Projecting the first 30 picks of the 2015 NBA draft.

By Chris Mannix
April 16, 2015

Minnesota—at least until next month’s NBA draft lottery—is officially on the clock.

No, having the most ping pong balls doesn’t guarantee anything, but the ‘Wolves gave themselves the best opportunity to add another top overall pick to the stable by losing 12 straight to end the season and cap a woeful 16-win campaign. So before the lottery, the combine and individual workouts send the draft process into total chaos, here is SI.com’s Mock Draft 1.0, ordered by record.

* Indicates player has not formally declared for the draft.

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1
1Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns, F/C
Kentucky, Freshman | 6-11, 250

Let the debate begin: Karl Towns vs. Jahlil Okafor is the NBA’s version of Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota. The early nod goes to Towns, whose free throw shooting (81.3%) has become an increasingly popular topic amongst NBA executives. Think about this: Towns will likely get at least a year of Power Forward 101 from Kevin Garnett.

2
2New York Knicks
Jahlil Okafor, center
Duke, freshman | 6-11, 270

The Knicks solidify the pivot with Okafor, the best center prospect in years. At 19, Okafor already has a diverse low post game and has shown flashes of a consistent face-up game, too. He needs work defensively but he will step into the middle of the triangle next season and contribute immediately.

3
3Philadelphia 76ers
Emmanuel Mudiay, Guard
China, Age: 19 | 6-5, 190

After trading Michael Carter-Williams, the Sixers have a gaping hole at point guard. Enter Mudiay, a dynamic athlete with Russell Westbrook-like potential. Mudiay’s one season in China was derailed by injuries, but the combine and individual workouts will remind executives of his talent quickly.

4
4Los Angeles Lakers
Justise Winslow, FORWARD
Duke, freshman | 6-6, 225

This pick could go a few directions. D’Angelo Russell is the best player on the board, but the Lakers are likely to pursue Rajon Rondo this summer, eliminating the need for a point guard. Winslow has had a meteoric rise, and while his offensive game is raw, there looks to be a Jimmy Butler-type player ready to be molded.

5
5Orlando Magic
Kristaps Porzingis, FORWARD
Latvia, Age: 19 | 6-11, 209

The Latvian Dirk Nowitzki? Maybe. Porzingis continues to evoke rave reviews from international scouts who see him as a tremendous stretch four prospect. He’s mobile, has a nice mid-range game and has the tools to evolve into a consistent three-point threat. He will need to bulk up, but he’s a terrific prospect.

6
6Sacramento Kings
D'Angelo Russell, Guard*
Ohio State, freshman, 6-5, 180

Oh, the things George Karl could do with a point guard who reads the floor like a five-year vet and thrives in transition. Questions about Russell’s athleticism are drowned out by praise for his playmaking and brilliance in the pick-and-roll. Russell is an ideal complement to DeMarcus Cousins.

7
7Denver Nuggets
Mario Hezonja, Guard
Croatia, Age: 20 | 6-8, 201

Denver is unpredictable. The Nuggets began to dismantle thire roster in February and could do more tinkering on draft night. For now, pencil in Hezonja, an athletic, sweet shooting two-guard whose inconsistent playing time was more due to team politics in Barcelona than diminished play.

8
8Detroit Pistons
Stanley Johnson, Forward*
Arizona, Freshman | 6-7, 245

Detroit has a massive hole at small forward and Johnson, a defensive-minded forward who has evoked comparison’s—at least physically—to Ron Artest, looks like a nice fit. Johnson needs polish offensively but he made 37.1% of his three’s last season.

9
9Charlotte Hornets
Frank Kaminsky, F/C
Wisconsin, senior | 7-0, 234

A forgettable Hornets season was highlighted by an ugly stat: No. 28 in the NBA in offensive efficiency. Enter Kaminsky, an NBA-ready big man whose inside-out game could complement Al Jefferson in the post. It will be up to Steve Clifford to iron out any defensive deficiencies out.

10
10Miami Heat
Myles Turner, Center
Texas, freshman | 6-11, 240
11
11Indiana Pacers
Kevon Looney, Forward
UCLA, Freshman | 6-9, 220

David West has a player option for next season, but even if he picks it up, at 34 West is nearing the end. Looney didn’t put up big numbers last season, but he is a physical specimen who has the potential to be an elite rebounder, a skill Pacers coach Frank Vogel highly values.

12
12Utah Jazz
Willie cauley-stein, F/C
Kentucky, junior | 7-0, 240


Dealing Enes Kanter left the Jazz a little thin up front. Cauley-Stein is limited offensively but he is a versatile defender who can slide between both frontcourt spots. He may never be more than a good role player, but he’s a low risk choice in this spot.

13
13Phoenix suns
Trey Lyles, forward
KENTUCKY, FRESHMAN | 6-10, 235

On a deep Kentucky team, Lyles numbers are misleading; scouts see the potential for a skilled inside-out player. The Suns badly need an offensive presence in the frontcourt. Lyles will take time to develop, but his upside is pretty high.

14
14Oklahoma City Thunder
Devin Booker, guard
Kentucky, Freshman | 6-6, 206

Yes, Oklahoma City is disappointed not to make the playoffs. But giving Sam Presti another lottery pick cushions the blow. The outside-the-box Thunder will undoubtedly surprise a few people on draft night but for now pencil in Booker, one of the draft’s best shooting prospects, who fills a need in OKC.

