NBA Mock Draft 2015: Late-Season Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMarch 15, 2015

CHAPEL HILL, NC - MARCH 07:  Jahlil Okafor #15 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after scoring against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on March 7, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

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.

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Updated 2015 NBA Mock Draft: 1st Round
1New York KnicksJahlil Okafor, C, Duke
2Minnesota TimberwolvesKarl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky
3Philadelphia 76ersEmmanuel Mudiay, PG, Congo
4Los Angeles LakersD'Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State
5Orlando MagicStanley Johnson, SF, Arizona
6Sacramento KingsKristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia
7Detroit PistonsMario Hezonja, SG/SF, Croatia
8Denver NuggetsWillie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
9Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn)Myles Turner, PF/C, Texas
10Miami HeatKelly Oubre, SF, Kansas
11Boston CelticsKevon Looney, PF, UCLA
12Utah JazzJustice Winslow, SG/SF, Duke
13Phoenix SunsFrank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
14Oklahoma City ThunderBobby Portis, PF, Arkansas
15Charlotte HornetsJerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame
16Indiana PacersTerry Rozier, PG, Louisville
17Milwaukee BucksDevin Booker, SG, Kentucky
18Houston Rockets (via New Orleans)Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
19Washington WizardsJustin Anderson, SG, Virginia
20Chicago BullsJakob Poeltl, C, Utah
21Toronto RaptorsSam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin
22San Antonio SpursRondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona
23Dallas MavericksTrey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
24Cleveland CavaliersChristian Wood, PF, UNLV
25Boston Celtics (via LA Clippers)Cliff Alexander, PF, Kansas
26Los Angeles Lakers (via Houston)Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
27Portland Trail BlazersCaris LeVert, SG, Michigan
28Memphis GrizzliesTyus Jones, PG, Duke
29Brooklyn Nets (via Atlanta)Delon Wright, PG/SG, Utah
30Golden State WarriorsRobert 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.

Based on mocks by ESPN's Chad Ford, CBSSports.com and DraftExpress, Duke's Jahlil Okafor appears to be the consensus No. 1 pick right now, but who will be next?

Here's a look at some very early predictions for the draft's top five selections.

1. New York Knicks: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke

CHAPEL HILL, NC - MARCH 07:  Jahlil Okafor #15 of the Duke Blue Devil drives between defenders Brice Johnson #11, Marcus Paige #5 and Marcus Paige #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on March 7, 2015 in Chapel Hil
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

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

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 13:  Karl-Anthony Towns #12 of the Kentucky Wildcats and Chris Chiozza #11 of the Florida Gators battle for a loose ball during the quaterfinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 13, 2015 in Nashville, Te
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 12:  Emmanuel Mudiay #5 of the World Team shoots the ball during the game against Team USA on April 12, 2014 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and o
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

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

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

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

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 19:  Stanley Johnson #5 of the Arizona Wildcats on defense during the college basketball game against the UC Irvine Anteaters at McKale Center on November 19, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Anteaters 71-54.  (Phot
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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.

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