The Rising Stars Challenge starts in one hour on TNT, and Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp has the perfect way to get ready. Sharp redid the 2015 draft based on how each of the rookies have done so far this season, and, as you might expect, Kentucky’s players are near the top. In fact, some Cats even moved up from their original draft position; however, after an historic rookie season, Karl Towns remained at #1:
1. Timberwolves: Karl Towns (Original draft spot: #1)
Obviously. There were hints of “Porzingis or Towns?” debates early in the year, but then more people watched Towns. He can do everything, and he’s only gotten more deadly as the season’s unfolded. In the past 9 games, he’s averaging 23.2 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2 blocks. On Wednesday he had 35, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks to beat the Raptors. At 20 years old. Any Porzingis argument is a waste of time at this point in the year. The better question is, “Brow or KAT?”
Considering the roll that Karl’s on, that’s not a ridiculous question. Meanwhile, Sharp says that Devin Booker’s performance so far this year shows he’s worthy of being a top five pick.
5. Magic: Devin Booker (Original draft spot: #13)
He’s handling the ball more than he ever did at Kentucky, he’s running pick-and-rolls with surprising success, and while all this opportunity is partly a by-product of broader dysfunction in Phoenix, he gets credit for knocking it out of the park. All the added responsibility will make him better in the long run. The Magic would be ecstatic to add Booker here, which tells you a lot about this draft class. The 14th pick in the lottery would be a steal in the top 5.
Sharp has Trey Lyles going 8th to the Detroit Pistons (Original draft spot: #12) and Willie Cauley-Stein going 11th to the Indiana Pacers (Original draft spot: #6). To read his reasoning, head on over to SI.com.