The 2016 NBA Finals begin Thursday night with Game 1 between the defending champion Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena.
The eyes of the basketball world will be on Cavs forward LeBron James and Warriors guard Stephen Curry — two of the best players of this generation. In less than a month, however, we all will be looking at the Philadelphia 76ers, who have the top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
The 76ers don’t need a center. They used their first-round pick in each of the last two drafts on centers (Joel Embiid in 2014 and Jahlil Okafor in 2015), and they also traded for power forward/center Nerlens Noel.
So, the choice for Philly is between Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram, a pair of versatile forwards with incredible athleticism.
Ingram’s length and superior jump shot makes him the best player right now, but Simmons’ talent makes him the best long-term play. The 76ers must decide how much longer they want to rebuild before making a determination on Simmons and Ingram.
Here’s our latest 2016 NBA mock draft:
1) Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, F, LSU
2) Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram, F, Duke
3) Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets): Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma
4) Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
5) Minnesota Timberwolves: Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
6) New Orleans Pelicans: Kris Dunn, G, Providence
7) Denver Nuggets (via New York Knicks): Jaylen Brown, F, California
8) Sacramento Kings: Domantas Sabonis, C, Gonzaga
9) Toronto Raptors (via Denver Nuggets): Jakob Poeltl, C, Austria
10) Milwaukee Bucks: Malik Beasley, G, Florida State
11) Orlando Magic: Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State
12) Utah Jazz: Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey
13) Phoenix Suns (via Washington Wizards): Demetrius Jackson, G, Notre Dame
14) Chicago Bulls: Marquese Chriss, F, Washington
15) Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina
16) Boston Celtics (via Dallas Mavericks): Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Michigan State
17) Memphis Grizzlies: Henry Ellenson, PF/C, Marquette
18) Detroit Pistons: Dejounte Murray, PG/SG, Washington
19) Denver Nuggets (via Portland Trail Blazers): Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse
20) Indiana Pacers: Diamond Stone, C, Maryland
21) Atlanta Hawks: Thon Maker, PF/C, Australia
22) Charlotte Hornets: Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt
23) Boston Celtics: Stephen Zimmerman, PF/C, UNLV
24) Philadelphia 76ers (via Miami Heat): Patrick McCaw, SG, UNLV
25) L.A. Clippers: Timothe Luwawu, PG, France
26) Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): DeAndre Brembry, SG/SF, St. Joseph’s
27) Toronto Raptors: Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor
28) Phoenix Suns (via Cleveland Cavaliers): Cheick Diallo, PF/C, Kansas
29) San Antonio Spurs: Ben Bentil, PF, Providence
30) Golden State Warriors: Guerschon Yabusele, PF, France
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images