NBA mock draft: Ben Simmons is our No. 1 pick too

Ben Simmons is a 6-foot-10 forward who averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and two steals a game at Louisiana State.
(Mic Smith / Associated Press)

The general presumption is that Ben Simmons will be taken first in Thursday’s NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, and Brandon Ingram will go second to the Lakers.

After that, the draft could turn into a mystery.

The Celtics select third, but rumors abound about what Boston will do with its pick. It has been suggested that the Celtics would like to move that draft choice for a more veteran presence on an already young roster.

Boston has three first-round picks and may look to package that along with some of its other players to get an NBA-ready player.


So in many ways, the draft process will start after the Celtics make their decision.

Providence point guard Kris Dunn, Oklahoma shooting guard Buddy Hield and Kentucky combo guard Jamal Murray are considered the top guard prospects. Any of them could be taken anywhere from third to sixth.

California swingman Jaylen Brown, Washington power forward Marquese Chriss, Croatian power forward Dragan Bender and Gonzaga power forward Domantas Sabonis probably will go in the top nine picks.

Here’s a look at The Times’ mock draft:

1. Philadelphia: Ben Simmons, LSU, SF/PF, 6-10, 240. Though he has refused to work out for the 76ers or any other NBA team, Simmons is a talent Philly can’t pass on.

2. Lakers: Brandon Ingram, Duke, SF, 6-9, 196. Yeah he’s skinny — really skinny — but his skills and length are his strengths. Plus, the Lakers know the pressure is on them to take Ingram.

3. Boston: Kris Dunn, Providence, PG, 6-4, 220. Dunn denied reports he doesn’t want to play for the Celtics because they are top-heavy with guards.

4. Phoenix: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, SG, 6-5, 215. Everyone wants to compare his shooting exploits to Stephen Curry. And Hield can shoot that ball.


5. Minnesota: Marquese Chriss, Washington, PF, 6-10, 235. He’s known to be a freak athlete who can actually knock down some shots. But he must become a better rebounder.

6. New Orleans: Jamal Murray, Kentucky, PG/SG, 6-4, 205. Murray is considered to be a nice combo guard, but he’s still better as a shooting guard this early in his career.

7. Denver: Dragan Bender, Croatia, PF, 7-0, 220. It looks like Bender can be a versatile player who will be a “stretch four” in the NBA. He’s not very athletic, however.

8. Sacramento: Jaylen Brown, California, SG/SF, 6-6, 225. Brown already has an NBA body. He has shown in his workouts that the jumper that scouts worried about has improved.

9. Toronto: Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga, PF/C, 6-10, 240. Though not considered a great athlete, Sabonis works hard on offense and defense.

10. Milwaukee: Jakob Poeltl, Utah, C, 7-1, 240. He’s not a strong post player for his size, but Poeltl runs the floor and isn’t afraid of being physical.


11. Orlando: Deyonta Davis, Michigan State, PF/C, 6-10, 240. The Magic is looking for an active big man who can defend on the interior and exterior.

12. Utah: Skal Labissiere, Kentucky, PF/C, 7-0, 215. He’ll be another long and athletic big for the Jazz to use. He’ll need to get stronger, of course.

13. Phoenix: Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey, SG, 6-7, 175. Korkmaz can shoot the rock with the best of those entering the draft. He’ll need to get stronger and improve his defense.

14. Chicago: Henry Ellenson, Marquette, PF/C, 6-11, 245. The big fella has a nice offensive game. He’s not a very good athlete.

15. Denver: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State, SG/PG, 6-5, 210. He’s at his best when the offense runs through him, but he may not be quite good enough yet to do that at the NBA level.


16. Boston: Dejounte Murray, Washington, PG/SG, 6-5, 170. Murray is a combo guard with tremendous ball-handling skills. Having played just one season at Washington, he’s is on the young side.

17. Memphis: Malachi Richardson, Syracuse, SG, 6-6, 200. His NBA size and versatility is what makes Richardson a solid talent to play in the league.

18. Detroit: Ante Zizic, Croatia, C, 6-11, 230. His length and activity is something the Pistons like. He’ll need to get stronger.

19. Denver: Damian Jones, Vanderbilt, C, 6-11, 245. Other than having a sometimes easygoing demeanor, Jones has the size and speed to be a player in the NBA.

20. Indiana: Brice Johnson, North Carolina, PF, 6-10, 210. He’s an explosive leaper who has a nice mid-range game. He’ll need to expand his range.

21. Atlanta: Wade Baldwin, Vanderbilt, PG/SG, 6-4, 200. Baldwin is a strong defender capable of defending both guard positions.


22. Charlotte: DeAndre Bembry, St. Joseph’s, SG/SF, 6-5, 205. He’s at his best in transition. Bembry will need to improve his outside shooting.

23. Boston: Ivica Zubac, Croatia, C, 7-0, 245. Though not very athletic, Zubac runs the floor and can finish above the rim because of his length.

24. Philadelphia: Taurean Prince, Baylor, SF, 6-8, 220. He’s long and athletic. Besides, the 76ers just need more talent at the wing.

25. Clippers: Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame, PG, 6-1, 195. With Chris Paul showing him the way, Jackson has the ideal point guard to mentor him. He probably won’t play much.

26. Philadelphia: Stephen Zimmerman, UNLV, PF/C, 6-11, 235. Again, the 76ers need players. Zimmerman has a high basketball IQ.

27. Toronto: Diamond Stone, Maryland, C, 6-10, 255. Stone is not considered the most athletic big man, but he does have skills and is sure-handed.


28. Phoenix: Timothe Luwawu, France, SG/SF, 6-7, 195. The Suns, already loaded at the wing, may “stash” him in Europe to let him continue developing.

29. San Antonio: Tyler Ulis, Kentucky, PG, 5-10, 150. His size may be a drawback, but Ulis will compete.

30. Golden State: Guerschon Yabusele, France, PF, 6-8, 260. His raw talent probably means the Warriors will keep him in Europe for a while.

Twitter: @BA_Turner