This is an updated mock draft from my previous one done in February.
2015 NBA Mock Draft 1.0:
My Big Board:
Some picks will have links to scouting reports I have done on that current player; others will have a short blurb summarizing them while I work on getting a scouting report completed for that player.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns PF/C University of Kentucky
Towns gives the ability to the Timberwolves to shop Nikola Pekovic for picks or other young talent, as Towns and Gorgui Dieng will combine to make a defensive force in the paint for the Timberwolves. Towns has one of the highest potentials of any prospect, but will need time to develop, and in Minnesota, where all of the young players are finding themselves with no pressure of winning soon, this will allow for Towns to thrive.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor C University of Duke
Okafor allows the Lakers to take the most pro-ready prospect. He is a terrific back-to-the-basket scorer who knows how to use his body to create space inside. Adding a scoring big man will allow the Lakers to keep adding key pieces to their offense. With Kobe, Okafor, Randle, Clarkson, and whoever they obtain in free agency the Lakers should be able to compete in the Western Conference next season.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: D’Angelo Russell PG/SG University of Ohio State
The 76ers need an offensive threat to pair with what should be an elite defensive frontcourt in Embiid and Noel. Russell also brings a swagger to the court, that with Embiid’s colorful personality should allow for these two to form a great bond and chemistry, much like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Russell is a pure scorer whether he’s slashing to the bucket or shooting it from deep. The 76ers back-court is make shift right now and with the elite offensive potential that is Russell is, he will drastically increase the rebuild in Philadelphia.
4. New York Knicks: Emmanuel Mudiay PG International
Mudiay only has been able to play around 20 games in China due to injury and now that he is healthy, he is stuck behind Will Bynum who has been fantastic for the Guangdong Southern Tigers. Mudiay draws many comparisons to current NBA star John Wall. The past few seasons the Knicks have been looking for their point guard of the future. Mudiay has recently stated that he would love to be mentored by Phil Jackson. While I do not think this a great selection for the Knicks, based off of Mudiay’s skillset not matching up greatly with the triangle offense, I do not feel the Knicks will hold on to this pick, and will look to trade it to obtain a veteran player, who is an already established. With the Kings saying that DeMarcus Cousins is not for sale, I still feel that is who Phil Jackson will be after. The Celtics as well could be major players for this pick as they have a plethora of picks in the next few drafts and have role players they are looking to trade as well. This will benefit both teams as the Celtics can jump ahead of the Kings and select Willie Trill Cauley-Stein, and the Knicks can add picks and players to help fill out their roster which has holes all over it.
5. Orlando Magic: Justise Winslow SF University of Duke
Winslow has some of the highest upside of any prospect in the draft. Towards the end of the season and in March Madness, you saw Winslow transform into an elite offensive threat and not just the defensive stalwart he was. Winslow is one of my favorite prospects in the draft, and with the idea that Tobias Harris will sign else where this free agency, Winslow would be a cheaper, better option for the Magic, who continue to stockpile young talent.
6. Sacramento Kings: Willie Trill Cauley-Stein C University of Kentucky
Sacramento has a glaring need for a partner in crime for DeMarcus Cousins, and Cauley-Stein is the solution. He excels on the defensive side of the ball and as this past season came to a close, you have seen improvement of his offensive game. Cauley-Stein brings great energy to the game and has shown to be an excellent teammate over the years at Kentucky.
7. Denver Nuggets: Stanley Johnson SF University of Arizona
The Nuggets are stuck in the dreaded zone of being average. They have a lot of good players, but no stars. Looking to add that star player do not be shocked to see the Nuggets dangle their pick and either Lawson or Faried to move up and grab a guy that will fill their fan base with hope. This is not a knock aagainst Johnson in anyway, he is a tremendous talent, but his offensive game will need a year or two to further develop to make him a two-way star. He possess elite defensive potential, that will rival Jimmy Butler for best wing defender in the league. Much like Butler though, Johnson will need to work on his offensive efficiency to become a star, like Butler has become.
8. Detroit Pistons: Kristaps Porzingis PF International
Forgoing last years draft seems to have benefited Porzingis. He hasn’t really added anything to his game, but has improved everything that he did before. He now is a consistent threat behind the arc and allows for the Pistons to space the floor better. With Greg Monroe a free agent, and no indication they would resign him, Porzingis allows the Pistons to add yet another shooter to their offense, and a player who shows some defensive upside as well. As seen in Orlando with Dwight Howard, Stan Van Gundy loves to add shooters around his center, and his center now is a rising star in Andre Drummond.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Mario Hezonja SG/SF International
Heronja is a crafty all-around scorer. He also knows how to create his own shot and can operate effectively in one-on-one situations, Heronja needs to work on his effort on defense as that can be lackluster. With that all being said, Hezonja will bring the wing scorer and offensive confidence the Hornets are desperately looking for, and will allow them to dump Lance Stephenson, as he was a bust free agent signing for the club.
