In the NBA summer, the biggest moment is definitely the NBA Draft. This is the time when the new wave of players are ushered into the world of the NBA and even if your team suffered a poor season, this is the time of year where you can be optimistic and look forward to the new campaign.
The NBA Draft is a glamorous event these days and there is an awful lot of focus on this evening. There is a lot of build-up to this event and there is even an opportunity to place bets on which players will go to which club. This means that the aftermath of the NBA Draft can feel a bit of let-down because there is such a build-up to the event and then when it is all over, there is a very long wait until the actual NBA action starts.
Karl-Anthony Towns was the number one pick in the 2015 NBA Draft
The 2015 NBA first pick was Karl-Anthony Towns who made his way to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The center from Kentucky was highly regarded as being the top pick for the draft and he has certainly had a lot of praise and expectation placed upon him in recent years. He has played for the Dominican Republic national team since 2012 and while he may still be a project as opposed to being an automatic first-pick.
The Timberwolves have the belief that Karl-Anthony Towns can go on to become a player that can dominate games due to the strong combination of his skills and size.
The Lakers spring a surprise
The Los Angeles Lakers sprung a surprise with the second pick in the NBA Draft. There were plenty of expectations that they would snap up Jahlil Okafor from Duke if he had been passed up by the Timberwolves. Okafaor was still available when the Lakers had their choice but they instead opted for D’Angelo Russell. It is not as though Russell was a poor player and he was a key player of the Blue Devils who grabbed the NCAA Championship.
At only 19 years old, Russell has plenty of years ahead of him and he stands at 6 feet 5 inches. Last season, he managed to grab an average of 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5 assists per game. He is able to play in any of the two guard positions and some experts have likened Russell to James Harden.
Philadelphia grab a big one
Okafor finally got his move as the third pick of the evening with the Philadelphia 76ers grabbing him. There may be some people wondering how it took until the third pick for Okafor to get snapped up because while the two players selected before him have plenty of potential, Jahil could be a player who steps in this season.
This came as a blow to the New York Knicks, who by this point must have been starting to think that Okafor was going to be in the running for them. This must have been the sort of deal they had pencilled in as the thing to grab a hold of if it became available. It is not the sort of thing that you can realistically plan for but when it comes to being one step away and it still looks alive, you start to dream of what might have been. For the Knicks, it would have been a lot less cruel if Okafor was snapped up straight away and put them out of their misery before too long.
The Knicks go for Kristaps Porzingis
With the event being held in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, you can bet that there were plenty of Knicks fans watching the Draft unfold. There was a lot of booing when the transfer was announced. It may have been that there were plenty of Nets fans booing anything associated with the Knicks but there was a shock for the Knicks fans with the capture of the Latvian giant.
One of the things about Porzingis was that he was in brilliant form in front of the scouts during the workouts. Porzingis was playing in Cajasol Seville last season in Spain and he managed to grab an average of 10.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1 block across the course of the season.
While there is hope that Porzingis will go on to be a success, and there has been comparisons made to Dirk Nowitzki who came from Europe to be a success. However, there are plenty of players like Andrea Bargnani and Darko Milicic to cause Knicks fans a few sleepless nights in the build up to this season. It is a move that could go either way but there is definitely a reason for the Knicks fans to have one or two concerns about the capture of this player.
Mario Hezonja finds some magic
Once you hit the fifth player, you will find that most of the players who had been talked of in warm terms in the build-up to the Draft have all been selected. Mario Hezonja from Croatia was the fifth pick on the night and he will be making his way to the Orlando Magic this campaign.
Hezonja has a decent pedigree and he played for FC Barcelona. There was a lot of talk that he and his team were working their way towards the Detroit Pistons but for one reason or another, that never really happened. Hezonja has a fire and passion that will fight until the last minute so he could be a big player in the upcoming season.
Over the course of the evening, it may have been the fashion choices of the players that grabbed more shock and surprise as opposed to the actual picks themselves. It doesn’t help that these young athletes are met with a baseball cap on arrival on stage, which is certainly not a good look when you are wearing a decent suit!
The total list of 2015 NBA Draft choices were:
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky
- Los Angeles Lakers: D’Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State
- Philadelphia 76ers: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
- New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia
- Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja, SF, Croatia
- Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
- Denver Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China
- Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona
- Charlotte Hornets: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
- Miami Heat: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
- Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner, C, Texas
- Utah Jazz: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
- Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray St.
- Atlanta Hawks (from Brooklyn): Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas (will be traded to Washington)
- Boston Celtics: Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville
- Milwaukee Bucks: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
- Houston Rockets (from New Orleans): Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin
- Washington Wizards (from Atlanta): Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame (will be traded to New York)
- Toronto Raptors: Delon Wright, PG, Utah
- Dallas Mavericks: Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia
- Chicago Bulls: Bobby Portis, SF, Arkansas
- Portland Trail Blazers: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
- Memphis Grizzlies: Jarell Martin, PF, LSU
- San Antonio Spurs: Nikola Milutinov, C, Serbia
- Los Angeles Lakers (from Houston): Larry Nance Jr., PF, Wyoming
- Boston Celtics (from L.A. Clippers): R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia St.
- Brooklyn Nets (from Atlanta): Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse
- Golden State Warriors: Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Cedi Osman, SG, Turkey (will be traded to Cleveland)
- Houston Rockets (from New York): Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
- Boston Celtics (from Philadelphia via Miami): Jordan Mickey, PF, LSU
- Los Angeles Lakers: Anthony Brown, SF, Stanford
- Philadelphia 76ers (from Orlando): Willy Hernangomez, C, Spain
- Minnesota Timberwolves (from Sacramento via Houston): Rakeem Christmas, PF, Syracuse (will be traded to Cleveland)
- Philadelphia 76ers (from Denver via Houston, Portland and Minnesota): Richaun Holmes, PF, Bowling Green
- Detroit Pistons: Darrun Hilliard, SG, Villanova
- Charlotte Hornets: Juan Vaulet, SF, Argentina
- Miami Heat: Josh Richardson, SG, Tennessee
- Brooklyn Nets: Pat Connaughton, SG, Notre Dame
- Utah Jazz: Olivier Hanlan, PG, Boston College
- Indiana Pacers: Joseph Young, SG, Oregon
- Phoenix Suns: Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky
- Boston Celtics: Marcus Thornton, PG, William & Mary
- Milwaukee Bucks: Norman Powell, SG, UCLA (will be traded to Toronto)
- Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans via Washington and L.A. Clippers): Arturas Gudaitis, C, Lithuania
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky
- Washington Wizards: Aaron White, PF, Iowa
- Atlanta Hawks (from Toronto): Marcus Eriksson, SG, Sweden
- Orlando Magic (from Chicago): Tyler Harvey, SG, Eastern Washington
- Dallas Mavericks: Satnam Singh Bhamara, C, India
- Cleveland Cavaliers (from Portland via Chicago and Denver): Sir’Dominic Pointer, SF, St. John’s
- Utah Jazz (from Cleveland): Daniel Diez, PF, Spain
- San Antonio Spurs: Cady Lalanne, PF, UMass
- New Orleans Pelicans (from Memphis): Branden Dawson, PF, Michigan St.
- Denver Nuggets (from L.A. Clippers): Nikola Radicevic, PG, Serbia
- Philadelphia 76ers (from Houston): J.P. Tokoto, SF, UNC
- Atlanta Hawks: Dimitrios Agravanis, PF, Greece
- Philadelphia 76ers (from Golden State via Indiana): Luka Mitrovic, PF, Serbia