The 2019 NBA Draft class has already started to make an impression through the first weeks of college basketball action. Headlined by RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, the upcoming class of NBA hopefuls are bursting with star potential.
The NBA standings have yet to come into full focus, so today’s mock draft utilizes the latest Five Thirty Eight win projections. As a result of the current projections, the Celtics will own four selections in the opening round.
1.) New York Knicks
RJ Barrett | SF | Duke | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’7” | WT: 200
It will come down to fit for the team that owns the No. 1 pick. Williamson will be tough to pass on, but Barrett has the potential to open up the entire Knicks offense. From getting his teammates involved, defending multiple positions and creating his own shot—Barrett can do it all.
2.) Atlanta Hawks
Zion Williamson | PF | Duke | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’7” | WT: 285
The Hawks will have an opportunity to create an entertaining offensive duo by pairing Williamson with last year’s selection, Trae Young. Williamson has all the physical tools to be dominant in the NBA, and his game might need less polishing than originally anticipated.
3.) Cleveland Cavaliers
Nassir Little | SF | North Carolina | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’7” | WT: 215
Little is off to a steady start with the Tar Heels, but he still leaves a few questions to be answered. In order to be considered a truly dynamic offensive player, he will have to prove he can stretch the floor. Little’s modest 2.2 three-point attempts per game average is doing very little to answer those questions. That being said, there is still plenty to like about his upside.
4.) Chicago Bulls
Quentin Grimes | SG | Kansas | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’5” | WT: 200
Grimes’ mix of scoring and passing will be a welcome addition to Chicago’s young cast of contributors. Grimes is efficient from all three levels on offense, and he has the tools to blossom into a lethal pick-and-roll operator.
5.) Phoenix Suns
Cam Reddish | SG | Duke | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’8” | WT: 203
Reddish is every bit as talented as his Duke teammates, but he has struggled to tug the spotlight away from them. Don’t let that fool you, his talents on the offensive end will allow him to be effective from day one.
6.) Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings)
Romeo Langford | SG | Indiana | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’6” | WT: 195
Langford has hit the ground running for the Hoosiers. He is averaging just under 20 points per game, and that is a trend that will likely continue throughout the season. In a league that is focused on scoring, Langford’s quick release would be a stellar addition to the Celtics’ talented roster.
7.) Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks)
Sekou Doumbouya | F | France | Class: INTL. | HT: 6’9” | WT: 210
The Hawks narrowly miss out on adding Langford’s shooting, but end up with another promising offensive talent. Doumbouya is versatile, which will allow him to grow alongside any combination of Atlanta’s youngsters.
8.) Orlando Magic
Darius Garland | PG | Vanderbilt | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’2” | WT: 175
This might be a slight reach for the Magic, but Garland’s potential to be a franchise cornerstone at point guard is too good to pass on. Garland can score at all three levels, and he might somehow be better-than-advertised on offense.
9.) Brooklyn Nets
De’Andre Hunter | F | Virginia | Class: So. | HT: 6’7” | WT: 222
Hunter’s skills line up with soon-to-be restricted free agent Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. His game still needs refining on the offensive end, but he is perfectly happy fulfilling a role that revolves around doing the dirty work.
10.) San Antonio Spurs
Jaylen Hoard | F | Wake Forest | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’8” | WT: 210
The Spurs re-stock their talent pool by landing a multi-dimensional forward. Hoard has the finesse of a traditional euro-style big man, and the instincts to rebound at a high rate. He might not be elite at any one thing, but it is tough to find a hole in his game.
11.) Miami Heat
Keldon Johnson | SF | Kentucky | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’6” | WT: 205
Johnson is attempting to make a name for himself on a deep Kentucky squad. If he breaks through, he could easily move up a few spots. For now, he remains a supremely athletic wing with a bright NBA future.
12.) Detroit Pistons
Rui Hachimura | F | Gonzaga | Class: Jr. | HT: 6’8” | WT: 225
Hachimura’s athleticism puts him near the top of the class. He still needs to prove he can shoot reliably enough to garner the attention of opposing defenders. If his hot start to the season continues, Hachimura would be an excellent fit in the Pistons’ forward rotation.
13.) Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies)
Herbert Jones | G/F | Alabama | Class: So. | HT: 6’7” | WT: 200
Jones is a stellar perimeter defender, but his offense will take time. The Celtics are in a position to be patient, and bringing Jones along slowly makes sense. If he reaches his potential, he will give coach Brad Stevens another talented wing option.
14.) Charlotte Hornets
Ja Morant | PG | Murray State | Class: So. | HT: 6’3” | WT: 170
The Hornets are going to face a re-structuring of their guard rotation in the near future. Adding a player as physically gifted as Morant would be a step in the right direction. Pairing Morant with Malik Monk would give Charlotte a young backcourt built to score in bunches.
