Redrafting the 2016 NBA Draft: Updated No. 1 pick plus new landing spots for Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, Nets’ Ben Simmons

Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics

The 2016 NBA Draft turns out to be one of the best in recent times.

The draft started strong with Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown. There were a number of errors in the rest of the lottery, but several teams went on to win Gold with their picks later in the draft.

To name a few, Toronto grabs Pascal Siakam at No. 27, San Antonio grabbed Dejounte Murray at No. 29, and Milwaukee, who grabbed Malcolm Brogdon at No. 36. Oh, and Fred VanVleet, Gary Payton II and Alex Caruso weren’t called up.

Six years later, most players in the 2016 NBA draft are entering their prime, making it an interesting time to revisit the top picks with a good old-fashioned redraft. Up to the task are TSN’s Kyle Irving and Scott Rafferty, who took turns picking picks, making their selections based on who they felt most deserved to go on the spot rather than what the team needs most.

I have it? Big. Let us begin.

MORE: Yes, Ben Simmons is now the NBA’s most underrated player

Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics

Revision of the 2016 NBA draft

1. Jaylen Brown, 76ers

Original selection: Ben Simmons

If the ’76ers reconsidered that choice, I’d have a hard time believing they’d go with anyone other than Brown. As great as Ingram, Siakam and Simmons were, Brown just has that “it” factor you look for in a #1 pick.

The Celtics were originally criticized for taking Brown third overall. He was seen as a limited offensive player who still had a lot to improve before worthy of a top-three pick. He’s done nothing in his six seasons in the NBA but grow as a player and develop into one of the premier two-way wings in the league.

Brown has been to four Eastern Conference Finals and most recently one NBA Finals. He’s averaged 24.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game over his past two seasons, and has developed a lethal pull-up jumper to match his explosive athleticism.

Consider what a potential Brown-Joel Embiid pairing might look like, and I’m not sure you’d find a better contender besides the Sixers’ all-star center and franchise player.

— Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)

2. Brandon Ingram, Lakers

Original choice: Brandon Ingram

I don’t think you can go wrong with Ingram, Siakam, or Simmons here. Siakam was the second-best player on a championship team and now has two All-NBA selections. Simmons, while flawed, is a consistent All-Star and one of the best defensemen in the NBA.

Ultimately, I chose Ingram because I think he still has the greatest potential of the three. Already a one-time All-Star, Ingram has made huge strides as a goalscorer and playmaker over the past few seasons, all coming together in the Pelicans’ first-round match against the Suns in the 2022 NBA playoffs when he posted 27.0 Points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.

If Ingram, 25, builds on that, he could easily become the top player in this draft class.

– Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)

3.Pascal Siakam, Celtics

Original choice: Jaylen Brown

Siakam, arguably the most accomplished player of this draft so far, was a no-brainer for me at #3. Scott has previously mentioned that he was the second-best player on a championship team, and his two All-NBA selections are the most in this class.

After the best season of his career, Siakam averaged 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists en route to an All-NBA Third Team selection last season. Siakam was an unlikely success story to go from being a relatively unknown player, who was drafted number 27 in the 2016 NBA draft, to one of the best players in the NBA.

It could be argued that he’s one of the most improved players in the entire league since his call-up, with MVPs like Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo also coming to mind.

– Irving

4. Ben Simmons, Suns

Original choice: Dragan Bender

Sure, Simmons hasn’t developed in the way everyone was hoping, but he’s still a monstrous defender, a great goalscorer in color and an elite passer. As I said above, I really took him into account at number 2. I don’t think Simmons should fall any lower.

— Rafferty

5. Jamal Murray, Timberwolves

Original choice: Kris Dunn

In Murray’s 2021-22 year of ACL rehab, let’s not forget how prolific the scoring guard is. The 25-year-old is one of the most talented youngsters in the league.

