Charlotte Hornets

Rick Bonnell’s 2015 NBA mock draft

By Rick Bonnell

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell’s mock first round for Thursday’s NBA draft:

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky center. He’s a terrific defender who continues to improve at the offensive end.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, Duke center. He might not be the next-best talent, but it’s hard to pass on a great low-post scorer.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State guard. He’s highly skilled as both a scorer and passer and fills a glaring need on the 76ers’ front-court heavy roster.

4. New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis, Latvian power forward via Spain. The Knicks basically need everything but a small forward. Porzingis has a load of talent and potential at power forward.

5. Orlando Magic: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky center-forward. The Magic has good, young players at most spots. Cauley-Stein provides defensive toughness inside.

6. Sacramento Kings: Emmanuel Mudiay, American point guard via China. A big, acrobatic point guard to a team badly in need at that position.

7. Denver Nuggets: Mario Hezonja, Croatian shooting guard via Spain. The Nuggets are in major rebuilding mode and need a rookie with star potential. Hezonja will have immediate impact at the offensive end.

8. Detroit Pistons: Justise Winslow, Duke small forward. At minimum, he’ll be a solid player at both ends of the court: a quality defender and a guy with 3-point range.

9. Charlotte Hornets: Devin Booker, Kentucky shooting guard. The worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA sure could use the draft’s best jump shooter.

10. Miami Heat: Myles Turner, Texas center. Heat President Pat Riley loves having size in abundance. Turner also has decent shooting range for a center.

11. Indiana Pacers: Stanley Johnson, Arizona small forward. He’s strong and physical at his position but needs a more refined offensive game.

12. Utah Jazz: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin center-power forward. He played four seasons of college ball and has a multifaceted offensive game.

13. Phoenix Suns: Kelly Oubre, Kansas small forward. A young and extremely confident player who has a lean body type and 3-point shooting range.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne, Murray State point guard. The Thunder traded Reggie Jackson to Detroit, so they can use another point guard.

15. Atlanta Hawks: R.J. Hunter, Georgia State shooting guard. The Hawks highly value having a wealth of jump shooters, and they’ve had plenty of time to scout Hunter in Atlanta.

16. Boston Celtics: Sam Dekker, Wisconsin forward. He’s a good athlete with an attacking offensive style who can play at small and power forward.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis, Arkansas power forward. He has a mature game in a way that he can probably fit into the Bucks’ rotation very quickly.

18. Houston Rockets: Trey Lyles, Kentucky power forward. He has true power forward size but also enough perimeter skill that he played some small forward in college.

19. Washington Wizards: Jarell Martin, LSU power forward. The Wizards need more depth behind big men Nene and Marcin Gortat.

20. Toronto Raptors: Montrezl Harrell, Louisville power forward. The Raptors need defense in the worst way. Harrell is an intense defender and rebounder.

21. Dallas Mavericks: Tyus Jones, Duke point guard. With the Rajon Rondo experiment a major failure, the Mavs need another playmaker.

22. Chicago Bulls: Kevon Looney, UCLA forward. He was one of the best rebounders in the Pac-12 during his one college season.

23. Portland Trail Blazers: Jerian Grant, Notre Dame point guard. At 6-foot-5 he offers enough size to play either point or shooting guard.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona small forward. He and Harrell are probably the best “energy” guys in this draft.

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Rashad Vaughn, UNLV shooting guard. The Grizzlies badly need more 3-point shooting. That’s something Vaughn can deliver.

26. San Antonio Spurs: Justin Anderson, Virginia small forward. He just seems like a player the Spurs would value: smart, decent shooter, committed defender.

27: Los Angeles Lakers: Delon Wright, Utah point guard. This pick is obviously contingent on what the Lakers do with the No. 2 overall pick.

28. Boston Celtics: Terry Rozier, Louisville point guard. His 6-8 winspan compensates for his 6-2 height. A streaky shooter.

29. Brooklyn Nets: Christian Wood, UNLV power forward: The Nets need more depth at the power positions, and Wood is a value pick at this spot.

30. Golden State Warriors: Michael Frazier, Florida shooting guard. Even more 3-point shooting for a team that won the title from the perimeter.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell

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