Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2015 NBA Draft. Included is a revised Mock Draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts and information from in and around the process.Previous Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 | 6.0
Alex’s Notebook: Last week, Steve Kyler and I attended the draft pro day at Elev8 Basketball and came away impressed with former Louisville point guard Terry Rozier. He looked great in three-on-three play, ran the pick-and-roll well with teammate Seth Tuttle (who could be a second-round steal), and showed off his athleticism in the various drills that Elev8’s Director of Basketball Development Cody Toppert put all of the prospects through.
Well, it turns out a number of NBA executives are intrigued by Rozier too, as Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports reported that the 21-year-old has solidified himself as a first-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Rozier has been doing very well in his workouts with teams, showcasing his jaw-dropping athleticism, playmaking ability and improved three-point shot. According to sources, Rozier has worked out for the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Charlotte Hornets, and has a number of other workouts on his schedule.
One problem that Rozier has run into in recent weeks is that many of the other point guards projected to go in the first round have refused to work out against him, which initially made it hard for him to separate himself from the pack and move up draft boards.
However, he has done enough throughout the pre-draft process to increase his draft stock and perhaps even climb into the first round (as Spears indicated). That’s why, in this week’s mock draft, I have him going to the Brooklyn Nets at No. 29.
As previously mentioned, the Nets worked Rozier out and he makes a lot of sense for them. With Brooklyn reportedly looking to move on from Deron Williams this summer (and with his struggles in general), drafting a point guard is likely the smartest move for the Nets at No. 29. Brooklyn’s only other point guard with a guaranteed contract for next season is Jarrett Jack, who is 31 years old, so Rozier could be the long-term answer they’re lacking at the position.
I can’t see Rozier climbing much higher than the late 20s, but he could be a steal with one of the final picks in the first round and Brooklyn seems to be the landing spot that makes the most sense.
Joel’s Notebook: As the guy who covers the Central Division, it’s probably time to take a look at what the Central Division teams will do with their first-round picks, starting with the Detroit Pistons, who have the eighth selection in the draft. It’s a curious place to pick for them because what they need is some scoring on the wing, but there probably isn’t going to be a whole lot of that available when they pick. Mario Hezonja looks like he’d be a perfect fit (and his previous agent, Arn Tellem, just joined Detroit’s front office), but it will be a small miracle if he’s still around that late in the lottery. More likely is that the best player available at that point is a big man, be it Myles Turner, Kristaps Porzingis or Frank Kaminsky. To get the best value at that slot, they might have to double down at a position where they’re already pretty loaded.
Indiana is going to take a big guy or a point guard, which makes Turner, Kaminsky, Cameron Payne and Jerian Grant the most likely candidates. Payne reportedly has a promise from somebody, and while a lot of people think it’s Oklahoma City at No. 14, it’s pretty obvious he’d be a great fit with the Pacers. Turner makes a lot of sense too, though, especially if the team is serious about finding a long-term replacement for Roy Hibbert. Few guys at No. 11 have quite the ceiling that Turner does, even if he’s more unproven than some of the other guys available there.
Milwaukee, who picks 17th, is in a position to roll with the best player available, though with Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the fold, they really don’t need any more help at small forward. A point guard that can score (Grant, for example, or Tyus Jones) could be a nice counter-punch to Michael Carter-Williams, though what they really need is some muscle in the frontcourt. Luckily, there are plenty of guys in that range that can help, with Bobby Portis, Trey Lyles, Montrezl Harell and Kevon Looney all looking like realistic possibilities there.
Finally, there’s Chicago, who after signing one-year backup point guards for the last three or four seasons could really use a more permanent solution, especially since we never know when Derrick Rose will injure himself irreparably. It’s highly unlikely Payne will be there, but Grant might be. Delon Wright looks like the quintessential lifer backup point guard, too. Pick No. 22 is a steep price for that, but he’d be a good fit. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson would fit in well with the culture in Chicago and does a little bit of everything well, but Justin Anderson is a name that keeps coming up in conjunction with the Bulls, too. They could go a lot of ways, but Gar Forman and John Paxson are pretty good at finding diamonds later in the draft (Marquis Teague notwithstanding).
