2015 NBA Mock Draft: Final Mock 2 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 1-15
Posted By: Chris Ransom Last Updated: June, 25, 2015
Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, PF, Kentucky
- Okafor was the top prospect for months leading up to the 2015 NBA Draft. Now most believe that player is Karl-Anthony Towns. The bottom 4 teams all have different draft boards. As a scout I prefer Okafor. The reality is that Karl-Anthony Towns will likely be the top selection.
- Minnesota brought in 5 players for individual workouts. Karl-Anthony Towns was the one player that stood out among those five. At the same time, Minnesota preferred Okafor throughout the draft process. I don't think either Towns or Okafor is a lock for the #1 pick at this point. The Timberwolves will do their due diligence and interview both players extensively.
- Both Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor weigh nearly weigh 7 feet. Towns is 6-11 250 lbs and Okafor is 6-11 270 lbs. Towns has the versatility to play power forward or center while Okafor is a pure center.
- Karl-Anthony Towns also known as Karl Towns was a talented 6-11 center in high school with exceptional footwork and outstanding agility. His wingspan is mediocre compared to Okafor. Towns played center one on one against Okafor in the McDonalds All American Game.
- Unlike Okafor, Towns has the versatility to adapt to power forward. Even though center is his strong suit, John Calipari moved him to power forward because he already had two big centers with Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson.
- Passing on Jahlil Okafor for Karl-Anthony Towns will be the biggest mistake the Timberwolves make in franchise history. It's nothing against Towns, I just believe Okafor is that complete of a prospect and he gives you an All Star center.
- The Timberwolves were senile enough to retain Flip Saunders. What makes you think they have enough common sense to take Okafor over Towns. I've also heard rumors that the Timberwolves will deal both second round picks to move into the back half of the first round to get Tyus Jones the Duke point guard who grew up in Minnesota. I'm not buying that with Ricky Rubio there. Just the fact that someone brought that up as a possibility shows you how dysfunctional the Timberwolves franchise is.
- Starting center Nikola Pekovic is under contract until 2018-2019. I think it would be cool for Okafor to play with Wiggins. At the end of the day the logistics say that Pekovic will stay at center with Karl-Anthony Towns playing power forward.
- Minnesota is known for drafting All Star power forwards. They had a cornerstone power forward in Kevin Garnett for years. Then they added Kevin Love. They lose Kevin Love in the trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers and win the Lottery and can reload at power forward with Karl Towns.
Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
- The Lakers need a new face of the franchise at center. Having Jahlil Okafor as their center along with a healthy Julius Randle at power forward gives the Lakers a deadly front court that can play defense for the next two decades at the Staples Center.
- Okafor can be the next big center in Los Angeles. The Lakers had Kareem-Abdul Jabaar and Shaquille O'Neal at center. Okafor can be a superstar on the Lakers just like those two individuals.
- Jahlil Okafor is better than Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns will be the top pick, but the Lakers will not pass on Okafor.
- Towns has averaged 10.3 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game, and 1.1 assists per game. Okafor has averaged 17.3 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, and 1.3 assists per game. I applaud Towns for playing well enough to convince some NBA teams to take him ahead Okafor. At the end of the day, Okafor is still the superior player when you consider he's bigger than Towns along with the fact that Okafor generated better production while leading Duke to the 2015 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship while Kentucky lost in the Final 4. Finally, Okafor was the top recruit coming out of high school while Towns was the third best recruit coming out of high school.
- If Towns were 7 foot you could make a case for him going ahead of Okafor. This is a really close 1A and 1B big man competition between Towns and Okafor. This will be the toughest decision that the Timberwolves make in franchise history. At this point Okafor is still the better player and Minnesota would be foolish to pass on him. If the Timberwolves do in fact pass on Okafor then the Lakers have to grab him without thinking twice about it when they pick second in the 2015 NBA Draft.
- Okafor is a special player and is easily the best center prospect eligible for the NBA since Dwight Howard. Whoever drafts Jahlil is getting a franchise center.
- Like I stated in the last paragraph, Okafor is the best big at center to enter the NBA since Dwight Howard. It is not just that, there are other core intangibles with him when you watch his tape. He has the size of DeMarcus Cousins, shoots like Blake Griffin, and has the basketball IQ of Anthony Davis. One college basketball announcer on ESPN compared Okafor to Hakeem Olajuwon.
- In fact, many pundits have Towns as the top pick in the NBA Draft. Still, I like Okafor better and Jay Bilas also has Okafor as the top player on his board. Not just that, Okafor has more points, rebounds, and assists.
