25 June 2015

2015 NBA Mock Draft: Final Edition

The 2015 NBA Draft is tonight at 7:00 on ESPN. With that in mind, I will conclude the mock draft process with my final mock draft. Take a look.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves - Karl-Anthony Towns, PF/C, Kentucky
Both Towns and Jahlil Okafor are exceptional talents and would be great players to have on a Minnesota roster that needs help. However, I think Towns is the better prospect and would be a better fit for a team with his inside-outside game on both ends of the court due to his length, athleticism and nice jumper for a big man. From the onset of his NBA career he should make a major impact on the defensive end with his shot blocking skills. And if he is able to work in a three-point shot as rumored, look out.

2. Los Angeles Lakers - Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
Okafor would give the Lakers a very promising frontcourt along with last year's first-round selection Julius Randle, even as it could be interesting to see them fit together in the paint. Okafor projects to be an impact post scorer right away considering he has such an advanced set of moves for somebody only 19 years old. He may never be an elite defender or free throw shooter but he should develop into a solid rebounder.

3. Philadelphia 76ers - D'Angelo Russell, G, Ohio State
Last week I had the Sixers going with Porzingis but now I believe that talk may be some smokescreen to potentially see a trade. Philadelphia really needs some help in the backcourt and specifically at the point. Russell now has a clear edge as the best guard in the draft and is all but a lock for the top four. His strong perimeter shooting, his passing ability and his ability to create for others should help improve a miserable offense. His defense shortcomings could be masked on this club by Nerlens Noel and, when he is healthy, Joel Embiid.

4. New York Knicks - Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia
This selection would probably not be popular with the Knicks faithful but I think that this will be the selection should they be unable to trade down or if Russell is not available. Porzingis has the shooting stroke that you normally see from a guard. He needs a good deal of polish and certainly needs to get stronger and tougher but he has shown some promise with his shot-blocking abilities. The Knicks need a lot of help and are not going anywhere anytime soon so they could be patient with his development.

5. Orlando Magic - Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
The guy Orlando wants is Porzingis but I don't think he will likely be available at five. In that case, I believe they go with Winslow. Winslow may not be the kind of knockdown shooter that the Magic could use but I think he is too good of a prospect for the Magic to pass up on with the fifth selection. He is still a little raw on the offensive end but he is efficient, is a solid passer, takes care of the ball and plays well without the ball. Where he will make his money in his pro career will be on the defensive end as he will be able to guard three positions at the next level.

6. Sacramento Kings - Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China
The point guard position has been an issue for the Kings practically since Mike Bibby was traded to Atlanta and while Darren Collison played relatively well this past season, he is not a long-term solution. And he would be a nice stop-gap as Mudiay develops. Mudiay is a pure point guard thanks to his athleticism and explosiveness and he has excellent size for the position at 6-5. His jump-shot needs to be refined but he can get to and finish at the rim thanks to his strength.

7. Denver Nuggets - Mario Hezonja, SG/SF, Croatia
Denver could use just about anything at this point as their roster has become a mess with a dearth of talent and promise. I would look for them to take the best player available with this selection and I think that would be Hezonja. Hezonja would require some patience but the Nuggets are not going anywhere soon and they could use all the help that they could get on the perimeter. He has an excellent skill-set offensively but he does come with questions about his demeanor and also has to work on his defense.

8. Detroit Pistons - Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona
Caron Butler and Tayshaun Prince are the top options at the three for the Pistons at the moment and given that both are well past their prime at this point, the Pistons could sorely use a long-term solution at the position. Johnson would give them a player that gives them versatility on both ends of the floor, but particularly defensively. His size, length and athleticism allow him to guard multiple positions, he rebounds well and can shoot from the perimeter.

9. Charlotte Hornets Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky
The Hornets could look to take a wing player with this selection given that Lance Stephenson was a disaster and Gerald Henderson is a free agent and given their major need for some perimeter shooting, taking perhaps the best shooter in the draft would make sense. Booker's stock is on the rise right now thanks in part to a stroke that looks league-ready even at 18. He has ideal size at 6-6 for the two-guard and he is also a smart passer while working hard defensively despite a limited wingspan.

10. Miami Heat - Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin
Pat Riley loves to take experience collegiate players and given that the Heat do have a need at small forward should Luol Deng choose to opt-out this summer, Dekker could make a lot of sense for them. Dekker has seen his draft stock rise thanks to a strong performance in the NCAA Tournament and he showed some promise with his jump shot. He has plus athleticism and should be able to guard multiple positions in the NBA, even with a relatively short wingspan.

