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NBA Draft 2015 Mock: Irrational General Manager version 2.0

The revised mock draft (first round) that focuses on need and fit, over best player available

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Ages ago I did a mock draft which can be found here; it's a story stream so I would avoid it. Instead, here's the revised edition of the mock that happens days before the actual NBA Draft. I'm pretty excited, and I think I did a (adjective) job here. Some of these picks work, some of these picks can be argued for, but some of them are made because of the psychology of the teams making the picks. As a result, I've tried to create a mock draft that factors in GMs panicking and making mistakes. After all, how else do you program in the variation needed to get a real world Anthony Bennett to go #1 from a completely rational model? You can't. So here is the Irrational GM v. 2.0 mock draft!

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky) -- this one is simple. The farther down we go the more irrational it will get, but this is a no-brainer. Such that, even a franchise that seems to be run by people with no brains will still make the right pick. Towns allows for Gorgui Dieng to move down to PF more full-time, and clean up all the messes. Nikola Pekovic could still start in the first few months as well. They also have a free agent named Kevin Garnett who is pretty okay inside as well. If you add that to what they have with Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Kevin Martin, Shabazz Muhammad, and this Andrew Wiggins guy that's not a bad start.
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor (Duke) -- LA needs everything. A nice place to start with the #2 pick is with the #2 best player (it doesn't always happen, see: Marvin Williams, ATL in 2005). Okafor is a throwback, which should make sense because the Lakers head coach Byron Scott is a dinosaur. With Julius Randle, and the theory of Ryan Kelly, and Jordan Hill all of this means that Ed Davis really isn't needed at all. A strong inside rotation helps LA because with their wings there will be a lot of shots going up, but not in. Someone's gotta crash the glass. Okafor is one of the best at it.
  3. Philadelphia 76ers: D'Angelo Russell (Ohio State) -- Philly also needs everything, but they'll pretend for now that they can build around Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. Those bigs will need a guard to set screens for. (In the olden days I would have said "they need someone to get them the rock", but that's not how the NBA works anymore.) Russell is a great shooter with a solid handle, and will thrive playing with the Sixers because, well, they all can't suck, right? Nah, Russell is the right pick here, and he will have a nice career. He could be a star. Philly will hope he is.
  4. New York Knicks: Emmanuel Mudiay (China) -- I really enjoy the thought of Kristaps Porzingis going to play with Carmelo Anthony, but I think if NY is going to do this right they are going to try to hit a home run. I like KP, but I think there would be questions about his ability to play in the triangle. Of course, there are really only questions about Mudiay, and fake Zenmaster Phil Jackson will think this guy who played in China is another fake Buddhist too. P-Jax, left to his own devices, makes a ton of mistakes. At least with MSG, he's playing in a market that is used to it, and for an ownership group that doesn't reprimand anyone when they are made. I hope Mudiay becomes great, but he just could be the next Tyreke Evans at best. We don't know.
  5. Orlando Magic: Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia) -- I'm not crazy about this fit, but KP could fit in nicely with Nikola Vucevic, while Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, and Evan Fournier take all the shots. I was originally a big fan of Justise Winslow here; however, irrationality here starts with picking BPA. (That's how you draft Enes Kanter #3 on a team that already has Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Jeremy Evans -- and was holding the rights to Ante Tomic.) While Porzingis doesn't create a log jam, it does mean that Orlando really needs to make sure they can match any offer for Tobias Harris. A guy like Winslow puts some of the bargaining power with the organization. Oh, and what the heck do you do with Aaron Gordon now that you basically have the European import version of him, but with a three point shot?
  6. Sacramento Kings: Mario Hezonja (Croatia) -- I'm also not crazy about this fit, because the Kings have Rudy Gay, Ben McLemore, and Nik Stauskas already . . . and yes, always going BPA is irrational at times. But Vlade Divac has a lot of headaches right now because of what's going on with DeMarcus Cousins. Perhaps picking Willie Cauley-Stein here makes things better, but it's hard to pass up on possibly the best wing in this draft class. He's no Peja, but he could fit in nicely with what a smart Kings could be building there.
  7. Denver Nuggets: Justise Winslow (Duke) -- It's almost like most problems can be solved with #5, #6, and #7 all swapping picks in some fashion. The Nuggets really want Hezonja and have been scouting him for a looo-oong time now. Winslow isn't a bad consolation prize either, he could be a young man version of Paul Pierce 's old man game. He's strong, he has a high basketball IQ, and he really finishes well, even with contact. I like this kid, and it gives the Nuggets something to think about when they evaluate what they are going to do with Wilson Chandler, Randy Foye, and Danilo Gallinari's roles with the team as current / future free agents. I will be nice for Gary Harris too, to have someone taking that lead slasher role so he can just get back to being a shot maker.
