By Hocine Loukkaf on 5/20/2019
While the players are getting ready for the first day of their professional career, this draft seems very uncertain behind the top three. Projected players from 4 to 6 look like stretches but gems could be found in the mid-to-late first round. Let’s roll the dice for this last 2019 NBA mock draft.
1. Zion Williamson, 6-6 PF, Duke, freshman, 22.6pts 8.9rbds 2.1as 2.1st 1.8bl
Zion is the obvious top selection as much for his basketball skills as for his incredible marketing potential. He will be joined by a handul of talented players from the Lakers to help the Pels being successful next year.
2. Ja Morant 6-3 PG, Murray State, sophomore, 24.5pts 10as 5.7rbds
After sending Gasol to Toronto, Memphis will finish its rebuilding by sending the other longtime franchise player, Conley, to whatever team which needs a solid and poised PG. The Grizzlies apparently made it clear to the other teams that they would select Morant. The late blooming prospect has that “it” thing, namely athleticism, passing creativity and an improving shot to be a star PG. He could form a deadly one-two punch with JJJ.
3. RJ Barrett 6-7 SF, Duke, freshman, 22.6pts 7.6rbds 4.3as
The Knicks dreamt about Zion, they will have to be content with Barrett. Despite his inconsistency, the Canadian forward has displayed the ability to create game for his teammates, rebound and shoot from outside. He’s a high character guy with the maturity to be a leader in New York. He could be a steal if he ends up better than Morant and Zion.
4. De’Andre Hunter, 6-7 SF, Virginia, sophomore, 15.2pts 5rbds 2as 44% 3p
It’s hard to know what the Pels will do of this 4th pick as there is no consensus on who is the best talent being the top three. Hunter could bring versatility and some back up solutions if Ingram was to be bothered by injuries. They might also trade down as some late lotto picks have the upside to become very good players.
Culver may lack the consistency to be a franchise player but is the perfect fit alongside Sexton as a do-it-all guard who can defend. Hunter or even Bol as an high-risk-high-upside pick could be tempting at that point.
6. Darius Garland, 6-1 PG, Vanderbilt, freshman, 16.2pts 48% 3pt
The Suns are one of, if not the main, losers of this draft. They hoped to land Zion or Morant but with the 6th pick, Garland seems to be the best fit at either PG or PF position. Despite his injury which made him miss almost the entire season, he’s highly sought-after and sure to be picked in the top 10.
7. Coby White, 6-5 PG, UNC, freshman, 16.1pts 4.1as 35% 3pt
Bothered by injuries and still an inconsistent shooter, Dunn’s days could be over in Chi-town as the Bulls could use their pick to select the Tar Heel freshman. Chicago could also go with best talent available with Reddish, Bol or rising Frenchman Doumbouya.
8. Bol Bol, 7-2 C, Oregon, freshman, 21pts 9.6rbds 2.7bl 52% 3pt
Bol got injured, weighed only 210lbs at the combine, but he has too high of a ceiling to pass on him. He was dominant in the few games he played, rebounding and blocking shots better than most inside prospects while shooting more than 50% from three. His upside is through the roof and he could be another offensive weapon for Atlanta.
9. Cam Reddish, 6-7 SF/SG, Duke, freshman,13.5pts 3.7rbds 1.6st
Except for a center and a SG if they keep Beal, the Wizards basically need player at every position. The forward position is pretty deep with Reddish, a pure SF who can play stretches at the two, and Doumbouya who has been pretty impressive in workouts. Despite a disappointing season, Reddish is more fersatile and Washington may hope that the former top 5 prospect regain confidence.
10. Sekou Doumbouya 6-9 SF/PF, Limoges CSP (French Jeep Elite), 2000, 7.8pts 3.3rbds
Doumbouya’s season has been a rollercoaster but he finished much better that he started. He has also used the workouts pretty efficiently to display his physical attributes at both forward positions but also a more polished outside shot.
11. Nicolas Claxton, 6-11 PF/C, Georgia, sophomore, 13pts 8.6rbds 2.5bl
Another high potential pick, Claxton was absent until recently from most mocks despite a mix of skills and physical tools. At 6-11, the Georgia PF/C is a top 10 shot blocker in the country, a nice rebounder with almost 9rbds per game and also displayed the ability, albeit still inconsistently, to shoot from outside and create for his teammates. He still has to work on his strength and on being more fluid but could be a nice player to help Towns i the frontcourt.
12. Goga Bitadze, 6-11 C, Buducnost Pogdorica (Montenegro), 12.8pts 6.3rbds 2.3bl (Euroleague)
No matter how much Zeller, Hernangomez or Kaminsky give on the court, Charlotte needs a real tough big man to bang inside and create opportunities for the guards. A still underrated prospect, the Georgian has now proved on the highest European level that he could perform and protect the rim pretty well. He’s a high energy, talented young center who is working on extending his range.
13. Brandon Clarke, 6-8 PF, Gonzaga, junior, 16.9pts 8.6rbds 3.2bl
With plenty of outside players in the roster, Miami could find a good fit at the PF with Brandon Clarke, Clarke may be old but he’s special on defense and has been very efficient finishing around the rim. If he can develop a more reliable outside shot, it could help him become a much more impactful on offense.
Whether Boston keeps this pick or not, let’s go with a player with upside through the roof. Hayes plays a lot like another Texas alumni, Jarrett Allen, and could be a long term solution at the C spot for post-Horford Celtics. He still is very raw but has the potential to be a defensive anchor.
