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Lakers surprise, change outlook of NBA draft's first round
3:34 | NBA
Lakers surprise, change outlook of NBA draft's first round
Thursday June 25th, 2015

The 2015 NBA draft is in the books. 

Thursday's much-anticipated event began as expected, with Karl-Anthony Towns going No. 1 overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves. But the surprises soon started to roll in. The Los Angeles Lakers surprised many by taking Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell with the No. 2 overall pick, setting the tone for an eventful night. Jahlil Okafor went to the 76ers despite their bevy of big men, Kristaps Porzingis was taken at No. 4 by the Knicks (yes, drama ensued) and the Magic rounded out the top five by drafting Mario Hezonja. 

How about the rest of the first round? We have you covered. Here are grades and analysis for all 30 first-round picks:

• MORE NBA: Trade roundup | Draft results | Biggest off-seasons | Draft hub

2015 NBA draft Grades
  • 1
    Karl Towns
    CENTER | Kentucky | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: A
    In a draft that could be chaotic, No. 1 was orderly. The Timberwolves evaluated Jahlil Okafor, but they locked in on Towns the last few weeks. And he should fit in nicely. In Towns, Minnesota gets a highly skilled power forward who can be the post complement to Andrew Wiggins. Towns has a developing face-up game and his superior free throw shooting guarantees he won’t be a victim of Hack-a-Anybody. Towns will get at least a year to learn the position under Kevin Garnett; his selection here gives Minnesota an enviable young core. MORE

  • 2
    D'Angelo Russell
    Guard | Ohio St. | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: B
    And… chaos. The Lakers have been going back and forth for weeks on Russell and 7-foot center Jahlil Okafor. Russell is the best point guard prospect in the draft and the best freshman playmaking prospect in generations. He’s a bona fide floor leader with preternatural passing ability. Russell thrived in the pick-and-roll at Ohio State and there is no reason to believe he won’t do the same in the NBA. A lack of superior athleticism is maybe his only weakness, but for many execs, it’s not that concerning. MORE 

  • 3
    Jahlil Okafor
    Center | Duke | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: A-
    Philadelphia wanted D’Angelo Russell, but it will settle for Okafor, a potentially dominant offensive center. The Sixers, though, could move him. Okafor is the most appealing prospect on the board, and over the next few hours GM Sam Hinkie will be on the phone with half the GMs in the league who will try to pry Okafor out of Philadelphia. Still, if Joel Embiid’s most recent setback is real, Philadelphia would be wise to keep the talented center, whose skills would be a nice complement to defensive-minded forward Nerlens Noel. MORE

  • 4
    Kristaps Porzingis
    Forward | Latvia | Age: 19
    Mannix's Grade: C+
    First, Kristaps Porzingis can play. He’s an incredibly skilled, perimeter-oriented big man who can stretch the floor and make the mid-range jump shot. He’s at least two years away from doing anything at an NBA level, but if developed right he could be a franchise player. But there are legitimate concerns in Porzingis’s camp about how he will handle the pressure of New York, and he won’t help a team desperately trying to maximize the last few years of Carmelo Anthony’s contract. If the Knicks are patient, they could have a star. If not, they could ruin a promising prospect.​ MORE

  • 5
    Mario Hezonja
    Guard | Croatia | Age: 20
    Mannix's Grade: A-
    I love Hezonja. He has star power written all over him. Much has been made of Hezonja’s shooting—and it’s a strength—but Hezonja is the total package. He can take it to the basket, he can finish at the rim, he wants to dunk on opponents. He will need to work on his ballhandling and his defense needs work, but Scott Skiles will get a lot of use out of a player with this kind of natural talent. Bottom line: He was the most talented player on the board.​ MORE

  • 6
    Willie Cauley-Stein
    CENTER | Kentucky | Junior
    Mannix's Grade: B
    Let’s read the tea leaves here. Sacramento takes Cauley-Stein, an elite defender several coaches have compared favorably to Tyson Chandler. Cauley-Stein is regarded as one of, if not the safest pick in the draft. He’s going to be a good defender, even if his offense doesn’t amount to much more than what it is now. But the Kings have a center: DeMarcus Cousins, who has been the subject of rampant trade speculation. The selection of Cauley-Stein strongly suggests Sacramento is open to trading Cousins, whose relationship with head coach George Karl has devolved badly in recent weeks. Good luck, Willie. MORE

