Cleat Geeks

What Every Team Should Do If They Win The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery

Less than a week.

It’s almost time for the draft lottery. The 2015 NBA Draft order will be finalized on May 19th thanks to a couple of ping pong balls with numbers written on them. Every team that missed the playoffs is hoping to land the #1 pick regardless of their odds.

Oklahoma City Thunderokc

Odds to win: .5%

Can they draft an athletic trainer? No, well okay.

Let’s face it, if the Thunder were fully healthy this year they would be contending for the championship. They were without last year’s MVP for most of the year, and this year’s potential MVP in Russell Westbrook missed a handful of games as well. Oklahoma City has no glaring needs that can be fixed with the number one pick in this year’s draft. They have one of the best point guards in the league with Russell Westbrook, young two guards in Jeremy Lamb and Dion Waiters, Kevin Durant, and a plethora of good, young bigs in Enes Kanter, Mitch McGary, Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka, and even Perry Jones who should some potential early in the year. With the top two prospects being big men, the Thunder should trade back if they pull off a miracle in this year’s draft lottery. Not only would they still be able to land a top pick if they were to trade, but they would also land other assets and free up cap room so they can offer Kevin Durant a max contract this offseason. If they were to trade back, I would look at them to pick up some extra guard depth, possibly Jerian Grant or Devin Booker.

Verdict: Trade back

Phoenix Sunssuns

Odds to win: .6%

The Phoenix Suns were one of the most active teams at the trade deadline, and it left us all in surprise. They sent away guards Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, both of which were solid contributors to their team that was fighting for a playoff spot. The good thing, though, is that they still have Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Archie Goodwin. Thankfully the top two prospects are big men, so they won’t have to load up their already packed backcourt. If the Suns win the lottery, it’ll come down to Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns, the two consensus top prospects. The Suns already have a young big in Alex Len, but these are two potential prospects you cannot pass up on.

Verdict: Draft Jahlil Okafor

Utah Jazzjazz

Odds to win: .7%

The Utah Jazz are headed in the right direction. They are built around handful of young players that have shown flashes of greatness. Trey Burke has had his moments, Rudy Gobert put up video game-like numbers after the departure of Enes Kanter, and Dante Exum is still so young he can’t have a beer in America yet. Derrick Favors is a reliable option at the power forward position. Gordon Hayward is knocking on the door of becoming an all-star. This team, if they weren’t in the west, would be almost a guaranteed lock for the playoffs next year so long as they don’t botch this draft. Too bad Utah is located way too far close to the pacific to be in the Eastern Conference. That will play a factor in this pick. They will have to choose someone with tons of upside, because being average in the West isn’t enough. Drafting a guard very high again is extremely unlikely, and I don’t think Stanley Johnson or Justice Winslow are worthy of the top pick. Once again, it comes down to Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor. With Rudy Gobert being limited offensively, having Jahlil Okafor would just clog everything up. Karl-Anthony Towns would help space the floor, and has a ceiling so high you wouldn’t even think about taking the stairs to get to.

Verdict: Draft Karl-Anthony Towns

Indiana PacersIndiana-Pacers-Logo-Wallpaper-HD

Odds to win: .8%

Another team that would’ve likely made the playoffs if this were 2K and injuries were turned off. After Paul George went down with a gruesome injury this summer playing for Team USA, Indiana went from a title contender to a top overall pick contender. George miraculously came back and almost led his team to the 8 seed in the playoffs, but it was all too late. Roy Hibbert is likely to be gone after this year, so that leaves a void at the center position. Thankfully, there are two future all-star centers waiting to be drafted. Either prospect will be an upgrade over Hibbert, who was good for a 2 month span in 2013. Having a big that can actually score and rebound will help this franchise. I give the edge to Karl-Anthony Towns because of his defense and his ability to space the floor, something that should help Paul George become a better driver because he won’t have to worry about the opposing center camping out in the paint alongside Hibbert.

