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A Look Back at the 2016 NBA Draft

A Look Back at the 2016 NBA Draft
By Isaac E

The decision to not do a mock draft provided an opportunity to look back and grade the 2016 NBA Draft. There is now three years since the selections took place and this is a reasonable amount of time to access winners and losers and close the book on the draft as we can access at this moment these future players trajectory. This little study also takes into account that the impact of acquisitions that took place on this night should have a three-year life span as several players have found roles in Europe, the G-League, or they of basketball and will not become a regular on an NBA roster.

Oklahoma City brilliantly used the draft to their advantage by acquiring the best player available after moving on from Serge Ibaka and then utilizing that asset to find the eventual replacement for Kevin Durant. The New York Knicks who did not have a selection in the NBA draft were the biggest losers as they continue to suffer for ill-advised trades. The Carmelo trade did impact the Knicks in this draft as they did not have a pick. However, their F comes from giving up a first-round pick for former number one pick Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani is officially retired creating a negative score and leaving the Knicks tied as the big loser of the 2016 NBA Draft. The Raptors pick Jakob Pöltl was part of the trade that acquired Kwahi Leonard and Danny Green from San Antonio, not a memorable moment in Knicks history.

The scoring only takes into account a direct trade and does not count a secondary move. Per example, the Timberwolves trading Kris Dunn to Chicago for Jimmy Butler and then Butler moved on to Philadelphia. The reason is this would create a never-ending loop and causes a loss of focus on the original draft value.

Scoring Matrix

1st RoundVALUES2nd Round
51st Team ALL NBA / Stat Champion / Other Awards7
42nd or 3rd Team ALL NBA6
3All Star Game5
-1G – League / Europe0
-3Out of Basketball-1


Oklahoma City Thunder (11.5)

The Thunder receive an A+ grade on their selection of Domantas Sabonis (2) as the 11th pick by the Orlando Magic. Sabonis, the son of the Basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis, became part of a trade that included Victor Oladipo to the Indiana Pacers in return for Paul George. Sabonis. The Magic traded the Sabonis on draft night along with Ersan İlyasova and Victor Oladipo in exchange for the Thunder sending Serge Ibaka to the Magic. After his rookie season, the Thunder traded Sabonis and Oladipo to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George (25). George has made named an NBA All-Star twice, All-NBA First Team, All-NBA Third Team, NBA All-Defensive First Team, and became the 2019 NBA steals leader as a member of the Thunder. The Thunder received more than the value of Oladipo and Sabonis combined and received an A+ for maximizing Sabonis’s value.

Philadelphia 76ers (10)

The Sixers drafted the eventual NBA Rookie of the Year, Ben Simmons (9) after he sat out a year due to injury. Simmons made his first All-Star team in 2019. Later in the first round, the Sixers selected Furkan Korkmaz (1) who currently is a role player off the bench.

Milwaukee Bucks (9)

The Bucks drafted Malcolm Brogdon (8) in the second round. Brogdon was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2017. Brogdon became the first player selected in the second round to win Rookie of the Year since 1965. The Bucks drafted Thon Maker in the first round and packaged him in the deal that brought in Nikola Mirotic (1) who provided value off the bench during Milwaukee’s playoff run to the Eastern Conference Finals.


Los Angeles Lakers (5.5)

The Lakers moving Brandon Ingram (2) as part of a deal that will allow them to acquire Anthony Davis (33) provided a value for Ingram that gives them an A- grade for the pick. Anthony Davis graded out with a whopping total of 33 in value over the past three years. The trade which included six assets back to the Hornets which are rated evenly dilutes the value of Davis acquisition for this pick to one-sixth of Davis value to a 5.5.


Boston Celtics (5.2)

The Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown (2) with the third pick, Guerschon Yabusele (1) in the middle of the first round, and Ante Zizic late in the first round. Zizic became part of the deal that allowed the Celtics to acquire Kyrie Irving (13).

Toronto Raptors (5)

The Raptors drafted Pascal Siakam (2) a starter and key contributor for the NBA champions. The Raptors, as mentioned above, used the 9th pick to help them acquire Leonard and Green from San Antonio.

Denver Nuggets (4)

The Nuggets still benefiting from the Carmelo Anthony trade drafted starting point guard Jamal Murray (2), and two bench contributors Malik Beasley (1) and Juan Hernangómez (1) all in the first-round.

Atlanta Hawks (3)

The Hawks drafted eventual starter Taurean Prince (2) and rotation player off the bench DeAndre’ Bembry (1).


