The 2016 NBA draft had several players that are very influential to the NBA right now. This class consisted of four all-stars and dozens of impressive players that are border-line all-stars at least. Many of these players went way later than they should have, leaving many teams filled with regret. Here is what the draft would look like if the teams knew what we knew today:
1. Philadelphia 76ers
With the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select: Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam was originally selected 27th overall by the Toronto Raptors. Not only was that the biggest steal of the draft, but it may also have been the biggest steal of the decade. Siakam started off slow only averaging 4.2 points per game and 3.4 rebounds, but he now averages 23.6 points per game and 7.5 rebounds. On the Raptors right now, he is leading them to the #2 seed and dark-horse contenders in the East.
The 76ers originally selected Ben Simmons with this pick. Ben Simmons is already a two-time all-star and is Joel Embiid’s counterpart. The 76ers almost made the Conference Finals with Simmons, but haven’t been able to get there yet and have b worse this year.
The argument for the 76ers drafting Simmons in this re-draft is strong, but Siakam is a slightly better player as of now. Joining Joel Embiid, the 76ers would have a new direction with Siakam being the other superstar, someone who can actually shoot. With all of their assets, they’d be bound to get more stars on the roster to help these two. Whether or not they’d make the NBA finals with Siakam is unclear, but their chances are better than with Ben Simmons.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
With the second pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select: Brandon Ingram
Like in the original draft, the Lakers take Brandon Ingram. Ingram didn’t really work out with the Lakers, but immediately became an all-star after being traded to New Orleans. If the Lakers knew that he’d become this good in his fourth season, (just assume he would for the sake of this redraft) then the Lakers may never have the need for Anthony Davis because they’d have Ingram and Lonzo, both of whom are in the midst of breakout seasons, and the Lakers would have LeBron James, and when father time (if it ever does) would catch up with him, the Lakers would still be contenders.
3. Boston Celtics (Via Brooklyn)
With the third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select: Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons was originally selected first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, but he was replaced by Pascal Siakam.
The Boston Celtics had originally selected Jaylen Brown with this pick. Brown has been a fantastic player for the Celtics. He had a disappointing rookie season, averaging just 6.6 points per game, but he is now a border-line all-star averaging 20.4 points and is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.
Like with Siaka over Simmons, plenty could make the case for taking Jaylen Brown, but Simmons is much more versatile with his position and is a better player straight up. The Celtics’ current Power Forward is Kelly Olynyk and Simmons would play the Point Forward at the four while Isaiah Thomas would hold down the fort at Point Guard. Simmons is an underrated defender who would’ve been a huge help against LeBron in their two Conference Finals matchups.
4. Phoenix Suns
With the fourth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select: Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray was originally selected seventh overall by the Denver Nuggets. Right off the bat, Murray was a pretty solid player. By his second season, Murray was already a borderline all-star. Murray continues to be a great Point Guard for the Nuggets who is a huge part of their core as they contend in the Western Conference.
The Phoenix Suns had originally selected Dragan Bender with this pick. Bender has been… well… underwhelming to say the least. He has never averaged more than 6.7 points per game despite being the fourth overall pick. He is currently on the Warriors, where he is attempting to save his career.
Murray on the Suns would give Booker a real Point Guard to play beside. Booker has never really had a near all-star caliber Point Guard. The Suns would have the young frontcourt of their dreams and would possibly even reach the playoffs with Booker for once.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
With the fifth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select: Domantas Sabonis
Domantas Sabonis was originally selected 11th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder. After his slow rookie season, he was traded to Indiana in the Paul George trade. In Indiana, he immediately made an impact going from averaging 5.9 points, to 11.6 in his sophomore year. Currently, Sabonis is an all-star coming off an 18.5 point, 12.4 rebounds, 5 assists per game season.
The Timberwolves originally selected Kris Dunn with this pick. Kris Dunn hasn’t exactly been a bust, but he has been nothing short of a disappointment. He did have two solid seasons, but his injuries took away from that. Dunn has had a relatively healthy season this year, but the Bulls are preferring Coby White and Tomas Satoransky over him.
Not much would have changed if the Timberwolves had drafted Sabonis. Desperate to surround Karl Anthony-Towns with more talent, they still would’ve gone ahead with the Jimmy Butler trade. The main difference would be for the Bulls, who now have a much more talented Power Forward and Lauri Markkanen.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
With the sixth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans select: Buddy Hield
Like in the original draft, the Pelicans will draft Buddy Hield. Hield would be traded to Sacramento for DeMarcus Cousins later in his rookie year. Hield had a disappointing first two seasons but broke out in his third to become one of the best shooters the game has to offer. Currently, he is still on the Kings where he is their sixth man.
7. Denver Nuggets (Via New York)
With the seventh pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets select: Dejounte Murray
Dejounte Murray was originally selected 29th overall by the San Antonio Spurs. Although Murray hasn’t quite developed the offense that the Nuggets would need, his defense is unparalleled in the league. He is also an excellent playmaker and he does shoot 37.8% from deep. He did miss the 2018-19 season with an injury, but his talent can’t be overlooked and he would be a nice fit for the Nuggets.
The Nuggets had originally selected Jamal Murray with this pick, but he was selected by the Phoenix Suns.
