Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 NBA Mock Draft -- Pre-Final Four Update

The 2015 NBA Draft order used in our 2015 NBA mock draft is based on the inverse order of our NBA Power Rankings.

Here is my projection of our 2015 NBA mock draft:

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

For most of the season, Okafor seemed to be a lock for the No. 1 overall pick. While he may no longer be a lock for the top spot, Okafor is an extremely skilled big man on the offensive end of the court . Okafor is averaging 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game on the year.

For what it's worth, Charley Rosen, a Phil Jackson confidant and former assistant coach, says that Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns doesn't have the "big butt" needed to flourish in the triangle offense, per Marc Berman of the NY Post.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky

A much better prospect than Okafor on the defensive end, Towns is viewed by several as the top overall prospect in this year's draft class. Playing only 20.8 minutes per game for the 38-0 Wildcats, Towns ranks first in the country in Defensive Rating (77.0) and Win Shares Per 40 Minutes (.315), via Sports Reference.

3. Los Angeles Lakers: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China

After originally committing to Larry Brown's SMU, Mudiay decided to sign a one-year, $1.2 million contract in China. An ankle injury limited the 6-foot-5 point guard to only 12 games, but he averaged 18.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game. 4. Philadelphia 76ers: D'Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State

While Okafor and Towns may have more upside, the Sixers could use backcourt help with a future front court of Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Dario Saric. With the versatility to play the point or off guard spots, Russell is a talented scorer with excellent range, but he has the ability to create for others as well. The freshman averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game this season.

5. Orlando Magic: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke

An athletic and strong wing player with an excellent motor, Winslow, son of Phi Slamma Jamma's Ricky Winslow, has scored in double digits in all but one of his past 18 games. During that stretch, Winslow has seven double-doubles and has averaged 14.56 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game and he has made 23-of-45 (51.1 percent) three-point attempts.

6. Sacramento Kings: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia

Only 19 years old, Porzingis is a skilled seven-footer that would have likely been a first-round pick last year had he not withdrawn from the 2014 NBA Draft. Porzingis has drawn some comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki. As current Sevilla teammate Derrick Byars said, "Kristaps has a Nowitzki-like offensive skill set. He's 7-1, can shoot, can put the ball on the floor, can block shots, he's mobile and athletic. There's not much he can't do on the floor."

7. Denver Nuggets: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona

Small forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Galinari will both become unrestricted free agents after the upcoming season. Johnson already has an NBA body and excels as a defender and rebounder and has drawn some comparisons to Metta World Peace. Johnson has averaged 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Although he's not a great shooter, but Johnson has knocked down 37.1 percent of his three-pointers this season.

9. Detroit Pistons: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky

Cauley-Stein may be the most unique prospect eligible for the draft in that the seven-footer has the versatility to defend all five positions on the floor. Although he runs the floor well and is an excellent athlete, he has plenty of limitations on the offensive end at this point in his development, however.

9. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn Nets): Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA

The versatile power forward actually played point guard as a senior in high school and has had a strong freshman season -- 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks per game and shot 41.5 percent from three-point range. Meanwhile, Paul Millsap is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

10. Boston Celtics: Myles Turner, PF, Texas

Turner has plenty of upside as an athletic seven-footer that can rebound and block shots (2.6 per game) and has the ability to knock down shots from behind the three-point line. At the same time, he's been incredibly inconsistent this season. Later in the lottery, however, he's certainly worth the gamble on his upside.

11. Milwaukee Bucks: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas

Despite struggles in his last four games (7.25 PPG, 3.75 RPG, 0.75 SPG), Oubre was coming on strong in his previous five games (15.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.0 SPG and 1.2 BPG). In a way, that was his season as the freshman struggled with consistency, but he's an excellent wing defender with good size and athleticism as well as a solid jumper.

12. Philadelphia 76ers (via Miami Heat): Mario Hezonja, SF, Croatia

There is a good chance that Hezonja may not be available at this point, but the Sixers can use their second of two lottery picks on a player they can stash in Europe a little longer. Hezonja, who recently turned 20, is an athletic wing that can score and shoot from anywhere.

13. Charlotte Hornets: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas

Perhaps Portis will return as he recently said that he's "leaning toward coming back just because we lost and I hate losing." If he declares, however, Portis could be a potential lottery pick. Portis was named SEC Player of the Year and averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

14. Indiana Pacers: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin

The likely winner of the Naismith award as college basketball's best player, Kaminsky is having a phenomenal senior season as he leads Wisconsin in scoring (18.7/G), rebounding (8.0/G), blocks (1.5/G) and assists (2.7/G). In addition, the seven-footer is second on the squad in three-point shooting (41.5 percent).

15. Utah Jazz: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky

The third Wildcat in the first half of this mock, Lyles has the ability to score both inside and outside and could play either forward spot for the Jazz.

- Continue to picks 16-30 in our 2015 NBA Mock Draft

For more mock drafts, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft Database.

In addition, check out our 2015 NFL Mock Draft, our 2016 NFL Mock Draft and/or 2015 NFL Mock Draft Database.

Follow our basketball updates: Twitter - Facebook - Google+