The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery Picks, 3.0

Duke Men's College Basketball

The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery Picks, 3.0

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

3.0 Update: The fact that Duke won the national championship effectively without Okafor on the floor is somewhat worrisome. His defense is a major concern. His inability to protect the rim or defend the paint leaves his ceiling a lot lower than most first-overall picks at the center position would be. However, his offensive game is still unparalleled in this draft. Okafor possesses a feel and touch, and he’s shown the ability to pass and create out of double-teams at just 19 years old.


2) Karl-Anthony Towns

3.0 Update: Perhaps no one had a better NCAA tournament than Karl-Anthony Towns. He revealed himself as the only Kentucky player capable of scoring on the block. He routinely got tremendous, low position on any defender thrown his way. The fact that no teams really tried to double him though makes it hard to define his offensive upside in the paint. The defense and athleticism are better than that of Okafor, but Okafor seems like he’s assured of at least being an Al Jefferson-type at the next level.


3) 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.


4) D’Angelo Russell

3.0 Update: D’Angelo Russell chose the jersey number 0 because that’s how many people he believes can guard him. In Ohio State’s loss in the NCAA tournament, anyone and everyone could guard him because he couldn’t hit a shot from anywhere. That performance is not reflective of this kid’s game though. Perhaps rising to the occasion in big games is not yet his forte as he also struggled a couple times during the regular season against elite competition, but that sort of tangential opinion isn’t enough to drop him.


5) 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.


6) Justise Winslow

3.0 Update: The NCAA Tournament was Justise Winslow’s playground. He devoured people on the defensive end, putting in his claim as the rightful heir to the Dwayne Wade’s chase-down-block title belt. He also showed some range, making his NBA floor pretty desirable as a three-and-D player. Of course, his ceiling is off the charts as a small forward who can get his own shot and create offense for others, as well as defend three or four positions.


7) Stanley Johnson

3.0 Update: Stanley Johnson isn’t the most athletic wing. He isn’t the best shooter from the outside. He is likely not the best on-ball defender, but he may be the very best conglomeration of all those skills from the wing position. Johnson did not have a very good NCAA Tournament, but those performances are usually used in a positive light for prospects, i.e. their stock rises if they play excellently, or their stock is confirmed if they play well. Rare is it for a good prospect to drop precipitously because of a poor tournament.


8) Willie Cauley-Stein

3.0 Update: There is a place in the NBA for Willie Cauley-Stein, and it’s a safe place. He is a rim protector who can guard on switches. He can finish at the hoop and grab rebounds. He is perhaps the best defensive player in the draft. He is not, however, a threat to do anything other than dunk on the offensive end. But that’s not a death sentence in a league with DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler, etc. garnering huge minutes and accolades.


9) 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 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.


10) Kelly Oubre

3.0 Update: The only way Kelly Oubre ends up deserving of this ranking is if scouts determine he is the best college shooter in this draft. He has an athleticism edge on other shooters like Devin Booker but didn’t produce like his Kentucky counterpart. Oubre likely would have benefitted greatly by returning to school for a year to hone his game, but that wasn’t a likely outcome considering the state of things.


11) Tyus Jones

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.


12) Sam Dekker

3.0 Update: Sam Dekker finally unveiled what everyone was waiting to see from him during the NCAA Tournament. He showed athleticism, range, guts, bravado, strength and gusto. He proved he could take and make gigantic shots (in multiple rounds). Although his final game wasn’t up to snuff, Dekker showed enough during the tournament as a whole for a team to think he can be a successful wing in the NBA.


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.