The NBA Draft Lottery has been set, and the Minnesota Timberwolves hold the top pick. This is the first time the team has ever held the first overall selection, and they will have their choice of either Karl Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor. What Minnesota does will set the pace for the entire 2015 Draft.
Here are the projected 2015 NBA Draft Lottery selections.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky: The Timberwolves should draft Towns with the top pick. He is much more athletic than Okafor, and will fit in much nicer with Minnesota’s fast-paced system.
Los Angeles Lakers – Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke: Los Angeles has an easy decision on their hands, draft whomever Minnesota doesn’t out of Okafor or Towns. Okafor will be paired with Julius Randle setting up the team’s frontcourt of the future.
Philadelphia 76ers – Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China: Sam Hinkie was the only general manager to scout Mudiay overseas. The team needs a point guard after the trade of Michael Carter-Williams, and Mudiay will fit the bill nicely.
New York Knicks – D’Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State: The Knicks slid to the number four position in the draft but still get a prime prospect. Russell could be the best guard prospect in this year’s class, and New York needs help at just about every position, especially point guard.
Orlando Magic – Justise Winslow, SF, Duke- Orlando could benefit from drafting Winslow because Tobias Harris’s future in the Magic Kingdom is unknown. Winslow proved he could be a top-notch scorer and defender in the NCAA Tournament, and he will bring that same play to Orlando.
Sacramento Kings – Mario Hezonja, SF, Barcelona- Hezonja is a capable swingman that can finish strong at the rim. He is the perfect complement to a young Sacramento team. His presence can allow Rudy Gay more time at the power forward position, and will also give the Kings another scorer on the wing to go along with the improving Ben McLemore.
Denver Nuggets- Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky- Denver needs to replace Timofey Mozgov, and Cauley Stein might be the best remaining big man option. He has the ability to defend every position on the court, and has a strong inside game.
Detroit Pistons- Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, Latvia- With the expected departure of Greg Monroe, the seven footer will be the perfect addition to the Pistons frontcourt. He has three-point range and can spread the floor, giving Andre Drummond all the room he needs to operate down low.
Charlotte Hornets- Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky- Booker is a pure shooter and solid defender. He will step right into a starting role with the Hornets, and will play the role Lance Stephenson was supposed to play last season.
Miami Heat- Stanley Johnson, SG, Arizona– Miami is set up well for the future, and one could argue the team might have made the playoffs with a healthy Chris Bosh. Johnson will take on a sixth man role with the Heat, but could see starter minutes if Luol Deng succumbs to injury.
Indiana Pacers- Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin- Indiana will look Kaminsky’s way come draft night. While his natural position is center, you can expect him to play alongside Roy Hibbert to create some excellent floor spacing. This is Larry Bird’s type of player, a superb three-point shooter with a tough side to him.
Utah Jazz- Myles Turner, C, Texas- Utah already has Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, but the team has a nice collection of backcourt players as well, and will simply be drafting for best on the board. Turner is still a raw prospect but has all the tools to be a dominant NBA big man.
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State- Phoenix could go a number of ways in this draft. It’s expected that they will sign restricted free agent, Brandon Knight, to a new contract, but the team has always been known to be very fond of guard play. Payne is just a tad below Mudiay and Russell on the point guard rankings, and he can play shooting guard. In other words, he is the right player for the Suns.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Sam Dekker, SG, Wisconsin- With the return of Durant, the Thunder are already a title contender next season. Dekker is the ideal sixth man for the Thunder, as he can knock the big shot but doesn’t have to be the lead option on the team. Look for Dekker to replace Kyle Singer in the Thunder rotation.