D'Angelo Russell - Top NBA Prospects Expected to Rock Online Betting During 2015 Draft

Top NBA Prospects Expected to Rock During 2015 Draft

Written by on March 30, 2015

Each year, the teams in the NBA look to the draft for that missing piece — or the centerpiece of building a contender. In the logjam that is the Western Conference, particularly, it could just be one piece that ends up separating one team from the rest. For teams in the lottery, the chance to grab that transcendent player and start moving up the standings next year is an exciting one. It just took adding Blake Griffin in the draft and Chris Paul through a trade that made the Los Angeles Clippers relevant in online betting once again. On the other hand, teams like the Philadelphia 76ers keep looking to the draft to get them on the right path, with their fan bases hoping that this draft will be the one. Here’s a look at some of the biggest names that have people excited about this year’s draft.

Top NBA Prospects Expected to Rock Online Betting During 2015 Draft

   

Jahlil Okafor

Duke. Center, 6’11”, Freshman

Watching Jahlil Okafor is like watching instructional videos about how to play in the post. While most modern players, even big men, want to score with their face to the basket, Okafor is a reminder that the best post players can start their moves with their backs to the basket (and here’s a question — as dominant a shot as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s sky hook was, why has no one since tried to master it? Not even one? But I guess that’s a topic for another article). Okafor, though, is a throwback, with moves that make Kevin McHale in his prime look a tad slow. Teams have tried a lot of different strategies to deny him his points — single coverage, ball denial and double teams — but he just keeps scoring. In the Sweet 16 this year, Okafor dropped 26 on the #4 team in the country in defensive efficiency. This season he has averaged 18.1 points per game — while only taking 11.3 shots. His free throws are the only real weakness, as his accuracy is a Shaquillian 51.6 percent. Even when the defenders descend on Okafor, he has the savvy to pass the ball back out of trouble, or he has the handles to escape double teams and use the dribble to attack. Defense is the missing link in Okafor’s game. His pick-and-roll instincts are poor, and he’s not a beast when it comes to defending his basket. However, he certainly has the tools to improve in that area as well. It’s important to remember that he’s just a freshman — and he’s already this gifted.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Kentucky, Center/Power Forward, 6’11”, Freshman

Another college freshman, Karl-Anthony Towns also has the tools to go first in the draft. He’s not the old-school post scorer that Okafor is — not yet — but he’s developed a jump hook that is making him extremely difficult to stop. He doesn’t take a lot of jump shots, but his 81.6 percent success from the free throw line indicates that he certainly could. What makes Towns a primo-plus commodity in this draft, though, is his conversion of the area around the basket into a house of horrors for the opposing team. He gets a staggering 12 percent of his blocks without having to jump, a sign of his instincts on the floor. In one-on-one defense he still has some improvements to make, but he is definitely a shot-changer. Towns is just a freshman, and like all freshmen there is some polishing to do. Per 40 minutes he averaged 5.7 fouls this year, which means he either fouls out or plays limited minutes, and that cost his team at times. His shooting accuracy and general discipline also need some work, but this could be the best two-way performer from this class as time goes by.

D’Angelo Russell

Ohio State, 6’5″, Point Guard/Shooting Guard, Freshman

In the 2014-2015 season, Russell led all freshmen in the NCAA by averaging 19.3 points per game. His confidence and versatility in the game makes him just as much a source of excitement to NBA teams as Okafor and Towns, particularly for teams that are looking for that distributor or clutch shooter. At 6’5″ he has the size to bring his skills from the NCAA to the pros. Russell doesn’t jump out of the gym, but he can change directions and speeds at the drop of a hat, and when he doesn’t have the ball, he has the ability to show up where no one expects him. He has court vision that allows him to zip passes to teammates on the floor and thread the needles in the half court. From behind the arc, Russell is a beast. He averages 2.7 three-point shots per game, at 41.1 percent. Off the dribble, he shoots 44 percent. If there’s any criticism, it’s that he pulls up for jumpers too often instead of taking the ball to the basket. He’s also gotten some criticism for trying to do everything himself, but the fact that he was the only major talent at Ohio State this year may have contributed to that. Some will wonder whether he’s a true “1” or a “2.” The fact that Russell can play either position equally well shouldn’t make him an enigma, though. Instead, he gives teams an especially versatile option.

Emmanuel Mudiay

China, 6’5″, Point Guard

If you watched Southern Methodist University’s season come to an untimely end at the hands of the UCLA Bruins in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but you were impressed by the play of sophomore guard Nic Moore, just imagine what the team would have looked like with Moore running the “2” and Mudiay running the “1.” Instead of being the favorite in the American Athletic Conference, the Mustangs would have been a favorite to grab a 1- or 2-seed in their region. Mudiay headed to China in lieu of taking his scholarship at SMU, saying that he needed to start making money for his family sooner. Taking his game across the Pacific, Mudiay continued to show the dazzling passing instincts in drive-and-kick and pick-and-roll scenarios. However, he has some issues in his game, including making decisions and improving his shots. His free throw shooting (57.4 percent) needs some work, and his shot selection needs some work. However, he’s only 19 — just like the other players in this preview. The only direction for Mudiay to go is up.