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2015 NBA Draft

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2015 NBA Draft
Pick Team Player Jeff Eisenberg Commentary
1 (1) Minnesota Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns
C
Height:
7-0
Weight:
248
School:
Kentucky
DraftExpress:
1

The Towns vs. Jahlil Okafor debate faded recently as NBA personnel fell in love with the versatile ex-Kentucky big man. Towns shined in the paint for the Wildcats, protecting the rim with his ability to alter shots at one end and bullying big men for low-post baskets at the other. He will never be as brilliant a back-to-the-basket scorer as Okafor, but he runs the floor well, moves more fluidly defending the perimeter and is capable of knocking down mid-range jumpers. Marc J. Spears' grade: A+.

2 (2) LA Lakers D'Angelo Russell
D'Angelo Russell
PG
Height:
6-5
Weight:
193
School:
Ohio State
DraftExpress:
3

Once considered a tick or two below some of the elite players in his class, Russell ascended draft boards this winter thanks to a brilliant freshman season. He has the quickness and vision to run the point in the NBA yet also possesses the shooting ability and scoring instincts to thrive off ball too. Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

3 (3) Philadelphia Jahlil Okafor
Jahlil Okafor
C
Height:
6-11
Weight:
272
School:
Duke
DraftExpress:
2

How did Okafor enter the college season as the consensus No. 1 pick, put up huge numbers in leading Duke to a national title and still slip? Concerns about his pick-and-roll defense and free-throw shooting is the most obvious explanation. The 76ers already have former top-five picks Nerlens Noel and and Joel Embiid, but they couldn't resist adding Okafor too when he fell to them. Now they have to either find a trade partner or hope that Okafor's array of polished low-post moves outweigh his other flaws. Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

4 (4) New York
Kristaps Porzingis
PF
Height:
7-0
Weight:
220
Sch/Ctry:
Latvia
DraftExpress:
10

Much to the chagrin of a jeering New York crowd, the Knicks got a 7-foot forward from Latvia who has played in Spain, speaks perfect English and has rocketed up draft boards the past few months. Porzingis is certainly a high-risk pick, yet his potential is tantalizing. The 19-year-old is long, athletic, graceful and equally adept at shooting threes, attacking the rim and blocking shots. Marc J. Spears' grade: B+.

5 (5) Orlando Mario Hezonja
Mario Hezonja
SG
Height:
6-8
Weight:
200
Sch/Ctry:
Croatia
DraftExpress:
5

He did not play much for European power Barcelona this past season, but the headstrong 20-year-old flashed immense offensive potential when he did get on the floor. He's athletic enough to blow by a defender off the dribble, yet a deadly enough shooter to force opponents to guard him out to the 3-point line. If the Magic are patient, this could be a high-value pick. Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

6 (6) Sacramento Willie Cauley-Stein
Willie Cauley-Stein
C
Height:
7-1
Weight:
242
School:
Kentucky
DraftExpress:
6

If DeMarcus Cousins is truly on his way out of Sacramento, then the Kings may have turned to his alma mater to nab his replacement. Cauley-Stein won't be the polished scorer that Cousins is, but the 7-footer is a defensive menace. He has the size and strength to hold his position on the low block against centers, the timing and athleticism to alter shots in the paint and the quickness and footwork to stay in front of guards on the pick-and-roll. Marc J. Spears' grade: B.

7 (7) Denver Emmanuel  Mudiay
Emmanuel Mudiay
PG
Height:
6-5
Weight:
200
Sch/Ctry:
DRC
DraftExpress:
4

Emmanuel Mudiay: Either Denver intends to play two point guards whose strength is attacking off the dribble, or Ty Lawson may be on his way out. Mudiay is an elite point guard who originally signed with SMU but skipped college and played professionally in China last season. He is a big and strong but an erratic shooter. Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

8 (8) Detroit Stanley Johnson
Stanley Johnson
SF
Height:
6-7
Weight:
242
School:
Arizona
DraftExpress:
8

Johnson became a high school phenom and a college standout by overpowering smaller wings off the dribble and finishing with aplomb in transition. He will still be capable on defense and dangerous in transition in the NBA, but it will be interesting to see how he fares facing defenders of his size and strength. A knock-down jumper would certainly help, and perhaps with time Johnson will develop one. Marc J. Spears' grade: B.

9 (9) Charlotte Frank  Kaminsky
Frank Kaminsky
PF
Height:
7-1
Weight:
231
School:
Wisconsin
DraftExpress:
9

He ascended from unheralded recruit to national player of the year by transforming himself into college basketball's biggest matchup problem. If he faced a traditional center, he'd float to the perimeter and rain down jumpers. If he faced a smaller, quicker player, he'd back him down and score in the paint. Kaminsky may not be an elite defender or rebounder in the NBA, but he should remain a multidimensional scoring threat. Marc J. Spears' grade: B.