With Dejounte Murray, the Nuggets would have a new offensive approach. They’d now have two of the best playmakers in the game with Jokic and Dejounte Murray and no one would be able to know where the ball is going to go. Denver may not get the same success in the regular season without Jamal Murray, but they’d still be a formidable force in the Western Conference.
8. Phoenix Suns (Via Sacramento)
With the eighth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select: Taurean Prince
Taurean Prince was originally selected 12th overall by the Atlanta Hawks. Prince has been an ideal role player for a team who does a bit of everything. He’s a solid scorer, solid defender, solid rebounder, and solid shooter. He is the definition of an average starter. After spending three seasons on the Hawks, he was traded to the Nets where he hopes to help contend for a championship next year.
The Suns had originally selected Marquise Chriss. Chriss has been alright, but not something you’d want from the eighth overall pick. Currently, he is on the Warriors where he’s having one of his better seasons.
If the Suns had drafted right in this draft, they’d actually be a formidable opponent. They’d have a starting five on Jamal Murray, Devin Booker, TJ Warren, Taurean Prince, and Alex Len. That five is a starting lineup that could indeed make the playoffs. The Suns had a wonderful opportunity with two top-ten picks, but they blew it.
9. Toronto Raptors (Via Denver)
With the ninth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors select: Caris LeVert
Caris LeVert was originally selected 20th overall by the Brooklyn Nets. Although LeVert has been struggling with injuries, he’s been phenomenal when healthy. Currently still on the Nets, he’s averaging 17.7 points per game on 38.1% shooting from deep.
The Raptors had originally selected Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl has been a solid backup Center for the entirety of his career. He is currently on the San Antonio Spurs backing up LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Raptors drafting LeVert would’ve been a very interesting scene. LeVert is a great scorer and floor-spacer who would give DeMar DeRozan valuable floor spacing. It is likely that LeVert and DeRozan would end up being traded for Kawhi, but LeVert deserves to be in the top ten.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
With the 10th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks select: Ivica Zubac
Ivica Zubac was originally selected 32nd overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Zubac quickly outplayed that draft spot and is currently the starting Center on the Los Angeles Clippers. Zubac had been averaging 7.3 points and 5.4 rebounds for his career, but he is currently having his best season.
The Milwaukee Bucks had originally selected Thon Maker with this pick. Maker was once considered the best prospect in that draft, but then it was discovered that Maker may have been several years older than he claimed. To this day, we are still unsure of what Maker’s true age is. Because of this, he fell to tenth in the draft where he proceeded to be a bust and was traded to Detroit where he continued to be a bust.
If the Bucks had drafted Zubac, they’d have their starting Center. It is important to remember that Zubac hasn’t gotten many minutes with the Clippers because his backup is Montrezl Harrell. Zubac would give the Bucks that young Center they’ve been missing and Giannis and Middleton would have someone they can rely on to rebound.
11. Oklahoma City Thunder (Via Orlando)
With the 11th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select: Jakob Poeltl
Jakob Poeltl was originally selected eighth overall by the Toronto Raptors. Poeltl spent several seasons on the raptors before he was traded to San Antonio where he is now.
The Thunder originally drafted Domantas Sabonis with this pick, but he was now selected fifth overall by the Thunder.
Having Poeltl would give the Thunder the backup Center they need. He wouldn’t be a huge difference-maker for the Thunder, but he’d help them win another game or two.
12. Atlanta Hawks (Via Utah)
With the 12th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks select: Furkan Korkmaz
Although Korkmaz missed his first season, he became one of the better shooters in the league. Currently on the Philadelphia 76ers, where he was drafted 26th overall, he is scoring 9.7 points per game on 39.7% shooting from deep.
The Hawks had originally selected Taurean Prince, but Prince was selected eighth overall by the Phoenix Suns.
The Hawks having Korkmaz wouldn’t be much of a dropoff from Prince. They’d need to sign another Small Forward in free agency because they wouldn’t have one for a season, but they’d make do as Schroder and Millsap together were a solid duo.
13. Sacramento Kings (Via Washington)
With the 13th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select: Marquese Chriss
Marquesse Chriss was originally selected eighth overall by the Phoenix Suns. At 6’9, he is capable of playing both the Power Forward and the Center. For his career, he’s scoring 8.0 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game. Currently he is on the Warriors where he is having the best season of his career.
The Kings had originally selected Georgios Papagiannis with this pick. Papagiannis has been nothing short of a bust as he only played 39 games over two seasons and is now out of the league.
Marquiese Chriss is a major upgrade over Papagiannis as a backup big for Sacramento. The Kings have needed some depth at Center ever since DeMarcus Cousins left. Chriss wouldn’t be a game-changer, but he’d be a nice depth piece for the future.
14. Chicago Bulls
With the 14th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select: Jake Layman
Jake Layman was originally selected 47th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers. Layman surpassed all odds by becoming a solid role player out of the second round. Layman is averaging 5.3 points for his career but is averaging 9.1 this season.
The Bulls had originally selected Denzel Valentine with this pick. Valentine has been a solid player and has a similar playstyle to Layman, but Layman is more consistent at this point in their careers.
Not much would change for the Bulls; their lineup would be slightly better and they’d win around two more games in each season at best, but he’s a better pick than Valentine as of now.