Fresh off some dominating performances in the 2015 NCAA Tournament and with barely a tad more than 2 months to go before the 2015 NBA Draft, several pro prospects are on the rise.
Stellar outings from Kentucky’s Karl Anthony-Towns and Trey Lyles, Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, as well as Duke’s Justise Winslow could have a huge affect on how high they surge in this June’s Draft.
Conversely, players like Texas’ Myles Turner, Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Kansas’ Perry Ellis and Cliff Alexander have taken the biggest hit from their play through April.
There also is some jostling for Draft position by NBA teams, which will be huge in determining what teams need, as New York, Minnesota, Philadelphia, LA Lakers, and Orlando Magic all still have a shot at landing the #1 pick.
As such, these Mock Draft rankings are based on potential with this year’s Draft order based on current team records from the current regular season and outstanding trades.
These are only my choices and not the consensus picks of all of The Hoop Doctors writers, with that said here is my 2015 Mock Draft:Version 4.0:
7’0 250lbs Freshman
Thanks in part to a stellar showing in the NCAA Tournament, Towns has supplanted Okafor as the top player on the board for the 2015 Draft. He nearly single-handedly willed the Wildcats into the Final Four and has legit NBA size to play the center position. He’s a better defender than Okafor and although he’s still not a finished product, has a higher upside thanks to a deft midrange game that many feel resembles Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge. Minny already has a young core built around last year’s top pick Andrew Wiggins, so adding Towns seems logical.
6’11 270lbs Freshman
The bruising and physical big man was projected as the top pick through most of the season but his stock slipped a tad during March Madness. Okafor can help a team immediately from the offensive end, aided by tremendous footwork and a plethora of fakes and up-and-under moves around the rim. His massive 7’5 wingspan and humungous hands help offset a mediocre defense. The Knicks want to make a quick turnaround for next season and Okafor could be the best big man to play home games at MSG since Patrick Ewing.
6’5 185lbs Freshman
Point Guard/Shooting Guard
Anyone who watched college hoops this season knows that Russell was the most exciting player in the nation this season. He led all freshmen in scoring showing an innate feel for the game beyond his years. Although not a plus athlete, Russell has a crafty offensive game, possessing great ability to create his own shot and has emerged as an elite 3 point threat. He has excellent length to play both backcourt positions and could develop into a decent defender. After trading away 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, Philly is in dire need of a superstar at the PG position to pair with Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. Russell has some of the highest upside in the Draft and could be an instant hit in the “City of Brotherly Love”, as the best perimeter scorer in town since Allen Iverson.
6’5 190lbs China
One of the question marks of the Draft, Mudiay epitomizes a high risk, high reward type of prospect. After choosing to play a season in China rather than in college has both helped and hurt his prospects. He has impressive size, speed, and scoring abilities at the PG position, reminding many of a young John Wall. He played well overseas against lackluster competition but was injured for a majority of the time. His former coach Larry Brown at SMU said Mudiay is talented enough to be the #1 pick but Towns, Okafor, and Russell are more of a sure thing. The Lakers need a strong lead guard to pair with an aging Kobe Bryant but they could go with Winslow here if they sign a top free agent PG like Rajon Rondo.
6’6 230lbs Freshman
Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Winslow is one of the top athletes in the entire draft, possessing elite speed, explosiveness, and toughness. He showed a much better offensive skill set than expected as an elite HS player, having an innate ability to get to the rim and an improved 3 point shot. He may be the best perimeter defender in this year’s crop and was at his best in the open floor. Some feel he may have the most upside of any prospect, some going as far as to compare him to Rockets’ star James Harden. The Magic already have Victor Oladipo and Maurice Harkless at the 2 and 3 positions but Winslow is the “Best Player Available.”
7’0 240lbs Junior
Arguably the best defensive big man in the college game the past 2 seasons, Cauley-Stein leaves Kentucky as one of their most decorated players over the past decade, being named NABC Defensive Player of the Year, a 1st Team All American, and helping the Cats reach back-to-back Final Four appearances. WCS projects as an elite NBA presence, capable of both protecting the rim, as well as guarding all 5 positions on the floor while at Kentucky. A former wide receiver in high school, Cauley-Stein is an explosive athlete that runs the floor like a deer, a definite positive on the NBA level. On the downside, he will probably never be an option on offense, possessing a limited offensive arsenal other than tip ins and dunks. He reminds many of a Tyson Chandler clone and would be a perfect compliment to emerging All star Demarcus Cousins in the Sacramento frontcourt.
