Updated 2015 NBA Mock Draft Following Early-Entry Eligibility DeadlineApril 27, 2015
Updated 2015 NBA Mock Draft Following Early-Entry Eligibility Deadline
With the April 26 deadline having passed for underclassmen to declare, we officially know which Division I athletes will be eligible for the 2015 NBA draft.
International prospects (and any American who chose to pass on playing in the NCAA) still have until June 15 to withdraw their names.
Next up in the predraft process is the NBA combine May 14. The NBA draft lottery follows on May 19.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky, 6'11", PF/C, Freshman
Karl-Anthony Towns' fit in Minnesota seems to work from every angle, given his No. 1 overall upside and the team's need for two-way versatility up front.
Unlike Nikola Pekovic, who's now out six more months following Achilles surgery, Towns offers potential rim protection and the ability to play out on the perimeter. An excellent athlete for a 6'11", 250-pounder, he blocked 4.3 shots per 40 minutes, and though he didn't take many jumpers, his 81.3 percent free-throw stroke suggests he can hit them.
Towns' low-post attack also came to life over the final two months, when his back-to-the-basket game looked nearly unstoppable.
He's a safe pick loaded with upside. Towns and Andrew Wiggins could ultimately form one of the NBA's most promising young one-two punches.
2. New York Knicks: Jahlil Okafor, Duke, 6'11", C, Freshman
If you're the Knicks, you can make a case for both guards D'Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay, as well as Duke wing Justise Winslow. But Winslow isn't quite ready, and it's tough to imagine president Phil Jackson ready to lean on a rookie ball-handler.
Jahlil Okafor is a safe bet who also fills a need as an immediate scoring option and big body down low. He'll have to improve defensively, but with that 6'11" size and 7'5" wingspan, he certainly has the tools to make it happen.
Also, don't rule out the Knicks looking to trade this pick, especially if they get the second one and Karl-Anthony Towns is off the board.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Emmanuel Mudiay, China, 6'5", PG, 1996
The Sixers will likely be targeting a new lead guard in this draft, with Emmanuel Mudiay and D'Angelo Russell the primary options. My guess is they fall for Mudiay's superior athletic ability and 20 extra pounds of muscle.
With mismatch physical tools for a ball-handler, as well as experience playing against pros and grown men in China, the 6'5", 200-pound Mudiay should be ready to roll as a rookie.
He has a good feel operating out of pick-and-rolls, and he's quick and shifty enough off the dribble to break down defenses in the half court. Mudiay also turns open-floor opportunities into easy buckets.
He'll just need to improve as a shooter (13-of-38 from three, 27-of-47 from the line in China) and decision-maker (3.3 turnovers per game). But at 19 years old, neither area of the game is unfixable.
4. Los Angeles Lakers: D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State, 6'5", PG/SG, Freshman
The Lakers just need to grab the top prospect available, and at No. 4, that's D'Angelo Russell, who flashed superstar qualities and a skill level that's off the charts.
He could just be the best freshman guard since Kyrie Irving.
At 6'5", Russell has the handle and vision of a point guard to match the size, scoring attack (19.1 points per game) and shooting stroke (41.1 percent from three, 95 threes made) of a 2.
His versatility should also make it easier for the Lakers to rebuild, given his ability to play either backcourt position. They can go out and sign anyone to pair with him in the backcourt.
5. Orlando Magic: Justise Winslow, Duke, 6'6", SF, Freshman
Justise Winslow makes too much sense for Orlando at No. 5, where the Magic can continue building with defense and athleticism.
He's still a work in progress offensively, but he flashed enough promise to suggest improvement will come. Winslow knocked down 46 threes at a 41.1 percent clip. And with a lane or open floor available, he's tough to stop from getting to and finishing at the rim.
The next step for Winslow is improving his off-the-dribble game, particularly the pull-up and floater, as he made just 26.9 percent of his two-point jumpers, via Hoop-Math.com.
But Winslow ultimately excels in areas of the game you just can't teach. The hope is he grows in the other areas you can, such as creating and scoring.
6. Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, 7'0", C, Junior
No need to be fancy here if you're the Kings. There are question marks attached to every prospect left on the board. Willie Cauley-Stein gives Sacramento a guaranteed defensive upgrade, something it could use after finishing the year No. 27 in defensive efficiency, via ESPN.
At 7'0", his spectacular blend of size, athleticism and foot speed translates to rim protection, pick-and-roll coverage and full-court pressure.
Though not an option to feed on offense, he shot 59.3 percent from the floor over his three-year career at Kentucky. His ability to elevate high above the rim leads to easy buckets that wouldn't be easy or even available for most.
There is no reason why Cauley-Stein shouldn't be able to play alongside DeMarcus Cousins up front.
7. Denver Nuggets: Stanley Johnson, Arizona, 6'7", SF, Freshman
The Denver Nuggets just need to find an asset, regardless of what shape it comes in. In terms of risk versus reward, Stanley Johnson makes the most sense for Denver, even though it already has a couple of wings.
Johnson, 6'7", 245 pounds, has a Kawhi Leonard-like body and style of play.
He has sharp defensive tools for guarding 1s, 2s and 3s. Johnson also showcased a promising in-between game with the pull-up, step-back and floater, having made 44.4 percent of his two-point jumpers, via Hoop-Math.com.
The Nuggets could go overseas with Latvia's Kristaps Porzingis or Croatia's Mario Hezonja, but neither one is quite a sure thing. Johnson should be one of the safest options in this year's field.
8. Detroit Pistons: Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia, 7'0", PF, 1995
There is some risk attached to Kristaps Porzingis' 220-pound frame, but the upside tied to his versatility is worth the gamble at No. 8.
At 7'0", Porzingis is a face-up power forward who operates out to the three-point arc, where he can shoot the three or attack closeouts off the dribble.
His size, mobility and above-the-rim athleticism also translate to easy buckets off cuts, lobs, putbacks and transition opportunities.
If Porzingis can add some bulk and ultimately hold up physically, there will be a huge ceiling for him to strive to reach. He has an inside-out skill set tailor-made for the NBA 4.
With Greg Monroe expected to generate plenty of interest in free agency, Porzingis would make sense as a possible long-term replacement.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Mario Hezonja, Croatia, 6'8", SG/SF, 1995
There is a gap in talent between Mario Hezonja and the rest of the prospects on the board. At 6'8", he's an athletic mismatch on the wing, where he shoots it 40 percent from deep and handles the ball.
As good as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can be on defense for Charlotte, Hezonja's offensive upside is at a whole other level.
No available prospect is going to help move the needle for Charlotte as a rookie. Taking the best long-term player here is the move for the Hornets to make. Given his NBA frame, high-flying explosiveness and three-point stroke, he may even be able to contribute a lot sooner than you'd expect.
10. Miami Heat: Jerian Grant, Notre Dame, 6'5", PG/SG, Senior
A new tier of prospects begins after No. 9, where Miami can go in a few different directions.
Jerian Grant would make sense for the Heat based on talent and team needs. Miami didn't get much from Shabazz Napier this year. Norris Cole is gone, Goran Dragic will be a free agent, and the Heat lack depth behind Dwyane Wade.
Grant finished the season with an impressive 6.2 pure point rating, via RealGM.com, after averaging 6.7 assists to just 2.2 turnovers per game. At 6'5", he creates a mismatch at the point. But Grant also has the size and scoring ability (16.5 points per game) to play off the ball.
11. Indiana Pacers: Trey Lyles, Kentucky, 6'10", PF, Kentucky
With Indiana looking to play at a quicker pace moving forward, Trey Lyles' mobility should work well at power forward for the Pacers.
At 6'10", he even spent time playing small forward for Kentucky. Lyles has a smooth mid-range jumper in the drive-and-kick and pick-and-pop games. And he's a threat to put the ball on the floor or score in the low post.
With David West entering the final year of his deal (assuming he opts in), the Pacers could spend the next season developing and ultimately grooming Lyles for the long-term job. He has starter potential.
