Draft Preview # 3: Mock Draft

Written by Ian Ellis (iellis2018@yahoo.com)

After parts 1 and 2 we know the basics of the draft and a bunch of the players so now I put that together and present *drumroll* the official Ian Ellis 2015 Mock Draft. For this I will only do the first round and I will take team needs into account, so this won’t just be a big board. In addition I won’t add in any potential trades to make it simple. Here we go!

*BPA = Best Player Available


Pick #1 Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl Anthony Towns, PF/C

While people want to speculate if the Wolves want Jahlil Okafor first, Towns should eventually be their pick. Towns has the most potential of any player in this draft, he can do nearly anything on the court, and is versatile enough to play with Nikola Pekovic at the PF or play C with any of Minny’s other young bigs.


Pick #2 Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, C

Similar to Minnesota, as much as people like to speculate about taking D’angelo Russell, it is in LA’s best interest to take Jahlil Okafor from Duke. He is the most  dominant post scorer coming out of college in a long time, is a good offensive rebounder and while he doesn’t have the potential Towns has, he has the potential to be a franchise big man. While it is questionable pairing up of Julius Randle and Okafor because they both share similar weaknesses (no jumpshot to space the floor, not very good defenders), LA should just get Okafor now and think about those things like fit later.

Pick #3 Philadelphia 76ers: D’angelo Russell, PG/SG

The 76ers need a guard and here they get one. D’angelo Russell, the sweet shooting guard from Ohio State with amazing passing ability, is perfect for the 76ers because they need a guard and they are getting more of a combo guard, meaning that they can pair a PG or SG next to him. Look out for the 76ers taking Kristaps Porzingis out of Latvia. The 76ers have been interested in him, and combine this with Hinkie’s desire to gain high potential assets and Joel Embiid’s injury setback, don’t be surprised if Philly makes a real draft day surprise.

Pick #4 New York Knicks: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG

When it is all said and done, I think that if the Knicks keep the pick (which is right now a pretty big if), Emmanuel Mudiay will be the choice. Just his combination of size, speed and athleticism at the PG position should intrigue them, but combined with his playmaking ability and improving jumpshot it should make choosing him a done deal. Look out for Kristaps Porzingis, Justise Winslow and Willie Cauley Stein here too, as the Knicks are also interested in them. Also a note on Porzingis: while a lot of mocks are starting to put him at four, I’m not buying it. Remember, Melo wants to contribute NOW and Porzingis is probably going to be a bench big his first few years and by the time he reaches his potential, Melo will be past his prime. Mudiay is NBA ready enough to start on the Knicks now, and has potential to become much better.


Pick #5 Orlando Magic: Kristaps Porzingis, PF
At this point in the draft, Porzingis is probably the last player available with real star potential. The Magic already have a young core of very good players (Vucevic, Oladipo, Payton, etc.), but none of them have real star potential, and as we saw in the playoffs this year, you need stars. If in Porzingis could develop into a star within the next few years, you’re suddenly looking at a very scary team. Also look out for Orlando taking Justise Winslow or Mario Hezonja, two ‘3 & D’ wings that are safer picks and the types of players that Magic GM Rob Hennigan loves. Either of them could fill in the starting 3 role whether or not Tobias Harris bolts in free agency (you could place Tobias at the 4 if he stays).


Pick #6 Sacramento Kings: Willie Trill Cauley Stein, PF/C
Sacramento either needs a PF or PG (and no more SG’s). Unless Mudiay slips to them, the next best PG is Cameron Payne, which at pick 6 is a huge reach. So, Sactown pairs Boogie with another Kentucky Wildcat in Willie Cauley Stein who compliments him as a defensive juggernaut.


Pick #7 Denver Nuggets: Mario Hezonja, SG/SF

The best two available players on the board are Justise Winslow and Mario Hezonja, both of whom are wings. Denver needs a star and Hezonja has more potential than Winslow, so they take Hezonja.


Pick #8 Detroit Pistons: Justise Winslow, SG/SF

Detroit is probably targeting Mario Hezonja, Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson (only if the first two are gone) with this pick. Justise Winslow is on the board so they take him. Winslow can immediately start at either the 2 or 3, filling Detroit’s wing void.


