Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Collaborative 2015 NBA Mock Draft

With the 2015 NBA Draft fast approaching (Thursday, June 25th in Brooklyn, NY), Brendan Donahue and Kevin Hanson collaborated for this NBA Mock Draft.

[View Kevin's 2015 NBA Mock Draft]

For this collaborative mock, we alternated picks -- Kevin picked for odd-numbered teams and Brendan picked for even-numbered teams. Both of us made the comments for our own picks.

Here is our collaborative 2015 NBA mock draft:

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

Kevin: While there may be some debate whether this pick should be Towns or Duke's Jahlil Okafor, I still believe that Towns makes the most sense. A more well-rounded prospect overall, Towns is clearly much better than Okafor on the defensive end and Minnesota ranked dead last in scoring defense (106.5/G) last year. Towns ranked first in the country in Defensive Rating (78.1) and Win Shares Per 40 Minutes (.311), via Sports Reference.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke

Brendan: I'm not buying the D'Angelo Russell-to-Lakers rumors. I don't see how the Lakers can pass on a big man that also fills a big need. The Lakers have been most successful when they've had a dominant big man, i.e., Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, etc. And while I'm not saying Okafor is in that same ilk, he is clearly the most dominant inside player still in the draft and will be too hard to pass up. Yes, I understand the game is evolving but Okafor is a rare talent offensively and also a great passer that will create his own mismatches and problems for opposing defenses.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: D'Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State

Kevin: With Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid already on the roster, the decision may have come down to Emmanuel Mudiay or Russell even if they held a top-two pick in this year's draft. That said, the Sixers are reportedly enamored with Latvian seven-footer Kristaps Porzingis and the healing process of Embiid's foot could potentially sideline the seven-footer for another season.

While I think Mudiay has a higher ceiling and could ultimately develop into the better pro, it's close and Russell fits better. With the ability to facilitate for others or create his own offense, Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while knocking down 41.1 percent of his three-pointers as a freshman in Columbus.

4. New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia

Brendan: I have a feeling if Adam Silver announces this name as the Knicks selection, it will most likely draw a chorus of boos from Knicks fans. However, Porzingis has drawn comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki and I think well-versed Knicks fans would be very excited that they could land a player that projects to have that kind of impact in this league and give them a lot of hope for the future even though he may not have a huge impact on day one.

5. Orlando Magic: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, Congo

Kevin: If Porzingis were available here, he'd be a slam-dunk, no-brainer selection. With Brendan (i.e., the Knicks) swiping him with the No. 4 pick, there was some serious debate here. I strongly considered Mario Hezonja, a 6-foot-8 wing with great athleticism, range and confidence as well.

Even though there is duplication here with Elfrid Payton, a player that I like a lot, Mudiay is the best player available and at least needs to be seriously considered here by Orlando's front office. Viewed by many as the top high school recruit in the country last year, Mudiay opted to play professionally in China after committing to Larry Brown and SMU. With all of the attributes to develop into an elite point guard in the league, Mudiay has great size (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) and strength for the position as well as speed and quickness. He averaged 18.0 points, 6.3 boards and 5.9 assists in China.

6. Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky

Brendan: I compare Cauley-Stein to Tyson Chandler, which certainly isn't a bad thing, but does suggest that he will be limited offensively at the next level. Heck, he was limited offensively in the SEC so that says something, but he was such a dominant defender and can guard pretty much any position on the floor that he will be able to have an immediate impact at the next level. Since DeMarcus Cousins is already a great offensive player who demands the ball, Cauley-Stein will be a nice complement to him for Sacramento.

7. Denver Nuggets: Mario Hezonja, SG/SF, Croatia

Kevin: Hezonja has excellent size (6-8) and athleticism to attack the basket but he also possesses outstanding range as well. And it's clear that Hezonja does not lack confidence. And this selection would certainly have the approval of Nuggets big man Jusuf Nurkic.

8. Detroit Pistons: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke

Brendan: Once thought to be a contender for the 1st overall pick after a great showing in the NCAA tournament, Winslow has slipped a bit based on his measurements at the combine. Winslow has a high ceiling, but he's still a good enough defender and talented enough to make an impact as a rookie.

9. Charlotte Hornets: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky

Kevin: The Hornets made only 31.8-percent of their three-point attempts and that ranked dead last in the NBA last season. Booker is the best shooter in this year's draft class so he obviously fits a team need. The youngest prospect in this year's draft class (turns 19 on October 30th), Booker also had an impressive showing at the NBA Combine with the fastest times in lane agility (10.2 seconds) and shuttle run (2.75 seconds).

10. Miami Heat: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona

Brendan: With an NBA body, Johnson is an outstanding defender and rebounder that averaged 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game at Arizona this season. He needs to improve as a shooter, but he made more 37-percent of his three's last season.

11. Indiana Pacers: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State

Kevin: Few players have generated as much draft buzz and seen his draft stock rise as Payne has over the past couple of months and he may creep into the top-10 picks. Either way, it's unlikely that he falls out of the lottery. As a sophomore at Murray State, Payne averaged 20.2 points, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game. The Pacers have a number of guards that are about to hit free agency -- Rodney Stuckey, Donald Sloan and C.J. Watson.

12. Utah Jazz: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas

Brendan: Oubre's stock is all over the place. With undeniable talent and superior defensive skills, Oubre was wildly inconsistent last season, but he has a high ceiling.

13. Phoenix Suns: Myles Turner, PF, Texas

Kevin: Turner has plenty of upside to warrant a selection higher than this even though he was inconsistent in his lone season in Austin. An athletic seven-footer that can rebound and block shots (2.6 per game), Turner also has the ability to stretch the floor and knock down shots from behind the three-point line.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin

Brendan: With the acquisition of Enes Kanter and the assumption that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are all healthy next year, the Thunder are in position to go best player available that can help them win right away. The versatile Kaminsky led the Badgers in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks while shooting 41.6-percent from three-point range.

15. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn Nets): Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky

Kevin: Power forward Paul Millsap is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The fourth Wildcat selected in the top half of my mock, Lyles may have been overshadowed some on such a star-studded team as he mostly played out of position (small forward). That said, Lyles has the ability to score inside as well as consistently knock down mid-range jumpers.

- Picks 16-30 in our collaborative 2015 NBA Mock Draft

- Check out Hanson's 2015 NBA Mock Draft and/or 2016 NFL Mock Draft For more mock drafts, check out our 2015 NBA Mock Draft Database.

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