It’s almost upon us!
The 2019 NBA Draft is set for Thursday night, and a number of franchises will see their fortunes and futures change with the selection of future All-Stars.
Of course, it’s always fun to try and predict the future, so here is 789 Media’s 2019 NBA Mock Draft:
- New Orleans Pelicans – F Zion Williamson, Duke
Williamson is the consensus top overall selection. Known for his high-flying dunks even in his high school days, Williamson didn’t disappoint at Duke, with his only hiccup being an ankle injury he suffered when he literally burst out of his shoe. He is expected to be the NBA’s greatest generational talent taken since the NBA saw Fs LeBron James and Kevin Durant enter the league.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – G Ja Morant, Murray State
The Grizzlies are in full rebuild mode, after moving star C Marc Gasol at the Trade Deadline in February. Now, the team is rumored to be looking to move G Mike Conley for whatever it can get, which would open a hole for Morant to start day-one and take the reigns of a team as its point guard.
3. New York Knicks – F R.J. Barrett, Duke
Losing out on Williamson definitely hurt the Knicks, but Barrett isn’t a bad consolation prize. A year ago, Williamson and Barrett were battling for the top ranking amongst incoming college freshmen. After an up-and-down season at Duke, Barrett will still find his way into the top three, and probably start for a rather pedestrian Knicks’ squad.
** TRADE: New Orleans Pelicans trade the fourth overall pick to the Chicago Bulls for F Lauri Markkanen and the seventh overall pick **
4. Chicago Bulls – G Darius Garland, Vanderbilt
The Bulls, among several other teams, are said to be enamored with Garland. On the other side, the Pelicans are rumored to be looking to add a young, talented player as well as a draft pick in return for the fourth pick. I think the deal fits for both teams, especially because Chicago is rumored to be looking to move on from G Kris Dunn, as well.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – G Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
The Cavaliers took G Collin Sexton in the first round of last year’s draft. Adding Culver this year would give the team a future backcourt pairing for years to come, if both develop as they should.
6. Phoenix Suns – G Coby White, North Carolina
I don’t think White is the Suns’ first choice of guards to take on Thursday night (Garland), but out of necessity, I think Phoenix takes White. While I’m not a huge fan of his game, many scouts like his projectability and size for a guard.
7. New Orleans Pelicans – F De’Andre Hunter, Virginia
I think the Pelicans trade down with the idea they can land Hunter at 7. By scooping Markkanen in my mock trade, adding Hunter here, and taking Zion first overall, the team would be loaded on the wing. That squad would give G Jrue Holiday plenty of options to drop the ball off to.
8. Atlanta Hawks – G/F Cam Reddish, Duke
Reddish had a disappointing season at Duke, but still comes into the draft as one this year’s top rated players. If he reaches his potential, he could be one of a team’s top options on offense. However, if he doesn’t improve his three point shooting and overall inconsistency, Reddish may be no better than a player in the mold of F Evan Turner.
9. Washington Wizards – C Bol Bol, Oregon
The Wizards only have one draft pick on Thursday night, so why not swing for the fences? If healthy, Bol has the potential to be one of the best big men in the league. However, the NBA requires centers to be durable and athletic, and with the injury history Bol has, several teams will take pause before selecting him. If everything would go well, Bol could form quite a trio with Gs John Wall and Bradley Beal sometime in 2020.
10. Atlanta Hawks – C Jaxson Hayes, Texas
While Hayes shouldn’t be expected to be much more than a defender and rebounder at first, he has the potential to grow into a dynamic center. Plus, the Hawks need someone to get rebounds for G Trae Young’s misses.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves – F Sekou Doumbouya, France
I don’t know too much about the French prospect, outside the fact that he has a good athletic frame and has a shooting touch. Both of which are things that Minnesota needs on their roster.
12. Charlotte Hornets – F Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
The Hornets are known for taking the in-between forward types that don’t have complete games. Hachimura should fit right in there.
13. Miami Heat – F Nassir Little, North Carolina
In the post DWade era, the Heat are looking to establish a new identity. The team has no true No. 1 scoring option. By adding Little to the mix, the team will have a player that can develop into a scorer from the wing. He will need to improve his jumper in the NBA.
14. Boston Celtics – F Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
The team appears poised to lose F Al Horford in free agency, and Clarke is a young player in the same mold. While not as polished as the veteran Horford, Clarke has tremendous athleticism that would help him run the floor with the rest of an athletic Celtics team.
