|1.||Karl-Anthony Towns 7-0 250 C Kentucky Fr.||While Kentucky fell short of a National Title, Towns grew up, taking over as the team’s go to scorer. He willed the team into the Final Four with his late game heroics against Notre Dame. He is also very cerebral, showing a strong feel for the game along with leadership and a competitive streak when he gets challenged. With nice passing ability, he possesses a multidimensional skill set. Towns is especially intriguing considering the premium NBA teams put on bigs with the ability to knock down outside shots. He may not be as ready to contribute as Okafor, but he is a stronger defender and outside shooter, making many consider him the superior long term prospect. Towns finished the season strong with a number of impressive tournament performances. He needs to continue to add lower body strength, but his tremendous length and instincts give him potential as a rim protector. Late in the season he surpassed Okafor on many team’s boards, and now is the favorite to go first.
Why Minnesota takes Towns: The Timberwolves have to explore all options here and a case could be made that guards D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay have more star potential than Towns and Okafor. But for a team like the Timberwolves that has difficulty attracting talent through free agency, a chance to solidify their frontcourt is likely too difficult to pass up. Not to mention trying to team Russell with Rubio along with Wiggins could backfire and cause Rubio to want out. Towns is less NBA ready offensively, but his superior mobility, defense and overall potential make him the choice over Okafor.
NBA Comparison: Andrew Bogut
||Jahlil Okafor 6-11 270 C Duke Fr.||Okafor was considered a strong favorite to be the top pick by scouts and pundits for much of the season. He struggled in the final month and in particular the tournament. He’s still considered a possibility to go first but Towns has become the clear favorite. While he’s a below the rim player, his ability to use his strength to clear space for shots, a la Al Jefferson makes him a highly effective post player. His body control is outstanding and it makes him a very good athlete despite the lack of great leaping ability. His footwork and ability to use fakes and body control make him an offensive nightmare for opponents. He possesses an enormous (7-foot-5) wingspan which allows him to play bigger than his height and grab rebounds. While many feel he lacks the upside of Towns, his body of work and ability to contribute from day one are favorable. He should end up a very good NBA center, with a chance to be a dominant one at the offensive end.
Why LA Lakers take Okafor: The Lakers could decide the value is relatively equal from 2-4 and listen to offers from the Knicks. The emergence of Jordan Clarkson as one of the top rookies and the team’s potential PG of the future could make this pick easier, if they indeed decide he has the talent to be a top flight point. Okafor retains the highest likelihood of going 2nd, and while the league has certainly shifted, becoming more lead guard dominated, bigs retain a lot of value just because of the scarcity of high level ones. Okafor and Towns both have top 3-5 center in the league potential. So while mocking Russell here and dropping Okafor to 4 is tempting, Okafor remains the pick.
NBA Comparison: Al Jefferson
||D'Angelo Russell 6-4 195 PG/SG Ohio St. Fr.||Russell was the most productive and exciting freshmen in the country. His feel for the game and readiness is extremely advanced. He generally doesn’t blow by opponents off the dribble with sheer speed, though at times he did, but his craftiness to rock opponents off balance to create space is very good. He’s proven to be an excellent 3 point shooter, showing the ability to get shots off very quickly as well. While he’s not an elite athlete, his excellent length and potential to play either guard position gives him a great deal of intrigue. He’ll need to focus more attention on his defensive intensity. With Steph Curry taking the world by strong in his MVP level season, players with less athleticism like Russell receive a boost.
Why Philly takes Russell: Russell is seen by some scouts as the top talent in this year’s draft. It is widely assumed that the Sixers are hoping he falls to their pick, allowing them to pair him with Embiid as their cornerstones. Sixers GM Sam Hinkie is extremely closed mouthed so if you hear a rumor about what they will do, it is advisable to take it with a grain of salt. Russell is well liked within the organization and his shooting ability is what gives him a slight edge over the stronger and more athletic Mudiay for them. The team has a budding superstar in Joel Embiid if he can stay healthy, so they would certainly prefer to see the two centers go before their pick and have their choice between Russell and Mudiay. Hinkie was the only GM to get over to China to see Mudiay, so credit him for being well prepared for this decision.