- It doesn't matter who the Timberwolves take with the #1 pick whether it is Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor because the other big man will go to the Lakers. I've heard that from some sources that the Lakers prefer Emmanuel Mudiay over Okafor. I'm not buying the smokescreen that the Lakers are sending because I think the Lakers will take a center and give Jordan Clarkson one more season at point guard after he stepped up when Jeremy Lin got injured. Both Kobe Bryant and Julius Randle will both be healthy next season.
- If both of those Lakers manage to recover from their injuries, the Lakers have a chance to surprise some people in 2015-2016. If the rumors about Dwyane Wade coming to Los Angeles to play shooting guard while Kobe moves to small forward become reality, then the Lakers have a chance to win a playoff series. They will have a shot make the 2016 NBA Playoffs if those things happened, but there is no guarantee that luck turns out to be that favorable for the Lakers at this point.
Philadelphia 76ers: D'Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State
- Philadelphia is looking at 4 players D'Angelo Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kristaps Porzingis, and Mario Hezonja. I doubt the 76ers take Latvia's power forward or Croatia's shooting guard. Philadelphia has to take a point guard with this pick. I know the 76ers brought those guys in, but adding either player is clearly a smokescreen at this point. D'Angelo Russell will be the third pick when all is said and done.
- D'Angelo Russell has the same complete ability at point guard that Emmanuel Mudiay has when you watch his tape. Russell also has the versatility to adapt to shooting guard with his deadly footwork.
- This guy is an unselfish player that knows how to pass the ball if the defense guards him. He commands double teams and triple teams. His two best qualities are his left handed shot and underrated rebounding as a defender.
- Ohio State head coach Thad Maata has coached another top 5 pick at the "Ohio State University". The 6-5 180 lb Russell led all NCAA Freshman with 19.3 points per game. Russell also has 5.7 rebounds per game and 5 assists per game. ESPN and Draft Express both believe that Russell is the hands down top prospect in 2015 after Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns.
- The 76ers have to take a blue chip point guard. Philadelphia can go with either D'Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay. I think the 76ers take Russell with this pick.
New York Knicks: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, Guangdong Tigers (China)
- New York has to take the best player available. That player is Emmanuel Mudiay. If the Knicks take Mudiay they can give Carmelo Anthony a point guard to help him out and then Dr. Phil, the Zen Master can go after Marc Gasol in Free Agency if the Memphis Grizzlies fail to retain Gasol. Another big to consider might be Roy Hibbert if he opts out with the Pacers. Having Mudiay and Gasol as additional pieces to compliment Carmelo would make the Knicks competitive enough to fight for a playoff spot, but this team would still need two more pieces at shooting guard and power forward before they can contend for a championship.
- Emmanuel Mudiay originally committed to SMU before going overseas to China to play for the Guangdong Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association. Mudiay could have returned to America after suffering a rug burn near his left knee that kept him side lined for the second half of the regular season, but chose to stick with his teammates in China despite being injured and that speaks volumes about his committment to the game. During the 2015 CBA Playoffs, Mudiay led the Guangdong Tigers to 2 game-winning comebacks while SMU lost to UCLA in the 2015 Mens Basketball Tournament without his presence which really makes you wonder if SMU would have made the Sweet 16 with Mudiay on the team.
- Remember when the New York Knicks had Jeremy Lin and the Knicks were able to attract more people to come to Madison Square Garden with diversity. The Knicks can continue to do that with Mudiay if they take him fourth overall.
- The last exceptional point guard coming out of high school to turn down college to play ball overseas was Brandon Jennings. I see a lot of Jennings in Mudiay. At the same time Mudiay is 6-foot-5. He has the size of point guard that would draw comparisons to John Wall. He might have more potential now when you watch his tape, but I can already tell that Mudiay is not as disciplined as Wall was coming out of Kentucky.
- Another player making a convincing case to go to the New York Knicks is Willie Cauley-Stein. New York may want to draft a big man. Emmanuel Mudiay or Willie Cauley-Stein will go to the Knicks. The guy they pass on will likely go sixth overall to the Sacramento Kings.
Orlando Magic: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia
- Orlando is likely to go best player available. Right now that player is Latvia's international sensation Kristaps Porzingis who is considered to be the fifth best overall player in the 2015 NBA draft.
- Kristaps Porzingis is only 6-11 209 lbs. The big man played center in Latvia, but will move to power forward in the NBA. Something about the 19-year-old reminds me of Shawn Bradley coming out of BYU. Yet some have compared this international phenom to Kevin Garnett while others have called him the best international player since Dirk Nowitzki.
