R.J. Hunter, Boston Celtics, 28th pick: He gave the NCAA tournament one of the most memorable moments in its history with his game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of the 2015 college basketball postseason while playing for his dad at Georgia State University. And, he proved to be one of the most talented scorers in the nation shooting his smooth jumper and attacking the basket in transition. His length and excellent touch will make him a formidable opponent at the next level. The only concerns that NBA general managers will have about Hunter surround his lack of elite explosiveness at the next level. His length and skill should negate some of those concerns. Hunter is a fluid ball handler with a smooth jumper that he can hit from thirty feet out all the way in to the rim. The only real flaw in his game is that he relies on that jump shot too much. 74.5% of his field goals were jump shots which explains his 49.0% on 2 point field goals. The question is, did he shoot that jumper because he could not turn the corner on a defender or was he just trying to set himself up for an easier shot?
Reminds Me Of: Adam Morrison in a good way
Kelly Oubre Jr., Washington, 15th pick: Kelly Oubre Jr. has the perfect frame for a NBA wing. He is 6’7″, with a 7’1″ wingspan, and he uses that length well in transition or straight line drives to the rim. His build is slight for the pro game right now, but he has a good frame so he should fill out in the league. Oubre has a nice stroke from the three point line on set shots, and has good touch near the rim, but he also has a fairly raw skill set when it comes to creating his own shot. At this point in his career, Oubre needs a more consistent pull-up jumper and more work on creating separation from defenders. He scores almost exclusively off being set-up by others and pump faking to drive to the basket. He is one of the few players that could easily be a better pro than he was a college player if he continues to improve.
Reminds Me Of: Kendall Wright with a smoother stroke
Bobby Portis, Chicago, 22nd pick: Portis has a NBA frame already, but needs to add a few pounds to compete at the next level. He is 6’10″ with long arms and a very soft touch which are two things that you can not teach. He has good range on his shot even though it is a bit unconventional, and he has good touch around the painted area. Bobby Portis moves well for a man his size, but he is an average athlete. His lack of explosiveness stops him from being an elite rebounder on the offensive end though he is a decent defensive rebounder because of his timing. Portis blocks some shots because of that timing too. But, he struggles to finish in traffic because of his lack of pure athleticism. He needs to work on strength to offset his inability to jump, but he has a frame that should allow him to put on a few pounds and keep his mobility. Ideally, Portis would work on some advanced post moves too, but he has the base for interior scoring already.
Reminds Me Of: Kurt Thomas with a lot less rebounding
Top 10 Talent 2015 Draft:
10. Mario Hezonja, Orlando, 5th pick: European players rarely make a real impact in the first year that they enter the league, but Mario Hezonja could be one of the few athletes from oversees contributes immediately. He has good size for a NBA wing at 6’8″ 200 lbs. and he is an athletic and efficient basketball player. Hezonja does not dribble aimlessly or waste movement. He only uses his dribble to create scoring opportunities. Hezonja uses a power dribble to create separation in the paint and get layups in traffic. He is adept at the step back jump shot off a few dribbles, and he uses his dribble in a straight line to get to the rim. Hezonja finishes well at the rim and passes the basketball well too. He is good on the move, off curls, and off picks. The only drawback to his game at the professional level is he does not create his own shot well from the perimeter. He has a technically sound set shot that is straight up and down. Hezonja has great balance on his shot and makes those open jumpers because of his balance. Most of all though, he plays intense. Hezonja has a good motor.
Reminds Me Of: Matt Harpring
9. Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver, 7th pick: Emmanuel Mudiay is a bit of an enigma. He has the natural ability to be an All-Star in the league, however he does not have all the basketball skills quite yet. The comparisons to Russell Westbrook are not farfetched but they are a little unfair. Mudiay is a strong athlete at the point guard position with some intangibles, but he is not quite Westbrook. Mudiay is a hybrid scoring guard who has excellent size and the athleticism to play point in the league. He can create off the dribble, has a quick first step, and surprisingly, is excellent in the pick roll already. Most young guards have to learn how to use and read a pick properly, but he has a great feel for it. He reads situations well for such a young basketball player. He knows when to pass and when to score. Mudiay is an excellent finisher at the rim, and can finish with either hand. He is strong in the air and scores with contact. He makes the right play on the move most of the time. His only weaknesses are he can be careless with the basketball when he is not attacking and he needs a more consistent shot. Mudiay commits a few careless turnovers when he is not moving towards the rim, and he can force passes, but overall he is a good ball handler. There are no terrible mechanical flaws on his shot. It looks a little tight like he is pressing when he shoots, but his release is good. He just needs to put in some hours working out little details. He does not always release the basketball at the height of his jump, and he tends to drift or fade on his jump shot. With a some repetitions, Mudiay could turn into one of the best picks in the draft.
