Don't blink, mock draft readers. The 2015 NBA draft is rapidly approaching.
That may be a slight exaggeration, but this isn't: Pro scouts are already eyeing up the following players. It's never too early to educate yourself.
Here are early projections for next year's draft.
|2015 NBA 1st Round Mock|
|1||Milwaukee Bucks||C Jahlil Okafor, Connecticut|
|2||Philadelphia 76ers||PG Emmanuel Mudiay, Southern Methodist|
|3||Orlando Magic||C Karl Towns Jr., Kentucky|
|4||Utah Jazz||PF Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia|
|5||Boston Celtics||C Myles Turner, Texas|
|6||Los Angeles Lakers||SF Justise Winslow, Duke|
|7||Sacramento Kings||PF Cliff Alexander, Kansas|
|8||Detroit Pistons||SF Mario Hezonja, Croatia|
|9||Cleveland Cavaliers||C Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky|
|10||New Orleans Pelicans||SF Stanley Johnson, Arizona|
|11||New York Knicks||PG Tyus Jones, Duke|
|12||Denver Nuggets||PF Montrezl Harrell, Louisville|
|13||Minnesota Timberwolves||SF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona|
|14||Phoenix Suns||SF Chris Walker, Florida|
|15||Atlanta Hawks||SF Kelly Oubre, Kansas|
|16||Charlotte Hornets||SF Sam Dekker, Wisconsin|
|17||Brooklyn Nets||PF Bobby Portis, Arkansas|
|18||Washington Wizards||SG Wayne Selden, Kansas|
|19||Chicago Bulls||PG Ron Baker, Wichita State|
|20||Toronto Raptors||PF Jordan Mickey, LSU|
|21||Dallas Mavericks||SF Justin Jackson, North Carolina|
|22||Memphis Grizzlies||SF Caris LeVert, Michigan|
|23||Golden State Warriors||SG Marc Garcia, Spain|
|24||Portland Trail Blazers||C Ilimane Diop, Senegal|
|25||Houston Rockets||SG Jabari Bird, California|
|26||Miami Heat||PF Brice Johnson, North Carolina|
|27||Indiana Pacers||PG Andrew Harrison, Kentucky|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers||PF Jarell Martin, LSU|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder||PG Kasey Hill, Florida|
|30||San Antonio Spurs||SF Branden Dawson, Michigan State|
1. Milwaukee Bucks: C Jahlil Okafor, Connecticut
While it's unlikely the Bucks will be the worst team in the league again after drafting Jabari Parker, the most pro-ready player in the class, Jahlil Okafor is so gifted that they should want to be in position to land the first overall pick. (I know what you're wondering. Yes, he's a cousin of Emeka Okafor.)
In a league in which true centers are slowly becoming extinct, Jahlil is just that at 6'10" and 260 pounds. ESPN.com rated him the best prospect of the 2014 recruiting class. And if his Duke career goes as planned—short and sweet—he'll be the best prospect in the 2015 NBA draft too.
Milwaukee's greatest need isn't necessarily a center. But with a talent like Okafor available, the Bucks' best bet would be to select Okafor and trade Larry Sanders.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: PG Emmanuel Mudiay, Southern Methodist
The top players in the 2015 NBA draft are big men and Mudiay. While the 76ers already have Michael Carter-Williams at point guard, they also have three young bigs now in Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric.
Philadelphia may not have to deal Carter-Williams to make room for Mudiay like Milwaukee would have to for Sanders, though. The 6'5" Mudiay and the 6'6" Carter-Williams should be able to coexist, as Mudiay is a combo guard anyway.
The 76ers should be set at the 3 after selecting K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant on draft night. The 2, though, is still an unsolved problem.
And due to Embiid's injury and Saric's contract in Europe, this is a realistic draft spot for Philadelphia next year. With all of these top prospects, no one should be shocked if Philadelphia is a top Eastern Conference contender in two years.
3. Orlando Magic: C Karl Towns Jr., Kentucky
Orlando acquired two fairly raw players in Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton on draft night, so it could be back in the early lottery again next year. No top player is a perfect fit for the Magic, but Towns would be a major upgrade over Nikola Vucevic.
Vucevic averaged 14.2 points and 11.0 rebounds this season, but he's no Towns. At 7'0" and 245 pounds, Towns has even more ideal size for a center than Okafor. Towns isn't as physical, but he's probably more skilled.
Unlike Okafor, Towns can handle the basketball and has range out to the three-point line. Towns, Gordon, Payton and Victor Oladipo would form one of the most promising young cores in the league.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.
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