2015 Top 20 (with comparisons)
June 2, 2015
This draft is incredibly deep and very strong in my opinion. There is no Anthony Davis or Kevin Durant in this draft but according to the rankings there will be plenty of all-stars and even a few possible superstars in this draft. The top 5 I have ranked are all possible superstars, and then the next 15 all have all-star potential in my opinion. With no further ado, here's the top 20.
1.Jahlil Okafor C (Projected Value/Impact - 0.87)
Jahlil Okafor is the #1 player in this draft for me, it's kind of close, but keep this in mind, Okafor was double and triple teamed every time he touched the ball and sometimes even before that. No other player in the draft can realistically command a double team being projected into the NBA like Okafor should be able to. That alone makes Okafor the #1 pick without question. I don't like his defensive presence but it may have been to preserve him this year and keep him out of foul trouble. I can't remember the last 6-11 player with a 7-5 wingspan that didn't protect the rim somewhat; I think he'll be fine in that department. I can't really think of an accurate comparison but a fundamentally sound C, that has great hands, great footwork, an array of post moves, and just a player that you can dump it down in the post to and ask him to get you 25 points a night, this type of player goes #1 in every draft unless there is a sure-fire superstar coming out. I don't see LeBron in this draft, so Okafor is the #1 player, it's close but it's not as close as most are making it out to be. Comparison- Tim Duncan with worse defense.
2.Karl-Anthony Towns PF/C (Projected Value/Impact - 0.84)
Players 2-5 depends on what your team needs, I consider each of the players incredibly unique with all-star games in their future. All are possible superstars. Towns can play either PF or C and be incredibly productive at both in my opinion. His ability to block shots, rebound, score inside and out (even though we didn't see much of his jumper in college, we will in the NBA), and the fact that he is 7'0 gives any team that drafts him incredible flexibility up front. Do you pair him with a rim protector for superior defense, or with a stretch 4 for a 5-out hard to stop offense? It's hard to pass up on him at 2, unless your frontcourt is set. Comparison- Taller Al Horford/ Rasheed Wallace
3.D'Angelo Russell PG/SG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.75)
D'Angelo Russell is that rare player that you draft and the next day give him the keys to the franchise. He's going to be whatever team drafts him leading scorer and/or ball dominant player for years to come. He won't win by himself but drafting him is a pretty good start to any teams rebuild. A true combo guard, you could put him at either guard spot and he will flourish. He has incredible court vision and passing skills. With a perfect looking jump shot along with point guard ball-handling skills, if you are in the top 5 spots in this draft just be thankful. Comparison- Point Guard Manu Ginobili
4.Emmanuel Mudiay PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.89)
There is not a lot to go by for Emmanuel Mudiay, but I adapted my formula the best I could given what I saw from him and his stats in China. He literally has everything you look for in a superstar PG, a great handle, explosiveness, size, athleticism, court vision, and can get to the hole at will. Everything except a good looking jumper, I think he will develop a good enough shot in the NBA to be a superstar PG though. I don't even care if he is a good shooter at this point in time, you can just tell by looking at somebody's jumper whether or not it can improve. With Mudiay and Russell it's really personal preference, you really can't go wrong with either one, it's Westbrook vs. Curry to a large degree. If you think Mudiay is going to become an above average shooter, take him, if not take Russell, that's my opinion. Comparison- Russell Westbrook
5.Stanley Johnson SF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.77)
Stanley Johnson is the last of what I consider the superstar potential players (expect for maybe Porzingis) in this draft. He's the closest size-wise, skill-wise, and athletically gifted SF I've seen since LeBron. I'm not saying he is LeBron or that there haven't been really good small forwards since then, but they've just been different types of players ala Kevin Durant. Now Johnson still has a lot of work to put in and isn't as aggressive as you would like sometimes, but maybe that was just the system or even the college game, but there isn't a thing that he can't do. He's 6'7, strong, incredibly quick for his size, a very good athlete laterally and good vertically, handles the ball like a guard, and has a very good looking and very effective shot (3 point shot and pull up game off the dribble). He also has the ability to be a lockdown SF defender due to his work ethic and physical gifts. Once again, there is nothing that he can't do and there is nothing stopping him from becoming the next superstar SF in the NBA, and I believe he will. And SF has become arguably the most important position in today's NBA. Again, if you have a top 5 pick be thankful. Stanley Johnson could slip a little in the lottery, that would be a big mistake in my opinion, he could be the next Paul George, except he's more powerful. Comparison- Stronger Paul George
6.Kristaps Porzingis PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.71)
Players 6-9 are also by team need or personal preference. These players have all-star potential and can possibly be franchise players someday with improvement in certain areas, in my opinion. Kristaps Porzingis is a stretch 4 that can do so many other things offensively. He really has the total package offensively and if I was picking outside the top 5 I would strongly consider Porzingis to be my PF for the next 15 years and be one of my teams' top 3 scorers and best overall players. He needs bulk up a bit so his overall game might take some time but he should be able to score successfully in the NBA from day 1. I would consider building a foundation with a player like him similarly to how Dallas built a foundation with Dirk. I think Porzingis has superstar potential as well, but it's tougher for European players in the NBA to adapt sometimes, but I wouldn't rule being a superstar out, he is an extremely talented prospect. Comparison- Dirk Nowitzki
