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2015 NBA Mock Drafts: Gary Parrish

Gary Parrish
By Gary Parrish
CBSSports.com College Basketball Insider


Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns?

KAT or JO?

The debate, I'm certain, will last a few more weeks, if not until the night of the 2015 NBA Draft. And that's fine. Because it's a debate worth having. But I was never going to let ping pong balls determine which prospect I'd put at the top of my mock draft because I've always been #TeamOkafor.

Do I like Towns?

Of course I like Towns.

But Okafor exceeded expectations in college, and I think he'll do the same in the NBA. And I just believe it'd be foolish for anybody to pass on a true big with such a unique and defined skillset, which is why he remains atop this mock draft.

NBA Mock Draft - 05/21/2015
Round 1
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke: It might be true that Towns is a better fit with Minnesota's current roster. But this is also true: I don't care. Because I think the goal with the first pick should always be to take the best longterm prospect regardless of position or need or style, and, in my opinion, that's Okafor. And, in my opinion, that's always been Okafor. He was the No. 1 prospect in high school before becoming the best player on a college team that won the national championship. He has unbelievable hands and incredible feet. I see no reason (other than bad luck with injuries) that Okafor won't become a franchise big.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Karl-Anthony Towns, PF, Kentucky: Towns would be an awesome consolation prize for the Lakers, whose tanking paid off. In a couple of years, they could theoretically have a core featuring a star that arrives via free agency (Russ Westbrook? Kevin Love?) to go with Julius Randle and Towns. And that, plus a sold supporting cast, should be enough to return the Lakers to the Western Conference Playoffs.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
D'Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State: Recent reports suggest Philadelphia values Russell over all other prospects in this draft. So picking third isn't bad. Simply put, the Sixers will still get their guy. And their guy is a dynamic playmaker who will fit nicely for years in the rotation next to Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.
4. New York Knicks
Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China: The ping-pong balls did not form a good number for the Knicks. But they can still get a potential star in Mudiay, who would be a household name if he'd played college basketball for even a minute. As it is, he's been off the national radar for a while. But Mudiay has forever had a pro body that will allow him to be an attacking lead guard - the likes of which are dominating the NBA right now.
5. Orlando Magic
Justise Winslow, SF, Duke: The Magic could do a lot worse than a young 1-2-3 of Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Winslow. That's the type of combination that'll make hiring a new coach easier than it would be otherwise. Because Winslow has star potential and could end up looking like a steal outside of the top four.
6. Sacramento Kings
Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky: The Kings are terrible at a lot of things but especially terrible defensively. So they'd be wise to select the best defender in this draft and stick him beside DeMarcus Cousins to create what could end up being the favorite NBA team of thousands and thousands of Kentucky fans.
7. Denver Nuggets
Mario Hezonja, SG, Croatia: The Nuggets could use help in the backcourt, and Hezonja is the best such prospect available. He's a 6-8 talent who is comfortable on the wing. He can shoot and score from the perimeter. And he's only 20 years old.
8. Detroit Pistons
Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin: It's possible the Pistons are about to lose Greg Monroe via free agency. So they could use a power forward. And Kaminsky, the reigning National Player of the Year, makes a lot of sense in a lineup next to Andre Drummond.
9. Charlotte Hornets
Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona: Johnson would be the best player available, at this point. That he also fills a need is an added bonus for the Hornets. He could one day play in front of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or with MKG. Either way, Johnson would be the smart pick here.
10. Miami Heat
Myles Turner, C, Texas: I'm a big believer in Turner as a prospect and like the idea of him someday playing beside Chris Bosh. Or replacing Bosh. Doesn't matter. He's a 7-footer who can shoot. And he's only 19 years old. So Turner still has plenty of time to develop.
11. Indiana Pacers
Kelly Oubre Jr., SF, Kansas: If the Pacers genuinely want to play faster in the future than Oubre is a perfect roster addition. He's an athletic wing who developed well from November to March at Kansas. And the fact that he handled his early adversity well speaks to a maturity level that isn't always evident in one-and-done prospects.
12. Utah Jazz
Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky: The Jazz are talented in the frontcourt but could use help in the backcourt, particularly at the shooting guard position. So Booker fits well here. He's a natural shooter who should flourish in the NBA, where shooting seems more necessary by the year. And, yes, that's three Kentucky players in the top 12.
