The 2019 NBA Draft is right around the corner. With a little over a month of college basketball left to evaluate, of course it’s time for a 2019 Mock Draft. The NBA team order here is based on the standings courtesy of Tankathon as of February 27th.
1. New York Knicks: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke – Zion’s ceiling on both ends of the floor is just too high for him to not go No. 1. Also, don’t forget about the Zion Effect. He will always be must-see TV for not only the team that drafts him, but the entire league. Drafting Zion might also potentially interest free agents such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Can you imagine those three together in New York? On the flip side, the Knicks could dangle Williamson as a trade piece to New Orleans for Anthony Davis. Either way, I’m just glad Zion’s knee is ok, and I look forward to him putting on a show next season.
2. Phoenix Suns: RJ Barrett, SG/SF, Duke – Barrett has been as good as advertised this season for Duke, especially on the offensive side of the basketball. RJ can score in a variety of ways and is one of the best finishers in all of college basketball. The one knock on his game right now is his jump shot, especially from 3-point land, where he is only shooting 32% from.
3. Chicago Bulls: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State – Morant’s athleticism makes him one of the most electrifying players in this Draft. When he isn’t dunking on cats, he is setting up his teammates to score, as he currently leads the NCAA in assists. The way he attacks the rim reminds me of a young Derrick Rose/ Russell Westbrook. With the Bulls still looking for their PG of the future, this might be the perfect fit for both parties. Fun fact, he was Zion’s AAU teammate.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech – Culver is a guy who is skyrocketing up draft boards. Collin Sexton needs a backcourt mate, and Culver is the scorer he needs, as the SG is averaging 18 PPG. I’m sure the Cavs would also be looking at Cam Reddish and Romeo Langford in this spot, but Culver’s play on the defensive side of the basketball puts him over the edge here.
5. Atlanta Hawks: Rui Hachimora, PF, Gonzaga – The Hawks look to have their star PG in Trae Young, and some nice pieces in Kevin Huerter, and John Collins. Which is why Hachimora in this spot makes sense. Hachimora’s offensive skill set would fit in perfectly with the style of ball they play in Atlanta. He’s 6’8″, 235-pounds, and can play with his back to the basket as well as a threat away from it.
6. Memphis Grizzlies: Cam Reddish, SG/ SF, Duke – While Reddish has all the physical tools to be a star, his 3-point shooting this season has him slipping down some draft boards. While he is known as a shooter, Reddish is shooting just 33% from 3-point land.
7. Washington Wizards: Romeo Langford, SG/ SF, Indiana – Langford is a 6’6″, 215-pound 2-guard that can fill up the scoresheet. While he needs to improve his 3-point shooting, he’s still averaging 17 PPG as a freshman. With John Wall’s health issues, the Wizards can use as many playmakers as possible.
8. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas): Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina – Little’s limited role at North Carolina is not going to scare off GMs from drafting him due to his potential. At 6’6″, 220-pounds, Little can score in a variety of ways. The Hawks would be a great fit for his transition game.
9. New Orleans Pelicans: Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky – Johnson is athletic, has NBA tools, and projects to be a good three-and-D wing (40% 3FG). Would be a good fit next with the Pelicans Jrue Holiday.
10. Miami Heat: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt – With Goran Dragic getting up there in age and Dwyane Wade retiring, it is time for the Heat to restock at the guard position. Garland was an big-time 5-star recruit, and his stock won’t be affected by his injury.
11. Orlando Magic: Kevin Porter, SG, USC – Porter is a huge boom or bust candidate, but the Magic sorely need to add stud guards to the talented big men on their roster. While Porter has been injured and suspended during his time at USC, his offensive skill set is advanced. His upside is too much to pass up on.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, PG/ SG, Virginia Tech – Alexander-Walker is 6’5″, can shoot the three, and is a very good ball handler. With Derrick Rose set to leave via free agency coupled with Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones’ inconsistent play, Minnesota needs backcourt help.
13. Los Angeles Lakers: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas – It’s tough to project what the Lakers roster is going to look like next season, but they have a glaring hole at Center, and need a rim protector badly. Hayes fits the mold of the new big man, he’s what we call a rim runner. Energetic, can run in transition, and block shots. Hayes can keep Anthony Davis’ seat warm until he comes over from the Pelicans.
