Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

NBA Mock Draft 2019: Edition 1

Ja Morant, Murray State
1. New York Knicks
Zion Williamson, F, Duke
As the favorite to lock down the top pick in the NBA Draft and equipped with significant cap flexibility entering the summer, Knicks fans are preparing for a huge off-season. We will see what actually ends up happening but if they do get the No. 1 pick, they won't hesitate to take Zion Williamson. Zion captivated college basketball with his jaw-dropping athleticism and finishing ability. He has all the tools to be a dominant force at the next level.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke
Cleveland has had the No. 1 overall pick six times in their franchise's history, and they have a shot at their 7th this year. However, its more likely they land at pick two or three, with an abundance of options available. Zion's Duke teammate, R.J. Barrett, is an even better natural scorer and is filthy good in isolation opportunities, something severely lacking on the Caveliers' current roster.
3. Chicago Bulls
Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
Chicago is another team near the top of the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, although Ja Morant would be one heck of a consolation prize at pick three. The uber-athletic Murray State product is a double-double machine and is an underrated shooter. He could fill in nicely in a Chicago backcourt lacking much punch beyond Zach LaVine.
4. Phoenix Suns
Coby White, PG, UNC
Of all the guards available in this Draft Class, Ja Morant is going to get the most love and attention from scouts and the media. Yet, you simply cannot overlook Coby White who played his way into Top 10 pick position this year with UNC. White isn't quite the athlete Morant is, but is an explosive scorer that can really stroke it. The Suns have no long-term plans at point guard, making this selection all the more logical.
5. Atlanta Hawks
De'Andre Hunter, F, Virginia
A strong showing in Virginia's National Championship run likely helped De'Andre Hunter's draft stock anymore, and he could continue to rise up boards. The swingman is a versatile offensive weapon with length, shooting ability and defensive prowess. The Hawks will be eager to add another youngster to a core that already includes Trae Young & John Collins.
6. Washington Wizards
Jarrett Culver, G, Texas Tech
The Wizards are going to be a fascinating team to watch this summer, as they look ready to blow it up. John Wall has a lengthy injury history and probably will never be able to recover his explosiveness, while Bradley Beal sits firmly on the trade block. Washington starts anew in the backcourt with Culver, a well-built guard that is already an elite defender.
7. Memphis Grizzlies
Cam Reddish, G/F, Duke
While Zion and Barrett look like near locks to go in the Top 3, the third member of the Duke freshman trio declaring could slip a bit. Cam Reddish is a great shooter and has ideal NBA size, but concerns have emerged about his motor and consistency. He was never able to make a huge impact with Duke, even when Zion was out with injury. Even so, Memphis needs shooting help and they could take a flyer on a guy like Reddish.
8. New Orleans Pelicans
Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga
Will Anthony Davis ever play for New Orleans again? Perhaps, but no matter what happens, the Pelicans need to figure out their frontcourt for the long haul. Trying to compare Rui Hachimura to AD is obviously unfair, but the Gonzaga product has a pretty similar skill set. He is superb at attacking the rim and finishing, with a pretty jump shot. However, his lack of pro size (6'8") could hamper him going forward in the Draft process.
9. Atlanta Hawks
Jaxson Hayes, F/C, Texas
With their second lottery pick (acquired in the Luka Doncic-Trae Young deal) Atlanta probably tries to go best player available. Jaxson Hayes didn't put up staggering numbers in his lone season at Texas (10.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG) but he impressed scouts with his athleticism and significant upside. Much like John Collins, he can play above the rim, and projects well as a NBA rim protector (2.2 blockers per game).
10. Minnesota Timberwolves
Brandon Clarke, F, Gonzaga
A former San Jose State transfer, Brandon Clarke exploded on to the scene in his one season with Gonzaga. He put up nearly 17 PPG, 8.6 RPG and averaged over three blocks per game as well. He also managed one of the craziest stats you'll ever see: through 35 games (up into the Sweet 16) Clarke had more blocked shots, with 107, then missed shots (105). He would immediately help a Minnesota forward situation that could be much improved.
11. Los Angeles Lakers
Bol Bol, F/C, Oregon
Is this pick used as a trading chip in a future trade? Probably, but if the Lakers do indeed stay in the lottery why not take a chance on a guy like Bol Bol? The Oregon Duck missed most of this season with injury but when healthy, his talent is impressive. Los Angeles could really use some size down in the low post.
12. Charlotte Hornets
Darius Garland, G, Vanderbilt
With him set to hit free agency on June 1st and teams already lining up, Kemba Walker's time in Charlotte has likely come to an end. Charlotte reloads by taking one of the best point guards in the Draft in Darius Garland. Don't let Vanderbilt's terrible season fool you; Garland is an elite-level talent and a superb ball-handler.
13. Miami Heat
Grant Williams, F, Tennessee
Williams' numbers during his career at Tennessee speak for themselves and his versatility could make him a lottery pick this upcoming June. He's definitely a tweener as a 6'7" player that played power forward in college, but the ability to play so many different spots is much needed in the modern NBA. Miami could use another versatile and balanced player on this roster.
14. Boston Celtics
Kevin Porter, G/F, USC
Despite appearing in just 21 games and starting four, USC's Kevin Porter is generating palpable Draft buzz. He has plenty to work on but there is also serious talent, with a strong offensive game punctuated by the ability to hit from downtown (43% from three). He does off-the-field concerns that resulted in a suspension this past season that he'll have to answer.
15. Detroit Pistons
Sekou Doumboya, G/F, France