11. Indiana Pacers - Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
Cauley-Stein is a top ten caliber prospect in my opinion but with the way the draft appears to be shaping up right now, he may just fall here to the 11th pick. Cauley-Stein looks like an exceptional defender right away and his athleticism should allow him to cover almost every position on the court. His offense needs some refinement but for a club that wants to push the action more on both ends of the court, he would seem to be a good fit for that.

12. Utah Jazz - Myles Turner, C, Texas
The Jazz have been able to put together a pretty intriguing roster chock full of talent and versatile pieces and as a result, they do not have many glaring needs for this pick. However, I have a hard time believing that if a talent like Turner is available at this selection, they will not pass him up. Turner is raw and did not play a whole lot in his sole season in Austin, and his running style is raising some concerns, but you just do not see too many guys of his size with his physical attributes.

13. Phoenix Suns - Frank Kaminsky, PF/C, Wisconson
Kaminsky may not be the defensive force that Phoenix could use in their frontcourt but he does seem to be a perfect fit for coach Jeff Hornacek's style of basketball. He is not particularly athletic, strong and he likely will struggle defensively throughout his career. However, few big men have the kind of offensive skill-set that he has from his post game to his perimeter game. Kaminsky should excel in such a wide open attack that the Suns employ and allow Hornacek to really mix up his lineups to keep defenses at bay.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder - Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State
When the Thunder have everybody healthy, they are a title contender. Therefore, they don't have the kind of glaring need that your typical lottery team would. GM Sam Presti could afford to go with the best player available approach regardless of need and Payne could apply in that aspect, and his shooting ability, albeit streaky, could certainly help too. He has excellent court vision and passes the ball very well, even in transition.

15. Atlanta Hawks Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas
Paul Millsap has been a major part of the Hawks' success the past two seasons, not to mention a key cog in coach Mike Budenholzer's offensive system, but he is also a free agent and could end up being too expensive to be brought back. Portis is no Millsap but he has the ability to do some of the things that Millsap does well. Portis is not particularly athletic but he has an NBA body, he consistently plays hard and he has himself a solid offensive game with a solid jump-shot that can stretch out towards the three-point arc.

16. Boston Celtics - Kelly Oubre, SG/SF, Kansas
It has been widely reported that the Celtics are looking to get aggressive in the draft and many are speculating that they will be trying to trade up. However it they stay put at 16, I could see them taking Oubre. Oubre was inconsistent as a freshman in Lawrence but he did show a lot of promise. He is long and athletic and shows all the skills to be a true presence defensively. Oubre's jumper looks to be where he will make an immediate contribution on offense. He could be worth a shot by the always cagey Danny Ainge.

17. Milwaukee Bucks - Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
The Bucks recently traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Pistons and with that, they could use some further depth at the four and their frontcourt at-large. Lyles is raw and is not that close to being a finished product, he is only 19, but he has an intriguing skill-set to be a face-up or a stretch four. He would bring further versatility to this Milwaukee club offensively but what could be concerning is that he is not particularly athletic and he really needs to work on his defense.

18. Houston Rockets (from New Orleans) - Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame
Houston got some big-time play in big spots this postseason from Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni. However, both are at least 37 and aren't playing on guaranteed contracts for next season while usual starter Patrick Beverley is a restricted free agent. Even if Beverley returns, the team should look to target a backup early. Grant does not have major upside considering he is already 22 but he is a great passer and, thanks to his athleticism and length, should be at least a decent defender at the next level.

19. Washington Wizards - Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
Paul Pierce has seen a good deal of minutes at the power forward position in this postseason and in the regular season and while he has made it work, it is obviously not a long-term answer. Looney is raw and is not likely to be an immediate contributor as he needs to get stronger and grow his post game. However, he has shown a skill for working the glass, specifically on offense, and his shot from three is very good for his position.

20. Toronto Raptors - Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona
Toronto was terrible at-times defensively this past season and their weaknesses on that end of the court was one of the key reasons why they fell apart and were swept by the Wizards in the playoffs. The Raptors are good enough offensively to cover for Hollis-Jefferson's mediocre jump shot but they could his defensive skills. His size, length and athleticism should allow him to defend multiple positions and he should be able to be a strong defensive specialist in the NBA.