  • 7
    Emmanuel Mudiay
    Guard | Congo | Age: 19
    Mannix's Grade: B+
    Mudiay is a phenomenal prospect. He’s big, athletic and was compared by Larry Brown—the point guard whisperer who recruited Mudiay hard out of high school—to John Wall. He had a forgettable season in China, largely due to injury, but he has explosive offensive potential. It remains to be seen how Denver wants to play; the Nuggets have a roster built for up-tempo and a coach, Mike Malone, known for a more methodical style. And this clearly means Ty Lawson’s days in Denver are numbered. But getting Mudiay here is a nice pick for GM Tim Connelly. MORE

  • 8
    Stanley Johnson
    Forward | Arizona | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: B
    Two picks right in the mock! Stanley Johnson has the body of an NBA player. He’s powerful, and he uses that strength on the defensive end well. He has elite defensive skills, skills that should get him in Stan Van Gundy’s rotation sooner rather than later. What is he offensively? That remains to be seen. Johnson isn’t much of a ballhandler, nor is he a threat from the perimeter. It will take some coaching to develop him on that end. Fortunately, Van Gundy is one of the best teachers in the game. MORE

  • 9
    Frank Kaminsky
    CENTER | Wisconsin | Senior
    Mannix's Grade: B
    The Hornets desperately need offense—they badly need to stop whiffing on draft picks, too—and Kaminsky has a ton of offensive talent. He’s a versatile big who can slide between power spots and has range that extends beyond the three-point line. The most common criticism is strength; Kaminsky is rail thin, something you expect from a freshman but are more surprised to see in a senior, and there is a concern that he will get pushed around too much in the post. But if he can become even a serviceable defender, he could be a mainstay alongside Al Jefferson. Thought Charlotte might consider Devin Booker here, but it went with the more polished offensive big. MORE

  • 10
    Justise Winslow
    Forward | Duke | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: B+
    In recent weeks, as coaches and executives really started to dig into prospects, opinions of Winslow cooled. Teams love his tenacious defense but didn’t think much of him offensively, particularly if he has to play small forward. Miami has veterans at the wing in Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade, who the Heat hope to re-sign. The plan, it seems, is to groom Winslow to replace them. If some of Wade’s offensive skills rub off, he will. MORE

  • 11
    Myles Turner
    Center | Texas | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: B+
    Turner is a huge talent. He rebounds, blocks shots and can shoot it from three. He’s a stretch-five with skills no other pivot has in the NBA today. But he’s a project. Physically, Turner needs to add a lot of lower body strength, and his numbers against good teams last year were far inferior to the inflated numbers he put up against bad ones. But here, at No. 11, he’s a quality, medium-risk, high-reward player. MORE

  • 12
    12Trey Lyles
    Forward | Kentucky | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: B-
    Lyles was a tough player to project. His numbers weren’t great, but he was playing behind great players and playing out of position. As a power forward, Lyles has solid potential. He is a poor man’s Karl-Anthony Towns; Lyles has a nice low post skill set and showed flashes of a burgeoning mid-range game. Defensively, he’s not a shot blocker but if he can be a consistent rebounder at the NBA level, he can find a home in the Utah rotation, which has a need for a backup power forward​. MORE

  • 13
    Devin Booker
    Guard | Kentucky | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: A-
    This is a nice pick for Phoenix. Booker is the best shooting prospect in the draft, a two-guard with great size for his position. He’s 18 years old, so he will need time to develop, but this is a teenager many scouts have consistently said is a legitimate top-10 talent. The Suns need help up front, but really, who was left for them to take? In a couple of years, Booker could be a fixture in Phoenix’s starting lineup. That type of player is tough to pass up. MORE

  • 14
    Cameron Payne
    Guard | Murray St. | Sophomore
    Mannix's Grade: B
    Oklahoma City is stocked at virtually every position, so this pick was a luxury. The one area of weakness for the Thunder is backup point guard, a position Payne (hopefully) fills. Mid-major guards have had a lot of success in recent years—think Damian Lillard and Elfrid Payton—and Payne has the potential to join that list. Payne isn’t especially athletic, so he will have to develop into a consistent three-point shooter to grab that backup point guard spot. Kind of liked Kelly Oubre here, but again, OKC is deep almost everywhere. MORE