Pick #9 Charlotte Hornets: Devin Booker, SG

Charlotte needs shooting, so they’re going to reach for UK’s sniper Devin Booker. This pick is very similar to Sacramento’s pick last year in Nik Stauskas because while Booker really isn’t worth the 9th pick, shooting is a priority in the NBA and Charlotte badly needs it. Also look out for Stanley Johnson here, who is the BPA, but due Charlotte already having Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and a glut of PF’s, I ultimately think they pass on him.

Pick #10 Miami Heat: Stanley Johnson, SF

Miami could be getting a steal right here because remember, before the tournament a lot of Mocks had Stanley Johnson at 5, but due to his not so awesome performance there, he slipped. With Luol Deng looking pretty washed up since he was traded from Chicago 1 1/2 years ago, here’s a good replacement. A starting lineup of Dragic – Wade – Johnson – Bosh – Whiteside with Deng, Chalmers & McRoberts coming of the bench in the East looks pretty scary.


Pick #11 Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner, PF/C
The Pacers are reportedly done playing their grit and grind style of play with slow clunky style and are now aiming to play with quicker pace and with maybe smaller units. This all starts with the big men, and there are two real contenders here: Myles Turner & Frank Kaminsky. While Kaminsky is very polished with his offensive game including his jumper, his lack of defense and rebounding will probably make them lean towards Myles Turner. Turner has a very nice jumpshot and also shows great defense shot blocking potential. But also, emphasize potential as Turner isn’t gonna start probably his rookie year and he is a project, but he could be Indy’s perfect future center.


Pick #12 Utah Jazz: Frank Kaminsky, PF
Utah will probably pick which ever is left between Turner and Kaminsky, so Kaminsky it is. This is a perfect fit because Kaminsky can space the floor and get buckets while Gobert and Favors cover up his weaknesses in defense and rebounding. If Utah decides to go for a guard here because they don’t trust Exum and Burke, look out for Cameron Payne.


Pick #13 Phoenix Suns: Sam Dekker, SF
Phoenix needs a SF, so they take the the best SF available in Sam Dekker. Another name could be Kelly Oubre if the Suns are looking for more of a potential pick at the SF position, but ultimately I think they choose Dekker.


Pick #14 Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne, PG
While over the last couple of weeks Payne has accumulated draft buzz, I think he stays at 14 with OKC. Here, he can come off the bench and provide shooting, playmaking & defense.


Pick #15 Atlanta Hawks: Trey Lyles, SF/PF
Atlanta might trade the pick for a future one like they did with Adrian Payne last year to clear cap, but if they do keep it, they’re probably looking for big man depth. Lyles, with his Swiss Army knife potential sounds perfect for the Hawks second unit and their team centric offense.


Pick #16 Boston Celtics: Kelly Oubre, SF
Boston has guards with Smart and Thomas and they have bigs with Zeller, Sullinger and Olynyk, so they need wings. Ideally, Sam Dekker falls here, but more likely they pick Kelly Oubre. Oubre is all about potential as being a 3 point sniper, slasher and lockdown defender, but the risk is he isn’t polished at all and didn’t show a ton in college. Also look to see if Boston trades this pick with another asset like the 28th pick to trade up into the lottery.


Pick #17 Milwaukee Bucks: Jerian Grant, PG

Milwaukee ideally needs a center but there are no more real centers left and they are planning to fix that hole in free agency (Tyson Chandler, Brook Lopez) so they go with the BPA in Jerian Grant. Grant has good size at 6’5″ at the PG position, is an athletic playmaker and a good defender. While there are concerns on his jumpshot, Grant fits perfectly as a backup PG in Milwaukee’s team of long, athletic, defensive minded players.


Pick #18 Houston Rockets: Tyus Jones, PG

Houston needs a backup PG so they are probably targeting Jerian Grant and Tyus Jones. Grant was just picked so they get Jones, a smart playmaking guard with a good three point stroke, but with limited upside, athleticism and defense.


Pick #19 Washington Wizards: Bobby Portis, PF
Portis is a PF that has a never ending motor and a smooth jumpshot. While he isn’t a particularly good defensive rebounder, is not an explosive athletes and doesn’t have a great post game, this sounds like a good backup big man for Nene and Gortat, especially with Seraphin and Gooden being free agents.