  8. Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson (Arizona) -- If you haven't been keeping up with the news, the Pistons just traded away Caron Butler (and filler) for Ersan Ilyasova. What Ersan makes the possible/probable departure of Greg Monroe easier to handle, it (along with Tayshaun Prince 's expiring contract) leaves a big hole at SF. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a solid wing, but I don't think I want to try to have him defend SFs at this level just yet. Johnson isn't the best defender either, but he's very sold. More importantly, this starts the run of a number of wing players . . . which has the chance of creating a supply demand avalanche of irrationality.
  9. Charlotte Hornets: Devin Booker (Kentucky) -- So Lance Stephenson is gone, and for him they got back Spencer Hawes and the ghost of Matt Barnes (they may cut him). Hawes adds his bulk and inside/outside skills to a bigman rotation of Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams, and Noah Vonleh. I think they're good up there. The former Bobcats also have Kemba Walker and Brian Roberts. I don't know if they will bring back Mo Williams or Bismack Biyombo, but the main problem now is at the wings. Gerald Henderson doesn't inspire me, and I haven't drunk the kool-aid yet on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Booker is a shooter's shooter and this team needs one. He can pass and cut, but mainly shoot. This is the spot for him.
  10. Miami Heat: Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) -- Pat Riley is no fool. But Goran Dragic opted out and is now a free agent. Dwyane Wade is very likely to do the same. He needs money for both of those guys, and there aren't any real star level PGs or SGs on the board right now. Frank the Tank helps lock in their bigman rotation and is an upgrade while easily allowing Pat to save money for his guards. Frank will be deadly next to Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts, Chris Andersen, and this Udonis Haslem guy. This is a front court that gets you 50 wins in the East. Luol Deng and Michael Beasley aren't going to bring you a championship, but a lot of good wings just went and right before they got a chance to pick one up. Frank is a smart move by a smart GM who knows he has bigger fish to fry this off-season.
  11. Indiana Pacers: Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky) -- There's a changing of the guard inside Indiana. Roy Hibbert is a gonner if you listen to Larry Bird. Luis Scola is a free agent. David West could opt out too. They need a big guy, a really big guy, and a defender. Cauley-Stein is a great fit. Obviously, my personal bias is that he should go to the Kings (#6), and shouldn't fall farther than the Nuggets (#7), but a lot of people having him falling. Bird doesn't mind that 15 of the 40 mock drafts I've been keeping track of has him going 11th or lower. He'll snatch him up here and continue re-loading his roster. Dude is going to be catching lobs for days . . . if they could get a point guard.
  12. Utah Jazz: Myles Turner (Texas) -- This is the guy I want for the Jazz in this draft. He's a shot blocking three point shooter who has his head on straight and will be able to play with either Derrick Favors or Rudy Gobert. Great kid. Is he going to be a HOFer? No. But you really don't ever get one at #12. A solid rotation guy for sure. He was regarded by some draft experts to be a better face up bigman prospect than Frank the Tank. I'm okay with that.
  13. Phoenix Suns: Kelly Oubre Jr. (Kansas) -- The Suns need a lot, but with some people likely to throw free agency money at Gerald Green, it's obvious that they need some wing firepower. The PG attack of Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Bullock, and RFA Brandon Knight means a PG is off the table. There's no solid bigman here at this draft range to supplant of help out with the Morris twins / Alex Len problem. Oubre will do well under Jeff Hornacek.
  14. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne (Murray State) -- Cam essentially exists to be Russell Westbrook's caddy, because we just saw what happens to OKC when one of either Westbrook or Kevin Durant has to shut it down for extended time due to injury. Payne will help give Westbrook a breather. Will Russ want one? No. But he needs it. Payne is *kinda* the BPA here, but it's a crap shoot with a few wings and a few PFs, and Payne. The southpaw is a three point shooter and bigtime scorer. He's a change up player for the Thunder, and will be able to get their bench going with his pick and roll ability and fundamentally sound PG game (e.g. passing the ball instead of putting his head down and trying to draw a foul). Payne could go higher or lower, but I don't think OKC passes him up.
  15. Atlanta Hawks: Sam Dekker (Wisconsin) -- Okay, okay, okay, here's the deal: Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll are both free agents this off-season. Guess which of those two is easier to replace with a 1st rounder? It's Carroll. Now, I hope they are able to pay both of those guys, but it's clear that ATL's depth just isn't there. They took the foot off the pedal and coasted to the #1 seed in the East; and then got hurt and couldn't dig out those important games. Dekker is a guy who could play the 3/4 in the East, and effectively back up both guys. Now, we don't know if he's likely to get into fights with cops at strip clubs like Thabo Sefolosha or Pero Antic did; but he does seem to be a utility guy who can do a little of everything on offense and defense. Coach Bud will find the best way to use him off the bench, and really, there are higher upside guys on the board, but I think Dekker just works with ATL's on-court culture and versatility.
