Saturday, December 27, 2014

2015 Mock Draft 1.0 (Two Rounds)

* Much like last year, I've decided to use the tankathon.com lottery simulator to produce the draft order.  Last year, there were suggestions that I rigged the order.  If you have similar questions, tweet me (@Kevin6CD) and I will e-mail you the video of me opening a browser tab and running one simulation.

1 - Detroit Pistons - Emmanuel Mudiay - PG - USA, 1996 - 6'5, 200
Pistons' odds of #1 pick: 15.6%
Should the Pistons find themselves in this spot, an interesting series of decisions would need to be made.  While Mudiay would fit the Pistons' need for a (potentially) elite PG to replace Brandon Jennings, he's not the clear-cut #1 prospect in this draft; Jahlil Okafor is.  Depending on who picks 2nd, the Pistons would possibly have the luxury of trading down one spot, still getting their guy and picking up an extra asset or two along the way.  Projecting trades in an NBA mock draft gets messy in a hurry, so we'll stick with the simple pick, which would almost certainly be Mudiay should the Pistons land the 1st pick.

2 - Minnesota Timberwolves - Jahlil Okafor - C - Duke, Fr. - 6'11, 270
Wolves' odds of #1 pick: 11.9%
This would be another interesting development, should it come to fruition in May.  The Wolves are adequately deep at C, with Nikola Pekovic manning the starting spot when healthy, and Gorgui Dieng a very capable backup, who could easily become a permanent starter some day.  Would the Wolves be able to pass on Okafor though?  The chance to pair a dominant young big with the potentially dominant Wiggins would probably be too tough to pass up.  Should the Wolves go this route, they may also receive quite a return for Dieng or Pek, whichever one they should choose to trade.

3 - New York Knicks - Karl Towns - PF - Kentucky, Fr. - 7'0, 250
Knicks' odds of #1 pick: 19.9%
The Knicks has the unfortunate luxury of being able to simply take the best player available.  Aside from the SF position, the Knicks are in need of a reliable starter at every spot on the floor.  Towns is the most talented player left on the board here, but the Knicks could put Mudiay or Okafor to good use too.  With any of the three, the Knicks would have a solid, young building block to put next to the currently help-less Melo.


4 - Philadelphia 76ers - Stanley Johnson - SF - Arizona, Fr. - 6'7, 235
76ers' odds of #1 pick: 25%
I'd feel bad about not feeling bad for the Sixers if things played out this way.  Last year their tanking efforts put them in a position where they simply had to draft the injured Joel Embiid after a bad break on lottery night.  In this hypothetical, the Sixers miss out on the three players with "franchise player" potential after getting jumped by Detroit, New York and Minnesota.  Should they find themselves in this spot come June, Stanley Johnson is the 2015 draft's best consolation prize.  With great size and what has been surprisingly good shooting in his freshman season, Johnson would be an excellent complement to Carter-Williams, Noel and Embiid.

5 - Utah Jazz - Myles Turner - F/C - Texas, Fr. - 6'11, 240
Jazz' odds of #1 pick: 8.8%
The Jazz are an intriguing watch come draft time.  They're set at PG with either Burke or Exum (looking like Exum), SG with Burks, who they just signed to a sizable extension, Gordon Hayward, who they matched a max offer for and in the frontcourt with the trio of Favors, Gobert and Kanter.  Kanter is due a $7.4M qualifying offer in the summer, meaning he'll almost certainly be a Restricted Free Agent in the summer of 2015.  If that sounds steep for the former 3rd overall pick, catch up.  Kanter is finally showing signs of life, having developed a three-point shot (34.5% on an attempt per game) and showing greater efficiency inside the arc.  The Jazz seem like a candidate to package some assets for an established player, but if they're making the pick, Turner offers the best value.

6 - Phoenix Suns (via LAL) - Willie Cauley-Stein - C - Kentucky, Jr. - 7'0, 240
Suns' odds of #1 pick: 0% (LAL keeps pick if in top five); Lakers' odds of # pick: 6.3%
The Lakers need to be careful how much they win this year, as they're flirting with the danger of losing their 1st round pick this year.  Should the Suns end up with the pick, and Cauley-Stein is still available, there's a clear match between the two.  The Suns get very little rim protection from the Morris twins, or any of their Cs, and WCS is the best defensive big man prospect since Anthony Davis.  On top of that, this year he's improved his offensive efficiency and his free throw shooting stroke.  He appears to have made an excellent choice by forgoing last year's draft.

