The promise of magic in professional basketball often surrounds getting just two or three superstar players and surrounding them with a cast of hard workers who occasionally put up big numbers. Sounds easy, right? Well, except for the fact that these top players are few and far between, and they typically go at the top of any NBA Draft. As frustrating as it can be for many NBA teams, there are usually just a handful of draftees that actually make the sort of impact that can turn a squad into contenders. Who will be the top guys from 2015? Here are my picks for 5 players that could become legitimate NBA stars:
- Karl-Anthony Towns – He represents everything that a team needs in a big man. He’s 7 feet tall, has tremendous post-play, can shoot, runs well, and is a good defender. Whichever team selects him may have found their center for the next decade. An added bonus: he’s pretty good at shooting free throws. Understandably, he’s expected to go number 1 in the draft. The question is whether he can live up to its potential.
- Jahlil Okafor – Another big man with superstar potential, Okafor has the potential to be dominant offensively. Strangely athletic for his 6’11” frame, he’ll be a presence under the basket for anyone. While critics maintain Towns as the higher pick, the Duke National Champion is a close second and could certainly emerge if he gets picked by the right team…hint hint, the Los Angeles Lakers who own the 2nd pick.
- D’Angelo Russell – The star of Ohio State, Russell has the size and skills to make for a prototypical NBA guard. He can nail shots, pass the ball around, and even nab a couple rebounds per game. He’s a tremendous leader and could definitely rise to the top. Some have said that his passing ability is the best in decades among NBA prospects, which bodes well for any team looking to speed up their tempo and score fast break points.
- Frank Kaminsky – The National collegiate player of the year for Wisconsin was a force during his college years, but his supposed lack of elite athleticism might relegate him to being a mid-round pick. Nevertheless, he could end up being the best big man of the draft. His college numbers certainly suggest so… He’s great scoring both under the rim and from distance. Perhaps most importantly, he’s a tremendous leader.
- Tyus Jones – Despite being ranked lower than fellow Duke teammates Okafor and Justice Winslow, there was just something special about the team’s point guard. Jones has the capability to simply take over basketball games, especially down the stretch. In the biggest games of the year (twice vs. rival North Carolina and again in the NCAA Championship game), Jones took control towards the end and never looked back. When the big games come, he’ll be the guy you want with the ball, and given how many NBA games go down to the wire, he might just have that X-factor required to win in the pros. Such a talent is immeasurable and could make him one of the top draftees of 2015.
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