The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery Picks, 2.0

Kentucky Men's College Basketball

The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery Picks, 2.0

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

2.0 Update: The defense may be becoming an issue for Jahlil Okafor. In Duke’s rivalry game against North Carolina, Okafor got routinely manhandled down low on the defensive end. He was admittedly hobbled by a twisted ankle, and fortunately, he was even more effective himself on offense when no double-team was thrown his way. His offensive post skills are unparalleled in this draft, which will keep him in the top spot.


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) Karl-Anthony Towns

2.0 Update: Fouls are a bit of an issue for Karl Towns right now. He has collected at least three fouls in seven consecutive ballgames. The effort and intensity on the defensive end is a good thing though. As long as Kentucky remains this deep, Towns will be hard-pressed to find too many offensive plays run for him, but he’s shown the ability to affect games.


5) D’Angelo Russell

2.0 Update: Even as Ohio State has faltered, D’Angelo Russell continues to shine. The freshman has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, which came back in November. In early February, he posted a triple-double against Rutgers and followed that up with 17, 6 and 7 against Penn State. While his shot wasn’t falling in the latter game, Russell got to the line 10 times, showcasing yet another translatable skill.


6) Stanley Johnson

2.0 Update: Stanley Johnson continues to be the focal point of the Arizona offense. The freshman forward leads the team in scoring and field-goal attempts, as well as free throws. In fact, Johnson is up near 85 percent from the line in the new calendar year after shooting rather poorly in 2014.


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

2.0 Update: Myles Turner’s last two games: 25 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 turnover followed by 17 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks, 0 turnovers. Yes please! If he limits his fouls and stays on the court, Turner shows what he is capable of.


9) Kelly Oubre

2.0 Update: Kelly Oubre may finally be coming on. It was no knock on him that he struggled out of the gate during his freshman season. That happens to even the best players. Lately, Oubre’s shooting and scoring has picked up with his defense. He’s hit eight threes in his last three games and has only missed one free throw since January 19, albeit in limited attempts.


10) Tyus Jones

2.0 Update: There are no flaws in Tyus Jones’ game. He may not have an elite skill, but he is great at everything. He can drive and finish at the bucket; he can drill shots from the outside; he finds passing windows that more experienced point guards miss. The lack of measurables may keep him out of the top half dozen, but Jones is a lottery pick.


11) Mario Hezonja

There are questions about Mario Hezonja’s attitude and how it would affect his team’s chemistry. There doesn’t seem to be many questions though about his ability 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.


12) Kevon Looney

2.0 Update: Even though UCLA has been terribly disappointing this season, it is impossible to ignore what Kevon Looney has been able to accomplish. The freshman forward is essentially averaging a double-double this season. His shot blocking and three-point shooting are still coming along, but Looney has skills for days.


13) 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.


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 well 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.