7 - Charlotte Hornets - D'Angelo Russell - SG - Ohio St., Fr. - 6'4, 180
Hornets' odds of #1 pick: 3.6%
The disappointing start to Lance Stephenson's career in Charlotte has the Hornets on the look-out for teams willing to take the enigmatic SG off their hands.  Regardless of whether or not Stephenson is around, the Hornets need more scoring from the perimeter.  Gerald Henderson is a passable option at SG not a starter, and P.J. Hairston's career is off to a rocky start.  Russell would give the Hornets a smooth scorer on the wing, but also a guy who can make up for some of Kemba Walker's lack of play-making.

8 - Indiana Pacers - Kevon Looney - PF - UCLA, Fr. - 6'9, 225
Pacers' odds of #1 pick: 3.5%
The Pacers figure to bounce right back into contention in the Eastern Conference when Paul George returns, so they could use a player who is ready to contribute right away.  Unfortunately, all of those players at this point are all off the board or play the SF position that George will assume next year.  Short of reaching for an instant-impact guy like Montrezl Harrell, Looney offers the best non-SF value at this spot.  He's still a bit thin to play PF at the NBA level, but it's hard to deny his energy, length and athletic ability.  Looney has the makings of a starter in the NBA, and with some refinement of his offensive game, could be a great complement to George after a few years.

9 - Orlando Magic - Kelly Oubre - SF - Kansas, Fr. - 6'7, 205
Magic odds of #1 pick: 1.7%
Orlando is a team who may be hurting their future a little by winning more than expected this year.  With Elfrid Payton at PG, Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier at SG, Aaron Gordon at PF and Nik Vucevic at C, the Magic are set for the future at every spot but SF.  Even there, the Magic have Tobias Harris, who will be an RFA this summer.  Even if the Magic do bring Harris back, the SF spot is the thinnest on the roster.  Mo Harkless has struggled mightily this year.  Oubre appears to be a bit of a project, as he's had a shockingly tough time earning minutes from Bill Self this season.  There have been flashes of Oubre's ceiling at Kansas this year, but his inconsistent play suggests he's a bit of a project.  Either way, he seems like the best fit for Orlando here.

10 - Boston Celtics - Justise Winslow - SF - Duke, Fr. - 6'6, 225
Celtics' odds of #1 pick: 1.1%
Boston has entered full re-build mode after the trade that sent Rajon Rondo to Dallas.  Last year's first round picks, Marcus Smart and James Young, have only played in 18 games this season, with both slowed by injuries.  With little known about last year's backcourt picks and a solid trio of young players in the frontcourt, SF is a fairly clear draft target for the Celtics.  That need is further compounded by the impending departure of Jeff Green, either by trade or free agency.  Winslow would step in nicely, as his NBA-ready body and defensive prowess could blend nicely with Marcus Smart's similar skill-set.  If his solid offensive start at Duke keeps up, there's a good chance he's off the board by now.

11 - Denver Nuggets - Kristaps Porzingis - PF - Latvia, 1995 - 7'0, 220
Nuggets' odds of #1 pick: 0.8%
It appears, unfortunately, that injuries have really taken a toll on Danilo Gallinari's career, so the Nuggets would likely prefer to fill the hole at SF here.  However, the last lottery-worthy prospect at the position went off the board a pick early.  Porzingis is a good fall-back option, as his skill-set and size make him an enticing young player.  Kenneth Faried has taken a step back this year, so it might be time to start developing a serious option behind him.  Much like Utah, Denver seems like a candidate to package their pick with other assets for an established player.

12 - Chicago Bulls (via SAC) - Mario Hezonja - G/F - Croatia, 1995 - 6'8, 200
Bulls' odds of #1 pick: 0% (SAC keeps if in top 10); Kings' odds of #1 pick: 0.7%
It seems really unfair that the Bulls would be able to vulture yet another lottery pick, but that's likely going to be the case unless DeMarcus Cousins misses another extended period of time.  The Bulls' roster is loaded in the frontcourt, and has quality on the wings.  This pick could potentially be used on a steady backup for Derrick Rose, but I think having an insurance policy on Jimmy Butler may be as good of a move or better.  With the suddenly dynamic Butler due for restricted free agency in the summer, having another talented wing on the roster couldn't hurt.  Hezonja has star-level talent, but has some question marks about his willingness to compete.  Getting matched up with Thibodeau could be the best thing possible for Hezonja's NBA career.

