Looking back on the 2015 NBA Draft class, the lacking of superstar players is eye-popping. Realistically, this was a three-player draft, which was filled with role players right after that. When we mean role players, that could be a stretch for some of these members. When re-drafting the class five undrafted players made the top-30, so this was not the NBA’s best draft when it came to evaluating talent.
Three members that were in the top-4 of the original draft stayed in their area. Let’s take a look at the updated 2015 NBA Draft class and how it should have gone down.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns
Re-Draft Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns
When it comes to the best player in this draft, it remains Towns. With two All-Star appearances and nightly double-doubles, Towns is the closest comparison to Tim Duncan we have seen since Duncan retired in 2014. Have Towns progressed to his ceiling? That’s up for debate but in a draft where All-Star talent is limited, the Timberwolves did right by selecting him at No. 1. Building around him though, that’s a different conversation.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: D’Angelo Russell
Re-Draft Pick: Devin Booker
Booker should have been an All-Star in 2019 but he was snubbed. He was awarded the honor in 2020 during a season where he averaged 26.6 points and 6.5 assists. Booker was taken with the No. 13 overall picks by the Suns and has been the cornerstone since. Kobe Bryant was at the tail-end of his career. Having Booker as the next big shot taker would have been an easy transition.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Jahlil Okafor
Re-Draft Pick: Kristaps Porzingis
At the time, this didn’t seem like a bad move. Okafor was coming off a season where he helped lead Duke to an NCAA National Championship. He had one productive season but he has since disappeared. As for Porzingis, the 7-foot-0 unicorn is one of the best inside-outside players in the game. Porzingis averaged 20.5 points and 9.4 rebounds last season after losing all of 2018-2019 with an injury. If he stays healthy, he is one of the best players on the floor at all times.
4. New York Knicks
Original Pick: Kristaps Porzingis
Re-Draft Pick: D’Angelo Russell
When it comes to the Knicks and drafting the two don’t normally go hand-in-hand. This was one of the few drafts that New York got right. In this edition, Porzingies would be off the board. At the time, the Knicks didn’t have a true point guard, so they could roll with Russell, who made an All-Star appearance in 2019. Russell, 25, has superstar talent but has seemed to never put it all together. Either way, the Knicks could have had their point guard for the future or an All-Star unicorn in Porzingies.
5. Orlando Magic
Original Pick: Mario Hezonja
Re-Draft Pick: Myles Turner
Hezonja bottomed out in the league after four seasons and wouldn’t even make the first round of this new draft. The Magic blew this pick, bad. Hezonja averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in his career before heading back international. Turner is making a case for why he should have been a top-5 pick. Given the nature of the draft, a center was not needed until about now. Turner is leading the league in blocks per game (3.9), recording over at least six blocks in a game twice this season. Turner went from the middle of the line prospect to everyday starter for the Pacers.
6. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Willie Cauley-Stein
Re-Draft Pick: Terry Rozier
Cauley-Stein was just another reach by the Kings, which is why the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006. Cauley-Stein never developed into that true power forward that could dominate the paint. Rozier may not own flashy stats but he would have given the Kings a quality starting point guard. Last year, Rozier averaged 18.0 points and is currently averaging 18.6 points. When he played for the Celtics, he was a top option off the bench that could close out games. Losing Rozier hurt the team but it was understandable because the Hornets overpaid for his services. That might have resulted in the Kings not getting De’Arron Fox or that would have allowed Fox to slide over to shooting guard, or vice versa.
7. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Emmanuel Mudiay
Re-Draft Pick: Montrezl Harrell
His numbers of 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds would have starting-caliber stats for the King’s starting rotation. At the time, Ty Lawson and Will Barton were still in the picture. Harrell could have developed as the team’s starting power forward, which means that the team could have saved money on Paul Millsap. Harrell won Sixth Man of the Year last season with his numbers. He would have likely developed into a player like Millsap or better.
8. Detroit Pistons
Original Pick: Stanley Johnson
Re-Draft Pick: Kelly Oubre Jr.
Oubre was everything that the Pistons hoped that Johnson would become. Johnson never became a true scoring small forward, while Oubre has developed into a true starting-caliber swingman. When Oubre played for the Wizards, he was averaging close to 10 points per game. In the last two seasons with the Suns, Oubre averaged 16.9 and 18.2 points per game. The Pistons are lacking on offense firepower and could have used that kind of production.
