Inside @ACCMBB: A 2015 NBA Mock Draft

2015 has already been an excellent year for ACC hoops and continued success looks inevitable in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. 

The ACC has 13 players projected to be drafted in the 2015 NBA Draft, which would shatter the conference record of nine players drafted in 2010 and 2014. 

Assuming an ACC player gets drafted in the first round, that would extend the conference’s streak of having at least one first-round selection to 27 consecutive years. Over the past nine years, the ACC has accounted for 18 percent (52 of 294) of college players selected in the first round. 

Let’s take a look at each ACC prospect and where they may end up in the 2015 NBA Draft.


FIRST ROUND


2. Los Angeles Lakers
Jahlil Okafor | Duke | C | 6-11 | 270 

Jahlil Okafor is going to be a household name for years to come. Although Okafor may not be the best fit for the Lakers alongside Julius Randle, there’s no way GM Mitch Kupchak can pass on his sheer talent. 

Okafor is only 19-years-old and already has veteran moves on the block. He might be the best post player to enter the NBA draft in years. Regardless of where Okafor ends up, he’ll have a long and illustrious career. 

Strengths
• Extremely skilled low-post scorer
• Incredible footwork 
• 7-5 wingspan
• Excellent offensive rebounder 

Weaknesses
• Needs to improve lateral quickness and explosiveness
• Improve free throw shooting 

NBA Comparison
Okafor is a solid hybrid between Tim Duncan and Al Jefferson. He’s got a similar NBA body and wingspan to Duncan, as well as offensive prowess. Okafor shares Al Jefferson’s excellent footwork and scoring ability around the rim. 



4. New York Knicks
Justise Winslow | Duke | F | 6-7 | 230

Justise Winslow is one of  the most versatile players in this year’s draft. Winslow can handle the ball well, spot up and shoot from just about anywhere, and he is a tenacious defender. He’s long enough to crash the boards and also defend multiple positions. 

Winslow’s versatility makes him a perfect mold for Phil Jackson’s triangle offense in New York. Not to mention, Winslow is mentality tough enough for an exhausting NYC media frenzy. He’s also expressed a lot of interest in developing his career on the business front. What a perfect situation for him to expand on that notion.

Strengths
• Great athlete
• Strong finisher
• Good rebounder and 3-point shooter
• Excellent on-ball defense 

Weaknesses
• Improve free throw shooting
• Learn to stay aggressive

NBA Comparison 
Winslow is a difficult player to compare and contrast. He has the physical abilities to defend multiple positions a la Lebron James. Winslow also has a knack for driving to the hoop and drawing contact like James Harden. 



17. Milwaukee Bucks
Montrezl Harrell | Louisville | PF | 6-8 | 240

This seems like a good fit for Harrell as the Bucks are looking for a high intensity tone-setter on the defensive end. Harrell excels on pick-and-rolls as he has the lateral quickness and athletic ability to make great plays around the rim. If he continues to improve his 3-point shooting, he could be a solid role player next season.

Strengths
• Powerful dunker
• 7-3 wingspan
• Good offensive rebounder
• Good weak-side blocker

Weaknesses
• Improve free throw shooting
• Not ideal NBA PF height

NBA Comparison
Montrezl Harrell reminds me a lot of PF Kenneth Faried. Both play with a high intensity and are relentless around the rim. 


18. Houston Rockets
Tyus Jones | Duke | PG | 6-2 | 184

There probably isn’t a better fit in this year’s NBA Draft than Tyus Jones to the Houston Rockets. Houston was clearly lacking a true point guard all season, and Patrick Beverly’s injury in the playoffs inevitably hurt the team. Beverly is entering restricted free agency so Tyus Jones could start right away.  

Tyus Jones would bring a great deal of leadership to a star-studded Houston team. That’s nothing Jones is not used to considering he recently helped lead a star-studded Duke team to a national championship. Jones has great instincts and is a gifted distributor. 