13 - OKC Thunder - R.J. Hunter - SG - Georgia St., Jr. - 6'5, 190
Thunder's odds of #1 pick: 0.6%
The Thunder really don't look like they'll be in the lottery come June, but for now, this is where they sit.  Despite playing at a higher level this year, Jeremy Lamb finds himself, at times, behind Ish Smith on the depth chart.  That should say enough about how Lamb factors into the picture in Oklahoma City.  They'll need to replace him on the roster with a new development piece at SG.  R.J. Hunter would be a good option for that role.  His game and talent level are NBA-ready, but he could use some time to bulk up and acclimate to the faster-paced NBA.  His outside shooting has fallen off a bit this year, but his performance last year from behind the arc compared favorably to Klay Thompson's last year at Washington State.

14 - Houston Rockets (via NOP) - Tyus Jones - PG - Duke, Fr. - 6'1, 190
Rockets' odds of #1 pick: 0% (NOP keeps if in top 3 or 20-30); Pelicans' odds of #1 pick: 0.5%
The Rockets, much like the Thunder, Bulls and Suns ahead of them, are another playoff team with the luxury of an acquired lottery pick.  Houston's biggest hole is at the backup PG spot, which would make Tyus Jones an excellent grab at 14.  Jones is a really well-rounded PG, who would fit in nicely off the bench in his first year or two in the league and serve as a great complement to Patrick Beverley.

 15 - Atlanta Hawks (via BKN) - Caris LeVert - SG - Michigan, Jr. - 6'6, 210
ATL has the right to swap picks with BKN 
The Hawks could be in the market for a PF, with Paul Millsap and Elton Brand hitting free agency, but with Adreian Payne and Mike Scott around, they could use more help on the wings.  Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha were signed last off-season, but the Hawks don't really have a dynamic player at SG or SF.  With DeMarre Carroll set to enter free agency, a SF would be a better option.  However, there aren't any prime SF options here, aside from Hollis-Jefferson, who lacks the shooting to fit in the Hawks' system.  LeVert should serve nicely, as he's young for a junior and is still growing as a player.

16 - Philadelphia 76ers (via MIA) - Chris Walker - F/C - Florida, So. - 6'10, 230
MIA keeps if in top 10
The Sixers are set in the frontcourt with Noel, Embiid and possibly Saric, but Walker is too good of a value to pass on here.  He's more of a PF than Noel and is tougher and more athletic than Saric, which should help set him apart.  If things work out, he could give Philadelphia the luxury of dangling Noel in a trade.  Walker's elite athleticism should play well in Brett Brown's up-tempo offense.

17 - Milwaukee Bucks - Rashad Vaughn - SG - UNLV, Fr. - 6'5, 200
Milwaukee has a good, young PG in Brandon Knight and their franchise player in Jabari Parker.  The one spot that could truly use improvement on the roster is SG.  O.J. Mayo unsurprisingly hasn't lived up to the three-year, $24M contract he signed in 2013, and an upgrade wouldn't be hard to find.  Vaughn would fit in nicely with the rest of the Bucks' young core.  He's a dynamic scorer inside the arc, and should find his stroke at some point.  If the Bucks want to have an insurance policy on Larry Sanders, Dakari Johnson would be a great fit too.

18 - Phoenix Suns - Montrezl Harrell - PF - Louisville, Jr. - 6'8, 230
The Suns have depth at every position, when you factor in the minutes Dragic and Bledsoe play at SG.  Having secured their defensive-minded C earlier in this mock draft, they have the luxury of taking the best player available.  In this case, that's almost certainly Harrell, who would fit nicely in the Suns' up-tempo system.  Harrell's foray to the three-point line has been unsuccessful to this point, but if he figures that out, he won't be around by the time Phoenix makes their own pick.

19 - San Antonio Spurs - Cliff Alexander - PF - Kansas, Fr. - 6'8, 240
The Spurs could find themselves in need of a starting-quality post player should Tim Duncan decide to call it quits after this year.  At this point, there would be a few options, including Alexander, Poeltl, Portis and Johnson.  This year's draft is very deep in the post.  Picking between the listed options is tough, but I went with Alexander because of his youth and upside.  He hasn't played up to his billing as one of the top freshman in the country, but his production figures to improve as he earns a longer leash.

20 - Chicago Bulls (via CLE) - Delon Wright - PG - Utah, Sr. - 6'5, 180
CHI has the right to swap picks with CLE
The Bulls got their Jimmy Butler insurance policy with pick #12, and they get their Derrick Rose insurance here.  Wright was a late-bloomer, but has had an awesome two seasons at Utah following a junior college stint.  He's the mold for an elite defender at the PG position, thanks to his great size and athleticism, which makes him a great fit on a Tom Thibodeau team.  While improved as an outside shooter this season, his perimeter game could still use work.

