By Kevin Sweeney
Expect a dramatic night in Brooklyn tonight as the 2016 NBA Draft gets underway. While the top 2 picks in the draft seem set in stone, as Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram appear to be the consensus choices to come off the board first, the drama will truly begin with the 3rd overall pick. With that being said, here are some of the biggest storylines for tonight’s draft.
Trades, Trades, and More Trades
As we’ve seen in the last 2 days, with Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague among the big-name players to change hands, NBA front offices are prepared to make lots of moves on draft night. The Celtics hold lots of control over what will happen tonight, as they own 8 picks, including the 3rd overall selection. With multiple teams looking to move up and grab former Providence point guard Kris Dunn or shooting guards Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray, the Celtics will have plenty of offers if they choose to make that pick available. Philadelphia reportedly has heavy interest in acquiring another top 5 pick to draft a guard that could help jump-start the long rebuilding process.
International Players Galore
One thing that seems certain about this draft is that there will be a lot of international players who never attended college drafted. DraftExpress’s latest mock draft projects 15 international players to be drafted, including 6 in the first round and 13 in the first 40 picks. At the top of that group is potential top-10 pick Dragan Bender, the Croatian forward who currently plays with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. Shooting guard Timothe Luwawu from France is also expected to be a lottery pick. Other interesting international prospects include Thon Maker, the well traveled teenager (maybe) looking to be draft straight out of a Canadian high school, and Zhou Qi, the gigantic Chinese center.
Former Mid-Major stars Rule Second Round
While there is no surefire first round pick in this year’s mid-major draft class, there are plenty of players who could be drafted in the second round that have the potential to contribute to an NBA team. Pascal Siakam, Joel Bolomboy, Kay Felder, and AJ English are among those projected to go in the second round. Felder, the diminutive point guard out of Oakland, made headlines this week after a Bleacher Report video released this week in which he calls himself “the best player in the 2016 draft”.
Meanwhile, Bolomboy and English have been steady risers throughout the process. Bolomboy, who averaged a double-double this season at Weber State, is expected to play on the wing in the NBA. English, a knockdown shooter at the point guard position, was named MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational and followed that up with a strong showing at the combine.
Overall, we are in for a wild ride tonight at the NBA Draft.