By Ross Kelly
They say it takes three years to accurately judge if a draft was successful or not. But it only takes one night for one to speculate if a draft was successful. Since judging last night's draft is so much more fun than looking back at 2012's, here are our top winners and losers from the 2015 NBA Draft.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves:
Anytime you get the best player in the draft, you have to be deemed a winner. Karl Anthony Towns may not be a dominant post scorer like Okafor, but he's superior in pretty much every other area in the game. He reminds me of Derrick Coleman without the weight and attitude problems. (Look him up kids). KAT even has a three-point game that Calipari didn't let him show off at Kentucky as he drained 127 three-pointers over his high school career. He also gets to spend a year with Kevin Garnett and see, first-hand, exactly what it takes to be a pro. BTW, KG owns Timberwolves gear from his first go-around with the franchise that is older than Towns. The T'Wolves then added Minnesota native Tyus Jones via trade and he's a good insurance policy in case Ricky Rubio gets hurt/traded.
2. Orlando Magic:
The Magic are stocked with young athletes in Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, and Aaron Gordon. Well, they just added another one in Mario Hezonja who lit up the Jordan Brand Classic a couple of years ago with his thunderous dunks. However, Hezonja is also one of the best-shooting wings in the draft and the Magic desperately need outside shooting. His style of play is similar to Dan Majerle or a young Brent Barry in that he's a guy who could legitimately win both the dunk contest AND the three-point shootout.
3. Denver Nuggets:
Comparisons for Mudiay have ranged from Derrick Rose to Tyreke Evans to Rodney Stuckey so there is a wide range of opinion on the young man. But what makes this a great pick for the Nuggets is the style of play that they covet. They want an up-tempo, fast paced offense which suits the Denver altitude and Mudiay is a downhill, attacking guard so he should fit right in. He still needs some work as a ball-handler but right now he could play alongside Ty Lawson or eventually replace Lawson at point if the veteran is traded away.
4. Miami Heat:
With the uncertainty around Dwayne Wade's future in Miami, Winslow is a great pick based on need, and talent. He is definitely a Pat Riley-guy in that he plays both ends of the floor and goes all out and all times. Luol Deng has a player option so he may not return and Winslow has the size to slot into the small forward position as well. The Jimmy Butler comparisons are not far off and if Winslow can work on some of the finer points of his game, the Heat got an absolute steal with the 10th pick.
5. Indiana Pacers:
The Pacers are another team who drafted for both need and talent in taking Myles Turner. Larry Bird wants to alter the Pacers' offense and make it more of an up-tempo unit. With David West opting out and Roy Hibbert possibly on the way out, Turner could be an immediate starter. He is a stretch five who also is an elite shot blocker which is a rarity. Fantasy guys should remember this guy because if he gets serious minutes, he'll fill up the box score.
1. Philadelphia 76ers:
The Sixers being labeled a loser has nothing to do with Jahlil Okafor's NBA talent as I think he'll be a productive, classic big man in the mold of Al Jefferson or Brook Lopez. It has everything to do with the fact they have an injured Joel Embiid at the same position. Okafor's selection indicates that the Sixers don't expect Embiid to be ready for the start of the season, if not the entire season. Embiid was the centerpiece of the Sixers' rebuilding plan, and Okafor's selection is just like pressing the reset button and Embiid's selection is looking like a lost pick. But the good news for Philly fans is that they have a rookie, who is healthy, isn't being stashed, and who they don't plan on trading.
2. Charlotte Hornets:
Nothing against Kaminsky, but why draft him when you just traded for a similar player in Spencer Hawes just a few days prior? It's obvious the Hornets are looking for an upgrade in outside shooting, but how many stretch fours does a team need? Don't forget Charlotte also spent the #4 pick in 2013 on another power forward in Cody Zeller so are they already throwing in the towel on him? Instead of targeting a wing who is a great shooter like Devin Booker, they instead went with good shooter at a position that is already stocked with talent.
3. Boston Celtics:
A tweener guard who is a lock-down defender but has an inconsistent shot. This describes Avery Bradley…and Marcus Smart…and Terry Rozier. The Celtics added another undersized guard (don't forget about Isaiah Thomas also) so maybe they're trying to be Phoenix East? With their next pick they then drafted a wing and much needed shooter in R.J. Hunter. However, they picked swingman James Young last year and want to bring back Jae Crowder who is also a small forward. As Jalen Rose said, "The Celtics are going to be a 6'7" and under team." With Brandon Bass a FA and Jared Sullinger's weight issues, I thought the Celtics would go for a big but maybe they'll get some big man Love later in the summer.
4. New York Knicks:
Phil Jackson said Porzingis has "the most upside in the draft". That may be true, but with Phil's questionable work ethic as GM, do you really think he was out there scouting Porzingis in Liga ACB or was he just watching YouTube highlights like the rest of us? All rookies need time to adjust to the NBA but it's an even bigger burden for international players and does 31-year-old Carmelo Anthony have the time to wait 3-4 years for Zinger to reach his prime? Historically, there just has been more risk associated with foreign players than college ones. Also, it seems odd that the Knicks would draft a guy who is a multi-year project in Zinger, and then trade for an NBA-ready player in senior Jerian Grant. Was Uncle Horace Grant in Phil's ear? I actually like the Grant selection at 19 more than Zinger at 4 but overall, the Knicks decisions have been, unsurprisingly, questionable.
5. Chicago Bulls:
Bobby Portis is going to be a heck of a player; I'm just not sure it will be in Chicago. The Bulls already have four starting-caliber bigs so Portis is going to spend a lot of time in the D-league this season. You would think that a team that is competing for a championship would select someone that could contribute tomorrow but the Bulls went the other route. A backup point guard would have been nice or another wing would have been safe as an insurance policy for free agent Jimmy Butler.
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