  16. Boston Celtics: Trey Lyles (Kentucky) -- The Celtics need some help at power forward. And it's not just because Brandon Bass, Jae Crowder, and Jonas Jerebko are all free agents. And it's not just because, well, just look at the rest of the bigs on their roster: Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Tyler Zeller. They need inside help, and Lyles isn't your alpha dog bigman but he's a step in the right direction. The Candian bigman has a solid inside / outside game up to about 18 feet and can clear space for the obvious paint sorties that Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart will engage in next season. He's also not too shabby on the glass, and actually understands that boxing out is a legal move for post players to engage in. Imagine that!
  17. Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis (Arkansas) -- What do you give to Jason Kidd, a guy coaching a team of almost uniformly 6'7 to 6'11 young guys with long arms and athletic ability? Another one of those guys. While what they really need is a legit shooting guard who can, well, shoot; they will not be able to pass up on Portis' upside. He's super young, has springs, and will be able to fit in nicely with what they do on defense. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Caron Butler (via trade with Detroit), Jabari Parker, and possibly Khris Middleton means he'll have to fight for minutes. But the other way to look at it is that this is a team that has ludicrous length now. Now, only if they could trade Kidd for George Karl and this will be the best defensive potential team of all-time. Maybe. Portis isn't specifically a defender, but he has the tools to make it happen. He does use his length and athletic ability the right way on offense though, especially in transition. Expect dunks. Fear the deer.
  18. Houston Rockets: Jerian Grant (Notre Dame) -- A big long point guard who knows how to pass and get out of the way of more talented scorers? Oh, and he can possibly be a defensive playmaker at the NBA level? And you're adding him to a team that went to the Western Conference Finals last year? Yeah. If I didn't hate the Rockets so much on a personal level I would find this irrational fit to almost be completely rational.
  19. Washington Wizards: Kevon Looney (UCLA) -- This has been almost predestined for a few weeks now, right? It's almost as if this is no longer that irrational at all, so, false advertizing, right? Looney can't do the things that Nene or Marcin Gortat can do. But they can't do what he does either. He compliments both very well off the bench, giving them a potentially hazardous (for the other team) front court rotation (if you also add in Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair). Having Looney going up in practice against Otto Porter and Paul Pierce is only going to make him better as well, while he adds that versatility on the court to give the Wizards a point forward when their offense occasionally stalls when John Wall is off the floor.
  20. Toronto Raptors: Tyus Jones (Duke) -- The Raptors are possibly going to lose Lou Williams in free agency, and saw how ineffectual their offense is when Kyle Lowry isn't hitting and they have to rely upon guys like Greivis Vasquez. Jones is a championship level point guard who can hit big shots and is smart enough to know what an actual offense is supposed to look like. He isn't going to be afraid to bring his guys in close and tell them what they are doing incorrectly, which is really going to be something that helps guys like Jonas Valanciunas, Lucas Nogueira, and Bruno Caboclo next season. They don't *need* another PG as there are other holes to fill, but the on court results suggest otherwise.
  21. Dallas Mavericks: R.J. Hunter (Georgia State) -- Is this the most "Texas-ish" name in the draft? The Mavs need shooting, and with the whole Rajon Rondo / Monta Ellis question marks this off-season they needed to make sure they come out of the 1st round with an actual NBA level guard. (Really, Devin Harris and Raymond Felton aren't going to hold down the fort next season all by themselves) Hopefully Monta is back, but Hunter adds either depth (if he is) or another hired gun (if he isn't). Of course, because I have a bias for bigmen, and because we don't know what's going to happen with Tyson Chandler this off-season, I would have rather there was a bigman available who was worthy of going to a West playoff team. But in a world where we may have to say !Adios! to J.J. Barea in a Mavs jersey, it will be nice to have an R.J. back. (Also of note, Richard Jefferson is a free agent.)
  22. Chicago Bulls: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona) -- Were you impressed by what Doug McDermott did last season? Nikola Mirotic doesn't strike fear into anyone. Tony Snell looks like a player, but behind Jimmy Butler he didn't get a chance to show it. Oh, Mike Dunleavy is a free agent? Yeah. These Bulls need few things more than they need health. But one of those things is an actual wing player to compliment what they have in RFA Butler. RHJ doesn't so much compliment him, but he's talented enough and has a ridiculous body (he could end up being a mini- LeBron James / Andre Iguodala) for a wing that he's someone you can easily take a "chance on" at 22. Of course, they could go for a point guard here because #obvious; but I think what sets Rondae apart from a guy like Delon Wright or a Terry Rozier is that he looks to be an impact player who can defend at this level. Sure, Tom Thibodeau is out the door but these are hallmarks of Bulls players since the 80s.