There really isn't an elite International prospect to watch in this Draft at this point, but Sekou Doumboya could end up being that guy. The French wing is a two-way stud whose impact can be felt every second of the game. At 6'9", 230 he is able to block shots, defend multiple positions and hit the glass hard. Considering he started playing organized ball at 12 years old there are still some holes in the game, but he's worth a shot in the mid-first round.
16. Orlando Magic
Romeo Langford, G, Indiana
The Magic do not have any long-term solution for their point guard spot, meaning it should be of top priority in this Draft. Look no further than Indiana's Romeo Langford, a smooth combo guard with major upside. Langford has to improve as a shooter, but he seems like a good fit in this Orlando offense that could form a lethal 1-2 punch with Aaron Gordon.
17. Brooklyn Nets
Nassir Little, F, UNC
Even though he didn't see big minutes while with North Carolina, NBA scouts really love Nassir Little and he could end up going way higher than this. Little is an absolute force on the offensive glass, and his frame is already equipped to handle the rigors of the NBA. Brooklyn adds him to a young, but talented, frontcourt.
18. Indiana Pacers
Keldon Johnson, G/F, Kentucky
I'm a huge fan of Keldon Johnson in this Draft, a talented wing who plays both ways as well as anybody. Indiana still doesn't know how long Victor Oladipo will be out, and will see a number of players hit free agency over the summer. With that in mind, adding Johnson as a low-risk, high-reward playmaker makes sense.
19. San Antonio Spurs
Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
Originally from Angola, Bruno Fernando has had an interesting route to the NBA, including two strong seasons at Maryland. As a high-level athlete that can run the floor and finish above the rim, Fernando is the type of player this San Antonio team just has not had in years past. They won't wait on the chance to snag him.
20. Boston Celtics
Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue
With Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier both set to hit free agency this off-season, Boston's backcourt could be in store for a huge makeover. If that does indeed happen, Carsen Edwards seems like the most logical choice available here. He probably won't be a star in the NBA but as a three-year starter and multiple All-American, he'll be able to adjust quickly.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech
With Russell Westbrook running the show offensively, OKC desperately needs guys who can make an impact without the ball and also hit from deep. Alexander-Walker does just that, as a guy who moves really well without the ball and finds ways to get open. He's an intelligent, well-rounded player who will make an impact.
22. Boston Celtics
P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky
The Celtics are getting significantly older in the frontcourt, namely Al Horford. They could help solve that problem by adding a talented youngster like P.J. Washington. Washington is a skilled, well-built player that can help out at either forward spot. He makes a lot of sense in the late first, even though he doesn't have the upside of others in this Class.
23. Utah Jazz
K.Z. Okpala, F, Stanford
Okpala came out of nowhere to put together an impressive 2018-19 campaign, where he averaged nearly 17 points per game. Yet, he is still a raw prospect and will need to land in the right spot to really fulfill his vast potential. That makes Utah an ideal landing spot, a franchise with a proven track record of developing talent.
24. Philadelphia Sixers
Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky
With Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler both set to hit free agency this summer, Philadelphia needs to add a wing in this Draft. Tyler Herro has a wide range of where he might go, anywhere from the lottery to somewhere in the second. The Sixers take a chance on him as a dynamic young shooter that will open up lanes for Ben Simmons.
25. Portland Trail Blazers
Mfioundu Kabengele, F, Florida State
Despite coming off the bench for Florida State this season, Kabengele led the team in scoring, with 13.2 PPG. He looks like the type of prospect that is going to shoot up draft boards later on in the process once more teams get a look at him. At 6'10", 250 with long arms, he has the body NBA teams covet and plays both ends incredibly well.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers
Louis King, F, Oregon
Already adding R.J. Barrett earlier on, Cleveland continues to strengthen the wing, which was a huge problem for them this year. Louis King still has plenty to work on, but he showed significant upside during Oregon's Sweet 16 run this March. He is an elite athlete that can finish at the rim, but has to grow as a shooter.
27. Brooklyn Nets
Cam Johnson, G/F, UNC
At 6'8" and equipped with an excellent shooting touch, Cam Johnson is the ideal modern day NBA prospect. He also gained ample experience, playing four years in the rigorous ACC. Johnson will add significant shooting help to a Brooklyn squad that was much improved this season, but still struggles to shoot.
28. San Antonio Spurs
Charles Bassey, F/C, Western Kentucky
Even though he played at a smaller school when compared to others, Charles Bassey was a well-regarded recruit coming out of high school, earning a five-star from most recruiting services. He has big-time talent, but was inconsistent with WKU and has to refine his touch down low. San Antonio takes a swing at the upside here.
29. Phoenix Suns
Matisse Thybulle, G/F, Washington
Those who don't follow West Coast basketball probably haven't heard much of Matisse Thybulle but a quick introduction: he is an absolutely elite defender. A major part of Mike Hopkin's 2-3 zone defense with UW, Thybulle averaged 2.4 steals per game over his college career (3.5 this year) and 2.2 BPG this year. When paired with Josh Jackson, Phoenix will have two superb wing defenders.
30. Golden State Warriors
Ignas Brazdeikis, F, Michigan
Mobile, versatile big men are crucial in Steve Kerr's offense and Golden State can add another in Michigan's Ignas Brezdeikis. The smooth Lithuanian forward can really stroke it down low and can be moved around in nearly any offense. He also doesn't seem to carry the risk of busts that others do in the late first.

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.