10 (10) Miami Justise Winslow
Justise Winslow
SF
Height:
6-7
Weight:
222
School:
Duke
DraftExpress:
7

While Winslow has drawn many comparisons to former ex-Kentucky standout Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the former Duke star has a more diverse set of skills. He's almost as multidimensional a defender as Kidd-Gilchrist, yet he also is a solid slasher, an improving shooter and dynamic in transition. The only concern is that much of Winslow's production at Duke came as an undersized power forward, so he'll have to prove he can take quicker wings off the dribble in the NBA. Marc J. Spears' grade: A+.

11 (11) Indiana Myles Turner
Myles Turner
C
Height:
7-0
Weight:
239
School:
Texas
DraftExpress:
11

He has already proven he can swat shots. Now he'll have to try to swat away questions about his durability and his potential to impact the game on offense. The 19-year-old center was considered one of the elite players in his class when he signed with Texas, but he made only a modest impact on offense for the Longhorns, often fading against top teams. The form on his outside shot is solid yet he made only 27 percent of his threes. Marc J. Spears grade: B.

12 (12) Utah Trey Lyles
Trey Lyles
PF
Height:
6-10
Weight:
241
School:
Kentucky
DraftExpress:
18

Still somewhat of a mystery because the ex-Kentucky forward had to contort his game to fit the role UK needed him to play last season. The Wildcats had a glut of frontcourt talent, so Lyles became a 6-foot-10 small forward in a two-post offense. While he isn't a liability defending the perimeter, his more natural position in the NBA is probably power forward. The skilled, versatile rookie should add to the strength of an already formidable Utah frontcourt. Marc J. Spears' grade: A+.

13 (13) Phoenix Devin Booker
Devin Booker
SG
Height:
6-6
Weight:
206
School:
Kentucky
DraftExpress:
12

The John Calipari infomercial continued Thursday night when Booker became the fourth Kentucky player selected in the lottery. Booker is an elite shooter with good size for his position. He has a chance to develop into a Klay Thompson-esque wing if his defense and ability to create off the dribble develop. Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

14 (14) Oklahoma City Cameron Payne
Cameron Payne
PG
Height:
6-2
Weight:
183
School:
Murray State
DraftExpress:
20

From Damian Lillard, to C.J. McCollum, to Elfrid Payton, the past few drafts have featured mid-major guards who ascended from obscurity. The latest to join that group is Murray State's star, a combo guard who enjoyed a breakout sophomore season for the Racers. Payne soared up draft boards this spring because of his ability to pass or score. Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

15 (15) Washington Kelly Oubre
Kelly Oubre
SF
Height:
6-7
Weight:
203
School:
Kansas
DraftExpress:
16

From his jewel-studded shoes, to his red suit, to his bold words, Oubre isn't lacking confidence. He told ESPN Thursday that he's a jewel and the team that got him is winning the title. Those comments will only add to Oubre's reputation as an enigma. He was the rare top-10 prospect who scarcely saw playing time his first two months at Kansas before blossoming into a contributor by midseason. Marc J. Spears' grade: C+.

16 (16) Boston Terry Rozier
Terry Rozier
PG
Height:
6-2
Weight:
190
School:
Louisville
DraftExpress:
47

This was a surprising pick only because Rozier lacks an obvious NBA position. He doesn't have the pass-first mentality of a classic point guard, yet he's neither big enough, nor a consistent enough shooter to project as an elite wing. What Rozier does do well is get to the basket and defend. Perhaps that will be enough for him to carve a niche. Marc J. Spears' grade: C.

17 (17) Milwaukee Rashad Vaughn
Rashad Vaughn
SG
Height:
6-5
Weight:
199
School:
UNLV
DraftExpress:
38

A Milwaukee team in need of instant offense may have found some here. The UNLV wing averaged 17.8 points per game as a freshman and showcased deep range and an ability to score off the dribble before suffering a season-ending injury in mid-February. This was a little higher than many expected Vaughn to go, yet he has the scoring punch to one day justify it. Marc J. Spears' grade: C.

18 (18) Houston Sam  Dekker
Sam Dekker
SF
Height:
6-9
Weight:
219
School:
Wisconsin
DraftExpress:
21

There won't be 17 players in this draft better than Dekker. The former Wisconsin standout enjoyed a brilliant NCAA tournament, leading the Badgers all the way to the national title game. His jumper can be erratic and his defense is merely average, but Dekker will likely thrive in a more free-flowing NBA system after being kept on a tight leash at Wisconsin. Marc J. Spears' grade: B.

19 (19) New York Jerian Grant
Jerian Grant
PG
Height:
6-5
Weight:
198
School:
Notre Dame
DraftExpress:
15

While Grant's ability to create for himself or his teammates off the dribble makes him an excellent value for the Knicks, this could be a case of a good player landing in a system that doesn't fit him. Grant may have been the best PG in the draft exploiting screens. He landed with a team that favors Phil Jackson's triangle offense, a system that uses hardly any screens. Marc J. Spears' grade: B.

20 (20) Toronto Delon Wright
Delon Wright
PG
Height:
6-6
Weight:
181
School:
Utah
DraftExpress:
28

He may not be the best shooter or the most explosive athlete in this draft, but few prospects make better decisions with the ball in their hands. Wright displayed excellent court vision coming off screens, sometimes calling his own number but more often finding an open teammate. He also impacts a game with his defense. Marc J. Spears' grade: B.

