|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’s not 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. And Kristaps Porzingis may have even entered the picture with his excellent Vegas workout. 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. 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 is tempting, Okafor remains the pick.
NBA Comparison: Brook Lopez
||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 worked out for the Sixers and while he didn’t blow the doors off, he was solid and remains the likely pick. Mudiay had a strong workout with the team and may have increased his chances. Kristpas Porzingis has also been linked to this pick, but we consider the team’s backcourt need will ultimately dictate the pick. They may look to milk Orlando out of an asset in order to move up and flip spots and grab the remaining PG at 5, or they may just play it safe and take their top target, which is presumed to be Russell. 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’s shooting ability is what gives him a slight edge over the stronger and more athletic Mudiay for them. 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. Kristaps Porzingis has become a hot name and there’s a chance the Knicks will swing for the fences with a sweet shooter with great length and mobility. Mudiay would bring a more NBA ready option as 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
||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 Orlando 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 would bring a much needed shooter to a line up of defensive minded players. The Magic need talent, and Porzingis offers a player who if he adapts to American culture and the strength of the NBA game can be an offensive standout.
NBA Comparison: Pau Gasol
||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 Sacramento takes Winslow: If the top 5 goes as expected (in some order), this pick is likely to come down to Winslow or Hezonja. The assumption that Vlade is more likely to take a European player may or may not be the case. The team has taken 2-guards in each of the past two drafts, so Winslow as a SF seems to make more sense. Then again it’s a new regime and rumors have suggested the team is shopping McLemore and Stauskas.
NBA Comparison: Kawhi Leonard
||Mario Hezonja 6-8 215 SG Croatia 1995||"Ha-zon-yuh", gazuntite!, 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 available, 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 excellent mid-range shooting and great length (7-foot-2 wingspan). He came into Lexington in tremendous condition and had a very solid season, in limited minutes. It’s 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’ll 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 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 and length, his upside is considerable.
Why Detroit takes Lyles: Detroit is 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
Cameron Payne 6-2 185 PG Murray St. So.
Payne is a late bloomer who after such a tremendous 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 to 6-4 and with good length. He’s projected as a possible late lottery to early 20s pick.
Why Charlotte takes Payne: After moving Lance Stephenson without even having to give away this pick, the team can look to add a solid piece. Willie Cauley-Stein is a player who teams may target here in a trade. That also is a possible scenario with Payne. He would offer the team a bigger and better long term option at the point guard position over Kemba Walker, who has proven to be a great leader, but may not have the talent to lead them on a playoff run.
NBA Comparison: George Hill
||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, but 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 Miami takes Johnson: The Heat have a number of free agents and the players they figure to have back likely will factor into this pick. Stanley Johnson is a Pat Riley type of player with a winning past and potential as a defender. Luol Deng may or may not be in their plans so Johnson would offer a nice replacement or insurance heading into free agency. With DWade’s future also a question mark, a SG such as Devin Booker also makes sense here.
NBA Comparison: Ron Artest
||Willie Cauley-Stein 7-0 242 C Kentucky Jr.||WCS elevated his play as a junior and is now widely considered a probable lottery pick. His ability to be a difference maker on the defensive end, specifically defending the pick and roll, is what makes him so 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, ally oop finishing, energy guy, even if his offensive game never fully develops.
Why Indiana takes Cauley-Stein: The Pacers appear to be at their wit’s end with Roy Hibbert who has regressed considerably in the past year. Payne is also said to be high on their list of targets and could be the choice if he’s on the board. Cauley-Stein could bring the athleticism to compliment Hibbert’s game if the team decides to keep him.
NBA Comparison: Chris Andersen
||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, tendenitis or 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. He’s considered a possible late lottery to mid first round pick.
Why Utah takes Turner: The Jazz are said to be looking for depth in the front court after deciding to move Enes Kanter before he hit the open market as a free agent. Favors and Gobert are a nice tandem, however neither has the ability to extend the defense. Turner could develop into a big with the ability to play both 4 and 5 positions and be a big that could stretch the floor.
NBA Comparison: Raef LaFrentz
||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 Phoenix takes Booker: The Suns are said to be a team who will move out of the pick if the right deal comes along. Boston could move up to this spot or potentially another team aggressively looking to add talent. Booker would give the Suns a shooter to develop for the future. He’s an underrated athlete who has benefited from the Klay Thompson comparisons and success.
NBA Comparison: Danny Green
||Sam Dekker 6-9 220 SF Wisconsin Jr.||Nobody’s stock took a more dramatic jump in the NCAA Tournament than Dekker’s. He’d 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 Oklahoma City takes Dekker: Word is this pick is being heavily shopped and there’s a lot of speculation that another team will be selecting here. The player that OKC would probably like to grab is gone according to our mock in Cam Payne. Dekker would potentially give the team a weapon when Durant is on the bench and some leadership for a team that seems to have lost it’s way after the trade of James Harden.
