Zzaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? Don’t say peeeeeeeeee! That’s gross. What we’re going to bring you here, boys and girls, is a slow 2015 NBA Mock Draft … with a fantasy basketball slant, of course! The way it’s going to work is it’s going to be like a slow leak. Like a helium balloon that slowly sinks out of the sky day after day until it’s just sitting there on the floor all sad looking and shit. We have assembled a tidy little crew of fantasy sports writers to participate in this slow mock NBA draft. Such luminaries as @jfort753, @wetlkftsysprts, @fantasynomad, @afeingold, @MatthewRBeck, @Mike_WeTalkFS and others will be taking their sweet ole time researching each team’s needs, player’s skills and what not before making a distinguished pick. As each said luminary makes his said distinguished pick, I’ll be updating the mock draft and tweeting to let you know a new pick has been made so you can come back and read all about it. Groovy!
I’ll be picking first on behalf of the Minnesota Timberwolves and, let’s face it, only Flip Saunders knows who he’s going to take. He may take Jahlil Okafor or he may not! Does Flip want immediate gratification like a two minute sex session or does he want to be groped a little bit like a girl trying to get some sleep only to ultimately wake up in the morning and have sweet, sweet love made to her over and over again all day long? Say whaT?????
Mr. Towns only played 21 minutes per game as a freshman but on a per 40 minute basis averaged 20 points (52% FG and 82% FT), 13 boards, 4.4 blocks and 2.2 assists. Ah-choo! Oh, no, you didn’t! You didn’t sneeze, son!
Towns’ defense should make an immediate fantasy impact but expect his offensive game to come along slower while he develops more low-post moves and improves his foot work. He will also have to learn to stay out of foul trouble (he fouled out 6 times this past season) and will have to work on the mental part of his game. Night in and night out consistency may be an issue so expect some disappearing acts his first season. Like Houdini!
Combined with young exciting players Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Shabazz Mohammed, Zach Lavine, Anthony Bennett and Gorgui Deng and a few veterans I don’t really care to name right now, the T-Wolves look to be a perennial playoff caliber team. Get your jersey now!
My college buddy (and fraternity brother) Larry Berger from USA Today Sports interviewed Towns on lottery draft night. Here’s what he had to say.
Alternate pick: Jahlil Okafor. As if you didn’t know!
2. Los Angeles Lakers – Jahlil Okafor – PF/C
Keith Lott @wetlkfntsysprts
Okafor led Duke to a NCAA National Championship and even though he was deemed the #1 pick heading into the season, Karl-Anthony Towns stood out thanks to his defensive prowess. Okafor will have no problem scoring the basketball, shooting 66% from the field at Duke, but he will get the Hack-A-Howard/Jordan treatment due to his poor free throw shooting (51%).
Okafor will definitely have an impact on fantasy basketball next season.
The Lakers drafted Julius Randle with the 7th overall pick in 2014. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken leg just 14 minutes into his NBA debut and missed the rest of the season. 6’11 (7’5 wingspan, 9’2 ½ standing reach) Okafor will have to play Center next to 6’9 Randle, but together they will give the Lakers one of the most talented front courts in the NBA.
It is doubtful that Ed Davis picks up his $1 mil player option, leaving the Lakers with a Randle coming off an injury, Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly, Tarik Black and Jordan Hill if they decide to pick up his $9 mil team option. Okafor is HUGE need, plus the best player available.
With the inevitable retirement of Kobe Bryant in the near future, the Lakers are a few years and a free agent signing away from being a playoff team with title aspirations. Kevin Durant?
hec’s alternate pick: Karl Towns or D’Angelo Russell - G
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Emmanuel Mudiay – PG
Michael Pichan @fantasynomad (write up by hecman)
Eschewing (eschewing!) the more popular mock draft picks of D’Angelo Russell or Kristaps Porzingis, Michael Pichan a/k/a the Fantasy Nomad, is predicting that the Philadelphia 76ers will select 6’5, 19 year old point guard Emmanuel Mudiay with the number 3 pick. Bold! While I don’t necessarily think Mr. Pichan’s prediction will come true, let’s talk about Emmanuel anyway. Like a bunch of gossip mongers!
Rather than head to SMU for his freshman season, Emmanuel found 1.2 millions reasons to head over to China instead. The man knows how to count! I’m assuming. Anyhoo! After just 9 games of a 37 game season, Mudiay injured his ankle and missed the rest of the regular season before returning for a couple of playoff games. Ho hum. Small sample size! That’s what she said! His strengths appear to be his size, speed and athleticism. He’s shown the ability to play physical basketball and take the ball to the hoop. His ball handling and transition game are above-average and he’s always played the point guard position so distributing the basketball isn’t something unusual for him. His greatest weakness right now is his outside shooting and he appears to have gone to the Rajon Rondo School of Free Throw Shooting on a full scholarship. Hopefully, these weaknesses will improve over time.