12. Utah Jazz: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin, 7'0", PF/C, Senior
You could argue Frank Kaminsky as the top prospect available or simply a perfect fit in Utah. The Jazz have a pair of solid bigs in Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, but neither can stretch the floor.
At 7'0", Kaminsky shot a terrific 41.6 percent from downtown. And though I wouldn't expect his post game to translate, his ability to put the ball on the floor, finish on the move or pass should still hold plenty of offensive value.
A lack of athleticism and strength might limit his upside, but Kaminsky has high-end backup to low-end starter potential. His shot-making skills should translate in the first year.
13. Phoenix Suns: Myles Turner, Texas, 6'11", C, Freshman
The Phoenix Suns don't quite have one specific need, so they'll likely be going with the best prospect available—regardless of position.
The upside tied to Myles Turner's blend of rim protection and stretch potential could be tough to pass at No. 13. Known as a shot-blocker out of high school, Turner lived up to that reputation by swatting 2.6 shots in only 22.2 minutes per game. And though he'll need to continue improving his shooting stroke, he hit 17 threes and 83.9 percent of his free throws.
Turner also has a post game in the works, though he'll need to add some strength to be able to execute in the pros.
Alex Len had a promising sophomore year, but the Suns could certainly use another big man up front. Backup center Brandon Wright will be a free agent this summer.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne, Murray State, 6'2", PG, Sophomore
At No. 14, the Oklahoma City Thunder can grab a potential steal-of-the-draft candidate in Cameron Payne, who was phenomenal hiding out in the Ohio Valley conference.
Payne put up one of the better stat lines in America—20.2 points, six assists, 2.2 threes and 1.9 steals per game.
He's a terrific passer and playmaker, while his scoring average highlights his shot-making ability, both from behind the arc and inside it. Payne is very sharp off the dribble, where he can pull up from anywhere and deliver floaters from all different angles.
Look for him to rise up boards during the predraft process—if he hasn't already.
15. Atlanta Hawks (via Nets): Kelly Oubre, Kansas, 6'7", SF, Freshman
With DeMarre Carroll potentially gone in free agency, the Hawks' wing becomes fairly shallow. Kelly Oubre has lottery talent and more upside than any realistic option at No. 15, with 6'7" size, electric athleticism and a good-looking outside stroke.
He's dangerous in the open floor as a ball-handler, finisher and shooting trailer. Oubre also has sharp defensive tools, between his foot speed and length. And though he got burned on occasion, Oubre showed the versatility to guard a few positions, as well as the ability to make the highlight block or steal.
He'll likely need a year in the NBA D-League after averaging just 9.3 points as a freshman. But the Hawks, a contender, shouldn't be expecting to find an immediate contributor this late in the draft anyway.
16. Boston Celtics: Devin Booker, Kentucky, 6'6", SG, Freshman
The appeal to Devin Booker stems from his shot-making ability. It's convincing. At 6'6", 206 pounds, he has the body of an NBA 2-guard and a textbook shooting stroke (41.1 percent on threes).
Booker isn't a sharp one-on-one scorer, but off the ball, he can finish the plays that find him within the offense, whether it's a spot-up three, a jumper off a curl or a cut to the basket.
In Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, the Celtics start two undersized guards. And neither is a particularly reliable shooter.
Booker would give the Celtics some size and efficient complementary offense (60 percent true shooting percentage, via Sports-Reference.com) in the backcourt.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: R.J. Hunter, Georgia State, 6'6", SG, Junior
The Milwaukee Bucks could look to target another shot-maker with Khris Middleton entering free agency. R.J. Hunter made 253 threes in three seasons at Georgia State, having averaged 19.7 points his final year.
Though known more for his perimeter scoring and shooting, he's a very underrated passer (doubled his assist percentage as a junior) with a high basketball IQ.
He's on the skinny side at 190 pounds, which might limit his one-on-one game, but in a role that allows him to run around and knock down shots off movement, Hunter could thrive.
18. Houston Rockets (via Pelicans): Tyus Jones, Duke, 6'2", PG, Freshman
With a handful of bigs and wings and no can't-miss option on the board, look for the Houston Rockets to fill a need and draft a point guard.
Tyus Jones may not have that All-Star-caliber upside, but between his high skill level and feel for the game and position, he'll have the chance to become a fine rotational ball-handler.
Jones was the catalyst for Duke down the stretch in the championship game against Wisconsin, hitting a number of clutch shots en route to 23 points.
He's a pass-first facilitator who can knock down pull-ups inside the arc and spot-ups behind it.
With Jason Terry and Patrick Beverley entering free agency, Jones makes sense for Houston in the mid-to-late first round.
19. Washington Wizards: Sam Dekker, Wisconsin, 6'9", SF, Junior
The Wizards will likely go with the top prospect available this deep after not having a first-round pick in 2014. Sam Dekker could certainly be that guy. Dekker blew up in the NCAA tournament, averaging 19.1 points in six games.
His career high (through three years) heading into the tournament was 22 points, so I'd take his postseason offensive explosion with a grain of salt.
Still, Dekker's versatility should hold plenty of value, given his ability to handle the ball, pass, knock down open shots, finish off cuts and drives and guard a few positions.
He'll thrive as a fourth or fifth option in a role that doesn't require him to create.
Otto Porter hasn't been completely convincing, and Paul Pierce is on his last legs. Dekker would be a nice get and fit this late.
20. Toronto Raptors: Bobby Portis, Arkansas, 6'11", PF, Sophomore
Bobby Portis really offers solid value at No. 20, where the Raptors could potentially land an upgrade at the 4 and replacement for impending free agent Amir Johnson.
With 6'11" size and a fluid mid-range shooting stroke, Portis should be able to make a living in the pick-and-pop and drive-and-kick game. And though he lacks the explosiveness to consistently pick up easy buckets above the rim, he's flashed sound footwork and touch with his back to the basket.
Portis isn't likely to offer much rim protection, but his physical tools and skill level should translate to inside-out offense. He's one of the safer options outside the lottery.
21. Dallas Mavericks: Christian Wood, UNLV, 6'11", PF, Sophomore
At No. 21, Christian Wood represents somewhat of a boom-or-bust option for Dallas.
At 6'11", he's an above-the-rim athlete who averaged 10 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. But the real appeal to Wood stems from his ability to play out on the perimeter, where he can knock down jumpers and put the ball on the floor.
Wood hit 25 threes and looked comfortable in the mid-range, while his ability to face up and attack was tough for slower bigs to match up with.
However, at 220 pounds, he isn't exactly a bully down low. Wood can struggle to finish through contact. And he isn't much of a post scorer.
It wouldn't be a surprise if Dallas looked overseas, but if the Mavericks want to take a home run swing, Wood could be a potentially rewarding gamble in the mid-to-late first round.
22. Chicago Bulls: Guillermo Hernangomez, Spain, 7'0", C, 1994
At No. 22, the Chicago Bulls aren't likely to find an immediate upgrade or obvious long-term answer. It's a good place on the board for them to draft-and-stash.
There are a handful of international prospects for Chicago to look at, including Guillermo Hernangomez, a 7-footer from Spain who plays alongside Kristaps Porzingis for Sevilla.
Hernangomez operates from the elbows, where he can shoot or use a dribble and attack, down to the block as a low-post scorer. He also grabs over 11 rebounds per 40 minutes in both the Spanish ACB and Eurocup play.
France's Timothe Luwawu and Mouhammadou Jaiteh, Macedonia's Cedi Osman and Bulgaria's Aleksandar Vezenkov are other draft-and-stash names for Chicago to consider.
23. Portland Trail Blazers: Kevon Looney, UCLA, 6'9", SF/PF, Freshman
Just in case LaMarcus Aldridge decides to bolt this summer, Portland might want to look for another power forward to develop. Kevon Looney will need to spend a year in the weight room and D-League, but long term, he has some mismatch potential to strive to reach.
At 6'9", Looney plays mostly facing the basket, where he can handle the ball and knock down jumpers (22-of-53 on threes).