21 - Boston Celtics (via LAC) - Dakari Johnson - C - Kentucky, So. - 6'11, 260
BOS owns LAC's pick, which is unprotected, via the Doc Rivers trade
If Johnson or any other rim-protecting C is still on the board when Boston picks here, the Celtics can't afford to miss out.  Tyler Zeller leads the team with 2.0 blocks per 100 possessions, a mark that would be 3rd or 4th best on any other team.  Johnson is producing 4.3 blocks/100 this year at Kentucky, which should translate to the NBA thanks to his size, athleticism and timing.  He's no slouch as a finisher or rebounder either.

22 - Dallas Mavericks - Bobby Portis - PF - Arkansas, So. - 6'10, 235
The Mavericks lost Brandan Wright, their efficient, shot-blocking back-up big in the Rajon Rondo trade, which could hurt more than the casual fan realizes.  Portis certainly wouldn't make up for the loss of Wright (who could go back to Dallas as a FA), but he would be an immediate upgrade on Charlie Villanueva and Greg Smith in Dallas' frontcourt.  Portis has enough talent that he could be groomed to be the heir to Nowitzki's starting spot at PF, but that's projecting an awful lot.

23 - Cleveland Cavaliers (via CHI) - Jakob Poeltl - C - Utah, Fr. - 7'0, 235
CHI has the right to swap picks with CLE
Having to swap picks with Chicago really hurts, because Dakari Johnson would be a great fit on this Cavs team.  Poeltl isn't the worst fall-back option, as he looks to have more offensive potential and is a great shot blocker in his own right (6.5 BLK/100).  No matter where they pick, the Cavaliers must upgrade their depth and talent at the C position.

24 - Washington Wizards - Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - SF - Arizona, So. - 6'7, 220
I'll admit, I think RHJ will be off the board before this point, but it's hard to find a fit for him if he can't shoot the ball better from the perimeter.  He's 6-24 from three in 51 games at Arizona.  You can take that in some combination of two ways: He's a really bad shooter or he's a player who understands his weaknesses and only takes a three once every other game.  Kawhi Leonard couldn't shoot in college either, although that's a rather lofty comparison.  Perhaps he would've been a good fit for Phoenix at pick #17?

25 - LA Lakers (via HOU) - Sam Dekker - SF - Wisconsin, Jr. - 6'9, 235
In this scenario where the Lakers have lost their own pick, they are in a position to simply draft the best player available at a position other than PF.  Dekker appears to be that player, based on his impressive production at Wisconsin, and his excellent size for the SF position.  Dekker is shooting 61% on two-point attempts this year.  His raw production is altered by Wisconsin's slow pace of play.  On a per-40 minutes, pace-adjusted basis, Dekker is averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds on 53% shooting.

26 - Brooklyn Nets (via ATL) - Chris McCullough - PF - Syracuse, Fr. - 6'10, 220
ATL has the right to swap picks with BKN
The Nets could use any infusion of young talent to the roster they can get.  Adding McCullough would be a good early start on what could be a long rebuilding project for the Nets, who are good enough to slip into the playoffs in the East, but nowhere near good enough to contend.  The Nets have to hope the Hawks fall off and play into a lower pick.  They could really use a top-20 player.

27 - Memphis Grizzlies - Justin Anderson - SF - Virginia, Jr. - 6'6, 220
Anderson would be an excellent fit for the Grit-N-Grind Grizzlies.  He's the best defender on one of the best defensive teams in the college game and is already physically built to play the pro game.  Much like Dekker, Anderson's offensive numbers are hurt by a slow offense.  A look at his per-40, pace-adjusted stats suggest that he may be a bit underrated.  At that rate, Anderson is averaging 25.8 points and 7.2 rebounds on 57% shooting.

28 - Toronto Raptors - Frank Kaminsky - F/C - Wisconsin, Sr. - 7'0, 240
The Raptors could use more depth at the C position, where Greg Stiemsma is a bleak emergency option and Lucas Nogueira could be a year or two away from playing regular minutes.  Depth at C is actually so sparse, the Drakes have been forced to play Tyler "Turnstile" Hansbrough at C for long stretches.  Adding Kaminsky would give Toronto an opportunity to cut minutes for Hansbrough and Chuck Hayes.  Kaminsky's shooting would play nicely on the floor with DeRozan and Lowry.

29 - Portland TrailBlazers - Damian Jones - C - Vanderbilt, Sr. - 6'10, 250
Portland has received solid play from Robin Lopez and Chris Kaman this year, but that doesn't mean they don't need more options.  Kaman isn't getting any younger, and Robin Lopez figures to get looks in free agency.  Damian Jones would give Portland a replacement for the size of Lopez and Meyers Leonard, who is also a free agent.  Jones' stock may be on the rise, as he has been stellar for Vanderbilt this year.  If he continues to play like he has so far (16 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 56% FG), Jones could go 5-10 picks higher.