6’7 200lbs Freshman
Shooting Guard/Small Forward
The former top flight high school player disappointing early for the Jayhawks, looking lost and out of sync. But he rebounded nicely to show his elite offensive potential, helping Kansas win another share of the Big 12 crown. Oubre is a tad thin but has prototypical size, length, and plus athleticism to one day be a starting 2 guard in the Association. Right now his real strength is his perimeter stroke, connecting on nearly 40% from behind the arc as a freshman. He reminds many of a young Paul George but with a better offensive game coming out of college, and would be a steal for the rebuilding Nuggets late in the Lottery.
6’7 245lbs Freshman
The Arizona freshman had a standout lone season, helping lead Arizona to another deep NCAA tourney run. Although he floundered late he shouldn’t slip much on draft day. Johnson has an NBA ready body and could develop into an elite defender in the mold of Kawhi Leonard. His offensive skill set is still evolving but considering he’s still just 18 years old, the future looks bright. He’s a proven winner, helping national powerhouse Mater Dei to 4 straight California state titles in HS. Detroit already has a few pieces to build around in Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, so Johnson would be a perfect fit at the 3 position going forward.
7’1 225lbs Latvia
Arguably the top International prospect in this year’s draft, the 7 footer prefers to play facing the basket rather than with his back to it inside the painted area. After pulling out of the 2014 NBA Draft, the still only 19 years old prospect has some of the biggest upside of anyone in this year’s crop. He’s still rather thin but has amazing offensive skill that extends to the 3 point line. On defense, he’s too frail to go up against bigger centers but is an outstanding help defender at the rim and has the footspeed and lateral quickness to be an outstanding perimeter defender in the mold of Andrei Kirilenko. Some see him going as high as #7 to Sacramento but a more likely landing spot would be in Charlotte, adding to the young core of Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Cody Zeller.
6’10 250lbs Freshman
Easily Kentucky’s most underrated player, the former Mr Basketball in Indiana, was the X-factor for the Wildcats all season, showing outstanding offensive skill, including an above average jumper paired with tons of intangibles around the rim. A solid rebounder and adequate defender, the 6’10 forward reminds many of a young Carlos Boozer, and could sneak higher in the Lottery by Draft day. He would be an outstanding infusion of youth into an aging Heat line-up, forming a solid frontcourt alongside budding All Star Hassan Whiteside.
6’8 215lbs Croatia
Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Hezonja has long been coveted as an NBA prospect due to his above average athleticism from either the 2 of 3 position. He has a much improved offensive skillset, with in the gym 3 point range, and includes some deft spot up shooting without the ball. His one weakness may be in the midrange, but some feel he has some insane potential in the mold of San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili. He could challenge Porzingis in being the first European player off the board as the most athletic 2 guard out of Europe in decades.
6’8 240lbs Junior
Harrell made a surprising decision to return to Louisville for his junior season despite being projected as a legit 1st Round pick in 2014. He is a beast within the painted area, ranking among the nation’s top rebounders and highlight reel dunkers. He’s a tad undersized for the PF position in the NBA but should make up for it in some elite athleticism and a 7’2 wingspan. He initially reminded many of Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, but may have a higher upside due to an ever improving jumpshot that extends out to 18 feet. The Jazz lost big man Enes Kanter in a trade with OKC, so replacing him with Harrell would be a welcome frontcourt addition.
6’11 245lbs Freshman
Once a prized Top 5 ranked HS player entering college, Turner had an up-and-down freshman campaign at Texas. Marred by both inconsistencies and a lack of playing time from since deposed head coach Rick Barnes, Turner’s final stats were solid aided by some impressive games of 25, 12, and 3 vs Texas Tech and 17, 10, and 6 against Oklahoma. He is the definition of a boom or bust pick capable of being either the steal of the draft or a bust. His appeal is his above average offensive game in the midrange and up to the 3 point line that reminds many of LaMarcus Aldridge, paired with some innate shotblocking(2.6 blocks in 22 minutes per game). There are some concerns about hip and leg issues that have haunted him since high school but some will overlook them for his major upside. Phoenix can use an upgrade over Miles Plumlee at center and could form a “Twin Towers” frontcourt alongside Alex Len.
