The 2015 NBA Draft is barely 48 hours away from Minnesota going on the clock. At that point, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will begin by announcing that with the #1 overall pick the Minnesota Timberwolves select…either Karl Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor?
All signs in our Mock Draft Database are pointing to Kentucky big man Towns, as Minnesota is the only team he has worked out for, and his dominating inside/out skill set and potential to be a future All Star, will be to overwhelming to pass up.
After that is gets a bit murky as rumors have been swirling as to which direction the LA Lakers will go at #2. They could go chalk with Jahlil Okafor, steal D’Angelo Russell away from Philly, or do a complete 180 and make a trade for Sacramento big man DeMarcus Cousins, a proven All Star caliber center.
Philly loves Russell, but will GM Sam Hinkie once again be active on Draft night, swapping players for future picks, or does the future begin now for the 76ers?
Things have gone horribly for the NY Knicks all regular season as well as in the Lottery, where they slipped to #4 and will likely miss out on one of the “Big 3” stars Towns, Okafor, and Russell, as the team will now be hard pressed to add an instant impact player to help out superstar Carmelo Anthony.
Orlando, Sacramento, Denver, and Detroit are all in play for “International Man of Mystery” Kristaps Porzingis, who has been compared to everyone from Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, and Darko Milicic. He’s 7’1, block shots, and can run the floor and shoot, so he’s a great value mid to late 1st Round.
Kentucky center and shot blocker Extraordinaire Willie Cauley Stein has had a clouded medical history and may now slide a bit on Thursday over concerns about a previous foot injury and dealing with Sickle Cell Anemia.
Also, it has been widely reported that teams like Boston, Sacramento, LA Clippers, and Denver are also looking to make a huge trade and move up.
Nonetheless, it goes without saying that the 2015 NBA Draft will be filled with intrigue, mystery, and excitement as the newest crop of NBA superstars begin their lifelong journey in the NBA.
Check out our final stab at predicting the entire 1st Round in THD’s 2015 NBA Mock Draft 5.0 – The Final Cut….
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, and it has been widely speculated that the Timberwolves gave him a “promise” at #1.
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 Lakers have a long and rich history of talented big men going back to George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal. Russell could also be in play hers as a long shot, as well as recent rumors suggesting a trade with Sacramento for DeMarcus Cousins, who is already a proven All Star caliber talent.
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, make all the key passes, 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. If Russell is already gone, it’s unsure if they would take Okafor since they already have a loaded frontcourt, or go with Mudiay or Porzingis.
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 not many 19 year olds have. He showed a much better offensive skill set than originnally expected as an elite HS player, having an innate ability to get to the rim and an improved 3 point shot at Duke. 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. With their target Okafor most surely gone, Winslow would be the Knicks’ wise choice here, since they still have Jose Calderon at the point, meaning Mudiay is out, and I doubt Phil Jackson would go with an unproven International prospect(Porzingis) as an instant fit in the “Triangle Offense.”
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 in and around 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. Others have also compared him to Dirk Nowitzki and even Kevin Durant, which seems like a stretch. He has been rumored to possibly be in play as high as #3 with Philadelphia, but it’s more likely he’s taken here by Orlando, who was one of the teams enamored with his now infamous pro workout last week.
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 76ers at #3 could be a landing spot if the Lakers take Russell but if things go as planned, Mudiay could still be available at #6, falling into the Kings’ laps, that is if they don’t trade DeMarcus Cousins and swap picks.
6’8 215lbs Croatia
Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Hezonja has long been coveted as an NBA prospect due to his above average athleticism and imposing size from either the 2 of 3 position. He has a much improved offensive skillset, with in the gym 3 point range, including 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. Denver is clearly in the mix to make a trade on Draft night, putting both Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried on the block, but if they stay put, Hezonja is a clear fit, as arguably the most athletic 2 guard out of Europe in decades.
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 midrange jumper paired with tons of intangibles and soft hands around the rim. A solid rebounder and adequate defender, the 6’10 forward reminds many of a young Carlos Boozer, and has surged higher in the Lottery the closer to Draft day. It’s all but assured that Detroit will let big man Greg Monroe walk in free agency and Lyles fills an immediate need at PF, and even some at SF, paired with Andre Drummond as the “Bad Boys” frontcourt of the future.
