1. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES – Kentucky F/C Karl Towns Jr. (Rich man’s Andrew Bogut)
Minnesota drafts the best fit to cater to Flip Saunders’ new T-Wolves roster. Towns should be an impact player from day one and should be a consistent 15-10 guy with a solid mid range game. There aren’t many holes to Towns’ game.
2. LA LAKERS – Duke C Jahlil Okafor (Al Jefferson)
The LA Lakers find a way to stay competitive, yet start the rebuild after Kobe leaves. A rookie frontcourt of Randle and Okafor will be tantalizing in the West for years to come. Expect Okafor to surprise a lot people on the defensive side of the ball along with his repertoire of post moves.
3. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – Ohio State PG D’angelo Russell (Manu Ginobili)
Manu Ginobili as a pro comparison could be undervaluing Russell. The 6’5 combo guard burst onto the scene under Thad Matta’s tutelage that made him a national sensation. D’Angelo Russell could end up being the best player from this draft. His swagger screams the “It” factor that superstars need to succeed.
4. NEW YORK KNICKS – Congolese PG Emmanuel Mudiay (John Wall)
The athletic slashing guard suffered an awful foot injury playing in China this year, but should bounce back in a big way as a rookie in Phil Jackson’s system. Jackson craves big guards on his team and will be ecstatic if either Mudiay or Russell fall to them. After he displayed an improved jumpshot in draft workouts, Mudiay could be in line for 30 minutes a night as a rookie.
5. ORLANDO MAGIC – Latvian F/C Kristaps Porzingis (Andrea Bargnani)
Orlando takes the best player available on a home run swing. Porzingis has become the 2015 NBA Draft International Man of Mystery, even though he’s become a well known commodity in league draft circles. In Porzingis’ defense, it’s hard for him to make a name for himself after guys like Vlad Radmonivic and fellow Latvian Andris Biedrins have stained the entertaining, relentless search for the next Dirk.
6. SACRAMENTO KINGS – Duke SF Justise Winslow (Rich Man’s Wilson Chandler)
Justise Winslow has had a roller coaster year at Duke. He went on a nasty cold streak that sent his stock barrelling to the back end of the lottery, but with strong defensive play and slight refinery work on his shot, Winslow grew more confident and became a factor in meaningful games. Winslow’s perimeter game is a little weak considering especially based on perimeter-oriented style, but he shouldn’t struggle with the physicality of the NBA as his 222 pound frame is an NBA ready body.
7. DENVER NUGGETS – Croatian G/F Mario Hezonja (Thompson/Wiggins)
The Croatian Hezonja has struggled to find stability in the Barcelona rotation, but his talent has been a mainstay. Mario could be the next best European player based on raw talent and athletic appeal. He routinely pulls wild, crowd engaging plays out of his bag of crafty tricks that have scouts foaming at the mouth. Hezonja is a flashy, freak athlete who’d intertwine perfectly with Danilo Gallinari. Super Mario could be a burning flame for the Nuggets for years to come.
8. DETROIT PISTONS – Arizona SF Stanley Johnson (Metta World Peace)
The second safest pick in the draft is Stanley Johnson. The forward out of Arizona is one of the top defensive talents and one of the most underrated all around players in this draft. With a unique frame for an NFL defensive end, the 6’7, 250 pound Johnson is oozing out defensive potential as few wings can offer that kind of strength. Stanley Johnson is an antidote for the Pistons lack of a small forward and this is a great fit for both the player and the team.
9. CHARLOTTE HORNETS – Kentucky F/C Willie Cauley-Stein (Tyson Chandler)
Charlotte takes the best player available. Michael Jordan’s revamped Hornets roster now features a deeper, more talented frontcourt with Nic Batum, Big Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, Spencer Hawes and now Willie Cauley-Stein. WCS is the most versatile defender in the draft who guarded the opposing team’s best player night in and night out in Lexington, regardless of the size gap. “Trill” isn’t the best fit, but Charlotte finds themselves some defensive insurance in case some recent Al Jefferson injury woes continue.
10. MIAMI HEAT – Kansas G/F Kelly Oubre (JR Smith)
Oubre takes his microwave-type talents to South Beach. The recent contract troubles between Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley have caused a little more than a stirring in Miami, and the Rock Chalk wing can fill an important role from day one as Luol Deng is also a free agent. Help on the wing is needed and the highlight reel talent can be a solid “3-and-D” wing one day.
11. INDIANA PACERS – Murray State PG Cam Payne (Rich man’s Jarrett Jack)
Larry Bird finds his point guard for the future and a great all around player in Payne. A bright story out of Murray State, the undervalued sophomore can be the third guard in the Pacer rotation and can eventually work his way in as the starter for George Hill.
12. UTAH JAZZ – Texas F/C Myles Turner (Serge Ibaka)
Myles Turner is a rare prospect with Serge Ibaka-type potential. A pure jumpshooter, Turner protects the rim at a fashionably high rate and would be a phenomenal fit beside Rudy Gobert or Derrick Favors. This is a great pick for frontcourt versatility and Utah can now fully utilizie the abilities of Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors.
