At this point, you probably don't need another bozo to give you his thoughts on the NBA draft. Mocks drafts have been constantly updating for weeks, but nothing really changes. Rumors are flying but they don't actually mean anything until someone pulls the trigger. If you care enough about the draft at all, you can probably consider yourself a pseudo expert even if you didn't know who Emmanuel Mudiay was until two weeks ago.
That's how the draft works a day or two before it happens: everyone thinks they know everything when very few people actually know anything. This is, of course, not limited to fans. Somewhere David Kahn is watching Johnny Flynn highlights from the 2009 Big East Tournament and wondering where it all went wrong.
Still, this will not stop me from ranking the top 30 players in the 2015 draft to ensure I look like an idiot to future generations. I cover recruiting and college basketball, so why not. I have nothing better to do this afternoon.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns - I'll go all-in on the hyperbole for Towns: I think he's a Hall of Fame caliber prospect. He'll either be a consensus top five player in a few years or have a career defined by always being one of the most underrated stars in the league. I don't think he's far off from Anthony Davis in terms of talent, even if he's not the athlete A.D. is.
When Davis was entering the draft, I bet my buddy Doyle $100 he would win an MVP one day. I want to go double-or-nothing with Towns on the same bet, Doyle, if you're reading.
2. D'Angelo Russell - I love watching the recruiting guys get salty because they "missed" on Russell, who was merely the No. 16 recruit in the class of 2014 one year ago. Of course, he was still a McDonald's All-American, so it's not like he came out of nowhere at Ohio State.
This was Russell's first year playing point guard -- he played on the same AAU team as fellow McDonald's All-American and UNC point guard Joel Berry -- and you have to wonder what took him so long. He has an incredible feel for the game, great vision and a gifted sense of anticipation on passes. He can also rip threes, whether it's off the dribble or from the catch and shoot. And he's 6'5 with a 6'10 wingspan. For a point guard!
He's not super athletic, he won't be a great defensive player, but whatever. I don't like the James Harden comp, but I still think he can be an All-Star.
3. Jahlil Okafor - Just a man among boys his entire life. If he finds a jumping shooting, shot blocking power forward next to him, he's going to be incredible. Unfortunately Julius Randle is not that type of player. I wouldn't be surprised if he averages 20 a game as a rookie.
4. Stanley Johnson - A year ago, Johnson was a top three recruit with Emmanuel Mudiay and Okafor. Since teams should be drafting players based on how they develop long-term and not what they can do right now 13 months after most of them graduated high school, I didn't see anything at Arizona that dissuaded me from believing Johnson has a super bright future in this league.
He can't just guard 2-4, he can be a one-man wrecking crew defensively. Can I call him amatuer basketball's answer to Ray Lewis? He plays with a special brand of intensity, he's hyper competitive and, physically, he's a freak of nature. He can shoot, he can drive, and he can't finish at the rim for some reason. Given the fact that he's a 240-pound 18-year-old, I think he'll figure that out eventually.
5. Willie Cauley-Stein - A world class defender and a world class dude. The two things I want out of a modern center nowadays are defense and speed, and no one combines those two traits like WCS. Shouldn't he be ahead of Okafor then? Probably. But I worry about his fit. I don't love him next to DeMarcus Cousins (for how long?) in Sacramento or Nikola Vucevic in Orlando because there will be no spacing on the floor. Really, he'd be perfect for the Knicks next to Carmelo. Just put a natural wing next to WCS at the four and let him guard two guys at once. It's really not that big of a deal for him.
6. Justise Winslow - Arguably the safest player in the draft. Take him and you'll get a solid two-way wing for the next decade. I wouldn't be surprised if he turned into an All-Star, either. He's so strong and so fast, and more skilled than anyone thought he was entering Duke. He's part of this new era of Duke basketball that makes it very hard to hate on the Blue Devils. Shouldn't all Duke players look like Christian Laettner or Carlos Boozer and not Jabari Parker and Winslow?
7. Trey Lyles - I'm in on Lyles. I don't know if he defends anyone and I think he'll need a bad ass center next to him, but he's such a smart and skilled player that I think he's going to a major weapon offensively.