Whoever lands this kid could have a real franchise type point guard on their hands … over time.
hec’s alternate pick: D’Angelo Russell or Kristaps Porzingis
4. New York Knicks – Willie Cauley-Stein – C
Matthew Beck @MatthewRBeck
Write up to follow!
hec’s alternate pick: D’Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay
5. Orlando Magic – Justise Winslow – SF
Mike Lott @Mike_WeTalkFS
With the #5 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic select Justise Winslow from Duke University. It’s hard to pass up on guard D’Angelo Russell, but he was not a fit for the Magic. Winslow will fit nicely in Orlando and give the Magic a ridiculously talented, youthful, 1-2-3 punch of Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and now Winslow.
With his ability to play defense, and his improved offense that we all saw when he helped Duke win a National Championship, Winslow is a potential star in this league and could be the best player in this draft class. Winslow shot 42% from 3pt range in his one year at Duke, which will allow the Magic to space the floor, something they desperately need.
The Magic have been setting a trend, by picking the best athletes and the guys who show the most heart on the court. Let’s not forget that they drafted Aaron Gordon who also has potential to be a very good player in the NBA.
Orlando could be a huge threat in the East in a few years, once their young core of players begin to mature.
hec’s alternate pick: Kristaps Porzingis - C
6. Sacramento Kings – D’Angelo Russell – G
Donovan James @donjamessports
Write up to follow!
hec’s alternate pick: Willie Cauley-Stein, Justise Winslow or Emmanuel Mudiay (sorry!)
7. Denver Nuggets – Mario Hezonja – SG/SF
John Fortney @jfort753
With the 7th pick Denver Nuggets select Mario Hezonja from Croatia. Mario, or “The Beast” is a 20 year old 6’8” 200 lb wing who has all the tools to be a game changer for any NBA squad. The kid has played sparingly for FC Barcelona this year, but if you were to go check out the tape, he is very impressive to say the least. Hezonja has the size, speed, and strength physically to be a very poor man’s Lebron James. His shot resembles a Klay Thompson, which is very fluid and repetitive. If he can come anywhere near of Thompson’s accuracy, he can be a very good two guard in the league at worst. He has the ability to play the one, two, or three and has the ability to play solid defense while racking up the steals and blocks with his athleticism.
Mario is also a very good finisher around the rim and is the ultimate competitor who will back down to no one which could possibly be one of his downfalls. His Ego. Here’s a quote from Hezonja in 2014 – “Respect? No, I never had respect to anybody on a basketball court,” “I heard about: ‘If they smell blood, you get eaten.’ I’m not like that. I don’t care. Whether it’s a veteran or a young player standing in front of me, I always have the same goal. I want to run over everybody.” Take this as you will, but to me it shows he’s fearless, competitive, and motivated, unlike a Darko Milicic type. Hopefully maturation and leadership comes along as he is only 20 years old. It also could be the death of him if it hinders his relationship with his coaches or teammates.
As for the Nuggets, they should be looking for a culture changing player to build around as they rebuild themselves. After just hiring a new coach in Mike Malone, the front office must be looking to concentrate talent with the hodge podge of “just above average” players they possess. I expect the Nuggets to make a move or two in the draft and possibly offload a Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, or Wilson Chandler to improve their rosters with draft picks. If the Nuggets do indeed stay at the seven spot I would expect them to take the chance with the huge potential in Hezonja.
hec’s alternate pick: Justise Winslow or Stanley Johnson- SF
8. Detroit Pistons – Kevon Looney – F
Michael Pichan @fantasynomad (Write up by hecman)
While most mock drafts don’t have the 6”9, power forward (?) from UCLA going anywhere near number 8, Mr. Pichan (like his number 3 pick) has again zigged when everyone else is zagging. The biggest issue with Kevon is he’s seen as a possible tweener. Nobody likes a tweener! That’s what she said! Anyhoo! He will need to build upper body strength to bang with the big boys in the NBA. I see him as more of a reserve initially in his rookie year so his fantasy upside is limited. Boo hoo. The more likely Detroit pick, IMO!, could be Stanley Johnson or whoever slides from the picks above. Obvious!
hec’s alternate pick: Mario Hezonja or Stanley Johnson
9. Charlotte Hornets – Frank Kaminsky – F
John Fortney @jfort753
With the 9th pick in the NBA draft the Charlotte Hornets select Frank Kaminsky from Wisconsin.