13. PHOENIX SUNS – Notre Dame PG Jerian Grant (Reggie Jackson)
The older brother of Sixers forward Jerami Grant was a national sensation last year and nearly led Notre Dame to a legendary upset over Kentucky. Phoenix has a need for a backup point guard, and the 22 year old Grant could fill the shoes behind Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe. Grant has looked great in workouts this Spring and has earned his notoriety as a late lottery pick.
14. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – Kentucky G Devin Booker (JJ Redick/Rudy Fernandez)
Devin Booker has the best and most pro ready shot in the draft class. Booker shot at an incredibly efficient rate at Kentucky and those numbers should continue to look great as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will continue to demand defensive attention.
15. ATLANTA HAWKS – Kentucky PF Trey Lyles (Carlos Boozer)
The Hawks were fortunate to have had Adreian Payne fall to them last season, and it’s Trey Lyles. The Canadian was used on the perimeter at Kentucky but is a 4 by natural position. He is an excellent fit with Al Horford for the future.
16. BOSTON CELTICS – Arkansas F/C Bobby Portis (Jordan Hill)
Bobby Portis is often overshadowed due to the fact he attended Arkansas, but he made national noise this season as one of the best bigs in college. His all-around game will help Boston and its tremendous frontcourt depth.
17. MILWAUKEE BUCKS – Wisconsin F Sam Dekker (Omri Casspi/Chandler Parsons)
Sam Dekker is an offensive dynamo with exceptional ball skills. With help on his jumpshot, he could be an excellent third forward in the rotation with Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
18. HOUSTON ROKETS – Duke PG Jones (Luke Ridnour)
Tyus Jones is a solid all around true point guard who can be left in the game in its’ dying minutes. Jones and Houston is a match made in heaven, and it should mean that he’s seeing important minutes late in the game as Jason Terry, Pablo Prigioni and Pat Beverly may not be on the roster next year.
19. WAS Frank Kaminsky (Brad Miller)
Frank Kaminsky plays like a seasoned basketball veteran who brings poise to the court as a shooter and in the post. His abilities will be best utilized in limited minutes, and should be a very productive role player, a la Channing Frye.
20. TORONTO RAPTORS – UCLA F Kevon Looney (Shaun Livingston)
Kevon Looney is a rare ball handler as a combo forward who might even resemble Kevin Durant. He rebounded the ball at a great rate as a freshman as a Golden Bear, and that will help the Raptors as they prepare to contend in the East for the coming years.
21. DALLAS MAVERICKS – Louisville F Montrezl Harrell (JJ Hickson)
Montrezl Harrell is a gritty beast who eats boards and plays with great hustle. Shades of DeJuan Blair in his game will help Mavericks fans think of a tremendous hustle player with the potential to be a solid role player.
22. CHICAGO BULLS – UNLV G Rashad Vaughn (Daequan Cook/Wayne Ellington)
Rashad Vaughn has been amazing in individual workouts for teams all across the board and could even slip into the early teens. The Bulls would be fortunate if Vaughn fell this low now. The pure shooter has shown great polish to his game and had a successful season at UNLV.
23. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS – Virginia G/F Justin Anderson (Danny Green)
The Trail Blazers are starting their rebuild in life after Aldridge. Anderson could be a great wing player and has the size to succeed faster than many think he will.
24. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – Georgia State SG RJ Hunter (Marco Bellinelli)
Cleveland needs a shooter after JR Smith opted out. If JR returns, they still need a shooter as the cast of Delly, James Jones, Shumpert and JR Smith shot 0/21 with LeBron off the floor in the Finals. Shooting is a huge need.
25. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – Arizona G/F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Jean-Charles/Fields)
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is the perfect contrasting player to fit behind Jeff Green in Memphis. A defensive minded player with absolutely no offensive polish sounds as opposite to Uncle Jeff as can be.
26. SAN ANTONIO SPURS – Spanish C Guillermo Hernangomez (Gustavo Ayon)
This is such a Spurs pick, and you know they’re smart enough to make this happen. We all know the Spurs will draft internationally and they need a lot of depth all across the board so why not start behind Tim Duncan?
27. LA LAKERS – UNLV PF Christian Wood (Poor man’s Lamar Odom)
Christian Wood is as overlooked as any 6’10 big man with a great handle. He screams mismatch nightmare for bigs in the future.
28. BOSTON CELTICS – Syracuse F Chris McCullough (Shareef Abdur-Rahim)
The Celtics pack on another high ceiling prospect. McCullough is coming off of a torn ACL at Syracuse but the Celtics can try to hit the homerun with this selection.
29. BROOKLYN NETS – Utah PG Delon Wright (Burke/Jennings)
The Louisville combo guard is a pro ready player for a 29th overall pick. Great fit in Brooklyn, a Lionel Hollins type player with defensive potential.
30. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – Stanford SF Anthony Brown (DaJuan Summers)
Brown gives the world champion yet another 3 and D wing and great depth to one of the 21st century’s deepest teams.