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2015 NBA Draft Results

Round 1 Picks 1-15

Jahlil Okafor VS Karl-Anthony Towns. Who should the Minnesota Timberwolves take with the top pick after winning the NBA Lottery?

Posted By: Chris Ransom Last Updated: June, 25, 2015

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, PF, Kentucky A Grade

    Jesse Lucas and myself both have Karl-Anthony Towns going here. Jesse thinks he's the best player and I clearly prefer Okafor. I feel like Okafor is Dwight Howard with the size of DeMarcus Cousins, shooting of Blake Griffin, and basketball IQ of Anthony Davis while Towns is more along the lines of Al Horford in terms of versatility with the defensive awareness of LaMarcus Aldrige. Okafor is 20 pounds bigger than Towns as well.

    This is probably going to be the first draft where we have a round table on our live draft recap as our other NBA writers Brian Bayless and Dax Ember might give their two cents on some of tonights picks.

    There are three reasons why the Timberwolves will take Towns. The first reason involves his versatility to play power forward or center while Okafor is a pure center. The second reason why Towns goes first is because he's a better shot blocker. Okafor posted more points, rebounds, and assits in 2014-2015 than Towns. At the same time his ability to block shots is inferior to Towns ability to block shots.

    Towns is 79 percent from the free throw line while Okafor is 52 percent from the free throw line. That's really the only remote reason why Towns has the edge. Still, that's a pretty big reason since finding a big man that can be a consistent free throw shooter feels more like a necessity than a need in todays competitive NBA where teams put a bigger priority on versatile big men that can play multiple positions and score buckets at will rather than have a guy with outstanding durability and excellent statistical production.

    Towns shot blocking practically rivals Al Horford, but his offensive game is rough around the edges. Regardless he's stout defensively as he can contain a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 at the next level making it difficult for point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards, or centers to score against him. With rebounding and blocking shots as his two biggest strengths outside of his versatility and size he's going to be an asset on defense and coaches are going to get headaches game planning around Towns.

    Some teams believe they can work around his offense because his defensive skill set is just that elite. You also have to consider that the Timberwolves have center Nikola Pekovic under contract until 2018-2019. Pekovic does have durability issues, but with a contract that hefty, it would make more financial sense for the Timberwolves in terms of logistics to take Towns.

    Minnesota always seems to get the right power forward in the NBA Draft. First they had Kevin Garnett and then they got Kevin Love in the O.J. Mayo trade with the Memphis Grizzlies at the 2009 NBA Draft. Now they will reload at power forward once again.

    At the end of the day I think Okafor is the best player in this years NBA Draft. I also believe that either D'Angelo Russell, Stanley Johnson, or Justise Winslow the 3 players shown in the photo above will end up surprising a lot of people by having a better career than Towns. One of those 3 will do much better than experts think by exceeding team expectations. At the same time, I still think Towns will end up being one of the 3 best players in this years draft. Despite my opinion, there's no question that Towns is the best fit for the Timberwolves when you take size, versatility, blocking shots, and free throw percentages into account.

  2. Los Angeles Lakers: D'Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State A Grade

    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. Russell's play on defense along with his exposure is what gives him the edge over Mudiay.

    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.

    Russell is not a sure fire All Star like Steph Curry or Kobe Bryant that the media is making him out to be. He will be an effective starter for years to come though. Worst case scenario you are getting a Mike Conley Jr. type of player. Best case scenario you end up with Russell Westbrook. With a supporting cast like the one the Lakers have that's pretty good. If you bring in a guy like Russell to play next to Kobe he's more likely to blossom into a Westbrook type of player with the right tutelage under Bryant.

    If the Lakers pass on Okafor for Towns it's probably because they plan on using the 2015 NBA Free Agency period to reload their front court. Lots of people are speculating that guys like Dwyane Wade and LaMarcus Aldridge are going to Los Angeles. Los Angeles has 2014 first round pick Julius Randle at power forward and really doesn't need to overpay a power forward. You also have to consider the idea of adding Marc Gasol or Roy Hibbert if you take Russell at 2 here.