13. Phoenix Suns
Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia: Porzingis checks a couple of boxes in the sense that he's A) a floor-spacer at the forward position, and B) probably the best prospect on the board here. Phoenix will be thrilled if he falls to 13.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA: The Thunder should and likely will select the best talent available whenever the time comes. In this mock draft, that player is Looney, a 6-9 forward who projects as a nice rebounder and pick-and-pop forward at the NBA level.
15. Atlanta Hawks
Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas: The reigning SEC Player of the Year was never the best prospect in the SEC. But he averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds as a sophomore, and now he'll be the first Razorback selected in the first round since Ronnie Brewer went 14th overall in 2007. Barring injury, I think, Portis will be in the NBA for a decade based on his measurements and motor.
16. Boston Celtics
R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State: Hunter shot it poorly this season. But NBA scouts saw him enough last summer - specifically at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas - to know he's a pure shooter with size and NBA range. Every team (except maybe the Warriors) needs more shooters. Hunter will benefit from that reality on the night of the draft.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin: Dekker has an NBA body and certain NBA skills. The only question is whether he can consistently play at a high-level and shoot well from the perimeter, and those are big questions with no clear answers. Either way, he's a 6-9 athlete with the potential to develop into a 6-9 athlete who can stretch the floor with his jumper, and that's enough to keep him in the top 20 of this draft.
18. Houston Rockets (via trade)
Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame: Grant will turn 23 before the 2015-16 season begins. So he's older than most prospects, which might hurt him with some franchises. Regardless, this dynamic playmaker is capable of adding athleticism to anybody's backcourt, including Houston's.
19. Washington Wizards
Tyus Jones, PG, Duke: Jones isn't an exceptional athlete, and he's small. But he really knows how to run a team, totally understands when to push and when to pull, loves to take and make big shots, and there's just always going to be a place in the NBA for guys described that way. Beyond all that, I'm told Jones was, predictably, super impressive in interviews at the combine. Playing behind John Wall seems like a good spot to start his NBA career.
20. Toronto Raptors
Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky: Lyles spent much of his one year in college overshadowed by teammates -- specifically Towns and Cauley-Stein. But he's still an elite prospect with lots of potential. For those reasons and more, it's difficult to see Lyles going outside of the top 20.
21. Dallas Mavericks
Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State: Payne went from an overlooked recruit from Memphis -- whom Memphis didn't even seriously recruit -- to a legitimate NBA prospect in just two years at Murray State. He's a terrific story and on the verge of becoming a millionaire while the overwhelming majority of prospects ranked ahead of him in high school continue to play for room-and-board. Obviously, Dallas needs point guard help because of the disaster that was the Rajon Rondo experiment. Perhaps Payne can be a longterm solution.
22. Chicago Bulls
Christian Wood, PF, UNLV: It's unlikely the Bulls can, in the 20s, add a player who will help immediately. So why not swing for the so-called fences on a talent like Wood who would go in the lottery if not for red flags? That's what I'd do because Woods' potential is enticing.
23. Portland Trail Blazers
Montrezl Harrell, PF-C, Louisville: Harrell is not and will never be LaMarcus Aldridge - if only because he's about four inches shorter. But a lot people are predicting the Blazers will lose their All-Star power forward in free agency. So selecting Harrell could add a talent and fill a need.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona: Hollis-Jefferson isone of the best athletes in the draft and capable of becoming an elite perimeter defender in the NBA. Every championship team needs a guy like that. So he makes a lot of sense for the Cavaliers.
25. Memphis Grizzlies
Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia: Anderson could've returned to college and helped the Cavaliers compete for a national title while earning All-America honors. But it's hard to blame the 6-6 junior for entering the draft - especially considering he shot 45.2 percent from 3-point range this season, which is something he probably wouldn't duplicate as a senior. Either way, that percentage suggests he's capable of becoming a shooting threat on the wing. And the Grizzlies - perhaps more than any other good team - badly need a shooting threat on the wing.
26. San Antonio Spurs
Delon Wright, PG, Utah: Wright isn't young, which might hurt him. But a team already competing for a title and drafting at the bottom of the first round shouldn't care much about that because they'll be getting a 23-year-old rookie who could theoretically help next season.
27. Los Angeles Lakers