6’3 185lbs Sophomore
With the recent success of point guards coming from small schools like Damian Lillard and Elfrid Payton, Payne should be in the discussion for the 3rd PG selected after Russell and Mudiay. Despite missing out on some much needed national exposure in the NCAA Tournament, Payne has exceptional size and quickness to be a starting PG in the Association. He’s a shifty floor general with exceptional speed, scoring, and play making abilities that compare favorably to Indiana’s George Hill. The Thunder lost Reggie Jackson to Detroit, so Payne seems like a capable replacement.
6’9 230lbs Junior
After having a rather average junior season at Wisconsin due to some nagging injuries, Dekker exploded in the NCAA Tournament, teaming with Frank Kaminsky to lead the Badgers all the way to the Championship Game. He has outstanding size for the SF position at the next level, and is a much better perimeter shooter than his stats suggest. He’s a very versatile player reminding many of Utah’s Gordon Hayward and would be an excellent addition to the Hawks’ perimeter strength alongside Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll.
6’10 240lbs Sophomore
The reigning SEC Player of the Year has elite size and length for the PF position at the next level. Possessing above average athleticism and a great mid range game, Portis has a major upside at the next level. He’s an active rebounder, versatile defender, and finishes well through contact. On the downside, he has very little low post game, and prefers to face up. He has an NBA ready body but could use some extra strength against bigger power forwards. The Celtics could use some frontcourt help alongside Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, and Portis fits the bill.
7’0 240lbs Senior
This year’s Wooden Award winner, Kaminsky has an amazing offensive skill set featuring a bevy of up-and-under and spin moves in the paint as well as a soft shooting touch out to the 3 point arc. Kaminsky will never be an elite shot blocker but held his own at the college level against fellow 7 foot big men like at Kentucky and Arizona. He has above average ball-handling skills and can get to the basket around opposing centers, showing all the intangibles of being a leader. His downside has to be a lack of explosiveness and lateral quickness as well as possibly already reaching his peak as a college senior. Many see him as a Brad Miller type center or even a poor man’s Pau Gasol, fitting in well in Milwaukee’s up=and-coming young core.
6’5 205lbs Senior
One of the nation’s most touted seniors, Grant help lead the Irish on a deep NCAA Tourney run, showing some elite level explosive hops, strength, quick reflexes, and nice lateral speed. He was a true leader, but some question wheter he is a true point guard or shooting guard. His toughness, determination, and deft passing(6.7 ast as a senior), make him a legit mid 1st Round prospect for any team in need of perimeter help. The Rockets seemingly always have injury concerns with starter Patrick Beverley, so Grant would be a great choice at #18.
6’9 225lbs Freshman
Small Forward/Power Forward
One of the nation’s best freshmen, Looney was an elite rebounder that gives outstanding effort within the painted area. Far from a finished product, he has parlayed his unorthodox game as well as workmanlike demeanor to emerge as a potential Lottery pick after just once season at UCLA. He project as a PF at the next level but could play some at SF due to some great ball handling skills and some above average defense and passing. He has potential to be a hit at the next level in the pick-and-roll game and would be a great value pick for the Wizards in the mid to late 1st Round.
6’6 205lbs Freshman
Booker has prototypical size and shooting ability for the 2 guard at the next level. He showed some great potential to score the basketball in short minutes at Kentucky and some see him as a potential stud at the SG position in the future. He still needs a way to go as far as conditioning and on defense, but could help a team right away off the bench as a scorer. If he has a great showing at the Combine and in individual workouts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him jump up into the Lottery. Booker would be a great value pick for Toronto to back-up both Demar DeRozan and Terrence Ross.
6’6 225lbs Junior
Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Anderson would have benefited greatly returning for his senior season with the Cavaliers, potentially even earning All American honors. That being said, he is an elite level 3 point shooter, that defends well, and has an NBA ready physique. He’s a skilled and explosive wing player that does a little bit of everything, but really doesn’t have a standout skill besides perimeter shooting and struggles to find his own shot due to substandard handling. He does have tons of potential and could help ease the loss of Jimmy Butler, if he leaves in free agency.
6’11 225lbs Sophomore
Wood possesses a tantalizing combination of length, athleticism, and talent that showed flashes of some insane potential during his sophomore season. He can go by bigger defenders off the bounce and is a solid rebounder and shot blocker. He’s a rangy and athletic defender that blocked 2.6 shots per game but may need to add some bulk against NBA big men. No doubt, Wood reminds many of Miami’s Hassan Whiteside who took some time to develop into a premier player. Dallas is facing an uncertain future up front, so adding a quality big man with potential is a no brainer.
