With all due respect to our Editor, Zach Oliver, I couldn't help but find his recent mock draft a bit...lacking. Sure, it might line up with a lot of other mocks out there, but who's to say everyone else is right? Not me, that's for sure.
Never fear, faithful readers. After hours and hours of comprehensive research, I'm ready to present the most accurate mock draft you could possibly imagine. I used a combination of stats, exclusive interviews, and my own incredible insights, so you can be sure that these draft predictions are 110% accurate.
With the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Philadelphia 76ers will select the first overall pick of the 2017 draft, plus a conditional 2036 second rounder.
This move positions them well for the future, and adding assets is the surest chance that the Sixers can acquire a franchise player to lead the team.
The Lakers, in all likelyhood, will select Kobe Bryant with the second overall pick. This may seem surprising, given that Kobe announced his retirement, but I would counter that he stopped playing meaningful basketball years ago.
3, 16, 23) Boston Celtics
Exploiting a little-known loophole, the Celtics inexplicably trade Kevin Garnet and Paul Pierce to the Nets again, netting them 5 additional 2016 picks, despite the former holding the rights to neither player, and the latter holding the rights to no draft picks for the rest of time.
By assembling 13 picks in the same draft, Boston will be able to summon C'thulu and hold dominion over the NBA draft for millennia to come. However, they will still be unable to trade for a veteran star.
4, 13, 28) Phoenix Suns
I anticipate the Suns will trade down their picks for at least 12 second rounders, all of which will be spent drafting point guards to shore up their backcourt.
Tom Thibodeau's influence will quickly be felt at his new gig, as he makes the move to trade for Joakim Noah. When asked how he felt about the chance to play under Thibs again, Noah's entire right leg immediately shattered from the sheer mental stress of the thought.
Unfortunately, the Pelicans will be unable to make their selection, as their drft pck recently suffered a vowel injury.
Because the city of Denver is sooooo high, they'll probably draft...Denzel Valentine, who is likely used to the cold weather you experience at that altitude thanks to his time at Michigan State.
...wait, what did you think I was getting at?
As of right now, Vlade Divac is planning on a quarterback-first strategy and is looking at someone like Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck with his first round pick. It is Vlade's opinion that "Quarterbacks score the most points, so you gotta get as many of them as possible." He finished 9th in his 10-team league last season, but is looking to bounce back in a big way.
Raptors faithful should be pleased to know that Toronto's front office has their eyes on Game of Thrones' Ned Stark to lead The North. I've only seen part of the first season so far, but Stark's leadership has really impressed me, and I expect him to have a long and successful career.
10) Milwaukee Bucks
Looking to bring their successful "Fear the Deer" campaign to life, Milwaukee is eyeing Rocky The Bullwinkle with the 10th pick. While most teams are worried that he's a very raw talent with low basketball IQ, the Bucks are confident his energy and charisma will be a boon to the team.
11) Orlando Magic
The Magic have needs all over the roster, including playmaking, defense, and leadership. It's no surprise, then, that Orlando plans to draft LeBron James as they make their playoff push. This would be a controversial pick, but Rob Hennigan has a history of finding hidden gems, and James might just be the latest surprise star to hit the court.
12) Utah Jazz
While Utah front office has focused much of their scouting on several wing prospects, Gordon Hayward has reportedly made a quiet push to draft noted League of Legends star Yiliang "Doublelift" Ping of TSM. An anonymous source quotes Hayward's argument, at a recent meeting with GM Dennis Lindsay, "Doublelift has the potential to carry on a nightly basis, and his AD Carry mechanics are second-to-none."
14) Chicago Bulls
You might think, with Derrick Rose's recent departure, that the team might seek to find a new young point guard in the draft. What you didn't realize, however, is that Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, in a salary-cutting move, has already traded the pick for a pack of Juicy Fruit chewing gum.
15) Denver Nuggets
Denver's been under the influence for a few years now...under the influence of Michael Malone, that is! When asked about their plans for the first non-lottery pick of the draft, Malone replied, "If we can bolster our backcourt with someone like Furkan Korkmaz, I think that'd be pretty dope."
Rumor has it that Memphis is doing away with the "Grit n' Grind" era, and is instead building around the "Chuckles n' Chortles" philosophy. As such, they plan to select Indiana's Yogi Ferrell, operating under the theory that he's likely some kind of hybrid super-comedian.
18) Detroit Pistons
Given the results up to this point, it may surprise many readers that I expect Ben Simmons to fall this far. Rest assured, however, that the Pistons will take advantage and select him 18th. This represents an opportunity for them to acquire a talented young forward for basically nothing, as they did with Tobias Harris.
When reached for comment about the prospect of drafting Simmons, Stan Van Gundy stated, "It's lit, fam."
19) Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets will draft marijuana. Because Colorado. Ha ha ha.
Ok, you had to have seen this coming.
20) Indiana Pacers
Reportedly, much of the rift between President Larry Bird and ex-coach Frank Vogel was caused by the latter's inability or unwillingness to play a more up-tempo style. With Vogel out of the picture, team sources have identified Central City's Barry Allen as major target, if he's available. While there are some maturity issues, Allen is undoubtedly the quickest prospect available this year, and he should be a no-brainer first-rounder.
21) Atlanta Hawks
UConn's Daniel Hamilton isn't a highly regarded prospect, and doesn't even appear on some mock drafts. In fact, he rates very poorly in some advanced analytical projections. However, the Hawks pride themselves on being ahead of the curve and will probably scoop him up early. After some calculations of my own, it's easy to see why. I'm thrilled to announce the development of my own statistical projections, which I am calling "Advanceder Stats." Check out the numbers on Hamilton:
With these stats, it's easy to see how Hamilton is being underrated.
While I don't have information on any names at this time, it's abundantly clear that Charlotte is targeting a photoshop expert in the latter part of the first round. Owner Michael Jordan has placed a high priority on stamping out "Crying Jordan" memes, but NBA draftniks (myself included) consider the effort a losing battle.
24, 26) Philadelphia 76ers
The Collangelos and the Sixers, in the spirit of drafting disappointing or nonexistent international prospects, will use the 24th pick to trade for the rights to the Magic's Fran Vasquez. They will then immediately renounce Fran Vasquez's rights, and then use the 26th pick to draft Fran Vasquez. They expect he, along with Dario Saric, will be eager to join the team very soon.
The Clippers, home to The Hoopers (The All-Star Familyyyyyyy), are expecting to bring in creepy cousin Rondo. While he's never been the most affable member of the family, he's a hit with the kids thanks to his Connect 4 prowess.
27) Toronto Raptors
Toronto's greatest weakness, arguably, is that their team is composed solely of raptors. While certainly an intimidating creature, an all-raptor squad is poorly balanced. As such, look for them to add another dinosaur or two, likely from the Cretaceous period (e.g. Tyrannosaurus Rex, Tricerotops).
Let's be honest, you've never heard of the guy they're gonna draft, and he's still gonna be better than whoever your team gets.
Despite his poor Finals performance, the Warriors will likely be forced to use their 30th pick to draft Harrison Barnes's outrageously large contract. May God have mercy on their souls.