Metro’s Final 2015 NBA Mock Draft based off of three months of mocks from several different Metro sports writers. The 2015 NBA Draft is Thursday, June 25 (7 p.m., ESPN).
1. Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, PF, Kentucky: After months of speculation, the Timberwolves go with the player most pundits have identified as the best in this draft class. Already an elite defender, Towns’ offensive game has shown flashes of greatness.
2. Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke: The Lakers could immediately make the leap as a playoff team (even in the loaded West) with Okafor aboard. He’s great in the post and L.A. could have a lethal inside-outside game with Kobe looking to end his career in style.
3.76ers: D’Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State: Sam Hinkie is in the asset-acquiring business and Russell is a hell of an asset. The combo-guard has drawn comparisons to Penny Hardaway and would give the Sixers a legit force in the backcourt to go along with their talented, young big men.
4. Knicks: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China: Mudiay was the early favorite for the Knicks when they got stuck with this pick but the point guard has slipped in recent weeks. Unless a team blows New York away with a trade offer, it’s likely they’ll “settle” on this potential franchise-changer.
5. Magic: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke: He’s a great athlete who checks all the boxes for size, speed, athleticism and defensive prowess. But he can coast at times and isn’t yet a consistent scorer. He very well could be the next Rudy Gay – a very good, but not great NBA player.
6. Kings: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia: Every draft has that international man of mystery and most times, it doesn’t work out. Draft folk have been drooling over this guy – who, of course, has drawn comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki.
7. Nuggets: Mario Hezonja, SG, Croatia: It will be hard to pass up the opportunity to take a guy who was considered Europe’s best prospect two years ago. Denver needs just about everything right now, so they can’t get picky with positions.
8. Pistons: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky: Sharp-shooting is in style thanks to the Warriors’ run to the title this past season. Booker is dynamite behind the stripe, but he could fall because of a lack of great athleticism.
9. Hornets: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky: If there is no trade before No. 9, the first of the night will likely happen here. Cauley-Stein’s defense is coveted by many teams. If the Hornets were to actually take him though, he would fit nicely next to Al Jefferson in the frontcourt.
10. Heat: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin: If Chris Bosh returns healthy to Miami and the Heat were to draft Kaminsky …. hello matchup problems! That’s on the offensive end, of course. Defensively, well, that’s another story.
11.Pacers: Myles Turner, C, Texas: Like Cauley-Stein, Turner is a true disruptor around the basket as his 7-foot-4 wingspan and astonishing 9-foot-4 standing reach could be a real help for Indiana.
12. Jazz: Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin: Dekker is the type of player who doesn’t make mistakes. But he’ll never wow you. Utah could very well trade out of this spot.
13. Suns: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas: The Suns inexplicably gutted their roster at the trade deadline last season, even though they were within arm’s reach of the playoffs. There is a need for wing help, specifically on defense and Oubre would fill that need.
14. Thunder: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State: The slight southpaw may lack in physical stature (180 pounds) but he’s uncanny at creating for others and attacking a defense’s interior. Unlike Reggie Jackson, Payne offers a true backup option at point guard for OKC.
15.Hawks Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona: Johnson has drawn comparisons to Ron Artest. It’s clear Atlanta needs a LeBron stopper if it ever hopes to get by the Cavaliers in the East.
16. Celtics: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky: This could be the second straight year the Celtics take a Kentucky afterthought (they took James Young in the draft last year). It’s not a bad strategy considering Lyles would have been the best player on almost any other team in the college game last season.
17. Bucks: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas: Speaking of Kentucky, did you know that a Wildcat did NOT win the SEC Player of the Year award last season? It was this guy, Portis, who owns a great motor.
18. Rockets: Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA: If the Rockets were to add Looney, opposing teams may never get an offensive rebound again. Great on the boards, he would look imposing next to Dwight Howard.
19. Wizards: Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia: He already knows how to play defense, after spending his time at Virginia, so Anderson would step right into a swingman rotation that will need to fill the void once Paul Pierce finally retires.
20. Raptors: Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville: The rugged Harrell would be a great fit on a Raptors squad that wilted under the playoff stresses. He’s as tough as they come.
21. Mavericks: Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville: Rozier is in the mold of current Mavericks guard Monta Ellis as he’s a creative scorer and is always in attack mode. As Dirk Nowitzki enters the twilight of his career, the Mavs need more scoring pop any way they can get it.
22. Bulls: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV: Vaughn is young (18-years-old), but could help the Bulls if Jimmy Butler goes elsewhere. With Tom Thibodeau gone, Chicago’s offense is about to get a make-over.
23. Trail Blazers: Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame: Grant would be a “safe” pick for Portland, as the Notre Dame senior will never be an All-Star but should be a solid rotation guy for a few years.
24. Cavaliers: RJ Hunter, SG, Georgia State: LeBron liked Shabazz Napier last year, so Miami drafted him. LeBron probably likes Hunter (the 2015 NCAA tournament buzz guy), so Cleveland will probably draft him.
25. Grizzlies: Christian Wood, PF, UNLV: Describing Wood as “lanky” would be generous. He desperately needs to bulk up.
26. Spurs: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV: UNLV pulls off a rare feat for their program with back-to-back picks. Vaughn is young but the Spurs are the best at seasoning youngsters.
27.Lakers: Delon Wright, PG, Utah: Wright is NBA ready, perfect for a Lakers team that will want to win next year with Kobe on his way out. The Utah point guard is the brother of Trail Blazer Dorrell Wright.
28. Celtics: Tyus Jones, PG, Duke: Jones was in “slide mode” to start this week, but things change in a hurry during draft week. The knock on Jones is his lack of athleticism.
29. Nets: Andrew Harrison, G, Kentucky: He has NBA skills and has been groomed for the next level since childhood. But he’s a streaky shooter who seems to pout when he’s in a slump.
30. Warriors: Norman Powell, SG, UCLA: The Warriors can never have too much offense under Steve Kerr. Powell is a seasoned and creative scorer.