By: Mike Bonomo and Chinmay Vaidya, KCOU Sports
With the NBA offseason in full swing, the 2015 NBA Draft represents a chance for some teams to draft potential franchise players while allowing others to possibly find the missing piece in pursuit of a championship. Here is the 2015 KCOU mock draft.
- Minnesota Timberwolves
Bonomo: Karl Anthony-Towns, C, Kentucky
Vaidya: Karl Anthony-Towns
MB: Towns is the best player in the class today and the most likely to become a superstar in the next couple years. There’s talk that the Wolves would consider Jahlil Okafor here, but Towns is the clear number one.
CV: There is no doubt in my mind that Towns is the better player, especially on the defensive end. The T-Wolves already have a good perimeter defender in Wiggins and now they have a rim protector in Towns. He’ll develop a solid offensive game in time to become a true two-way player.
- Los Angeles Lakers
Bonomo: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
Vaidya: Jahlil Okafor
MB: It seems to be down to either Okafor or D’Angelo Russell for the Lakers, but it sounds like they’re leaning Okafor. He’s been linked to them for months and I think they like what he brings in the post offensively. Not entirely sure how he fits with Julius Randle, but talent should supersede fit this high in the draft.
CV: The Lakers will scoop up whatever center the T-Wolves don’t take. Russell could be in play, but Okafor has the pedigree and the NBA body. He will combine with Julius Randle in what should be a solid frontcourt on the offensive end. Defensively, he will have to work out some kinks. Should average 18-20 points per game in time.
- Philadelphia 76ers
Bonomo: D’Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State
Vaidya: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China
MB: The 76ers can be so hard to project, because team need isn’t even a concern for them. Sam Hinkie will take whoever he feels is the best player on the board and figure out the rest later. I think that’s Russell here, and I think Hinkie feels the same. Kristaps Porzingis has shot into this range, and Hinkie isn’t the kind of guy to be scared off by him, but I’ll stick with Russell.
CV: Lot of Porzingis rumors, but the Sixers stay with a guard. I think Hinkie likes the driving guard who can also play defense and Mudiay is that guy. Russell could be the pick if the Sixers want outside scoring, but Mudiay should fit well.
- New York Knicks
Bonomo: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China
Vaidya: D’Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State
MB: The Knicks need help bad. They were a struggle to watch for most of the season and don’t have a lot to look forward to as of right now. Mudiay is a guy who can step right in and at least be exciting. His athleticism is spectacular and all reports say he can handle playing in New York. I could see some initial struggles adjusting to the NBA game, but he should be a shot in the arm for a franchise that desperately needs one.
CV: Carmelo Anthony will be happy with this one. The Knicks get a guard who can score from anywhere on the floor and has the swagger necessary for the Big Apple. Russell is the star of the future for New York and can expedite what is looking like a long rebuild.
- Orlando Magic
Bonomo: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia
Vaidya: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
MB: The Magic have been rumored to be in love with Porzingis for awhile and there’s talk of them potentially trading up to make sure they nab him. He fits a need and has a ton of potential.
CV: The Magic have too many young players and it’s time for them to add one more to the mix. Tobias Harris may leave in free agency, so Orlando takes Winslow as insurance. Winslow will immediately help the Magic on the defensive end and the threat of his outside shooting could open driving lanes for Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo.
- Sacramento Kings
Bonomo: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
Vaidya: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia
MB: With the DeMarcus Cousins rumors floating around who knows what the Kings are going to wind up doing? They’ve been linked to Cauley-Stein for a while and he actually makes more sense if they do move Cousins than if they don’t. If Cousins stays he can slide over to PF and allow Cauley-Stein to be the rim protector while Cousins takes more of the offensive load.
CV: I don’t think the Kings will deal DeMarcus Cousins yet. George Karl loves offense and takes Porzingis. He’ll fit well with Cousins offensively and plays solid defense as well. Could be the steal of the draft.
- Denver Nuggets
Bonomo: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
Vaidya: Mario Hezonja, SG/SF, Croatia
MB: There’s two guys left in the second tier of this class, Winslow and Mario Hezonja. Either one makes sense for Denver, who seem ready to start over. Hezonja has a lot of upside, but I like the idea of taking Winslow who they can be sure will be a very good starter for a long time.
CV: The Nuggets are a mess, but take Hezonja because of versatility and fit. He can score from anywhere on the floor and can be used in a variety of lineups. I don’t know if he’ll be a top scorer in the league, but he will make a very good secondary option.
