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2015 NBA Draft: The six biggest question marks moving forward

D'Angelo Russell, Dez Wells

D’Angelo Russell, Dez Wells


D'Angelo Russell, James Blackmon

D’Angelo Russell (AP Photo)


Will D’angelo Russell be worth passing on Jahlil Okafor?: First things first: I love D’angelo Russell as a prospect. He’s smart, he’s skilled, he can play either guard spot and his ceiling is James Harden. In any other year, there wouldn’t be a question about picking Russell with the No. 2 pick. But this year, in 2015, it just so happens that a center with the best low-post skill set since Tim Duncan was available, and with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, the Lakers went with the little guy over Jahlil Okafor. Will the Lakers be regretting this pick in five years? Will Okafor be the best low post scorer in the NBA then, or will the small-ball revolution have made Mitch Kupchak look like a genius by bypassing the big man and picking Russell?

Kristaps Porzingis, the next Euro-bust?: Did you hear the boos when Porzingis’ name was announced to the Barclays Center crowd? Tabbed the next big thing in Europe, Porzingis is the latest in a long line of European lottery picks that have failed to live up to the success of Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol. Is Porzingis the truth, or is he another Andrea Barngani?

Stanley Johnson over Justise Winslow?: I’m not sure that anyone loved Stanley Johnson more in high school than I did. He was a bulldog of a competitor that played -- and defended -- multiple positions. But after watching Johnson and Justise Winslow for a year at the college level, Winslow did everything that made me love Johnson’s game, only better. Johnson was picked eighth by Detroit. Winslow went 10th to Miami. While Johnson is more polished offensively and likely has a higher ceiling, I think the Heat are going to end up getting the better NBA player.

What are the Celtics doing?: Boston entered Thursday’s draft with a roster that already included Marcus Smart (last year’s No. 6 pick), Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and James Young. They drafted Terry Rozier at 16th (before Rashad Vaughn, Jerian Grant, Delon Wright and Tyus Jones), R.J. Hunter at 28th and Marcus Thornton at 45th, giving them roughly 8,000 guards on the roster. I know that front office knows what they’re doing, which makes me wonder: What’s going to happen next in Boston?

Will Rondae Hollis-Jefferson make teams regret passing on him?: Hollis-Jefferson is the single-best perimeter defender in this draft class. He’s truly elite. But the issues he has offensively -- they’re real and they’re major -- scared teams off. At this point in his development, he’s a non-shooter. Think Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. That said, the reigning
NBA Finals MVP is an elite perimeter defender with questions about his ability to shoot the ball. Can Rondae turn himself into the next Andre Igoudala?

Is Justin Anderson really a knockdown shooter?: As a freshman and a sophomore, Justin Anderson shot roughly 30 percent from beyond the arc. As a junior, in an expanded role offensively, he shot 48.5 percent from three prior to breaking a finger on his hand, and he did so while playing all-american caliber basketball for one of the nation’s best teams. There’s no question he’s an NBA caliber wing defender, but to be worth that 21st pick, he needs to truly be a knockdown three-point shooter. Was last season a fluke, or is Anderson a real threat from three now?