New Orleans Pelicans (2)

The Pelicans were one of the few teams that received value from their second-round pick in Cheick Diallo (2) who is a current contributor off the bench for the team.

Sacramento Kings (2)

The Kings traded the eight pick in the draft for Bogdan Bogdanovich (1) and Caleb Swanigan (1). Both players helped the Kings finish with a 39-43 record this season their best finish since 2005.

San Antonio Spurs (2)

The Spurs continued their ability to excel in the draft with their selection of Dejounte Murray (2). Murray is a starter and possible future star who unfortunately missed this past season with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in the preseason.


Chicago Bulls (1)

The Bulls used the 14th pick in the draft to select Denzel Valentine (1). Valentine is a performer off the bench but missed the past season due to injury.

Golden State Warriors (1)

The Warriors drafted Damian Jones (1) with the last pick in the first round. Jones is still on the Warriors and comes off the bench.


Charlotte Hornets (0)

The Hornets traded the 22nd pick for Bruno Caboclo who is no longer part of the team.

Cleveland Cavaliers (0)

The Cavaliers did not have a pick in the first round due to final aftermath of the Lebron James move to Miami. Their second-round pick acquired from a trade with the Atlanta Hawks Kay Felder is currently playing in China.

Detroit Pistons (0)

The Pistons first-round pick Henry Ellenson was waived and is now with the Knicks allowing the team to avoid a negative score.

Indiana Pacers (0)

The Pacers traded the 20th pick (-2) for Thaddeus Young (2). Their second-round pick Georges Niang (0) was waived and is now with Utah.

Miami Heat (0)

No first round pick for the Heat as part of the final ramifications of the Lebon James move to Miami. The Heat traded their second-round pick to the Celtics.

Minnesota Timberwolves (0)

The 5th pick in the draft Dunn moved to Chicago as part of the deal for Butler. Butler is no longer with the Timberwolves creating no value for the Dunn pick.

Orlando Magic (0)

The Magic traded the 11th pick for Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is now a member of the Toronto Raptors creating no value for the Magic’s pick.

Utah Jazz (0)

The Jazz traded the 12th pick as part of a deal that allowed the team to acquire George Hill. Hill is no longer a member of the Jazz. The four second-round picks acquired by the Jazz are not in the NBA at this time.

Washington Wizards (0)

The Wizards did not have a pick in the draft as part of their acquisition of Markieff Morris. Morris is no longer with the Wizards.


Dallas Mavericks (-0.6)

The Mavericks gave up the 16th pick in the draft to the Boston Celtics as part of a deal that brought them bench player Dwight Powell (0.4) and Rajon Rondo (0) who is no longer with the team. The Mavericks chose A. J. Hammons (-1) in the second round which is currently out of basketball.

Memphis Grizzlies (-1)

The Grizzlies used the 17th pick to select Wade Baldwin (-1). The Grizzlies waived Baldwin and is now playing in the G League.

Portland Trailblazers (-1)

The Trailblazers received value from their drafting of Jake Layman (2). Layman provided depth off the bench this season for Portland. However, Portland traded the 19th pick to Denver for Arron Afflalo (-3) who retired last year and Alonzo Gee (0) a player currently in the G League.

Los Angeles Clippers (-1)

The Clippers drafted Brice Johnson (-1) in the first round which is currently playing in Puerto Rico.

Houston Rockets (-1.6)

The Rockets drafted Zhou Qi (-1) in the second round. Zhou Qi is out of basketball. The team also traded the 15th pick in the first round as part of a deal that allowed them to obtain Ty Lawson (-.4) and Isaiah Hartenstein (1) to earn a grade of D.

Brooklyn Nets (-2)

Brooklyn acquired eventual starter Caris LeVert (2) via trade for Young (-2) the value evened out. The Nets received a negative score based on their deal for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. All three players are retired, and out of basketball leaving no value for the Nets in return the Celtics drafted top prospect Brown (-2).


NY Knicks (-3)

The Knicks did not have a selection in the 2016 NBA Draft, but could not avoid a negative score and a grade of F due to their decision to give up a lottery pick for Bargnani (-3).

Phoenix Suns (-3)

The Suns’ score fell despite drafting Dragan Bender (2) with the fourth overall pick. The Suns traded the 13th pick for DeJuan Blair (-1) and Kris Humphries (-3). Blair is currently in the G League, and Humphries is out of the league and retired. The club received no value for a lottery pick leading to the grade of F.

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