The long awaited 2015 NBA Draft is officially in the books with the Minnesota Timberwolves selecting University of Kentucky big man Karl Anthony Towns with the #1 overall pick.
Several teams made out like bandits on Draft day as players like D’Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor, and Kristaps Porzingis were also taken in the Top 5 and will be looked upon being immediate impact players as rookies.
Every year some players drop at the Draft over rumors of a previous injury coming to light, concerns over a lack of athleticism at the pro level, or off the court issues.
This season, several players were waiting longer than originally anticipated to hear their name called by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to find their potential landing spot in the NBA.
To the delight of the teams that eventually did draft them, teams like Miami, Houston, Philadelphia, and Denver made out like bandits following players like Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor, and Emmanuel Mudiay going a tad lower than expected.
Check out the Top 10 Steals in the 2015 NBA Draft……….
#38 Pick In 2015 NBA Draft
6’6 215lbs SG/SF
22 Yrs Old Senior
Hillard is a long, lengthy, athletic guard out of Villanova that helped the Wildcats make 3 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including 33 wins as an All Big East 1st Team selection as a senior. He has great size for the 2 guard at the next level, with an outstanding 3 point stroke(.387 3PT%), and above average handles and passing skills. He may not excel in any one area but he is better than average in virtually every area of the game including defense. Hilliard played major minutes for coach Jay Wright all 4 seasons at Nova, bringing tons of experience and leadership qualities, as well as tremendous clutch tendencies as his nickname in high school was simply “Money.” The Pistons did draft Arizona’s Stanley Johnson in the Lottery but Hilliard should have no problem making the Pistons’ roster and providing valuable depth off the Detroit bench at both the 2 or 3 positions.
#32 Pick In 2015 NBA Draft
6’8 240lbs PF
21 Yrs Old Junior
Prior to the beginning of the 2014-2015 NCAA season, Harrell was tabbed as a Top 10 selection in most Mock Drafts. He had a stellar junior campaign at Louisville, dropping 15.7 ppg, 9.2 reb, and 1,2 blocks per game, but inexplicably dropped into the 2nd Round. Maybe teams were worried about him being a bit of a tweener but in today’s NBA there has been less emphasis on traditional positions as teams go small, just like the Golden State Warriors did playing the 6’7 Draymond Green at center. Harrell is an energizer bunny around the rim, is an above average rebounder and defender, and has worked hard to be a real offensive threat out to 15-18 feet. Many had compared him to Denver’s Kenneth Faried as an energy big that everyone needs on their roster. Luckily, he fell into the Rocket’s lap at pick number 32. Look for him to challenge for minutes behind Terrence Jones and Trevor Ariza as a rookie.
#23 Pick In 2015 NBA Draft
6’7 225lbs SF
20 Yrs Old Sophomore
Long thought of as one of the premier defensive players in the 2015 Draft, Hollis-Jefferson is an uber athletic wing that has an obvious glitch in his jumper but has the potential to be a player in the mold of Gerald Wallace or Tony Allen, relying heavily on his defense but with potential to eventually be a threat on offense. Originally selected by Portland at #23, the Philly native was traded much closer to home to the Brooklyn Nets and could be in prime position to steal some major minutes with Thaddeus Young opting out of the final year of his deal.
#18 Pick In 2015 NBA Draft
6’9 230lbs SF
21 Yrs Old Junior
The Houston Rockets were one of the big winners on Draft night, partially because of the sharpshooting Sam Dekker. The junior forward has outstanding size to play either the 2 or 3 position and is much more athletic than most think, enabling to both get to the rim and bomb away from behind the arc. Anyone who watched the Badgers’ magical run to the NCAA Title game were witnesses to just how prolific a shooter Dekker can be as he helped propel Wisconsin to their first ever Title game. Dekker projects as a Gordon Hayward type prospect capable of providing yet another offensive threat alongside prolific scorer James Harden.
