7 Predictions for the NBA Draft That Will Surprise You

  • Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Willie Cauley-Stein Will Steal The Show -- With Fashion

    The spearhead of Kentucky’s monstrous defense is not going to be in contention at the very top of the draft — his teammate and several other highly-coveted players are more likely to settle in the first few selections. But Cauley-Stein will leave his mark on this year’s draft in another way: a memorable suit.

    Dressing to impress is part of the program, and WCS is the biggest wild card as far as fashion is concerned. While he was out with an injury during the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Cauley-Stein had sleeves under his jersey that made him look like a seven-foot Vera Bradley item. Expect something bright and beautiful from this multi-faceted kid.

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  • Delon Wright Utah March Madness

    Lance King/Getty Images

    Delon Wright Will Be The Draft’s Biggest Steal

    You’re forgiven if you didn’t catch a lot of Utah games over the last couple seasons, but don’t sleep on Dorell Wright’s little brother. After spending a couple years in community college to get his academics in order, Wright flat-out dominated the Pac-12, finishing in the top-10 in scoring, assists, steals, blocks and field goal percentage, — as a guard.

    The major question surround Wright’s candidacy is factoring for age — he’s already 23 years old, which takes him out of consideration at the top of the draft. A pro-ready player with his statistical profile, though, would seem to be a fantastic addition to a team ready to compete now. Don’t be surprised if a smart team like the Spurs grabs him and sees immediate dividends from the selection.

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  • Jay Bilas Will Cut Back on Saying “Wingspan”

    One of the long-running jokes of NBA Draft coverage is Jay Bilas’ fascination — nay, obsession — with wingspan. Perhaps it’s because it’s such a distinct word mixed in with the usual cliches and descriptors used on draft night, but it has become a pivotal part of a player’s profile.

    Bilas is no dummy, though, and has openly acknowledged how his chatter about the oft-cited physical trait has become a big part of the presentation. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think Bilas wants to bring more than that to the table for an event this big. Less wingspan talk this year.

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  • Two Europeans Will Get Drafted in the Top 10

    Many people will always look at the NBA Draft as the showcase for the newest wave of NCAA talent, but you shouldn’t forget about our basketball brethren overseas. This year in particular has a couple of exciting prospects who could force their way into the conversation in the top 10.

    “Super” Mario Hezonja defies the typical expectation for Euros, combining powerful dunks with stellar outside shooting. The other candidate, Kristaps Porzingis, is a skinny, sweet-shooting big with a nearly unblockable release point. Both have tantalizing skill-sets; the question is whether teams will feel comfortable drafting them over more “familiar” college stars. My gut says yes.

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  • Sam Hinkie Joel Embiid

    Michael Leff/Getty Images

    Adrian Wojnarowski Will Avenge His Defeat at the hands of Sam Hinkie

    When it comes to NBA reporting, there’s no one as close to a lock as Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski — known simply as “Woj” to most diehards. Most years, he lays out the selections on Twitter ahead of the telecast, a blessing or an annoyance depending on how you feel about it.

    Last year, there was one man who kept him from predicting with outright certainty — Sam Hinkie, the Sixers Sphinx-like general manager, who had Woj making educated guesses. Infamous for stonewalling the media, Hinkie will do his best to elude Wojnarowski again, but don’t bet on it two years in a row.

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  • Karl-Anthony Towns Kentucky

    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Karl-Anthony Towns is Going No. 1

    Jahlil Okafor seemed all but assured as the No. 1 selection in 2015 just a few months ago, but Duke’s title-winning center will not be the top selection in June. That honor will belong to the Swiss army knife out of Kentucky, Karl-Anthony Towns.

    Towns has everything you want in a modern big man — he protects the rim, has a burgeoning post game, and even some positional flexibility thanks to his athleticism. He didn’t work off the bounce a lot or step outside, but he showed flashes of those abilities in high school. With apologies to Okafor’s brutally efficient post moves, Towns just has a little bit more to offer.

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  • Adreian Payne NBA Draft suit
    Suit Embroidery Will Continue To Rise in Style Power Rankings

    There are only so many ways to make a statement with how you dress on draft night. Many of these players share the same stylists and consultants, which homogenizes their looks to a certain extent.

    An emerging way to buck this pattern? Embroidering the inside of your jacket. Last year, Adreian Payne reminded us all of his special friend Lacey Holsworth with a custom message in her honor on the inside of his suit. As players tend to move toward safe and slick appearances on the outside, expect them to show their personalities and express themselves through custom designs like these.

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  • Delon Wright Utah March Madness
  • Jay Bilas sneakers
  • Mario Hezonja dunk
  • Sam Hinkie Joel Embiid
  • Karl-Anthony Towns Kentucky
  • Adreian Payne NBA Draft suit

The NBA Draft has come a long way from its humble beginnings. For the 1984 edition — you know, the one that boasted stars like MJ, Hakeem, and Barkley — the league had to actively invite fans and media to attend the event. It seems impossible, but the draft was not always “must-see TV.”

We’ve come a long way from the days of broadcasts on USA Network — the NBA Draft is appointment television for hoops heads everywhere. Whether you’re the fan of a bottom-feeder hoping your squad drafts the next young superstar, a late-lotto squad hoping for reinforcements to make a playoff push or a college aficionado interested in seeing where your favorites end up, there’s a little something for everyone.

It’s about so much more than just the picks. Draftees kissing their girlfriends, fly suits, crying mothers, the games based around what commentators say, this is a major production with so many different angles. Following what tracks on social media is half the fun of the modern draft experience — if you can avoid the spoilers from a few select insiders.

This year’s edition features a strong class who will fight for position over the next few weeks, but the lottery could have a major impact on who goes where. Would the big-heavy Sixers select one of the class’ post presences No. 1? Will Jahlil Okafor’s defensive concerns get overlooked by a team looking for a centerpiece like the Knicks?

We can’t answer all your questions, but here are 7 Predictions for the NBA Draft That Will Surprise You.

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