Moke’s Notebook: I think we are beginning to see some uniformity in the top 10, though there are some players that reasonable minds may differ on, and that obviously begins at the top of the draft. I will probably keep Jahlil Okafor in the top spot barring something unforeseen. I think the pairing of him with Andrew Wiggins will give the Minnesota Timberwolves a one-two punch they have lacked since Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett.
The major news coming out of this week was the impression that D’Angelo Russell had on the Lakers when they brought him in. Russell only came across lukewarm in saying that he always envisioned himself playing against Kobe Bryant rather than with him, but that may ultimately end up being background noise, as I still have Okafor going number one and the Lakers eventually taking Karl-Anthony Towns at number two. Coming out of last week, the prevailing sentiment seems to be that Russell is the better point guard prospect between he and Emmanuel Mudiay, so I’ll stick with Russell going to the Sixers at number three.
From there, all we seem to know is that Justise Winslow, Willie Cauley-Stein and Mudiay will be the next three selected, and you can see how we differ with respect to our opinions (although Alex has Cauley-Stein dropping a bit further). Truth is, the Knicks are difficult to read, but what they do will not have a major ripple affect on the top six picks, unless, of course, they trade down.
At this point, though, barring anything unforeseen, I am comfortable with my top 10 and am not expecting a major shakeup. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cameron Payne or Sam Dekker go a little higher than we expect. At this point, though, that’s just conjecture.
Steve’s Notebook: With the 2015 NBA draft just a few weeks away, a number of players are still trying to figure out where their floor in this draft really is. The floor, as it’s called, is that team you should not get past. As players travel the country working out for teams, agents are looking for that one team that will get their player drafted.
It seems that Louisville’s Terry Rozier may have found his floor to the Brooklyn Nets at the bottom of the first round, but banking on anything in the later part of the first is always risky. However, it does look like Rozier has cemented himself as a potential first rounder.
Arkansas guard Mike Qualls, who suffered a hip injury during the Combine, has been rehabbing the injury and has just recently resumed a workout schedule. Qualls has a number of fans in the early part of the second round and could find himself in serious consideration at 31 to 39.
Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter continues to be something of an enigma, some teams are very high on Hunter projecting he could go as high as 17 to the Milwaukee Bucks, however there is a sense that he could still be around in the mid-20s but wouldn’t get past the Lakers at 27.
Justin Anderson continues to have a big workout schedule and is finding that teams may not have had an accurate picture of what he is as a player. If there’s a guy that could go significantly higher than expected it maybe Anderson. As for his floor, it seems unlikely that Anderson would be on the board past 35 to the Philadelphia 76ers.
St. John’s senior Sir’Dominic Pointer is also drawing rave reviews in workouts. While he’s a long shot in the first round, there is a growing sense that he may be in the mix between 30 and 41, with 41 to the Brooklyn Nets being a potential floor. Sir’Dominic is drawing comparisons to Memphis guard Tony Allen as a lockdown perimeter defender and has been asked back by a number of teams to work out against higher level talent in part to showcases his defense against them, but also to get a second look at a player teams may not have initially considered an option with their pick.
Murray State guard Cameron Payne was said to have a commitment at No. 14 from the Oklahoma City Thunder; however, recent workouts with the L.A. Lakers and an upcoming workout with the New York Knicks has more and more insiders believing Payne could go in the top 10, which would be a huge jump for the mid-major scoring guard most had on the low end of this draft class coming in.
On Friday, Basketball Insiders will drop the first Outsiders Consensus Mock Draft featuring a few new voices from outside of our team and their opinion on how the 2015 draft class is taking shape, so look for that to drop Friday afternoon.
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