Re-Drafting the 2015 NBA Draft Class

The 2015 NBA Draft was one of the better drafts of the decade, producing 4 true NBA All-Star talents, a couple of generational talents. Beyond the top 4, there is a drop off to role players talents, but good enough talents to be apart of winning teams.

See how high Devin Booker rises from pick 13. If the Lakers select D’Lo again? How the 76ers fix their mistake of drafting Jahlil Okafor?

1. Minnesota Timberwolves Select Karl-Anthony Towns

When the Timberwolves selected Karl-Anthony Towns with the first overall pick, it was presumed a can’t miss. Five years later and Towns has proved the organization and scouts correct. 

While the team hasn’t had much success, Towns has been outstanding. Towns, who is already a 2x All-Star with career averages of 22.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, is only getting better. WHile his defense is something that needs improving, Towns has improved in other areas. He has extended his range and efficiency to beyond the 3 point arc, draining 41% of his three point attempts. Even with his bad reputation on the defensive side of the ball, Towns averages 1.5 blocks per game. 

Whether or not the franchise ever gets it together, one thing is certain: Towns will be an all star level player for the next decade.  

2. Los Angeles Lakers Select Kristaps Porzingis

When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick, it looked like they had their point guard for the future. If the Lakers front office had not given Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov undeserved max contracts, maybe Russell is still in the purple and gold. Either way the whole D’Lo in LA thing fell apart rather quickly. 

This time around Los Angeles elect to go with the 7’3” PF/C from Latvia, Kristaps Porzingis. The only flaw in Porzingis’ game has been durability. But when healthy, Prozingis has shown signs of being a true star in this league. 

His career averages of 18.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks don’t tell the whole story. Standing over 7 feet tall with the range of Steph Curry, Porzingis is the exact type of big man every team is looking for in today’s game. 

While the Lakers desperately needed a guard during this time, I feel like the upside of Porzingis is too much to overlook. 

3. Philadelphia 76ers Select Devin Booker

At the time of the 2015 NBA Draft, Devin Booker was not among the names mentioned atop the draft. Towns, Okafor and Russell were the presumed top 3 talents in the draft. 

Looking back on it today, Booker was greatly overlooked. Of all the members of the class, Booker has been the most explosive scorer. His 70 point game speaks for itself, but his career averages of 22.3 points on near 50% shooting show he’s a consistent offensive threat. Outside of his rookie campaign, Booker has averaged over 22 points a contest. 

Booker’s passing ability is one that goes unnoticed, but in the past two seasons, Booker has averaged 6.8 and 6.6 assists per game. 

As for the fit with the 76ers, he would balance out the scoring and presence of Joel Embiid inside. 

4. New York Knicks Select D’Angelo Russell

The New York Knicks were the laughing stock of the league when they selected the unknown Latvian Kristaps Porzingis with this pick. It was one of the few things the Knicks got right this century, and yet it still ended badly for them. 

So with Porzingis off the board, the Knicks draft D’Angelo Russell to be their point guard for the future. The Knicks have been searching for a franchise point guard since Mark Jackson left. Five years since this 2015 draft and the Knicks still don’t have the position figured out. 

With career averages 17.5 points and 5.3 assists, it seems perplexing that he has been on 4 teams in 5 years, but when you look at the circumstances you see why.

 Things crumbled in Los Angeles, partly his fault, mostly front offices fault. He was building something in Brooklyn until Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant decided that was the place they wanted to team up. He spent half the season in Golden State but injuries ruined the team before they had a chance to see if it worked. Now he is in Minnesota with his best friend Towns so lets hope it becomes home.  

If given the chance, I believe Russell can be a franchise guard. 

5. Orlando Magic Select Montrezl Harrell

The Orlando Magic originally drafted Mario Herzonja with this pick and he flopped. So to make sure the Magic get this right, I have them selecting Montrezl Harrell. 

Harrell doesn’t even start on the Clippers, but he’s the best big man they have. He embraced and thrived in coming off the bench with Lou Williams for the Clippers. While not starting, he is quickly approaching an all star level. 

This season for the Clippers he averaged 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in only 27.8 minutes per game. In every minute on the floor, Harrell is hustling. Undersized, Harrell uses his quickness to beat bigger opponents to the rim and lose balls. 