  23. Portland Trail Blazers: Montrezl Harrell (Louisville) -- Didja know that LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez are both free agents this off-season? Yeah. Even if they do bring both back, they need an upgrade at a few spots on the bench, possibly SG, SF, and PF. I'm not a huge fan of Joel Freeland or Meyers Leonard. They don't have much beast in their game. Montrezl could be the next in that divergent evolutionary line of Ben Wallace / Kenneth Faried types who are undersized in height, but make up for it with animal like strength and a high activity level. Sure, Harrell is accused of not going 100% on every play, but when he does he can disrupt the game plan of the opposing coaching staff. Off the bench he will bring some tenacity to a Portland team that at times just seems to sleep walk on the court.
  24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Delon Wright (Utah) -- Okay, Matthew Dellavedova had a nice playoffs, but he's not a long-term solution at the point guard spot if there is an emergency. Wright is a big point guard who has lots of NCAA experience who helped take his guys to the Sweet 16 last year. He's the type of steady helmsman you want to add to an NBA Finals team that wants to return there. He does have some flaws to his game, but what he can bring to the Cavs appears to be more than what any other PG at this range can. And the Cavs really do need PG help. Like, you can't draft a new brain for J.R. Smith. Otherwise that would be the biggest need. After that I think PG is pretty obvious.
  25. Memphis Grizzlies: Guillermo Hernangomez (Spain) -- So both Marc Gasol and Kosta Koufos are hitting free agency this off-season. Hernangomez is a bigman who has both talent and touch who can replace one of those two quite easily and compliment the other -- if all three are on the roster by the time the season starts. Memphis could go for a Mike Conley back-up too; however, nothing is more important than a bigman right now for this team. That or a time machine for Vince Carter and Tony Allen.
  26. San Antonio Spurs: Rashad Vaughn (UNLV) -- He'll be the next Danny Green / Kawhi Leonard. You know he will.
  27. Los Angeles Lakers: Terry Rozier (Louisville) -- So LA went with a C with their #2 pick, and look to close out the 1st round with a point guard as their #27 pick. Honestly, they need everything outside of the paint, and I'm not "sold" on Jordan Clarkson. I'm not sold on Rozier either, but sadly that pair will end up having greater production on the court than the tandem of Steve Nash and Jeremy Lin did last season. Then again, PG is pretty much a vestigial thing under Byron Scott -- it's not like they are allowed to shoot threes. Then again, PG is pretty much just a historical thing when playing next to Kobe Bryant. Then again, I could keep making fun of the Lakers for another 600 words without getting tired. Let's move on for the benefit of the rest of the class.
  28. Boston Celtics: Justin Anderson (Virginia) -- Boston could probably use another PF here just in case, but instead I have them picking up Justin here because, well, I actually forget why. He's a solid shooter who can hit the open shot -- something Brad Stevens loves. But more than that, I think he's got above average bulk for a wing and great athleticism. And you, and I, and all the Celtics fans know that Gerald Wallace 's tired husk isn't going to play above the rim anymore.
  29. Brooklyn Nets: Jarrell Martin (LSU) -- Thaddeus Young could be gone, which usually isn't something to be worried about. But these Nets are really bad. Their Euro stretch bigs* (Bojan Bogdanovic and Sergey Karasev) / combo forwards are okay, but not really effective enough to avoid worrying about, if you are the other team. As a Nets fan, which I'm not, you really want an upgrade at the 4/3 spots. Martin isn't specifically that, but he does stop the bleeding a bit with his upper body strength and ability to bang inside and finish with contact. He, in conjunction with Mason Plumlee, create a situation where opposing bigs will hate to play against the Nets . . . something I don't think anyone has ever said.
  30. Golden State Warriors: Chris McCullough (Syracuse) -- kid can block shots. Honestly, this team doesn't need much, they just won the title. And with the #30 they could go for high potential or even try to find the best fit out of all the other bubble guys out there. I don't know if this is the perfect fit on the court, but the Freshman seems like he will be a solid addition to their bench. He could be one of the most annoying bench celebration guys out there with this ridiculous 7'4 wingspan (rounding up). He's not a three point shooter, but thrives in transition and has above average North/South speed. He's no Rudy Gobert, but he's not like Chris Gattling either.

Hmmm, I'm a little disappointed that this mock draft didn't get truly ridiculous.