Welcome to the last non-football article of the summer! The NBA Draft was last night, and once again, the ESPN hype machine stuffed their players and coverage down our throats for the better part of 4 hours. Case in point: Justice Winslow… I wrote in my NBA draft preview that he was being overrated and overhyped by ESPN as the best player in the draft, and the NBA GM’s obviously agreed as he dropped to 10.
Now they are selling us on the fact that the Knicks drafting the player with by far the highest upside of anyone in the draft, was a mistake. This is what you do when you’re trying to find a franchise player. You draft the guy with the most potential. We know who Jahlil Okafor is… he’s a fat Hakeem Olajuwon with a questionable work ethic and no defensive ability. Porzingis is huge, can run, jump, handle, and can really, really shoot it, but none of that matters. What really matters and what really sets him apart from Darko or fill in the blank with soft Euro, is that he’s hungry. Every scout and GM that interviewed him and worked him out said the same thing, he’s got the hunger and desire to put in the work to become great.
Instant Fantasy Contributors from the 2015 NBA Draft
That quick rant out of the way, let’s take a look at what really matters from last night, what players are going to be instant-impact DFS contributors:
Emmanuel Mudiay – Assuming Lawson gets moved (and all signs point to him being gone very soon) Mudiay is going to start and play big minutes at the point for a team that averaged the third highest possessions per game. I know we love the Westbrook comparisons, but I expect Mudiay’s rookies numbers to look more like John Wall’s 16, 8, 4, 2, 1.
Karl-Anthony Towns – Towns is obviously going to get as many minutes as he can handle right away for the Timberwolves. He’s going to a team with a great coach in Flip Saunders, a solid vet in Kevin Garnett, and, best of all, he’s clearly the best big on a roster full of guys that love to spread the ball around. The only worth keeping an eye on in the preseason is if he can stay out of foul trouble and be a consistent DFS player.
Jahlil Okafor – I’ve been tough on Okafor throughout the draft process, but one fact is undeniable: he can score from the block. You can’t expect double-digit rebounds or any defensive numbers, but Okafor already able to give you 15+ points, and a few rebounds and assists on a nightly basis in the NBA.
Stanley Johnson – Johnson was my highest graded wing in the draft, and the Pistons did the right thing grabbing him with their number 8 pick. He’s going to be expected to defend the opposing team’s top wing player every night, and the Pistons aren’t the fast paced team some of the other teams on this list are, but he’s going to play 30 minutes a night right away. He’s too big for most 2’s and too skilled for most 3’s, has a Jimmy Butler type body that will allow him to really fill the stat sheet.
D’Angelo Russell – I’m a Kobe fan, but as a fan of both Russell and Clarkson, I kind of just want him out of the way. Kobe’s usage was off the charts in the games he played last season, and if he’s holding the ball next year it will stunt the growth, and DFS value, of both guys. That being said, Russell steps into a nice situation from a scoring standpoint where he will be able to play off of Clarkson and Kobe and should get his fair share of open shots. Look for a nice bump in value on DraftKings where three pointers carry added value.
Cameron Payne – Payne finds himself in an absolutely dream position in Oklahoma City. Billy Donovan wants to fire three’s up and Payne can really shoot. He will get minutes as Westbrook’s backup, playing the point with Westbrook off the ball, and playing off the ball with Westbrook at the 1. Similar to the way Kentucky improved with Tyler Ulis in the game this past season, I think the Thunder will be their best playing both Westbrook and Payne.
Willie Cauley-Stein – While I don’t want guys on my NBA team that can’t score, I have no problem starting guys on my DFS team that can’t. Cauley-Stein will play a ton of minutes at the 4 and 5 for the Kings. He’s going to be a big that gets you 6-8 points, 6-8 rebounds, 1.5 steals per game, 1.5 blocks per game, and passes well enough to throw in an assist or two. He should be a consistent 18-25 ppg guy on FanDuel and DraftKings that, because of his limited scoring, could be priced low enough to be a solid value player.
R.J. Hunter – As much as I strongly disagreed with the Terry Rozier pick for the Celtics (he basically is who Avery Bradley is right now), the Celtics hit a home run with R.J. Hunter. Brad Stevens finally has a skilled player to draw up sets for…
Jordan Mickey – One of my favorite picks of the draft, Stevens was shocked Mickey fell to him and I can’t blame him. He was one of the best DFS college basketball players this season, and I think he will rebound and block shots at the NBA level as well. Mickey can play the 4 and 5 in the East, run the floor, has a decent jump shot, decent post up game and is an instant upgrade from Sullinger and Bass.