The upside isn’t like the 4 guys who went ahead of him, but he is by far the best remaining player. 

6. Sacramento Kings Select Kelly Oubre Jr.

We have hit the part of the draft where only role players remain. The Sacramento Kings loved to draft big men during the Demarcus Cousins era, examples being Thomas Robinson, Willie Cauley-Stein and Georgios Papagiannis. We are not going to do that in this re-draft, as we are competent, and we select Kelly Oubre Jr. 

Oubre Jr. is far from the perfect player, and probably not worth the 7th overall pick. But beyond the top 4 in this class, there is a dramatic drop off. Oubre Jr. is an athletic wing who is not shy about getting his shots up. He started his career off slowly in Washington, but in his fourth year and a new home with the Suns, Obrue Jr. averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds. 

Oubre continues to improve his efficiency numbers each year as he gets more playing time. That is a good sign for his development, but there is certainly a cap on how high he can ascend. Ideally Oubre would be a 6th man off the bench, or maybe the 4th option on a contending team. 

7. Denver Nuggets Select Josh Richardson

Due to his stagnant development and labeled a bust, Emmanuel Mudiay is a name you don’t hear much about today. But heading into the 2015 draft, Mudiay was one of the most hyped up talents in the class. He was expected to be an excellent two-way combo guard, with speed and athleticism. 

In this re-draft we target a player with a similar tool set, but has been successful at the NBA level: Josh Richardson. 

Richardson is not the best player left on the board, I like Myles Turner a bit more, but the Nuggets already have an abundance of Centers at this time. He would fill a nice role as either a SG or SF. Richardson is an efficient scorer and a strong, versatile defender. 

He can fit into any system, and never needs the ball in his hand so he can complement the actual starts on a team. Just see his work in Philadelphia and Miami.  

8. Detroit Pistons Select Justice Winslow

The Detroit Pistons have been a lost franchise since the Chauncey Billups era ended. A big reason for that has been their inability to draft the right players. In the 2015 NBA Draft they selected Stanley Johnson, who turned out to be nothing in this league. 

Once again I like Myles Turner over the guy I have going 8th, but because of team need, Turner remains on the board. I have the Pistons selecting Justise Winslow. 

Winslow has been in that more than a role player, but less than an all star tier. He has shown his versatility, changing positions from SF to PG and back again. He is not elite in any single area, but his flaws are not that major either. In the right system Winslow can be a part of a winning formula. That is something the Pistons have been trying to find for the better part of the decade. 

9. Charlotte Hornets Select Myles Turner

It is always hard to decide who I should draft for the Hornets because their roster is always in shambles. That can be attributed to bad draft picks prior. They need talent at every position but also have young talent that is too early to give up on. 

That is ever so evident in this class as the best player available is Myles Turner, but the Hornets have 3 young big men on roster: Bismack Byiombo, Noah Vonleh, and Cody Zeller. It makes it easier to still draft a center in Turner, knowing that they originally went with Frank Kaminsky with this pick. 

Turner’s value has depreciated in the past two years with the rise of Domantas Sabonis in Indiana. But let’s not lose focus on what Turner brings to the table. He is a very good rim protector, averaging 2.7 blocks per game and finishing 5th in DPOY voting. He can even stretch the floor with his respectable career 3 point shooting percentage of 35%. The one knock on Turner’s game has been rebounding. He’s just not very good, or committed to that aspect of the game, which is an essential ability for a center. If he works on his rebounding, he is scrapping low tier all star level of play. 

10. Miami Heat Select Terry Rozier

The Heat could have gone in a number of different directions in this redraft: Christian Wood, Norman Powell, or even Willie Cauley-Stein. But I went with Terry Rozier for a few reasons.

When he was in Boston as the 6th man, Rozier thrived. Was it Brad Stevens system? Maybe considering he has been very inefficient in Charlotte. But in Miami, under Erik Spoelstra’s guidance, I think Rozier would find similar success to what he had in Boston. Sure he is streaky and unpredictable, but when he’s on he can carry the offensive load for a spurt.

In Case You Missed It:

Re-Drafting the 2014 NBA Draft Class

Re-Drafting the 2013 NBA Draft Class

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