2015 NBA Mock Draft

The SLAM staff mocks the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.
by June 24, 2015

The SLAM Mock Draft took a hiatus for a season, but it’s back and better than ever. We asked the members of the SLAM staff to represent a franchise in the first round and compiled their picks in our complete 2015 Mock Draft below.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky

I’m taking Towns first, and I’m not thinking twice about it. He’s got great size, elite athleticism and a phenomenal shooting touch (peep the the free-throw percentages!!). He’s also got a self-confidence that will work well as a pro. Pair Karl up with my man Andrew Wiggins and just hope Flip doesn’t mess things up.—Ben Osborne

2. L.A. Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, Duke

Control the boards, control the game. The forceful front-court combo of Okafor and a healthy Julius Randle creates a big core L.A. can build a future around and begin restoring Purple & Gold dominance.—Terrence Watson

3. Philadelphia 76ers: D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State

Russell’s three-point shooting and playmaking ability make him an easy choice for the Sixers. He gives the worst offensive team in the League an ideal floor spacer and distributor for its big man duo of Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.—Brett Weisband

4. New York Knicks: Emmanuel Mudiay, Guangdong Southern Tigers (China)

If the Knicks are serious about winning now, their best option is to trade the pick for a veteran big man. But for mock draft’s sake, New York takes the Draft’s most interesting man at No. 4. It’s a point guard’s league and after losing out on the No.1 pick at the lottery to top off a year’s worth of bad luck, the Knicks finally get the pendulum swinging in their favor with a big, strong PG who will get minutes right away. Questions will arise as to whether Mudiay is a fit for the Triangle, but with a roster in desperate need of good players the front office has to worry about talent over fit with this pick. This is the franchise’s most important night in nearly two decades and Mudiay will either be the KONY or set the organization back another few years. No pressure, kid.—Peter Walsh

5. Orlando Magic: Kristaps Porzingis, Baloncesto Sevilla (ACB)

Orlando has focused so much on defense over the last few years that it desperately needs someone who can be a game-changer on offense. Porzingis is an insanely skilled big man who can step in immediately and provide a huge offensive spark with his dynamic inside-out game.—Bill DiFilippo

6. Sacramento Kings: Justise Winslow, Duke

Not exactly positive if Justise is the best fit for the Kings considering they’ve already got a few guards they’re hoping to develop—Stauskus, McLemore—but this looks like unquestionably the best talent remaining on the board, so it seems wise to snatch the Duke product here and hope he meshes well with Sacramento’s (actually kind of promising?) clusterfuck of up-and-comers.—Adam Figman

7. Denver Nuggets: Mario Hezonja, Barcelona (ACB)

Given who’s left on the board, this pick, it would seem, would come down to Hezona and Willie Cauley-Stein. Hezonja, a 6-8 Croatian wing, is the better fit for the Nuggets, who already have the gigantic Jusuf Nurkic manning the middle. Hezonja can shoot and put the ball on the floor, and he’s also athletic. He could be the player the Nuggets thought they were getting when they traded for Danilo Gallinari.—Yaron Weitzman

8. Detroit Pistons: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

The Pistons acquired Ersan Ilyasova from the Milwaukee Bucks, signaling that Greg Monroe’s days in Motown are done. This move gives the Pistons a forward who can stretch the defense offensively. Detroit may entertain suitors for the pick with the thought that its two biggest needs coming into next season are small forward and an offensive minded guard off the bench. Sticking at the No. 8 spot, the logical selection is Cauley-Stein. His ability to protect the rim and flexibility to guard all five positions are proven NBA assets. He can also contribute on the glass. With Illyasova and WCS in fold, Detroit continues to mold into a Playoff contender.—Leigh Klein

