A new breed of players are about to make their official arrival to the league of grown men when their name gets called in the 2015 NBA Draft. With the talent level that this year’s class offers, teams are now on their feet as they burn numerous hours scrutinizing every potential pick’s strengths and weaknesses to see how they fit their grand scheme of things. The draft has been known to have its bag of surprises with busts and breakout stars that are awaiting to be unraveled. With that in mind, Cavs Nation brings to you the who’s who of the 2015 draft class. These are the 10 soon-to-be greenhorns who have the biggest shot at stardom.
10 – Devin Booker (6’6” – 205 lbs – SG)
Devin Booker brings with him good size for a shooting guard and even though he may be thin at this stage, his built is very much workable. He scored 10.0 points per game on 41.1% shooting from distance and 47% from the field while playing 21.5 minutes for a stacked University of Kentucky squad. The special talent is already there as Booker has NBA range and projects to have no problem in transitioning his skills to the pros. He’s not an elite athlete but good enough to be able to defend at a respectable level. He could very well be another Klay Thompson in the making and this has to get teams excited.
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9 – Tyus Jones (6’1” – 185 lbs – PG)
One doesn’t have to be the quickest, most explosive, tallest, or supreme shooter to be an elite point guard. With elite basketball IQ, great leadership and maturity, top notch court vision, and some good shooting here and there, Tyus Jones have for himself a good foundation to eventually become one of the league’s top playmakers. Already being hailed by many as the best pure point guard in the draft, Jones will instantly bring solid minutes right off the bat and he’s only going to improve once he gets to know how different situations go down in the NBA. A great testament to his point guard skills is his assist-to-turnover ratio which played around the 3:1 mark in college.
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8 – Stanley Johnson (6’6” – 242 lbs – SF)
Stanley Johnson had a very strong campaign in Arizona where he averaged 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals while shooting 37.1% from behind the arc. Johnson has an NBA-ready physique and coupled with his aggressiveness and decent shooting, he can become a very reliable three-and-D player at the next level, something which is highly coveted these days. Johnson will become a beast in his own right one day especially once he gets better guidance on his shooting regimen.
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7 – Mario Hezonja (6’8” – 215 lbs – SF)
Physically, Mario Hezonja already has good length at the three spot and once he gets more muscle, he’ll only become scarier. Hezonja possesses a beautiful stroke and is able to get his shots up in different situations. Simply put, his combination of shooting, aggressiveness, toughness, ability to attack the rim, and killer instinct make him the best wing option in the draft. Hezonja also has the unique advantage of having played at a high level of competition as he suited up, and contributed, to an already loaded Barcelona squad in Europe.
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6 – Kristaps Porzingis (7’1” – 230 lbs – PF)
The Latvian big man has been receiving rave reviews for his rare combination of size, fluidity, and shooting. He’s not only a decent shooter, Kristaps Porzingis is an above average shooter with NBA range. He’s a perfect floor spacing big who can also run the floor well. His athleticism make him a decent defender who’s not afraid to go after shots. The only concern is his rebounding but his wide skillset more than makes up for that particular area. Think of a more skilled Andrea Bargnani with way more hope.
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5 – Justise Winslow (6’6” – 222 lbs – SF)
As good as his name sounds, Justise Winslow is brimming with potential with his great physique, athleticism, explosiveness, and excellent defense. He already projects to be a capable defender on day one and he will surely ignite his team’s transition opportunities with his great timing on the weakside help. His shooting isn’t at an acceptable level for his talent yet, although he can hit those set threes, but it is very much workable especially with the professional training that will help him work on that blip in the radar. The factors that make Winslow even more special are his motor, maturity, and leadership skills.
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4 – Emmanuel Mudiay (6’5” – 200 lbs – PG)
How can you not love someone whom many people see as a bigger version of John Wall? Imagine that burst of speed going from one end to the next, shrewdly eyeing his options thanks to great court vision, and eventually finishing with a strong athletic drive to the basket. Imagine all that on a 6’5” frame with “Mudiay” printed at the back of his jersey. That’s what Emmanuel Mudiay can give his team right at the onset. Now, if he puts in the required amount of work to hone his shooting and gets into the proper mindset then opposing point guards are in for a nightmarish experience defending Mudiay.
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3 – Jahlil Okafor (6’11” – 270 lbs – PF)
Over the years, the NBA has not seen someone as big as Jahlil Okafor who has the advanced low post skills that he already possesses. He is someone who’s going to give problems already to opposing defense with his elite post ability and soft touch. He can be a go-to option on some stretches and that’s only in year one. Once Okafor develops a better feel to the speed of the NBA game, he’ll be an even more refined, hence dangerous, offensive weapon. Although his defense is not yet at the level of his offense, he has great size and length (7’2” wingspan and 9’2” standing reach) to become an intimidating, if not dominant, presence on the defensive end of the floor.
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2 – D’Angelo Russell (6’4” – 195 lbs – PG)
D’Angelo Russell is one fine basketball talent. Think of James Harden or Brandon Roy, before the knee injury, and that’s what Russell could turn out to be. He is the smoothest operator of all players in the draft as everything seems to come easy to him. He’s neither the most physically imposing nor the most explosive but he has a great feel for the game which allows him to maximize his shooting, passing, and creativity to benefit everyone around him. His size and court vision allow him to play two positions at the next level making him an even more enticing weapon for coaches.
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1 – Karl Anthony Towns (7’0” – 250 lbs – C)
Karl Towns, despite being only 20 years old, already lives inside a mature body that is at least 7’0” and 250 lbs in dimension. Outside of his physical attributes, Towns is also an extremely talented player who can do a myriad of things on the floor. The touch, shooting, ball handling, IQ, defense, and assortment of offensive go-to moves make him such a sight to behold. Once he levels up on his toughness and rebounding, the sky’s the limit for Towns as there’s just nothing that he can’t do for someone his size, he only brings more goodies to the table.