NBA Comparison: Brandon Roy
||Emmanuel Mudiay 6-5 190 PG Congo 1996||An elite level PG with the dynamic talent to to be in the category of PGs such as Derrick Rose, John Wall and Damian Lillard. He has a terrific feel for the game, and will just need to learn to become more composed with his decision making and shot selection. His decision to bypass college and play in China where very few scouts and GMs saw him adds an unfamiliarity that will be tough to overcome. Teams have a much smaller sample size to work with, and that could ultimately make him slide (to 4 or 5) and potentially become the steal of the draft. Dante Exum was an even greater unknown going into last year’s draft, but that leap of faith appears to be working out for Utah, which helps Mudiay’s cause. He stood out in the showcase events that scouts were allowed to attend at the end of his high school career. And many viewed him, us included, as the top prospect in the class. Although he missed a good portion of the season in China due to an ankle injury, when he did play he was impressive. Some aspects of his skill set are nearly impossible to discern from his games there, including defense, but he has good defensive ability and potential. What makes him such an intriguing prospect is his fiery and competitive nature. Mudiay has great confidence, communicates well and loves to compete.
Why New York takes Mudiay: Knicks fans and media came unhinged when the team fell to the 4th pick in the draft after the lottery. Yet Mudiay has as good a chance at anyone of being the biggest star to come out of this draft. He has the personality to handle being in New York and may be the climate changer they need. The Knicks could decide they’re not comfortable taking a player they’re unfamiliar with and opt for one of the Euros (Porzingis or Hezonja), Justise Winslow, or even a wildcard such as Trey Lyles who has been mentioned as a prospect GM Phil Jackson loves. But in the end talent generally wins out, and Mudiay’s character is on par with Russell’s according to most with inside knowledge. He’s a natural leader and should turn out to be the best Knicks pick in years: Which isn’t so difficult considering there haven’t been many.
NBA Comparison: John Wall
||Justise Winslow 6-6 222 SG/SF Duke Fr.||Winslow is one of the top athletes in this year’s draft with an NBA body at 19 years of age plus great explosiveness and speed. He experienced some ups and downs like most freshmen, but his skill level proved better than advertised. He’s got a solid shooting touch, granted his shot still needs work. He’s got elite level defensive ability and a great NBA body. He’s incredibly fast off the dribble and has really impressed with his ability to finish plays while operating at a high rate of speed in the open floor. Where the question marks still exist are his consistency and assertiveness. While he’s probably a risky pick, due to having an unrefined skill set, he has upside that few can match.
Why Orlando takes Winslow: The Magic took a high energy, defensive minded, though undersized 4 in last year’s draft with Aaron Gordon. One trend GM Rob Hennigan seems to consistently follow is drafting defensive minded players, and Winslow showed great ability in his freshman year and has a chance to be a defensive stopper. Willie Cauley Stein is a player that the team is said to be very high on. We view the 5th pick as a reach for him, but he would certainly fit into their defensive minded system.
NBA Comparison: Kawhi Leonard
||Kristaps Porzingis 7-1 220 PF Latvia 1995||Porzingis had a terrific season, putting up 10 ppg. While his rebounding numbers could have been better (4 rpg), he is well liked by most European scouts, and has stated a case to be a top 5 pick. He combines both great length and athleticism with a soft touch on his shot. What he’s missing right now is the body strength to handle NBA athletes. If he can fill out and become respectable strength wise, similar to a Pau Gasol, he can have a very solid career in the league. He’s got narrow shoulders, and there is concern among scouts that strength will always be his Achilles and keep him from realizing his potential. Also of note, no Latvian player has made it big in the NBA yet, as top 10 pick Andris Biedrins was a big hope but failed to live up to expectations after free throw shooting derailed his confidence. Porzingis has a lot of believers and has jumped to the front of this year’s European crop. Look for him to grab a spot in the first 5-6 picks.