Reminds Me Of: Tyreke Evans
8. Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte, 9th pick: Frank Kaminsky stands as one of the most solid picks in the draft. He is ready to play in the NBA right now, but he will have to get stronger to dominate at the next level. Kaminsky at 6’11″ can handle the basketball on the perimeter, shoot the three, or finish in the paint with good footwork, a series of ball fakes, and solid counters. He rebounds the basketball by using positioning instead of his athleticism which will serve him well as he is an average NBA athlete. He moves fluidly for a man his size, can run the court, and has a good motor. He passes the basketball well and understands movement and cutting. But, most of all he makes the right basketball plays. Kaminsky has a high basketball IQ and does not turn the basketball over. His play led his Wisconson team to back to back trips to the NCAA title game.
Reminds Me Of: Brad Miller
7. Stanley Johnson, Detroit, 8th pick: Stanley Johnson is one of the best overall athletes in the NBA draft, and he stands 6’8″ and weighs 243 lbs. He already has NBA size and strength even though he just finished his freshman season. He runs, jumps, and finishes in transition as well as anyone in college, and he has a good stroke from the three point line. When the ball is moving fast, especially on the break, he can open up his stride and is almost unstoppable with a head of steam. Johnson is missing a developed intermediate game, so he does not score as consistently as he should, but he has added a floater to his game this season so he puts in work in the gym. Johnson scores well against contact, but has struggled against length occasionally this year. In his high school career, he could body or out jump anyone so he has to learn how to get better shots against higher competition. He does not force a lot of shots, but his field goal attempts can be limited against the right defender. Finding a midrange jumper would solve that. He rebounds well because of his size and athleticism. But, his defense could improve. If it does improve, Stanley Johnson could become a great two-way player and All-Star like Kawhi Leonard.
Reminds Me Of: Under-developed Dominique Wilkins
6. Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento, 6th pick: Willie Cauley-Stein has future Defensive Player of the Year written all over him. He can legitimately guard 5 positions at this point at seven feet, and has some of the best lateral quickness and explosiveness in college basketball. He is extremely quick off the ground so he gets a lot of blocks, and he gets deflections and steals too. Cauley-Stein blocks some shots on the ball and is even better from the weakside, but he does this almost exclusively on athleticism and size right now. With some work on positioning and timing, he could be a dominant defender in the NBA. The only reason that Willie Cauley-Stein is not a top three pick is because his offense is still fairly rudimentary despite him having three years in college and superior athleticism. He has a serviceable jump hook over his left shoulder unless he is facing some one who is stronger than he is, which is often. He has no effective counters when his hook is taken away, so he is limited to being a jump shooter. That jumper has improved, but Cauley-Stein is still far away from being an offensive threat. He will be served on both ends by hitting the weight room, adding 20 lbs., and getting a bit stronger. If he does not lose a step, he could eventually be an All-Star.
Reminds Me Of: A seven foot Scottie Pippen on defense, Tyson Chandler on offense
5. Kristaps Porzingis, New York, 4th pick: Porzingis is going to be a top five pick solely based on his potential. He has not proven anything statistically so far averaging only 10.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in the ACB league and 11.6 and 4.1 in Eurocamp. But, he projects to be a better player than his numbers suggest. He is a very fluid athlete, especially considering that he is a legitimate 7’1″. And, he has a sweet stroke all the way out to the three point line. Porzingis shoots well coming off picks and flares. He shoots the midrange jumper well which potentially makes him a good scorer once he gets to the NBA. The ideal team, is one where he could be the third offensive option, but he has the skills and athleticism to become a superstar under the right conditions. Porzingis is a decent weakside shot blocker and he has the athleticism to get some steals, but he does not have the intensity to dominate. He needs to get stronger in his upper body and lower body to compete at power forward on both ends. However, Porzingis could have an average NBA career if he does not improve at all.
