In the instant-analysis culture of today's sports media, many expect to know who won the NBA draft the moment it's over. NBA teams are immediately graded on every pick they made.
It's the nature of the business, but you can't know how wise a selection was until some time passes. You have to see how the player develops his game. You have to see how the team utilizes him within its schemes. In some cases, players still have plenty of physical changes on the way.
For the 2016 draft class, we've now had five years to analyze those factors. That would alter the order if the first round were held again today.
To determine an order for this re-draft, we considered more than a dozen numbers, including rate (think points per game) and cumulative (think total points) catch-all metrics, shooting percentages and per-possession averages for basic indicators like points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. Since there's still some looking forward here, FiveThirtyEight's individual player projections and subjectivity also factored in.
One thing you won't see weighted is team need. We aren't going back in time as much as guessing where players would be selected if they were re-drafted now. So, each pick will driven by a best-player-available approach.
With all that in mind, let's take a look at how a 2016 NBA re-draft might shake out.
30. Golden State Warriors: Juan Hernangomez (originally picked 15th)
In theory, Juan Hernangomez can be a Davis Bertans-like floor spacer who pulls bigs away from the paint.
In practice, he's had an above-average three-point percentage twice (and is below average for his career). He also struggles defensively, regardless of who he's assigned to guard.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Denzel Valentine (originally picked 14th)
Denzel Valentine had a mini breakout in 2017-18, when he averaged 10.2 points, 3.2 assists and 1.9 threes in 27.2 minutes. However, his career was derailed by an ankle injury (and subsequent surgery) that cost him all of the 2018-19 season.
He's struggled with availability since then, and his numbers aren't close to what he produced that season for the Chicago Bulls.
28. Sacramento Kings (via PHX) Damian Jones (originally picked 30th)
Damian Jones has yet to find a consistent role anywhere. He has yet to average more than 17.1 minutes per game in a season, and he appeared in only 24 games that year.
Still, he's shown flashes of being a backup big who can protect the rim and finish at a high level on the other end. For his career, he's averaged 1.8 blocks per 75 possessions and has a 69.3 true shooting percentage.
27. Toronto Raptors: Cheick Diallo (originally picked 33rd)
Cheick Diallo didn't play a single NBA minute in 2020-21, but he looked like a capable backup center for the 2018-19 New Orleans Pelicans.
In only 14.0 minutes per game, he averaged 6.0 points and 5.2 rebounds (15.1 points and 12.9 rebounds per 75 possessions).
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Shaquille Harrison (originally undrafted)
Shaquille Harrison is a dynamic perimeter defender who can cover guards and wings, rebound well for his size and position and create turnovers. However, he's struggled to make a positive impact offensively because of his wildly inconsistent three-point shot.
Harrison made an encouraging 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts in 2019-20, but his career mark is a woeful 28.3 percent.