The Top-10 Rookies of 2015-16. Where Are They Now?

The Top-10 rookie players during the 2015-16 season were Karl-Anthony Towns. Kristaps Porzingis. Myles Turner. Devin Booker. D’Angelo Russell. Justise Winslow. Jahlil Okafor. Willie Cauley-Stein. Emmanuel Mudiay. Trey Lyles. Six years later, none of the ten have won an NBA title. Only one has been in the NBA Finals. Four have been All-Stars. Four signed max deals, and one is playing on a non-guaranteed contract. One is in Europe. Three are still with the team that drafted them.  This NBA thing is about longevity, consistency, and endurance.

1. Karl-Anthony Towns. 1st Pick. Unanimous Rookie of the Year. The best player in the 2015-16 draft. He’s had some down years, particularly with Jimmy Butler. But he’s the franchise. If the Wolves are to excel, it’s because Towns takes them there. 2-time All-Star. 1-Playoff game. 2021-22 salary: $31 million

KAT, Wolves Points Rebounds Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 18.3 10.5 112 106
Career 22.9 11.6 119 109

2. Devin Booker. 13th Pick. The one-year Kentucky bench player never fully displayed what a versatile scorer he was until Eric Bledsoe got hurt and he was thrust into the offense. He thrived his rookie year once Earl Watson was named interim coach. Booker once scored 70 points in Boston Garden and was in the NBA Finals a few months ago. He’s the best player on the Suns not named Chris Paul. 2-time All-Star. 22-Playoff games. 2021-22 Salary: $29 million

Devin Booker, Suns Points Assists Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 13.8 2.6 102 112
Career 23.0 4.6 108 115

3. Kristaps Porzingis. 4th Pick. Booed on draft night, Porzingis had a great first year and then was traded and has never been the impact player he was in New York. He’s a distant number two to Luka Doncic and he doesn’t deliver consistency night in and night out plus injuries are still a thing. One-time All-Star. 10-Playoff games. 2021-22 Salary: $31 million.

Kristaps Porzingis, Mavs Points Rebounds Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 14.3 7.3 103 103
Career 18.7 7.8 108 107

4. Myles Turner. 11th Pick. Exactly what the Pacers needed after David West and Roy Hibbert went elsewhere. He has great hands and feel for the game and can play inside or outside. He has had a problem with injuries and has never developed into an offensive threat. Not a face of the franchise. Never been an All-Star. 26-Playoff games. 2021-22 Salary: $18 million. 

Myles Turner, Pacers Points Rebounds Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 10.3 5.5 103 101
Career 12.7 6.6 110 104

5. D’Angelo Russell. 2nd Pick. He began his career in the toughest market. The Lakers identified him as a Magic Johnson hybrid but by his own admission, the point guard position is a challenge. More of a scoring talent than a passing talent, he had the size to take defenders and post them on the block and he had a nice 3-point shooting stroke. He led all rookies with made threes. His struggles came in the area of maturity as he had a difficult time transitioning to the requirements of the NBA man’s world. Magic traded him and threw shade at D-Lo as he was going out the door. D-Lo got his revenge as an All-Star. He’s played with 4 different organizations in his young career.  One-time All-Star. 5-Playoff Games. 2021-22 Salary: $30 million.

D’Angelo Russell, Wolves Points Assists Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 13.2 3.3 96 112
Career 17.6 5.3 103 113

6. Justise Winslow. 10th Pick.  He entered the draft as the best defending wing and that is exactly what he is. He doesn’t have much of a jumper and his offensive efficiency is pretty weak. His shooting has improved slightly but he’ll always be a complementary scorer. Injuries have been a huge problem. Three NBA teams. No All-Star appearances. 19-Playoff games. 2021-22 Salary: $4 million

Justise Winslow, Clippers Points Rebounds Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 6.4 5.2 97 105
Career 8.8 5.3 97 107

7. Willie Cauley-Stein. 6th pick. The big man defender had a good rookie year for the Sacramento Kings. A solid rebounder and hyper-athletic who can play downhill. A true seven-footer, his length creates havoc. He’s limited offensively. 3 NBA teams. Never been an All-Star. 6-Playoff Games. 2021-2022 Salary: $4 million.

Willie Cauley-Stein, Mavs Points Rebounds Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 7.0 5.3 119 107
Career 9.1 6.0 114 108

8. Trey Lyles. 12th pick. The Kentucky distance shooter showed his range for Utah his rookie year and even though he only played 17 minutes a game, he made 38% of his threes, the highest average of any lottery pick. But he couldn’t build on his rookie year. He’s played for 4 teams. Never been an All-Star. 5-Playoff games. 2021-22 Salary: $2.5 million 

Trey Lyles, Pistons Points Rebounds Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 6.1 3.7 102 105
Career 7.3 4.2 105 109

 9. Jahlil Okafor. 3rd Pick. He met the scouts projections as someone who lacks the will and desire to be a physical center and grab rebounds. He’s not much of a shot-blocker and he takes plays off on defense. He’s had a disappointing career. 5 NBA teams. Never been an All-Star. Never been to the Playoffs. 2021-22 Salary. Non-guaranteed Contract

Jahlil Okafor, Hawks Points Rebounds Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 17.5 7.0 99 110
Career 10.4 4.7 105 111

10. Emmanuel Mudiay. 7th Pick.  A pure point who played in China, Mudiay was thought to be a strong passer who had great court vision and liked making plays for others. His major flaw then and now was scoring the ball and turnovers. Often, he was left wide open on doubles and he couldn’t drain uncontested shots. Statistics-wise, he was the worst shooter of all the lottery picks. 3 NBA Teams. Never been an All-Star. 3-Playoff games. 2021-22: Playing Overseas. 

Emmanuel Mudiay, Lithuania Points  Assists Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
Rookie Season, 2015-16 12,8 5,5 88 110
Career 11.0 3.8 96 113