2015 NBA Draft Preview And Prop Bets

The NBA Draft is tonight, and it's hard to says that it's "finally" here. After all, the NBA Playoffs just ended what feels like a few hours ago (It's actually been like a week or so.), so it's not like we've had a major basketball jones going on for weeks on end. Still, for draft junkies (a dwindling crowd in the NBA universe), tonight has been a long time coming, with the Final Four this past April being the most recent opportunity to satiate draft fever. (There were possibly a dozen future first round picks playing in this year's Final Four.) 

Yesterday, we outlined some names that could be on the radar for the Houston Rockets, a list that indeed includes some of those names that were at the Final Four this past season. Now, let's take a quick look at some wrinkles for the rest of the draft tonight using the language in which I am most fluent — prop bets!

Courtesy of Bovada.lv, here are the NBA Draft-related prop bets available to the general public (with a working credit card and a zeal for risk):

Who will be selected first?  D'Angelo Russell -450, Kristaps Porzingis +325
So it appears to be a foregone conclusion that Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns will be the first overall pick to Minnesota, so much so that Towns reportedly wasn't even entertaining workouts with the Lakers, who have the second overall pick. After the first pick, though, is where all hell could break loose. A month ago, it was a virtual lock that Duke's Jahlil Okafor would go in the top two. Now there are questions about his work ethic and ability to keep weight off. Also, DeAngelo Russell of Ohio State has been basically campaigning to apprentice under Kobe Bryant in LA, which Lakers brass has to love. Still, I don't think the Lakers will over think this one:

1. Minnesota, TOWNS
2. LA Lakers, OKAFOR
3. Philadelphia, RUSSELL

Emmanuel Mudiay 5.5 ... Over -140 Under +100
Justise Winslow 5.5 … Over -140, Under +100
The other names mentioned in this "top six" stratosphere are Mudiay (spent a year overseas after foregoing a year at SMU), Porzingis (who was basically a mythical 7-foot-1 creature until recent workouts), and Winslow (the best all around player in this draft, in my opinion). Many of the mock drafts have Mudiay going to the Knicks at four, but I actually think the Knicks will see in Winslow what was quite apparent during the NCAA tournament — Winslow has the highest ceiling of any player to impact both ends of the floor and the transition game. (And yes, I am counting on the Knicks to make sense, which is probably death for me). Let's roll with these as the next three picks:

4. NY Knicks, WINSLOW
5. Orlando, PORZINGIS
6. Sacramento, MUDIAY

Willie Cauley-Stein 9 …  Over +100, Under -140
Frank Kaminsky 12 … Over -120 Under -120
Trey Lyles 13 … Over -120 Under -120

It's pretty crazy to think that not only could we get 10 to 12 Final Four players in the first round, but we could get eight in the lottery — Towns, Okafor, Winslow, Lyles, Cauley-Stein, Kaminsky, and maybe Sam Dekker and Devin Booker. (Hell, Tyus Jones is lurking on the margins, too!) And that's with Michigan State contributing zero prospects to the total. I don't know if we appreciated at the time just how star studded that Final Four was, and now it's too late. (Damn, we suck!) Here's how the rest of the lottery plays out, in one man's opinion (that man being me):

7. Denver, MARIO HEZONJA, SF (Croatia)
8. Detroit, STANLEY JOHNSON, SF (Arizona)
9. Charlotte, LYLES
10. Miami, BOBBY PORTIS, PF (Arkansas)
11. Indiana, CAMERON PAYNE, PG (Murray State)
12. Utah, KAMINSKY
13. Phoenix, DEVIN BOOKER, SG (Kentucky)
14. Oklahoma City, CAULEY-STEIN

18. TYUS JONES, PG, Duke

MYLES TURNER, PF/C, University of Texas (late lottery)
KELLY OUBRE, SF, Kansas (from Fort Bend … late first round)
JORDAN MICKEY, SF, LSU (from Arlington, TX .. late first/early second round)
TERRAN PETTEWAY, SG, Nebraska (from Galveston .. second round)
JOSEPH YOUNG, PG/SG, Oregon (from Houston .. second round)
ANDREW HARRISON, PG, Kentucky (from Fort Bend .. second round)

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.

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