15. Detroit Pistons – G Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech
The Pistons are in need of three-point shooting and scoring from the guard position, making Alexander-Walker a perfect fit. I actually believe Alexander-Walker may be one of the more NBA-ready players in this year’s draft, making him a possible Day One starter in Detroit.
16. Orlando Magic – G Keldon Johnson, Kentucky
The Magic have been desperate for good guard play for years. Adding Johnson to the mix would give the team the potential to develop a true starter at the SG or SF positions.
17. Atlanta Hawks – C Goga Bitadze, Republic of Georgia
After adding Hayes with the tenth pick, I believe the Hawks will again add a big man in Bitadze. From what I’ve read on the big man, he is athletic with potential to become a stretch-big man. The Hawks can afford to take a chance on a project big man here.
18. Indiana Pacers – G Tyler Herro, Kentucky
Herro is one of the best three-point shooters in this class, but offers little else besides that. Think a player in the mold of Sixers’ G J.J. Redick. The Pacers, like many teams, need shooting, and will relish the chance to land Herro here.
19. San Antonio Spurs – F P.J. Washington, Kentucky
Washington is a more developed, older player. He is a stretch-four that would provide value to a number of teams in the league, and I think the Spurs would capitalize on being able to land him here.
20. Boston Celtics – G Romeo Langford, Indiana
After being able to go in a few different directions early in the draft, I think the Celtics go guard with Langford. He’s a projectible player, one that could take a few seasons to develop in the NBA. However, with the Celtics being fairly deep on the wing, Langford would have time to develop.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – F Nicolas Claxton, Georgia
Some scouts have compared Claxton to F Taj Gibson, who previously played with the Thunder just a few seasons ago. Oklahoma City could use a young big man in that mold, and Claxton could be in position to see immediate playing time off the bench.
** TRADE: Boston Celtics trade the twenty second overall pick and F Guerschon Yabusele to the Portland Trailblazers for F Skal Labissiere the twenty fifth overall pick, and a future second round pick **
22. Portland Trailblazers – F Cameron Johnson, North Carolina
Johnson has been oft-rumored to be on the 76ers’ radar, so I think the Trailblazers make a move to jump in front of Philadelphia to get Johnson. With great scoring ability and a more polished game, Johnson could start Day One next to Gs Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
23. Utah Jazz – G Ty Jerome, Virginia
The Jazz lost G Ricky Rubio in free agency, but quickly traded for All-Star G Mike Conley. Jerome would have a chance to be Conley’s backup, and take the time to develop his game off the bench. That would be an ideal situation for a pass-first point guard like Jerome.
24. Philadelphia 76ers – C Bruno Fernando, Maryland
An athletic big man with enormous potential.. sounds familiar to Sixers’ fans. After most of the top shooting targets are gone by the time Philadelphia picks, I think they take C Joel Embiid’s backup in Fernando, who can take the time to develop his game off the bench.
25. Boston Celtics – F/C Mfioundu Kabengele
With four first round picks, the Celtics will be able to plug holes and take risks. While I seriously doubt they end up keeping all four picks, I think Kabengele is a guy they could take at 26. The team is in need of big men, and scouts say Kabengele is a versatile offensive player that would provide value to Boston.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers – C Naz Reid, LSU
Reid is a bit undersized for a center, but is a good enough rebounder where he should be able to survive at the NBA level. Of course, the Cavaliers are in need of big men, as well.
27. Brooklyn Nets – G/F Kevin Porter, Jr., USC
The Nets are likely to be reshaping their backcourt this off season, if G Kyrie Irving does sign and G D’Angelo Russell is traded. If both things occur, Porter fits well on the wing as a guy who can come off the bench at first, but could develop into a starter down the road.
28. Golden State Warriors – F KZ Okpala, Stanford
The Warriors are in need of virtually everything on their roster. Okpala, an athletic forward with the potential to be a 3-and-D guy down the line, would be able to carve a niche with the banged up Warriors in the ’19-’20 season.
29. San Antonio Spurs – F Luka Samanic, Croatia
If there is a foreign big man in the first round who can shoot 3’s, the Spurs have to be in on them, right? I certainly believe that will be the case for Samanic. While I don’t know much about this player, I can tell you he BALLS in NBA2K.
30. Detroit Pistons – G Carsen Edwards, Purdue
With the last pick of the first round, I think the Pistons will nab a player that was rumored to have a lot of interest heading into Thursday. By nabbing Edwards with the last pick in the first round, Detroit could gain another year of control.
Of course, I won’t nail all these picks and I will definitely have missed out on some of the trades that will occur tonight.
Let us know what you thought of our picks!