The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery Picks

Duke Men's College Basketball

The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery Picks

The NBA Draft is comprised of 30 franchises attempting to select a young player primed to help them win an NBA title. In this draft, the 16 teams who made the playoffs the previous season are awarded the last 16 picks of each round. The 14 teams who missed the playoffs are relegated to the lottery: a ping-pong-ball picking extravaganza to determine which teams end up with the top selections. But which draft-eligible players are worthy of being selected so high? These are the Lottery Picks.


1) Jahlil Okafor
In the big-man resurgence, Duke’s freshman center is leading the way. With many talented frontcourt players primed to enter the NBA in the next few years, Okafor may already be the most ready on the offensive side. He is not an elite rim protector or defender yet, but he already demands a double-team when he has the ball in the paint. His ability to pass out of traps and face up makes him the leading prospect in the 2015 draft.

2) Emmanuel Mudiay
A 6-5 point guard who is putting up monster numbers as an 18-year-old playing overseas is almost a guaranteed top-three pick. How high Mudiay goes will depend on his return from a recent ankle injury and whether or not the team selecting is in need of a PG. His outside shot needs a bit of work, but otherwise, Mudiay checks every box.

3) Willie Cauley-Stein
Maybe Cauley-Stein doesn’t have the peak upside of his teammate Karl Towns, and that may prevent him from being the first Kentucky Wildcat off the board, but there is something to be said for being a team’s actual best player on the basketball court when games are taking place. He’s a pending double-double every night who can defend like no one else. His combination of rim protection and quick hands to defend passing lanes will make him an immediate impact guy at the next level.

4) Stanley Johnson
Stanley Johnson managed to come to Arizona and immediately fill the roles of freshman darling left by Aaron Gordon and team go-to scorer left by Nick Johnson at the same time. He’s scoring 15 per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and 41 percent from three. And amazingly, his shooting consistency was supposed to be an area of weakness coming out of high school.

5) Karl-Anthony Towns
In limited minutes this season, Karl Towns is showing what type of impact he can have at the next level. He is a big-bodied power forward who can play defense, protect the rim and do some things on the offensive end. There is still a lot untapped here, which makes him so intriguing to NBA franchises.

6) D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell’s success in his freshman season has been somewhat unexpected. But what scouts are noticing is his success is sustainable through college and into the pros whenever he decides to leave. His shooting has been great as he’s pouring in buckets at an amazing clip. At 6-5, his ability to both pass and rebound also makes him extraordinary. Without the unbridled athleticism of fellow point guard Mudiay, Russell may have the more polished and all-around game at this point.

7) Kristaps Porzingis
Porzingis is right around seven-feet tall, but may end up sliding in as more of a small forward in the NBA. He doesn’t have a big frame and rarely battles in the post. He is a perimeter player with all the necessary skills who happens to be 6-11. It is hard to know how overseas stats and production will translate so Porzingis’ stock is being based on his potential to develop into his vast skills, and rightly so.

8) Myles Turner
Turner does not yet have the body to bang as an NBA center. He is too thin and not powerful enough. However, the length and athleticism to affect games on both ends of the court are already there. He also is a very good shooter for someone pushing seven feet. If he can stay out of foul trouble, the minutes should pick up and his production will as well.

9) Kelly Oubre
Kelly Oubre has been slow to take off during his freshman season at Kansas. Scouts though love his length and the potential remains for him to be a knockdown shooter. If his season continues the way it’s been trending, Oubre may find himself at the tail end of the lottery. He needs to start showing more.

10) Montrezl Harrell
Almost a forgotten man at this point, Montrezl Harrell has taken a weird path towards the NBA lottery. Out of high school, he was a top prospect heading to Virginia Tech. He backed out when the Hokies fired their coach and went to Louisville, where expectations grew. He was surely talented but didn’t seem to have many skills early on other than brute strength and athleticism. Although still not a fluid scorer, he learned a jumper and some moves in the post and his stock has picked back up to where he was projected over a year ago.

11) Frank Kaminsky
The old man in the group, Frank Kaminsky is a seven-footer with legitimate range. Need to know anything more? He may be overmatched on the defensive end in the NBA, but so are a lot of guys. If his quickness holds up, he’ll be an immediate asset.

12) Mario Hezonja
There are questions about Mario Hezonja’s attitude and how it would affect his team’s chemistry. There don’t seem to be many questions though about his abilities to play ball. Without any true weaknesses to his game, especially on the offensive end, Hezonja may end up being the first wing off the board if a team focuses on his strengths rather than his makeup.

13) Tyus Jones
In the mode of Tyler Ennis from a season ago, Duke’s Tyus Jones seems to know how to play point guard better than most everyone else. The assist-to-turnover rate is tremendous, and although he doesn’t have a huge scoring average, he has been able to come up with big games when the team needs it. Ennis ended up dropping outside the lottery. It will be interesting to see if Jones can sneak in ahead of more flashy players.

14) Delon Wright
There will be a legitimate argument as to which Utes player ends up being selected first, Wright or center Jakob Poeltl. At this point, Wright seems like the safer bet mostly because he’s the better player. A triple-double waiting to happen, Wright is a hybrid guard who shoots well over 50 percent from the floor, forces more turnovers than he commits, all while averaging around five rebounds and five assists per game. The lack of three-point range and his age hold him back from being a better prospect.