His 2019-20 playoff run was as impressive as it gets, scoring 142 points(!) in three games to help the Nuggets get past the Jazz in the first round. His two 50-point games and two 40-point games during this postseason are all you need to know about his ability to take on any contest or streak.

Murray will be quick to remind everyone how electrifying he can be when he returns to the pitch in 2022-23.

– Irving

Jamal Murray

6. Domantas Sabonis, Pelicans

Original choice: Pal Held

The 2016 NBA Draft produced seven All-Stars, two of whom received multiple picks.

The first: Simmons. The second? Sabonis.

Few players have undergone a transformation as dramatic as Sabonis since joining the NBA. The Lithuanian, once an inefficient foursome, is now a bloody center stage, averaging 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game over the past three seasons. He even shares some of the same visions as his father, making him one of the best passers at his position.

There’s no question that Sabonis is one of the most gifted offensive players in this class, but his defensive limitations keep him from cracking the top 5 in our redraft.

— Rafferty

7. Dejounte Murray, Nuggets

Original choice: Jamal Murray

Murray falling to 7th feels like a steal. The 25-year-old had to overcome an ACL injury after earning an All-Defensive Team selection as a sophomore in the NBA, but he has bounced back strongly.

Murray has emerged as one of the best full-backs in the league and his attacking game has developed well. He averaged career-best 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game last year, making him the first player to average those numbers in a single season.

For comparison, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson are the only players to ever reach the 20-8-8-2 threshold in a single season. You know you’re doing something right when you’re in the same sentence as these legends.

– Irving

8. Fred VanVleet, Kings

Original choice: Marquese Chriss

VanVleet didn’t hear his name in that draft at all. Crazy, right? He barely played in his rookie season with the Raptors, but he quickly rose from being one of the league’s sixth-best men to an All-Star thanks to the strength of his 3-point shooting and troublesome defense. Undrafted to Lottery Pick is quite a jump.

— Rafferty

9. Pal Hield, Raptors

Original selection: Jakob Poeltl

Hield has become one of the top 3-pointers in the NBA, averaging 3.0 3s per game at 39.8 percent shooting in his six-year career to date. He was the fastest player in NBA history to hit 1,000 3s, and no player in the league has hit more 3s than Hield in the past four seasons.

– Irving

10.Malcolm Brogdon, Bucks

Original choice: Thon Maker

Brogdon played 75 games in his rookie season. Since then he has only played over 60 games once. Injury concerns are real but he has proven a consistent point guard when healthy and peaked in 2020-21 when he averaged a career-best 21.2 points per game, along with 5.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds.

— Rafferty


11. Caris LeVert, Magic

Original selection: Domantas Sabonis

Injuries have derailed LeVert’s career path a bit, as he only played 50 or more games in a season three times in his six years in the league. But when the 28-year-old is healthy he has proven he can be a strong playmaker, averaging 14.6 points and 4.0 assists per game.

If LeVert stays healthy, he could become the sixth man of the year for the new-look Cavaliers next season.

– Irving

12. Alex Caruso, Jazz

Original choice: bull prince

Caruso’s numbers don’t jump off the page, but he’s an elite perimeter defender.

In this video you will learn everything you need to know:

Two minutes of Alex Caruso putting on the braces as guys tried to take on him last year:

— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) August 22, 2022

— Rafferty

13. Jakob Poeltl, Suns

Original choice: Georgios Papagiannis

Poeltl isn’t a flashy pick, but he’s turned into one of the NBA’s best rim protectors. The only players with more blocks than Poeltl over the past two seasons are Rudy Gobert and Myles Turner. That’s pretty decent company if you ask me.

– Irving

14. Dorian Finney-Smith, Bulls

Original choice: Denzel Valentine

Another star in his role, Finney-Smith had a career year in 2021-22, scoring 39.5 percent on his 3-point attempts and garnering some All-Defensive votes.

— Rafferty

The best players still available: Ivica Zubac, Malik Beasley, Gary Payton II, Bull Prince

Dave Gallo

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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