Strengths
• High basketball IQ
• Excellent leadership and passing skills
• Solid 3-point & FT shooter
• Great assist-to-turnover ratio
• CLUTCH

Weaknesses
• Not as athletic as other PGs 
• Needs to bulk up

Stat: Jones’ assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.86: 1 set a Duke freshman record. 

NBA Comparison
Jones is getting a lot of comparisons to PG Trey Burke. Both players share maturity beyond their years. They also share clutch leadership as well. Trey Burke has already made some noise in the NBA so Tyus should be content with that comparison.  



19. Washington Wizards
Jerian Grant | Notre Dame | PG | 6-5 | 205

Son of Harvey Grant, nephew of Horace Grant and brother of 76er Jerami Grant, Jerian Grant has NBA blood running through his veins. The fifth-year senior helped lead Notre Dame to a fantastic season, winning the ACC tournament and making it to the Elite Eight. 

Grant is a talented true point guard with remarkable vision and play-making abilities. His size at 6-5 allows him to guard multiple positions. The Wizards are desperately looking for a quality backup PG and Jerian fits the bill.

Strengths
• Great size for PG
• Excellent vision as passer
• Solid assist-to-turnover ratio
• Strong finisher
• Explosive athlete

Weaknesses
• Improve 3-point consistency

NBA Comparison
Jerian Grant keeps garnering comparisons to SG Reggie Jackson and for good reason. Grant and Jackson share very similar scoring abilities off the dribble. They are both also not afraid to drive to the rim and draw contact. 


22. Chicago Bulls
Justin Anderson | Virginia | SG | 6-6 | 228

Chicago may need to start reloading with new talent, as the Bulls aren’t getting any younger. Wingman Mike Dunleavy Jr. turns 35 this summer and 34-year-old Kirk Hinrich may enter free agency. What better way to reload than to draft high-flying Justin Anderson?

Justin Anderson has the NBA body, length and athleticism to guard multiple positions at the next level. Anderson would bring versatility and toughness to an already defensive-minded Chicago squad. He will be the consummate professional and become any team's spark plug off the bench.

Strengths
• Pro body
• High basketball IQ
• Length (7-0 wingspan)
• Powerful and versatile

Weaknesses
• Improve ball handling

NBA Comparison
Anderson is a hybrid between SG Monta Ellis and SF Xavier Henry. He can score in bunches, especially off screens, like Ellis. Anderson’s length allows him to defend multiple positions like Henry. 


29. Brooklyn Nets 
Chris McCullough | Syracuse | PF | 6-10 | 220

Not many ACC fans are very familiar with Chris McCullough because the freshman only played 16 games for Cuse before tearing his ACL in January. However, McCullough showed a lot of upside because of his physical attributes. He can also shoot threes and block shots, a hot commodity in the NBA. 

Strengths
• Good 3-point shooter for size
• Solid shot blocker
• Mobility

Weaknesses
• Needs to bulk up

NBA Comparison
Reminds me of a raw Chris Bosh. Both players can shoot and handle the ball very well relative to their size. 

30. Golden State Warriors
Terry Rozier | Louisville | PG | 6-2 | 190

May be a stretch for the world champions to draft a combo guard, but Rozier could be the perfect mix between Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Rozier can score in a multitude of ways; he has an excellent mid-range game to go along with the ability to score at the rim with his athleticism. 

Strengths
• Great athlete
• Good finisher
• Great off the bounce 
• Solid rebounder for size

Weaknesses
• Needs to cut down on turnovers

NBA Comparison
Rozier plays a lot like his own idol, Dwyane Wade, in that he can get his shots off a variety of ways. Also similar to Wade, Rozier is an incredible finisher off the dribble and great off the bounce. 



SECOND ROUND


35. Philadelphia 76ers 
Rakeem Christmas | Syracuse | PF/C | 6-10 | 240


41. Brooklyn Nets
J.P. Tokoto | North Carolina | SG | 6-6| 200


43. Indiana Pacers
Pat Connaughton | Notre Dame | SG | 6-5 | 215

44. Phoenix Suns
Olivier Hanlan | Boston College | PG | 6-4 | 190


58. Philadelphia 76ers
Quinn Cook | Duke | PG | 6-2 | 180