Which teams won on draft night?

1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick: Karl Towns Anthony Jr

Grade: A

Analysis: The Wolves made the obvious pick by selecting Towns and he should perfectly fit the team. Along with Rubio and Wiggins, the Wolves will be able to run the floor on offense and on defense they will use their athleticism.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

Pick: D’Angelo Russell

Grade: A

Analysis: The Western Conference is full of great point guards that can score the ball and make plays. Russell is an intelligent player that will give the Lakers a chance to build and eventually make the playoffs. Russell fits the mold of the new prototypical guard because he shoots a high percentage and will be a score first guard.

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick: Jahlil Okafor

Grade: A-

Analysis: The 76ers have drafted a center during the last 3 drafts, which engenders many questions. If Embiid does not ever become healthy, this will become a good pick because Okafor’s great offensive skill will fit with Nerlens Noel’s defense.

4. New York Knicks

Pick: Kristaps Porzingis

Grade: B+

Analysis: The Knicks are taking a great risk by selecting Porzingis. Prozingis could become an effective player if his offensive game offsets his defensive deficiencies. Unfortunately, Porzingis will take a few years to develop, but the Knicks do not have time since they do not possess a first round pick next season.

5. Orlando Magic

Pick: Mario Hezonja

Grade: A

Analysis: The Magic have a talented team, but they do not have a player that can spread the floor. Hezonja is an athletic player that should be able to keep the floor open for Victor Oladipo and Elfird Payton.

6. Sacramento Kings

Pick: Willie Cauley Stein

Grade: B+

Analysis: The Kings possessed one of the worst defenses in the league last season and Stein should be able to drastically improve the unit. Stein’s ability to literally guard every position at a high level makes him invaluable, although his offensive game is not even close to being refined.

7. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Emmanuel Mudiay

Grade: A

Analysis: The Nuggets have fell out of love with Ty Lawson and hope that they could deal him before the season. However, Mudiay is vastly different from Lawson because he has truly elite size, athleticism, and ability to drive to the basket.

8. Detroit Pistons

Pick: Stanley Johnson

Grade: B+

Analysis: The Pistons have a need for an athletic wing that can become a star in future. Although Johnson has that ability due to his great athleticism, he does not possess the same upside as Justice Winslow, who was still left on the board.

9. Charlotte Hornets

Pick: Frank Kaminsky

Grade: C+

Analysis: The Hornets ranked last in the NBA in three pointers. Over the past two seasons, Kaminsky showed that he can shoot from anywhere on the court, which should help the Hornets. However, there were better options on the board and it is likely that Kaminsky never becomes a star due to his physical limitations.

10. Miami Heat

Pick: Justice Winslow

Grade: A

Analysis: Justice Winslow had the skill and physical attributes to go as high as 4 in the draft, but the Heat selected him 10th overall. Winslow will be a perfect replacement for Luol Deng, if he leaves during free agency. His ability to slash, shoot, and play defense will help relieve some of the burden on Dwyane Wade’s shoulders.

11. Indiana Pacers

Pick: Myles Turner

Grade: B

Analysis: The Pacers are only a season removed from the number on seed in the East, but Turner is considered a project and will not help much this season. Turner has the potential to play like Serge Ibaka because he has length and a great shooting touch. However, he has not played well against good competition during his year in college.

12. Utah Jazz

Pick: Trey Lyles

Grade: B

Analysis: The Utah Jazz needed someone, either a guard or a stretch four, that could shoot threes and open the floor for Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. However, Lyles does not have the range to shoot threes. Although he should become a role player, he will likely not crack the starting rotation for the Jazz.

13. Phoenix Suns

Pick: Devin Booker

Grade: A

Analysis: The Kentucky sharp shooter was a great pick for the Suns because he is the best shooter in the draft. Although Booker does not possess the same size as Klay Thompson, he has the potential to play like Thompson, who has become one of the best players in the league. Booker should fit well next to Knight and Bledsoe.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder

Pick: Cameron Payne

Grade: A-

Analysis: The Thunder are blessed with possessing two of the seven best players in the league so it is imperative that they find players to complement their talents. The Thunder will need Payne to become a player that can catch and shoot, play solid defense, and play without the basketball. During his college days, he frequently played with the ball, but he should change quickly if he wants playing time.

15. Washington Wizards (via Atlanta Hawks)

Pick: Kelly Oubre

Grade: B+

Analysis: The Wizards need to find a new small forward for the second straight season since Paul Pierce just opted out of his deal. The Wizards could have used a big to eventually replace Nene or Gortat, but Oubre should become a three and D type player.