The Hornets could use another big man and will get a very versatile big man in Frank Kaminsky. The former Badger is polished and improved every year at Wisconsin and will produce immediately. With the aging Al Jefferson’s contract expiring after the 2015-2016 season, this would be a perfect fit to an already young Hornet team. In the NCAA National title game, the big man held his own against arguably the best player in college basketball, Jahlil Okafor, going for 21 and 12 and contributing across the board. Frank shot 41% from three his senior year so he should be a legit pick and pop guy wherever he lands. Kaminsky is a legit seven foot with no shoes on, but will need to develop his body more to take the beating of playing down on the block on a regular basis. Kaminsky also needs to improve his footwork and low post defense which can be developed in his first few years in the league. If the Hornets are smart, they will take the more developed and instant contributor in Frank Kaminsky.
hec’s alternate pick: Cameron Payne G or Devin Booker SG
10. Miami Heat – Stanley Johnson – F
Andrew Feingold @afeingold
To me Johnson is a least a Top 8 pick so I viewed this as a value selection. Dwayne Wade could be leaving in free agency and Luol Deng has a player option. What Johnson brings is positional versatility and defense. The Heat averaged the fewest rebounds per game (39.1) last regular season. Granted this number should go up with Hassan Whiteside available for a full season. In terms of skill set and size the former Wildcat has been linked to the style of Draymond Green.
hec’s alternate pick: Willie Cauley-Stein or Devin Booker
11. Indiana Pacers – Myles Turner – C/PF
Hey David West, you old! Roy Hibbert, you pregnant! Or something like that. While both West and Hibbert are fully expected to pick up their player options for 2015/16 (duh!) the Pacers must secure their front court future and the 19 year old University of Texas product fits the bill. Mind you this pick portends (portends!) that Kristaps Porzingis was already selected even though this mock draft doesn’t have him picked yet (as if!). Anyway, let’s talk about Myles! Coming in just shy of 7′ and with a 7’4 wingspan, Turner’s shot blocking ability (2.6 BPG) should make an immediate impact when he’s on the floor but he’ll need to toughen up in the paint against more athletic big men and learn to defend the pick and roll better. Offensively, his shooting range is an asset and he’s a solid free throw shooter for a big man (83.9% FT). His weaknesses are a concern over his mobility which he attributes to poor running mechanics and his tendency to settle for mid-range jump shots instead of utilizing his size around the basket. Like most young big men, he’ll also need to develop more low post moves which should (hopefully!) come over time.
I would be remiss if I didn’t add Indiana is also very high on guard Cameron Payne and if he’s not already gone, it would not surprise me if they went small and grabbed Payne over Turner. These mock drafts really suck. Anything can happen!
hec’s alternate pick: Cameron Payne or Frank Kaminsky
12. Utah Jazz – Devin Booker – SG
Keith Lott @wetlkfntsysprts
The Utah Jazz lost Alec Burks last season to injury, and that led to Joe Ingles making 32 starts. With Gordon Hayward locked in at the SF position, a PG duo of Trey Burke and Dante Exum and Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert in the front court, the Jazz have a bright future. Adding Kentucky product Devin Booker to Rodney Hood off the bench as lethal knock down shooters, the Jazz are ready to compete in the Wild Wild West.
Booker may not get the necessary minutes required to be fantasy relevant during the 2015-16 season, but when he does earn that time, he will be a 3pt specialist.
Utah could draft a backup big man here like Bobby Portis or Trey Lyles, but they are better suited finding one via free agency like Brandon Bass or bring back Carlos Boozer for one last hurrah!
hec’s alternate pick: Trey Lyles – PF
13. Phoenix Suns - Bobby Portis – PF
Matthew Beck @matthewrbeck
hec’s alternate pick: Devin Booker (if the pick isn’t traded)
14. Oklahoma City Thunder – Kristaps Porzingis – F
Andrew Feingold @afeingold
The 7’1 European is going Top 5 in most mocks and you can see this is another value selection. The Thunder already have bigs in Enes Kanter, Mitch McGary, Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams but none are Porzingis. The Latvian has received rave reviews from his recent workout for the Lakers. After watching workout videos on the 19-year old I can see why scouts feel he has tremendous potential. If Porzingis is gone as we all expect, I can see OKC grabbing Wisconsin SF Sam Dekker or Kansas SF Kelly Oubre. As hec might say, “Let’s see!”
hec’s alternate pick: Sam Dekker or Kelly Oubre (if the pick isn’t traded)
15. Atlanta Hawks – Trey Lyles – PF
Mike Lott @Mike_WeTalkFS
Write up to follow!
hec’s alternate pick: Bobby Portis
Here are the rest of the projected picks