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2015 NBA Mock Draft

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This is my best projection on what NBA teams will do in the 2015 draft, not what I think they should do. This post also will not take trades into account, and there are always a few trades on draft night.

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1. Minnesota Timberwolves select- Karl Anthony Towns, C from Kentucky. The consensus top prospect in the draft, and the obvious pick here despite rumblings from Minnesota regarding Flip Saunders' infatuation with Okafor. Towns is both the best prospect and best fit with the Timberwolves as a fearsome defensive center with range to the three point line. Teaming him with Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio could vault the Wolves to respectability once again.

2. Los Angeles Lakers select- Jahlil Okafor, C from Duke. Okafor was a dominant post presence the likes of which the NCAA hadn't seen in some time, and though people question whether he is a good fit in the modern NBA, Okafor makes perfect sense for a Lakers team searching for its next star big man. The Lakers just have to hope that pairing Okafor with Julius Randle won't be a defensive catastrophe.

3. The Philadelphia 76ers select- D'Angelo Russell, PG/SG from Ohio State. Russell shot up the draft boards this year due to his seeming blend of the two leading NBA MVP candidates: Steph Curry and James Harden. He has great handles and a quick and effective shot, but is also a good sized lefty who can attack the basket. Russell is also a superb passer and has great court vision. Defensive worries won't matter to the offensively challenged 76ers, who desperately need shooting and a floor general.

4. The New York Knicks select- Emmanuel Mudiay, PG from Guangdong in CBA. The last time the Knicks had decent point guard play was early 2010 Raymond Felton, and it has only gone downhill from there. Mudiay is a big, athletic point guard with solid passing ability, and would add a huge jolt of energy and athleticism to a moribund Knicks franchise. His lack of shooting is an issue, but the Knicks need talent of any kind.

5. The Orlando Magic select- Kristaps Porzingis, PF from Sevilla in ACB. After several years of going for primarily defensive players in the draft, the Magic need to space the floor, and Porzingis appears to be a good shooter if nothing else. This is a big boom or bust pick, but the rewards could be great, as "Kris" is a potentially perfect fit next to Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic.

6. The Sacramento Kings select- Justise Winslow, SF from Duke. Rudy Gay is almost 29, and will start declining soon as a very athletically dependent player. In the meantime, Gay can be moved to power forward, where his defense plays up better, and Winslow will slot into the SF position. His defense and overall versatility will help a lot in a Kings lineup that already has two big time scorers but needs defense and the little things.

7. The Denver Nuggets select- Willie Cauley-Stein, C from Kentucky. WCS is a huge presence in the lane, a rim protector who is also capable of defending in the pick and roll. While he doesn't have much of an offensive game, Cauley-Stein is a game changer on defense at the center position, and that's what the Nuggets need most.

8. The Detroit Pistons select- Mario Hezonja, SG/SF from Barcelona in ACB. The Pistons are set at center, have a couple options at point guard, and a variety of power forwards (they just traded for Ersan Ilyasova). However, they have a gaping hole at the wing, and Mario is just the person to fill it. He is extremely talented, and his shooting will translate in the NBA from day one. His size and athleticism enables him to play at either wing position.

9. The Charlotte Hornets select- Cameron Payne, PF from Murray State. Although Kemba Walker signed an extension last fall, there have been rumors out of Charlotte that he is not their choice to be "Point Guard of the future". Payne has been rising up draft boards for months, and his combination of passing and shooting are attractive to a team that needs both. Payne might not be the best prospect available, but he could take over from Walker down the road.

10. The Miami Heat select- Stanley Johnson, SF from Arizona. The Heat are already looking like a playoff team in the East and have a solid starting five, so are going to go with the highest upside player left. Johnson is an explosive and strong player who looks the part of an NBA athlete right now. He has the potential to be on the All Defense teams in just a few years, and can attack the basket as well. He is also a good insurance policy for the aging and battered Dwayne Wade and Luol Deng.

11. The Indiana Pacers select- Frank Kaminsky, PF/C from Wisconsin. The NCAA player of the Year doesn't possess tremendous upside but is extremely unlikely to bust out of the NBA. For a team like the Pacers that hopes to make a playoff run next year, Kaminsky is a great fit as a guy who can play 15-20 minutes right away off the bench. His overall offensive game will help the scoring challenged Pacers.

12. The Utah Jazz select- Devin Booker, SG from Kentucky. Booker is one of my least favorite first round prospects as I don't see much besides an outside shooter, but is a good addition to a Jazz team that needs help at the guard positions. Booker is very young though, and has a lot of time to improve.

13. The Phoenix Suns select- Kelly Oubre, SF from Kansas. The Suns main weak spot is on the wing, and the last high end prospect at the position is Oubre. While he had an up and down season at Kansas, Oubre flashed some serious talent at times, and his upside is pretty high due to his size and potential offensively and defensively: he has both a nice shooting stroke and well above average athleticism.

14. The Oklahoma City Thunder select- Bobby Portis, PF from Arkansas. The Thunder have been very hit or miss in the draft the past couple years, but need players now if they are to keep Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Portis was the SEC player of the year, and can do a little bit of everything. Like Kaminsky, he should be ready to play solid minutes off the bench quickly, and would be an immediate upgrade at PF over the likes of Nick Collison and Kyle Singler.

15. The Atlanta Hawks select- Myles Turner, PF/C from Texas. The Hawks weakest position this season was at backup Center, where Pero Antic was largely ineffective. Turner has one of the highest upsides in the draft as a full 7'0 center who has an incredibly soft touch. If he is able to develop his body and eliminate some odd movements in his gait, he should be a very nimble and athletic big man with potential to dominate on both ends of the court.