10. Miami Heat: Myles Turner PF/C University of Texas
Turner gives the Heat yet another floor spacer. Turner has incredible athleticism and his ability to stretch the floor only increases his potential. On the defensive end he is an elite rim protector averaging 2.7 blocks a game while only playing 22.6 minutes a game. Turner needs to improve his offensive game down low but they will come with time and adding muscle to his lanky body. With the injury to Chris Bosh this past season, and thankfully he will be back next season to give the east some more competition, Bosh will be an excellent mentor for Turner as they possess similar styles of play. Turner might not be a dominant force from the get-go but under tutelage from Bosh and Wade, his potential is limitless giving the Heat a great chance of finding a star with the tenth pick.
11. Indiana Pacers: Devin Booker SG University of Kentucky
Indiana needs some players that can score and Booker is a lights out shooter. He is hitting 44.7% of his threes this year and shooting 48.5% from the floor. With Paul George coming back next season at full strength, he will need a reliable outside shot to ease the offensive pressure off of him. Booker will a Lance Stephenson type role, minus the defense, which allowed for the Pacers to be one of the best teams in the East.
12. Utah Jazz: Sam Dekker SF University of Wisconsin
Dekker is an amazing athlete, with tremendous size for a wing. He has decent lateral quickness to guard the smaller wings of the game. Dekker needs to improve on his jumper and three point accuracy but his ability to finish at the rim is fantastic. He also plays physical allowing him to get to the foul line. He is a solid rebounder with an instinct of where the ball will be. Dekker will be a nice wing player for the Jazz as they look to add as much talent to their rising team. With the addition of Dekker and the further development of their young talent, the Jazz should look to be in the playoffs next year, especially with the Mavericks fading so fast, and the potential loss of LaMarcus Aldridge for the Portland Trailblazers.
13. Phoenix Suns: Kelly Oubre SF University of Kansas
Oubre is an athletic, lengthy forward who has great scoring instincts. He will take some time to develop but on a team like the Suns, where he will not looked as the go-to-scorer yet, he will be able to hone his offensive skills to become even more dangerous then he already was. Oubre, should be a good all-around offensive threat at the next level giving the Suns a weapon they needed.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jerian Grant PG University of Notre Dame
The Thunder are selecting Grant here not based on potential, but for his ability to step in and contribute for them as title contenders. Grant could step in and lead the second unit as he is a great passer and does not turn the ball over. With his vision, he is a great pick-and-roll man. Grant is also a very efficient scorer with only Jahlil Okafor, Montrezl Harrell and Sam Dekker finishing with better two point field goal percentages. Grant also does not possess the ego that Reggie Jackson did, leaving for hopefully better chemistry for the team.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Bobby Portis PF University of Arkansas
With the impending free agency that lies ahead for the Hawks current power forward in Paul Millsap, the Hawks should not feel the need to throw huge amounts of money at Millsap and draft a player, who I compare exactly to him in Portis. Portis brings a similar skill set and comes at a fraction of the price leaving for the Hawks to resign DeMarre Carroll and other role players to defend their spot atop the Eastern Conference.
16. Boston Celtics: Trey Lyles PF University of Kentucky
In this mock draft, I do not have trades or a rim protector left worth selecting this high. This leaves the Celtics, who I think will desperately try to trade up to select either Stein or Turner, the option to draft Lyles. Lyles is no mean a bad talent he possess a gargantuan wingspan that Boston could use down low. His defense is a work in progress, but the defensive potential he has in better than anything the Celtics have right now. Lyles possesses a great feeling on the offensive end. Lyles has great passing instincts for a big man, and also has great footwork and touch around the rim.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Frank Kaminsky PF/C University of Wisconsin
The Bucks amazed almost everyone this year. Most people expected them to be picking in the top ten, but the Bucks got the sixth seed in the playoffs and took the Bulls to six games in the opening round. The problem they had against the Bulls was their lack of offense. This should improve once Jabari Parker returns from injury next season, but even with his return the Bucks need more offensive weapons. Kaminsky has a plethora of moves inside on the block, which would propel Milwaukee’s offensive efficiency that has been drastically hurt by the team having to rely on jumpshots. He is not an elite defender and often gets beat down low, but they do have John Henson for a rim protector. Being a seven footer, Kaminsky does not dominate on the glass as one would expect with only average rebounding talent. This should be masked or improved upon for Kaminsky for the Bucks are a great rebounding team overall.
18. Houston Rockets: Kevon Looney SF/PF UCLA
Looney has seen his stock drop since the beginning of the season. Looney should still hear his name called in the top twenty. Looney is a tweener prospect, not knowing if he is a 3 or 4. With the lack of success with these tweeners the past few years, Looney will need to adopt of these two positions as his own and excel at it. Looney is a very intelligent player with great court vision and the ability to stretch the floor. Looney is also a great rebounder and versatile defender. The Rockets look to add another piece to the puzzle, as they look to battle through the gauntlet of the Western Conference.
