When you look back at the 2016 NBA Draft class, we saw a lot of top players who have not reached their potential and other underrated players who could be on their way to stardom. Quite simply, this class truly had it all. This includes star players who have faced criticism for their play, former role players who have become All-Stars, and a few draft busts who are completely out of the league at this point.
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. It is time to look back at the 2016 NBA Draft class, and re-draft to see how this draft class should have played out based on all the players’ play in the 2021-2022 season.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Ben Simmons
Re-Draft Pick: Jaylen Brown
Ben Simmons was easily the best choice for the Philadelphia 76ers at that time, because the athletic forward was already drawing comparisons to the great LeBron James. But fast-forwarding nearly 6 years, Simmons has not reached the heights expected of him. Despite making 3 All-Star Teams, he has caused a ton of trouble in Philadelphia which has led many fans to regret the decision of taking him No.1. Instead, they should have taken All-Star Jaylen Brown who is a much better scorer than Simmons and fits better next to Joel Embiid.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Brandon Ingram
Re-Draft Pick: Ben Simmons
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 for Anthony Davis. But had the re-draft occurred, the Lakers would have easily taken Ben Simmons, because he would have become a much greater player under the leadership of LeBron James. The King has always been a big fan of Simmons, and that duo would have wreaked havoc if LeBron would have found his way to Los Angeles after his stint with the Cavaliers.
3. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Jaylen Brown
Re-Draft Pick: Brandon Ingram
With Jaylen Brown going No.1, the Boston Celtics would have selected Brandon Ingram, an All-Star scorer with similar skills to Brown. Even if Brown has become a slightly more effective scorer, Ingram would not have been a bad option as a partner for budding superstar Jayson Tatum. Either way, the Celtics would have stayed where they are now so the re-draft would not have affected their franchise’s direction at all.
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 before disappearing from the league after the 2020 season, while Jamal Murray made an All-Rookie Team by averaging 9.9 PPG on 33.4% shooting from three. Of course, Murray has developed into an All-Star talent with the Nuggets and he could have been a solid partner alongside Devin Booker. Had the Suns drafted Murray, perhaps Chris Paul would have never joined which could have led to different playoff circumstances going forward.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Kris Dunn
Re-Draft Pick: Pascal Siakam
Considered a flop at the No. 5 draft spot, Kris Dunn only played one season with the Timberwolves before he was traded to the Bulls in the Jimmy Butler trade. There is no doubt that the Minnesota Timberwolves should have taken All-Star Pascal Siakam at No. 5 because he is versatile enough to dominate alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. That twin towers duo could shoot, run, defend, and pass in a very solid core of a rebuilding franchise.
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. Domantas Sabonis can’t shoot like Hield, but he can still nail the three (32.0%) at a decent clip for his size and has already made 2 All-Star Teams. With Sabonis and Zion Williamson down low potentially, the Pelicans are a much more formidable side by the time 2022 comes around.
7. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Jamal Murray
Re-Draft Pick: Dejounte Murray
Denver did very well by taking Jamal Murray at No. 7 because the sharpshooting point guard is part of a contending roster led by Nikola Jokic. But Murray would have been taken by the Suns, leaving the next-best guard option available in Dejounte Murray. Dejounte cannot score like Jamal, but he can certainly defend better and would have been a solid option that would have been healthy during this 2022 season while Jamal Murray continues to miss games.
8. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Marquese Chriss
Re-Draft Pick: Malcolm Brogdon
Marquese Chriss was traded on draft night by the Kings for Bogdan Bogdanovic and two other picks in the 2016 Draft, and he was clearly the wrong choice at the valuable No. 8 spot. Rather, Malcolm Brogdon should have been taken No. 8 because he is a solid defender and shooter that would have created a nice pairing with De’Aaron Fox. Brogdon does a lot of things well on the court, and he could have helped Sacramento into a potential playoff seeding by this season.
9. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Jakob Poeltl
Re-Draft Pick: Caris LeVert
The Raptors selected Jakob Poeltl in the 2016 Draft, a solid big man that brings size and physicality around the rim. Toronto should’ve drafted Caris LeVert, who has emerged as a great scoring guard over the past few years. Even if the 28-year-old probably won’t be making any All-Star Teams soon, he would have formed a nice pairing with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan at the time.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: Thon Maker
Re-Draft Pick: Buddy Hield
Maker came into the NBA with potential but has yet to develop his all-around game, which is why he is currently a free agent. Rather, Buddy Hield is one of the most consistent shooters in the NBA and would have given the Milwaukee Bucks another scary offensive option to surround Giannis Antetokounmpo with. With Middleton and Hield spotting up for threes, Giannis could have possibly been even more dominant in the paint.
11. Orlando Magic
Original Pick: Domantas Sabonis
Re-Draft Pick: Malik Beasley
The Magic drafted Sabonis and packaged him in a deal for Serge Ibaka on draft night, clearly a wrong move because Serge would soon start declining. In the re-draft, Orlando would select Malik Beasley at No. 11, a solid scorer with some athleticism to show for as well. Beasley is averaging 10.2 PPG during his career so far and has averaged over 19 PPG in each of the last two seasons.
12. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Taurean Prince
Re-Draft Pick: Taurean Prince
The Utah Jazz would trade Taurean Prince before he played a game for Utah, probably a wrong move since the franchise would trade for multiple wing players anyways. Prince is averaging a career 10.7 PPG over his career so far and has been a solid role player when he has seen court action. The Jazz made the right selection but probably should not have traded their No. 12 pick.
13. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Georgios Papagiannis
Re-Draft Pick: Kris Dunn
With Jamal Murray going in the top-5, the Suns should have selected another point guard in Kris Dunn. Dunn has played on 3 teams in 5 years but has career averages of 8.2 PPG and 4.1 APG. He is a stout defender and a capable backup, so the Suns could have done a lot worse than taking a stab at a young point guard who has yet to reach his potential until today.
14. Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: Denzel Valentine
Re-Draft Pick: Jakob Poeltl
Denzel Valentine has not turned out to be an effective player in the league, as he is only averaging 7.0 PPG in his career so far. The Bulls would have done much better had they taken 7’1” center Jakob Poeltl, a starting-caliber big man who is averaging 12.1 PPG and 8.9 RPG this season. Although limited offensively, the center is a capable defender and shot-blocker that is a more impactful player than Valentine.
15. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Juan Hernangomez
Re-Draft Pick: Ivica Zubac
Another solid big man who is miles more effective than the original pick, the Denver Nuggets could have had a perfect backup to Nikola Jokic in Ivica Zubac. The Bosnian big man has carved out a starting role with the Clippers, currently averaging 9.2 PPG and 8.0 RPG this season. Like Poeltl, Zubac is quite limited offensively although he is effective around the rim when he has space.
16. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Guerschon Yabusele
Re-Draft Pick: Furkan Korkmaz
At No. 16, the Boston Celtics should have gotten crafty with the decision to take 6’7” shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz. The sharpshooter is limited in terms of his all-around game, but he is a nice shooter (career 36.2% 3-PT FG) that can be relied upon to make his open shots. Instead, the Celtics went for size with Yabusele who is a benchwarmer at best.
17. Memphis Grizzlies
Original Pick: Wade Baldwin
Re-Draft Pick: DeAndre’ Bembry
Memphis had an underwhelming pick at #17 with Wade Baldwin, but they should have taken versatile DeAndre’ Bembry instead. The 6’5” small forward has also been given point guard roles because he is silently effective in limited minutes. He is nailing 44.4% of his threes this season which is why he is seeing 19.6 MPG with the Brooklyn Nets.
18. Detroit Pistons
Original Pick: Henry Ellenson
Re-Draft Pick: Damian Jones
With the No. 18 overall pick, the Detroit Pistons would not have gotten much luck with their draft choice. Instead of Ellenson, the franchise would have taken a larger Damian Jones to man the middle. Jones has played on 5 different teams already, but he brings size and activity in the paint as he tries to improve his game at only 26 years old.
19. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Malik Beasley
Re-Draft Pick: Juan Hernangomez
The Nuggets got a nice player in Beasley but would have to settle for Juan Hernangomez, a versatile forward who shoots 34.6% from three over his career. Hernangomez is not a starting-caliber by any means, but his ability to space the floor and play in small-ball lineups as a power forward would have given Denver an option alongside Jokic.
20. Indiana Pacers
Original Pick: Caris LeVert
Re-Draft Pick: Denzel Valentine
Indiana did fantastically well by selecting LeVert at No. 2, although they would not have been so lucky in the re-draft. Denzel Valentine would be selected, a 6’4” shooting guard who is only averaging 3.0 PPG in his career so far. The Pacers currently have LeVert playing 30.6 MPG, so they probably should not have traded him before the 2017 season.
21. Atlanta Hawks
Original Pick: DeAndre Bembry
Re-Draft Pick: Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot
Atlanta made a decent selection with the pick of Bembry who was a quality wing of the bench for four seasons with the Hawks. In the re-draft, Atlanta would have taken Luwawu-Cabarrot instead, a 6’7” small forward with a career average of 6.1 PPG.
22. Charlotte Hornets
Original Pick: Malachi Richardson
Re-Draft Pick: Tyler Ulis
The Hornets did not make a good selection at #22 as Richardson only averaged 2.8 PPG during his career, as they should have taken 5’10” point guard Tyler Ulis. Ulis is currently out of the league, but he was a decent backup point guard who averaged over 7 PPG during his first two seasons.
23. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Ante Zizic
Re-Draft Pick: Dragan Bender
Boston’s No. 23 pick Ante Zizic was traded to the Cavaliers in the infamous Kyrie Irving trade. In the re-draft, the Celtics should have taken a gamble on Dragan Bender, a 7’0” stretch big man who was never given the minutes to showcase what he could do. Even if the big man is out of the league, he is a more talented player than Zizic.
24. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
Re-Draft Pick: Skal Labissiere
The Sixers and big men appear to be a good fit, so why not try that here as well? Labissiere has not played an NBA game since 2020 but holds career averages of 7.2 PPG and 4.5 RPG. A versatile big man with size, Labissiere could have been a solid backup big man after Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond this year.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
Original Pick: Brice Johnson
Re-Draft Pick: Henry Ellenson
The Clippers selecting Johnson didn’t turn out well, as Henry Ellenson would have been a better option at No. 25. The big man averages 33.6% shooting from three and put up 7.5 PPG and 6.0 RPG last year for the Toronto Raptors.
26. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Furkan Korkmaz
Re-Draft Pick: Ante Zizic
The Sixers made a very nice pick with Korkmaz at #26, but they would have ended up with Thon Maker instead. The South Sudan national has career averages of 4.6 PPG and 2.8 RPG, below-average numbers for a big man who received some hype early on.
27. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Pascal Siakam
Re-Draft Pick: Cheick Diallo
The Raptors 100% hit a home run drafting Siakam at #27 overall since the power forward helped Toronto capture the NBA title in 2019. Without Siakam, Toronto might not have had their first-ever championship trophy despite the presence of Kawhi Leonard. In the re-draft, the Raptors probably select Cheick Diallo instead, a benchwarmer for the Detroit Pistons this season.
28. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Skal Labissiere
Re-Draft Pick: Ante Zizic
The Suns did decently well by considering Labissiere at No. 28, but they would have taken another big man in Ante Zizicinstead. The big man holds career averages of 6.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG, so he would not have moved the needle much.
29. San Antonio Spurs
Original Pick: Dejounte Murray
Re-Draft Pick: Jake Layman
The San Antonio Spurs were another team that struck gold at the end of the draft when they went for Dejounte Murray, a 6’4” point guard putting up 19.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 8.9 APG this season. Instead of Murray, the Spurs would have probably been deep in the lottery with the selection of role player Jake Layman.
30. Golden State Warriors
Original Pick: Damian Jones
Re-Draft Pick: Abdel Nader
With the likes of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson on the roster; the No. 30 overall pick practically meant nothing to a title-contending team. Abdel Nader should have been selected over Damian Jones because he shoots a career 35.7% from three and plays hard when he’s on the floor.