By: Mike Bonomo and Chinmay Vaidya, KCOU Sports
The 2015 NBA Draft is on Thursday and this draft class is extremely talented in both frontcourt positions. Mike Bonomo and Chinmay Vaidya break down the best power forwards in this class.
Bonomo: Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia
Vaidya: Bobby Portis, Arkansas
MB: This guy has been shooting up draft boards in the last week or two, and it’s easy to see why. He’s been on the NBA radar since he declared for last year’s draft before ultimately withdrawing, and it likely will pay off, with some projecting him to go as high as second overall. He fits the role of the stereotypical Euro big: tall, athletic with a good shot and range. He’s quick and can create offense off the dribble and is a good defender. There are some minor question marks, the biggest that he might be too skinny, but he’s definitely the top PF in the class.
CV: Porzingis has all the flash, but Portis has substance. He was a monster at Arkansas and averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Portis improved his shooting from range and had success against some of the SEC’s best bigs. If his range shooting continues to improve, I think Portis could be the biggest steal of this draft class.
Bonomo: Trey Lyles, Kentucky
Vaidya: Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia
MB: Lyles is one of the more interesting cases in this class. His numbers aren’t as great as they could be, but not only did he not play as many minutes as most top prospects due to Kentucky’s crazy depth, but he spent most of the season playing out of position at small forward. He’s a good rebounder, and can score inside and out. The production wasn’t quite what you’d have hoped for, but he’s talented enough to still be a lottery pick.
CV: There has been a lot of buzz about Porzingis in the last week and I’m not buying all of it. Sure, the guy can hit an outside shot and has decent defensive skills. I don’t know how much competition he got in Latvia and there’s huge boom or bust potential with him. Porzingis could be the best player in this class or Andrea Bargnani 2.0 and personally, I wouldn’t take him until the teens.
Bonomo: Myles Turner, Texas
Vaidya: Myles Turner, Texas
MB: Speaking of lacking production in college Turner was definitely a disappointment considering all the hype that came with him to Austin, though at least some of that can be blamed on Rick Barnes’ use (or sometimes lack thereof) of him. He was the second ranked freshman for a reason though. He’s got an interesting inside-out game, and is a solid rim protector. He’s got very good quickness and athleticism for his size and still has the potential to be a top guy from this class. He needs to add strength, and needs a lot of polish on his post game, though the raw abilities are there. If teams aren’t scared off by his awkward running style he could go as high as top 5.
CV: It’s rare to see a heralded freshman get only 22 minutes per game, but that’s exactly what happened to Myles Turner. Texas had a strong frontcourt, but Turner was the best of the lot. He still finished with 2.6 blocks per game and was a defensive force. Turner was able to showcase his inside-outside game on the offensive end despite the lack of minutes. The potential is there for Turner to be a solid starter. I don’t know why his running style matters, but it seems to be enough of a concern among scouts to knock him out of the top 10.
Bonomo: Bobby Portis, Arkansas
Vaidya: Trey Lyles, Kentucky
MB: Portis is a guy I’ve liked all season and it seems scouts have come to a consensus on him. Safe, reliable, high-floor, these are the words getting attached to him and that’s good! If you’re picking in the 10-20 range a guy like Portis who you can feel confident will be a solid player for you it’s a win. He’s a hard worker on the floor, he rebounds and scores, though it doesn’t always look pretty. Some people question exactly how high his ceiling is; I think he can be a good starter though not all would agree, but should have a long career.
CV: Lyles had a mixed year. He got lost in the Kentucky rotation and often had to play out of position at small forward. Lyles still shot extremely well from the field and has the potential to develop a midrange jumper. At 6’ 10”, he is fluid enough to play at the four and tall enough to take centers for a possession or two. Defense is a question mark, but Lyles should adjust to the NBA well.
Bonomo: Kevon Looney, UCLA
Vaidya: Kevon Looney, UCLA
MB: Looney is another guy who can go higher than expected on draft night. He has a bit of Harrison Barnes in him, though he’s a little bigger. He can play the 3 but is more of a 4. He’s a great rebounder and a terrific athlete, though he needs to work on his three-pointer. He can put the ball on the floor and make things happen. Could be a major steal.
CV: Looney was supposed to be the driving force for UCLA this season. Instead, he got overwhelmed by the college game early. Eventually, the talented freshman figured it out. Looney is a solid rebounder and scorer. He can also develop a three-point shot to go with a solid interior game. His defense will be a drawback, but Looney has huge upside for a mid to late first-rounder.