16. Boston Celtics

Pick: Terry Rozier

Grade: B-

Analysis: The Celts opted to reach with their first pick in order to select Rozier. Although Rozier is a nice defensive player and can make plays on offense, he is very similar to Avery Bradley and does not have the size to play shooting guard or the passing ability to play point. The Celtics could have used a big and Bobby Portis was still on the board.

17. Milwaukee Bucks

Pick: Rashad Vaughn

Grade: B

Analysis: The Bucks traded starting power forward, Ersan Ilysova, in order to accumulate more cap room. Although there is a hole at the power forward position, the Bucks opted to draft a shooting guard that can absolutely score the ball even though the other aspects of his game may be lacking. If the Bucks cannot re-sign Jared Dudley, Vaughn should be a good replacement.

18. Houston Rockets

Pick: Sam Dekker

Grade: A-

Analysis: Sam Dekker is one of the most underrated athletes and players in the draft, which makes this a very good selection. However, since they did not draft a point guard, the Rockets will be forced to rely heavily Patrick Beverley because James Harden cannot continue running the offense.

19. New York Knicks (via Atlanta Hawks via Washington Wizards)

Pick: Jerian Grant

Grade: A-

Analysis: The Knicks have been searching for a quality point guard for the past several years. Grant is an interesting player because he led the best offense in CBB this past season. Although he is not a great shooter, he has size and possesses the ability to find open teammates.

20. Toronto Raptors

Pick: Delon Wright

Grade: B+

Analysis: The Raptors were in need of a back up point guard after they decided to trade Grevis Vasquez. Although they desperately needed a power forward and Portis was still on the board, Wright brings great size to the North and experience on court.

21. Dallas Mavericks

Pick: Justin Anderson

Grade: B+

Analysis: Anderson has the chance to become a very successful player in today’s NBA because he can guard 3 positions due to his size and strength while popping threes from around the arc. However, the Mavericks are deep at the wings and desperately need a quality point guard or center if Chandler and Rondo leave during free agency.

22. Chicago Bulls

Pick: Bobby Portis

Grade: B+

Analysis: The Bulls opted to draft the best player available, although they are very deep with Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, and Joakim Noah. The Bulls could have used a player like RJ Hunter that could hit threes and replace potential free agent Mike Dunleavey.

23. Brooklyn Nets (via Portland Trailblazers)

Pick: Rondae Hollis Jefferson

Grade: B+

Analysis: The Nets are desperately in the need of athleticism and youth. Although Jefferson’s offensive game is very limited, he is a fabulous defensive player that should provide the Nets with depth in case they decide to deal Joe Johnson.

24. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Cleveland Cavaliers)

Pick: Tyus Jones

Grade: B

Analysis: The Wolves traded back into the first round in order to draft Jones. Jones is expected to play backup point guard for Ricky Rubio because Rubio is frequently injured and he may want out of Minnesota. However, Jones is small and plays great during big games, which is unfortunate because the Wolves are not playing big games.

25. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick: Jarell Martin

Grade: B

Analysis: The Grizzlies needed to find either a wing scorer or a big that can replace Z-Bo or Marc Gasol in the future. Although Martin is solid, better players in the draft existed at that point in the draft. Martin underperformed in college, but has the potential to succeed in the future.

26. San Antonio Spurs

Pick: Nikola Milutinov

Grade: B-

Analysis: The Spurs have been the best at drafting foreign born players in the past so we should not doubt them. However, they could have used a player that could help them this year, if this is Tim Duncan’s last stand.

27. Los Angeles Lakers

Pick: Larry Nance Jr.

Grade: B

Analysis: The Lakers are hoping that Nance will be a player that can spread the floor and add toughness to the team. However, they could have used a center, especially if they decide to sign either Love or Aldridge. If they do not sign either, Nance would be a good addition to the rotation.

28. Boston Celtics

Pick: RJ Hunter

Grade: A

Analysis: The Celts were able to obtain great value at 28 when they drafted Hunter so late in the first round. Hunter has some of the best range in the draft and should give the Celts a valuable asset in the future.

29. Brooklyn Nets

Pick: Chris McCullough

Grade: B+

Analysis: Like pick 23, the Nets needed youth and athleticism and McCullough should add this to the team. McCullough may not play this season because of a torn ACL, but he has the potential to be a very good player in the future. McCullough has the talent to be drafted in the lottery.

30. Golden State Warriors

Pick: Kevon Looney

Grade: A-

Analysis: The Warriors selected the best player available in the draft. Kevon Looney is incredibly athletic and talented. Looney is a rebounding machine and should fit the Warriors’ style of play because of his ability to run the floor with the Splash Bros.