30 - Golden State Warriors - Marc Garcia - SG - Spain, 1996 - 6'6, 180
The Warriors don't really have any pressing needs and are fairly strapped for cap space.  They may either choose to trade this pick or go with a draft-and-stash prospect.  Garcia is the best option for the latter, and therefore is the pick here.  He looks like a player with NBA-level talent, but needs to bulk up and play at a faster pace.


__________2nd Round__________

31 - Boston Celtics (via PHI) - Jerian Grant - PG - Notre Dame, Sr. - 6'5, 205

32 - Houston Rockets (via NYK) - Amida Brimah - C - UConn, So. - 7'0, 230

33 - Detroit Pistons - Brandon Ashley - F - Arizona, So. - 6'8, 225

34 - Minnesota Timberwolves - Georges Niang - F - Iowa St., Sr. - 6'8, 235

35 - Utah Jazz - Norman Powell - SG - UCLA, Sr. - 6'4, 210

36 - LA Lakers - Brice Johnson - PF - North Carolina, Jr. - 6'9, 205

37 - Charlotte Hornets - Terran Petteway - G/F - Nebraska, Jr. - 6'6, 215

38 - Indiana Pacers - Tyrone Wallace - SG - California, Jr. - 6'5, 200

39 - Philadelphia 76ers (via ORL) - Cedi Osman - G - Macedonia, 1995 - 6'6, 185

40 - Boston Celtics - Michael Frazier - SG - Florida, Jr. - 6'4, 200

41 - Houston Rockets (via DEN) - Andrew Harrison - G - Kentucky, So. - 6'5, 210

42 - Sacramento Kings - Christian Wood - PF - UNLV, So. - 6'11, 220

43 - OKC Thunder - Nigel Williams-Goss - G - Washington, So. - 6'4, 185

44 - Philadelphia 76ers (via NOP) - Wayne Selden - SG - Kansas, So. - 6'6, 220

45 - Brooklyn Nets - Jarell Martin - PF - LSU, So. - 6'9, 240

46 - Miami Heat - Ilimane Diop - C - Senegal, 1995 - 6'11, 225

47 - Milwaukee Bucks - Shawn Long - C - UL-Lafayette, Jr. - 6'10, 250

48 - Phoenix Suns - Aaron Harrison - SG - Kentucky, So. - 6'5, 210

49 - San Antonio Spurs - Mam Jaiteh - C - France, 1994 - 6'11, 250

50 - Utah Jazz (via CLE) - Ron Baker - SG - Wichita St., Jr. - 6'4, 220

51 - LA Lakers (via LAC) - Keifer Sykes - PG - UW-Green Bay, Sr. - 6'0, 180

52 - Dallas Mavericks - Ryan Boatright - PG - UConn, Sr. - 6'0, 165

53 - Orlando Magic (via CHI) - Jordan Mickey - PF - LSU, So. - 6'8, 235

54 - Boston Celtics (via WSH) - Mateusz Ponitka - SG - Poland, 1993 - 6'6, 210

55 - Philadelphia 76ers (via HOU) - Moussa Diagne - C - Senegal, 1994 - 6'10, 220

56 - Atlanta Hawks - LeBryan Nash - SF - Oklahoma St., Sr. - 6'7, 235

57 - Memphis Grizzlies - Rakeem Christmas - F/C - Syracuse, Sr. - 6'9, 225

58 - Atlanta Hawks (via TOR) - Ryan Harrow - PG - Georgia St., Sr. - 6'2, 165

59 - Denver Nuggets (via POR) - Briante Weber - PG - VCU, Sr. - 6'2, 170

60 - Philadelphia 76ers (via GS) - Anthony Brown - G/F - Stanford, Sr. - 6'7, 210

2 comments:

  1. You dont have Trey Lyles going in the first round? Hell you don't have him being drafted at all!! He'll get drafted before Dakari and he'll dang sure get drafted before Andrew Harrison. Hell, Trey, Devin Booker and Aaron Harrison are all UK players that will be drafted before Andrew Harrison does.

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    1. I suppose maybe I should've put a list of players I don't think will enter the draft this year at the end. It's a long way until the May early entry deadline and I think he's one of the players who is on the border of: enter this year, go in the 10-20 range or wait until next year and possibly become a top 5 pick. I may add him in future iterations if I think he's planning on entering. I don't have any kind of insider information on what he'll do, so this is a bit of guess work. I'm sure I have plenty of guys in who won't enter and plenty out who will. Thanks for the comment.

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