Reminds Me Of: Robert Horry
4. DeAngelo Russell, Los Angeles, 2nd pick: D’Angelo Russell is the most polished scorer in the draft. He played a combo guard in college, but he has the handle and the vision to play point guard in the NBA. That ball handling will serve him well in the league. He has a low dribble and uses hesitations and a myriad of crossovers to get by defenders. He uses that low dribble with long arms and legs, gets defenders on his hip, and then sets them up for the shot that he wants whether that be a pull-up jumper or a contested layup. Russell is athletic, but does not seem extremely explosive. He is a cerebral player with a good first step who moves with a purpose. He uses pace and poise and knows how to score the basketball. At Ohio State, he converted shots off the dribble on pull-ups, made floaters, finished in traffic at the rim, and hit open jumpers. He scored from long range, mid-range, and in the paint, and he has great touch on a soft shot. Russell is extremely left handed, though he occasionally finishes with the right. That could be exposed at the next level. He is a good passer with good vision and an understanding of movement. He should be a good pro.
Reminds Me Of: Anfernee Hardaway
3. Justise Winslow, Miami Heat, 9th pick: Justise Winslow is a gamer. He played his best basketball at the highest stage that he has competed at the NCAA tournament. Winslow has good NBA athleticism and size even as a freshman at 6’7″ and 220 lbs. He has a NBA pedigree and a good understanding of the game. Winslow is already a talented slasher and spot up shooter, but he needs more consistency on his ball-handling and pull-up jumper. He can struggle to create his own shot because of his slight deficiencies handling the basketball, however he is excellent at attacking closeouts off a pump fake. Winslow is good at the rim, but he is very left-handed in traffic. He rarely finishes with his right hand in the paint, but does use it when driving right. Justise Winslow is a great athlete, but not elite. Winslow has the potential to be a NBA All-Star.
Reminds Me Of: Every athletic Duke wing that has went to the league, except Grant Hill
2. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia, 3rd pick: Okafor is the best post player in college basketball. Okafor averaged 17.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on 66.4% field goal percentage. He is extremely polished on the offensive end, especially when you consider that he is only a freshman. He has exceptional footwork in the post, a decent hook shot that sets up all his counters under the rim, and a NBA body that he uses to his advantage. He can overpower players at the rim, but has the footwork and basketball IQ to play finesse basketball too. He gets deep positioning, uses pump fakes and ball fakes well, and has a well-developed spin move. Okafor is extremely polished on the offensive side of the basketball. Though he is not super explosive, he is very quick on his feet with a 6’11″, 270 lbs. frame, a 7’5″ wingspan, and gigantic, soft hands. But, he seems unenthused on the defensive side of the ball at times. With his frame, he should dominate both sides of the court, but he is often out of place on pick and rolls, he only blocks 1.4 shots per game, and he gets less rebounds than his size and skill predicate he should have. There have been questions about his conditioning and his motor, however most of those questions were answered at Duke. If he continues to improve, he could be a perennial All-Star in the league. Okafor will be an NBA starter.
Reminds Me Of: Less impactful Tim Duncan
1. Karl Anthony-Towns, Minnesota, 1st pick: Karl Anthony-Towns has the best combination of physical talent and developed basketball skill in the 2015 draft. At 6’11, Anthony-Towns is super-athletic, long-armed, and more explosive than any other player who elected to jump to the NBA ranks except his teammate Willy Cauley-Stein. He has a fairly developed post game, good touch on his shot, great shot blocking instincts, and a larger upside than almost anyone in the draft. Karl Anthony-Towns should be the first player taken in the NBA draft this year. His drop-step was unstoppable at the college level in traffic. He has a solid jump hook over the right shoulder, but can finish that shot with either hand and has the early workings of countermoves with his back to the basket. Anthony-Town’s footwork on the block is decent, but not exceptional, and that translates over to the defensive side of the basketball too. He gets a lot of blocks because of length, timing, and positioning. And, with more practice on footwork and timing, Karl Anthony-Towns could dominate at the next level. If his post moves improve over the course of his NBA career and he gets a little more consistency on his jumper, he could be a perennial All-Star in the NBA.
Reminds Me Of: A stronger, more impactful Eddie Griffin