 

Where will Kristaps Porzingis fall in the 2015 NBA draft?

1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns

The Timberwolves have been in constant rebuilding mode since Kevin Garnett left for Boston. However, the Timberwolves finally have a chance to reach relevance with Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is an impressive talent because he possesses range, has the ability to defend the pick and roll, obtains solid inside moves, and will become a rim protector.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

Pick: Jahlil Okafor

The Los Angeles Lakers have always been led by a franchise center, O’Neal, Abdul-Jabbar, Gasol, and Mikan. The Lakers believe that Okafor could be the next star because he has huge hands, great size, and fantastic post moves. However, I have doubts about Okafor because he cannot play defense and his game does not fit the modern style of play. If the Lakers can match Okafor with Love and other shooting stars, he may be able to lead the purple and gold back to the top.

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick: Kristaps Porzingis

Over the past few weeks, no player’s stock has risen like Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis is an incredibly interesting prospect because he is 7’2″, possesses a nice jumper, and profiles as a stretch four, which is vital in today’s NBA. However, he does not come without risk because he is weak, young, and people are uncertain if he can make the leap to the NBA. The 76ers have been known to take risks in return for a large reward.

4. New York Knicks

Pick: D’Angelo Russell

The Knicks have went through their worst season in their franchise yet only came away with the fourth overall selection. However, Russell may have the ability to become a star in today’s game. As the Spurs and Warriors demonstrated, it is necessary for point guards to shoot the three and make plays for other players. The Knicks desperately need a point guard and a playmaker to go along with Melo.

5. Orlando Magic

Pick: Emmanuel Mudiay

The Magic have been depleted of talent since Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers. However, they have developed an interesting roster with Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, and Elfrid Payton. However, each of these players do not have the ability to become a franchise player. Although Mudiay is talented, he does not have a lot of experience and major flaws. Mudiay will give the Magic an incredible backcourt that can play great defense and possess fantastic athleticism.

6. Sacramento Kings

Pick: Willie Cauley-Stein

The Kings are one of the worst run organizations in the league and it would be a disaster if they decide to trade DeMarcus Cousins. Instead of trading the young center, the Kings should add Cauley-Stein to play with him. Stein will not provide much on offense, but he is the best defensive player in the league. Stein is incredibly athletic, which allows him to play the pick and roll and protect the rim.

7. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Justice Winslow

The Nuggets are in a transition phase and may undergo a massive overhaul this offseason. During the NCAA tournament, Winslow displayed a level of success that skyrocketed him up draft boards. Winslow is a great slasher and plays lock down defense with the potential to become a great two way player. The Nuggets need defense and Winslow can provide a solid player to build around in the future.

8. Detroit Pistons

Pick: Mario Hezonja

The Pistons were playing great basketball until they collapsed down the stretch. The Pistons are blessed with front court star Andre Drummond and possibly Greg Monroe if he re-signs this offseason. However, they need to stretch the floor with threes and Hezonja can provide that skill to the team.

9. Charlotte Hornets

Pick: Devin Booker

The Hornets are a feisty basketball team that plays great defense and nearly made the playoffs for the second straight season. However, they lack dynamic, outside shooting, which could take them to the next level. The Kentucky product is one of the best pure shooters in the draft and could provide a great service to the team.

10. Miami Heat

Pick: Stanley Johnson

The Heat are facing many difficult decisions this offseason, but none are greater than the decision to keep Dwyane Wade. Wade is not happy with Heat’s front office, which could force him to depart this offseason. However, even if he does not leave, Johnson would be a great fit for Miami. Although his offensive game may need developing, he is another two way player that has become necessary in the NBA. Johnson’s athleticism and potential could lead him to become a star in the future.

11. Indiana Pacers

Pick: Cameron Payne

The Pacers lost their best player and still nearly made the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers will remain one of the best defensive teams in the league, but they can use a second playmaker since the loss of Lance Stephenson. Stephenson made the Pacers great because he allowed them to have two ball handlers.

12. Utah Jazz

Pick: Myles Turner

The Utah Jazz are stacked with young talent and toward the end of the season they played like one of the best in the league. However, the Jazz still lack a center that could stretch the floor and play alongside Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. Turner has the potential to be the steal of the draft because he could become the next Serge Ibaka with better shooting, but less rim protecting.