7.Myles Turner PF/C (Projected Value/Impact - 0.77)
Myles Turner doesn't have the upside the top 5 picks have in my opinion. But he has everything else, a 7 footer with a 7'4 wingspan, offensive skills, good athleticism, shot-blocking, and the ability to stretch the floor. These players are rare to find. He may not have the superstar upside but barring any injuries he's going to be a very productive and valuable big man in the NBA for a long time. Comparison- Less mobile but better offensively Serge Ibaka
8.Justise Winslow SF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.70)
Justice Winslow came a long way this year. He developed a good looking jumper and the ability to create for himself in the half court very well. I don't think he has the upside of Stanley Johnson, but he's going to be a very good NBA wing for a long time. He's a little bit mechanical and doesn't have great measurements for a small forward. But his physicality, shot making ability, and ability to create for himself in the half court will go a long way. Comparison- Corey Maggette with better handles
9.R.J. Hunter SG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.93)
R.J.Hunter is the best pure shooting guard in the draft (I'm counting Russell as a PG) and it's not even close. Conventional wisdom says Marion Hezonja and Devin Booker have more upside or whatever and will probably get drafted before him. That would be a huge mistake. I trust my rankings and Hunter is a 0.93, the highest in the draft, Hezonja is a -0.31 and Booker is a -0.93, one of the lowest in the draft. Watching R.J Hunter this year, he was the whole team, everything offensively revolved around him and every defense keyed in to only stop him, they still couldn't do it. He's a big SG with great length, has great defensive anticipation, competes hard, and can flat out score. A very good shooter despite his percentages, he had to take a lot of tough shots. He projects to be an above average 2-guard defender due to his length, lateral quickness, and defensive basketball IQ, but could take some time due to the fact he played a lot of zone in college. The next Klay Thompson could be in this draft, most think it's Devin Booker, they couldn't be more wrong. It's R.J. Hunter. Comparison- Klay Thompson with better overall offense/slightly worse defense
Players 10-20 are very strong as well; again this is such a deep draft. I'm just going to give quick summaries for each of these players.
10.Bobby Portis PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.61)
A very talented PF with great size, should have a very long and successful career.
11.Chris McCullough PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.76)
A stretch 4 with the ability to possibly affect the game in some many other ways. Very athletic, great measurements, a ton of upside. Needs some time but can be an all-star.
12.Frank Kaminsky PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.51)
Another stretch 4 that can play the 5 in small ball lineups. Has great footwork, can really score, and is very agile for a big man. Smart player that can score when called upon.
13.Cameron Payne PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.71)
A good PG prospect, very crafty, doesn't really have too many weaknesses, if any. Good passer, good shooter, and can run a team. Very solid value. Has upside because he can really score.
14.Willie Cauley-Stein C (Projected Value/Impact - 0.49)
Athletic, rim protecting C, that can really guard all 5 positions. You're drafting him for defense and defensive versatility, he has value, but very limited offensively.
15.Kevon Looney PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.52)
A developing PF, I think he ends up starting for some team. Needs to become a reliable shooter and space the floor, which he already does somewhat. Just work on refining his overall game. He just knows how to play basketball and has all the measurements and talent to succeed.
16.Delon Wright PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.76)
A do- it-all PG, very poised, can run a team, facilitate, score just enough, and defend 2 positions. Needs to work on shot, it should be fine with time though. He will affect and impact the game in so many ways. His lack of overall scoring potential dropped him a little, but everything else is very good.
17.Kelly Oubre SF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.36)
A potential 3 and D player who should have a solid impact in the league. With a lack of SF's in this draft he might go higher, but tier 5, picks 15-20 is right for him, much higher and you're losing out on value. Jump 1 tier if you really need s SF and/or size and athleticism on the wing.
18.Jerian Grant PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.61)
Big PG that could be really good value to a team this late. According to the rankings, he'll probably be a starter and a highly impactful player, I agree. I prefer Payne, due to his scoring ability, and Wright, due to his playmaking and overall game, over Grant, but Grant is a close 3rd to them.
19.George De Paula PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.53)
A super talented PG, 6-6 with a 7-0 wingspan, he needs some work on his overall game, but he is worth the risk. I ranked him according to his U18 stats, so let's see how accurate I got that. If he and Dante Exum (who I used the U19 stats last year) fall on their faces I will re-evaluate, but until then I'm trusting it. Draft this kid and watch it pay off down the road. **EDIT**-Dropped his name from the draft.
20.Terry Rozier PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.46)
The last of this great PG class (expect for A. Harrison), he can do so many things. He needs to grow as a PG, but is so talented and should be able to be a quality player in the NBA. Very good value here.
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