15. Nassir Little, 6-6 SF, North Carolina, freshman, 9.8pts 4.6rbds
Whether he was limited at UNC because he was a freshman or not, Little was a top five prospect last year. At fifteen, he could bring some toughness, athleticism and length (7-2 wingspan) at the SF spot for the Pistons which struggle to find talent for some years on the wing.
16. Romeo Langford, 6-6 SG, Indiana, freshman, 16.5pts 5.4rbds 2.3as
Another top high school prospect who could slip, Langford would be a nice pick at 16. He suffered from Indiana’s inconsistent season yet at times played like a top 5 pick. His struggle from three for most of the season could be explained by the fact that he played with an injured thumb on his shooting hand. Langford has that alpha dog mentality to be a very good, maybe great, replacement for Evan Fournier.
17. Rui Hachimura, 6-8 PF/SF, Gonzaga, junior, 19.7pts 6.5rbds
Hachimura is as tough player who has improved yar by year. He may be stuck between positions, lacking the outside shot and footspeed to defend the three while not being the most powerful or athletic player inside. The Hawks could use him coming from the bench to play both forward spots. He would also be interesting marketing-wise as the first Japanese first rounder in the NBA.
18. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 6-5 SG/PG, Virginia Tech, sophomore, 16.2pts 4as 1.9st 37% 3pt
With Evans suspended, NAW could bring his versatility, and outside shooting from the bench for the Pacers. Indiana could also test him at a big PG where he could be a mismatch against smaller PG.
19. Bruno Fernando, 6-10 C, Maryland, sophomore, 13.6pts 10.6rbds 1.9bl
The Spurs seem to be eyeing Bitadze and Doumbouya but both will certainly be gone at 20. Fernando is a beast inside who is working on extending his range. He may lack some consistency and star potential but would be a good fit with Poeltl at C.
20. Keldon Johnson 6-6 SG/SF, Kentucky, freshman, 13.5pts 5.9rbds 38% 3pt
Johnson may not have the IQ other guards have displayed but his mix of shooting and athleticism could be useful for any team in search of a pure shooting guard with strength.
21. Kevin Porter Jr, 6-5 SG/SF, USC, freshman, 9.5pts 4rbds 41% 3pt
Once ranked in the top 5, Porter Jr has had different off-court issues that led him to get suspended. With nobody really efficient tat that SG spot, the Thunder would be glad to find the ultra talented freshman from USC available at 21. If focused on being the best player possible, the Seattle product could turn into a star in the league
22. PJ Washington, 6-8 PF, Kentucky, junior, 15.2pts 7.5rbds 42% 3pt
Washington has kept improving during his sophomore extending his range to the three point line with a nice 42%. He could be a good fit alongside Horford as a hard-nosed PF who can rebound, defend and score efficiently.
23. Mfiondu Kabengele, 6-10 PF, Florida State, sophomore, 13.2pts 5.9rbds 1.5bl 37% 3pt
With Favors pretty limited as an outside shooter, the Jazz need a promising inside player who can shoot and has the upside to become a starter. A late bloomer, Kabengele has shined in his sophomore season and is as good protecting the rim as he is shooting from outside. He may be raw but has better upside than most other PF prospects.
24. Tyler Herro, 6-5 SG, Kentucky, freshman, 14pts 4.5rbds
Whether Reddick stays or not, the Sixers could find a way to use Herro, a taller and more athletic version of their current shooting guard. Herro still needs to work on his consistency, strength and footspeed but he had a surprising season as a freshman for the Wildcats.
25. KZ Okpala, 6-8 SF, Stanford, sophomore, 16.8pts 5.7rbds 37% 3pt
The Blazers have tested Hood who has been good against Denver but inconsistent the rest of the season. Okpala is polarizing as he sometimes displays incredible efficiency to go with nice length but can also struggle from three and possesses limited handling skills. He will have playing time to improve and at least brings a SF with length and upside to the roster.
26. Daniel Gafford 6-11 C, Arkansas, sophomore, 16.9pts 8.7rbds 2bl
The Cavs badly need a rim-protecting center and could make the best of this pick by drafting Gafford. While he lacks some basketball IQ, the once top 10 projected center is an athletic freak who has vastly improved since last year.
27. Naz Reid, 6-10 PF, LSU, freshman, 13.6pts 7.2rbds 0.7bl
Reid is talented, maybe too talented. The do-it-all big man has improved during the year but more is expected from him on defense and the boards. He also must be more focused on getting his body ready as he came to the Combine with an horrible 14% fat. The Nets could try to make him a solid stretch big to form a solid inside duo with Allen.
28. Dylan Windler, 6-7 SF/SG, Belmont, senior, 21.3pts 10.8rbds 43% 3pt
Windler can do two things pretty well, shoot the ball and rebound. He could help coming from the bench at both SG and SF spots while learning behind Durant or whoever’s left on the Warriors’ roster.
29. Mathysse Thybulle, 6-6 SG/SF, Washington, senior, 9.1pts 3.5st 2.3bl
The best defensive player in college basketball may have that “it” thing to make a team much better in defense. His shot has been inconsistent through his college career but if he can knock down from three on 36+%, he could be a long-term solution as a 3 and D for the Jazz (Remember Bruce Bowen?).
30. Talen Horton-Tucker, 6-5 SG/SF, Iowa State, freshman, 11.8pts 4.9rbds 2.3as
Horton-Tucker is a work in progress who needs to tighten his shot, handles and work on getting leaner to be more athletic. But at 6-4 230 with a 7-1 wingspan, he may have the potential to become a tough all around guard a la Marcus Smart. He also is one of the youngest prospect in this draft and fits the hard-nosed type of players Milwaukee is looking for.
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