16. The Boston Celtics select- Rashad Vaughn, SG from UNLV. The Celtics' biggest issue outside of rim protection this year was lack of a go to scorer, and Vaughn could become that guy. He averaged 18 points per game as a freshman guard, and took 6 threes and 4.3 FTs a game, making him a "modern" scorer. His poor FT shooting (69%) is a bit of a warning sign, but he hit his threes, and was fairly solid as a total package.

17. The Milwaukee Bucks select- Trey Lyles, PF from Kentucky. The Bucks are an up and coming team with lots of promise, but have very little depth at forward. Lyles played largely out of position at Kentucky but still showed off well, and has an ideal frame at power forward. He can pass, he can hit midrange jumpers, and should be another cog in the long-limbed Milwaukee defense.

18. The Houston Rockets select- Tyus Jones, PG from Duke. Houston already had one of the weakest PG rotations in the NBA, and now it might lose starter Patrick Beverly in free agency. Jones displayed abilities to make plays and run an offense far beyond his years, and was a great on court leader for Duke's championship team. Jones would probably be effective as a secondary playmaker with James Harden running the show.

19. The Washington Wizards select- Jerian Grant, PG/SG from Notre Dame. The Wizards have needed capable bench scoring for years, and Grant would provide an immediate upgrade in that capacity. Grant is a typical combo guard with a mix of scoring and playmaking, and would backup both John Wall and Bradley Beal. He is also large enough to fit with both star players in a three guard lineup, and is ready to play large minutes right away. It's very difficult to see him being a bust, but at almost 23, he has limited upside.

20. The Toronto Raptors select- Kevon Looney, PF from UCLA. The Raptors might have to tear down their team this summer after two consecutive 1st round losses, and Looney provides the kind of high upside prospect who could turn around a franchise. He was a good rebounder in his freshman year, and has the size and athleticism to remain one in the NBA. He has an extremely smooth shot, but no post moves whatsoever, meaning he might be relegated to the perimeter on offense.

21. The Dallas Mavericks select- Delon Wright, PG from Utah. The Mavericks are moving on from the brief Rajon Rondo era and need a new PG. In comes Wright, who is an analytics favorite of this draft class. He is an exceptional defender who accumulates steals at an incredible rate, which is a very good sign for functional athleticism. Unfortunately he isn't much of an outside threat, but he can attack the basket and make passes off the dribble.

22. The Chicago Bulls select- Sam Dekker, SF from Wisconsin. Tony Snell is inconsistent and Doug McDermott couldn't find the court in 2015, and the Bulls need shooting and athleticism. Dekker is a freak athlete who is great at cutting off the ball as well as spotting up behind the arc. He isn't going to take many people off the dribble, but could be a nice 4th or 5th man in a starting lineup.

23. The Portland Trailblazers select- Terry Rozier, PG from Louisville. The Blazers roster is very much up in the air, but one thing they definitely need is a backup PG for Damian Lillard. Rozier runs a solid offense, gets buckets, and will dog the opposing point guard on defense, exactly what is needed at backup.

24. The Cleveland Cavaliers select- Justin Anderson, SF from Virginia. The Cavaliers have a rather thin bench due to LeBron's need to have his posse back him up at all his stops. Anderson's athleticism and outside shooting should immediately boost him over the likes of Mike Miller, Shawn Marion, and James Jones. He has the tools to become a very good defensive player and would provide a big boost off the bench.

25. The Memphis Grizzlies select- RJ Hunter, SG/SF from Georgia State. The Grizzlies have needed shooting for a long time and Hunter provides that in spades. His percentages weren't great, but he was the focal point of his offense and is much more suited to a designated sniper role. He has really long range and a very clean stroke. His plus rebounding and passing is just the icing on the cake.

26. The San Antonio Spurs select- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF from Arizona. A classic Spurs pick. If Hollis-Jefferson falls, he would fit the usual San Antonio mold of a specific brand of player who can be molded into a strong whole. For RHJ, the type is simple: a ferocious perimeter defender. He would provide rest for Kawhi Leonard, and playing both of them together would create a nightmare for opposing guards and wings. Anything on the offensive end is gravy, but he is already strong going to the basket.

27. The Los Angeles Lakers select- Rakeem Christmas, PF/C from Syracuse. The Lakers may have Okafor and Randle, but big men are always good to have, and Christmas is a safe pick in the late 1st that can be a quality bench player fairly quickly. He is a solid rim protector on defense, capable of contesting and blocking shots due to his length and jumping ability. This also enables him to finish at the basket on the offensive end. His best case is probably a smaller version of Tyson Chandler.

28. The Boston Celtics select- Dakari Johnson, C from Kentucky. Johnson is huge, and Johnson is young. This is good for the Celtics, who badly need a young center who can give them some rim protection. Johnson may or may not be that player, but taking a flyer on him makes sense.

29. The Brooklyn Nets select- Jordan Mickey, PF/C from LSU. The Nets' quest for youth and athleticism meets a talented big man from LSU. Mickey is slightly undersized, but makes up for it with a great vertical and instincts. He finishes through contact on offense and swats shots on the other. His extreme defensive potential offsets his complete lack of range (1-9 on threes).

30. The Golden State Warriors select- Montrezl Harrell, PF from Louisville. If the Finals against the Cavs has demonstrated anything, it's that guys who hustle and scrap on the court are always valuable. Harrell is the big man form of Matthew Dellavedova, someone who leaves it all on the court. He has a non-stop motor that turned him into a plus defender and rebounder despite being somewhat small for PF. He is going to find a role or dive trying.