The 2014-15 NBA season is still playing out and most teams aren't worried about this year's draft just yet, as they are jockeying for position in hopes of obtaining playoff berths.
Well, they may not be thinking about the draft just yet, but that won't stop way-too-early speculation like this.
Before we get into a first-round mock draft, let's set up some guidelines. While teams will be ordered based on the Association's current standings, they are very, very likely to change by season's end.
Also, team needs aren't really taken into consideration at this point, as we can't predict the future of each franchise's offseason.
Finally, some underclassmen listed in the mock may not declare, but they'll be listed until we know for sure.
With that said, the biggest takeaway here will be the position at which each prospect is selected. That will give us an early indication of which teams may eventually be able to come away with certain players based on the draft's selection order.
Now, on to the draft.
|Updated 2015 NBA Mock Draft: 1st Round|
|1||New York Knicks||Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke|
|2||Minnesota Timberwolves||Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky|
|3||Philadelphia 76ers||Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, Congo|
|4||Los Angeles Lakers||D'Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State|
|5||Orlando Magic||Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona|
|6||Sacramento Kings||Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia|
|7||Detroit Pistons||Mario Hezonja, SG/SF, Croatia|
|8||Denver Nuggets||Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky|
|9||Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn)||Myles Turner, PF/C, Texas|
|10||Miami Heat||Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas|
|11||Boston Celtics||Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA|
|12||Utah Jazz||Justice Winslow, SG/SF, Duke|
|13||Phoenix Suns||Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin|
|14||Oklahoma City Thunder||Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas|
|15||Charlotte Hornets||Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame|
|16||Indiana Pacers||Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville|
|17||Milwaukee Bucks||Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky|
|18||Houston Rockets (via New Orleans)||Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville|
|19||Washington Wizards||Justin Anderson, SG, Virginia|
|20||Chicago Bulls||Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah|
|21||Toronto Raptors||Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin|
|22||San Antonio Spurs||Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona|
|23||Dallas Mavericks||Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky|
|24||Cleveland Cavaliers||Christian Wood, PF, UNLV|
|25||Boston Celtics (via LA Clippers)||Cliff Alexander, PF, Kansas|
|26||Los Angeles Lakers (via Houston)||Kris Dunn, PG, Providence|
|27||Portland Trail Blazers||Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan|
|28||Memphis Grizzlies||Tyus Jones, PG, Duke|
|29||Brooklyn Nets (via Atlanta)||Delon Wright, PG/SG, Utah|
|30||Golden State Warriors||Robert Upshaw, C, Washington|
Analyzing Draft's Top 5 Picks
We'll see which team ultimately ends up picking first—the draft lottery has thrown some curveballs in recent years—but we can certainly speculate on which prospects will be claimed at the top of the draft.
Here's a look at some very early predictions for the draft's top five selections.
1. New York Knicks: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
Okafor is widely heralded as a safe pick in this year's draft. He doesn't come with developmental concerns or character issues and has a skill set that should allow him to see time on the court immediately in the NBA. The 6'11" center has great length and plays with good mobility and physicality. He's already a mature and polished player but still has yet to reach his ceiling.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky
Going No. 2 in the draft is another 6'11" center in Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns. What makes Towns a bit different from Okafor is the need to develop a bit. While Towns has similar upside to the Duke star, he still must improve his post game. Still, with a great frame and plenty of athleticism, it's easy to think Towns won't have a problem reaching his true potential.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, Congo
Emmanuel Mudiay is an intriguing prospect. He has great size for a point guard, boasting a 6'5", 200-pound frame. A great facilitator, he possesses good vision and is an accurate passer. Highly athletic, Mudiay excels in transition and can create shots for himself. He does need to improve on his shooting before truly becoming a force in the NBA.
4. Los Angeles Lakers: D'Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State
The biggest trait D'Angelo Russell brings to the table is his versatility. At 6'5" and 176 pounds, he doesn't have elite size, but he has a wide skill set that allows him to flourish at both point guard and shooting guard. He sees the floor very well, is a crisp passer, a good ball-handler and has the range to knock down shots all over the floor. If he can bulk up, his upside becomes astronomical.
5. Orlando Magic: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona
At 6'7" and 245 pounds, Stanley Johnson has prototypical size for an NBA small forward, and his length has allowed him to become a very dangerous two-way player. He's a good on-ball defender, and his athleticism leads to many opportunities in transition following a takeaway. He must improve his jumper to round out his skill set, but he certainly has one of the biggest upsides in the draft.