Draft night is upon us and I am here to give you pick-by-pick coverage of the 2015 NBA Draft. I will be updating this thread after every pick that is made. I will give a brief analysis of each team’s pick, as well as my prediction for whom the Pacers will select.
So tune into ESPN and follow along here for coverage throughout the night, and make sure to check out my Pacers draft preview from earlier in the week.
No. 1 Overall Pick – Minnesota Timberwolves
KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS – Center, Kentucky
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as Towns has been projected to be the top pick for several weeks now. It’s a pretty good pick. I expect the Lakers to take Jahlil Okafor at No. 2
If he is still there, I’m expecting the Pacers to take Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky at No. 11. With David West now gone, he would help some in the size department, though he still has a lot of room to improve on defense. But his draft stock has been quickly rising over the last week or two, so he may not be available that late for Indiana.
No. 2 – Los Angeles Lakers
D’ANGELO RUSSELL – PG, Ohio State
Well, that was a bit of a surprise. The Lakers opted to take Russell instead of the huge Okafor. He will actually fit pretty well in the Lakers’ system, though. Jay Bilas calls him an “effortless scorer.” Hard to disagree there. Now I’m starting to wonder if Okafor might slide a little further. Probably not, but you never know on draft night.
These first couple picks aren’t going to change my mind much on Kaminsky. Sticking with him. For now.
No. 3 – Philadelphia 76ers
JAHLIL OKAFOR – Center, Duke
No surprise at all. I think he completes one scary front court for the 76ers with Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. Things are starting to look up in Philly, but the rest of the night remains crucial for them to get some more support.
Just as a reminder, I think the Pacers should take Frank Kaminsky if he is available at No. 11, but I’m thinking more and more that he’ll probably go a little bit earlier. That leaves several players on the radar, including Murray State’s Cameron Payne, Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker, and even Texas’s Myles Turner.
No. 4 – New York Knicks
Kristaps Porzingis – Forward, Latvia
Porzingis is the first international pick in tonight’s draft. Rece Davis pointed out that Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki were the first international lottery picks, and says he could be on the same track. Porzingis is 7-foot-1, but very skinny. A lot of room for improvement, but he looks pretty promising.
Not much will change for me until a few more picks are made.
No. 5 – Orlando Magic
Mario Hezonja – SG, Croatia
So, we’ve got two back-to-back international players. Hezonja is apparently a great three-point shooter. It takes a lot of guts for a team to gamble on an international player, but I guess the 20-year-old is a pretty safe pick. He should help Orlando spread the floor, which is what they need to do with guys like Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo running the show right now.
Seeing a guy like Hezonja jump up makes me stand firm with my Kaminsky prediction, but with a little caution. The Kings, Nuggets and Pistons are the next three picks, and the Pistons in particular could hop on Kaminsky. They have a lot of size already, but with Greg Monroe possibly on the way out, Kaminsky would be a good option for size and shooting, both things they’re in need of in the Motor City.
No. 6 – Sacramento Kings
WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN – Center, Kentucky
I was expecting Cauley-Stein to drop a little bit further. He’s a heck of an athlete, but with guys like Emmanuel Mudiay and Justise Winslow still available, I was fairley surprised to see the Kings take him here. He’s going to be playing with fellow Kentucky Wildcat Demarcus Cousins. Or maybe not after today’s fiasco between Cousins, coach George Karl and owner Vivek Ranadive
The Nuggets and Pistons will be very tempted to take Mudiay or Winslow, but the Hornets may be looking for a guy like Kaminsky at 11. I’m still sticking with him, however.
No. 7 – Denver Nuggets
Emmanuel Mudiay – Point Guard, Dallas, TX, last played in China
The Nuggets could have used a little size, but they were also lacking at the point position. Mudiay could be the answer. He joins Jameer Nelson and Erick Green as PG’s on the Denver roster, and he has a lot of potential, as the former top PG recruit out of high school. Playing in China for a year could have helped him hone in his skills a little bit — at least his maturity level. That’s a big risk to take.
