Latest NBA Mock Draft Predictions, Post-2019 Trade Deadline
With the NBA trade deadline done, the June 20 draft represents the next major opportunity for roster upgrades.
New questions about draft strategy are also emerging. Will the acquisition of Otto Porter Jr. affect the Chicago Bulls' targets? What about the Orlando Magic's draft plans after they dealt for Markelle Fultz?
Anthony Davis is still a New Orleans Pelican, meaning the eventual lottery winner will inevitably engage in trade talks soon afterward.
Only one deadline deal included a 2019 first-round pick, as the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired a Houston Rockets lottery-protected selection.
1. New York Knicks: Zion Williamson (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)
July 1, the start of the NBA's free-agent moratorium period, is suddenly a big date on the New York Knicks' calendar following the Kristaps Porzingis trade that created enough cap room for them to sign two max free agents. But May 14 remains equally important.
Winning the draft lottery would lead to Zion Williamson, an insurance policy and franchise player in case New York can't land All-Stars over the summer. He'd replace Porzingis—only with Williamson on a rookie deal and no Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee or Trey Burke on the books—and the Knicks would still have the cap flexibility to offer two max contracts.
But first they have to win the lottery, and finishing with a bottom-three record gives them just a 14 percent chance.
The nation's leader in player efficiency rating, averaging 22.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game on 68.2 percent shooting, Williamson has even made a three-pointer in six of Duke's last nine games. He'll go No. 1 regardless of who makes the pick.
2. Phoenix Suns: Ja Morant (Murray State, PG, Sophomore)
Without an obvious "best player available" behind Williamson, the Phoenix Suns would presumably shop the No. 2 pick, hoping to trade for a veteran star to help jump-start the franchise's rebuild.
Keeping the selection could mean taking needs into account, which would give Ja Morant the edge over Duke's RJ Barrett.
With explosiveness that points to upside, Morant also leads the country in assists. And the Suns offense would benefit from having a high-level playmaker and passer at the point.
There are questions about his defensive fit for the NBA's No. 29 defense. But the same ones would exist if Phoenix took Barrett. Plan A would be to trade the pick.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: RJ Barrett (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)
Even with Kevin Love still on the roster, the Cleveland Cavaliers are rebuilding. Talent is all they'll care about in the draft, which would point to Barrett if Williamson and Morant are taken.
Cleveland will look at the Duke freshman to carry the scoring load while it attempts to build up the roster.
Averaging 23.0 points and 2.3 threes per game, he's been a constant for Duke, demonstrating a balanced mix of traditional shot-making and slashing, but also improvisation that leads to tough buckets and free throws.
Barrett's shooting consistency (31.4 3PT%, 68.2 FT%) and shot selection have raised questions, but none bold enough (yet) to knock him outside the top three.
4. Chicago Bulls: Cam Reddish (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)
NBA scouts are looking past Cam Reddish's freshman inefficiency toward his long-term NBA fit and potential, which are fueled by positional tools and shot-making.
The Chicago Bulls should target his shooting and defense to put between Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen, even after they added Porter.
Averaging 2.6 threes and 2.0 steals in 27.1 minutes per game, Reddish has transformed into a three-and-D wing. The Bulls could value his floor while still hoping they can unlock a scoring ability that his supporting role at Duke may be masking.
He appears to be regaining confidence after a rough January, having totaled 40 points and eight threes through two February games.
5. Atlanta Hawks: Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech, SG, Sophomore)
With six more wins than the Chicago Bulls, the Atlanta Hawks have separated themselves from the NBA's bottom. They've done it with a promising core that features John Collins, Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, and Jarrett Culver would fit it nicely as a fourth piece.
He's taken his scoring and playmaking to new levels, averaging 17.8 points and 3.7 assists per game, and ranking in the 81st percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and 83rd percentile out of isolation.
Culver's shooting will be worth monitoring, with his three-point mark dipping to 32.5 percent during an ongoing slump.
The Hawks could look at Indiana's Romeo Langford, but his shooting has been worse (24.1 3PT%), and Culver has the defensive edge.
6. Memphis Grizzlies: Romeo Langford (Indiana, SG, Freshman)
Even though the Memphis Grizzlies kept Mike Conley at the trade deadline, dealing Gasol signified the start of the rebuild around Jaren Jackson Jr.
Langford could develop into Memphis' next cornerstone. A 6'6", 215-pound 2-guard, he's averaging 17.4 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting, and he stands out for his effortless scoring ability off the dribble.
He ranks in the 91st percentile as a finisher around the basket with a diverse layup and runner package. And though some teams may be torn by his tendency to take two-point jumpers, he creates and makes them at a high level (14-of-23 from the mid-range).
Drafting Langford No. 6 will just mean betting his shooting range will improve (24.1 3PT%).
7. Orlando Magic: Darius Garland (Vanderbilt, PG, Freshman)
The Orlando Magic should have been focused on Darius Garland since last April after his big night at the Nike Hoop Summit. And though they've ignored needs in the draft the past two years, having taken Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba to join Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic, this is the right time to grab a guard.
The Magic did make a worthwhile gamble on Fultz. But there is still too much uncertainty regarding his development and trajectory.
Orlando could make a case that Garland would fill both the best-player-available requirement and a hole in the lineup.
In four full games before he tore his meniscus—an injury he's expected to be fully recovered from by workout time—he averaged 19.8 points. Garland's floor game needs work, but his scoring potential could give Orlando a lift.
