NBA Mock Draft 2016: Power Forwards



Power Forward / 6-10 / Louisiana State / Freshman
20.1 ppg, 12.9 rpg

The Boy Wonder from Down Under has not only become the clear cut No. 1 pick favorite, but among the best prospects to emerge from the college ranks in over a decade. He’s also become the best player in the country, which is very rare for even the most talented freshman. He is clearly the one prospect in this year’s draft worth tanking for. It’s winning the top pick or bust for the likes of the Sixers, Celtics (Nets), Lakers and Suns. Simmons has a tremendous family background and combines high-level athleticism and size with legitimate point guard vision and creativity. He held his own during the summer in one-on-one battles with both Anthony Davis and James Harden at Nike. Is it blasphemous to compare anyone to the most dynamic athlete in any sport over the past decade? Yes. But Simmons is probably the closest thing we’ve seen to LeBron, and there really isn’t a better choice. Simmons isn’t as explosive, but his superior size makes up for some of the athleticism differential. Lamar Odom didn’t have the point guard ability or focus that Simmons possesses. Nor the ability to absorb and play through contact. Is he going to be LeBron? Of course not. Can he be a Top 3-5 player in the league at his peak? Yes.

Twitter: @BenSimmons25
Comparison: LeBron James
Salary: $4,919,300*
Power Forward / 6-10 / California / Freshman
12.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg

There are athletes and there are basketball players, as one scout put it when describing him, with Rabb being the latter. Not that he’s not a high-level athlete as well, but his feel for the game and basketball acumen is truly what gets scouts excited when projecting him to the next level. Rabb has a calm presence and steadiness to his game that you rarely find in a 19-year-old. His maturity and intelligence are that of a college senior. In fact, senior teammate Tyrone Wallace observed that the conversations between Rabb and roommate Jaylen Brown are “not normal freshman conversations”. He’s worked hard on his body since arriving in Berkeley, and while he still can be pushed around by the strongest of college opponents, he fights hard for rebounds and position inside.

Twitter: @YoungIvee
Comparison: Chris Bosh
Salary: $3,227,100*
Power Forward / 7-0 / Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) / 1997
2.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg

Bender built a big reputation in junior events in his age group. His competitiveness and scoring ability give him a lot of potential, however his body needs to get a lot stronger. Through 13 games with Maccabi, he’s averaging 13 minutes, 5.1 ppg, and has hit a very impressive 14 of 27 from beyond the arc. He’s also helped by the recent success of fellow European face-up big and high draft pick Kristaps Porzingis.

Comparison: Toni Kukoc
Salary: $2,931,000*
Power Forward / 6-10 / Gonzaga / Sophomore
18.3 ppg, 10.6 rpg

Sabonis may not look like a Top 10 pick at first glance, but it’s all of the little things that he brings to the table that make him such a valuable player. Sabonis lacks the elite run-jump athleticism generally associated with standout players, yet his ability to impact games with his strength, toughness and basketball IQ make him a sure bet to have a successful NBA career. He lacks a great “ape index”, with his wingspan divided by height being close to even. He proved himself as a clutch, tough nosed competitor in the NCAA tournament, getting the upper hand on Jahlil Okafor in the freshmen matchup last season.

Twitter: @Dsabonis11
Comparison: Luis Scola
Salary: $2,253,300*
Power Forward / 6-9 / North Carolina / Senior
16.8 ppg, 10.6 rpg

Johnson has had arguably the most impressive individual performance of the season, putting up 37 points and 23 rebounds against Florida State on January 5. With the injury to teammate Kennedy Meeks, Johnson got a chance to show what he could do as the featured offensive weapon. He’s a long, lean jumping jack with excellent scoring when facing the basket. In his senior season, he’s finally broken out into the college star that his talent suggests he should be.

Twitter: @bjohnson_23
Comparison: Taj Gibson
Salary: $2,140,500*
Power Forward / 6-10 / Michigan State / Freshman
8.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg

Similar to Zach Randolph 15 years ago, Davis’ minutes appear to be limited in his freshman season due to Izzo‘s preference for experience on the floor. Davis has been very productive in the minutes he’s received, showing excellent rebounding, a willingness to play physical and solid touch around the basket. He still needs to add range to his shot and become more polished with his post moves. But he projects as one of the more explosive and athletically gifted post prospects available.

Comparison: Antonio Davis
Salary: $1,931,900*
Power Forward / 6-10 / Marquette / Freshman
16.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg

Ellenson has turned into a star in his freshman season at Marquette. He is extremely versatile with his ability to handle the ball in the open floor and his face-the-basket and post skills. While he’s a below-average run-jump athlete, his 7-foot-2 wingspan gives him great length to be a factor defensively and on the boards. His shooting efficiency still needs work, but he’s developed a reputation for being a quality shooter and should find a role in the league as a stretch four.

Twitter: @HENBA13
Comparison: Brian Scalabrine
Salary: $1,420,100*
Power Forward / 6-8 / SPO Rouen (France) / 1995
8.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg

Yabusele is having a solid season in France for Rouen with 8.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, and knocking down 53 percent from the field and 80 percent from the line. He is a late bloomer who impressed scouts at the 2015 adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy. He’s an undersized 4 but shows some combo ability with his ball skills and outside shooting ability. For a player with such tremendous body strength, he’s actually quite nimble. He shows good anticipation playing passing lanes and surprising body control to stop and start and not bowl over opponents when attacking. While lacking ideal power forward height, his 7-foot plus wingspan allows him to play bigger.

Comparison: Gary Trent
Salary: $996,700*

Key: (*) Standard salary for players selected with that pick in 2016-17.

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