Pick #20 Toronto Raptors: Montrezl Harrell, PF

The Raptors need a roster renovation after disappointing 1st round exits two years in a row, and one of this focuses should be to get a PF. Amir Johnson is an okay player but they really need an upgrade, so they start by taking Montrezl Harrell. When you think of Harrell, think of Tristan Thompson or Kenneth Faried. Also, don’t be surprised if Toronto does something really weird with this pick because, well, Masai Ujiri is the GM.


Pick #21 Dallas Mavericks: Kevon Looney, PF
The Mavericks have a huge free agency ahead of them, so positioning shouldn’t be an issue here. They take Kevon Looney who is the BPA here, and he could be a steal as he is very talented but is a potential pick. Don’t be surprised if he’s taken at 10, or don’t be surprised if he’s picked at 25.


Pick #22 Chicago Bulls: RJ Hunter, PG/SG
If Chicago brings back Butler and Dunleavy (which they should), all they really need is a backup combo guard. RJ Hunter fits perfectly here as he could play the point or could go off ball, and he is a terrific shooter. This would finally add stability to the backup guard position in Chicago.


Pick #23 Portland Trail Blazers: Rondae Hollis Jefferson, SG/SF

Regardless of what happens with their free agents this summer (Aldridge, Matthews, Lopez), Portland still badly needs a bench. Portland takes Hollis Jefferson because he has the potential to be a poor man’s Andre Iguodala: a lockdown wing defender that is a playmaker on offense, but does the have an offensive game. Also this kind of player is still critical to have in a western conference with tons of perimeter offensive talent.


Pick #24 Cleveland Cavaliers: Justin Anderson, SF

A couple months ago I would’ve had Cleveland taking a backup PG in Terry Rozier or Delon Wright, but with Matthew Dellavedova’s improved play, I doubt that they go that path. What they do need is a backup for LeBron, so they take Justin Anderson who could be an athletic 3 & D backup for LeBron. Also look for them trading the pick so they don’t use up cap which they need to resign Love (if he wants to stay), Thompson, Dellavedova, JR & Shump (LOL).


Pick #25 Memphis Grizzlies: Delon Wright, PG/SG

Memphis could use a backup PG besides Beno Udrih (remember him?), so they take Delon Wright. Wright would fit in perfectly with Grizzlies as a long, athletic PG that is a defensive pest.


Pick #26 San Antonio Spurs: Cedi Osman, SF

San Antonio doesn’t want to add money to their cap if they want to resign Leonard, try to get Gasol or Aldridge and keep Danny Green. So the king of ‘draft & stash’ picks are going to that with Cedi Osman.


Pick #27 Los Angeles Lakers: Rashad Vaughn, SG

The Lakers take the BPA. Vaughn is projected to be a good scorer coming of the bench in the NBA.


Pick #28 Boston Celtics: Chris McCullough
Boston’s in a weird situation here because while they probably want to get a safer pick here, none of those players that they may desire (Wright, Anderson, Hollis Jefferson) should still be available. So with Boston also having the 33rd and 45th pick too, I see Boston taking the BPA here which is Chris McCullough, who showed great upside in his freshman year, but had his season cut short by an ACL tear. So this pick is all potential. Also look out for Robert Upshaw or Jordan Mickey here, both of whom are shot blockers and Boston needs that.


Pick #29 Brooklyn Nets: Terry Rozier, PG/SG
Lol, Brooklyn actually has a pick this year *sarcastic applause*. While the Nets are paying Deron Williams around 20 mil and Jarrett Jack around 6, they still need PG/Combo guard depth. Brooklyn takes Terry Rozier who is an athletic scoring guard that his only real problem is that he’s too small to play SG but not enough of a playmaker to be a PG (This is also known as Monta Ellis-itus). Also look for Brooklyn to package this pick, their 41st pick and Mason Plumlee to move up into the early 20’s.


Pick #30 Golden State Warriors: Guillermo Hernangomez, C

Golden State is probably going to get rid of this pick whether it be by packaging it to trade David Lee or just to keep money off their cap, but if they do keep it, expect them to do a draft & stash pick, like Guillermo Hernangomez, to still keep cap.


Players that Just Missed the Cut:

Rakeem Christmas, PF

Robert Upshaw, C

Jarell Martin, PF/C

Jordan Mickey, PF

Richuan Holmes, PF
Next Time: Trades


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