I was wondering the other day that what if a team like the 76ers continued their pace and wound up drafting their entire team in one draft. I thought about it some more and thought up my own 12 man team using the draftee’s from the 2015 NBA Draft. To make it fair and not just a list of the top 12 players, I made it interesting and randomized the picks I would receive to make this unrealistic scenario slightly more realistic. The picks I received and worked with were the 4th, 8th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 27th, 30th, 35th 42nd, 46th, 52nd, and 59th picks. Using prospects I thought would be available at these positions, I created my 12 man rotation… So without further ado, here is my idealistic squad (in order of pick).
4th Pick: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
I was bummed out that I fell out of the top three and didn’t get Russell, Okafor, or Towns, however Winslow is a good consolation prize. Winslow is a slight reach here, yet I know he won’t be available at eight so I take the reach here.
Winslow is the best all-around player in this draft, and I can rely heavily on him for perimeter defense, scoring, and rebounding. He is not an elite shooter but I can find more later in the draft.
8th Pick: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
Cauley-Stein is the best defender in this draft, and although I would prefer a much stronger center for rebounding purposes, Cauley-Stein is in a league of his own here and I can’t afford to pass on him.
Cauley-Stein doesn’t bring much to the table offensively, however is a monster in post defense, and even perimeter defense for that matter. He can guard the best player on any team no matter the position, and even if he isn’t an offensive threat, there are plenty of good post players still on the board.
15th Pick: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State
If I am building a team then having a player that knows basketball and can see the court well is crucial, that is exactly what I get in Payne.
As the stereotypical pass first point guard, Payne won’t play a big role in scoring, however will have assist numbers that are off the charts. He is the best passer in the draft and will open up opportunities for guys that are more consistent scorers.
This is my favorite point guard in the draft, and love the fact that I can get him here at 15.
16th Pick: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas
Having a good stretch forward is crucial to my team if I am the coach, and Portis stood out at Arkansas as a player that fit my criteria.
This is the first natural scorer I am drafting, although he does much more than that.
His length allows him to block shots, and his tenacity makes him a rebounding threat. He plays with a lot of passion and leaves everything on the court, another player that fits into my idealistic player profile.
I am excited with this pick, however Portis very well could be off the board at this point.
20th Pick: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
Vaughn is a pure scorer, and I figured I would need at least one go to guy on my team.
Vaughn can shoot, slash, and score in any way that he can find as long as it works. He is an exciting player to watch and a play maker when he has the ball. He could very well be off the board however by the time that I am up to pick
27th Pick: Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
I know, I know, I did give myself this one; however every draft has players who fall and this year it could be Harrell.
Many analysts are skeptical on Harrell, however I don’t see how anyone can be due to the effort that Harrell puts into his game.
Although he may want to give up on trying to shoot three pointers (it is okay Montrezl, not every player is made to shoot), Harrell is a beast in the post. He is a superior athlete and can crash the boards unlike anyone else in the draft, as well as making the arena shake with his powerful put-backs.
I am hoping that with progress Harrell turns into a Kennith Faried type player, just with a little more offense.
30th Pick: Joseph Young, PG/SG, Oregon
Young is going to be a stud in the NBA, as he can shoot the ball as well as anyone else in the draft and also gives me a solid perimeter defender that I would need since I missed out on Rondae Hollis-Jefferson earlier on in the draft.
Young will be a sixth man on my team, but to be honest I could see him as a sixth man on several teams from the moment he steps foot into the league.
35th Pick: Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky
Dakari Johnson is a player I will use to simply clog the paint. His size allows him to be an efficient rebounder and he can even be a consistent scorer when under the basket.
Keeping the Kentucky duo of Johnson and Cauley-Stein is something I would look forward to as a GM given they would be on the floor at the same time.
42nd Pick: Pat Connaughton, SF, Notre Dame
Connaughton is an athletic player, and although he isn’t going to take over a game he will be efficient when he is played.
In addition to his athleticism, Connaughton can shoot the ball really well and can provide valuable minutes off of the bench. Could wind up being a slightly more athletic Mike Dunleavy given a few years.
46th Pick: Branden Dawson, PF, Michigan State
Dawson is an athletic freak and resembles former teammate Draymond Green. His athleticism allows him to guard any position, which allows me to shut down teams at will with Dawson and Cauley-Stein on the floor together.
If I were in fact the coach of this made up team, then Dawson would receive quite a few minutes from day one despite being picked this late.
52nd Pick: Treveon Graham, SG, VCU
Any VCU player drafted is going to give it their all, and that is one of the main reasons I am drafting Graham here.
Graham can do it all. He is like Cleyanthony Early from last season, a terrific all-around player yet overlooked by most GM’s.
59th Pick: Kenneth Smith, PG, Louisiana Tech
With my last pick I draft my backup point guard in Kenneth Smith.
Like Payne, Smith is a floor general and although he won’t score he will be extremely useful, particularly in fast break scenarios.
So just as a recap of the draft, here would be my depth chart going into the season:
Point guard: Cameron Payne, Kenneth Smith
Shooting guard: Rashad Vaughn, Joseph Young, Treveon Graham
Small forward: Justise Winslow, Pat Connaughton,
Power forward: Bobby Portis, Montrezl Harrell, Branden Dawson
Center: Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson
In case you are questioning my selections I would just like to state a few things I believe in before you barrage me with your criticisms.
I try to stay away from foreign players as much as possible. I realize that some can turn out as superstars, however that is a very small percentage of players and most foreigners are not worth the risk if you can draft someone you like that has proven themselves against the top players in the draft. Also with so many foreign players being drafted on potential alone, I don’t want to draft a player with ‘potential’ that hasn’t played on a stage larger than a high school gym (insert Bruno Cabaclo joke here).
I also try to draft players that are scrappy, passionate, and dedicated. These players make a team great. Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart were able to bring their teams to the Final Four against all odds because of these players since they would fight for every loose ball, rebound, and teammate on the court. Players whose biggest passion is their family and basketball are guys I want on my team because they usually don’t bring trouble in the locker room or off the court, and they push themselves to the limit without being asked. Players like this motivate teammates and are tenacious players when put on the court.
So here are my picks if I were a GM, feel free to post your team in the comments below.