- Detroit Pistons
Bonomo: Mario Hezonja, SG/SF, Croatia
Vaidya: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
MB: Detroit needs to find scoring at the wing and Hezonja can do just that. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope improved in his second year but they have nothing else on the wing and Hezonja should step right in and make an impact.
CV: The Pistons might lose Greg Monroe and probably want to get rid of him anyway. Cauley-Stein won’t give them much offensively, but he has enough of a midrange shot to allow Andre Drummond to do his thing offensively. Cauley-Stein has the defensive versatility to guard all five positions and he’ll make an immediate impact in the Motor City.
- Charlotte Hornets
Bonomo: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky
Vaidya: Devin Booker
MB: The Hornets need shooting, badly. They didn’t get it when they needed it last offseason and the Lance Stephenson trade gives them a spot to put someone to give it to them. Booker isn’t going to be a superstar, but he’ll open up the offense with his jump shot.
CV: The Hornets have all the defense in the world, but no shooting threat. Enter Booker, a guy who nailed 41 percent of his threes. He’s going to give Charlotte enough defense to go along with his scoring. Ceiling is Klay Thompson, which is not bad at all.
- Miami Heat
Bonomo: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona
Vaidya: Stanley Johnson
MB: After seeing the effects of Tom Thibodeau on Luol Deng last year Miami could use some help at the 3. Pat Riley is always looking to make a splash in free agency and Johnson is the type of reliable player who should fit along with whoever they think they can bring in in the future (cough, Kevin Durant).
CV: Johnson is going to help the Heat on both ends of the floor and is versatile enough to make an impact right away. He is a good three-point shooter and defender and personally, I think he will be one of the five best NBA players to come out of this class.
- Indiana Pacers
Bonomo: Myles Turner, C, Texas
Vaidya: Myles Turner
MB: It’s no secret that Indiana is done with Roy Hibbert lumbering around the court. Turner is the opposite. He’s very skilled, will open up space for his teammates and can also protect the rim. He’s a potential top five talent who was misused in college.
CV: Say goodbye to Roy Hibbert. Indiana gets a center who can block shots and shoot threes. Turner is a solid big man who didn’t get enough time in college to hone his skills. He’ll be a great anchor in a solid Indiana defense.
- Utah Jazz
Bonomo: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
Vaidya: Frank Kaminsky
MB: I think these two are a perfect match for each other. Utah has it’s startling lineup for the future set with Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. They’re just drafting depth at this point and Kaminsky would fit perfectly with this group. He can back up Favors and play a lot with Gobert, spreading the floor while Gobert will assuage any of Kaminsky’s defensive concerns.
CV: The Jazz surprisingly won 38 games last year and seem set on their lineup for the future. Kaminsky can stretch the floor and provide offense off the bench. He isn’t going to be much help defensively, but the Jazz have enough young talent to take a risk on the Wooden Award winner.
- Phoenix Suns
Bonomo: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas
Vaidya: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona
MB: Upside and athleticism are the two best descriptors for Kelly Oubre, and I think those will both appeal immensely to the Suns. They’ve built a fun, fast team that Oubre could fit right in with, and they have a need on the wing. He’s another guy that if things break right could wind up as one of the best players in the draft.
CV: He can’t shoot, but RHJ is athletic and fast. He can drive with force and if he can develop good court vision, he can kick out to Phoenix’s shooters. Hollis-Jefferson is perfect for this Suns team and if he gets his shot down, watch out.
- Oklahoma City Thunder
Bonomo: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State
Vaidya: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
MB: Everyone seems to have Payne here and I don’t disagree. After moving Reggie Jackson at the deadline the Thunder could use a backup PG and Payne’s style will allow him to spend some time on the floor with Russell Westbrook as well.
CV: I think Payne is the consensus pick, but I have Lyles. He’s a solid post scorer and can back up Enes Kanter right away. He might have a hard time if the Thunder play him out of position, but Sam Presti has always taken the best player available and I think that’s Lyles.
- Atlanta Hawks
Bonomo: Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin
Vaidya: Sam Dekker
MB: Somehow the Hawks are still cashing in on the Joe Johnson trade. DeMarre Carroll may be moving on, which will open up a need at the 3. Dekker can play the role Carroll did for Atlanta last year, as a guy who can score a bit within the offensive game plan and be a capable wing defender. That’s a nice addition to a team that ran away with its conference.