Sticking with Kaminsky is what I want to do, but I’ll keep Payne, Dekker and Turner on the radar, as well as suggest the hometown boy Trey Lyles. We’ll see what the Pistons and Hornets do because they could jump all over Kaminsky. Keep in mind, however that Justise Winsolw is still available.
No. 8 – Detroit Pistons
STANLEY JOHNSON – SF, Arizona
Johnson was one of the top targets for Detroit from the beginning. Not a surprise they took him, as they have an abundance of size, but they’ve needed a good outside shooter for several years. Johnson could really help them.
I’m going to stick with Kaminsky, as there are only two picks left before Indiana is on the board. I think Charlotte might take Duke’s Justise Winslow, and Miami is in the market for a smaller guard.
No. 9 – Charlotte Hornets
FRANK KAMINSKY – Center, Wisconsin
Well, Kaminsky will really help the Hornets. They needed a lot of help inside, as well as around the perimeter. He is one of those rare players that has both aspects of his game down pretty well.
As I alluded to earlier, I thought the Hornets may snag him, though I was still sticking with him at 11. As for the 11th pick, now. I think Winslow is the best available, and if the Heat don’t take him, Indiana should. But if he does go here at No. 1o, I think Lyles or Payne are good choices. I even think Devin Booker could be on the radar for Larry Bird and Co.
No. 10 – Miami Heat
JUSTISE WINSLOW – Forward, Duke
Winslow put his name on the map over the course of the NCAA Tournament, especially in the title game. I’m surprised he dropped this far, but the Heat probably got a pretty good steal there.
Well, with my top two picks now off the board, I’ve got a pretty wide range of players they could take. Dekker, Payne, Lyles, and Myles Turner are still available. My official prediction is going to be Trey Lyles. Oh, the stories waiting to be written if that happens.
No. 11 – INDIANA PACERS
MYLES TURNER – F, Texas
Turner was originally on my radar, but with all the talent that slid in the draft order, I was thinking they might snag someone else, but this should probably work out pretty well. He gives some size to the front court which could come in handy since David West bolted for free agency. He showed a lot of promise this year, but may have left a bad taste in Pacers fans’ mouths after he played rather poorly in his last game against Butler in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Pacers Second Round Prediction
There are way too many names left right now to pick just one, but taking Turner at 11 may lead to the Pacers looking for a guard in the second round.
No. 12 – Utah Jazz
TREY LYLES – PF, Kentucky
The Indianapolis Arsenal Tech Graduate HS heads to the mountains to join former Butler standout and Brownsburg HS grad Gordon Hayward with the Jazz. Lyles was a little underrated due to the platoon system with Kentucky. He does, however have a lot of potential. Was thinking the Pacers might have taken him, but he could do pretty well in Utah.
No. 13 – Phoenix Suns
DEVIN BOOKER – SG, Kentucky
Things are really starting to look up in the desert. The Suns are on the rise and Booker adds some more depth around the perimeter. They had 18 losses by five points or fewer last season. Booker joins fellow Wildcats Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight in the back court. That could be a pretty scary one in years to come.
On a side note, Booker is the fourth Kentucky player selected in the first 13 picks. That ties the record for most players from one school selected in the lottery (North Carolina in 2005).
No. 14 – Oklahoma City
CAMERON PAYNE – PG, Murray State
Payne is the first mid-major player off the board tonight. He’s the highest drafter Murray State player. He could be a pretty dangerous player, but as a shorter player with a low release point, as Jay Bilas just pointed out, that could plague him a little bit. But with Billy Donovan at the helm, a fresh college coach, that could get fixed pretty quickly.
No. 15 – Atlanta Hawks
KELLY OUBRE – SF, Kansas
The Hawks are in need of size, and there really weren’t any power forwards or centers worth taking this high. But they’re talking about Oubre being traded to the Washington Wizards. This pick originally came from the Nets in a 2013 trade and now they’re getting a couple more draft picks out of it — this year’s No. 19 pick and two future picks.
