he tested well at the Combine, helping to mitigate concerns about his height.
18. DETROIT PISTONSWade Baldwin, PG, Vanderbilt
Detroit is set at point guard with Reggie Jackson, but they can't go into next season with Steve Blake as the backup. There are still 18-20 minutes available behind Jackson, and Baldwin revealed at the Combine that teams have told him he could play both guard spots and defend up to three positions given his 6'11.5" wingspan.
19. DENVER NUGGETS (via Portland)Taurean Prince, F, Baylor
Dreadlocks aside, Prince compares favorably to a DeMarre Carroll type. A big, physical wing, Prince figures to make his mark on the defensive end early on, but he's a capable three-point shooter who could even spend some time at the four in certain small-ball lineups.
20. INDIANA PACERSDomantas Sabonis, F, Gonzaga
Sabonis' stock is all over the first round depending on who you ask, but Indiana would be thrilled to land the versatile forward this late. He's not an elite athlete, and his measurements were somewhat disappointing, but Sabonis is a polished scorer around the rim who rebounds well and flashed increased shooting range as a sophomore last season. The 20-year-old would be a strong tag-team partner with Myles Turner, as Ian Mahinmi and Jordan Hill both head into the summer as unrestricted free agents.
21. ATLANTA HAWKSCheick Diallo, F/C, Kansas
Diallo isn't going to fill the void left by Al Horford, should he leave the Hawks this summer, but he's the kind of high-upside big man Atlanta could use if it opts to begin any sort of rebuild. The freshman is a strong athlete who was among the standouts at the Combine, and the fact that he announced he's staying in the draft shortly after could be an indication that he has a promise late in the first-round.
22. CHARLOTTE HORNETSMalcolm Brogdon, G, Virginia
This might be slightly high for Brogdon, but he reportedly blew the Hornets away in his pre-Combine meeting. As a 23-year-old, Brogdon's upside is considered relatively low, though he's among the most NBA-ready players in the draft, with an especially high floor. The reigning ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year could step in as a key bench contributor for Charlotte, a team looking to stay in the perennial playoff picture, from day one.
23. BOSTON CELTICSJuan Hernangomez, F, Spain
This pick may not even belong to Boston by the time it comes around, but assuming it remains in Danny Ainge's hands I think he goes with a draft-and-stash with the Celtics' third selection of the first round.
24. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (via Miami)DeAndre' Bembry, G/F, Saint Joseph's
Bembry was on the fence about fully participating at the Combine, but he came away a winner after a pair of strong 5-on-5 performances Thursday and Friday. A versatile scorer at the college level, Bembry fills an immediate need for Philly, which is anything but set at the shooting guard spot.
25. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERSBrice Johnson, F, North Carolina
Cole Aldrich was shockingly passable as DeAndre Jordan's backup for much of the year, but the Clippers are due for an upgrade. While Johnson has his faults -- he's not a great defender and has limited shooting range -- he's an elite athlete and a four-year college player who markedly improved each year. Johnson, who admitted at the Combine that he'll need to add weight, should be ready to accept a bench role right away.
26. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (via Oklahoma City)Dejounte Murray, G, Washington
With its third first-round pick, Philadelphia has some room to take a gamble on one of the biggest risk/reward players in the draft. It wouldn't be surprising if Murray ended up going higher, but questions remain about his jumpshot and NBA-readiness after one up-and-down year at Washington. Murray could play both backcourt spots at the next level, but at 6'5" he's an intriguing enough point guard prospect to warrant a flyer here.
27. TORONTO RAPTORSDiamond Stone, F/C, Maryland
With Bismack Biyombo likely headed elsewhere this summer, the Raptors will need to replace the depth behind Jonas Valanciunas. While Stone isn't ready to give Toronto the kind of production Biyombo has provided in the playoffs, he's a high-upside prospect who dominated, at times, in the Big Ten. Stone has excellent footwork for his age and is a strong rebounder, despite his relatively average athleticism.
28. PHOENIX SUNS (via Cleveland)Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky
The SEC Player of the Year could end up going much higher, but after he weighed in at just 149 pounds -- 11 fewer than anyone else in Combine history -- teams could move him down a few spots. There's no question Ulis is an elite playmaker, but his size will probably prevent him from being viewed as a starter, at least early on. Phoenix is set at point guard, but Ulis would be a nice upgrade over unrestricted free agent Ronnie Price behind the Knight/Bledsoe duo.
29. SAN ANTONIO SPURSJoel Bolomboy, F, Weber State
Boosted by a strong showing at the Combine, Bolomboy's stock has steadily risen over the past few weeks. Whether he's ultimately able to sneak into the first round remains to be seen, but San Antonio would be a nice fit with the careers of Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw and free-agent-to-be David West all on the downslope.
30. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORSBen Bentil, F, Providence
Golden State has anything but glaring needs as the draft approaches, but Bentil is a versatile piece who could help compensate for the likely departure of Harrison Barnes in free agency. At 6'8.25" with a nearly 7'2" wingspan, Bentil has prototypical size to vacillate between both forward spots and is athletic enough to guard up to three positions. An explosive scorer at the college level, Bentil wouldn't be asked shoulder much of the offensive load for Golden State, but he has the tools to be a dangerous inside-out threat.