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. He’s universally regarded as the long range shooter in the 2015 Draft but has much more potential than just as a specialist. MJ’s Hornets are in dire need of a perimeter scorer since they took PF Noah Vonleh in the 2014 Lottery and Al Jefferson will be back another season. He would be an excellent fit next to budding All Star Kemba Walker in the Charlotte backcourt.
6’7 245lbs Freshman
The Arizona swingman had a standout freshman 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. With the drama surrounding aging longtime franchise player Dwyane Wade and veteran forward Luol Deng in free agency, the Heat will undoubtedly be looking for backcourt help. Johnson has huge potential at either the 2 or 3 position and could be the heir apparent of Wade going forward.
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, which he did at Kentucky. 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 young Tyson Chandler and could evolve into a game-changing defensive stopper. He was thought to be in play as high as #4 to New York, but a muddied medical report concerning a previously injured foot and issues concerning Sickle Cell treatment could see him slide to the late Lottery.
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 that extends to the 3 point arc, a skill 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. Utah lost Enes Kanter to OKC at the trade deadline and Turner would add great depth up front next to the emerging Rudy Gobert.
7’0 240lbs Senior
This year’s NCAA 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 for a player his size 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 Phoenix alongside Alex Len, who has come along slowly.
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 are looking for another ballhandler now that Reggie Jackson is in Detroit, enabling Russell Westbrook to play some off the ball, like they did when James Harden was still on the roster.
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. Many see Portis as a potential steal on Draft day, as many scouts have compared his game to that of multiple time All Star Chris Bosh for his innate midrange shooting for a big man.
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 Boston frontcourt alongside Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk.
6’5 200lbs Freshman
One of the fastest risers leading up to Draft day, Vaughn was one of the nation’s top scorers as a freshman last season, finishing 2nd to only D Angelo Russell(17.8ppg). Still only 18 years old, he has tremendous potential as a volume scorer and shooter, possessing excellent size and athleticism for the SG position. He has great speed and gets to the basket well, showing great lateral quickness but will need some seasoning playing without the ball and as a man defender. His age, physique, and scoring prowess make jim an intriguing pick for the Bucks as part of their growing young nucleus.
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.
6’8 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 Wiz do have former Lottery pick Otto Porter in the fold at the 3 but veteran Paul Pierce may be on the move this offseason. Harrell would inject energy and toughness into a froncourt led by an oft injured Nene and Marcin Gortat.
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 Raptors looking for more offensive firepower to compete in the East.
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. Following the failed experiment with Rajon Rondo this past season, Dallas will definitely be in the market for a point guard of the future, allowing the high scoring Monta Ellis to play more off the ball.
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 Bulls may be looking for perimeter help if Jimmy Butler leaves in free agency and Hollis-Jefferson fits their defensive scheme, giving them another defender to try and defend Lebron James.
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 in the mid to late 1st Round. With the uncertainty surrounding LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency, Portland will be looking to load up on potential replacements up front.
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 good size as a lead guard but will probably never be among the league leaders in assists as a score first assist man. 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 Louisville product, who would be a great fit in Cleveland as they definitely need more offensive help from the backcourt with Kyrie Irving often on the mend.
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.
6’5 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.
6’6 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 the oft injured Kobe Bryant, especially on the defensive end.
6’6 195lbs Junior
Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Arguably the most athletic player in this year’s draft, he was a jack of all trades at UNC, known most for his lockdown defense and ferocious dunks. His 40 inch max vertical was one of the best at the Combine and is a tad older than the average rookie(21 yrs old), but could make an impact from day one. His obvious calling card at the next level is as an elite defender and despite having a lackluster jumpshot, he projects as a Tony Allen lockdown type player that every contending team needs off the bench and as a spot starter. Boston has a number of picks in the 2015 Draft and in the coming years, so taking a flyer on Tokoto is a good gamble considering they need a defensive stopper to guard Lebron James in the East.
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. He projects as a role playing specialist in the mold of Kyle Korver with potential down the road to be a starter with some seasoning. In Brooklyn, Hunter would provide some instant offense in the aging Nets backcourt.
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 Warriors, who may be losing David Lee, and won’t need McCullough to play right away.