This is Part three of a series where I revisit old drafts to analyze which players were busts, just right, or came out of nowhere to achieve stardom. This idea is inspired by Bill Simmons of the Ringer Podcast Network.
The 2015 NBA draft was certainly a top heavy draft. The projected first few picks were high-caliber names coming out of college. However, many big name players such as Jahil Okafor failed to live up to expectations. While on the other side of things, players like Kristaps Porzingis exceeded expectations.
Now, we dive into what each of the 14 lottery teams should have done with their pick in hindsight.
1 – Karl Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (Original Pick)
The Timberwolves may have struggled in recent years, however KAT has not been a reason as to why. The center from Kentucky has proven to be one of the most dominant big man in the league. In the new NBA that doesn’t emphasize big men, KAT has adapted his game to be a monster in the pick and pop game.
2 – Kristaps Porzingis, Los Angeles Lakers (Original Pick – D’Angelo Russell)
Kristaps is a perfect fit for today’s NBA. He is one of the best stretch big men in the league. Despite his hampering injuries the past few years, he has been and will be an all-star level player for any organization in the NBA.
3 – Devin Booker, Philadelphia 76ers (Orginal Pick – Jahil Okafor)
Booker is a dead eye shooter and was a steal at the end of the lottery. He is a highly valued shoot and anyone in the league would on him on their team. He hasn’t proved he can win – yet – he has the skill set to do so.
4 – D’Angelo Russell, New York Knicks (Original Pick- Kristaps Porzingis)
Russell is a borderline All-Star and is a steady starting point-guard any team in the league. He often struggles with inconsistencies, however on a good night Russell is one of the best players in the league.
5 – Myles Turner, Orlando (Original Pick – Mario Hezonja)
Turner is an elite shot blocker. He is really a swiss army knife on the floor. MT can both score and defend the pick and roll, and get to shots that most centers never would even fathom getting to.
6 – Montrezl Harrell, Sacremento (Original Pick – Willie Cauley-Stein)
Harrell is someone who had to work to get consistent minutes. Now many regard him as one of the best defensive center in the league. His hustle and defensive IQ are what set Harrell apart from most “grit and grind” centers in the league.
7 – Terry Rozier, Denver (Original Pick -Emmanuel Mudiay)
8 – Josh Richardson, Detroit (Original Pick – Stanley Johnson)
9 – Norman Powell, Hornets (Original Pick – Frank Kaminsky)
10 – Kelly Oubre Jr, Miami (Original Pick – Justice Winslow)
11 – Justice Winslow, Indiana (Original Pick – Myles Turner)
12 – Larry Nance Jr, Utah (Origina Pick – Trey Lyles)
13 – Pat Connaughton, Phoenix (Original Pick – Devin Booker)
14 – Bobby Portis, OKC (Original Pick – Cam Payne)
Photo: CBS Sports