The first NBA mock draft for 2015.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl-Anthony Towns (PF/C/Kentucky)
Teaming up Towns with Nikola Pecovic would shore up the team’s frontcourt. Towns is not completely NBA-ready offensively, but he would benefit tremendously by being mentored by Kevin Garnett for the next season.
2. Los Angeles Lakers – Jahlil Okafor (C/Duke)
Okafor’s back-to-the-basket game is already NBA ready and the Lakers could ultimately land their new franchise cornerstone to help usher in the post-Kobe Bryant era.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – D’Angelo Russell (SG/Ohio State)
The 76ers spent the past few drafts building up their frontcourt, but the backcourt needs to be addressed now, especially in the wake of the Michael Carter-Williams trade. Russell is a combo guard, but his future is likely at the 2.
4. New York Knicks – Emmanuel Mudiay (PG-China)
At 6-foot-5, Mudiay is the ideal size for a point guard. He was originally going to play basketball at SMU last year, but opted to go overseas instead. Additionally, due to his size, Mudiay has no fear of attacking the middle of a defense to score or rebound.
5. Orlando Magic – Kristaps Porzingis (PF/Spain)
With Tobias Harris likely gone after the season, adding Porzingis can move Aaron Gordon to small forward. Orlando may stash Porzingis overseas for a year.
6. Sacramento Kings – Willie Cauley-Stein (C/Kentucky)
Pairing up Cauley-Stein with DeMarcus Cousins could create a frontcourt nightmare. Cauley-Stein needs to polish his offensive game, but he is there defensively.
7. Denver Nuggets – Justise Winslow (SF/Duke)
The Nuggets could also pursue Mario Hezonja, but I think Winslow is the safer of the two picks. With Wilson Chandler headed to free agency, the Nuggets will need to replace him.
8. Detroit Pistons – Mario Hezonja (SG/Spain)
An all-around scorer, Hezonja would immediately improve the wing for Detroit.
9. Charlotte Hornets – Stanley Johnson (SF/Arizona)
While the Hornets look to rid themselves of Lance Stephenson, Johnson would provide them with the wing scorer they thought they were getting from Stephenson. Johnson is one of the most versatile players in this draft.
10. Miami Heat – Devin Booker (SG/Kentucky)
With Dwyane Wade constantly hurt and likely leaving the team, the Heat need to make a depth move. Booker can light it up beyond the arc and would be an improvement over any shooting guard on the roster.
11. Indiana Pacers – Frank Kaminsky (PF/C/Wisconsin)
Kaminsky is a 7-footer who can pound the paint or stretch a defense with his perimeter shooting. With the Pacers losing David West, Kaminsky could replace him or provide an offensive spark when he is on the floor with Roy Hibbert.
12. Utah Jazz – Trey Lyles (PF/Kentucky)
The Jazz need a replacement for the traded Enes Kanter. Lyles would fit in as a good rotational player with Derrick Favors.
13. Phoenix Suns – Myles Turner (PF/C/Texas)
Turner falls a bit because of leg issues, but that will not be a big concern for the league’s best medical staff. He could form a fearsome combo in the froncourt with Alex Len.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder – Cameron Payne (PG/Murray State)
The Thunder have reportedly been interested in finding a more pure point guard in order to move Russell Westbrook to the 2. Payne could be their guy.
15. Atlanta Hawks – Kelly Oubre (SF/Kansas)
The Hawks get this pick from the Nets as a result of the Joe Johnson trade. Oubre is raw and has a lot to work on, but showed signs of progression last year at Kansas. He could be a solid player in the NBA and the Hawks have the luxury to take a risk here.
16. Boston Celtics – Sam Dekker (SF/Wisconsin)
Dekker will see his stock rise following a fantastic showing at the NCAA Tournament. Boston needs a wing scorer and has been tied to Dekker.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Bobby Portis (PF/Arkansas)
With Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo already on the roster, Portis adds another level of offensive versatility.
18. Houston Rockets – Tyus Jones (PG/Duke)
Houston currently lacks a real point guard on their roster. Jones could be that guy who can spread the ball for the Rockets.
19. Washington Wizards – Kevon Looney (PF/UCLA)
Looney is a rebound machine, which would just add fuel to a Washington team that already excels on the glass.
20. Toronto Raptors – Montrezl Harrell (PF/Louisville)
Some people are listing Harrell as a center, but at 6-foot-8, there is no way that’s happening. The Raptors are losing several players in the frontcourt to free agency, so Harrell would definitely fill a need.
21. Dallas Mavericks – Jerian Grant (PG/Notre Dame)
There is no way the Mavericks bring back Rajon Rondo. Grant would take over as a starter immediately either at point guard or shooting guard.
22. Chicago Bulls – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (SF/Arizona)
This pick may have been more likely with Tom Thibodeau still in town, but I still think the Bulls pull the trigger here. Hollis-Jefferson can guard almost anyone on the court and is aggressive offensively.
23. Portland Trail Blazers – Christian Wood (PF/UNLV)
Portland lose LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews in free agency. Wood would serve as an insurance policy if they Blazers fail to bring back Aldridge.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Rashad Vaughn (SG/UNLV)
The Cavs are going to lose a lot of players to free agency, especially at shooting guard, where they could lose both J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. Vaughn would give them a wing scorer they will need if the Cavs can’t retain some of the players whose contacts expire.
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Terry Rozier (PG/Louisville)
The Grizzlies need to upgrade their bench. Currently, Beno Udrih is backing up Michael Conley, an option the Grizzlies would prefer to move away from.
26. San Antonio Spurs – Guillermo Hernangomez (PF/C/Spain)
The Spurs are known for drafting Euro players who can fit their system. Hernangomez would spend the next year or two overseas, but long-term he could be the guy who replaces Tim Duncan.
27. Los Angeles Lakers – R.J. Hunter (SG/Georgia State)
Kobe Bryant has clearly lost a step and the Lakers will need to find a replacement. Hunter had a great showing at the NCAA Tournament.
28. Boston Celtics – Jordan Mickey (PF/LSU)
He is only 6-foot-8, but with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, he plays much bigger than his height. He is one of the draft’s best blockers.
29. Brooklyn Nets – Justin Anderson (SF/Virginia)
Anderson improved on his jumped this year and could be a good wing option for a Nets team desperate for young talent.
30. Golden State Warriors – Rakeem Christmas (PF/Syracuse)
With David Lee recently turning 32 and headed to free agency in 2016, the Warriors may search for their power forward of the future.