When you look back at the 2016 NBA Draft class nearly five years later, this class truly had it all. Star players who have emerged to become superstars, quality role players, and a few draft busts who haven’t played much recently. When looking back at this class, it will certainly include some of the best and brightest young stars in the NBA, but also some of the worst draft decisions in recent memory.
Let’s take a look back at the 2016 NBA Draft class, and re-draft to see how this draft class should have played out.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Ben Simmons
Re-Draft Pick: Ben Simmons
While the gap has closed in the past two years, the best player in this draft is still Ben Simmons. After not playing during his first season in Philadelphia, Simmons won the Rookie of the Year in the 2017-2018 season and has averaged 16.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 8 APG during his career so far. If Simmons continues to develop his jump shot, it would leave no doubt that he is the best player in the 2016 NBA draft class.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Brandon Ingram
Re-Draft Pick: Brandon Ingram
Ingram continued to improve during his first three seasons in Los Angeles but took his game to an All-Star level when he was traded to the Pelicans in the infamous Anthony Davis trade. Ingram has averaged 23.7 PPG during his two seasons in New Orleans and was named the Most Improved Player last season, as well as an All-Star for the first time in his career. If the Lakers never trade for Anthony Davis, it looks like they still would’ve had another elite scorer in Ingram.
3. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Jaylen Brown
Re-Draft Pick: Jaylen Brown
Brown and the Celtics are a perfect fit. Scoring, defense, high basketball IQ, Brown has it all and is a perfect fit next to Jayson Tatum. Plain and simple, Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics are a perfect match.
4. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Dragan Bender
Re-Draft Pick: Jamal Murray
One of the biggest busts in the 2016 Draft was the Suns selecting Dragan Bender with the 4th overall pick. Bender played three seasons with the Suns but was nothing more than a role player. If the Suns selected Jamal Murray, they could’ve paired Murray with Devin Booker in what could’ve been one of the best guard combos in the NBA.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Kris Dunn
Re-Draft Pick: Buddy Hield
Regarded as a good pick when it happened, Dunn only played one season with the Timberwolves before he was traded to the Bulls in the Jimmy Butler trade. Hield was arguably the best pure shooter in this draft and would’ve been a great pairing in Minnesota next to Karl-Anthony Towns.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
Original Pick: Buddy Hield
Re-Draft Pick: Domantas Sabonis
Hield, as seen in the previous pick, was arguably the best shooter in the 2016 draft, but never lasted a full season with the Pelicans before he was traded to the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins. If the Pelicans were looking for a big, Domantas Sabonis was the best pure big man in this draft, and is continuing to expand his game more and more each day.
7. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Jamal Murray
Re-Draft Pick: Malcolm Brogdon
Yes, Jamal Murray and Denver seem to be a perfect fit as each are excelling. However, if the Nuggets wanted a point guard, how about Malcolm Brogdon? Brogdon won the Rookie of the Year Award in the 2016-2017 season, and his numbers are very similar to Murray, with some even better. Murray or Brogdon, Denver couldn’t have gone wrong here with either.
8. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Marquese Chriss
Re-Draft Pick: Pascal Siakam
Chriss was traded on draft night by the Kings for Bogdan Bogdanovic and two other picks in the 2016 Draft. The Kings haven’t had a true superstar since DeMarcus Cousins, and Siakam would be a good fit with Sacramento if they could’ve developed him like Toronto did.
9. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Jakob Poeltl
Re-Draft Pick: Caris LeVert
The Raptors selected Jakob Poeltl in the 2016 Draft who was nothing more than a role player before he was traded in the Kawhi Leonard deal. The Raptors should’ve drafted Caris LeVert, who has emerged as one of the best young scorers off the bench in the NBA. Pair LeVert with Lowry and at the time DeMar DeRozan, and you have an excellent point and wings combo.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: Thon Maker
Re-Draft Pick: Dejounte Murray
Maker came into the NBA with potential but has never really panned out. Dejounte Murray is emerging as one of the top young point guards in the NBA and would fit right in as the Bucks point guard of the future.
11. Orlando Magic
Original Pick: Domantas Sabonis
Re-Draft Pick: Kris Dunn
The Magic drafted Sabonis and packaged him in a deal for Serge Ibaka on draft night. If the Magic were always going to trade Victor Oladipo, how about draft his potential replacement in Kris Dunn? Dunn has averaged 8-3-4 during his short NBA career and would be a quality piece that the Magic could develop.
12. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Taurean Prince
Re-Draft Pick: Taurean Prince
The Jazz traded Prince in a three-team deal before he played a game in Utah, but maybe they should’ve kept him. Prince, a career 11.4 PPG scorer, has primarily been a nice scoring wing off the bench during his career and could’ve been a versatile depth piece for a playoff contender.
13. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Georgios Papagiannis
Re-Draft Pick: Marquese Chriss
These two players were traded for each other, and Chriss wasn’t actually a bad fit in Phoenix. Chriss played his first two seasons with the Suns, which were actually the two best seasons of his young career.
14. Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: Denzel Valentine
Re-Draft Pick: Malik Beasley
Valentine wasn’t a terrible pick by Chicago, as he has been a nice piece off the bench for the Bulls. However, if the Bulls selected Beasley, Chicago would have a nice young scorer next to Zach Lavine. Beasley has averaged 9.4 PPG in his young career and continues to improve.
15. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Juan Hernangomez
Re-Draft Pick: Ivica Zubac
Denver selected a big man with this pick, so why not take Zubac? Zubac has averaged nearly two points and rebounds more than Hernangomez during his career, and would be a nice backup to Nikola Jokic.
16. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Guerschon Yabusele
Re-Draft Pick: Furkan Korkmaz
Arguably the biggest bust of a first-round pick in the 2016 draft was Boston. The Celtics selected Yabusele who only played for two seasons, and averaged 6.6 minutes per game during his career. Korkmaz would bring a consistent shooter off the bench for Boston, and do exactly for the Celtics what he currently does for the rival Sixers.
17. Memphis Grizzlies
Original Pick: Wade Baldwin
Re-Draft Pick: Jakob Poeltl
Memphis had an underwhelming pick at #17 with Wade Baldwin, so let’s get the Grizzlies a quality big in Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl was selected as a Top 10 pick in the 2016 Draft and has turned into a nice bench piece averaging 5.5 PPG and 4.9 RPG in his career.
18. Detroit Pistons
Original Pick: Henry Ellenson
Re-Draft Pick: Tyler Ulis
Ulis was a good point guard for Kentucky and was good during his time in Phoenix with the Suns where he averaged 7.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, and 4 APG. Ulis would be a nice backup point guard, with the potential to continue to grow his game in Detroit. Could the Pistons have developed Ulis?
19. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Malik Beasley
Re-Draft Pick: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
The Nuggets got a nice player in Beasley but would settle for Luwawu-Cabarrot, who is having a breakout season so far this year. “TLC” has had the best two seasons of his career in Brooklyn, and would fit in nicely in Denver as a nice bench piece.
20. Indiana Pacers
Original Pick: Caris LeVert
Re-Draft Pick: Denzel Valentine
The Pacers struck gold drafting LeVert at #20 but will get another player capable of the same in Valentine. Valentine has averaged 7.8 PPG during his career and would be a nice fit in Indiana.
21. Atlanta Hawks
Original Pick: DeAndre Bembry
Re-Draft Pick: Skal Labissiere
Atlanta made a good selection with the pick of Bembry who was a quality wing of the bench for four seasons with the Hawks. Due to the Hawks overabundance of wings in recent years, the Hawks could select Labissiere who is a nice versatile big man off the bench.
22. Charlotte Hornets
Original Pick: Malachi Richardson
Re-Draft Pick: DeAndre Bembry
The Hornets did not make a good selection at #22 as Richardson only averaged 2.8 PPG during his career, but pick up a nice depth piece in Bembry here. Bembry isn’t going to be a starting wing, but can give you 15-20 minutes per game, and is a nice scorer.
23. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Ante Zizic
Re-Draft Pick: Ante Zizic
Zizic was traded to the Cavaliers in the infamous Kyrie Irving trade to Boston. While Kyrie in Boston didn’t necessarily work out, Zizic’s inclusion in the deal helped get it done. If Boston never makes that trade and Zizic stays with the Celtics, who knows what happens?
24. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
Re-Draft Pick: Cheick Diallo
The Sixers and big men from Kansas appear to be a good fit, so why not try that here as well? Diallo has averaged 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game during his career and would be a quality depth piece for any team.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
Original Pick: Brice Johnson
Re-Draft Pick: Juan Hernangomez
The Clippers selecting Johnson didn’t turn out, but get a decent bench option in Hernangomez here. Averaging 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds during his career, Hernangomez would be a quality depth piece for a contender.
26. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Furkan Korkmaz
Re-Draft Pick: Dragan Bender
The Sixers made a very nice pick with Korkmaz at #26, but take a chance with arguably the bust of the 2016 draft Dragan Bender here. Bender just never quite got it going during his NBA career, only averaging 5.4 PPG and 3.9 RPG. There were expectations with Bender in Phoenix being the #4 overall pick but selected late in the first round by Philly, Bender would’ve had a chance to showcase his skills playing next to Simmons and Embiid.
27. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Pascal Siakam
Re-Draft Pick: Damian Jones
The Raptors 100% hit a home run drafting Siakam at #27 overall, a pairing that has worked well for both parties. Toronto developed Siakam, could they do the same with Damian Jones? Jones was selected 30th overall in this draft by the Warriors, and was a decent big off the bench when needed. If Jones ended up in Toronto, would Damian Jones have been the breakout from this class?
28. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Skal Labissiere
Re-Draft Pick: Thon Maker
Dragan Bender didn’t pan out in Phoenix, but would Maker? Maker was extremely gifted coming into the league, but never quite panned out. Would Maker work alongside Booker in Phoenix?
29. San Antonio Spurs
Original Pick: Dejounte Murray
Re-Draft Pick: Jake Layman
Another excellent pick from the 2016 Draft was the Spurs selecting Murray with the 29th pick. The Spurs here would take Layman, who is a career 5.4 PPG scorer and is one of the few second-round picks from this draft still currently playing in the NBA.
30. Golden State Warriors
Original Pick: Damian Jones
Re-Draft Pick: Abdel Nader
It honestly didn’t matter what pick the Warriors made at #30. With Steph, Klay, Draymond, Iggy, and KD on the way, it honestly didn’t matter. However, they did get a nice bench piece in Damian Jones and get one here in Abdel Nader, who has averaged 4.7 PPG during his first four seasons.