No. 16 – Boston Celtics
TERRY ROZIER – PG, Louisville
Former Butler coach Brad Stevens ends up getting an athletic guard to back up Avery Bradley at the point. The Celtics have a lot of picks over the next couple years, including tonight. And as they No. 7 seed this past postseason, the future is bright in Boston, and the depth is starting to pile up.
No. 17 – Milwaukee Bucks
RASHA VAUGHN – SG, UNLV
Vaughn was a pretty under-the-radar guard. Jalen Rose compared him to Dion Waiters. If that pans out, that would be pretty good for Milwaukee. They, too are an upcoming team as a middle-of-the-pack seed the past two seasons in the East.
No. 18 – Houston Rockets
SAM DEKKER – SF, Wisconsin
Dekker has been known as a versatile three the past few years who has been a bit of a slasher. His three-point range really came around during the Badgers’ run to the National Championship Game. Dekker will back up Trevor Ariza on a team that was on the cusp of getting to the NBA Finals this season. Houston should remain relevant for years to come.
No. 19 – Washington Wizards
JERIAN GRANT – PG, Notre Dame
Grant is apparently on his way to the New York Knicks as a part of the trade involving the No. 15 pick Kelly Oubre by the Atlanta Hawks. Oubre will end up in Washington, while the Knicks are sending Tim Hardaway to Atlanta. Ah, our first confusing trade of the night.
No. 20 – Toronto Raptors
DELON WRIGHT – PG, Utah
Wright isn’t the greatest shooter, but he averaged 5.3 assists per game in leading the Utes to the Sweet Sixteen last season. He also averaged 1.3 blocks per game, pretty impressive for a point guard, granted he is 6-foot-5. He will be backing up Kyle Lowry at the point in Toronto. They’ll be pretty deep now with Wright joining Lowry, Lou Williams, and DeMar DeRozan on the wings.
No. 21 – Dallas Mavericks
JUSTIN ANDERSON – SF, VIRGINIA
From the highlights ESPN just showed, it looks like Anderson is a pretty good outside shooter, and he can take it to the rim pretty hard. It could be pretty beneficial for him to shadow guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons to hone in his skills and see if he can be a bit of a stretch-four player.
No. 22 – Chicago Bulls
BOBBY PORTIS – SF, Arkansas
Portis was the SEC Player of the Year, and now gets to study under Joakim Noah. Portis averaged 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game for the Razorbacks. Jalen Rose compared him to Rasheed Wallace. Perhaps I can see that in the flashiness and athleticism, but I think Wallace was much bigger and played a lot tougher than Portis. But maybe if he can take a few years to figure things out, he could be a pretty good player.
No. 23 – Portland Trail Blazers
RONDAE HOOLIS-JEFFERSON – SF, Arizona
According to ESPN, Portland’s biggest need is interior and exterior size. I would say Hollis-Jefferson fits that pretty well. Not the best offensive player, but at 6-foot-7 with nearly nine rebounds per game, he could be a great defensive player. The biggest concern with him is his three-point game as a three-guard.
No. 24 – Cleveland Cavaliers
TYUS JONES – PG, Duke
Just two wins shy of the city’s first title since 1964, the Cavaliers are a force to be reckoned with. If Kevin Love resigns with the team and he can stay healthy along with Kyrie Irving (name) can help with the depth of this team. Jones could be a pretty good spark off the bench. His 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is probably pretty appealing to Cavs fans right now, as turnovers doomed them in the Finals. He could really learn a lot under Irving. I like this pick.
Jones’ draft rights have been traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, real close to home for him. The Cavs receive two second round picks — 31 and 36.
No. 25 – Memphis Grizzlies
JARELL MARTIN – PF, LSU
He is a pretty big guy at 6-foot-9. Backing up Jeff Green and Zach Randolph, this could work out pretty well for the Grizzlies. Size will be key in competing with the Rockets in the Southwest Division.
