Sunday, June 28, 2015

NBA DRAFT 2015: MOCK DRAFT REVIEW


I was very successful in my mock draft projections this year

I got the first 5 all correct: 


1. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
KARL ANTHONY TOWNS-C-UK 
7-0/248/19 years old
NBA Comparison: Marc Gasol/Rasheed Wallace
ROLE: Possible superstar, modern big man that can defend, shoot and post up

Minnesota looks to be all in on Towns. He's a versatile big man that can defend and shoot. He will have an incredible opportunity to learn under NBA legend Kevin Garnett next year. With Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio, Minnesota has a nice young trio to build around

2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS 
DEANGELO RUSSELL-PG/CG-OHIO ST.  
6-5/193/19
NBA  Comparison: bigger Mike Conley/Manu Ginobili 
ROLE: Possible superstar, starting point guard on a perennial playoff team eventually

The Lakers have a tough decision between Russell and big men Jahlil Okafor or Kristpas Prozingis. While talented big men are tough to find, Russell is the smart and safe choice here. He has the prototypical size and skill set for the modern NBA guard. Okafor is a nice low post scorer but remember they drafted a low post scorer last year in Julius Randle. The smart choice is to take Russell at #2 and then go after a center in free agency like DeAndre Jordan or Brook Lopez.

3. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS  
JAHLIL OKAFOR-C-DUKE 
6-11/270/19
NBA Comparison: Al Jefferson (most likely)/DeMarcus Cousins (best case)/Enes Kanter (worst case)  
ROLE: Star potential, a 20 and 10 guy within two years

Okafor's offensive skill set fits perfectly next to big man Nerlens Noel. Okafor is a back to the basket low post scorer that should make an instant impact as a scorer. With Joel Embiid having another injury set back, it makes sense for the 76ers to take another big man to help Noel. Kristpas Porgingas would make an interesting pick here as well.


4. NEW YORK KNICKS
KRISTPAS PORZINGIS-F/C-LATVIA/SEVILLA (ACB SPAIN)
7-1/230/19
NBA Comparison: Andrei Kirilenko/Pau Gasol
ROLE: Boom/Bust prospect with star potential, has the length to play the five and the shooting skills to play the four.

Porzingis has the ability to stretch a defense and is an athletic shot blocker on the defensive end. He can fit perfectly in the triangle offense and will remind Knicks President Phil Jackson of a young Pau Gasol.

5. ORLANDO MAGIC
MARIO HEZONJA-SF-CROATIA/FC BARCELONA (ACB SPAIN)
6-8/200/20
NBA Comparison: Khris Middleton/Mike Miller
ROLE: Starting SG or SF with star potential, lights out shooter that may have to adjust to becoming a role player in the NBA.

The Magic need shooters and Hezonja can shoot. The Magic will be slightly disappointed if Porgingis is off the board but Hezonja is a nice consolation prize. Hezonja has the size to play both the two or the three. He can play the three and they can play Tobias Harris at the four in small ball lineups. Another advantage to Hezonja is his experience playing at a high level in Europe. Hezonja is NBA ready and if he is as good as advertised, the Magic should be in the playoff hunt next year.

The Kings then made a slightly surprising pick with WILLIE CAULEY STEIN. I had WCS going #8 in a projected trade. 

My #6 pick: EMMANEUL MUDIAY dropped one spot to #7, going to the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets will now try to trade point guard Ty Lawson this summer. 


My #7 pick JUSTISE WINSLOW fell to the Miami Heat at #10. Most experts are saying that this was the biggest steal of the draft. 

I had the Heat taking STANLEY JOHNSON, he went two spots earlier to Pistons at #8. 

My #9 pick DEVIN BOOKER went to Phoenix at #13. I knew Charlotte was going to draft a shooter at #9. They took FRANK KAMINSKY who I had going #12 to Utah. 

The Pacers took MYLES TURNER at #11. I had him going to Phoenix at 13. 

I had a feeling the Jazz were going to take a stretch four at #12, they were able to get my #11 pick TREY LYLES. 

I got the #14 pick correct with CAMERON PAYNE. The Thunder now have an adequate backup for superstar point guard Russell Westbrook. 

All my top 14 picks went in the lottery. I did very well. 

Picks 15-17 were slight reaches in my opinion. 

