Top picks aside, a few select teams made out like bandits in the 2015 NBA Draft. A few notable players ended up falling due to the unpredictability of decision-makers and wow…did it pay off! Here’s five of the best “value picks” who will likely play key roles for their new squads:
1. Justise Winslow (Duke, SG/SF, Miami, 10th overall): As each pick went by, the impossible turned into reality…Pat Riley and the Miami Heat “stole” Justise Winslow at number 10. Once D’Angelo Russell “surprisingly” went to the Lakers at 2, it served as a trickle-down effect for the remainder of the lottery.
Not only does Winslow go into an excellent situation with the Heat, he figures to play a key role on a playoff team in 2016.
Dwyane Wade is expected to return to the place he’s called home for the past 11 seasons, so don’t fret Heat fans! Your current superstar (Wade) will have ample time to help groom the new face (Winslow) in South Beach. Justise should challenge for Rookie of the Year honors while showcasing excellent defensive footwork from training camp.
2. Bobby Portis (Arkansas, PF/C, Chicago, 22nd overall): Portis was projected to go in the lottery, so it was a pretty huge surprise when he plummeted down to Chicago late in the first round. Although the power forward position is not an area of need per se, the Bulls went with the best possible philosophy and drafted the top available talent.
Portis’s game translates well to how new coach Fred Hoiberg likes to play, which includes an offensive scheme that places a premium on skilled bigs who are able to handle and shoot from the perimeter.
We might not see him make a huge impact for a couple of years but when the Bulls are fighting with Cleveland’s active frontline (Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov) in the playoffs, you better believe Portis will receive an opportunity to shine.
3. Kevon Looney (UCLA, SF/PF, Golden State, 30th overall): Rumors about Looney’s damaged back and hip caused him to slide all the way to 30. The champs showed no hesitation since he fits the bill of the kind of player they covet: young, athletic and versatile enough to play a multitude of positions on the floor.
Looney needs to shore up his jumper to thrive with the Splash Bros. but he is yet another wing threat they can throw into the fire to make plays. Compared to a young Lamar Odom, we might be mentioning Looney as the draft’s biggest “steal” before long.
4. Joseph Young (Oregon, PG/SG, Indiana, 43rd overall): Mighty Jo Young is not a traditional point guard and questions regarding his ability to produce at the next level made him a second-round selection. The Pacers had less reservations to draft him since they desire more shot-makers to pair with Paul George in the lineup. It’s a match made in heaven: the Pacers struggle to score and Young has no difficulty placing the ball in the hoop.
His defense will be a problem but it’s not like coach Frank Vogel will deploy him for 30 minutes a night. Young will have one job and one job only.
Young has a penchant for taking (and making) tough shots, plays with heart and will be able to flat-out fill it up in the second unit. He’s a cross between a young Lou Williams and Ben Gordon. Translation: HE GETS BUCKETS.
5. Andrew Harrison (Kentucky, PG/SG, Memphis, 44th overall): After a rough season with the Wildcats and average workouts, this actually was Harrison’s draft range. However, a player with his skill driving to the basket does not come around all too often that late into the second round.
Harrison is fearless, has size and is a much better defender than Nick Calathes, who automatically becomes expendable at backup point guard. The Grizz honestly just need guys who can create offense and score. Harrison has the opportunity to show he is capable of carrying that load.
Honorable Mention: Emmanuel Mudiay (Congo, PG, Denver, 7th overall), Olivier Hanlan (Boston College, PG/SG, Utah, 42nd overall), Dakari Johnson (Kentucky, C, Oklahoma City, 48th overall)
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