9. Charlotte Hornets
Original Pick: Frank Kaminsky
Re-Draft Pick: Christian Wood
The Hornets hoped that Frank Kaminsky would be the type of player he was in college. In his final season, Kaminsky averaged 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds. Kaminsky was coming off a stellar season in which he led Wisconsin to the NCAA National Championship Game, but that success in college never panned out in the NBA. Instead, they swung and they missed. After bouncing around five different teams in five seasons, Wood is having a breakout season with the Houston Rockets this year. Wood showed signs of developing last season with the Pistons and then became the league’s best bargain in this offseason. Through 15 games, Wood is averaging 23.3 points and 10.7 rebounds. Wood went undrafted in this draft and is now a top-10 pick. If he can do this one yearly, we could be looking at him as a top-5 pick down the road.
10. Miami Heat
Original Pick: Justise Winslow
Re-Draft Pick: Josh Richardson
The Heat needed a wing-and-D man, so the best option is Josh Richardson. Out of defensive guards, Richardson has a case as the best defender in this draft. As for his offensive skills, he has a similar game to Winslow. His ceiling is much higher, averaging 16.6 points two years ago. Winslow was a nice player but Richardson has the higher ceiling in terms of offense. In the end, Richardson played four season with the Heat, so maybe it was meant to be.
11. Indiana Pacers
Original Pick: Myles Turner
Re-Draft Pick: Norman Powell
At this point, the Pacers need the best available player in the draft since Turner is gone. Booker is the best pure shooter of this draft and that is what the Pacers needed at the time. By now Booker is long gone, so the next best shooter has to be Powell. At No. 11, this is a decent pick considering not too many superstars are expected to be drafted here. Powell has shot over 40% from three-point range, just missing four times after shooting 39.9% in 2019. Powell is a poor man’s Tyler Herro, which means that he is a quality player coming off the bench.
12. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Trey Lyles
Re-Draft Pick: Larry Nance Jr.
Lyles is a backend of the bench type of player, while Nance could be the biggest steal of the draft. Nance was taken with the No. 27 overall picks and is now a key contributor for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nance leads the league in steals per game, cementing himself as one of the better defensive power forwards in the league.
13. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Devin Booker
Re-Draft Pick: Justise Winslow
Winslow is not known for his offensive prowess but is an extraordinary defender. Winslow was the main chip when the Heat traded him to the Grizzlies for Andre Iguodala. In comparison to Booker, the Suns would have lost a lot on offense but Winslow brings a similar game like Jae Crowder. Last season, Winslow averaged 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds, while shooting 37.5% from three-point range. The Suns signed Crowder this past offseason. Maybe, that money could have been allocated somewhere else.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder
Original Pick: Cameron Payne
Re-Draft Pick: Bobby Portis
Payne went from standout to Murray State to backup point guard last season. His 10.9 points were a career-high but he should be taken much lower in the draft. At this point, the Thunder are just hoping for depth. Portis typically plays the power forward position but has the tools to play small forward. Portis brings energy off the bench and is not a defensive liability. Given the limited options, Portis is a safe pick here. Portis could provide minutes behind Kevin Durant or Serge Ibaka.
15. Atlanta Hawks
Original Pick: Kelly Oubre Jr.
Re-Draft Pick: Tyus Jones
Jones stands out from the rest of the guards in this draft. The Hawks ultimately traded this pick to the Washington Wizards, so the team could use a point guard to play behind John Wall. Jones has produced 4.4 assists or more over the last three seasons. The Wizards could have used somebody to run the offense when Wall goes out, especially when Wall eventually suffered his injury. Jones could have done that and maybe developed into a future starter.
16. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Terry Rozier
Re-Draft Pick: TJ McConnell
With Rozier out of the picture, the Celtics need a backup point guard. McConnell was a fan favorite with the 76ers and is now beloved by the Pacers. McConnell owns a career average of 6.3 points and 4.8 assists per game. He plays hard, does the dirty work, and can run an offense for the second unit. Sounds like everything that Rozier did during his time with Boston, right?
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: Rashad Vaughn
Re-Draft Pick: Emmanuel Mudiay
Was Mudiay a bad player in this league? Absolutely not. He has a career average of 11.0 points and 3.8 assists. The Bucks needed a point guard to run their second unit. Vaughn could never get over the hump and has been out of the league since 2017. Mudiay showcased 14 points per game with the Knicks two years ago, proving that he could provide energy off the bench if given the chance. At this point in the draft, he is also the best available prospect.