Robert Upshaw, C, Washington: There are obvious red flags with Upshaw, who was dismissed from two different college teams. But, at some point, his undeniable ability to protect the rim is worth a roll of the dice. And, I think, this is that point.
28. Boston Celtics
Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV: The Celtics have so many young players and picks they can afford to gamble at the bottom of the first round. Vaughn is a gamble. But he'd probably be going higher if he'd stayed healthy and played for a better team.
29. Brooklyn Nets
Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville: Rozier was not a preseason First Team All-American like his more celebrated teammate listed above. But he was Louisville's best player down the stretch. He should be able to get into the lane consistently at the NBA level.
30. Golden State Warriors
Jordan Mickey, PF, LSU: Mickey reportedly helped himself at the combine - perhaps enough to sneak into the first round and secure a guaranteed contract. He'd be a nice piece for a Warriors team with a lot of nice pieces.
Round 2
31. Minnesota Timberwolves
Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky: Johnson's size makes him worth a serious look early in the second round.
32. Houston Rockets
Jarell Martin, PF, LSU: Martin averaged 16.9 points and 9.2 rebounds as a sophomore, meaning he developed in ways scouts hoped to see him develop.
33. Boston Celtics
Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse: McCullough remains a compelling prospect even though he was mostly injured as a freshman.
34. Los Angeles Lakers
Rakeem Christmas, C, Syracuse: Christmas finally, as a senior, became the college player he was always supposed to be for the Orange.
35. Philadelphia 76ers
Cliff Alexander, PF, Kansas: Alexander helped neither Kansas nor himself in his one year of college. Still, he remains an intriguing prospect even if he's mostly an undersized center.
36. Minnesota Timberwolves
Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky: Despite his flaws, Harrison is still a point guard with size who made the Final Four in both years he spent in college.
37. Philadelphia 76ers
Aleksandar Vezenkov, SF, Bulgaria: Vezenkov is a nice draft-and-stash prospect, if a franchise chooses to use him that way.
38. Detroit Pistons
Joseph Young, SG, Oregon: Young was a big-time college scorer who could be a nice piece off somebody's NBA bench.
39. Charlotte Hornets
Norman Powell, SG, UCLA: Powell is a reliable jumper away from being a useful NBA player.
40. Miami Heat
Georges Lucas Alves de Paula, PG, Brazil: Most front offices like big point guards -- and this one is 6-5.
41. Brooklyn Nets
Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, France: Jaiteh is another 20-year-old draft-and-stash prospect.
42. Utah Jazz
Jonathan Holmes, SF, Texas: Holmes is a 6-8 forward who took 4.1 3-pointers per game as a senior at UT. So he could be useful when it comes to creating space.
43. Indiana Pacers
Cedi Osman, PG, Macedonia: Osman, like so many others, projects as a solid draft-and-stash prospect.
44. Phoenix Suns
Anthony Brown, SF, Stanford: There's usually a place in the NBA for a 6-6 wing who shot at least 44.1 percent from 3-point range in his final two years of college.
45. Boston Celtics
J.P. Tokoto, SF, North Carolina: Tokoto's early entry was a surprise even though he does have at least one NBA skill.
46. Milwaukee Bucks
Michael Qualls, SG, Arkansas: Qualls improved his scoring and shooting numbers each season he played at Arkansas.
47. Philadelphia 76ers
Timothe Luwawu, SG, France: Luwawu is a 19-year-old guard who has become a legit prospect over the past year.
48. Oklahoma City Thunder
Michael Frazier II, SG, Florida: Frazier was miscast as a star in his final season at Florida but is still an above-average catch-and-shoot perimeter player.
49. Washington Wizards
Richaun Holmes, PF, Bowling Green: Holmes is a 6-8 forward who shot 41.9 percent from 3-point range as a senior.
50. Atlanta Hawks
Nikola Milutinov, C, Serbia: Milutinov has been a part of two Serbian League championship teams.
51. Orlando Magic
Olivier Hanlan, PG, Boston College: Hanlan is a dynamic combo guard who scored big each year he was at BC.
52. Dallas Mavericks
Guillermo Hernangomez, C, Spain: Hernangomez is another likely draft-and-stash prospect.
53. Cleveland Cavaliers
Alan Williams, C, Santa Barbara: Williams is an undersized center -- but one who is tough and strong.
54. Utah Jazz
Tyler Harvey, SG, Eastern Washington: Harvey averaged a national-best 22.9 points per game this season.
55. San Antonio Spurs
Aaron White, PF, Iowa: White is a 6-9 forward who is comfortable shooting from beyond the arc.
56. New Orleans Pelicans
Aaron Harrison, SG, Kentucky: This Harrison will, like his brother, be selected way lower than he was projected to be selected out of high school despite consecutive appearances in the Final Four.
57. Denver Nuggets
Darrun Hilliard II, SF, Villanova: Hilliard is a guard with size who can shoot from the perimeter.
58. Philadelphia 76ers
Vince Hunter, PF, Texas-El Paso: Hunter averaged 14.9 points and 9.2 rebounds as a sophomore with the Miners.
59. Atlanta Hawks
Marc Garcia, SG, Spain: Garcia is a 19-year-old shooting guard prospect who could join the Hawks in a few years.
60. Philadelphia 76ers
Arturas Gudaitis, C, Lithuania: Gudaitis is a 6-10 center who is leading his professional team in Lithuania in rebounding.
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