9. Charlotte Hornets: Stanley Johnson, Arizona

On a roster stacked with power forwards but bereft of perimeter firepower, Johnson would be a good fit in Charlotte. Equipped with an NBA body (6-6, 225 pounds), high motor and explosive athleticism, Johnson can be Charlotte’s ace defender, finish above the rim in transition, and space the floor with an underrated shooting stroke (Johnson shot 44 percent on jumpers last season). Most importantly, the four-time state high school champion will engender a competitive culture that will help accelerate the growth of Charlotte’s young core.—Eldon Khorshidi

10. Miami Heat: Kelly Oubre, Kansas

Oubre is a great fit for the Heat on the wing with good size, length and athleticism. He slides in well next to Whiteside, Bosh and a declining Wade, and could turn into a lockdown defender while stretching defenses with the three as soon as this season.—Dan Hanna

11. Indiana Pacers: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

The Pacers roster has tons of holes that need to be filled, and Kaminsky is the most skilled and versatile big left on the board who can make the most immediate impact. Cameron Payne and Trey Lyles were also heavily considered, but Kaminsky’s inside-out ability can help boost the Pacers’ front-court depth and take a little pressure off Paul George when they share the court.—Danny Hazan

12. Utah Jazz: Sam Dekker, Wisconsin

The Jazz have nice young core in the frontcourt, but are still figuring out who will play alongside Gordon Heyward on the wing. Dekker has good size and can defend multiple positions. Sam may not be great at anything but is good at a lot of things. A jack of all trades is exactly what the Jazz needs next to Gordon.—Christian Mordi

13. Phoenix Suns: Cameron Payne, Murray State

The Suns have gone through a major overhaul with their guards over the last year. Now they have some stability with Eric Bledsoe and the best available player in the Draft, Payne.—Russell Simon

14. OKC Thunder: Bobby Portis, Arkansas

Last month at the Draft Combine in Chicago, Portis told reporters, “18, 19 years from now, when you look at this Draft, they’re going to say that Bobby Portis was the best player in this Draft.” Whether or not you agree, you’ve gotta love the confidence. Portis averaged 17.5 points, 8.9 boards and 1.4 blocks (he also shot 53.6 percent from the floor and 46.7 percent from deep) during his sophomore season at Arkansas—and he could end up being the 6-11 glue guy OKC thought they found in Perry Jones three years ago.—Eli Schwadron

15. Atlanta Hawks: Myles Turner, Texas

Seeing as how it was Tristan Thompson, a long, rebound-hogging former Texas Longhorn, who exposed the Atlanta Hawks’ frontcourt weaknesses in the East finals, it only makes sense that they would go after a long, rebound-hogging former Texas Longhorn for help in the paint.—DeMarco Williams

16. Boston Celtics: Kevon Looney, UCLA

The Celtics’ future at the power forward position remains uncertain with Brandon Bass a free agent and Jared Sullinger nearing the end of his rookie contract. Sully was also called out by GM Danny Ainge for being out of shape, so who knows if he’ll want to stay in green. Looney address the Celts’ PF needs while adding tremendous rebounding ability on both sides of the floor, which the undersized team desperately needs.—Michael Reiner

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Devin Booker, Kentucky

Touted by many as the best shooter in the class, analysts have already begun drawing up Klay Thompson comparisons. Having shot 41.1 percent from behind the arc last season for the Kentucky Wildcats in a platoon system that presumably made it tougher for bench players to get into a rhythm, Booker can provide the Bucks with much needed help at the 2-guard position.—Franklyn Calle

18. Houston Rockets: Tyus Jones, Duke

Final Four Most Outstanding Player. NCAA Champion. Stone-cold killer on the court. That’s Jones’ curriculum vitae in just one year at Duke, which is enough to warrant serious consideration for the No. 18 spot held by the Rockets, who basically had to turn to the “point guard by committee” strategy when Patrick Beverley went down.—Maurice Bobb