Why Sacramento takes Porzingis: Many scouts in Europe see "Zinger" as a no brainer top-5 pick. He has a diverse skill set, and great length and his lack of bulk would work well alongside DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings have taken a 2-guard in the lottery in successive drafts, so it seems unlikely that they would opt for Hezonja here, but then again it’s Sacramento, so anything is possible. With Rudy Gay signed long term, Winslow and Stanley Johnson would also seem to make less sense.
NBA Comparison: Pau Gasol
||Mario Hezonja 6-8 215 SG Croatia 1995||"Ha-zon-yuh", (Gesundheit)!, has long been a highly coveted prospect in Europe due to his standout athleticism, but struggled to develop steady PT and consistency over the past few seasons with injuries and off court distractions. He finally gained consistent minutes this season and has produced. With a strong finish to the season, Hezonja could challenge Porzingis to be the first European off the board. He’s the most athletic 2-guard out of Europe in over a decade and shows a flare for making highlight plays.
Why Denver takes Hezonja: The Nuggets need to swing for the fences with the player they view having the greatest chance to be a star. Hezonja fits that. He’s got an heir of confidence and truly believes that he’s the best player in this draft. His shooting is legitimately among the top prospects in this draft, which would be a welcomed addition for a struggling Denver team in need of putting points on the board.
NBA Comparison: Rex Chapman
||Trey Lyles 6-9 240 PF/SF Kentucky Fr.||Lyles is a very smooth bigman with potential for excellent mid-range shooting along with great length (7-foot-2 wingspan). He came into Lexington in tremendous condition and had a very solid season mostly playing out of his natural PF position. It is possible that he was hidden to some degree within Kentucky’s talented roster. He struggled for minutes and at times got lost in the shuffle with the hype surrounding teammates Karl Anthony-Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein. Granted, that’s what he signed up for. We are in the minority with this opinion, but we feel his upside is greater than Cauley-Stein’s and he will ultimately surpass him by the time the draft rolls around. Lyles needs to get tougher and learn to handle contact better, but was considered one of the premiere recruits in his class. His versatility (foot speed) to defend wings on the perimeter, create off the dribble and possibly play some SF in the league only adds to his intrigue. He may take some time to become an NBA contributor, but with his shooting touch, ball skills and length, he has considerable upside.
Why Detroit takes Lyles: Detroit seems prepared to let Greg Monroe walk in free agency and Lyles would be a good replacement, giving them a PF whose face up skills would mesh well with Andre Drummond. Lyles personality as a blue collar worker and shy, non-attention seeker would also blend well with the city of Detroit.
NBA Comparison: Juwan Howard
||Willie Cauley-Stein 7-0 242 C Kentucky Jr.||WCS elevated his play as a junior and is now widely considered a likely lottery pick. His ability to be a difference maker on the defensive end, specifically defending the pick and roll, makes him quite intriguing. He legitimately shows the foot speed to hang with guards on the perimeter. His feel for the game remains a work in progress, and detractors will point to the fact that many of his deficiencies, even defensively, were hidden within the Kentucky system. He’s not afraid of contact having played wide receiver high school football. Lacking touch, his offensive ability will likely always be limited. Despite his limitations, he’s in elite athletic company for a 7-footer and should find a role as a shot blocking, rebounding, alley-oop finishing, energy guy, even if his offensive game never fully develops.
Why Charlotte takes Cauley-Stein: The answer is: maybe they won’t. The Bobcats are dangling this pick for anyone that will take Lance Stephenson’s dead weight contract off of their hands. A team such as Orlando with some cap space could decide to take its chances with Lance, who has the talent to justify the contract, it’s just a matter of inspiring him to stay focused. As previously mentioned, Orlando is enamored with what Cauley-Stein brings to the table defensively. His ability to guard three positions and be a pest on defense gives him a lot of intrigue for Charlotte or another team, even if he never becomes more than ordinary offensively.
