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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 10:57 AM


The word is out: This is likely one of the deepest and richest drafts we've had in many a year - the first round will be a talent gold mine -- and so it's with great anticipation that we look forward to tonight's NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

In today's edition of Jim Sez, we offer up our NBA Mock Draft for the first round action only and - as we usually do in these web pages - we've tossed a couple of draft night trades into the mix ... enjoy!



1. PHILADELPHIA - Ben Simmons, F, LSU ... Only feels as if the 76ers are picking first each/every year but this one-and-done college stud has all the tools and can shoot with either hand. Is he the missing puzzle piece for a Philly team that's "tanked" forever?

2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS - Brandon Ingram, F, DUKE ... Smooth-shooting small forward surely needs to pack on a few lbs. but he showed in his one year in Durham that he's not afraid to take the big shot. An A+ player who could be immediate All-Star in this league.

3. BOSTON - Jaylen Brown, G, California ... Reports are the Celtics are debating this one heavily with Kentucky G Jamal Murray also in the mix but 6-foot-7 Brown runs the floor better and not afraid to get physical.

4. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (draft night trade with Phoenix) - Jakob Poeltl, PF, Utah ... The Clips need to change the culture of this team and so they trade off pick #25 and some future choices/bodies to land this premier seven-footer who has lots of skills.

5. MINNESOTA - Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky ... T-Wolves could turn in any number of directions here but they have this former 'Cat as a top five prospect, so it's a go!

6. NEW ORLEANS - Kris Dunn, PG, Providence ... Yes, we know everyone's mock draft has this former Friar going here, so kill us for being unoriginal.

7. DENVER - Skal Labissiere, PF, Kentucky ... Nuggets have three first-round picks in all and so they can "gamble" a bit here with 6-11 kid who saw limited minutes under John Calipari.

8. NEW YORK (draft night trade with Sacramento) - Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma ... The Knicks don't own a first-rounder (one of 10 NBA teams without one) but guru Phil Jackson packages next year's #1 to the Kings plus some bodies and winds up with killer scorer and so adding Hield and former Chicago PG Derrick Rose gets Big Apple hoops relevant again.

9. TORONTO - Dragan Bender, PF, Israel ... This 7-foot-1, 215-pounder is far from a project but we do see 'em slipping a bit in Round I (some drafts have 'em as high as the #3 pick)

10. MIAMI (draft night trade with Milwaukee) - Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington ... The Heat is one of those teams without a first-rounder but they exchange picks/bodies with the Bucks to slide in here and grab still-developing low post player.

11. ORLANDO - Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga ... Lots to like about this lefty who has keen passing skills and real feel for the game.

12. WASHINGTON (trade with ATLANTA after its three-way trade with UTAH and Indiana) - Henry Ellenson, PF/C, Marquette ... Gut feeling is that this dude is a special talent and likely deserves to be nabbed in the top 6 or 7 picks but Wizards deal into first round and scoop 'em up late in the lottery.

13. PHOENIX - Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State ... The Suns boned up their weakling roster with that aforementioned "mock" trade with the Clips and so now get some muscle on board with former Sparty.

14. CHICAGO - Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame - Told y'all in recent Jim Sez column that we believed this junior leader would skyrocket up the draft boards and Bulls pull the trigger here after big deal with New York. Now, Jackson gets reunited with former ND buddy Jerian Grant.

15. DENVER - Timothe Luwawu, SG, France ... Decent all-around wing player at 6-feet-7 and Nuggets plan to plug 'em in as immediate starter.

16. BOSTON - Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor ... Second of three opening-round picks for the C's and they opt for veteran (he's a rare senior) presence that most folks thought was in the 20-to-25 pick range.

17. INDIANA (draft night trade with Memphis) - Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina ... Pacers swapped their #20 overall pick plus other items to move up a touch here and grab a guy who will score 'round the hoop after already landing G Jeff Teague from Atlanta while trading off George Hill to Utah.

18. DETROIT - Ante Zizic, C, Croatia ... Pistons surprise/disappoint some by not taking Michigan State's Denzel Valentine but this 19-year-old can shoot and has fabulous "up-side".

19. DENVER - Wade Baldwin IV, PG, Vanderbilt ... Nuggets' third-and-final pick in Round One is stylish player who could have been a lottery pick.

20. MEMPHIS (draft night trade with Indiana) - Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky ... The Grizzlies need someone to replace free agent-to-be Mike Conley.

21. PORTLAND (draft night trade with ATLANTA - Ivica Zubac, C, Croatia ... Great hands and solid pick-and-roll player who gives the T-Blazers a much-needed inside presence. Note that Portland enters first round after Atlanta deals off both first-round to save moolah for F Al Horford.

22. LOS ANGELES LAKERS (draft night trade with Charlotte) - Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse ... Shades of the Kobe Bryant trade all those years ago as Lakers deal off D'Angelo Russell for this pick.

23. BOSTON - Furkan Korkmaz, SG, France ... Third and final opening-round choice for the Celtics who go international for 3-point specialist.

24. PHILADELPHIA - Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State ... Long fall for this Player of the Year co-favorite because of knee issues.

25. PHOENIX (draft night trade with LA Clippers) - Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Virginia ... Defensive whiz will be big help in half-court game for the Suns.

26. PHILADELPHIA - Cheick Diallo, C, Kansas ... Great Combine workout helped his cause even though he had lots of DNPs in college.

27. TORONTO - DeAndre' Bembry, F, St. Joseph's ... The Raptors have plenty of frontcourt needs and this do-it-all stud has plenty of big-game experience.

28. PHOENIX - Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State ... The reshaped Suns need some new blood from beyond the arc and this one-and-done guy fits the bill.

29. SAN ANTONIO - Juan Hernangomez, PF, Spain ... What would a draft be without the Spurs going international? This 6-foot-9, 225-pounder had monster season overseas and more polished than you think.

30, GOLDEN STATE - Damian Jones, PF, Vanderbilt ... No doubt the Warriors need some heft and this 7-footer, 250-pounder will be rim protector needed to combat LeBron James next June ... we may not be kidding.


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