CV: I don’t think the Hawks let Carroll get away, but they can always use more shooting. Dekker can hit the outside shot and play solid defense, both of which are important in Atlanta’s system. He fits well in smaller lineups because of his height and his stroke may allow him to play some shooting guard if Kyle Korver needs a breather.
- Boston Celtics
Bonomo: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona
Vaidya: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas
MB: The Celtics need a 3 as well, and I think they’ll appreciate what Hollis-Jefferson brings with his versatility. They’ve got a good head coach in Brad Stevens and a front office who has plans to turn into a contender sooner rather than later. Hollis-Jefferson can play a very similar role to a possible contender in the future that Andre Iguodala played for the Warriors this year.
CV: The Celtics take Portis because they aren’t really set in the post. The former Razorback was a monster down low and has improved his outside shot. Portis should be able to get minutes right away and Brad Stevens should coach him up quickly. Good pick for the Celtics.
- Milwaukee Bucks
Bonomo: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
Vaidya: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas
MB: Lyles can go a lot higher based on ability, and though the Bucks have bigger needs, I think they’d love to see Lyles fall to them, especially after moving Ersan Ilyasova. They could use a center, but there really isn’t one in this range.
CV: The Bucks might lose Kris Middleton and so they draft Oubre as an insurance policy. He will be a development project for the coaching staff, but should be able to benefit from playing with a young group on the verge of breaking through. High upside, low risk for Milwaukee.
- Houston Rockets
Bonomo: Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
Vaidya: Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame
MB: This is another one of those picks that it seems a lot of people have been in on all along. Houston needs a point guard, especially if Patrick Beverley leaves this offseason, and Jones could be the best point guard after Russell and Mudiay in this class.
CV: Beverley may be gone, but the Rockets should probably take a guard anyway. Grant is a proven scorer who can fit well with James Harden in the backcourt. He won’t be dropping 16 points per game like he did at Notre Dame, but he will gladly hit open shots off Harden’s passes.
- Washington Wizards
Bonomo: Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
Vaidya: Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
MB: The Wizards are expected to go PF if one of the Lyles, Looney, Bobby Portis combo is still on the board when it’s their turn to pick. Looney has a ton of upside, and could add even more athleticism to a team that already has John Wall.
CV: I know the Wizards have wall, but Jones can be a solid backup. He doesn’t shy away from the pressure and has all the tools to be a good point guard in the NBA. The Wizards get more depth in the backcourt and can run a variety of lineups.
- Toronto Raptors
Bonomo: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas
Vaidya: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State
MB: Toronto also could really use a PF and would love to see Portis still available at 20. I think Portis is one of the safest picks in the draft, and has more upside than some people give him. He’ll at least be reliable, something the Raptors needed for most of last season.
CV: Kevon Looney is still available on my board, but the Raptors take the best player available in Payne. He’d be a solid backup for Lowry and fits well in Toronto’s offense. A little outlandish because the Raptors are set at point guard, but Payne would make an immediate impact on a team looking to find itself after last season’s late crash.
- Dallas Mavericks
Bonomo: RJ Hunter, SG, Georgia State
Vaidya: Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia
MB: It seems like Monta Ellis isn’t around much longer for Dallas, and Hunter could fill that role almost immediately. He has range, and is a very smart player, both things the Mavericks will love.
CV: I think the Mavericks will bring Ellis back, but they need defense if they want to seriously think about a title. Anderson is the perfect 3-and-D player. He hit 45 percent of his treys at Virginia and he can defend shooting guards or small forwards. Won’t be a major scorer, but can help the Mavs on at least one end of the floor.
- Chicago Bulls
Bonomo: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
Vaidya: RJ Hunter, SG, Georgia State
MB: The Bulls desperately need wing scoring, and though I’m not completely sold on him, Vaughn has more potential to do that than anyone left on the board. He should at least be able to hit threes, and though he isn’t super athletic he was able to get to the rim in college. If that continues he’ll be a massive steal. If they don’t go Vaughn expect a point guard, most likely Delon Wright.
CV: Hunter can score and isn’t afraid of pressure. He could fit in as the sixth man on a Bulls team that lacked scoring from the bench. New coach Fred Hoiberg can use him in a variety of ways and he won’t shy away from a starting role if either starting guard gets injured.