8. Mario Hezonja - I love his arrogance from a far, but I wouldn't be surprised if it rubs teammates the wrong way. I get the sense that American born players aren't going to love a super cocky gunner who got selected ahead of players their more familiar with (all of these dudes are friends from AAU and college) and immediately gets granted a certain amount of privilege because of his draft status.
That said, he's a 6'8 two guard with good athleticism who can rip three-pointers. That combination should mean there's no way he fails.
9. Emmanuel Mudiay - I had Mudiay at No. 1 in the 2015 mock I did right after the 2014 draft (get ready for my 2016 mock!!!!!!!). That was mostly based off watching him for two days at the McDonald's All-American practices. Now I'm not so sold on him. I think he'll be good, for sure, especially defensively. But his release is so slow and it feels like it's foolish to bet heavily on a point guard who can't shoot unless you're surrounding him with other shooters. He reminds me a bit of Elfrid Payton. Both will be really good players, but this draft is stacked enough that I feel OK putting him at No. 9.
10. Kristaps Porzingis - Who fuckin' knows. He might literally be the tallest player in the NBA next year if he really measured at over 7'1 without shoes. He rains threes so I wouldn't be surprised if he's awesome. I would also be scared as hell to draft him.
11. Myles Turner - Turner is soooo slow, but he's also awesome. Imagine Roy Hibbert with a three-pointer. I'm pretty sure I stole that from Tjarks.
12. Bobby Portis - If nothing else, I think he's a dependable third big who can switch between the four and the five and give you something on both ends of the floor. If he develops a reliable three-pointer, man. He has a high ceiling and a high floor.
13. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - He's just too big, too athletic and too good defensively to ignore. I don't think he'll ever be able to shoot, but in the right situation he can be awesome.
14. Justin Anderson - Another high ceiling, high floor guy. I've written about him a bunch already.
15. Tyus Jones - Tyus Jones is a boss. He's short and slow but he's so smart and skilled. I trust him to figure it out in the NBA.
16. Robert Upshaw - OK, so: I am not a doctor. I'm pretty sure being a professional blogger is the polar opposite is being a doctor, in that one is the most worthwhile occupation and the other is the least worthwhile occupation. I don't know what's up with Robert Upshaw's heart. I don't even really know what's up with his addiction issues. But he's huge, he blocks shots, and if he's healthy and engaged, he looks like the type of center I would love to have on my favorite team.
17. Frank Kaminsky - He'd be perfect in Utah next to Gobert and Favors. If he winds up on the Knicks I'm going to fly to New York to give Seth Rosenthal a hug.
18. Jerian Grant - This year's winner of the Chicago Bulls friends and family award!
19. Delon Wright - I saw someone recently compare him to a tall Andre Miller. That would be OK with me at No. 22.
20. Kelly Oubre - Heavy on style, currently low on substance. Obviously I love him.
Note: I forgot about R.J. Hunter. Let's slide him in here.
21. Rashad Vaughn - Hoiberg went all in on Vaughn as a five-star recruit and came up just short. Iowa State couldn't afford him. That's probably part of the reason he's here now.
22. Terry Rozier - This is one of my biggest sleepers in the draft. He's just so damn fast and good at defense. I bet he's a better NBA player than he was a college player, and he was pretty good at Louisville.
23. Cameron Payne - Who knows.
24. Cliff Alexander - CLIFFFFFFFF. I wouldn't like Cliff as a four, but as the league continues to downsize, I love him as a five. Cliff's only real problem is that he's two inches away from being two inches away. But in a world where Draymond Green starts NBA Finals games at center, Cliff could be nasty as a small ball five that comes in and blocks shots, rebounds and dunks on dudes.
25. Devin Booker - He can shoot so he'll probably be better than this, but so could Wayne Ellington. I think I stole that from Tjarks, too.
25. Sam Dekker - I dunno.
27. Kevon Looney - No clue.
28. Montrezl Harrell - Like Cliff, I like him a lot better as a five than a four. But he's not from the CPS so we bump him down a few spots.
29. Anthony Brown - Probably way underrated at this point.
30. Christian Wood - Wouldn't be surprised if he's really good. Wouldn't be surprised if he plays under 50 NBA games.