We have a new NBA Champion in the Golden State Warriors, a team that did exceptionally well in the lottery, nabbing Stephen Curry at 7th and Klay Thompson at 11th two years later, bargain values when looking back at both drafts.
The Miami Heat are in the range of those two selections, picking number 10 and while my last mock had them nabbing SG Devin Booker, a player often compared to Thompson, there has been a lot of movement since I wrote my first mock.
(Click here to read 1.0)
Without further adieu, let's begin.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves - Karl-Anthony Towns, C
This seems more up in the air than it did a month ago. Towns is still the most logical pick, but Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis continue to garner rumblings that they are worthy of the honor of going 1st overall. Still, Towns is the safest bet here as he has the most well-rounded game of anyone in the draft. There have also been some rumblings regarding moving PG Ricky Rubio, but nothing concrete enough that would make you think D'Angelo Russell suddenly becomes an option.
2. Los Angeles Lakers - Jahlil Okafor, C
The Lakers would prefer Towns, but they are in comfortable position in taking whoever falls to them among the two centers. Russell is also intriguing in LA, but I continue to question pairing a ball-dominant guard with a
delusional aging Kobe Bryant. This is a team famous for low-post centers and Okafor continues to make the most sense so long as he cleans up his defensive hiccups in the pro level.
3. Philadelphia 76ers - D'Angelo Russell, PG/SG
Porzingis is shooting up many draft boards, but I still feel Philadelphia has such a crippling lack of guard play and Russell makes too much sense, A young, hungry, marketable player who can dish and shoot with a dramatic flair that belies his maturity for his age. With Joel Embiid looking to miss another season and Philadelphia remaining notorious for asset hoarding, you can never be too sure, but Russell remains the safest bet.
4. New York Knicks - Kristaps Porzingis, PF
No player has seemingly gotten more attention in recent weeks than Porzingis, international man of mystery. Many articles have been written about him trying to shed the ghosts of other talented European lottery picks to flame out in the NBA, highlighting how unfair it is to link one guy to others based on continent. Porzingis has wowed in recent workouts with a deft ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter as well as on the move and possesses the ability to score in transition. His biggest concern remains upper-body strength, but it's something that many are assured can be corrected with a few years in an NBA weight room (he's only 19 after all).
Still, this pick wouldn't sit well with Knicks fans due to the presence of fan *ahem* "favorite" Andrea Bargnani seeming to have a similar (on the surface) skill set and a desire to want someone who'd be a better fit around Carmelo Anthony. Make no mistake, if anyone from the top three falls into NY's lap, they'll take them, and if not, there's a chance this pick gets traded.
5. Orlando Magic - Mario Henzonja, SG/SF
Henzonja is another player who's stock continues to rise. Months ago, he was a legitimate option for Miami at number 10 (The Mario Bros!), but now it'd be surprising to see him last past the top five or six. He's being looked at by some as the best perimeter scorer in the draft due to his rare combination of size, shooting, and jump-out-the-gym hops. His temperament has been seen both as a positive and a negative by scouts, but on a Magic team starved for offense, he'd be a fun pairing with the similarly athletic Victor Oladipo.
6. Sacramento Kings - Emmanual Mudiay, PG/SG
I originally had Cauley-Stein staying here, but I can't find another spot for Mudiay and I simply cannot see him slipping to potentially below 11. Mudiay looked to show better jump shooting mechanics in his workouts compared to his China tapes, but I don't think it will ever quite be a strength for him. Still, his athleticism and tenacity stands out and defending a pick & roll with him and DeMarcus Cousins is scary. Kings are going BPA here because they always do even though it's often bitten them in the face.
7. Denver Nuggets - Justice Winslow, SG/SF
I swapped Henzonja and Winslow. Winslow projects to be the better defensive player, but had a rather woeful video of one of his workouts go viral within basketball twitter that showcased him missing a lot of catch-and-shoot jumpers. Perhaps just an off day, but Winslow will need to make that shot in the NBA to be a starter. He shot well on spot up threes in college and if that can translate, he can have a long NBA career. Denver once drafted a player similar to Winslow in James Posey, but Winslow ceiling remains higher if he can show he can function in a 2015 NBA offense that demands floor spacing.
8. Detroit Pistons - Stanley Johnson, SF
I still think Miami's gonna miss out on Johnson, who continues to be the safest pick of the draft. Stan Van Gundy doesn't need to hit a home run, rather he needs to find pieces that fit Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond and Johnson has a nice blend of skills, toughness, and youth that would allow him to become a solid third banana on the Pistons
9. Charlotte Hornets - Devin Booker, SG
Sigh. I really wanted him too. With Lance Stephenson being sent to the Los Angeles Clippers, the shooting-starved Hornets now possess an even bigger need for a shooting guard who can space the floor and there isn't a mid-lottery piece who fits better on a team than Booker with Charlotte. He's a cerebral, well-rounded player despite being known for his shooting and has the size to defend both wing positions. If he falls to 10, Miami would be very fortunate.
10. Miami Heat - Kelly Oubre, SG/SF
So both Stanley Johnson and Devin Booker are gone. Where does Miami go? I'm seeing a lot of Frank Kaminsky projections and I don't quite understand why. He'd be a bench player on this roster and with McRoberts returning healthy, he wouldn't even be the first big off the bench. I'm gonna stick with a wing player in Oubre, who was among the first to meet with Pat Riley and workout with Miami. His upside remains high for a low-end lottery pick and has the shooting and athleticism to wow. Still, he's fallen in a lot of other mock drafts so 10 might be a bit of a reach.
11. Indiana Pacers - Willie Cauley-Stein C
It seems Larry Bird has quite a man-crush on the versatile Cauley-Stein. He's my biggest drop in this draft because of questions about his offense. Drafting centers based solely on defensive virtue hasn't worked out terribly well in the past (looking at you Bismack Biyombo), but Cauley-Stein remains unique in his ability to defend, well, nearly anyone according to scouts. If he goes here, it would raise more questions about Roy Hibbert's future, but in general, I'm having a tough time seeing Cauley-Stein fit anywhere due to issues he'd cause with floor spacing and many of the teams outside the top 2 already having centers. If Cauley-Stein develops some of the ball skills to play power forward the same way he can guard them, he'd be worth a look.
12. Utah Jazz - Cameron Payne, PG
Payne is getting some praise in workouts and I still think Utah would be a great fit for him. The team is young and could benefit from a guard who can speed up the pace. Utah also already has a great point-forward in Gordon Hayward that would allow Payne to play off the ball some and not shoulder too many responsibilities as a rookie guard.
13. Phoenix Suns - Myles Turner, PF
Still hard to gauge Phoenix so I'll stick with Turner here. He has the talent to go as high as the top five and the floor spacing ability that the Suns have missed with the departure of Channing Frye. Phoenix has young assets at every position, but it all depends on how much they value fringe prospects that they nonetheless invested a lot in such as Alex Len.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder - Sam Dekker, SF
The Thunder should once again be back in the thick of things in the Western Conference with their superstars healthy so they'll very likely be drafting bench depth and Dekker is an intriguing talent. He doesn't excel at anything, but he does enough well and is a solid athlete who can run the floor with Russell Westbrook. Some concerns remain about his shooting and seeming inconsistency, but he won't have to do much but run the floor and play to his strengths in OKC.
Thoughts on how the Heat and other teams should draft? Feel free to comment below