NBA Comparison: Chris Andersen
||Devin Booker 6-6 205 SG Kentucky Fr.||How impressed were scouts with Booker this year? Some felt he was their best long term prospect. He had a solid freshman season and flashed a lot of upside with his outside shooting and feel for the game. He hit the freshman wall, and he’s considered a prospect with better long term then immediate potential. He has some defensive and foot speed concerns, but he’s an underrated leaper. Booker had excellent measurement, proving ideal size for the 2-guard position. He projects as a prototype shooting guard, and while comparing him to a player like Klay Thompson is probably being overly optimistic, there are some parallels between their games. If he performs well shooting in front of teams in workouts, he could solidify a spot here in the late lottery range.
Why Miami takes Booker: The Heat are said to be in the market for a 2-guard with shooting and defensive ability. Booker certainly fits the profile and while he may take some time, the team appears to be making moves with the future in mind. Booker would offer them a potential backcourt mate to Goran Dragic, with Dwyane Wade’s number of years left with the league/team in question.
NBA Comparison: Danny Green
||Stanley Johnson 6-7 242 SF Arizona Fr.||Stanley had a very solid freshman season, however his deficiencies were exposed to a degree as he struggled at season’s end. He’s not the most explosive athlete, though very good, and his offensive skill set shows a lot of promise, though remains unrefined. With such tremendous body strength, he has the makings of a stand out defender at the NBA level. Despite a dip in output and Arizona falling short of the Final Four, Stanley is unlikely to slip too far in the draft. He shows the will power and desire to continue to develop and polish his rough edges. He delivered four high school state titles and shows a winning mentality that should make him a valued role player at minimum.
Why Indiana takes Johnson: The Pacers are said to be targeting Cauley-Stein and may look to move up a few spots to grab him. Another option would be Cameron Payne, who’s seen as a younger version of George Hill. They are mentioned as a team that will also look to trade out if the player they want is not available. Johnson would give Indy, or a team trading into this spot, a versatile wing capable of becoming an excellent defender with intriguing ability to create off the dribble.
NBA Comparison: Ron Artest
||Sam Dekker 6-9 220 SF Wisconsin Jr.||Nobody’s stock took a more dramatic jump in the NCAA Tournament than Dekker’s. He had a disappointing regular season statistically, in relation to expectations. But, through it all he remained a tremendous Robin to Frank Kaminsky’s Batman, showing what an unselfish team player and teammate he is. In the NCAA tournament, Dekker jumped to the forefront with numerous late game heroics to put away opponents, including both Wildcat teams, Arizona and Kentucky. He is a dynamic athlete with the ability to finish at the rim as well as create outside shots. His "big boy" play in the tournament certainly made a lot of believers out of NBA scouts, and his stock couldn’t be higher after an impressive tournament run.
Why Utah takes Dekker: The reality for Utah is that they have to take into consideration which players will take to living and playing here, as Salt Lake City’s low key community just isn’t for every player. Dekker is a small town guy and fits in well away from the bright lights and big city. He also fits the type of player Utah generally targets for his play on the floor as well: A feisty competitor and clutch performer. His ability to possibly develop into a stretch four also elevates his value.
NBA Comparison: Chandler Parsons
||Myles Turner 7-0 243 PF/C Texas Fr.||Turner had an up and down freshman season, though his final statistics were solid. The real enigma with Turner is just how his legs will turn out. He’s got some real issues limiting his fluidity, whether it is shin splints related to growth, tendonitis or maybe more permanent issues. Roy Hibbert had horrendous mobility until his junior year in college, and some bigs take time to grow into their bodies. Turner is excellent in the half-court, with the ability to knock down mid range jumpshots, make plays at the rim, and also be a force as a shot blocker. His age and upside make him a probable lottery pick, and if he slips lower he could be a steal.
