2015 NBA Mock DraftBelow are the first five selections in Kevin Hanson's 2015 NBA Mock Draft:
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky
More of a well-rounded prospect than Duke's Jahlil Okafor, once considered a lock for the top pick, Towns has become the consensus option for Minnesota based on the mock drafts in our database. And it makes plenty of sense.
No team allowed more points per game than Minnesota (106.5/G) last season and Towns ranked first in the nation in both Defensive Rating (78.1) and Win Shares Per 40 Minutes (.311), per Sports Reference. Averaging just 21.1 minutes per game last year, Towns averaged 19.5 points, 12.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per 40 minutes and shot 81.3 percent from the free-throw line.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
Okafor is a skilled back-to-the-basket player on the offensive end of the court that averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as he led Duke to a national championship -- over Towns and Kentucky -- as a freshman. The only Lakers currently under contract beyond next season are Julius Randle, last year's first-round pick, and Nick Young although three players including Jordan Clarkson will be restricted free agents in 2016.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: D'Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State
The best-case scenario for the Sixers in the NBA Draft Lottery was the No. 1, 6 and 11 picks, but instead they ended up with the most-likely scenario of only the third pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. That also means that the Sixers will go into the 2016 NBA Draft with the possibility of having four first-round picks.
The Sixers got nothing out of their two first-round picks -- Joel Embiid and Elfrid Payton, subsequently traded for Dario Saric -- last year and it's possible that they may get nothing from them this upcoming season as well. Not only will Saric stay in Turkey, but Embiid's foot is not healing as fast as expected and there's the potential that he misses another season if he has surgery once again.
Compared to a month ago when most believed this pick would be either Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay, it will likely come down to Russell or Latvia's Kristaps Porzingis. With the ability to facilitate for others or create his own offense, Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while knocking down 41.1 percent of his three-pointers as a freshman in Columbus.
4. New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia
Only 19 years old (turns 20 in August), Porzingis is a skilled seven-footer that has drawn some comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol. As his Sevilla teammate Derrick Byars said, "Kristaps has a Nowitzki-like offensive skill set. He's 7-1, can shoot, can put the ball on the floor, can block shots, he's mobile and athletic. There's not much he can't do on the floor."
5. Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja, SG/SF, Croatia
With three lottery picks in the past two drafts, the Magic have added three elite defenders -- Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton (via Philly). That said, the Magic were just 27th in the league in Offensive Rating (99.6).
Hezonja has excellent size (6-8) and athleticism to attack the basket but he also possesses outstanding range. And it's clear that Hezonja does not lack confidence.
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2015 NBA Draft Results