- I'm not that high on Porzingis and I think this is the one pick in the top 5 that will bust. Still, Orlando will take him here since he's the consensus fifth best player in the this year's NBA Draft.
Sacramento Kings: Willie-Cauley Stein, PF, Kentucky
- Sacramento's biggest need is at power forward. Willie Cauley-Stein is a center only even though he's the best player available. He went up to the Sacramento Kings in a team interview and insisted on moving to power forward next to DeMarcus Cousins. The fact that Willie-Cauley Stein took the initiative to say that means he will be the sixth overall pick.
Denver Nuggets: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
- Denver drafts the top small forward here. At this point that player is Justise Winslow who played small forward at Duke.
Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona
- Detroit needs a small forward they have filled every other position in the NBA Draft. With Winslow gone it's a toss up between Sam Dekker and Stanley Johnson. Even though Dekker did better in the 2015 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament, Stanley Johnson is still considered the better prospect because of his wingspan. Johnson has an excellent wingspan. Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are the only players in this years draft with better wingspans than Johnson.
Charlotte Hornets: Mario Hezonja, SG, F.C. Barcelona (Croatia)
- Charlotte can take the best player available. The Charlotte Hornets have Mario Hezonja as the seventh best overall player on their draft board. If Denver passes on Hezonja to take Justise Winslow like I expect then Hezona will be a Hornet with the Lance Stephenson trade.
- Charlotte could also trade down. One team they have been talking with is the Boston Celtics. The Celtics own the sixteenth pick and the twenty-eighth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Boston could give Charlotte those two first round picks to move up to 9 if they wanted to pick a lottery player in the top 10.
- I think the Celtics would take Hezonja here if they traded up as well. Regardless of whether the Hornets or Celtics pick ninth, Hezonja will be the pick.
Previous Pick: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky
Miami Heat: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky
- The Miami Heat have a starting 5 for 2015 with Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Loul Deng, Josh McRoberts, and Chris Bosh. Miami could go with the best available player at ten.
- There's been some speculation that Dwyane Wade will opt out of his contract with Miami. The Heat love Devin Booker just as much as the Charlotte Hornets, but with Mario Hezonja going to the Hornets, Devin Booker becomes a realistic option for the Miami Heat at 10.
Previous Pick: Myles Turner, C, Texas
Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner, C, Texas
- Larry Bird called Willie Cauley-Stein a $100 million dollar player when the NBA Draft Lottery took place. The Pacers are also high on both Texas center Myles Turner and Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky despite the fact that Roy Hibbert is on this roster. Even if that rumor is false, I think Turner is the best player available, and is too good to pass on at this point because he has the size of Al Jefferson and can shoot a three pointer like Dirk Nowitzki.
- Kaminksy reminds me of a young Marc Gasol. The Pacers and Hibbert may be headed towards a messy divorce. This years NBA Draft is loaded at center so it may be better to get a big now and let Hibbert test Free Agency.
Previous Pick: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
Utah Jazz: Trey Liles, PF, Kentucky
- Utah traded Enes Kanter to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Maybe it's time for the Jazz to take his replacement in Trey Liles who also played for Coach Calipari at Kentucky.
Phoenix Suns: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
- Phoenix gets the best available player. Frank Kaminsky is an immediate upgrade over Alex Len at center as Kaminsky reminds me of a young Marc Gasol with his 7-0 240 lb frame.
Previous Pick: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas
Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State
- Oklahoma City will draft a point guard for depth behind Russell Westbrook with backup point guard D.J. Augustin set to hit Free Agency. Cameron Payne is the top point guard left at this point. Payne averaged 20.2 points per game in 2014.
- New head coach Billy Donovan has hinted that he wants the Thunder to be a more defensive team. Adding Kevon Looney out of UCLA as a power forward or Sam Dekker as a small forward are options. At the end of the day, Payne provides too much value, and I cannot see him getting past Oklahoma City.
Atlanta Hawks: Jerian Grant, SG, Notre Dame
- Atlanta can take the best player available with this pick from the Brooklyn Nets. The Hawks are 41-9 in 50 games with all 5 of their starters averaging double-digit points per game. Power forward Paul Millsap got a two year contract extension last week putting him under contract through 2017. That means that the Hawks take Jerian Grant as a backup to Thabo Sefolsha.
- Grant has the versatility to play point guard or shooting guard in the NBA. Not just that, he's also a long term upgrade over Sefolsha and the Hawks brought him in for an individual workout feeling very strong about him.
Previous Pick: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas
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