Why Phoenix takes Turner: The Suns and Turner appear to be a match made in heaven. Turner is a kid who if his physical (leg) issues can be ironed out, shows a great deal of potential, and who better to work with him than the best medical staff in the league? While the team already has Alex Len as their projected center of the future, the idea of a twin towers, and ultimately using Turner at the 4 is a possibility. Turner may not fill their greatest need in terms of fit, but he may offer the most value at their pick. There’s also the notion that Phoenix doesn’t want another young player at this point in time, and moves the pick.
NBA Comparison: Chris Kaman
Cameron Payne 6-2 185 PG Murray St. So.
Payne is our third best PG available and will be competing with Delon Wright, Tyus Jones, Jerian Grant, to be the third point guard off the board after Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell. He is a late bloomer who after a tremendous sophomore season, entered the draft. He may lack the same exposure as most of the other prospects in the first round as he entered the 2015 draft picture very late and it’s likely that less scouts and only a handful of GMs actually caught his games, live. Regardless, he became one of the hottest names by season’s end having led Murray State to a perfect 16-0 regular season Conference Record. They lost in their Conference Tournament and therefore played in the NIT where Payne was able to display his excellent open court speed, scoring, point guard skills and decision making. He’s a kid that had a late growth spurt and now appears in the neighborhood of 6-3 and has good length. He’s projected as a possible late lottery to early 20s pick.
Why Oklahoma City takes Payne: OKC is another team said to be listening to offers for their lottery pick. Some argue that Westbrook is more of a two and would work well with a true PG setting the team up like Payne. Whether or not Westbrook, and Durant for that matter stick around are more pressing questions for this organization.
NBA Comparison: George Hill
||Frank Kaminsky 7-1 230 C Wisconsin Sr.||
The National Player of the Year may not have stand out athleticism, but his size, skill level and determination should make him a solid pro. He’s an excellent outside shooter and has become an extremely crafty and effective post player as well. His ability to run the floor has even received praise by scouts. He also shows the ability to beat bigs off the dribble, despite not having an explosive first step. His ball handling and passing have also been bright spots. In the tournament he did a very solid job defensively against the Kentucky frontline and also Jahlil Okafor, raising his stock some. He’s a high character kid with a lot of personality, which should endear himself to teams in interviews. Leading Wisconsin all the way to the National Championship game makes him a potential lottery pick with a likely 10-20 range for this year’s draft.
Why Atlanta takes Kaminsky: Kaminsky shot very well in front of scouts a couple weeks back in a Southern California workout. Is he a reach at 15? We believe so, but after such a great senior season, leading his Badgers to the title game, he is getting looks in the lottery. Atlanta felt without the injuries they had a real shot at contending for the title. Adding an NBA ready player such as Kaminsky that can further stretch the floor would make a lot of sense.
NBA Comparison: Kelly Olynyk
||Bobby Portis 6-11 245 PF Arkansas So.||
Portis might be projected a little high, but after the top 4-5 prospects, there isn’t a great deal of talent in this year’s draft. Portis appears to be working hard on conditioning as his body continues to make progress. He showed very good hustle and court speed at LeBron Skills Academy, getting out on the break and beating opponents down the floor. He lacks great lateral quickness and start/stop speed and takes a little while to get his feet moving, but he has great size and a developing mid range jump shot.
Why Boston takes Portis: The Celtics continue in their rebuilding mode and with two first rounders could look to package to move into the lottery. Portis has nice versatility at the 4 position and would offer solid value at this pick.
NBA Comparison: Greg Monroe
||Montrezl Harrell 6-8 255 PF Louisville Jr.||
Harrell surprised many by returning for his junior year at Louisville, with many seeing him as a possible lottery pick last year. He showed improvement this season and still has a shot to be a late lottery selection. His offensive game has steadily improved, showing more touch on the perimeter, while he continues to be an absolute beast on the boards. Harrell had a solid showing in the tournament and while he is a bit undersized at 6’8, his excellent length does wonders to make up for it.