14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento): Sekou Doumbouya, SF/ PF, France – There is always an international guy that catches GMs’ eyes, and Doumbouya is it in this year’s draft. He’s 6’9″, 230-pounds, and has all the physical tools that make GMs salivate. He’s potentially also a trade piece for some kind of bigger deal down the line for the Celtics.
15. Charlotte Hornets: Bol Bol, C, Oregon – Bol’s potential upside is worth the risk at No. 15 as long as Dr.’s reveal his foot has fully recovered. Before his injury, Bol was making a case to be a top-10 pick, averaging 21.0 PPG. He showed nice outside touch and ability to stretch the floor, and don’t forget he has a 7’8″ wingspan.
16. Detroit Pistons: De’Andre Hunter, SF/ PF, Virginia – Hunter is as versatile as a Swiss Army Knife, and can contribute in many ways. And, while he doesn’t have the highest ceiling, he has a high floor. You know he will be able to come in, be productive, and play defense on both forward positions right away.
17. Brooklyn Nets: KZ Okpala, SF/ PF, Stanford – Okpala has tremendous upside potential, as displayed by his career high 30-points against California this season. At 6’9″, 215-pounds, Okpala just has too much potential to pass up for a Nets team on the cusp.
18. San Antonio Spurs: PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky – San Antonio would be a great fit for Washington, who could learn from LaMarcus Aldridge. LMA, who is turning 34 soon, could groom his potential successor. Washington has a high motor, nice hands and post game, and has shown shooting touch this season.
19. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Jontay Porter, C, Missouri – Porter’s knee injury was unfortunate, but I don’t see it dropping him out of the first round. With this being the Celtics second first-round pick, it is worth the risk at this spot. Before Porter went down, he showed off his shooting, passing, and shot blocking abilities.
20. Utah Jazz: Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland – The Jazz can go a few ways here, but Fernando is the best player available, and a steal if he drops to No. 20. He has shown nice post touch and shot blocking abilities this season. Would be a nice backup for Rudy Gobert, and if they could play together, the Jazz interior defense would be nasty.
21. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets): Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas – The Cavs, who are in full rebuilding mode, have a ton of holes to fill, so I see them going best available here. Gafford is having a nice season, and is another big that can finish at the rim and block shots.
22. Boston Celtics: Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State – Dort’s athleticism, toughness, and explosiveness have him shooting up draft boards. While he is still raw and needs to work on his shooting, he is having a great season at Arizona State. High ceiling guy who can be another trade asset for the Celtics.
23. Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga – Clarke is a defensive specialist that can come in and play right away for a Blazer team that will always be in the playoff hunt.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee – Williams, while not an athletic freak, is a jack of all trades. He is tough, plays with a high motor, and can play on both ends.
25. Philadelphia 76ers: Tre Jones, PG, Duke – The Sixers still need a true PG after trading Markelle Fultz to the Magic, and Jones fits that bill. While his offensive game is limited, he has a high basketball IQ, is a good passer, and is a solid defender. With all the offensive talent they’ve amassed in Philly, Jones would a nice potential floor general.
26. Indiana Pacers: Markus Howard, PG, Marquette – Howard is a lights out shooter, and the season he is having right now for Marquette, has him in the NCAA Player of the Year conversation. Howard would be a nice complement next to Victor Oladipo, as he would space the floor nicely next to him.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State – Horton-Tucker’s potential has him quietly moving up draft boards. While he is kind of a tweener, he is a very polished and versatile offensive player. He is still only scratching the surface, so would be worth the risk at No. 27 for the Nets.
28. Golden State Warriors: Ayo Dosunmu, SG, Illinois – This year’s draft is considered a weaker one than the last two seasons. Everyone after No. 20 looks like a crap shoot, and that is exactly why Dosunmu has a chance of sneaking in. At 6’5″, he has the size, shot, and defensive quickness for a team like the Warriors to take a chance on.
29. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Coby White, PG/ SG, North Carolina – White is a 6’5″ combo guard who can shoot. There is always a need for players like him in the league.
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova – Paschall, who could have come out last season, is a smart and strong big man. He would fit in perfectly on this Bucks team, especially with the Bucks lacking depth behind Brook Lopez.