NBA Comparison: Chandler Parsons
||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 Atlanta takes Portis: The Hawks had a terrific season behind a balanced attack, coming a few untimely injuries from reaching the finals. They’ve made some excellent selections in recent years, in particular German PG Dennis Schroeder, who has supplied them with a boost off the bench. There is a lot of interest in this young PG and it’s unlikely that he can remain a back up for long as teams will make a strong move for him in free agency. Portis would give them another versatile scorer to compliment Al Horford in the front court.
NBA Comparison: Greg Monroe
||Montrezl Harrell 6-8 255 PF Louisville Jr.||
Harrell surprised many by returning for his junior year at Louisville. He showed improvement this season and 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, he’s got excellent length to make up for it.
Why Boston takes Harrell: It’s no secret that the Celtics are aggressively attempting to package their two picks to move up, but realistically how far can a 28th pick allow you to climb? 3-to-4 picks at most. Other players will likely need to be involved if they really want to get into the meat of the lottery. The Celtics could use a rebounder and energy forward. They may or may not be drafting here so they are a team that can easily throw off mock projections. This figures to be another draft with a lot of deals made with teams looking to add value by trading out of their spots. Boston has some players higher up that they would like but if they’re unable to Harrell would make sense for them at 16. Kelly Oubre could slide a ways but is a player with a lot of upside that Boston could potentially target here.
NBA Comparison: JJ Hickson
||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 an explosive first step, and his ball handling has been a real bright spot. In the tournament he did a very solid job defensively against the Kentucky front-line 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 Milwaukee takes Kaminsky: Frank the Tank is well liked in the organization and after the surprising retirement by Larry Sanders, they are in need of a center. Kaminsky is a local guy so the team is obviously familiar and comfortable with him. They already have a lot of talent on the team so taking a player viewed as low risk, low upside at a position of need fits. Milwaukee is a team on the rise and Kaminsky should be able to contribute faster than some of the other options available.
NBA Comparison: Kelly Olynyk
||Tyus Jones 6-1 185 PG Duke Fr.||
Quite possibly Duke’s most valuable member of the "Fab 3". Jones was the catalyst to Duke’s National title. He was awarded MOP of the Final Four, making number of big plays down the stretch, and all tourney for that matter, to help Duke capture the championship. And he’s likely to be rewarded by being a high draft pick. He lacks great physical measurements and isn’t 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 Houston takes Jones: There is a lot of speculation that the Rockets may have a promise in place to select Jones. Jones shut down workouts after visiting Houston and the team has an obvious need for a stabilizing PG. The team has a heavy analytics approach to the draft and Jones scores very high with his efficiency and shooting ability. Whether he has the talent to merit a mid first round pick is debatable, but he certainly would fit in well with athletic and defensive Patrick Beverly.
NBA Comparison: Jordan Farmar
||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 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 Washington takes Grant: The Wizards could go in a number of directions here but are said to be targeting a combo to supply firepower along with the back court duo of Wall and Beal. Grant would offer that, although a set up guy like Delon Wright would probably fit even better.
NBA Comparison: Jason Terry
||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 power forward length. He also proved that he’s not solely length with excellent athleticism testing numbers (38 inch vertical). His jumpshot is a major weakness, and may always be so, although he shot a surprising 70% from the line.
Why Toronto takes Hollis-Jefferson: Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has proven that he’s willing to think outside the box and take a player off the radar, as he did last year drafting Bruno Cobaclo. He loves athletes and Hollis-Jefferson is a tremendous athlete with length and good strength as well. He has had impressive workouts and may be gone before this pick.
NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace
||Rashad Vaughn 6-5 200 SG UNLV Fr.||
Vaughn is one of the top shooters this year and has a good body and size for the position. He is just a freshman but is probably more NBA ready than his age and statistics would suggest. He’s not an elite athlete, just a solid one, but was considered one of the best shooters coming out of his class in high school last year. He 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 Dallas takes Vaughn: Vaughn has really helped himself with good workouts and is now considered a likely 20-30 pick. He gives the Mavs a wing with shooting ability. They could also be in the market for a PG, but a more likely scenario is that they look to replace Rondo in free agency as a PG that can truly run the show is not on the same time line with Dirk’s window.
NBA Comparison: Jordan Adams
||Justin Anderson 6-6 230 SG/SF Virginia Jr.||
Anderson proved to be one of the big winners of the draft combine athleticism testing with the highest no step vert and max vert. His broken finger all but ended a breakout season. He’s a very focused and mature individual, and despite lacking a great ability to create shots for himself, his shooting, defense and coachability all should give him looks in the teens and early 20s, ultimately landing somewhere in the first round.
Why Chicago takes Anderson: The Bulls are facing the possibility of losing Jimmy Butler this offseason as he’s turned down their max offer. Getting him back into the fold has to be the team’s top off-season priority, but at this point it appears unlikely. They could look to add depth to their frontcourt with a player like Looney or McCullough, or Harrell if he slips, but Anderson’s shooting and potential as a defender on the wing makes him a solid fit for a team easing in new coach Fred Hoiberg.
NBA Comparison PJ Tucker
||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 considered a potential lottery pick. If effort is a skill, then it is Looney’s top attribute. He has one of the most unorthodox games you will find. While he’s got some great 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 in every game. While he doesn’t have much of a post game, and needs to get a lot stronger, he is a tremendous rebounder.
Why Portland takes Looney: The Blazers may have a huge hole to fill if LA leaves town. Looney isn’t a replacement as he’s a different type of player but he offers insurance going into free agency. A shooter like Vaughn would give them a scorer to go along with the versatile Wes Mathews and Dame Lilliard in the back court.
NBA Comparison: Al-Farouq Aminu
||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, but some of that can be attributed to Louisville’s helter skelter system. Rozier possesses excellent size at the lead guard position. He also has terrific leadership ability. He is intriguing defensively and thrives in making decisions in the the open floor. These are attributes that should all assist him at the NBA level.
Why Cleveland takes Rozier: With Kyrie Irving’s fragility, having a strong, reliable back up PG is imperative for the Cavs. Matthew Dellavadova is an inspirational player, but it’s become obvious he cannot be relied upon as the team’s primary PG if Uncle Drew gets injured. Rozier has starter potential and would be the perfect fit alongside LeBron.
NBA Comparison: Mookie Blaylock
||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 shows above average athleticism and outside shooting ability. He still must become a more disciplined decision maker and 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 does show some solid potential as a defender, but generally gets knocked for his lack of intensity and effort on the defensive end by scouts.
Why Memphis takes Oubre: Oubre falling this far would be a minor shocker but there is a lot of concern that his workouts have left him in a vulnerable position to slip. He has lottery talent but really struggled for much of the season, and he has not received great reports for his workouts. Memphis could use a wing with shooting and Oubre would offer a lot of upside at this spot.
NBA Comparison: James Young
||Guillermo Hernangomez 6-11 245 C/PF Spain 1996||
Willy is an intriguing center prospect who has been very productive in the ACB, 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 or explosive, and doesn’t have the length of a Marc Gasol, so 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, and in particular Europeans. 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.||Delon Wright 6-5 180 PG Utah Sr.||
Wright had a very solid junior season in which he led Utah to the Sweet Sixteen, where they lost to eventual Champion, Duke. He’s a solid 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 makes 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 LA Lakers takes Wright: With the Lakers taking Okafor at 2 on this projection, grabbing a best player available here would make sense. Wright is a PG who should be able to contribute quickly as he’s already 23. If the Lakers were to take Wright here, he would be competing for minutes with his player comparison.
NBA Comparison: Jordan Clarkson
||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 impact games. He’s 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 puts his stock in question. He’s a first round, maybe even lottery level talent but a bubble first rounder coming off an 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 it would shock to the Ainge go after a kid who flashed major talent early in the season before coming down to Earth and then suffering an ACL injury.
NBA Comparison: PJ Brown
||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’s 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 Brooklyn takes Powell: For a team that may be close to rebuilding, Powell would offer them a young, athletic defender on the wing. A lot of scouts project Powell in the second round but there are teams that like him and consider him a first round talent. His ability to become a consistent outside shooter is the key to his future but he’s a tough nosed competitor with maturity. Brooklyn is said to be actively attempting to add additional first round picks.
NBA Comparison: Tony Allen
||RJ Hunter 6-6 185 SG Georgia St. Jr.||
Hunter struggled for much of the season with his 3 point shot. He was billed by many scouts as the top shooter in college after such an impressive sophomore year and his shooting displays in practices. The issue holding him back appears to be getting quality looks, which may be attributed to a lack of strength and foot speed. While he also struggled in the tournament with his shot, he hit the shot that counted, knocking out Baylor and advancing Georgia State. His heroics have elevated his stock to being a likely late first rounder. Playing alongside a quality point guard at the NBA level will make Hunter infinitely more effective.
Why Golden State takes Hunter: Hunter may be a little bit overrated considering his body is extremely frail and he shot it poorly all season. He’s 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