He also has strong rebounding instincts, particularly on the offensive glass, having finished with 54 putbacks in 36 games, via Hoop-Math.com
No post game and a skinny 220-pound frame are concerns when projecting his transition to the NBA 4. But this late in the draft, the risk could be worth the reward tied to Looney figuring things out.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Delon Wright, Utah, 6'5", PG, Senior
Without a backup point guard under contract for next season, the Cleveland Cavaliers could look to add one in Delon Wright.
He's already 23 years old, and though he doesn't offer much upside, Wright should be able to log rookie minutes.
At 6'5", he has excellent size for a ball-handler. Wright plays with a pass-first approach and shows a strong feel as a facilitator and table-setter.
But Wright's value will show up mostly on defense, where he has excellent instincts and the physical tools to guard both backcourt positions.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Jarell Martin, LSU, 6'10", PF, Sophomore
With Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, Memphis could use a jolt of athleticism up front. And Jarell Martin is explosive for a forward listed at 6'10".
He's a tough face-up cover in the half court, where he can shake and bake and score on the move. And he's a bully down around the basket, thanks to broad shoulders and a strong 235-pound frame.
Martin must improve his shooting touch, though he's capable in the mid-range, both as a shot-creator and shot-maker.
A year in the D-League should give him the chance to work on extending his shooting range.
Martin ultimately has a lot of similarities to Orlando Magic combo forward Tobias Harris.
26. San Antonio Spurs: Montrezl Harrell, Louisville, 6'8", PF, Junior
Without a jumper or one-on-one ball skills after three years at Louisville, I wouldn't bet on Montrezl Harrell doing much scoring in the pros. But his explosiveness, toughness and motor should still translate to interior activity, particularly finishes, rebounds and physical post defense.
The Spurs aren't particularly athletic up front. Harrell's ability to pound the glass and pick up easy buckets around the rim could hold value off San Antonio's bench.
27. L.A. Lakers (via Rockets): Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona, 6'7", SF, Soph.
The Lakers aren't likely to find a special offensive talent this late, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could give them an immediate asset on defense.
At 6'7" with long arms, quick feet and explosive athleticism, he projects as a defensive specialist capable of blanketing opposing ball-handlers, 2-guards and wings. In the NCAA tournament, he helped hold potential top-four pick D'Angelo Russell to 3-of-19 shooting.
Hollis-Jefferson would ultimately become a steal at No. 27 if he ever developed a threatening spot-up jumper.
28. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Cliff Alexander, Kansas, 6'8", PF, Freshman
It wasn't the season Cliff Alexander was likely hoping for, but his explosive athleticism and motor around the basket could still be worth targeting late. He registered a 16.8 rebounding percentage and 7.7 block percentage, and he did shoot 56.6 percent from the floor.
Alexander ultimately projects as an interior specialist. Though not an offensive player you'd feature in the post or feed in the half court, he has the ability to make things happen at the rim without needing touches.
With Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, the Celtics could use an injection of some above-the-rim burst up front. Alexander would make sense with their second first-round pick.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Hawks): Rashad Vaughn, UNLV, 6'6", SG, Freshman
This late in the first round, Rashad Vaughn's 17.8 points per game are worth looking into.
He finished third among freshmen in scoring behind Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell and Duke's Jahlil Okafor. Vaughn has the ability to create his shown shot from every spot on the floor, from pull-ups and step-backs to floaters on the move.
A lack of explosiveness, both off the bounce and around the rim, limits his perceived upside. However, at 18 years old with solid 6'6" size and an awfully high skill level, the Nets should take their chances. They could certainly use some extra offense in the backcourt.
30. Golden State Warriors: Chris McCullough, Syracuse, 6'10", PF, Freshman
The Golden State Warriors aren't likely finding an immediate contributor at No. 30. They can afford to wait on Chris McCullough's development and recovery from an ACL tear suffered back in January.
McCullough looked like a surefire first-rounder before going down. At 6'10", he's a big-time athlete and a comfortable mid-range shooter. His 7'3" wingspan and foot speed also translated to 2.4 steals and 2.9 blocks per 40 minutes.
McCullough could ultimately be the biggest risk-reward option in the field, but at No 30 overall, that risk isn't all that intimidating.