13. Phoenix Suns

Pick: Frank Kaminsky

The Suns nearly made the playoffs for the second time in the Western Conference. However, they still lack win players that can shoot the three at a high level. Two years ago, the Suns selected Alex Len, who projects as a low post center, but Frank the Tank will fit perfectly alongside him. Kaminsky may possess terrible defensive skills, but he is versatile enough to make shots.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder

Pick: Sam Dekker

The Thunder have been attempting to find a fourth scorer since James Harden was sent to the Rockets in one of the worst trades in NBA history. Sam Dekker displayed great talent during the NCAA tournament while leading the Badgers to the Finals. Unlike most white guys, Dekker will allow the Thunder to add a fifth starter that can shoot the three. At Dekker’s size, 6’9″, he can play the three or four position.

15. Atlanta Hawks

Pick: Kelly Oubre

During the postseason, the Hawks showed their lack of scoring and versatility. Although Oubre is raw, which keeps him from becoming a top ten selection, Oubre has the potential to be a D and three star. The Hawks, like the Spurs, have showed that one cannot have too many players that can shoot and play great defense against James, George, and Rose.

16. Boston Celtics

Pick: Trey Lyles

The Celtics are almost done with their rebuild, but still lack a starting caliber power forward or center. Lyles showed during his days at Kentucky that he has a versatile offensive game that should continue to develop. Defensively, he may need time to improve. Unfortunately, Lyles is not a rim protector, which the Celts desperately need. However, he should be able to defend opposing stretch fours because he is fairly agile and can go outside of the paint.

17. Milwaukee Bucks

Pick: Kevon Looney

The rangy power forward from UCLA would perfectly fit the Bucks’ roster. Looney possesses a 7’3″ wingspan, which enables him to defend multiple positions and dominate the boards. The Bucks recently dealt starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova. Although he cannot shoot like Ilyasova, Looney is a far better athlete and rebounder to place next to Giannis and Jabari. The Bucks love length, ie Parker, Antetekumpo, and Carter-Williams, and Looney fits the mold that Jason Kidd sees in a power forward.

18. Houston Rockets

Pick: Tyus Jones

The Duke star point guard displayed his clutch shooting and high IQ while leading the Blue Devils to the championship. During the playoffs, Patrick Beverley’s absence hurt the team’s ability to run the offense and put excess pressure on James Harden. In addition, they could use someone that can defend opposing guards unlike Jason Terry.

19. Washington Wizards

Pick: Bobby Portis

For the second straight season, the Wizards won a playoff round and nearly made the Eastern Conference Finals. Portis has the talent to pick and pop like Nene and Gortat, but he is substantially cheaper and younger. Portis will add depth so that they no longer need to rely on Drew Gordon.

20. Toronto Raptors

Pick: Montrezl Harrell

The Raptors have a large hole at the power forward position and will probably look to the draft instead of free agency. Harrell brings athleticism and energy that they sorely lacked with Amir Johnson and Psycho T down low. Although Harrell does not possess great offensive talent, he should be an instant double double machine.

21. Dallas Mavericks

Pick: Jerian Grant

The Mavs made a disastrous trade when they opted to acquire Rajon Rondo at the trade deadline. However, Rondo was awful with the Mavs and they need a new starting point guard. Although Grant has his issues, he showed that he could be a dynamic scorer as well as distributor for a great, efficient offense.

22. Chicago Bulls

Pick: RJ Hunter

The Chicago Bulls need to stretch the floor, especially if Dunleavy leaves during free agency. Hunter has one of the best shooting strokes in the entire draft. In addition, Hunter has good size for a shooting guard, but it must be seen if he can score against NBA quality talent.

23. Portland Trailblazers

Pick: Justin Anderson

The Portland Trailblazers suffered a major loss when Wes Matthews injured his ACL. It may become even worse if he leaves during free agency. Although Anderson cannot fulfill the shoes of Matthews, who was one of the best shooting guards in the league, he should be able to shoot threes and play solid defense.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers

Pick: Delon Wright

The Cavs had a great season and should have won the championship if they had Kyrie and Kevin in their starting lineup. Without a solid backup point guard, the Cavs looked awful and could not run an offense without LeBron. However, Delon Wright provides length, playmaking ability, and defense. In today’s NBA, it is necessary to have multiple wing and guard defenders.

25. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick: Rakeem Christmas

The Memphis Grizzlies have predicated their success around their defense. The combination of Gasol and Randolph has made given options nightmares around the paint. However, both players are climbing up in age and they should look toward a replacement for one of the two. Christmas is a developed big with a lot of talent to become a quality starter or role player in the future.