21. Dallas Mavericks Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
Well it is safe to say that the Rajon Rondo era in Dallas has come to a close. If and when he leaves Big D, it will leave a hole at the point as neither J.J. Barea nor the immortal Raymond Felton should be starting point guards in this league at this point in their careers. Jones was tremendous for the Blues Devils in the National Championship and that helped his stock. He may not be the impressive athlete but he has great handles and has tremendous intangibles. His jumper is also pretty good.

22. Chicago Bulls - Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
It appears that the Bulls are going to employ a more open offensive style under new head coach Fred Hoiberg and more shooters could be in the mix. They could also use some further depth on the wing, especially as Mike Dunleavy is a free agent and they just may be intrigued by the talented Vaughn. Vaughn has excellent scoring instincts and can make shots in different ways. However, he is still only 18 and is not likely to be a contributor right away, especially on a playoff team.

23. Portland Trail Blazers - R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State
The issues are two-fold for the Trail Blazers at the shooting guard position with Wesley Matthews coming off a torn Achilles, an injury he sustained in March, and with Matthews being a free agent. Also, his backup, Arron Afflalo, has a player option for this season and he is expected to hit free agency instead. Hunter would be a good value at 23 due to his excellent jump-shot, considered by some to be the best of this draft class, and he is a strong passer as well. One would think that he would fit well under Terry Stotts.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers Delon Wright, PG, Utah
Wright already is 23 years old but while that may make his career a little shorter on the back-end, it also means that he should be able to contribute right away. He takes advantage of his size as a passer and he distributes very well. The Cavaliers are trying to win right now and so Wright's ability to contribute right away would likely be a plus. Matthew Dellavadova had his moments in the Finals while filling in for the injured Kyrie Irving but he also showed his limits and he is also a free agent, albeit a restricted one.

25. Memphis Grizzlies Justin Anderson, SG/SF, Virginia
Memphis is a club that has become a tough playoff out with some tremendous defense and a decided home-court advantage at "the Grindhouse," but one thing they have needed for years now is perimeter shooting. Anderson is a player that has worked hard on his jump shot and it showed as he was hitting 45 percent of his threes this past season in Charlottesville. Factor that with his talents on the defensive end due to his size, length, athleticism and ability to cover multiple positions and it sounds like he would be a good fit with the Grizzlies.

26. San Antonio Spurs Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
The Spurs looked locked and loaded for another title run next season but one thing they could use is more depth in the frontcourt with a number of reserves being free agents this offseason. Harrell will not likely offer much offensively at the next level outside of the painted area but Gregg Popovich is smart enough of a coach to put him in a position to succeed. Where he will make his lunch is on defense and on the boards, where his length, athleticism and physicality will allow him to excel on those ends.

27. Los Angeles Lakers - Christian Wood, PF, UNLV
Showtime simply needs talent and they should gamble with their second first-round selection. Wood would certainly apply as he is quite raw and probably would have benefited from a third year at UNLV. After all, he still is only 19 and has a long way to develop physically. That said, he has lottery talent as he has great length and a nice touch from the perimeter, not to mention some game on the glass.

28. Boston Celtics - Jarell Martin, F, LSU
I fully expect Celtics GM Danny Ainge to utilize to take a chance with this second first-round selection and I would characterize this Bayou Bengal as such. Martin is very athletic and showed some promise of a nice face-up game during his time in Baton Rouge. He has the tools to be a nice contributor offensively but he still needs some polish and consistency, and he also needs to show more effort on the boards. Martin also may not have a position.

29. Brooklyn Nets (from Atlanta) - Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse
Given that the Nets are not likely to be a factor for a few years thanks to limited picks and financial flexibility going forward, they really need to add some youth and talent and should take some risks. McCullough was looking like a top-20 pick this season before suffering a torn ACL. Couple that with the fact that he is rather raw and that makes him a project. He does have the ability to shoot from three and moves well defensively while also having the ability to block shots.

30. Golden State Warriors Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville
The Warriors have the flexibility to do just about anything with this selection thanks to such a deep and talented roster, and it could be difficult for this prospect to get much if any burn next season. That's why to this point I have had them taking a project here but now I see them taking Rozier, whose stock has been rising of late. Rozier's mediocre jumper would not be a concern with the Dubs while his ability to get to the tin and his tough defense could be useful off the bench.

Check out the NBA Mock Draft database at Walter Football for even more mocks.

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