15
15Atlanta Hawks (via Nets)
Jakob Poeltl, CENTER*
Utah, Freshman | 7-0, 235

Poeltl played well in Utah’s loss to Duke, impressing scouts with his defense on Jahlil Okafor. Poeltl is mobile, finishes well around the rim and works hard on every possession. He will need to bulk up and his brutal free throw shooting (44.4%) will have to improve.

16
16Boston Celtics
Kelly Oubre, G/F
Kansas, Freshman | 6-7, 200

Celtics GM Danny Ainge’s recent history suggests he is not afraid to take a flyer on a project. That’s Oubre, who was billed as Andrew Wiggins' heir at Kansas but struggled to put a complete season together. Oubre has a good looking jump shot and the physical tools to slide between either swing spot. He’s a D-Leaguer next season, but a Marcus Smart-James Young-Oubre core is a nice one for Brad Stevens to develop.

17
17Milwaukee Bucks
Kris Dunn, Guard*
Providence, Sophomore | 6-3, 205

Dunn has enjoyed a rapid rise up draft boards the last two months as scouts have gotten a closer look at the total package he was believed to be before injuries slowed his ascent. Dunn is a big time athlete, but needs to learn the nuances of playing point guard. Who better to teach him than Jason Kidd?

18
18Houston Rockets
Sam Dekker, FORWARD
Wisconsin, Junior | 6-9, 220

Can Dekker be a consistent NBA three-point shooter? That’s a question Rockets GM Daryl Morey and others will have to decide. Dekker has an NBA body and is athletic enough to be a serviceable defender. But is he the shooter that powered Wisconsin to wins over Arizona and North Carolina? Or is he closer to the erratic player that couldn’t make a three against Duke? Dekker’s 33.1% season average won’t cut it.

19
19Washington Wizards
Montrezl Harrell, Forward
Louisville, junior | 6-8, 240

Harrell lacks traditional size, but he is a relentless rebounder with superior athleticism that made some nice strides offensively this season. Harrell could fit in nicely behind Nene and Marcin Gortat in the Wizards frontcourt.

MORE NBA: Early entry list for 2015 NBA draft

20
20Toronto Raptors
Bobby Portis, Forward
Arkansas, Sophomore | 6-11, 240

The Raptors, predictably, got nothing from Bruno Coboclo, last year’s first-round pick who played sparingly in eight games this season. Portis isn’t particularly dynamic, but his offensive skills could help a Raptors team that gets the bulk of its scoring from perimeter players.

21
21Dallas Mavericks
Cameron Payne, Guard
Murray State, Sophomore | 6-2, 180

Will Rajon Rondo return? Dallas’s fear of losing Rondo could lead the Mavs to taking another point guard in the draft. Payne is a good playmaker in a crowded field.

22
22Chicago Bulls
Jerian Grant, Guard
Notre Dame, senior | 6-5, 202

Grant has put up strong numbers for two straight seasons, and is as NBA-ready as any point guard in this range. At 22, Grant is on the older side, but the Bulls didn’t hesitate to take 22-year old Doug McDermott last season.

23
23Portland Trail Blazers
R.J. Hunter, GUARD
Georgia State, Junior | 6-6, 190

The Blazers love the mid-majors, so why not grab another? Hunter didn’t shoot the ball particularly well last season but he has good size for a team that could need some help at shooting guard next season.

24
24Cleveland Cavaliers
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Forward
Arizona, Sophomore | 6-6, 220

The Cavs add a defensive-minded wing as insurance in case Iman Shumpert becomes too pricey to bring back.

25
24Memphis Grizzlies
Caris LeVert, guard*
MICHIGAN, Junior | 6-7, 200

The Grizzlies need shooters—when don’t they?—and LeVert, who made 40% of his three’s in each of the last two seasons, is one of the best left on the board.

26
25San Antonio Spurs
CLiff Alexander, FORWARD
Kansas, Freshman | 6-8, 240

Alexander’s college career ended prematurely because of eligibility issues and he never lived up to his potential. Still, he’s a potent rebounder and shot blocker who could be a high value pick this late in the draft

27
26L.A. Lakers (via Rockets)
Justin ANDERSON, GUARD
Virginia, Junior | 6-6, 227

Virginia defended better than the Lakers last season. A lot better. Anderson will help and, if his perimeter shooting develops, could be a steal.

28
27Boston Celtics
Christian Wood, FORWARD*
UNLV, Sophomore | 6-11, 220

Wood brings a big, athletic, defensive-minded presence to a Boston frontcourt that doesn’t have much of one. Wood needs to mature physically, but he can shoot from the outside, a skill G.M. Danny Ainge is fond of.

29
29Brooklyn Nets (via Hawks)
Tyus Jones, GUARD
Duke, Freshman | 6-1, 190

Deron Williams still has two more years left on his contract, but it doesn’t hurt to think about the future. The Duke connection with GM Billy King puts Jones firmly in play in this spot.

30
30Golden State Warriors
Delon Wright, GUARD
Utah, Senior | 6-5, 190

 

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