Why Milwaukee takes Harrell: Milwaukee has a very exciting thing going, and with the Greek Freak and Parker, the team is in solid position as far as talent, particularly offensively. While Harrell may not offer the upside of some other options here, his ability to be a banger and a role playing energy guy could help him have rotation impact.
NBA Comparison: JJ Hickson
||Jerian Grant 6-5 205 PG Notre Dame Sr.||Grant spearheaded Notre Dame’s surprising season with his fearless, and inspirational play. They came extremely close to knocking off Kentucky and reaching the Final Four in the Irish best season in years. He gained a lot more notoriety for his heroics, but the interesting thing is that his numbers actually dipped from his (shortened) junior year. There is some debate whether he is a true point guard, but his toughness, determination and go-to ability make him a highly regarded prospect, with mid-first round potential.
Why Houston takes Grant: Houston has a team that came pretty close to a shot at the Finals. With most of that cast back, adding a player ready to contribute at the point guard position would make sense. While a pass first guy like Payne would probably fit well with Harden, Grant offers good scoring and leadership from the point position.
NBA Comparison: Bobby Jackson
||Kelly Oubre 6-7 200 SG/SF Kansas Fr.||
Oubre struggled coming out of the gates this year, but recovered nicely as the season progressed. He has an excellent frame (7-foot-2 wingspan) for a wing and nice athleticism and outside shooting potential. He still must become a more disciplined decision maker and a more focused defender. He also should work on his ability to create shots and developing a midrange game. His attitude gets criticized, and it remains to be seen if he really is a team player at heart. He shows some solid potential as a defender, but generally gets knocked for his lack of intensity and effort on the defensive end by scouts.
Why Washington takes Oubre: Washington is beginning to become one of the top handful of teams in the East. Oubre has not received great reviews for his workouts from scouts and is seen as a long term project. A player once considered a possibility to go in the top 10 appears to be slipping towards the latter half of the first round. With youth on their side, the Wizards could look to add another quality wing prospect to compete for time with Otto Porter, in Oubre.
NBA Comparison: James Young
||Delon Wright 6-5 180 PG Utah Sr.||
Wright had a very solid senior season in which he led Utah to the Sweet Sixteen, where they lost to eventual Champion, Duke. He’s a decent athlete with great size at the point guard position. While he struggles shooting the ball, he has shown improvement and his all-around skill set and athleticism make him an intriguing option at this area of the draft. There are a lot of quality point guards potentially available in this range, so he will need to perform well in workouts. But, his size and experience play into his hands.
Why Toronto takes Wright: Unless the Raptors have another International Mystery player stashed away, look for them to take a more conventional pick and target value here. Wright is a versatile point with excellent size who could complement Kyle Lowry and possibly even develop into his successor. He also is a little more NBA ready than some of the other players available here, and that would work well for a team that was one of the better teams in the East for much of the year.
NBA Comparison: Jordan Clarkson
||Justin Anderson 6-6 230 SG/SF Virginia Jr.||
Anderson proved to be one of the big winners of the draft combine athleticism testing as he jumped out of the gym in both no-step and max vert. His broken finger put a small damper on his breakout junior season, where he developed into one of the better "3-and-D" wings in the nation. He is a very focused and mature individual, and despite having some difficulty creating shots for himself off the dribble. His shooting, defense and coachability all should give him looks in the teens and early 20s, ultimately landing somewhere in the first round.
Why Dallas takes Anderson: The Rondo experiment has not worked out and there’s a chance the Mavs will look to move up for a point guard, or move out of this pick. Anderson had a surprising season shooting before getting injured and is one of the truly elite athletes in this draft. He would provide defense and character at the wing position.
NBA Comparison PJ Tucker
||Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 6-7 210 SF Arizona So.||
Hollis-Jefferson is well liked by scouts for his defensive intensity and potential. He is an elite level athlete who brings a high level of intensity. Music to defensive minded coaches ears. He killed it in the measurements with a 7’2 wingspan and 8’8 standing reach, giving him close to power forward length. He also proved that he’s not solely length with excellent athleticism testing numbers (38 inch vertical). His unorthodox jumpshot is a weakness, and may always be so, although he shot a surprising 70% from the line.