No. 26 – San Antonio Spurs
NIKOLA MILUTINOV – C, Serbia
With the “Big Three” starting to age, it’s only fitting that they add another foreign player. Supposedly, the Spurs are going after LaMarcus Aldridge this offseason. I don’t know a lot about Milutinov, but they could develop him under Tim Duncan and turn him into a good long-term player.
No. 27 – Los Angeles Lakers
LARRY NANCE, JR. – PF, Wyoming
Nance was the Co-Defensive Player of the Year last season for the Cowboys and led them to the NCAA Tournament. Nance is a guy who can play on the move, and pair him with D’Angelo Russell, Kobe Bryant, a healthy Julius Randle and potentially a free agent like Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan or LaMarcus Aldridge, this could be a very dangerous team.
No. 28 – Boston Celtics
R.J. HUNTER – SG, Georgia State
So the Indy kid ends up with Brad Stevens in Boston. Lots of stories waiting to be written there. Hunter captured the heart of America with an amazing performance in the Panthers’ upset of Baylor this March. Kinda like Stevens did a time or two as coach of the Bulldogs. He has some deep range, which is something the Celtics could use. They, too, are one of the fastest rising teams in the NBA.
No. 29 – Brooklyn Nets
CHRIS MCCULLOUGH – PF, Syracuse
Nets fans in the Barclays Center seem pretty happy with the pick. Brooklyn has two big men that are free agents this summer, so adding some size with McCullough was a must. He could see some big playing time right away.
No. 30 – Golden State Warriors
KEVON LOONEY – PF, UCLA
This team is obviously already good. And they’re pretty deep. Adding another big man won’t hurt anything. Andrew Bogut flaked off a little bit towards the end of the championship run, so adding some more depth in the size department is a good move.
31 – MIN (Rights traded to CLE) – Cedi Osman – SG, Turkey
32 – HOU – Montrezl Harrell – PF, Louisville
33 – BOS – Jordan Mickey – PF, LSU
34 – LAL – Anthony Brown – SF, Stanford
35 – PHI – Willy Hernangomez – C, Spain
36 – MIN (Rights traded to CLE) – Rakeem Christmas – PF, Syracuse
37 – PHI – Richaun Holmes – PF, Bowling Green
38 – DET – Darrun Hilliard – SG, Villanova
39 – CHA – Juan Vaulet – SF, Argentina
40 – MIA – Josh Richardson – SG, Tennessee
41 – BKN (Rights traded to POR) – Pat Connaughton – SG, Notre Dame
42 – UTH – Olivier Hanlan – PG, Boston College
With Pat Connaughton just leaving the board for the Nets, I think the Pacers should take either Cliff Alexander of Kansas for more size or Joseph Young from Oregon for some perimeter play. Maybe scouts are seeing something in Alexander that has made him drop this far, but he would be a good pick.
43 – IND – Joseph Young – SG, Oregon
44 – PHX – Andrew Harrison – PG, Kentucky
45 – BOS – Marcus Thornton – PG, William & Mary
46 – MIL (Rights traded to TOR) – Norman Powell – SG, UCLA
47 – PHI – Arturas Gudaditis – C, Lithuania
48 – OKC – Dakari Johnson – C, Kentucky
49 – WAS – Aaron White – PF, Iowa
50 – ATL – Marcus Eriksson – SG, Sweden
51 – ORL – Tyler Harvey – SG, Eastern Washington
52 – DAL -Satnam Singh Bhamara – C, India
53 – CLE – Sir’Dominic Pointer – SF, St. John’s
54 – UTH – Daniel Diez – PF, Spain
55- SAS – Cady Lalanne – PF, UMass
56 – NOP – Branden Dawson – PF, Michigan State
57 – DEN – Nikola Radicevic – PG, Serbia
58 – PHI – J.P. Tokoto – SF, North Carolina
59 – ATL – Dimitrios Agravanis – PF, Greece
60 – PHI – Luca Mitrovic – PF, Serbia
Roy Hibbert has announced that he has exercised his player option and will return to the Pacers. Look for more coverage on this in the coming hours/days.