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2015 NBA Prospect Draft Rankings (March Madness Edition)

With postseason play beginning for college hoops, the 2015 draft rankings are updated as the most important season for evaluation of college players begins.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 NBA Draft continues to gain value at the top as players like D'Angelo Russell, Justise Winslow, and Kelly Oubre are becoming more productive as their freshman seasons continue. The top 15 prospects in this draft are only a step behind the quality of the 2014 class, but the depth of the draft drops off dramatically just after the lottery selections. For that reason, the lottery picks may be worth more than in most years--making it even more important for the Brooklyn Nets to miss the playoffs so Atlanta can get a lottery pick. Unfortunately, Brooklyn has looked better since the All-Star break and may be able to hold on to a playoff spot. Selecting 15th or 16th would not be horrible for Atlanta, but certainly 10-12 would give the Hawks more options.

These rankings are not based upon the needs or scouting assessment of the Hawks, but a general view of each prospect. A formal draft board taking into account the Hawks' needs and value of players will be made closer to draft time. Here are the top 45 prospects entering March Madness:

Rank (Previous Rank), Preferred Postition posted in ALL CAPS

1(1) Jahlil Okafor, Freshman, C,  Duke (6'11, 272)

2(2) Karl Towns, Freshman, PF/c, Kentucky (7'0, 248)

3(6) Justise Winslow, Freshman, SF, Duke (6'6, 221)

Winslow returns to where he was in the initial draft rankings. After shaking off nagging injuries, the freshman average 13.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in February while shooting 56% from the three-point line.

4(4) D'Angelo Russell, Freshman, SG/PG, Ohio State (6'4, 175)

5(3) Stanley Johnson, Freshman, SF, Arizona (6'8, 243)

6(5) Emmanuel Mudiay, 19, PG, China (6'5, 200)

Mudiay just ended his season in China where he average 18.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. He impressed scouts and his club in China with his high level of professionalism at a young age.

7(7) Kristaps Porzingis, 19, PF, Latvia (7'0, 220)

8(8)  Myles Turner, Freshman, C/pf, Texas (6'11, 242)

9(12) Kelly Oubre, Freshman, SF/sg, Kansas (6'6, 204)

Oubre averaged 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in February while shooting 41% from the three-point line. He has remarkable defensive tools and could still end up as a top-5 pick in July.

10(9) Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky (7'0, 244) [PROFILE]

11(10) Jerian Grant, Senior, SG/pg, Notre Dame (6'5, 204)

12(11) Caris LeVert, Junior, SG, Michigan (6'7, 200) [PROFILE]

13(16)  Devin Booker, Freshman, SG, Kentucky (6'6, 186)

14(21) Mario Hezonja, 20, SF/SG, Croatia (6'8, 200)

Hezonja is a great talent as evidenced by a recent 14-game stretch where he went 33 for 61 (54%) from the three-point line. He is also known for whining and playing selfishly--which will not go unnoticed in him going scoreless in the 3 games since the hot streak.

15(13) Frank Kaminsky, Senior, PF/c, Wisconsin (7'0, 242) [PROFILE]

16(20) Kevon Looney, Freshman, PF, UCLA (6'9, 220)

17(17) Bobby Portis, Sophomore, PF, Arkansas (6'10, 235)

18(15) Justin Anderson, Junior, SG/SF, Virginia (6'6, 222)

19(NR) George Lucas, 19, PG, Brazil (6'5, 196)

Lucas is at least 2 years away from helping an NBA team and likely to be stashed and watched if selected. A point guard with enormous hands, Lucas could still grow into a player that can defend multiple positions.

20(27) Delon Wright, Senior, PG, Utah (6'5, 179)

21(18)  Tyus Jones, Freshman, PG, Duke (6'1, 191)

22(23)  Sam Dekker, Junior, SF, Wisconsin (6'9, 229) [PROFILE]

23(22) Josh Richardson, Senior, SG, Tennessee (6'6, 200) [PROFILE]

24(26)  Buddy Hield, Junior, SG, Oklahoma (6'4, 214)

25(NR) Anthony Brown, Senior, SF/sg, Stanford (6'7, 207)

Brown shoots 45% from deep, has good handle, and pulls down over 7 rebounds per game for the Cardinal. He will need to improve his defensive tools, but he is a good athlete with the frame to do so at the next level.

26(24) Montrezl Harrell, Junior, c/pf, Louisville (6'8, 230)

27(29) Jordan Mickey, Sophomore, PF, LSU (6'8, 234)

28(NR) Jarell Martin, Sophomore, PF, LSU (6'8, 242)

29(NR) Dez Wells, Senior, SG, Maryland (6'4, 221)

Considered a potential first-round pick a couple of seasons ago, Wells has fallen off most scouting radars. However, he has come into his own in his senior season at Maryland. His athleticism and shooting stroke (51% from deep) should make him a 3-and-D guy for an NBA team.

30(19) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Sophomore, SF, Arizona (6'6, 212)

31(14)  Cliff Alexander, Freshman, C/pf, Kansas (6'9, 254)

Viewed as a top-10 pick just 3 months ago, Alexander has been lackluster when on the floor and now faces questions with the NCAA. It is doubtful that he would fall out of the first round due to his potential, but he has made negligible impact at the college level.

32(NR) Mouhammadou Jaiteh, 20, C, France (6'11, 249)

33(NR) Jakob Poeltl, Freshman, C, Utah (7'0, 235)

34(25) Tyrone Wallace, Junior, SG/pg, California (6'5, 200)

35(28) R.J. Hunter, Junior, SG/pg, Georgia State (6'5, 180)

A player I once viewed as a lottery pick, Hunter has had a miserable season from beyond the arc at just over 30%. The good news for Georgia State fans is that he could have hurt his stock enough to return for his senior season.

36(NR) Brice Johnson, Junior, PF, North Carolina (6'10, 185)

37(30) Alan Williams, Senior, C/pf, UC-Santa Barbara (6'8, 264)

38(NR) Shawn Long, Junior, PF/c, Louisiana-Lafayette (6'10, 256)

39(NR) Guillermo Hernangomez, 20, C, Spain (6'11, 255)

40(NR) Nikola Milutinov, 20, C, Serbia (6'11, 220)

With a draft deep at center, Milutinov could wait until 2016 to declare eligibility. He is a non-shooting defensive big who averages 10.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in the Adriatic League.

41(NR) Christian Wood, Sophomore, PF/sf, UNLV (6'11, 220)

42(NR) Kennedy Meeks, Sophomore, PF/c, North Carolina (6'9, 279)

43(NR) Rakeem Christmas, Senior, PF/c, Syracuse (6'9, 226)

44(NR) Cedi Osman, 20, SF, Macedonia (6'8, 190)

45(NR) Derrick Marks, Senior, SG, Boise State (6'3, 210)

Maybe the best player in college basketball that fans do not know about. Marks averages 20 points per game and makes 46.8% of his three-point shots while taking 4.5 per game. He is a young senior who does not turn 22 until September.