The 2015 NBA Draft is shaping up to be a “big” draft in the most literal sense. According to DraftExpress.com, one of the leading sites for all things NBA draft, as many as four seven-footers are projected to be off the board within the first handful of picks.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and Willie Cauley-Stein have been on top of most mock drafts since the early days of the draft process, and 19-year old 7-2 Latvian Kristaps Porzingis’s stock has shot up to join them there in recent weeks. Meanwhile, a couple of very talented guards in D’Angelo Russel and Emmanuel Mudiay are also being touted as possible top picks.
They will likely be the first names read by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. The question now is in what order will they be picked? Take any one of the official oddsmakers listed at sportsbook review site SportsbookNation and you’ll find a consensus on the top 3 picks for the Draft.
The oddsmakers are in agreement that Towns is the odds-on favorite in the prop bet on who will be taken first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Towns helped Kentucky to an undefeated regular season and came within two wins of a perfect, championship-winning campaign. Although his college stats (10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game) don’t exactly jump out of the page, he projects to have all the tools necessary to become a superstar on both ends of the court.
Towns’ ability on the defensive end has separated him from Jahlil Okafor, who is Towns’ closest challenger to be the top overall pick. Okafor helped lead Duke to a national championship and has a much more polished offensive game than Towns right now, especially in the low post. But Okafor proved to be a defensive liability in college, and also projects to be a subpar defender in the pros.
Besides the two big men, Russell has the next best odds to be taken first overall. While getting taken over Towns or Okafor is highly unlikely, the Ohio State product is being projected as the first point guard taken according to the prop bet odds on whether he or Mudiay will be drafted first.
Porzingis, Mario Hezonja and other potential lottery picks will likely have to wait their turn to get drafted because if the odds are to be believed, it’ll be tough to knock the very top players off their perch.