This is an updated mock draft from my previous one done a couple weeks ago, and my final one before the 2015 NBA draft. There is quite a few changes since the last mock, but not much has changed for the top team’s needs since May. I will not have trades included on this article, but as always there will be trades that shake up everything.
2015 NBA Mock Draft 1.0:
2015 NBA Mock Draft 2.0:
2015 NBA Mock Draft 3.0:
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: D’Angelo Russell PG/SG Ohio State University
The Lakers need an offensive threat to ease the pressure off of Kobe Bryant in his last season. Russell has expressed great interest in taking the torch from Bryant and leading the Lakers into a new dynasty. Russell does have the “it” factor to be a star in Los Angeles, and fans will become enamored with his scoring ability. If the Lakers can trade for DeMarcus Cousins, this pick is belonging to another team, so this selection could come down to the Okafor or Russell.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Kristaps Porzingis SF/PF International
Unable to get the player they wanted in Russell, the 76ers look to add a player with incredible potential, but who still needs another year of development in Europe. Sam Hinkie will likely try to trade out of this spot. Porzingis offers insurance if Embiid can never get healthy again, as when Dario Saric comes over, hopefully after next season, the 76ers can put Saric at SF, Porzingis at PF, and Noel at center, giving them a big line-up for opponents. Porzingis could also be used a player to dangle in trade talks to try and acquire a star via trade, instead of the draft.
4. New York Knicks: Jahlil Okafor C University of Duke
Okafor allows the Knicks 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 Knicks to keep adding key pieces to their triangle offense. With a healthy Anthony, Okafor, and whoever they obtain in free agency the Knicks should be able to compete in the Eastern Conference next season.
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: Mario Hezonja SG/SF International
Sacramento has a glaring need for a wing that can score. With talks of putting Rudy Gay at the four, the three needs to be filled, and who better than to do it, than the man who says he can beat Kobe 1-on-1. Hezonja brings an elite offensive arsenal, with the same confidence as Kobe. He is all the place with scouts, ranging from in love, to bust, but my opinion is that he could be as good as James Harden, or at the worst, a J.R. Smith type player.
7. Denver Nuggets: 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 Nuggets have been in search of a star. They have not found this player in the most recent drafts, and with all the craziness ahead of them, the Nuggets could be getting a steal at seven. Mudiay started the year as a top two pick, no questions asked, but has fallen recently with questions to his jumper. The jumper has been improving, and with comparisons to John Wall, the Nuggets can fasten the process of trading Ty Lawson and entering the rebuilding phase with a potential star.
8. Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson SF University of Arizona
Johnson is a perfect fit for Detroit. With the recent trade for Ersan Ilyasova, the need for a stretch four was decreased, and the hole at the three was even more exposed. Johnson may need a season or two to find his offensive rhythm, but he will be able to step in day one and solidify their perimeter defense. His NBA path looks so similar to that of divisional rival, Jimmy Butler, which is why he always gets compared to him skill wise. Johnson has the potential to be a two-way star, and at the eighth pick, the Pistons will have filled their biggest need with a great player.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Willie Trill Cauley-Stein C University of Kentucky
The Hornets have been extremely active the past few days in making trades. They have acquired Spencer Hawes, Jeremy Lamb, and Nic Batum, and now have a lot of options to go with at number nine. Stein is the best player available and gives the Hornets some much needed rim protection. With Al Jefferson getting up there in age, injury prone, and lack of ability to defend the rim, Stein can fill the defensive need, and then learn an elite low post offensive skill set from Jefferson.
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, even with the addition of Luke Ridnour. They have a solid back-up platoon in Augustin and Ridnour, but both are only under contract for one more year, and Ridnour could be waived for more cap space for resigning Kanter. 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
With rumors of the Celtics trying to trade up, I would not expect the 16th overall pick to be in the hands of the Celtics come draft night. So 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: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SG/SF University of Arizona
The Trailblazers have traded Nic Batum for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh. Vonleh will be groomed at the four to replace Aldridge, who is all but gone. Jefferson will be able to step in and stiffen the Trailblazers perimeter defense. Jefferson will need a few seasons to improve his offense, but could turn into a very good player, if that happens. The Trailblazers will be in rebuilding mode next season, so adding as much young talent as possible is needed.
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 with them picking the option up on Mozgov, that pick would be a little redundant.
25. Memphis Grizzles: Montrezl Harrell PF University of Louisville
The Grizzlies have added Matt Barnes to their team to help on the perimeter, so a wing player is not as needed here. Harrell would be a nice value pick here to give the Grizzlies a guy, who can learn a great deal from Zach Randolph, and then in return, let Randolph rest for the playoffs, when he is more needed. The Grizzlies could also target a guy like Robert Upshaw, but with Kosta Koufos likely to be a cheap resigning, they will likely stick with him.
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, who I almost moved up again to this slot, but with Osman being a fast riser in the past few weeks, I think the Lakers would be wise to capitalize on the kid. 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. Although the Lakers are in win now mode, Osman would be able to help them continue winning, and adding talent, after another year or two in Europe.
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: Rakeem Christmas PG University of Syracuse
With the Warriors trying to trade away David Lee, they might look to the draft for a cheap replacement. Christmas offers similar rebounding skills, with a lesser offensive skill set, but better defensive skills. I compare Christmas to a Tristan Thompson type player, but with higher defensive upside, which would make him a great value pick at 30. The Warriors could evidently use more rebounders and defensive players, as they were beat up in the paint, during the finals.