- Portland Trail Blazers
Bonomo: Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
Vaidya: Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
MB: Portland is tough to peg, with questions surrounding the futures of both LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews. There aren’t perfect options at either the 2 or 4 here, so I’ll go with Harrell, who was very successful in college. He wouldn’t come close to filling Aldridge’s shoes were he to leave, but he could be a solid rotation big.
CV: Portland is more concerned with LaMarcus Aldridge leaving, so they draft an insurance policy with Looney. He is a soild scorer and rebounder who could fit into Aldridge’s shoes at some point. Disappointed at UCLA, but he found his groove late in the season.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
Bonomo: Delon Wright, PG, Utah
Vaidya: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
MB: Wright is a point guard by trade with the size to play some 2 in a pinch. While Matthew Dellavedova had a nice postseason run, Cleveland could use a better backup for Kyrie Irving. Wright will be a good defender and can run bench units as well as distribute to Cleveland’s starters.
CV: Vaughn can hit threes and is athletic enough to get to the rim. He will get plenty of open looks with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James taking most of the defense away. Not sure what his potential is, but he has the tools to be a good role players in this league.
- Memphis Grizzlies
Bonomo: Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia
Vaidya: Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky
MB: The Grizzlies don’t take guys who don’t defend and Anderson certainly does that. He can score from the wing, though there are questions about his three-pointer. Regardless, he should be a very nice player this late in the draft.
CV: Memphis is going to have to replace one of its bigs at some point in the next two years. Johnson has an NBA body and can defend at the rim. He will be an excellent rim protector on the second unit and should grow learning from Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
- San Antonio Spurs
Bonomo: Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky
Vaidya: Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
MB: I think Johnson is much better than a lot of people are giving him credit for. It’s tough for me to not see him as at least a good backup center, and though nobody has proven it yet, Tim Duncan is human and will be gone at some point. Having some stability in Johnson for when that day comes would be nice, and if anyone can unlock some kind of offensive game within Johnson, it’s the Spurs.
CV: The Spurs want to keep enough cap space to sign Kawhi Leonard and another free agent, but Harrell is a nice pickup. He rebounds well and can attack the rim consistently. Harrell also plays good defense and should fit into the Spurs system well. He can’t shoot the ball, which could be a problem in an offense relying on ball movement and spacing the floor.
- Los Angeles Lakers
Bonomo: Joseph Young, SG, Oregon
Vaidya: Delon Wright, PG, Utah
MB: If the Lakers don’t go Russell at #2, I expect a shooting guard here. Young is the best one left on the board, and could be a great microwave scorer off the bench.
CV: Wright is from Southern California and the Lakers love his physical build and point guard skills. Los Angeles can slid Jordan Clarkson to the shooting guard spot to make room for Wright, who could be the third best point guard in this class.
- Boston Celtics
Bonomo: Jarell Martin, PF, LSU
Vaidya: Robert Upshaw, C, Washington
MB: Martin shut down his workouts after getting a first round promise from someone, and my guess is that it’s Boston. They’ve been expected to take a PF with one of their two picks and it makes sense for them to take a wing with upside with their earlier pick if they like a guy like Martin in this range.
CV: Boston needs defensive help at the rim and Upshaw provides exactly that. He doesn’t have a good record off the court but if anyone can get him to focus, it’s Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge.
- Brooklyn Nets
Bonomo: Chris McCullough, F, Syracuse
Vaidya: Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville
MB: A torn ACL hurt his stock but he has some upside, and the Nets could desperately use something. He’s nowhere close to a sure thing, but the best bet for Brooklyn here.
CV: Brooklyn needs something off the bench and Rozier immediately provides it. He was Louisville’s best player down the stretch and can get to the rim with ease. Can’t really shoot the ball, but his defense will surely help the Nets.
- Golden State Warriors
Bonomo: Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame
Vaidya: Cliff Alexander, SF, Kansas
MB: I know when you look at the Warriors you don’t worry about their point guard situation, but hear me out. They don’t have a glaring need, and they supposedly want some shooting off of the bench. Grant is a reliable shooter, and the Warriors have no qualms about going small, so they can use him at both guard spots. It isn’t a need but he’s the best player left at this point and I think Golden State will pounce on him if he’s really still available.
CV: The Warriors made something out of Draymond Green and they are going to be paying him big bucks. Cliff Alexander was disastrous at Kansas, but has some similar qualities to Green. Golden State can take on the Cliff Alexander project because it doesn’t have a huge need at this time.