  • 15
    Kelly Oubre Jr. 
    Forward | Kansas | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: B-
    Washington traded up to land Oubre, an intriguing talent. He was miscast as Andrew Wiggins’ replacement in college; he’s not as talented as Wiggins (which is not a knock) and nowhere near ready to contribute at that kind of level. But he has a really nice looking perimeter game and if he gets more aggressive going to the basket, he could be a steal. Sort of a weird trade for the Wizards, who need versatility at the power positions and have Otto Porter, coming off a strong postseason, in place. But with Paul Pierce likely gone in free agency, Washington clearly believed it needed another wing. MORE

  • 16
    Terry Rozier
    Guard | Louisville | Sophomore
    Mannix's Grade: C
    Wow. Didn’t see this coming. Rozier drew praise during pre-draft workouts and performed well as the Cardinals' primary ballhandler last season. He’s a defensive-minded guard with great length, but it’s hard to see how Rozier fits in Boston, which is loaded with young talent in the backcourt, a group headlined by Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas. Danny Ainge is a trade-happy GM, who tried hard to get into the top 10 tonight. He likely has to make a move now to clear some minutes. MORE

  • 17
    Rashad Vaughn
    Guard | UNLV | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: B+
    Vaughn has inched up draft boards in recent weeks. He’s a pure scorer with great size. Khris Middleton will likely be back in Milwaukee, but Vaughn is a talented player who can be developed behind him. He is also protection against a trade that moves O.J. Mayo, who I’m told is very available. MORE

  • 18
    Sam Dekker
    Forward | Wisconsin | Junior
    Mannix's Grade: B+
    A year after losing Chandler Parsons, Houston picks a guy who could develop into a similar player. Concerns about Dekker’s shooting are real, but he wowed execs in recent workouts and there is a strong belief around the league that if he can become a threat from deep, he is a 10-year starter. Dekker is built like an NBA player. He can post up, run the floor and is a strong athlete. If he puts in the work, he’s a steal here. MORE

  • 19
    Jerian Grant
    Guard | Notre Dame | Senior
    Mannix's Grade: B-
    The Knicks landed this pick in a trade that will send Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Hawks. New York is going to love Grant. He’s flashy, confident and fearless. He put up big numbers in four years at Notre Dame and has the size and skills to be a solid defender. Is he a pure point guard? Unclear. Can he be a consistent shooter in an offense that needs its point guards to be shooters? Grant shot 35.4% from three last season. Interesting pick for New York. MORE

  • 20
    Delon wright
    Guard | Utah | Senior
    Mannix's Grade: C-
    Not sure I understand this pick. The Raptors are set at point guard with Kyle Lowry, who signed a four-year, $48 million contract last summer. They have a need at power forward and several—a group that includes Bobby Portis, Kevon Looney and Montrezl Harrell—were available. Instead they take Wright, a long, defensive-minded playmaker. This is a bit of a reach for a player who plays a position the Raptors seem pretty set at. Does this mean Toronto will shop Lowry? Strange selection. MORE

  • 21
    Justin Anderson
    Forward | Virginia | Junior
    Mannix's Grade: B
    Anderson is an interesting pick here. On one hand, he is an NBA defender right away. He’s big, physical and was a linchpin of Virginia’s stingy defense last season. Anderson shot the ball well statistically, but there are lingering concerns about his consistency. Still, Rick Carlisle loves intelligent players who know how to fit into a system and Anderson played in arguably the most precision-based system in college basketball last season. Clearly, Dallas was not enamored with any of the point guard prospects here. MORE

  • 22
    Bobby Portis
    Forward | Arkansas| Sophomore
    Mannix's Grade: A-
    This is a great value pick. Portis had a terrific year for Arkansas last season. He’s a polished scorer who rebounds, runs the floor and plays with relentless effort. SI.com consistently had him ranked in the mid-teens. The Bulls should be able to squeeze a couple more years out of Pau Gasol. When he is done, Portis could be given first crack at replacing him. Portis is also protection in case Taj Gibson is traded this off-season. MORE

