This is an updated mock draft from my previous one done in May. There is not a lot of huge changes since the last mock, but not much has changed for the top team’s needs since May. Most of the changes occur in the late teens and beyond.
2015 NBA Mock Draft 1.0:
2015 NBA Mock Draft 2.0:
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. Stein might be one of the safest picks in the draft, and consistency and reliability is what Sacramento needs.
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 or Kawhi Leonard 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. Porzingis has garnered a lot of rumors lately about potentially being a top three pick in the draft, but I think they are what they are and just rumors. Porzingis is likely to need at least 1-2 years of further development before he can be relied upon. This is not the type of player you select in the top three, maybe not even top five, and this is why I see Porzingis falling to a team like Detroit. This pick is a future pick for the Pistons, as the recent trade for Ersan Ilyasova fills their need for a stretch four for the next season. Porzingis is 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 with the recent trade of Lance Stephenson to the Clippers, the Hornets are now even more desperate for wing help. With rumors of the New York Knicks looking to trade down if Towns, Okafor, or Russell are unavailable, the Hornets could look to move up to try and draft a more ready prospect in Johnson or Winslow for offensive wing help.
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, Turner 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 this 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 past 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. The Pacers could also look for another big man, but with Turner off the board in this situation, a shooter is a good substitute.
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: Cameron Payne PG Murray State University
The Thunder are looking for a back-up point guard. They have a solid back-up in Augustin, but he is only under contract for one more year. Payne even with Augustin on the roster could instantly fill the back-up point guard with ease. With his quick style of play he could keep opposing team’s second units on their toes. The Thunder, with a healthy Durant and Westbrook will be looking to be western conference champions, and an addition of a pro-ready prospect like Payne this could be more easily achieved.
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: R.J Hunter SG Georgia State University
The Bucks, are set to be big players this offseason, mainly targeting a center. With an addition of Brook Lopez, an offensive void would be filled for Milwaukee and they could look to target a shooter. Hunter is one of the better outside shooters to declare and would fit very well in the Bucks system. 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.Even with that being said, Milwaukee has plenty of defensive players to make up for Hunter if his defensive is not as good as is hoped.
18. Houston Rockets: Frank Kaminsky PF/C University of Wisconsin
Houston is in need of a big that can stretch the floor consistently and provide Howard a break. Kaminsky is no where near the defensive presence Howard is, but at least he will put in effort on that end. The offensive side of the ball is where Houston will be using Kaminsky. Terrence Jones came along this past season with an outside shot, but is no where near the threat Kaminsky is. Kaminsky would start the season on the bench, but I would not be shocked to see him take over the four spot. Kaminsky will give the Rockets yet another weapon to battle in the crowded 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: Jerian Grant PG University of Notre Dame
The Toronto Raptors are selecting Grant here not based on potential, but for his ability to step in and contribute for them as hopeful title contenders. Grant could step in and lead the second unit as he is a great passer, efficient, 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 many players have, and coming off the bench will not be an issue for Grant. Once Lowry’s contract expires in a few years, Grant should have enough experience to lead the team in the future.
21. Dallas Mavericks: 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, but I am shaking things up and having him slip even further. 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 Mavericks look to add another piece to the puzzle, as they look to battle through the gauntlet of the Western Conference. With a presumed run at LaMarcus Aldridge, and Aldridge saying he would like to play there, Aldridge would start at the four, and allow for Looney to sit back, develop his skills, learn the game, and not be forced to contribute right away, which I think is key for his success.
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: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SG/SF University of Arizona
The Cavaliers 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 wing defender. He can guard 1-4, showing his versatility. His offensive game is a work in progress. Jefferson compares greatly to current Hornets wing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. With Shumpert, James, and Jefferson on the same court, opposing teams would struggle greatly with perimeter offense.
25. Memphis Grizzles: 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 Grizzles could also look to add a rim protector like Upshaw, with Koufos being a free agent, but their second unit guards struggled much of the year and Wright is an established leader that will make his teammates better.
26. San Antonio Spurs: Justin Anderson SF University of Virginia
Justin Anderson is the type of player the Spurs could use. Anderson is smart, explosive, and a hard worker. With a presumed run at LaMarcus Aldridge, the San Antonio Spurs will likely have to trade away a few players to make room for Aldridge, hurting their depth. Splitter and Green are the two players linked to be parted with for Aldridge, and Anderson could be used to replace Green. Although not as deadly from three, Anderson still has the ability to hit from three. Anderson does have the advantage of superior athleticism, allowing for him to do more things, than a player such as Green.
27. Los Angeles Lakers: Cedi Osman SF International
In my previous mock the Lakers received Robert Upshaw, but with the hypothetical addition of Okafor, adding two centers would not be a great idea, especially with other holes to fill. Osman has been a fast riser in the past few weeks. Osman, would give the Lakers a young wing to develop over the next few seasons. Osman will likely be staying overseas for at least another year or two, but when he does come over, the Lakers will have an interesting wing to work with.
28. Boston Celtics: 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 Celtics being a mess right now down low, 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 Celtics to use plethora of average big man as trade pieces to acquire better players. With an addition of Lyles and Upshaw, the Celtics would add an offensive and defensive punch, which would allow for another chance at a postseason bid.
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. With 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.