The 19 players who will sit in the green room during the 2015 NBA draft Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, were revealed Monday.
DraftExpress.com passed along the list of top prospects likely to hear their names called in the first round. The table below shows all those who will be in attendance:
|2015 NBA Draft Green-Room Prospects|
|Karl-Anthony Towns, PF/C||Kentucky|
|Jahlil Okafor, C||Duke|
|D'Angelo Russell, PG/SG||Ohio State|
|Kristaps Porzingis, PF||Latvia|
|Justise Winslow, SF||Duke|
|Emmanuel Mudiay, PG||Democratic Republic of Congo|
|Stanley Johnson, SF/SG||Arizona|
|Devin Booker, SG||Kentucky|
|Willie Cauley-Stein, C||Kentucky|
|Frank Kaminsky, C/PF||Wisconsin|
|Trey Lyles, PF||Kentucky|
|Myles Turner, C/PF||Texas|
|Cameron Payne, PG||Murray State|
|Kelly Oubre Jr., SF||Kansas|
|Bobby Portis, PF||Arkansas|
|Jerian Grant, PG||Notre Dame|
|Sam Dekker, SF||Wisconsin|
|Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF||Arizona|
|Kevon Looney, PF||UCLA|
The release of names also indicated that likely top-10 pick Mario Hezonja will attend if his season with FC Barcelona ends in time. Georgia State product R.J. Hunter, Duke's Tyus Jones and Utah standout Delon Wright were invited, but the three guards passed on the opportunity to sit in the green room.
Headlining the pack are the most buzzed-about big men in Kentucky's Karl Anthony-Towns and Duke national champion center Jahlil Okafor.
The Minnesota Timberwolves hold the No. 1 overall pick, and ZagsBlog.com's Adam Zagoria reported Monday that the Wolves have told Towns he will be their choice. Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times believes the Los Angeles Lakers will stay in the frontcourt with the second pick:
Emmanuel Mudiay opted not to follow through on his commitment to SMU and instead played professionally in China last year. He figures to be the top competition for Ohio State breakout star D'Angelo Russell as the first guard to come off the board.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com reports Russell would welcome the chance to play for Philadelphia if the 76ers elect to use their No. 3 pick on him:
Duke swingman Justise Winslow figures to be in the top-five conversation, with 7'1" Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis looming as the lottery wild card, per ESPN insider Marc Stein:
The following testimony, relayed by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey, shows the type of upside Porzingis is perceived to have:
Beyond those aforementioned names, the first-round picture is a bit muddled, with less separation between the remaining prospects. It seems like a long shot that anyone will be left in the green room, but draft night can certainly lend itself to unpredictable twists.
Those who sit near the top of the order have a lot more at stake. The Wolves, Lakers, Sixers and New York Knicks are all in dire need of a spark.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported Monday that the Phoenix Suns have talked with New York about dealing Eric Bledsoe to the Big Apple. Such a swap could shake up the first several picks of the draft.
The lottery was unkind to the Knicks, who were projected to pick second. Team president Phil Jackson and Co. must nail the pick, barring a trade for a proven player who can be a franchise cornerstone.