Verdict: Draft Karl-Anthony Towns

Miami HeatHeat

Odds to win: 1.1%

Even though King James took his talents back to the gorgeous beaches of Lake Erie, this team was still poised to make a playoff run. They were returning Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, two all-stars, and added Luol Deng who was also a one time all-star. However, just like many other franchises in the NBA, they were plagued with the injury bug. Dwayne Wade is expected to miss a handful of games at this stage in his career, but having Chris Bosh miss almost the whole second half of the season due to problems was extremely unexpected. If that wouldn’t have happened, I would’ve had my money on them over the Brooklyn Nets to win the 8 seed in the East.

With the revival of Hassan Whiteside to go along with Chris Bosh, this team has no need for another big. What they do need, is a guard that can replace Dwayne Wade. His knees are practically nonexistent, and he can only be a factor for an extremely short period of time. I would like it if the Heat traded this pick. They can go after a wing by getting Duke’s Justice Winslow or Arizona’s Stanley Johnson, but I like Jerian Grant going to the Heat. Shabazz Napier, the Heat’s 1st round pick last year, is a solid player but cannot be relied on to be a starter in the NBA.

Verdict: Trade back

Charlotte Hornets

Odds to win: 1.7%

charlotte-hornets-logo-21This team needs to hit a homerun in the draft. They’ve struggled in the past with picks such as Cody Zeller, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo. They’ve drafted a pair of power forwards in the last two years from Indiana, which is awful because the top prospects in this draft are also big men. Al Jefferson is a great player, but he doesn’t have much left. Their wing players do an absolute awful job of spacing the floor. This team has a lot of needs. Even though it would be tempting to trade back to acquire multiple picks, Karl-Anthony Towns makes a lot of sense. He will have the potential to space the floor while supplying constant scoring from the blocks. I’m sure they would like to draft a pure three point threat, but they are in need at just about every position.

Verdict: Draft Karl-Anthony Towns

Detroit Pistons

Odds to win: 2.8%Pistons

There is no question that the Pistons have a talented roster. Andre Drummond is one of the more talented young centers in the league, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is an emerging wing, and they have two very good point guards in Reggie Jackson and Brandon Jennings. Their first order of business should be to re-sign Reggie Jackson to a long term contract, then they can worry about taking the best player available.

They have no true significant needs, as they have young players filled with potential at just about every position. After the riddance of Josh Smith, they looked poised to make a run at that 8 seed in the east, but Jennings went down and it was too much to overcome. Andre Drummond is a lock at center, and he can use a frontcourt mate. Greg Monroe is going to be a free agent, and Karl-Anthony Towns would provide even more potential that could make this team a serious threat in a couple of years. Though I believe Jahlil Okafor is the best player in the draft, I don’t see how he and Drummond would coexist on the same team.

Verdict: Draft Karl-Anthony Towns

Denver Nuggetsnuggets

Odds to win: 4.3%

The Nuggets were a train wreck this year. I know this not because I’m an avid follower of Denver basketball, but because of their constant appearances on Shaqtin a Fool. Ty Lawson is one of the better point guards in the league, and Kenneth Faried was arguably the most important player on last year’s Team USA squad. The rest of the roster is suspect. Not much to say, they need to take the best player available. Both Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor would be a fit here, but since I believe that Okafor is better and more NBA ready than Towns, I’m giving him the nudge.

Verdict: Draft Jahlil Okafor

Sacramento Kingskings

Odds to win: 6.3%

The Kings are very similar to the Pistons in my opinion. They both have tons of talent and potential, but it isn’t woven together correctly. Demarcus Cousins is arguably the most dominant center in the Association, Ben McLemore has shown flashes, and Nik Stauskas should be able to become a solid player down the road. I think this team can really benefit from a true point guard. Over the past years, they had to rotate between Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans, both of whom are much better scorers than they are distributors. Though grabbing Towns or Okafor seems enticing, the Kings have been going for the “best available” strategy in the draft for years and it hasn’t led to a very successful recipe. Getting a point guard that they can develop with Boogie, McLemore and Stauskas could be what is needed to get them over the hump.

Verdict: Draft D’Angelo Russell

Orlando Magicmagic

Odds to win: 8.8%

This team has been headed in the right direction for the past few years. Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic have all shown the ability to be extremely efficient, and Aaron Gordon is one of the most intriguing young players in the league. This is one of my sleeper teams to make a run for the playoffs next year. Their past few draft picks are very versatile, which gives them a lot of freedom if they win the draft lottery. I think that they should go with the best player available, so you know what that means.