19. Washington Wizards: Trey Lyles, Kentucky

Ernie Grunfeld should sprint to the podium with this pick. Lyles is smooth and athletic despite a huge 6-10, 241-pound frame. His stats from one season at UK aren’t eye-popping, but that’s a product of playing with six other pros. Oh, and he’s 19 years old. John Wall: Meet your stretch-4 of the future.—Abe Schwadron

20. Toronto Raptors: Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

Harrell’s motor is without question. He’s active, aggressive and athletic with a pride for defense and filling the lanes. He provides a lot of intangibles the Raptors lack.—Duane Watson

21. Dallas Mavericks: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona

The Mavericks lacked defense in many areas last season, especially on the perimeter. With Cuban still in “win-now” mode during Dirk Nowitzki’s final years, Dallas drafting Hollis-Jefferson would give the team a player with an NBA-ready build and wingspan. He has the lateral quickness to guard multiple positions, and could add depth behind Chandler Parsons.—Jay Wallis

22. Chicago Bulls: Jerian Grant, Notre Dame

Forget that the Grant lineage is part of the Bulls’ Championship history. Grant is an NBA-ready playmaker who ran the nation’s best offense last season. He’s a high-character guy who can play both guard positions.—Ryne Nelson

23. Portland Trail Blazers: RJ Hunter, Georgia State

Hunter is a knockdown shooter. He plays with aggression and could easily step in and bolster an already strong Portland bench with touch and playmaking ability.—Max Resetar

24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Terry Rozier, Louisville

Rozier is a point guard who can create for himself and others. He would fill a need for the Cavaliers in the backcourt behind Kyrie Irving while also being able to play alongside a guard like Matthew Dellavedova in the second unit. The fact that he’s a hometown kid from Cleveland doesn’t hurt either.—Brendan Bowers

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Rashad Vaughn, UNLV

Vaughn declared for the Draft after just one underwhelming season that was cut short by a meniscus tear in February, but the UNLV product can shoot the lights out and looked spry in the Combine. He drained threes at a 38 percent clip last year, and the Grizzlies desperately need shooters. They land one of the Draft’s youngest prospects with a high ceiling and scorer’s instinct.—Steven Goldstein

26. San Antonio Spurs: Delon Wright, Utah

With Tony Parker on the decline, and Cory Joseph likely headed out in free agency, the Spurs may look to add a solid back-up guard who can contribute on both ends. Delon Wright has great size for a PG (6-5) and with an improved perimeter game, can definitely play alongside Parker or Patty Mills. And let’s face it, an unselfish, fantastic passer who dictates the pace and defends at a high level just sounds like a Spur.—Alex Squadron

27. L.A. Lakers: Chris McCullough, Syracuse

Drafting McCullough creates a young big-man rotation the Lakers can build around and makes Jordan Hill (and his contract) more expendable than Jason Statham. He brings a needed defensive presence (2.1 bpg at ‘Cuse) and won’t have to log major minutes right away behind Julius Randle, so no need to worry (too much) about him re-injuring his ACL.—TW

28. Boston Celtics: Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse

Christmas could be a steal at No. 28 for the Celtics. An established center who has banged with the best in the ACC, RC could definitely fill the Celtic’s void in the front court. Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller have the ability to run the floor reasonably well, but don’t provide much shot blocking and altering—specifically where Christmas could help the green.—MR

29. Brooklyn Nets: Jarell Martin, LSU

The Nets really need some young talent, and would do well to snag Martin here. He’d be a jolt of energy for an uninspiring bench or, perhaps, a ready-made replacement for free agent Thaddeus Young. Realistically, though, acquiring anybody under 36 would be a triumph for Brooklyn.—Leo Sepkowitz

30. Golden State Warriors: Justin Anderson, Virginia

There isn’t much the 2015 NBA Champion Warriors desperately need, but Anderson will touch-up the roster in those spots that could use a level up. As a 6-6 forward off-the-bench who can drain from long range and provide a defensive edge, the former UVA Cavalier will fit in quite nicely with Dub Nation’s squad.—Habeeba Husain