26. San Antonio Spurs

Pick: Rashad Vaughn

The Spurs may have a dilemma this offseason because many of their wing players are free agents and should command good money. If any of the Spurs leave, Vaughn should be able to fill into a potential starter because of his ability to shoot. The Spurs love to spread the floor and Vaughn has that ability.

27. Los Angeles Lakers

Pick: Rondae Hollis Jefferson

The Lakers have multiple holes and problems so they should look to find the beast available player late in the first round. With the 27th overall pick, Jefferson would be a solid pick. Jefferson has good length and athleticism. As the Warriors demonstrated, it is not possible to have too many athletic wings that can defend many positions.

28. Boston Celtics

Pick: Chris McCullough

Although the Celts would love to draft a big that can become an elite shot blocker, they do not exist this late in the draft. However, McCullough displayed potential and raw talent that could convert into star potential. The Celtics should have time to develop the player.

29. Brooklyn Nets

Pick: Terry Rozier

The Nets need a point guard of the future since Deron Williams and Jarret Jack do not seem to be the answer of the future. Rozier has solid talent to be an eventual quality starter. If the Nets do not go for the point guard, they may select a big that will add athleticism to the team.

30. Golden State Warriors

Pick: Aaron Harrison

The Warriors love to collect players that range between the height 6’6″ and 6’9″ and can shoot the three. During his two years at Kentucky, Harrison displayed the ability to shoot threes. Although he does not have great athleticism and needs experience, he could become a very useful role player if the Warriors want to become a dynasty.

Which player will make the biggest difference during the NBA Finals?

The 2015 NBA finals are full of extremely talented and exciting players, which should make this series fascinating and fun to watch. Along with the best player in the world, LeBron James, the Cavs feature one of the best play makers, Kyrie Irving, the energizer bunny, Tristian Thompson, and the always interesting JR Smith. Against the Cavs, the Warriors will feature an array of great players. Besides current MVP and star shooter, Stephen Curry, they possess the other splash brother, Klay Thompson, the heart and sole of the team, Draymond Green, and the high flying Andre Iguodala.

Although this series will feature incredible offensive talent explosion from around the court, the most important player will likely be Andrew Bogut. Although Bogut is the second highest paid player on the team, he will not be asked to score more than 10 points per game throughout the series. Throughout his career, the former number one overall selection has been deemed a bust, but a majority of his doubters have overlooked the value he supplies to his team. During the playoffs, when Bogut has logged over 24 minutes, the Warriors have not lost a game. Bogut is a necessary component on the Warriors because he is the only big man on the roster outside of Festus Ezeli. Although the value of offensive big men has precipitously dropped over the past several years, one’s ability to protect the rim, alter shots in the paint, and play the pick and roll has never been more necessary.

If the Warriors are forced to play small because Bogut is in foul trouble or he injures himself, the Cavs’ game plan will become dramatically easier. When the Warriors elect to play “small ball”, their tallest player on the court instantly becomes 6’7″ forward Draymond Green. Although this lineup, Green, Barnes, Curry, Thompson, and Iguodala, has wreaked havoc on the rest of the league because of their ability to stretch the floor and hit threes, the lineup is unlikely to work against the Cavs because of LeBron James. Without a true rim protector underneath the basket, James will have no difficulties driving to the rim and finishing with ease. If the Warriors decide to clog the middle and provide help, he has shown throughout his career that he can find shooters, like Smith, Shumpert, Dellevadova, and Jones, in the corners for threes. However, the one player with the skill and size to defend James at the rim is Bogut. If Bogut, like other centers in the past, Hibbert, Chandler, Splitter, and Duncan, has the ability to make James shoot jumpers, his game becomes severely more limited and less effective. This postseason, James is shooting a career a putrid 43% from the field and only 18% from three. This is the lone weakness of LeBron at this point in the season and Steve Kerr needs Bogut to exploit it.

In addition to his ability to alter shots around the rim, his defensive rebounding will be essential in this series. Throughout the playoffs, the Cavs, especially Tristian Thompson, have demonstrated their talent at offensive rebounding. During the postseason, they have posted the best offensive rebounding percentage of any team. Although they played rugged and gritty teams like Chicago and Atlanta that were good rebounding teams in the regular season, Thompson out worked all of their players in order to secure the loose balls. As previously mentioned, the Warriors are a small team, usually playing 4 guys under 6’8″. Bogut will be necessary if the Warriors are going to stop Thompson and Mozgov from playing volleyball off of the backboard. Per 36 min, Bogut averages 12.7 boards per game and the Warriors will need him to continue his strong performance if they will win the World Championship.