2015 NBA Draft Recap
Unless you were hiding out under a rock for the last 16 hours, you’ve heard by now that the NBA Draft was last night. From the already pegged for number one Karl-Anthony Towns to the already hated by his city Kristaps Porizingis, we’re here to break down last night’s action pick by pick.
Results (First Round)
1. Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky
2. Los Angeles Lakers – D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Jahlil Okafor, Duke
4. New York Knicks – Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia
5. Orlando Magic – Mario Hezonja, Croatia
6. Sacramento Kings – Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
7. Denver Nuggets – Emmanuel Mudiay, Congo
8. Detroit Pistons – Stanley Johnson, Arizona
9. Charlotte Hornets – Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
10. Miami Heat – Justise Winslow, Duke
11. Indiana Pacers – Myles Turner, Texas
12. Utah Jazz – Trey Lyles, Kentucky
13. Phoenix Suns – Devin Booker, Kentucky
14. Oklahoma City Thunder – Cameron Payne, Murray State
15. Atlanta Hawks (traded to Washington Wizards for Tim Hardaway Jr.) – Kelly Oubre Jr., Kansas
16. Boston Celtics – Terry Rozier, Louisville
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Rashad Vaughn, UNLV
18. Houston Rockets – Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
19. Washington Wizards (traded to New York Knicks) – Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
20. Toronto Raptors – Delon Wright, Utah
21. Dallas Mavericks – Justin Anderson, Virginia
22. Chicago Bulls – Bobby Portis, Arkansas
23. Portland Trail Blazers (traded with Steve Blake to Brooklyn Nets for Pat Connaughton, Mason Plumlee) – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (traded to Minnesota Timberwolves for Cedi Osman and Rakeem Christmas) – Tyus Jones, Duke
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Jarell Martin, LSU
26. San Antonio Spurs – Nikola Milutinov, Serbia
27. Los Angeles Lakers – Larry Nance Jr., Wyoming
28. Boston Celtics – R.J. Hunter, Georgia State
29. Brooklyn Nets – Chris McCullough, Syracuse
30. Golden State Warriors – Kevon Looney, UCLA
The obvious winners here are the Lakers, the Timberwolves, and the Heat. Minnesota was already cemented in their pick of Towns from the beginning and it’s a smart fit for their young roster. Paired with last year’s first overall pick Andrew Wiggins and fount of wisdom Kevin Garnett, Towns has the potential to grow into a dominating big man.
The Lakers were not as obviously winners only because everyone assumed that their second pick overall was going to be used on Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor; instead the Lakers surprised the building by taking Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell with the second pick. This is more telling of the Lakers strategy for free agency – with Okafor still on the board and the Lakers in desperate need of a center, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak must have some unseen reason for taking the young guard.
The Heat on the other hand, had a killer draft not through any planning by their GM but simply through good luck. Justise Winslow rocketed his way up mock draft boards across the nation during the NCAA tournament as the Duke freshman put up 57.1% shooting from behind the arc in the tournament, far surpassing his regular season mark of 41.6%. With franchise stars Goran Dragic and Luol Deng both becoming free agents in July, not to mention superstar Dwayne Wade’s seemingly imminent departure, Winslow was an absolute steal at the tenth pick overall; He could easily be the player that GM’s look back on in three months and kick themselves for not taking higher.
Sure, you can make the argument that no one in the NBA Draft is really a loser but we all know that someone will always come out on the short end of the stick. Here’s who got really shafted last night:
Phil Jackson was brought in to save the New York Knicks from themselves; in a little over a year since he took over, he’s gutted the roster, leaving no player there who wasn’t placed by the hand of the Zen Master himself. Unfortunately, Jackson made the most Knicksian choice possible by taking European prospect Kristaps Porizingis with the Knicks 4th overall pick. The Barclays Center was almost “deafeningly” filled with boos and even though Porizingis is saying all the right things about earning fan’s trust, being a first round European lottery pick is not the greatest company to be in. Jackson did make a remarkably savvy move by trading his young shooter Tim Hardaway Jr. to Atlanta in exchange for their 19th overall pick, Jerian Grant. If Jackson’s next aim is to alienate Knicks fans he hasn’t hand selected, he’s got a great start.
Sam Hinkie, GM of the Philadelphia 76ers, is like a kid on Christmas every time the Draft rolls around, perpetually picking only whatever comes in the biggest box. The last three drafts have seen the 76ers go out and get Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and now Jahlil Okafor with the third pick overall this year. You really have to wonder what Hinkie is thinking in drafting three centers back-to-back-to-back; are there concerns about Noel/Embiid’s durability? Neither player played any games their first year in the league. Are the 76ers stockpiling for a blockbuster trade? How is third year coach Brett Brown going to work three big men into the lineup? Does Sam Hinkie not understand puberty and harbor a secret hope that some of their tall hormones will rub off on him?
All in all, the season is shaping up to be a good one; with so much new talent, expect opening night rosters to bring with them lots of fresh new faces.