19. Washington Wizards: Tyus Jones PG University of Duke
The Wizards can look for a guy in Jones that has terrific all-around point guard skills, an accurate shooter, even to the three point range, and sees the floor well and makes great passes to teammates. Very high basketball IQ. Jones is seen as a career back-up and that is all the Wizards would need him for. Learning from John Wall will only further improve Jones skill set. With the addition of Jones, the Wizards will have a great floor general for the second unit only furthering their deep team that they hope lures Kevin Durant to in 2016.
20. Toronto Raptors: Cameron Payne PG Murray State University
The Raptors need to another scorer to this team to solidify themselves as contenders and not pretenders. Payne is a lot better than their already back-up point guard in Greivis Vasquez and would allow the Raptors to shop him next season. Payne would provide a nice floor general for the second unit as he shows great leadership and ability to get his teammates involved.
21. Dallas Mavericks: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SG/SF University of Arizona
The Mavericks are in no need of more offensive players as they possess one of the best offenses in the league. They do however need to add talent on the defensive side and Hollis-Jefferson is head to head with Winslow for top defender. He can guard the 1-4, showing his versatility. His offensive game is a work in progress. He compares greatly to current Hornets wing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
22. Chicago Bulls: Christian Wood PF UNLV
The Bulls need to add some dept for their frontcourt. They do have a solid rotation right now, but Gibson is an expensive role player, Gasol is not getting any younger, and Noah is struggling to stay healthy. Adding Wood to the frontcourt would allow for Noah and Gasol to rest more during the season leaving for Mirotic, Gibson, and Wood to develop during the season, and keeping Noah and Gasol rested for the playoffs.
23. Portland Trailblazers: Montrezl Harrell PF University of Louisville
With the impending free agent that is LaMarcus Aldridge, the Trailblazers could look to add a replacement or a back-up to give Aldridge some rest during the season. Harrell is a energy guy with tremendous athleticism, much like Kenneth Faried. He is fantastic on the boards and willing to do the dirty work on both sides of the court. The Trailblazers always seem to be in the game of looking for role players, well Harrell fits that build and gives them an opportunity to showcase to Aldridge they will give help.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Delon Wright PG University of Utah
Wright is one of those players that could contribute right now in the NBA. He is a great effort player always doing what is asked of him. He is a good passer and good defender. He needs to improve his jump shot and his range as his three point accuracy is an issue (22% last year). The Cavaliers could also look to add a rim protector like Upshaw, but their second unit struggled much of the year and Wright is an established leader that will make his teammates better.
25. Memphis Grizzles: R.J Hunter SG Georgia State University
The Grizzles also seem to be trying to find outside help. Hunter is one of the better outside shooters to declare and would fit very well in the Grizzles system. With the great player leadership in Memphis Hunter will further learn the game and how to use his strengths better. His defensive is unknown based on his college’s way of playing defense, but he does possess good length to be a factor, which is always nice to see out of your role players/bench.
26. San Antonio Spurs: Timothe Luwawu SG International
Luwawu is seeing his name fly up draft boards. Luwawu is a young, good all-around player. With the Spurs looking as the front runners to land LaMarcus Aldridge, they would need to let go of a lot of role players. Adding Luwawu gives them an athletic wing to develop and give depth to their team. If Aldridge is landed, expect the Spurs to bring Luwawu over from France, but if they do not land Aldridge they would likely use him as a draft-and-stash.
27. Los Angeles Lakers: Robert Upshaw C University of Washington
Upshaw is a bit of an unknown. He was kicked off two teams in collegiate career, but possess elite rim protecting skills. The Lakers being a mess right now, could take a risk with Upshaw to upgrade their interior defense. When he was playing, he was averaging 4.5 blocks while only playing 24.9 minutes. Adding a big man would allow the Lakers to use Jordan Hill as an expiring contract next year to potential get more picks to build their team up again. With Mudiay, Clarkson, Randle and Upshaw the Lakers would have a nice young core going forward, that could hopefully allow for them to land a big free agent.
28. Boston Celtics: Dakari Johnson C University of Kentucky
With all other rim protectors gone, the Celtics decide to take a flyer with Johnson. Johnson did not see much playing time the past two seasons, but when he did play he showed good defensive potential with offensive upside. With Lyles and Johnson on board the Celtics can look to trade some of their current big men in a attempt to get more picks or add a superstar via trade.
29. Brooklyn Nets: George Lucas PG International
Many people will not know who George Lucas is, but he is a point guard from Brazil. George is very young (18) but would be a nice draft and stash prospect for the Nets to groom to take over when Deron Williams contract expires. He is very raw but has tremendous size at 6’6 and a wingspan of 6’11. He could be defensive stalwart. When some NBA developmental help we could see him over in the states in the not to long future and he could be the next rising international star.
30. Golden State Warriors: Terry Rozier PG University of Louisville
In my first mock I had the Warriors selecting Lucas, but the Nets stole him this time. The Warriors instead add a more pro ready prospect in Rozier. If the Warriors continue their dominance next season, Curry will be resting fourth quarters again, allowing for Rozier to develop without any pressures. A lot of people compare Rozier to Kemba Walker and if he can develop into that type of player the Warriors would be in great shape, as he could lead the team if Curry ever left at a fraction of the cost.