The 2015 NBA Draft was never intended to be a strong one in terms of talent, and it still shows to this day. However, based on how some of these players have developed, some teams made the wrong decisions.
Minnesota Timberwolves, 1st Pick
Original Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns
New Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns
There isn’t too much to read into this one. “KAT” remains the best talent to this day from the 2015 Draft. He has been a tremendous fit and will one day be considered a superstar.
Los Angeles Lakers, 2nd Pick
Original Pick: D’Angelo Russell
New Pick: Devin Booker
Coming into the 2015-2016 NBA Season, NBA fans knew Kobe Bryant’s playing career was coming to an end. Their front office should’ve done their best at finding an understudy. D’Angelo Russell has been involved with off-court shenanigans, and to be quite frank, he hasn’t shown any signs of star potential. Devin Booker is the best guard to come out of the 2015 Draft so far, and has loads of potential.
Philadelphia 76ers, 3rd Pick
Original Pick: Jahlil Okafor
New Pick: D’Angelo Russell
After the 76ers selected Okafor, it left many heads turned. It wasn’t logical because the team already had Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. Embiid was drafted just a year before, and looking at how things are now, adding another center seems just as illogical as it was on draft night.
For a few years, the 76ers have lacked talent in both guard positions. D’Angelo Russell probably doesn’t make them any better from where they are now, but he scores the ball, and that’s something Philadelphia has lacked for a few years now.
New York Knicks, 4th Pick
Original Pick: Kristaps Porzingis
New Pick: Kristaps Porzingis
It’s easy to recall the moment New York drafted Porzingis. All the badgering in the world directed at one player. From where things stand now, the hate was downright stupid. Porzingis remained confident and has become a must-see talent for the New York Knicks. It would be foolish to fix something that isn’t broken.
Orlando Magic, 5th Pick
Original Pick: Mario Hezonja
New Pick: Kelly Oubre Jr.
There’s an argument to be made that Kelly Oubre Jr. is the best wing to come out of this draft, excluding Devin Booker. The original pick, Hezonja, hasn’t come along as people had once hoped. It was expected by many that perhaps he wouldn’t be a consistent contributor right away.
Other wings such as Justise Winslow, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Stanley Johnson all have huge holes in their games to this day. Kelly still has the most potential out of this group, so it makes sense they draft potential considering there is no real proven talent at the wing positions.
Sacramento Kings, 6th Pick
Original Pick: Willie Cauley-Stein
New Pick: Emmanuel Mudiay
At the time and even to this day, the Kings do not have a franchise point guard. Although Cauley-Stein is an interesting prospect, Mudiay provides serious skill and potential at a position they so desperately need. This is a league of guards now, and teams can find serviceable rim-protectors like Cauley-Stein all over the place.
Denver Nuggets, 7th Pick
Original Pick: Emmanuel Mudiay
New Pick: Jahlil Okafor
The Nuggets need talent. Plain and simple, Jahlil Okafor is the most talented player left after the selections above. There wasn’t a specific position that was needed then, and for the most part there isn’t now. With this pick, it’s about adding the most talented player out there.
Detroit Pistons, 8th Pick
Original Pick: Stanley Johnson
New Pick: Myles Turner
Stanley Johnson could still develop into a nice piece for an NBA roster. As stated above, he hasn’t really done enough to prove his worth despite having all the physical tools necessary to do so. Andre Drummond just really isn’t that good, so perhaps Detroit should have gotten a replacement that has actual skill so that it makes letting go of Drummond an easier process. Detroit has no true center-piece for their franchise and Turner may be turning into one for the Indiana Pacers.
Charlotte Hornets, 9th Pick
Original Pick: Frank Kaminsky
New Pick: Richaun Holmes
Holmes has turned into an exceptional player. The Hornets lack depth and athleticism in the front-court and Holmes gives them just that. Not to mention he still has tons of potential. It would be interesting to see him perform with a playoff-caliber team like Charlotte.
Miami Heat, 10th Pick
Original Pick: Justise Winslow
New Pick: Trey Lyles
The Miami Heat don’t have much depth at power forward, and adding Lyles would do that. Knowing at the time that Chris Bosh was having issues, it would have been wise to add talent at the power forward position. Lyles can also play center, so that adds to the versatility he possesses. Let’s be honest too; Kentucky players turn out to be quite the catch.
Indiana Pacers, 11th Pick
Original Pick: Myles Turner
New Pick: Rashad Vaughn
After the departure of Lance Stephenson, the Pacers lacked a scorer on the wing other than Paul George. Looking at the Pacers roster today, they still have not replaced Stephenson’s scoring abilitiy. It would be nice to see them add a young piece that could develop into a top-tier shooting guard. Vaughn has played well when given the opportunity.
Utah Jazz, 12th Pick
Original Pick: Trey Lyles
New Pick: Larry Nance Jr.
There was brief thought of picking Willie Cauley-Stein here but Nance Jr. would be a better fit for the team. He’s extremely athletic and would be a nice option to have behind Derrick Favors. Think about the minutes where Nance Jr. would be paired along with Rudy Gobert.
Phoenix Suns, 13th Pick
Original Pick: Devin Booker
New Pick: Willie Cauley-Stein
The Suns didn’t have a future piece at the center position then and they don’t now. Willie Cauley-Stein would be a nice prospect to fit in with that roster. Alex Len isn’t cutting it. Plus, we’ve seen what Cauley-Stein can do now that DeMarcus Cousins is with another team. He scored 29 points and snatched up 10 rebounds against the Nuggets the other night. That’s pretty solid.
when you trade Boogie Cousins and Willie Cauley Stein starts to play like Boogie Cousins pic.twitter.com/fkEFY0G49j
— Ethan (@ethanhekker) February 24, 2017
Oklahoma City Thunder, 14th Pick
Original Pick: Cameron Payne
New Pick: Josh Richardson
Richardson has panned out to become a decent combo-guard. He has a sweet jump-shot and would’ve added depth at the guard positions for the future. The team is now without Dion Waiters and Reggie Jackson. Adding Richardson would add offense and he certainly has the talent to become an excellent two-way player.