I had #15 KELLY OUBRE going #20, #16 TERRY ROZIER going #27 and #17 RASHAD VAUGHN going #25. I did note in my mock that: "Vaughn had a late workout with the Bucks, so there's a chance he could go as early as #17." Oubre was drafted by the Hawks then traded to the Wizards. 

My #15 pick BOBBY PORTIS dropped all the way to #22. My #16 pick SAM DEKKER went two spots later at #18 as did my #17 pick JERIAN GRANT who went #19 and was later trade to the Knicks. Grant has a chance to start at point guard as a rookie. 

Speaking of trades, my #18 pick TYUS JONES fell to #24. He was selected by the Cavs and then traded to his hometown Minnesota Timberwolves. Many (including myself) felt like Minnesota had the best draft of any team last night. 

At #20 the Raptors took DELON WRIGHT this allowed them to trade back up point guard Greivis Vasquez to the Bucks for #46 pick NORMAN POWELL and a 2017 first round pick. 

At #21 the Mavs ignored their need at point guard but did get solid two way player in JUSTIN ANDERSON, I had Anderson going one spot later at #22 to Chicago. The Bulls got a steal at #22 in Portis who I mentioned earlier. The Bulls may try to trade Taj Gibson now that they have a young four man.  

My #21 pick RONDAE HOLLIS JEFFERSON went #23 and like I predicted: "If he slips out of the top 20, expect the Lakers, Spurs and Celtics to trade up for him: he was traded. I DID NOT expect the Nets to be the team that traded for him but it looks like a smart move as the Nets were able to trade Mason Plumlee and the #41 pick PAT CONNAUGHTON in order to get Hollis-Jefferson. They wanted to unload Plumlee's salary in order to retain free agents Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young.  

At #25 the Grizzlies took JARELL MARTIN,  I had Martin going three spots later to the Celtics at #28. The Celtics ended up getting sharpshooting two guard RJ HUNTER at #28. I had Hunter going #26 to the Spurs. The Spurs went with their typical Euro-stash pick and took NIKOLA MILUTINOV whom I had going #37. The Spurs didn't want to pay a guaranteed salary and will keep Milutinov overseas next year.  

The Lakers had in my opinion the biggest reach of the draft in LARRY NANCE JR. I had him as the top Honorable Mention player. He was projected by most to be picked at the end of the second round or going undrafted. 

At #29 the Nets took CHRIS MCCULLOUGH. This seems like quite a reach when you consider he is coming off of a torn ACL and may miss at least half of next season. I had him going #47. 

My #20 pick Kevon Looney was the final pick of the first round. I wonder if the Warriors will package him in a trade in order to get rid of David Lee's 15 million dollar contract. 


Only three of the players I had mocked in my first round fell out of the first round. Ironically two of them were picked #31 and #32. My #19 MONTREZL HARRELL fell all the way to the Rockets at #32. He provides insurance in case Josh Smith leaves and could make both Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas expendable.

My #30 pick CEDI OSMAN went #31 to the Cavs in a trade. I doubt he will leave Europe next year. He could be a solid rotation player for the Cavs in 2-3 years. 

My #29 pick JONATHAN HOLMES did not get drafted. He will play with the Celtics in their summer league. He has a chance top make some teams roster next year.

My second round was decent. Only 12 of my second round projections went undrafted. 

Though five of them I had going in picks 32-40. They were: 

CHRISTIAN WOOD

MICHAEL FRAZIER

TERRAN PETTEWAY

CLIFF ALEXANDER

ROBERT UPSHAW

My #31 RICHAUN HOLMES, #34 RAKEEM CHRISTMAS and #35 ANTHONY BROWN went #37, #36 and #34 respectively. Both Holmes with the 76ers and Brown with the Lakers have a chance to play major minutes next season. Even Christmas has a chance to play some with the Cavs if Anderson Varejo is injured again. 

My biggest accomplishment in my mock is that I correctly picked both #42 OLIVIER HANLAN and #43 JOSEPH YOUNG

EXACTLY RIGHT!!!! 

Overall it was a great draft and a very entertaining night as always. I felt everyone in the top 5 nailed (even New York). I felt the Heat, Jazz, Suns and Bulls had the biggest first round steals. 

I felt the Kings, Pistons and Pacers all made slight reaches and as I mentioned before, picks 15-17 were all reaches. Most teams did what they planned. Contenders like the Spurs and Cavs created cap space while young team took players that will need time to develop. 

I give every top five team plus the Heat, Jazz, Suns, Rockets and Bulls an A grade. 



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