The NBA draft is an exciting event for basketball fans year after year. Filled with busts, late round gems, surprises, and stars – the 2015 draft was no different. Hindsight is 20/20, something these teams wish they had the luxury of.
1st pick, Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns has arguably been the best player out of the draft, his only real challenger being Kristaps Porzingis. He was a jack of all trades at the University of Kentucky, leading his Wildcats to an undefeated regular season and a Final Four appearance. The Minnesota Timberwolves knew he was their man, and he has proven them right so far. Many foresee Towns on the trajectory of a future MVP because of his captivating playstyle. He’s earned himself the Rookie of the Year award in 2015 and is only trending upwards.
Karl-Anthony Towns donated his Kia that he won along with the ROTY to the Minnesota Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of Flip Saunders pic.twitter.com/b3oXH6WJWW
— PSG (@PSG_YT) July 18, 2017
2nd pick, Los Angeles Lakers: D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell was the Los Angeles Lakers’ pick, which surprised many people as most assumed Jahlil Okafor would be their selection. Regardless, they picked the Ohio State point guard in hopes of bringing relevancy back to Los Angeles. While he showed he was no slouch on the court, Russell’s incapabilities did not impress the Lakers, as he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a deal including Brook Lopez, thus solidifying Lonzo Ball as their 2017 future of the Lakers’ franchise. Many fans expect D’Angelo to have a renaissance in Brooklyn, some even selecting him as an early choice for Most Improved Player honors.
3rd pick, Philadelphia 76ers: Jahlil Okafor
Okafor was white-hot at Duke University, being a force on defense and performing amazing on offense. However, in the NCAA tournament, he was subpar, raising concern for scouts and teams about his stamina as well as performance under pressure. The 76ers still decided he was great for the third pick, deeming his flaws were repairable. However, it seems as if they might have regretted that draft selection, as they had a big man armada including Joel Embiid, the star from Kansas University. He has been below average in the NBA, barely improving anything aside from his mid-range jump shot. Due to lack of fit and play style, Okafor has remained a staple in countless trade talks.
4th pick, New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis was definitely the surprise of the draft class. He has shown a surplus of skill with raw ability, his jump shot is very smooth, and his defense is strong. Knicks fans jeered at the selection, but he has quickly proved them wrong, becoming the face of the Knicks franchise.
Knicks fans are known for being outspoken – Kristaps Porzingis learned that the hard way when he was booed by fans on draft night. pic.twitter.com/ygwwccOZVy
— E:60 (@E60) June 21, 2017
5th pick, Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja
Mario Hezonja was drafted by the Orlando Magic when not many people knew his name. After watching his highlight tapes and whatnot, he seemed to be the next great international player. However, he has proven to be one of the more disappointing players from the draft. His lack of scoring much and not starting on a poor Orlando Magic team has raised cause for concern. Mario has upside, but it’s unlikely he ever becomes much more than an average role player.
6th pick, Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein
The Sacramento Kings drafting Cauley-Stein was a confusing choice. At the time, they still had their star center, Demarcus Cousins, and had signed center Kosta Koufos in the offseason, so the addition of Willie Cauley-Stein, a center who can’t space the floor seemed asinine. He has undoubtedly shown skill – but has had limited time to showcase it in the big-man heavy offense of the Kings.
7th pick, Denver Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay
Emmanuel Mudiay seemed to be a fantastic selection for the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets were in need of a point guard, which is why Mudiay seemed to be the consensus pick. Yet, he has shown minimal life as an NBA player and would need to make a drastic improvement in skill to become a starter on an NBA team.
8th pick, Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson
Stanley Johnson has become a very average player who evidently has more potential than he has been able to show. His career has been better than those of players like Mudiay and Hezonja, as he has shown to be a capable starter, and has improved much of his game since his collegiate days. Johnson is a good player and progressing his jump shot to a higher level would likely propel him into stardom.
9th pick, Charlotte Hornets: Frank Kaminsky
Kaminsky had a great college career and was picked up in what many considered to be a steal by the Charlotte Hornets at the ninth position. He has seemingly declined since college, simply being a little worse at everything. He has the potential, but he must unlock it sooner rather than later.
10th pick, Miami Heat: Justise Winslow
Winslow was a great player at Duke with stellar defense and a strong offensive game. He picked up almost right where he left off at Duke, with a strong defense and decent offense for the Miami Heat. To truly fill out his potential, Winslow’s offense and shot behind the arc must improve. Lucky for Miami, Winslow has shown flashes of becoming a good shooter with his smooth release.
So that is the top 10 picks and what they are like now. The rest of the draft is not very good, but there were some gems like Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre Jr. Some other notable selections were – Willy Hernangomez, Josh Richardson, and Norman Powell.