18. Houston Rockets
Original Pick: Sam Dekker
Re-Draft Pick: Jahlil Okafor
Speaking of best overall prospects, Okafor was seen as the beginning of “The Process” before fizzling out in Philly. Okafor’s rookie season featured averages of 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. After that, he can’t see more than 15 minutes per game. Dekker might have been the best shooter from the Wisconsin team but his shooting didn’t translate to the NBA. Okafor is a low-risk, high-reward pick at this stage in the draft. After not living up to the hype with the 76ers, Nets, Pelicans, and Pistons, maybe Houston could be the spot for him to resurrect his career.
19. Washington Wizards
Original Pick: Jerian Grant
Re-Draft Pick: Quinn Cook
The Wizards need a shooting guard that can come off the bench and Cook would be able to fill that need. When Cook players in limited spurts, he has a lethal three-point shot. Cook is a two-time NBA champion as a reserve and shoots 40.7% from three-point range in his career. Grant now plays internationally.
20. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Delon Wright
Re-Draft Pick: Delon Wright
The Raptors found a solid pick for their team. Wright averaged 6.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists during his four seasons with the Raptors. Those are solid backup guard numbers. He now is a key contributor for the Pistons.
21. Dallas Mavericks
Original Pick: Justin Anderson
Re-Draft Pick: Stanley Johnson
Anderson never averaged more than 13.1 minutes per game. His best season came in 2016 when he averaged 8.5 points. Johnson owns career averages of 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game. Those are true reserve numbers.
22. Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: Bobby Portis
Re-Draft Pick: Cedi Osman
Osman is turning into a solid player in this league. In the last three seasons, Osman has averaged close to 13 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Portis was a good pick given they were picking this late in the draft. Osman fell towards the later part of the draft, so the Bulls were rewarded with another power forward that would have fit Tom Thibodeau’s team.
23. Portland Trail Blazers
Original Pick: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Re-Draft Pick: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
In four seasons with the Nets, after being traded to Brooklyn, Hollis-Jefferson averaged 9.9 points and 5.6 rebounds. He eventually became a starter in the league for two straight seasons. The Nets were lucky to pull off this trade.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
Original Pick: Tyus Jones
Re-Draft Pick: Cameron Payne
With both Jones and Wright off the board by now, the Cavaliers have to hope that Payne is the best available prospect. Payne showed flashes last season that he can be a role player in this league. The Cavaliers needed a guard and Payne is the best guard prospect remaining.
25. Memphis Grizzlies
Original Pick: Jerell Martin
Re-Draft Pick: Willie Cauley-Stein
In 2018, Cauley-Steain averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds and still wasn’t able to secure a long-term contract from any NBA team. He eventually signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors. If he can produce those numbers and not get signed long term, what does that say about his character and play? It means he should be taken towards the latter part of the first round.
26. San Antonio Spurs
Original Pick: Nikola Milutinov
Re-Draft Pick: Frank Kaminsky
Call it a wasted draft pick. Milutinov never came over to the United States. Needing a center, the Spurs would be strapped to take what is left on the big board. While Kaminsky’s college numbers never translated to impact an NBA game, he remains a contributor in the league.
27. Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Larry Nance Jr.
Re-Draft Pick: Kevon Looney
The Lakers went two-for-two in this draft. Needing a defensive presence off the bench, the Lakers could take Kevon Looney, who helped the Warriors win an NBA Championship. During the Warriors’ run, Looney was touted for his toughness for playing through injuries.
28. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: RJ Hunter
Re-Draft Pick: Royce O’Neal
Instead of taking a sharpshooter, that never really panned out to offensive production, the Celtics reverse course and go with a defensive-minded forward. O’Neal has gone from undrafted nobody to starter with the Jazz. His defense could help the Celtics right about now.
29. Brooklyn Nets
Original Pick: Chris McCullough
Re-Draft Pick: Richaun Holmes
Holmes is having a productive season with the Kings by averaging 12.8 points and 8.0 rebounds. These numbers are great but it’s with the Kings and you have to take everything with a grain of salt.
30. Golden State Warriors
Original Pick: Kevon Looney
Re-Draft Pick: Alfonzo McKinnie
McKinnie went from the undrafted prospect that played at Eastern Illinois University and Green Bay to play 72 games for the Warriors during the 2018-2019 season. McKinnie made his way to Golden State, so this time around he gets to start his career in California.