#1 - Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns, the predicted first pick of many NBA analysts, will almost certainly go to Minnesota at number 1. Towns, while limited in minutes on a deep Kentucky squad, showed great promise shooting 56% from the field and 81% from the free throw line. Furthermore, Towns showed his value grabbing nearly 19% of all rebounds while on the court.
#2 - Los Angeles Lakers
Standing at 6' 11" and 272 pounds, Jahlil Okafor has an NBA ready body that can keep up with the dominant big men in the league. The Lakers have won many of their championships on the backs of names like Shaquille O'neal, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Will Okafor be the next center to give the purple and gold a ring? He certainly has the tools to do so, Jahlil draws fouls at 5.1 FTA/game and converted 66.4% of his 11.1 FGA, to average an impressive 17.3 points. With the impressive offensive tools comes defensive faults, Jahlil is a limited athlete which hinders his ability to guard the pick and roll and more mobile centers while he struggles at the line shooting just 51.1%
#3 - Philadelphia 76ers
Sam Hinkie has proven through the previous two drafts that he is willing to take a risk and willing to be patient, very patient. Kristaps might be the most intriguing prospect as he stands 7 feet 2 inches tall with an enormous 7 feet 6 inch wingspan, while managing to shoot 36.7% from NBA 3pt range. Simply watching Porzingis' film, it is easy to see the high potential of the 19 year old Latvian. The largest concern is whether he can keep up with the power forwards of the NBA as Kristaps has a slim frame at 220 pounds.
#4 - New York Knicks
Phil Jackson may surprise us here and trade out the highly coveted #4 spot, but if he decides to stay put D'angelo Russell is a no-brainer with the three big men off the board. Russell is a prolific scorer averaging 19.3 PPG while shooting 41.1% from 3 on 6.6 attempts per game. He can create his own shot using his impressive ball handling skills and has the playmaking ability to run an NBA team as evidenced by his 5 assists per game. D'angelo does lack some explosiveness that NBA fans have grown so accustomed to with Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose (ok...maybe 3 years ago). D'angelo will have to make up for the lack of athleticism with his craftiness and basketball IQ if he wants to be an elite point guard.
#5 - Orlando Magic
Orlando has a young, dynamic and exciting core in Victor Oladipo who was drafted 2nd overall in the 2013 draft, Elfrid Payton who was acquired in a draft night trade with Philadelphia during the 2014 draft and Nik Vucevic who was also acquired from Philadelphia in the blockbuster Andrew Bynum deal. The final piece to this young eastern conference team could just be the elite wing out of Duke, Justise Winslow. Winslow has the size to guard the SF position in the NBA but the quickness and lateral speed to cover the top 2-guards. He is a ferocious finisher and lock down defender. Justise will have an immediate impact in the league and just may be the most NBA ready prospect.
#6 - Sacramento Kings
Emmanuel Mudiay, following the same path as former lottery pick Brandon Jennings, chose to forgo college and instead joined the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. While statistics are certainly available for Mudiay's play, it's difficult to read into them, given he only played 12 games. In those 12 games he shot only 57% from the free throw line and 34% from behind the arc. In the event that the Kings deal their star center DeMarcus Cousins, Mudiay will be able to pitch in as an above average rebounder (17% Defensive Rebound Percentage with Guangdong). Look for Sacramento to take the quick, physical point guard on draft night.
#7 - Denver Nuggets
Kentucky big man Willie "Trill" Cauley-Stein has proven to be an excellent defender at the collegiate level. Cauley-Stein has been compared to the likes of Tyson Chandler, while being touted as an excellent athlete. While his block percentage is just over 7%, (down from 12% in his sophomore season) Cauley-Stein is less likely to receive help in the NBA, as he will not be playing alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. Cauley-Stein is an elite defender in isolation, with opposing isolation FG% of 22% according to ESPN.
#8 - Detroit Pistons
We are excited to see what Stan Van Gundy will do in his second offseason as President and Coach of the Detroit Pistons, a team in need of, well, talent and some resemblance of a plan. The pistons roster features one of the more exciting young centers in the league in Andre Drummond and a Brandon Jennings, a scoring but inconsistent guard. Detroit is in need of a wing and no player in the draft fits with the Motor City's blue collar, tough mentality as well as Stanley Johnson. Johnson is the type of guy that you can put on the opposing team's best player and not worry for the rest of the game. Standing 6'7" with a near 7 foot wing span in addition to his combination of strength and speed allow Stanley to be a ferocious defender and a fantastic rebounder as evidenced by his 6.5 Rebounds per game. Concerns of his ball handling are fair and it is a possibility that Johnson will never be a number 1 or 2 option on a winning team.
#9 - Charlotte Hornets
Mario is the second international prospect (excluding Mudiay) in the top 10 of Wash U Sports Analytics' mock draft but he is just as intriguing as Kristaps. Mario has excellent size for the shooting guard position standing 6'8" tall and has shown promise from deep shooting nearly 38% on 6.7 attempts (per 36). Hezonja has a great first step and the confidence and ability to be a great scorer in the NBA, something that Charlotte desperately lacks as their offense ranks 28 in offensive efficiency with a score of 97.6. Hezonja needs to work on his man-to-man defense, he has the size and athleticism to be a much stronger defender but has not shown the desire to at this point in his career.
#10 - Miami Heat
Miami will look to draft a big, Frank Kaminsky in particular, with the 10th pick. One reason is that their current center Hassan Whiteside is only under contract for the upcoming season and Miami might shy away from paying big money to the break-out center with Chris Bosh set to earn upwards of $20 million in each of the next four seasons. Not only can Kaminsky rebound the ball, but he is also able to spread the floor. Shooting nearly 42% from three in his senior year with Wisconsin, Kaminsky's range could help the Heat as they shot 33.5% from deep, good for 24th in the league.
Bonus: This great photo of Frank Kaminsky