    I'm pretty certain the Lakers are going to add someone in Free Agency. At this point I'm guessing it will be either Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, or Dwyane Wade depending on what the Lakers can do at 2 and depending on whether Kevin Love can make the transition to center because I see Love as more of a power forward.

  3. Philadelphia 76ers: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke A Grade

    Philadelphia got the best player available. The 76ers had bigger needs though. If they can deal Nerlens Noel or Joel Embiid for this pick I'll bump this grade up.

    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 and as a scout I prefer Okafor.

    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.

  4. New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia F Grade

    Kristaps Porzingis weighs 6-11 209 lbs. Why the hell are the Knicks passing on Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Kaminsky for Porzingis. Porzingis reminds me so much of Shawn Bradley that it's scary.

    If the Knicks wanted a power forward they could have gave LaMarcus Aldrige or Kevin Love a max deal. I don't understand why the Knicks would be such knuckleheads when evaluating Porzingis.

  5. Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja, SG, F.C. Barcelona (Croatia) B+ Grade

    Mario Hezonja is not the best international prospect in this years draft. That honor belongs to Emmanuel Mudiay. Still, Hezonja is superior to Porzingis with his versatility to play shooting guard or small forward.

    Hezonja was a lottery pick before returning to Croatia in 2014 and worked hard to become a top 5 pick. Smart decision by the Orlando Magic here. Hezonja provides better value than Mudiay as he addresses a position of need.

  6. Sacramento Kings: Willie-Cauley Stein, PF, Kentucky A- Grade

    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.

  7. Denver Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, Guangdong Tigers (China) A Grade

    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.

    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.

  8. Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona A Grade

    Stanley Johnson has the wingspan of a player like Tim Duncan and the defensive awareness of a player with a high basketball IQ like Kevin Durant. Johnson can defend against the 3, 4, or 5 and is great at being used as a third defender to take away short range shots. His shooting is inconsistent and he struggles at finishing shots in the lanes.

    Johnson looked like a top 5 pick throughout much of the draft process after leading his team to 4 straight state titles in College. He struggled during the 2015 NCAA Mens Basketball tournament and got hosed by Wisconsin small forward Sam Dekker which is why he fell to this pick.

    Still Detroit needed a starting small forward. I think Johnson will do well if Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond remain in Detroit to give this player the guidance he needs.

  9. Charlotte Hornets: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin B Grade

    Frank Kaminsky is a pure center. I don't see him playing the 4 at power forward. He reminds me of Marc Gasol, but he'll be starting out on the bench behind Al Jefferson. That's why the Hornets got a B grade. In terms of overall value I think Kaminsky is the ninth best overall player in this years draft.

  10. Miami Heat: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke B+ Grade

    Miami took the best player available. Winslow has the ability to guard the 2, 3, or 4 as a defensive player. He reminds me of Harrison Barnes coming out of North Carolina a few years ago. Is he going to unseat Loul Deng as the starting small forward. That's what I'm curious to see.

  11. Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner, C, Texas A Grade

    Myles Turner has the size of Al Jefferson and can hit the 3 pointer like Dirk Nowitzki. I'm not surprised by this pick. The Pacers showed a lot of interest in both Myles Turner and Frank Kaminsky on Tuesday. With Kaminsky gone, they went with Turner who was graded higher than Kaminsky on some boards. Great pick by the Pacers here.

  12. Utah Jazz: Trey Liles, PF, Kentucky B+ Grade

    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.

  13. Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky B Grade

    I'm not sure if Devin Booker fills a need. Either way this was a solid pick. The Suns waited for Kentucky's shooting guard rather than reach for him in the top 10.

  14. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State B Grade

    Oklahoma City had to 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.

  15. Washington Wizards: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas B Grade

    Atlanta had the luxury of taking the best player available at 15. Kelly Oubre the successor to Andrew Wiggins at Kansas is a quality talent. Bobby Portis out of Arkansas and Jerian Grant of Notre Dame are also quality picks.

    Washington traded up for Oubre at 15 and the Hawks have the Wizards 19th pick plus 2 future 2nd round picks. Atlanta deserves even more credit for trading down. Washington must not be sold on Otto Porter if they traded up for Oubre.

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