Cleat Geeks

2015 NBA Mock Draft: Picks 11-20

The middle of the Draft is, in my opinion, the most important part of the Draft. This is where teams are built. This is where teams either climb out of the Lottery and into playoff contention or fall deeper and deeper into the dark abyss that is the NBA Draft Lottery. Franchises begin in the First 10, but dynasties are built in the Middle 10. Here are the middle ten selections for the 2015 NBA Draft:

11. Indiana Pacers select PF Frank Kaminsky
The 2015 National Player of the Year essentially led Wisconsin to the National Championship game last season, proving he already has the maturity necessary to be successful at the professional level. He shoots 55% from the field and averages 19 points per game, which shows his consistency and willingness to shoot the ball. His smooth stroke rivals that of many guards and gives him the ability to shoot over the top of people shorter than he, of which there are many. He can also get down in the paint, as evident by his near 9 rebounds per game and 2 blocks per game. He will be replacing David West, who will be 35 by the time next season rolls around. This will give Kaminsky a great opportunity to learn from a veteran while gaining invaluable experience in a situation where he will not be pressured to make an immediate impact.

12. Utah Jazz select C Myles Turner
The Jazz are pretty well set for the future: they have a talented young backcourt in Trey Burke and Dante Exum and an equally talented frontcourt in Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors; however, they have a center that is not nearly as talented as the other starters that surround him. Turner is a raw prospect, but has arguably the highest upside of any player taken at this stage in the draft. Turner was a defensive machine at Texas, averaging 7 rebounds and nearly 3 blocks in a conference that was one of the best in the country last season. His 6’11”, 245 pound frame coupled with a 7’4″ wingspan and 9’4″ standing reach will wreak havoc on his opponents. The future looks bright for the Jazz, and in a few seasons, could be contending with Portland and OKC for a Northwest Division Title.

Mar 14, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Sam Dekker (15) hangs onto the rim after dunking the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second half in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 14, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Sam Dekker (15) hangs onto the rim after dunking the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second half in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

13. Phoenix Suns select SF Sam Dekker
The Suns need someone who can produce now. This is why, despite the fact that Kelly Oubre has a greater upside than Sam Dekker, the Suns will select Dekker with this pick. Dekker is an experienced upperclassman who knows how to win: something that has eluded the Suns ever since Steve Nash left for greener pastures in L.A. Dekker is a 3/4 hybrid who can play multiple positions very effectively. Phoenix is looking for something, anything, to get them out of this cycle of mediocrity they have put themselves in. They have a suitable point guard in Eric Bledsoe and a frontcourt that will get them over the hump in Alex Len and Markeiff Morris, but they don’t have that “X-Factor” that will thrust the team back into playoff contention. Dekker isn’t that, but he is a player who can be a long-term talent for a team that will be in the middle of the pack for the foreseeable future.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder selects SF Kelly Oubre
A team that really doesn’t belong in this position, the Thunder don’t have many positions in dire need of improving. They have a star point guard in Russell Westbrook, an underrated shooting guard in Dion Waiters, a perennial MVP candidate in Kevin Durant, a workhorse power forward in Serge Ibaka, and a suitable big man in Enes Kanter. If the Thunder need to do anything, it is add more depth. The Thunder didn’t have anyone to back up Durant when he got injured, which wound up to be the beginning of the end for the team. Oubre is a raw talent who has the potential to be a great replacement if Durant gets injured again or departs during free agency. Oubre can learn under one of the best in the game while developing his skills in a relatively low-pressure environment.

