The 2015 NBA draft is a little over two weeks away and it seems as though we already know who the top two picks in this years draft will be.
According to most scouts, coaches and NBA general managers, Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of Duke are by far the top two big men in the draft pool this year. But is either even the best talent available in this years draft?
Some would say that the best talent in this draft could be Ohio States freshman point guard D’Angelo Russell, but it’s almost for certain that he won’t be selected in the top two picks.
I mean, it is the NBA and we all know that there has been a severe lack of skilled big men at the center position in this league over what feels like the past 15 years — especially with the NBA becoming more of an up and down game that is dominated by guards or players with a guards skill set.
Can you really blame the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers if they do take Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor 1 and 2 overall in either order?
Most basketball purists would say no, but the way today’s NBA game is and has been heading towards over the past few years there are some that would say you couldn’t go wrong taking a guard that high in the draft either.
With that said, there is probably only one guard you would even think of investing such a high draft pick on and that would be D’Angelo Russell of Ohio State.
Personally, I think the Lakers would work best out of the top two teams picking, but since I really do think both the T-wolves and Lakers will take the two big men 1-2, I am going to give you the top three picks where Russell would be the best fit.
And, of course, this would be out of the teams that actually have a chance at landing him.
Of course he’d be a great fit in Miami, San Antonio or Memphis, but they have no shot of attaining his services and we know none of them will be trading up into the top 5 to draft him.
Let us begin with the 3rd best fit for Mr. Russell: the New York Knicks.
Now, the Knicks actually have the No. 4 pick in the draft and would love to add Russell to their lineup given the opportunity. Russell makes sense here, especially since he has the size and ability to play both guard positions. The only thing about him going to New York is the fact that they are trying to implement the triangle offense that they will probably end up scrapping soon and Carmelo Anthony is still the best player for the Knicks.
I’m a fan of Carmelo’s game, but we all know he dominates the ball at times as he should on that team. But how well will Melo and Russell’s game mesh together? That would seem to be the question. And the way Phil Jackson is running that team, it might not be the best place for a young player right now. However, they have to draft someone don’t they?
Nevertheless, the Knicks taking Russell would be a definite improvement to their offensive backcourt production that’s for sure. The Knicks ranked 30th in scoring last season which is in large part to Carmelo missing half the season, so you would have to think that with both guys in the lineup potentially that their scoring numbers would take a great leap next season.
The second-best landing spot for D’Angelo Russell might be the Orlando Magic. Most don’t think he’d get past the Knicks at No. 4, but for the sake of this discussion let’s just say he does.
Now in the Magic you have a newly hired young head coach in former Magic guard Scott Skiles and an even younger team with NO identity.
At this point with the talent they already have, they still don’t have a “Go to” guy. Veteran Ben Gordon might be the closest thing to that, but his stock has fallen considerably over the past few years.
Insert the 6-foot-5 D’Angelo Russell, who due to his size and length could run the point on this team and even play off the ball at shooting guard. He’d fit in nicely to a 3 or 4 guard rotation with Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton and the aforementioned Ben Gordon given all players remain with the team next season.
Though it would seem to be quite a log jam in the backcourt, Russell’s unique skills set might fit in nicely on this young Orlando Magic squad. When watching Russell play, the first person that came to mind was Jalen Rose. Since we have to compare everyone and everything in sports, here we go.
While Russell is not 6-foot-8 like Rose, he is a lefty and can play at multiple positions like Rose did. When you see him with the ball in his hands, his great handle and superior court vision is what jump out at you right away. That’s where I see some Jalen Rose in him.
Then we take a look at Russells catch and shoot ability and I see similarities to another former Ohio State guard in Michael Redd. I’d say he isn’t the pure shooter that Redd was, but he does have the ability to catch and shoot and also get to the cup as well as any guard in this draft if not better. And again he’s a left-handed player and you have to love those lefty shooters.
Finally, the best fit for D’Angelo Russell is the Philadelphia 76ers.
The fit makes sense for one reason: NERLENS NOEL. Yes, that’s it. Enough said. Okay, I’ll say a little more.
We need look no further than Oklahoma City to see what can happen when you put two young stars together in the right situation with the correct coaching staff and complimentary pieces around them. The Thunder have had injuries over the past couple of years, but before that they had a nice three-year run and they built that team fairly quickly.
Not saying the 76ers are in the same exact standing as that young OKC team was, but they could be with the right pieces and D’Angelo Russell could be a really good young player to pair with and develop along with Noel.
Just think if the 76ers do take Russell with the No. 3 overall pick. Maybe they will stop tanking during the season in order to get a better lottery pick. Well, one can dream, can’t he?
Regardless of where Russell goes he probably won’t be waiting around long to hear his name called on draft day and you can bet that wherever it is he’ll be looking to come in and make an immediate impact on his new team.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports