2019 NBA Mock Draft: Early 1st-Round Predictions and Surprises for Top Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 25, 2018

Spartanburg Day's Zion Williamson #12 in action against Chino Hills during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Saturday, January 13, 2018, in Springfield,MA. Chino Hills won the game. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

The 2019 NBA draft won't work its way into the national spotlight for quite some time, but league executives and scouts already switched their attention to the next crop of future NBA stars. 

Some of the marquee players in the class of 2019 haven't featured in a minute of college basketball yet, but they're expected to take the NCAA scene by storm. 

A handful of projected first-round picks will refine their respective games in college for another season after flirting with the NBA, and there's also a few international stars worth paying attention to. 

Plenty can change over the next 12 months, but for now, we have a general idea of which players will hear their names called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver next June.


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: Cameron Reddish, SG/SF, 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: Zion Williamson, PF, 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: Oshae 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 Trail Blazers: 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. 


Surprises for 1st-Round Prospects

Williamson Struggles To Reach Top 10 Picks

Zion Williamson is the prospect in the class of 2019 everyone knows about because of his collection of highlight-reel dunks showcased on YouTube from his high school career. 

Williamson is more than just a showstopping slam dunk artist, and he should prove that throughout his freshman season at Duke.

However, not all of the star first-year players at Duke will be able to maximize their potential since the Blue Devils are bringing in such a talented group.

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

With R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Tre Jones in the lineup, Williamson might struggle to get looks in the paint, as the backcourt looks to overwhelm opponents. 

The good news for Williamson is he'll be the focal point of Duke's frontcourt game, which should give NBA teams enough tape on his prowess in the paint. 

While he may stand out at Duke, Williamson might not be the marquee big man in the 2019 NBA draft, as players like Arkansas' Daniel Gafford and Bol Bol out of Oregon could leapfrog him in the lottery. 


Doumbouya Challenges For No. 1 Pick

Just like we witnessed with Luka Doncic in the buildup to the 2018 NBA draft, Sekou Doumbouya should receive a ton of hype coming into the 2019 NBA draft, but teams won't have as close of an eye on him as they do with the collegiate players.

Doumbouya is a rising star on the European stage, and by the time the 2019 NBA draft rolls around, he could challenge Barrett, Reddish and Nassir Little for the honor of being selected first.

The 17-year-old French forward is relatively new to the sport, but his talents will jump off the screen at executives and scouts who keep eyes on him over the next 12 months. 

Doumbouya will play next season with Limoges in France after moving from Poitiers Basket 86. By moving to a team playing in the top tier of the French league, Doumbouya will face more competition and give NBA front offices a chance to further delve into his game. 

If he produces a season similar to what Doncic recently turned in at Real Madrid, Doumbouya should be in the conversation for the top selection. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90


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