15. Atlanta Hawks (from Brooklyn) select PF Bobby Portis
The Hawks have a lot of problems: Paul Millsap is aging and is well past his prime, Kyle Korver is 34 years old and a one-dimensional player who just underwent ankle surgery over the off-season, and Al Horford is in the final year of his contract and will undoubtedly be looking to move on. With that said, the Hawks do have a talented point guard in Jeff Teague and a much-improved small forward in DeMarre Carroll, so they are by no means a lost cause. The Hawks need to look for a guy who can hold down the paint and can take over for Paul Millsap once he leaves. Bobby Portis is as consistent as they come at the power forward position, averaging 18 points per game and shooting a solid 54% from the field. His 9 rebounds per game alone show how talented he is in the paint, but his 4 offensive rebounds give his team additional possessions and additional chances to score. With constant scoring threats in Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver in the backcourt and four talented players in the frontcourt, the Hawks can make one last run towards that elusive NBA title.

CameronPayne

Murray State Point Guard Cameron Payne.

16. Boston Celtics select PG Cameron Payne
Don’t let their playoff run fool you: the Celtics are obviously in a state of rebuilding. The first step in a rebuilding effort is to draft a young point guard who can lead a team into the future. Cameron Payne is a guy who gets results: his 20+ points per game coupled with 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals per game make him as multi-dimensional of a player as they come. He is a bit inconsistent with his shot, shooting a below-average 45%; however, he is coming from Murray State, a mid-major school where he had to shoulder the bulk of the scoring load. Payne knows how to lead a team and can operate in tight spaces, making him a perfect franchise centerpiece for Brad Stevens’ ballclub.

17. Milwaukee Bucks select C Robert Upshaw
A bit of a reach here, but the Bucks only have one major position of need. Robert Upshaw fills a gaping hole for the Bucks at center, where they have struggled for the better part of a decade. Jabari Parker is coming back from injury, and if that Gatorade commercial is any indication, he will come back better than ever. Michael Carter-Williams is very skilled and can be the point guard of the future for the Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo, better known as the “Greek Freak”, is in the prime of his career. But the club’s current big man, Zaza Pachulia, is old and just not talented enough to be the big man of the future for the Bucks. At 7’0″ and over 260 pounds, Upshaw is a physical phenom. His 8 rebounds and 5 blocks (yes, five) per game make him one of the most talented and imposing defenders in recent memory. The only downside to Upshaw is that he is not a prolific scorer, averaging just under 11 points per game. But with Jabari Parker back in the lineup and the Greek Freak just hitting his stride, an immediate scoring threat is not crucial to the long-term success of the Bucks.

18. Houston Rockets (from New Orleans) select PG Tyus Jones
The Rockets are one of the league’s most talented teams, headlined by James Harden and supported by big men Josh Smith and Dwight Howard. The only position the team is lagging behind in is the point guard position, where Patrick Beverley has been scraping by for the past two or three years. Tyus Jones, while not a great scorer, can pass and defend with the best of them. His 12 points and 6 assists per game made him one of the country’s premier point guards last season and playing alongside James Harden in the backcourt will make Jones that much better. While the point guard position is still the Rockets’ weakest position, the addition of Tyus Jones will close the talent gap between position groups.

kevonLooney

UCLA Power Forward Kevon Looney.

19. Washington Wizards select PF Trey Lyles
Nene is not the dominating post threat he once was. With that said, he still has a good year or two left in him where he can positively impact the team. Trey Lyles isn’t an NBA-ready prospect quite yet, but he can be a quality starter if the Wizards let him develop and adjust to the pace of the NBA game. Nene knows how to play the game and can teach the young Lyles, who is nearly identical to the Nene of the early-to-mid-2000s in terms of his physical stature and initial skillset.

20. Toronto Raptors select PF Kevon Looney
A much more NBA-ready talent, Kevon Looney is a guy who can step in and make an immediate impact on a club that is ready to take the next step. Looney averaged a near double-double at UCLA and is mature beyond his years. He will be surrounded by young talent, which is beneficial for the Raptors since he doesn’t require the NCAA-to-NBA transition period that Trey Lyles will. He is not superstar-material and will not have as good of a career as Lyles, but for a team that needs immediate production, Kevon Looney is the right pick.

 

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