21 (21) Dallas Justin Anderson
Justin Anderson
SF
Height:
6-6
Weight:
231
School:
Virginia
DraftExpress:
23

The big question with Anderson: Was his improvement as a shooter a one-year mirage? He shot 48.5 percent on threes as a junior before getting hurt, a huge step up over his 30 percent from behind the arc as a sophomore. If Anderson remains a knock-down shooter, his size, strength and defensive prowess makes him a prototypical three and D guy in the NBA. Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

22 (22) Chicago Bobby Portis
Bobby Portis
PF
Height:
6-11
Weight:
246
School:
Arkansas
DraftExpress:
17

With Taj Gibson on the shelf for four months after ankle surgery, the Bulls landed some frontcourt insurance. They selected the reigning SEC player of the year. Portis won't wow anyone with his athleticism, but the big man handles the ball well and makes shots. He'll compete for playing time behind Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic. Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

23 (23) Brooklyn Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
SF
Height:
6-7
Weight:
211
School:
Arizona
DraftExpress:
13

For a guy with a nonexistant jumper, Hollis-Jefferson could still be a high-value pick this low in the draft. Not only is he an elite defender capable of locking down point guards and wings, he also passes and rebounds well for his position and finishes deftly at the rim. Hollis-Jefferson has a good chance to have a Tony Allen-like NBA career even if his outside shot never becomes a threat. Marc J. Spears' grade: A.

24 (24) Minnesota Tyus Jones
Tyus Jones
PG
Height:
6-2
Weight:
185
School:
Duke
DraftExpress:
14

Three months after leading Duke to a national championship as a freshman, Tyus Jones' fairytale basketball career somehow got even better. The Minnesota native is coming home after being selected by his hometown Timberwolves. Jones is neither very big nor very athletic, but he makes up for it with savvy decisions and a knack for sinking huge shots at key moments. He'll struggle on defense, but with the game on the line, he seldom misses. Marc J. Spears' grade: C+.

25 (25) Memphis Jarell Martin
Jarell Martin
PF
Height:
6-9
Weight:
239
School:
LSU
DraftExpress:
39

Perhaps it's good that Martin is going to the Grind House because he could use some more grind. Martin is a talented face-up forward, but he didn't play much defense at LSU and he'd sometimes vanish for long stretches. Joining a Memphis team renowned for its effort and defensive prowess could be good for him. If he emulates his teammates in those areas, he can be an impact player. Marc J. Spears' grade: D.

26 (26) San Antonio Nikola Milutinov
Nikola Milutinov
C
Height:
7-0
Weight:
220
Sch/Ctry:
Serbia
DraftExpress:
33

To the surprise of nobody, San Antonio drafted a foreign prospect who will remain overseas for a couple years yet could pay off long-term. Milutinov runs the court well, has good footwork and scores capably in the paint. Taking him and stashing him in Europe will save salary cap room that the Spurs can devote to a free agent this summer. Marc J. Spears' grade: C.

27 (27) LA Lakers Larry Nance
Larry Nance
PF
Height:
6-9
Weight:
227
School:
Wyoming
DraftExpress:
64

He was an unexpected pick, but there may be some method to the Lakers' madness. The son of the former Cavs star led Wyoming to the NCAA tournament this past season after recovering from an ACL tear the previous year. He is an NBA-caliber athlete versatile enough to do a little bit of everything, from defending multiple positions, to knocking down open mid-range shots, to finishing above the rim. Marc J. Spears' grade: D.

28 (28) Boston R.J.  Hunter
R.J. Hunter
SG
Height:
6-6
Weight:
185
School:
Georgia State
DraftExpress:
26

Boston already added a strong perimeter defender in Terry Rozier. It added a shooter to go with him. NCAA tournament darling R.J. Hunter didn't shoot a high percentage this past season, but some of that was a result of the Panthers' need for him to shoot early and often. While the wing isn't an elite athlete, he can be a weapon in the NBA as a spot-up shooter. Marc J. Spears grade: B.

29 (29) Brooklyn Chris McCullough
Chris McCullough
PF
Height:
6-9
Weight:
199
School:
Syracuse
DraftExpress:
30

He has some upside because of his length and athleticism, but it may be a while before he is capable of contributing. Not only is he recovering from a torn ACL that cost him the second half of his freshman season, the forward sometimes looked lost on the floor even before his injury. He averaged 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds before getting hurt. Marc J. Spears' grade: C.

30 (30) Golden State Kevon Looney
Kevon Looney
PF
Height:
6-9
Weight:
222
School:
UCLA
DraftExpress:
19

Whether concern over a hip injury that could require surgery proves valid or not, Looney is outstanding value for the Warriors. The NBA champs are getting a mid-first-round value at No. 30 and they don't really need him to contribute next season anyway. Looney didn't create his own shot in the traditional sense very often as a freshman at UCLA, but he found ways to impact the game with his rebounding, defense and an increasingly reliable jump shot. Marc J. Spears' grade: C.