2019 NBA Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Next Year's Class

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 21, 2018

Montverde Academy's R.J. Barrett #5 is seen against Mater Dei during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Monday, January 15, 2018, in Springfield, MA. Montverde won the game. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

While the 2018 NBA draft has most of our attention, the front office personnel of all 30 franchises already have an eye on the 2019 draft class. 

Some of the most coveted prospects expected to enter the 2019 NBA draft haven't played a game above the high school level yet. 

Plenty can change in 12 months, as we witnessed with the 2018 draft class that was affected by injuries, poor play by big names and surprising improvements by unknown players. 

Based off what we know about the players who could declare for the 2019 draft from their high school and college careers, we put together an early look at what next year's selection process could look like.  

       

2019 1st-Round NBA Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: R.J. Barrett, SG, Duke

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina

3. Dallas Mavericks: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke

4. Atlanta Hawks: Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, France

5. Orlando Magic: Rui Hachimura, SF, Gonzaga

6. Chicago Bulls: Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas

7. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento): Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

8. Brooklyn Nets: Nazreon Reid, C, LSU 

9. New York Knicks: Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland

10. Los Angeles Lakers: Bol Bol, C, Oregon

11. Charlotte Hornets: Cameron Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

12. Detroit Pistons: Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky

13. Los Angeles Clippers: Jontay Porter, C, Missouri 

14. Denver Nuggets: Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA

15. Washington Wizards: Keldon Johnson, SG, Kentucky

16. Miami Heat: Kellan Grady, PG, Davidson

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Simi Shittu, PF, Vanderbilt

18. San Antonio Spurs: Killian Tillie, PF, Gonzaga

19. Minnesota Timberwolves: Quentin Grimes, PG, Kansas

20. Oklahoma City Thunder: O'Shae Brissett, SF, Syracuse

21. Utah Jazz: Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky

22. New Orleans Pelicans: EJ Montgomery, PF, Kentucky

23. Indiana Pacers: DeAndre Hunter, SF, Virginia

24. Portland Trailblazers: Lamont West, PF, West Virginia

25. Atlanta Hawks (from Cleveland): Sagaba Konate, C, West Virginia

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

27. Boston Celtics: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

28. Golden State Warriors: Lindell Wigginton, PG, Iowa State

29. Toronto Raptors: Austin Wiley, C, Auburn

30. Houston Rockets: Louis King, SF, Oregon 

Draft order based off 2017-18 regular-season records. 

          

All Eyes Will Be on Duke During College Basketball Season 

Durham, North Carolina, is expected to be the center of the college basketball universe next season, as Duke possesses one of the most talented freshmen classes in recent memory. 

R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cameron Reddish all have potential to be selected in the top half of the first round in the 2019 draft, with Barrett projected as the No. 1 overall pick. 

Barrett, a Canadian who came to Duke by way of Montverde Academy in Florida, is a talented wing player who has an opportunity to become one of the top scorers in Division I, with Duke looking to replace the production of Grayson Allen. 

Williamson is an imposing presence in the frontcourt most known for his highlight-reel collection of dunks, but now the challenge for him is to prove he can develop his game in the paint in order to make NBA teams believe he's the No. 1 overall pick.  

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Although he might not be as high as Barrett and Williamson in the early projections for next summer, Reddish is an intriguing prospect who will draw eyes from the NBA because of his length and scoring ability.

The trio of superstars could be joined by freshman point guard Tre Jones, who is the younger brother of Minnesota's Tyus Jones, and junior Marques Bolden, if he improves down low, as players drafted out of Duke in a year's time. 

          

Celtics Could End Up With 4 1st-Round Picks 

There's a scenario in which the Boston Celtics could hold four first-round selections in the 2019 draft. 

The plethora of trades made by the organization in recent years made this possible, as the Celtics could lay claim to the first-round picks of Sacramento, Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers. 

For starters, the Celtics would have their natural first-round pick no matter where they land in the standings during the 2018-19 season. 

The Celtics own the most favorable first-round pick between the Kings and the Philadelphia 76ers, which was part of the deal that allowed the Sixers to take Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick in 2017. 

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Since the Kings appear to be in much worse shape than the Sixers, who are trending closer to a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics will most likely obtain Sacramento's pick. 

Boston fans should also root for success stories in Memphis and Los Angeles, as the performance of the Grizzlies and Clippers will determine how many first-round picks the Celtics have. 

If the Grizzlies land outside of the top eight picks, their selection goes to Boston as the completion of the three-way deal that brought Jeff Green to Memphis in 2014. 

If the Clippers make the playoffs, which is a good possibility since they'll land at least one top prospect in Thursday's first round, their selection belongs to the Celtics. 

Memphis originally owned the Clippers' 2019 first-round pick from a trade in 2016 that sent Green to Los Angeles and brought Lance Stephenson to the Grizzlies. 

Boston then acquired the pick from Memphis in one of the most puzzling trades in recent history, as the Grizzlies traded for Deyonta Davis and Rade Zegorac in exchange for what started as the Clippers' first-round pick. 

In summation, if you're a Boston fan, you're rooting for the Grizzlies and Clippers to succeed next season, and if you root for Memphis, all you can do is shake your head at the baffling moves the franchise made to get to this point. 

      

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Draft information obtained from RealGM.

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