The most evenly-distributed voting we've had in this series, maybe ever, underscores just how wide-open this draft seems to be near the middle of the first round. With just 26% of votes coming down in his favor, Deyonta Davis - F/C, Michigan State rounds out our top-10 and completes the 2016 Brew Hoop Community Draft Board.
Davis surprised many with his performance as a freshman on a talented Spartan roster which met a shockingly disappointing end in the NCAA Tournament. Davis averaged under 20 minutes per game, but his per-minutes production put him on level with many of the top big men in the country. In particular, his shot blocking and offensive rebounding rates were exceptional.
Davis is admittedly limited on the offensive end, and his solid efficiency on that end probably owes much to his small role. He's got good hands and makes a great lob recipient, but Davis has a real hard time manufacturing any offense of his own, particularly near the basket. Scouts think he could eventually develop a decent mid-range game, but Davis is unlikely to ever be much of an offensive focal point. The best hope is probably that he becomes a good pick-and-roll man, diving to the hoop and using his athleticism to finish off the pass.
Defensively, the upside is much higher. Already a menace as a shot-blocker, Davis is both quick and strong enough to hold up against power forwards and centers, allowing him to spend time as a small-ball 5 (though he played primarily PF at MSU). He's a solid rebounder (very good on the offensive end), but there are some concerns with effort level. It's an interesting mix--seeing his statistical profile screams "effort and motor guy," but he's not the non-stop hustler every big man claims to be these days. That's an easy thing to coach up, but it's worth noting.
And so, here is our final prospect list for 2016:
2016 Brew Hoop Community Draft Board
1. Ben Simmons - F, LSU - DraftExpress Profile
2. Brandon Ingram - SF, Duke - DraftExpress Profile
3. Jamal Murray - G, Kentucky - DraftExpress Profile
4. Dragan Bender - PF, International - DraftExpress Profile
5. Buddy Hield - SG, Oklahoma - DraftExpress Profile
6. Jaylen Brown - SF, California - DraftExpress Profile
7. Kris Dunn - PG, Providence - DraftExpress Profile
8. Marquese Chriss - PF, Washington - DraftExpress Profile
9. Jakob Pöltl - C, Utah - DraftExpress Profile
10. Deyonta Davis - F/C, Michigan St. - DraftExpress Profile
This has been a particularly interesting year for our Draft Board exercise. Most notably, I've definitely never seen so much off-poll voting--people really staked out their favorite prospects and hammered them home time after time. That could be a function of many things: maybe it's just a funky year for the NCAA, with no clear-cut striation of players to rely on. Maybe Bucks fans are approaching the draft a bit differently given the team's elevated talent level relative to past years.
It may also reflect this draft's wild uncertainty even two days before the big show. Many experts have commented on how hard it is to peg the middle of the first round, with teams' valuations of the players in that range varying wildly. The Bucks, as it happens, fall just at the beginning of that mystery range. Our Draft Board matches of the mainstream mock draft listings (disregarding the order) until pick nine or ten. That doesn't mean the success of those top eight or so players won't ultimately be quite varied, but there's at least a general sense of drop-off beyond that point. And the first few teams after that player pool dries up? They're the ones who have to make a difficult decision from a much larger set of options.
That puts a fair amount of pressure on Milwaukee's scouting staff, even if there's a tacit understanding that the #10 pick isn't likely to yield a star. The Bucks need to find some positive momentum with their current core if they hope to challenge the elite of the Eastern Conference and entire NBA in the near future, and getting even a solid complementary piece this summer could go a long way.
Of course, we've made it easy for them now. All they have to do is follow our Draft Board exactly and without question. You're welcome, everybody.