6’11 230lbs PF
20 Yrs Old Sophomore
While players like Kentucky’s Karl Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley Stein garnered much more publicity this past season, it was Portis who was named the SEC Player of the Year. The athletic forward led the Razorbacks with 17.5 ppg and 8.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. Most experts predict he can be a Chris Bosh type of player, as a big man that can bang in the post but prefers to face up and shoot more from the perimeter. He shot an impressive .536% from the field including .737% from the free throw line, making him an immediate threat as a rookie. Chicago may be without Taj Gibson as he is a free agent, so Portis could slide right in behind both Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah in the Bulls frontcourt.
6’7 205lbs SF
19 Yrs Old Freshman
The Washington Wizards have proven to be one of the best young teams in the Association mainly behind their star studded backcourt of John Wall and Brad Beal. Future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce looks to be on his way out of town via free agency but the Wiz made a stunning trade on Draft night to secure Oubre from the Atlanta Hawks, one which may prove to be one of the steals of the draft in a season or two. Oubre has tremendous potential as both a perimeter scorer, long range threat, and has the length to one day be an elite defender in the mold of Paul George. He did struggle a bit to adjust to the college game last season but finished strong to help lead the Jayhawks back to the NCAA Tournament. The Wizards do have former Lottery pick Otto Porter entrenched at the 3 but Oubre has a higher upside and could be a key piece in the Wizards future.
FC Barcelona(ACB League)
6’8 215lbs SG/SF
20 Yrs old International
Long considered the best shooter in this year’s Draft, Hezonja could turn out to be a steal, even as high as #5. He was named Europe’s Rising Star in 2013 and won a Championship with FC Barcelona in 2014, and was in the running with Latvia’s Kristaps Porzingis for being the first International player selected. Hezonja is not your average European prospect as he exudes athleticism and toughness and is at his best either sinking a three or driving ferociously to the basket. He may need to work on his ball-handling and defense but Hezonja will fit nicely in Orlando’s rapidly improving young roster alongside Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, and Nic Vucevic, and may get some immediate playing time if SF Tobias Harris leaves in free agency.
#7 Pick In 2015 NBA Draft
Guangdong Southern Tigers(China)
6’5 195lbs PG
19 Yrs Old International
Many people overlooked Mudiay from his choice to go overseas for a season rather than play a year in the NCAA but it appears to have paid off as he returns stateside a grown man, having a season’s experience under his belt against professional competition. Although D’Angelo Russell was technically considered the top PG on the board, Mudiay is more of a pure point where Russell is more of a scorer. 5 years down the road I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mudiay an All Star and considered one of the Top 5 floor generals in the Association. Incumbent Denver PG Ty Lawson is already rumored to be on the way out of town so Mudiay may get tons of minutes running the team from day one.
Duke Blue Devils
6’11 275lbs C
19 Yrs Old Freshman
It was no secret that the 76ers were enamored with Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell but when the LA Lakers threw them a curveball by selecting Russell #2 overall, ACC Player of the Year Jahlil Okafor fell right into their laps. There is a question of what they now will do with 4 elite big men now on the roster(Noel, Embiid, Saric, and Okafor) but Okafor should play right away alongside Noel from day one next season, especially with the recent setback of Joel Embiid’s foot. Taking Okafor may turn out to be blessing in disguise for Philly as has been compared to 5 time NBA Champion Tim Duncan for his amazing footwork and scoring prowess within the painted area. On the low end, he’s the next Al Jefferson but his ceiling may be as high as dare I say Shaquille O’Neal.
#10 Pick In 2015 NBA Draft
Duke Blue Devils
6’6 225lbs SG/SF
19 Yr Old Freshman
Undoubtedly the steal of the 2015 NBA Draft was Justise Winslow falling all the way to #10 to the Miami Heat. The athletic swingman had drawn comparisons to James Harden for his rapidly developing offensive skill-set and driving ability to get to the free throw line. Winslow was expected to go as high as #4 to the New York Knicks but once Phil Jackson pulled the trigger on Kristaps Porzingas, it set forth a chain reaction based on team need as Winslow was the biggest sliding prospect on Draft night. There have been rumors of Dwyane Wade wanting to leave the Heat via free agency, meaning Winslow could be the heir apparent at 2 guard in Miami, teaming up with Chris Bosh, Goran Dragic, and Hassan Whiteside to be one of the up-and-coming teams in the Eastern Conference.