6’1 190lbs Freshman
The Final Four’s Most Outstanding player had a meteoric freshman season helping Duke win the 2015 National Championship. He made a late decision to declare for the draft rather than returning for his sophomore season, a smart move, considering his stock may never be higher. He lacks great physical attributes and isn’t an explosive athlete but always made the right play in clutch moments. He was much better than anticipated offensively and rarely turned the ball over at Duke. He is a crafty PG in the mold of Andre Miller, who has had a long NBA career with similar attributes. Portland could use some depth behind All Star Damian Lillard at PG, especially considering the injury history of former Lottery pick CJ McCollum.
6’10 220lbs Freshman
Many were surprised when McCullough declared for the 2015 NBA Draft following missing half of the season to due an ACL tear. Scouts were impressed by the stud freshman early in the season showing off a stellar 15-17 foot jumper as well as some insane athleticism for the PF position. He has great lateral movement enabling him to develop into an elite defender and was a decent rebounder and shot blocker. A boom or bust pick, McCullough will obviously be taken on potential and probably won’t made an immediate impact in the pros, making him a great pick for the Cavs, especially if Tristan Thompson leaves in free agency.
6’5 190lbs Senior
One of the top seniors in the nation, Wright helped lead the Utes back to national prominence, helping them advance to the Sweet 16, losing to eventual National Champion Duke. He’s a dynamic athlete with great size and passing ability, he is the younger brother of NBA veteran Dorrell Wright. He has struggled with his offensive game, but is an elite athlete and proven leader, capable of running a team. The Spurs are known for taking nondescript players that fit their system and Wright would be a perfect fit as a back-up to both Tony Parker and Patty Mills.
6’9 240lbs Sophomore
Known for having both elite size and athleticism to play either forward positions, Martin is a long and fluid athlete that runs the floor well and finishes way above the rim. He could have benefited from another year at LSU with the potential to be in the mix for an SEC Title, but could evolve into a stud frontcourt player with some seasoning. He has the physical attributes to be a plus rebounder and scorer and would benefit greatly learning behind Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in Memphis.
6’7 215lbs Sophomore
Once considered a legit Lottery selection, Hollis Jefferson projects as an elite defender in the mold of Golden State’s Andre Iguodala. An elite athlete and ultimate competitor, he has a clear fault in his jumper, despite being a 70% FT shooter. He did play some PG in high school and has some great handles and driving ability as a forward but struggled to consistently be a solid contributor on offense. He may be a prospect that is actually a better pro that in college and defensive minded coaches will be tempted to take him a bit higher due to his lockdown potential. There’s no doubt he has an NBA body and athleticism but just how great he becomes will depend on if he ever develops an offensive game. The Lakers will be looking to upgrade nearly every position, so Hollis-Jefferson would be the best player available if he is still available late in the 1st Round.
6’5 185lbs Junior
Touted as one of the nation’s top SG prospects prior to the season, Hunter struggled early before showing off his innate perimeter skills in the NCAA Tournament. Despite some struggles as a junior, some consider him one of the best pure shooters on the college level. he has great size to shoot over NBA defenders but struggles with foot speed and getting his own shot. Playing alongside a high energy point guard like Isaiah Thomas in Boston could be an ideal fit.
6’2 190lbs Sophomore
Rozier made the transition from being an elite HS scorer to key cog in running Louisville’s offense under legendary Rick Pitino a seamless one. He’s a dynamic athlete, who excels in the open floor, and made great strides as a defender in Louisville’s helter skelter, pressing system. Rozier has average size as a lead guard but will probably never be among the league leaders in assists. Teams looking for a two-way lead guard that has all of the intangibles to be a good NBA pro should take a long look at the Louisvill product, who would be a great fit late in the 1st Round.
6’8 250lbs Freshman
The physical power forward entered the college ranks as a Top 5 ranked HS player but his stock has dipped tremendously following some inconsistent play and being ruled ineligible late in his freshman campaign. Alexander has NBA size and length(7’2 wingspan) but could struggle to find a natural position at the next level, potentially being considered a tweener like Thomas Robinson and Derrick Williams. He has a nose for the ball and could be an elite rebounder in limited minutes but needs a ton of seasoning to be a starting NBA player. David Lee seems like the odd man out in Golden State, so drafting a project like Alexander looks to be a possibility.