Why Chicago takes Hollis-Jefferson: The Bulls are facing the possibility of losing Jimmy Butler this offseason, as there are rumors he may not be happy with the team. Getting him back into the fold has to be the team’s top off-season priority. They could look to add depth to their frontcourt with a player like Kevon Looney or Chris McCullough, or Harrell if he slips, but Hollis- Jefferson’s potential as a defender on the wing makes him a solid fit for a team easing in new coach Fred Hoiberg.
NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace
||Kevon Looney 6-9 222 PF/SF UCLA Fr.||
Looney was one of the top freshmen in the country and while he has a long ways to go, he is still considered a potential lottery pick due to his skill level and tremendous length. If effort is a skill, then it may be Looney’s top attribute. He has one of the most unorthodox games you will find. While he’s got some versatility to handle the ball and even pass it, he projects as a four for the NBA level. He has one of the best motors, giving consistent energy and effort. While he does not disply much of a post game, and needs to get a lot stronger, he is a tremendous rebounder who contributed on both ends at a high level on the glass.
Why Portland takes Looney: Portland has some uncertainty at the PF position with Aldridge potentially leaving via free agency. A PF such as Looney makes sense as insurance, but could also complement LaMarcus with his skill set.
NBA Comparison: Al-Farouq Aminu
||Rashad Vaughn 6-5 200 SG UNLV Fr.||
Vaughn is one of the top shooters this year with a good body and size for the SG position. Just a freshman, he is probably more NBA ready than his age and statistics might suggest. He is not an elite athlete, just a solid one, and was considered one of the best shooters coming out of his high school class. Vaughn can put up points in a hurry with a solid array of offensive skills. His upside is not tremendous, but he has a pretty polished overall game for a freshman.
Why Cleveland takes Vaughn: The Cavs will probably want even more fire power from the perimeter. JR Smith has been a great addition but a young 2 that could develop in the organization would be of value.
NBA Comparison: Jordan Adams
||Tyus Jones 6-1 185 PG Duke Fr.||
Jones was quite possibly Duke’s most valuable member of the "Fab 3" freshmen. He was the catalyst to Duke’s National title, was awarded MOP of the Final Four. He made a number of big plays down the stretch in the title game, and all tourney for that matter. He is likely to be rewarded by being a high draft pick. He lacks great physical measurements and is not a standout athlete, but he’s got tremendous intangibles and leadership at the point guard position. He shows maturity and composure beyond his years. Scouts complain about his ability to beat opponents off the dribble, but he is very crafty and it just means he will have to work harder to get open looks and make it as a starter in the league. His jump shot showed better range and consistency as the year progressed. Worst case scenario he probably ends up a high level backup. Jones is now considered by scouts as a possible late lottery to mid first round pick.
Why Memphis takes Jones: Jones has the makings of a terrific backup PG. The Grizzlies have Mike Conley in the prime of his career so Jones is unlikely to challenge him in the near future. Benu Udrih is their current back up and at 32 likely does not have many more years left in the league.
NBA Comparison: Jordan Farmar
||Guillermo Hernangomez 6-11 245 C/PF Spain 1994||
"Willy" is an intriguing center prospect who has been very productive in the ACB, a league generally considered much stronger than the NCAA. He’s a tough hombre who loves contact, has a polished skill set and showed this past season that he’s going to be a big factor on the highest European level for many years to come. He’s neither fast nor explosive, and doesn’t have the length of a Marc Gasol, and there are some questions about just what type of role he can play in the NBA. But those in Spain feel he still has upside left to develop. He’s a great kid, hard worker and could thrive in a Spiltter type of role for a team such as San Antonio.
Why San Antonio takes Hernangomez: The Spurs are known for drafting system players, Europeans in particular. They would like to have as much cap space as possible to make a big splash in free agency with player such as LaMarcus Aldridge or Marc Gasol, so moving this pick or taking a draft and stash guy makes a lot of sense. Willy would like to stay in Spain another two years and prove himself for Real Madrid, giving the Spurs the luxury of time to evaluate his progress.
NBA Comparison: Felipe Reyes
|27.||Norman Powell 6-4 215 SG UCLA Sr.||
Powell is one of a small handful of seniors with a legitimate shot to get into the first round. He is slightly undersized as an NBA 2-guard but has the explosiveness and length to make up for it. Powell grew into a team leader over the past two seasons. His shot has shown steady improvement, and although it seems to have a hitch at times, his touch on his shot is solid. His defensive potential is another aspect of his game that gives him a lot of promise.
Why LA Lakers take Powell: Powell is a Southern California kid so the Lakers are obviously familiar with him, playing in Westwood. The team is not a threat anymore with Kobe as an aging centerpiece, so it would be wise to begin drafting for the future. Powell obviously isn’t going to make anyone forget about Kobe but he could develop into a Tony Allen level contributor with some of the same defensive intensity.
NBA Comparison: Tony Allen
||Chris McCullough 6-9 200 PF Syracuse Fr.||McCullough surprised many with his decision to enter the draft despite coming off an ACL tear that cost him most of his freshman season. He is a player that many scouts were very high on after his performance in New York at Madison Square Garden and his fast start. He came down to Earth considerably in subsequent games, struggling to score and consistently impact games. He is considered an upside pick, as he lacks an NBA ready frame and his skill set, while intriguing, remains unpolished. The fact that he won’t be able to perform in workouts in front of scouts also puts his stock in question. He is a first round, maybe even lottery level talent, but a bubble first rounder coming off his ACL injury.
Why Boston takes McCullough: The Celtics need talent and while McCullough will likely take a while to contribute, he offers a great deal of potential at this area of the draft. There have been some rumors that the team likes him, and he could be a very solid value pick with his length and fluidity at the PF position.
NBA Comparison: PJ Brown
||Terry Rozier 6-2 190 PG Louisville So.||Rozier is a dynamic athlete and scorer off the dribble. who struggled some to display point guard skills. Some of that might be attributed to Louisville’s helter skelter system, where players expend major energy on defense. Rozier also possesses excellent size and strength at the lead guard position. He has terrific leadership ability and is intriguing defensively. Rozier showed some ability to excel in making decisions in the the open floor. These are attributes that should all assist him at the NBA level.
Why Brooklyn takes Rozier: Brooklyn’s current roster is aging and just not talented enough. They went hard after Deron Williams and discovered that he was not capable of carrying a team on his own. Rozier is one of the sleepers of this year’s draft and if he falls this far would offer excellent value to a team in need of rebuilding. Brooklyn is also said to be in the market for an additional first rounder.
NBA Comparison: Mookie Blaylock
||RJ Hunter 6-6 185 SG Georgia St. Jr.||
Hunter struggled for much of the season with his 3-point shot, a major target of opposing defenses. He was billed by many scouts as the top shooter in college after an impressive sophomore year and his shooting displays in practices. The issue holding him back seemed to be getting quality looks, which could be attributed to a lack of strength and foot speed. He also struggled in the tournament with his shot, though he hit a huge shot when it counted, knocking out 3 seed Baylor. His heroics may have been part of his beinga likely late first rounder. Playing alongside a quality point guard at the NBA level will also make Hunter infinitely more effective.
Why Golden State takes Hunter: Or more appropriately, why does Hunter fall to 30? He may be a tad overrated considering his body is extremely frail and he shot it very poorly all season. He has been built up by some as a lottery level prospect, but a number of scouts question whether he’s actually a first round talent. On the positive side, he measured and interviewed well and hit a big shot in the tourney and has hype around him. Would adding arguably the draft’s top shooter to a backcourt of Steph and Klay really be fair?
NBA Comparison: Evan Fournier