Biggest Steals from the 2015 NBA Draft
Ten years from now, the story of the 2015 NBA draft will be the best player falling to No. 3 and the best wing dropping to No. 10.
Duke homers, you've found the right place. The two best Blue Devils are a good place to start when you're searching for the best steals of the draft.
This list includes guys who were good values based on where they were drafted and probably deserved to go higher based off their games and potential fit in the NBA.
Let's see who came out like thieves on draft night. Pat Riley, I'm looking at you.
Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers, No. 3
The Philadelphia 76ers tanked for the first pick and got the No. 1 pick.
I know...I know...Philadelphia technically picked third, but Okafor was a victim of NBA front offices overreacting to trends in the game. Most years, he would have been the No. 1 pick. He is the most NBA-ready player in this draft and has the best chance to become a star in the league.
Yes, the NBA is changing, and we just watched a Finals where the winner benched its center. Yes, the 76ers have a horde of young bigs. Forget fit here.
You have to love getting the guy who has been the best player in his age group for years, and that includes Karl-Anthony Towns. And one reason teams are more perimeter-oriented is because it's easier to find talented guards than back-to-the-basket bigs.
All Okafor did at Duke was average 17.3 points and win a national championship. He lived up to the hype and got results.
Right away, Okafor will be one of the best low-post scorers in the NBA. The challenge for the Sixers is simply figuring out a way to utilize that and find shooters to put around him—Okafor is also an excellent passer out of the low post when double-teamed.
One concern with Okafor has been staying in shape. Well, now he has motivation to prove people wrong. He'll make the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers regret passing on him.
Justise Winslow, Miami Heat, No. 10
Pat Riley, how did you pull this off?
The Miami Heat could potentially lose Luol Deng in free agency—he has a player option and could opt out—so a wing was a need coming into the draft. Somehow, the best wing in the draft fell right into Miami's lap.
This is not only great value at No. 10; Winslow is also a great fit in Miami. The Heat have scorers and guys who need the ball in their hands (Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade) to thrive. Winslow doesn't need the ball or have to score in order to be effective. He will do all the little things that affect winning and not care about his stats.
Winslow can also play multiple spots, which makes him valuable as a bench asset if Deng sticks around. Winslow played the final few months of the season at power forward for Duke and could do so in small-ball lineups in the NBA.
The biggest knock on Winslow is his jumper, yet he shot a solid 41.8 percent from deep at Duke. He'll be a starter on winning teams for a long time in the league, and it'll start his rookie year. Such a great get for Miami.
Sam Dekker, Houston Rockets, No. 18
Sam Dekker was the second-best (college) wing on my draft board—I abstain from having an opinion on Mario Hezonja and any other Euro wings.
Dekker is a great fit for Houston's uptempo style. Don't be fooled by the snail-paced system he played in at Wisconsin. Dekker thrived in transition and is at his best in the open court. He has a quick first step and finishes well at the rim.
Dekker is also a plus-defender, and at 6'9", he can play both a small-ball 4 along with playing the 3. The one question mark is his jump shot. He shot well from deep as a freshman (39.1 percent), but he was inconsistent over the last two years and his percentage dipped. He did get hot in the NCAA tournament—50 percent from three in his first five tourney games—and his form isn't bad.
If Dekker can be an average shooter, his versatility will make him valuable in the league. This is really good value at No. 18. Dekker is ready to play right away and is used to playing for a winner.
Jerian Grant, New York Knicks, No. 19
Jerian Grant was right there with D'Angelo Russell as the best guard in college basketball. Similar to Russell, Grant has great size for a point guard—he's 6'5"—next-level vision and an advanced feel for the game.
So what's the difference?
Mainly age. I'm not saying Russell isn't better, but he's not 17 picks better. Grant was a fifth-year senior, so the possibility of big "upside" is gone. If he had this package as a 19-year-old, he would have been a top-10 pick. Instead, he's an instant-impact player.
I'm not sure about the fit with the Knicks. Grant is at his best with the ball in his hands and working off ball screens, which isn't exactly how point guards are used in the triangle offense. However, he's a smart enough player to figure out how to fit in.
Montrezl Harrell, Houston Rockets, No. 32
In the draft's second round, the goal should be to get guys who can contribute to your second unit. Montrezl Harrell will be a perfect energy guy off the bench for Houston.
Harrell plays harder than any big guy in the draft. He got the most out of his ability, and the only thing keeping him out of the first round was his height—he measured out at 6'7" without shoes at the NBA combine, according to DraftExpress.com.
If needed, Harrell will be able to play right away. He understands how to defend after spending three years under Rick Pitino. He also understands playing a role. Harrell got most of his buckets at Louisville either off energy plays or capitalizing off the playmaking of his guards.
Getting to play with a playmaker like James Harden is a nice consolation prize for falling to No. 32 in the draft.
Joseph Young, Indiana Pacers, No. 43
Joseph Young was one of the best bucket-getters in college basketball last season, and he fits as a microwave man off the bench in the NBA. He can score off the bounce and from both the mid-range and deep. That should translate to success as a bench scorer—and value as the No. 43 pick.
Young showed that he could carry an offense at Oregon. He played heavy minutes (36.7 per game) and used up 30.5 percent of the team's possessions, per KenPom.com. Although his efficiency numbers went down as a senior with defenses geared toward stopping him, he was still an efficient scorer (52.4 effective field-goal percentage) considering his role.
You also have to appreciate what he did as a leader. Young was the only returning starter for the Ducks last season in a program that had a lot of offseason drama, and he took Oregon back to the NCAA tourney and won a game there.
J.P. Tokoto, Philadelphia 76ers, No. 58
Give J.P. Tokoto a jumper and he's a lottery pick. It's doubtful Tokoto ever develops that jumper, but the rest of the package is good enough to make it in the league and provide a possible gem at No. 58.
Tokoto is super athletic with potential to be a lockdown defender. He's very good in the open floor and was one of the best passing 2-guards in college basketball. His passing and slashing ability make it so he's not a liability on the offensive end.
And there might be at least a sliver of hope that Tokoto could become a serviceable shooter. He made 37.5 percent of his threes last season, although he attempted only 32.
At the very least, Tokoto can be a defensive specialist on a winning team. In Philly, he should get minutes and has the time to develop in that role.
C.J. Moore covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @CJMooreBR.