  • 23
    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
    Forward | Arizona | Sophomore
    Mannix's Grade: B-
    In one of the biggest moves of the night, the Nets traded Mason Plumlee and Pat Connaughton to Portland for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Steve Blake. The Blazers needed a big man with LaMarcus Aldridge reportedly on the brink of leaving the team. Hollis-Jefferson is an elite defender; he has great length and quickness and a 7-foot wingspan. Like Justin Anderson, Hollis-Jefferson will have to work on polishing his offensive game. One-dimensional wing defenders are rare—Tony Allen is probably the best of the bunch. But if Hollis-Jefferson can add layers to his game with some kind of perimeter skills, he could stick in Brooklyn's thin rotation. MORE

  • 24
    Tyus Jones
    Guard | Duke | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: B+
    This pick headed to Minnesota from Cleveland in exchange for two second-round picks this year and one future second-rounder. Jones made the leap into the NBA draft after a strong NCAA tournament. He’s a tempo-pushing playmaker (which Flip Saunders will love) who showed poise beyond his years last season. He’s patient, extremely comfortable in the pick-and-roll and sees the floor well. He’s an average shooter (who isn’t at this point?) and physically he’s not all that imposing. But if Minnesota is looking for a backup for Ricky Rubio, Jones is a nice option. MORE

  • 25
    Jarrell Martin
    Forward | LSU | Sophomore
    Mannix's Grade: B
    Memphis intensified its look at power forwards in recent weeks, and Jarell Martin is one of the best of the remaining bunch. His skills don’t exactly mirror Zach Randolph’s. By comparison, Martin is more like Thaddeus Young. He is a transition player who can get to the basket and is a solid ballhandler. If Martin develops, he’s a nice change of pace type forward to fill in for Randolph. MORE

  • 26
    Nikola Milutinov
    Center | Serbia | Age: 20
    Mannix's Grade: B
    Surprise! The Spurs take a foreign import. San Antonio has had enormous success with international players in the past (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter, Patty Mills just to name a few). The Spurs have now drafted nine international players over the last 10 years, the most of any team. Milutinov is skilled: He’s a 7-footer who shot 66% at the rim and showcased a mid-range game in making 37% of his jumpers, per Synergy Sports. He likely won’t be a Spur this summer, but with San Antonio all in on free agency right now, it doesn't care. MORE

  • 27
    Larry Nance JR.
    Forward | Wyoming | Senior
    Mannix's Grade: B
    First Jerian Grant, now Larry Nance Jr.—the sons of ex-NBA players are having pretty good nights. Nance Jr. was one of the standouts at the pre-draft combine and clearly his workouts went well. Nance Jr. isn’t a great shooter and doesn’t have great size for his position, but he’s well-rounded and plays with a lot of energy. He could develop into a decent bench player in Los Angeles. Still, the Lakers left some prospects with bigger upside—R.J. Hunter, Kevon Looney—on the board. MORE

  • 28
    R.J. Hunter
    Guard | Georgia St. | Junior
    Mannix's Grade: B+
    Intriguing pick for Boston, which continues to add guards to an overcrowded backcourt. Hunter is a shooter. His shooting percentage last season at Georgia State (29.8%) is not a barometer of his true potential. At Georgia State, Hunter regularly saw two or three defenders; in the NBA, he won’t. Boston could also look to package Hunter, who had a lot of fans among teams picking in the 10-20 range. Interesting night for Danny Ainge and the Celtics. MORE

  • 29
    Chris McCullough
    Forward | Syracuse | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: B+
    You’re going to read “Chris McCullough” and “steal” a lot, as there will be many people pointing out that before McCullough’s knee injury he was projected as a mid-first-round pick. McCullough is an athlete. He excels in the open floor, has a decent jump shot and beats defenders off the dribble with long strides. He badly needs to add weight. There is no way a 200-pound power forward can survive in today’s NBA, unless he shoots like Stephen Curry. McCullough doesn’t. MORE

  • 30
    Kevon Looney
    Forward | UCLA | Freshman
    Mannix's Grade: A-
    Great pick for Golden State, which gets a player who at times was considered a lottery talent with the last pick in the first round. Looney is a rugged rebounder—something the Warriors sorely need—who will have to work on consistency and a balanced offensive game. With Draymond Green likely returning on a new deal, the power forward position is well tended. Looney gives the Warriors a prospective replacement for David Lee, who the team will try to trade this summer. ​ MORE
     
     

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