Verdict: Draft Jahlil Okafor

Los Angeles Lakerslakers

Odds to win: 11.9%

Prepare for the post Kobe Bryant era, Laker Nation.

Though the Lakers are one of the most dominant franchises in all of American sports history, you have to feel bad for them after this season. There expectations were probably the lowest they have ever been since Kobe first put on the purple and gold, but every basketball fan knew they shouldn’t count out a team that has anyone nicknamed The Black Mamba on it. Then the injuries came. Steve Nash had to call it quits before the season got rolling. Julius Randle (who I thought was the 3rd best prospect in last year’s draft) didn’t get to finish one regular season game during his rookie campaign. Kobe Bryant had to spend another year spending almost all of his time in a suit on the sidelines.

The bright side for you Laker fans out there is that free agents will always be willing to go player for the Lakeshow. What they do in free agency will dictate what they do in the draft. There are a handful of good centers that are going to be free agents, and I feel as if the Lakers will land at least one. If they do, look for them to get one of the most explosive players in the draft. Though us Americans didn’t get to see a lot of him this year, Emmanuel Mudiay has the potential to be a Russell Westbrook/John Wall type point guard. He has the size, speed, and court vision to be the next elite point guard to take the league by storm. I think he will be a great fit in Los Angeles.

Verdict: Draft Emmanuel Mudiay

Philadelphia 76ers

Odds to win: 15.6%

Philadelphia_76ersWhat a funny situation the 76ers are in. they spent 3 picks in the last 2 years drafting big men, and it just so happens that the consensus top prospects in this draft are big men.

Thankfully, there are more great prospects to choose from. It has been rumored that they love D’Angelo Russell, and that pick makes a lot of sense. They sent away former Rookie of the Year point guard Michael Carter-Williams, leaving a huge void at that position. However, the 76ers are extremely unpredictable when the draft goes on, so nothing is written in stone. I could see them sending away Nerlens Noel so that they can grab Karl-Anthony Towns. The 76ers love taking players with high ceilings, and KAT has the highest in the draft. However, rumors have been swirling that Joel Embiid has been looking amazing, so I would hope that they wouldn’t draft another low post player.


Verdict: Draft D’Angelo Russell

New York Knicks

Odds to win: 19.9%

Unlike almost every other team in the draft lottery, the Knicks have a clear cut all-star on their roster. The rest of the roster, though is knicksnothing but role players. They started fully rebuilding around all-star weekend when they sent away Iman Shumpert and JR Smith, and allowed Carmelo Anthony to shut it down for the rest of the season.

Jahlil Okafor makes a lot of sense here. He would have an immediate impact, and he could give the Knicks steady offense from the low block. Karl-Anthony Towns is too friendly with his jump shot, and that is exactly what the Knicks do not need.

Similarly to the Lakers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Knicks land some highly touted free agents. LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love are some names swirling around the rumor mill. If that happens, I think D’Angelo Russell would be the obvious choice. One problem; I don’t think it will happen. That leads one remaining option.

Verdict: Draft Jahlil Okafor

Minnesota Timberwolves

Odds to win: 25%

wolves1The Timberwolves have the next great player in this league in Andrew Wiggins. Zach Lavine showed wolves2flashes of brilliance while playing the point guard position while Ricky Rubio was out with an injury. Nikola Pekovic is a bruising big.

There is no need to address the guard situation. Zach Lavine has a bright future, and I think Andrew Wiggins will end up being a 2 guard his whole career. So that leaves them down to two players to choose from, which is a reoccurring theme in this article.

Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns? Don’t worry, if you’re sick of hearing that debate from me, you’ll be able to hear it from every other article relating to the 2015 NBA Draft probably forever. The Timberwolves have to go with Jahlil Okafor here. If he taps into his potential, I really think he can be the closest thing we will ever see to Tim Duncan when if Tim Duncan ever retires. Jahlil Okafor would be able to do what Lavine and Wiggins did last year and contribute right away. Okafor is a prospect this team cannot pass up on.

Verdict: Draft Jahlil Okafor


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