Cleat Geeks

2015 NBA Mock Draft: Picks 1-10

With the NBA Draft still more than a month away, there is still plenty of time to make some predictions as to who’s going where. The Lottery is cruel and unforgiving, giving the Lakers a second pick they didn’t deserve and dropping the Knicks down and further distancing themselves from their older, more successful self. But it’s the current system and one we all have to live with. So, without further ado, here is the revised 2015 NBA Mock Draft:Unknown

1. Minnesota Timberwolves select PF Karl-Anthony Towns
With Andrew Wiggins staking his claim as the Wolves’ franchise centerpiece, it is now time to add a supporting cast that will take the pressure off of Wiggins and allow him to play his game: enter Karl-Anthony Towns. The 6’11” power forward out of Kentucky adds a new dimension to the Wolves that will make them a viable threat in the Western Conference. Towns is an absolute menace down low – he averaged a near double-double in just over 20 minutes per game last season. Defensively, his 7’4″ wingspan and 9’5″ standing reach make him nearly impossible to score on, especially for guys who rely on finesse shots and driving the lane (so pretty much every point guard in the West). Also, Towns will get the opportunity to learn from one of the best players to wear a Timberwolves uniform in Kevin Garnett. His experience coupled with the opportunity to play extended minutes immediately will make him a force to be reckoned with in two or three years.

2. Los Angeles Lakers select C Jahlil Okafor
With Julius Randle returning from injury in the best shape of his life, drafting Okafor is an obvious choice. The Randle-Okafor duo will make the Lakers incredibly difficult to score on down low. Okafor made Duke one of the country’s premier defensive teams last season and there is no reason why he can’t have the same effect on the Lakers this season and beyond. Okafor is just a physical nightmare for anyone tasked with guarding him. His 6’11”, 275 pound frame make it a near-impossible task to just muscle him out of the paint. His 7’7″ wingspan and 9’3″ standing reach are the main reasons why he pulled down nearly 9 rebounds per game. His soft touch on the offensive end also contributed to his 17.3 points per game and 66% field goal percentage. Okafor will prove to be one of the great big men on a team that has produced some of the best in history.

The projected #2 pick, Jahlil Okafor, doing what he does best: throwing it down!

The projected #2 pick, Jahlil Okafor, doing what he does best: throwing it down!

3. Philadelphia 76ers select PG Emmanuel Mudiay
With Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid finally getting an opportunity to play together, their big man needs are covered. Now it’s time to focus on their backcourt, specifically their point guard. Ish Smith, the Sixers current PG, proved a valuable asset to the Sixers last season in a time when it seemed all was lost; however, Smith is a suitable sixth man at best and cannot be a starting point guard for a future Playoff team in the Eastern Conference. Emmanuel Mudiay is that future. Mudiay is an experienced professional basketball player, so the mental transition from college to the professional ranks will not exist in Mudiay. This means that he will be able to produce for the Sixers right away. Mudiay will also be able to play alongside rising star SG/SF Robert Covington. The Sixers might be able to squeak into the Playoffs in a highly noncompetitive Northeast Division.

4. New York Knicks select PG/SG D’Angelo Russell
The team that needed a Top 3 pick the most dropped to the fourth-pick. D’Angelo Russell is, however, a great consolation prize for a team in need of a guy who can produce from the backcourt and take some pressure off of Carmelo Anthony. Russell is a multi-dimensional player who can play any position in the backcourt. The Knicks will need him to spend time at both positions, since the Knicks are otherwise weak in every other facet of the backcourt. Russell is a fairly consistent shot, averaging a little over 19 points a game and shooting 45% from the field; however, what makes Russell such a multi-dimensional talent is that he isn’t afraid to play defense, as made evident by his near 6 rebounds and 2 steals per game average. While the Knicks still have a long way to go before they will ever contend for a Playoff spot, this moves them one step closer to their former position as a feared team in the East.

5. Orlando Magic select C Willie Cauley-Stein
Even though the Magic need a point guard to play opposite Victor Oladipo, the next best point guard is Tyus Jones, who would be a reach beyond compare if picked here. However, Willie Cauley-Stein adds a presence in the paint that the Magic haven’t had since (dare I say his name…) Dwight Howard. He won’t “wow” you with his numbers (9 PPG, 6 RPG, 2 BPG), but he is just such an intimidating presence on the defensive side of the ball that he just makes it very difficult to score down low. With Oladipo and Tobias Harris doing an adequate job in the backcourt and Cauley-Stein doing his thing down low, other teams will have a difficult time scoring or defending. And in a weak Southeast, watch for the Magic to make a run for the final Playoff spot next season.

6. Sacramento Kings select SF Justice Winslow
The Kings have all the right pieces to make a run in the West: they have an above-average point guard in Darren Collison, a servicable young shooting guard in Ben McLemore, an overcompensated-yet-talented power forward in Rudy Gay, and an extraordinary center in DeMarcus Cousins; however, they don’t have a small forward to round out their starting five. Justice Winslow is the most naturally-gifted basketball player in the Draft: his intangibles and feel for the game allow him to improvise and make quick decisions. He wouldn’t do well in a situation where he would be counted on to win games or be a star. He is a great final piece to the puzzle that will, hopefully, bring the Kings out of the shadows and back to the Playoffs.

7. Denver Nuggets select SG Mario Hezonja
The first true international taken is also one of the more versatile players in this year’s draft class. Hezonja played both shooting guard and small forward during his tenure with Barcelona, two positions that the Nuggets need help in. His game is more indicative of a shooting guard, but the fact that he can play both positions effectively will make him a valued commodity on draft night. The Nuggets won’t be contending anytime soon, but this selection should reassure fans that the Nuggets are taking steps in the right direction.

8. Detroit Pistons select SF Stanley Johnson
Caron Butler is getting old and will not be playing forever. With that said, it’s time for the Pistons to look towards the future. Stanley Johnson is a talented player, but he is raw. Learning the NBA game from one of the NBA’s better veteran journeymen will give Johnson time to acclimate to the NBA game and develop his skillset to be more effective when his time comes. This pick will not make an immediate impact on the Pistons, but it will prepare the team for what lies ahead.devinBooker

9. Charlotte Hornets select SG Devin Booker
The Hornets have one of the league’s most exciting point guards in Kemba Walker and one of the East’s premier big men in Al Jefferson; however, the rest of the team is above-average at best. The Hornets’ weakest position is shooting guard, where Gerald Henderson has been dragging the team down for the past three seasons. Devin Booker is a young and talented shooter who can make an immediate impact on a team that relies heavily on their post game. Booker gives the Hornets an added dimension on the offensive side of a ball that will make the team even scarier to play against. If Zeller and MKG can improve their offensive skillset, watch for the Hornets to slip into the Playoffs as a five or six seed.

10. Miami Heat select PF Kristaps Porzingis
With Chris Bosh missing the majority of last season with blood clots and a big uncertainty as to whether or not he will return as the Bosh of old, the Heat need to prepare for his eventual demise. Porzingis is raw but talented and will be able to learn from a guy who essentially mirrors him physically. Porzingis will have the opportunity to play alongside another young frontcourt talent in Hassan Whiteside. While the Heat will most likely not be competing next season, the Heat will have a playoff-caliber frontcourt that will last for years to come.


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