15.) Washington Wizards
Daniel Gafford | C | Arkansas | Class: So. | HT: 6’11” | WT: 234
It tough to tell what exactly the Wizards will be in the market for when this season concludes. Defensively, Gafford can control the paint for long stretches. Offensively, what you see is what you get. He can finish at the rim, but he has failed to show he is capable of stepping outside of that range.
16.) Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers)
Bol Bol | C | Oregon | Class: Fr. | HT: 7’2” | WT: 220
Bol is the ultimate high-ceiling, low-floor prospect in this draft. Bol has the tools to dominate in the paint, and has shown the touch required to stretch the floor. He still has to prove that he can stay on the court when forced to defend in space.
17.) Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Porter Jr. | G/F | USC | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’5” | WT: 195
Due to his stellar play at a position of need, Porter could creep into the lottery. He can create his own shot, and his size will transition nicely to the NBA. His fit with the Wolves isn’t ideal, but he is a borderline steal at this point in the draft.
18.) Los Angeles Lakers
Jarrett Culver | SG | Texas Tech | Class: So. | HT: 6’5” | WT: 195
Culver’s fit with the Lakers will come down to his outside shooting. He can score off the dribble, and rebounds well for a player his size. If he can space the floor, he will blossom into a legitimate contributor in Los Angeles.
19.) Portland Trail Blazers
Luka Samanic | PF | Croatia | Class: INTL. | HT: 6’10” | WT: 210
Samanic would provide the Blazers with valuable floor spacing from the post. He might be a year away from making the leap to the NBA, which could help Portland avoid a cumbersome tax bill.
20.) New Orleans Pelicans
Kris Wilkes | SF | UCLA | Class: So. | HT: 6’8” | WT: 195
Wilkes projects to be a serviceable catch-and-shoot option on the wing. He would add another offensive option at a position of need for the Pelicans. This might be a slight reach, but Wilkes is the best option on the table at this stage of the draft.
21.) Indiana Pacers
Jalen Smith | PF | Maryland | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’9” | WT: 195
Smith is an athletic power forward that could grow into a floor spacer in the NBA. His versatility will allow him to play alongside any combination of Indiana’s talented frontcourt players.
22.) Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets)
Eric Paschall | F | Villanova | Class: Sr. | HT: 6’8” | WT: 255
Paschall can do a bit of everything, and is a solid high-floor player for this stage in the draft. By selecting Hunter earlier, the Nets have a chance to bring in two rookies that will be able to contribute early.
23.) Utah Jazz
Charles Bassey | PF/C | Western Kentucky | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’10” | WT: 220
Despite being just 18 years old, Bassey has a body that is ready for the NBA. His game still needs some refining, but the early returns from this season are promising. The Jazz will have to be patient, but Bassey will be worth the wait.
24.) Boston Celtics
Darius Bazley | F | Class: - | HT: 6’8” | WT: 195
The Celtics can gamble a bit with their final pick in the first round, which makes Bazley an attractive option. He is spending a year away from organized basketball, but he was on the radar to be a lottery pick before embarking on his current path to the NBA.
25.) Houston Rockets
Jalen McDaniels | F/C | San Diego State | Class: So. | HT: 6’10” | WT: 195
McDaniels would be a natural fit inside the Rockets’ system. He has excellent leaping ability, and he is athletic enough to defend smaller opponents in space.
26.) Philadelphia 76ers
Nazreon Reid | C | LSU | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’10” | WT: 240
The Sixers could look to add a shooter here, but Reid’s long-term potential is too tough to pass on. Reid has a soft shooting touch for a player his size, and he can create looks for himself off the dribble. He is a project, but he would give Philadelphia a stellar backup option behind Joel Embiid.
27.) Oklahoma City Thunder
Ty Jerome | SG | Virginia | Class: Jr. | HT: 6’5” | WT: 195
Jerome is one of the best shooters in the entire draft. By adding Jerome, the Thunder would address a portion of their floor-spacing problems. His ceiling isn’t the highest, but he has a concrete foundation to build a NBA career on.
28.) Milwaukee Bucks
Louis King | F | Oregon | Class: Fr. | HT: 6’7” | WT: 204
King has yet to play a minute for the Ducks this season, but he shouldn’t be completely overlooked. With a pick this late in the first round, the Bucks can afford to gamble on a player with lottery-level talent.
29.) Toronto Raptors
Jontay Porter | PF/C | Missouri | Class: So. | HT: 7’0” | WT: 240
Porter was firmly in the lottery discussion before suffering a season-ending knee injury. The Raptors made a smart investment by drafting OG Anunoby, and they could strike gold once again by taking a chance on Porter.
30.) Golden State Warriors
Shamorie Ponds | G | St. John’s | Class: Jr. | HT: 6’1” | WT: 175
Ponds is a dangerous combo guard that can create his own shot at all three levels. At this point, the Warriors would be wise to select a proven commodity. Ponds will be able to contribute immediately if the right role arises.
We want you to join the discussion. Tell us your picks and predictions in the comments below.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com