8. Washington Wizards: Jaxson Hayes (Texas, C, Freshman)
Do the Washington Wizards offer to trade up for Morant or Garland after John Wall's Achilles injury? It will be tempting, though after they traded Porter, they'll just be looking for the best player available for a rebuild around Bradley Beal.
Jaxson Hayes has moved closer to earning the title of the draft's top rim-running big man. He's shooting 74.4 percent and consistently positioning himself for easy baskets by beating defenses down the floor, cutting and finishing lobs.
Quick and light on his feet, Hayes, who's blocking 4.3 shots per 40 minutes, would give Washington an energetic, active center.
9. New Orleans Pelicans: De'Andre Hunter (Virginia, SF/PF, Sophomore)
The New Orleans Pelicans roster may look revamped by draft night. This could even wind up being the team's second selection if it trades Davis to the lottery winner.
The Pelicans just need to stockpile assets and talent, regardless of what shape or position it comes in. De'Andre Hunter should be an easy fit anywhere for his improving shooting (19-of-44 three-pointers) and ability to guard both forward positions.
His overall shot-creation hasn't taken off, however, and drafting him would likely mean accepting a role player.
After he scored 18 points against Duke during their first meeting, Hunter will benefit if he has a strong game against the Blue Devils on Saturday.
10. Detroit Pistons: Keldon Johnson (Kentucky, SG/SF, Freshman)
The top talent becomes tougher to identify around No. 10, where the Detroit Pistons will presumably hope to land a guard or wing.
Keldon Johnson has looked steady all year at attacking, spot-up shooting and defending for Kentucky. He isn't the most creative scorer or playmaker, but with NBA tools, exciting athleticism, a 40.8 percent three-point mark and a competitive edge, Johnson has a promising foundation and a perceived high floor to build from.
He'd give the Pistons a downhill driver with three-and-D potential, though he'll want to work on improving his ball-handling and passing.
11. Atlanta Hawks (via Mavs): Bol Bol (Oregon, C, Freshman)
Assuming the Atlanta Hawks land a guard or wing at No. 5, they could roll the dice on the injured Bol Bol with their second lottery pick.
The potential upside is worth the risk at No. 11 as long as doctors reveal his foot has fully recovered. Bol was making a strong top-10 case before he went down in mid-December, averaging 21.0 points on 13-of-25 shooting from three.
With the outside touch and range to stretch the floor, plus a 7'8" wingspan for shot blocking, he'd fit next to the bouncier, more explosive Collins. The Hawks coaching staff would just have to work with Bol on strengthening his body and defensive IQ/motor.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sekou Doumbouya (France, SF/PF, 2000)
Sekou Doumbouya, who's expected back from a thumb injury soon, will be an option for late-lottery teams that are unimpressed by the remaining NCAA prospects.
He still features physical tools (6'9", 230 lbs) and athleticism over skill at 18 years old, and his values lies in finishing and defensive versatility. But he has hit 10 threes and 73.7 percent of his free throws through 20 games, and has flashed potential with faceup moves and improvised baskets off the dribble.
He scored 12 points in three consecutive games before he went down, so scouts will monitor his return closely.
13. Los Angeles Lakers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech, SG, Sophomore)
Since the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to pursue veteran stars, they'll need contributing role players on cheaper deals. Nickeil Alexander-Walker could meet that description with his on- and off-ball versatility and 42.4 percent three-point shooting.
He ranks in the 90th percentile out of spot-up situations and the 81st percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler. And he's more than doubled his assist rate to 23.5 percent from 10.6 percent.
Alexander-Walker lacks explosiveness and strength, which hints at a lower ceiling compared to the guards taken earlier. But at 6'5" with a convincing shooting stroke and secondary playmaking ability, plus averages of 17.5 points and 3.8 assists per game, he could draw late-lottery looks.
14. Boston Celtics (via Kings): Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga, PF, Junior)
As long as the Sacramento Kings finish with a worse record than the Philadelphia 76ers and don't win the lottery, their pick will go to the Boston Celtics. It wouldn't be shocking if Boston shopped it around or threw it into a package for a bigger trade proposal.
Regardless, Rui Hachimura figures to draw interest around No. 14, where questions about his three-point shooting, defense and passing feel less alarming.
Averaging 20.4 points on 60.6 percent shooting, he continues to build a draft case with tremendous scoring efficiency. An eye-test standout for his 6'8", 230-pound frame and agility, Hachimura can be a handful around the basket as well as a threat away from it with his ability to face up and attack or rise and fire for a mid-range jumper.
15. Miami Heat: Kevin Porter Jr. (USC, SG, Freshman)
Teams will have their detectives hard at work while scouting Porter, a raw but obvious NBA talent who's been injured, suspended and a non-factor at different points of the season. A flashy athlete with 6'6" size, Porter stands out for both his physical profile and advanced scoring skill set that includes high-level shot-creation and versatile shot-making ability. With minimal production and clear upside, he'll fall under the boom-or-bust category.
16. Charlotte Hornets: Nassir Little (North Carolina, SF/PF, Freshman)
Given Little's bench role, it's reasonable to expect the inconsistency to continue through March. His scoring feel and shooting have been disappointing. But at 6'6", 220 pounds, Little is highly impressive physically, and lately, he's given scouts more flashes of faceup moves, mid-range jumpers and transition finishing.
17. Brooklyn Nets: KZ Okpala (Stanford, SF/PF, Sophomore)
A giant freshman-to-sophomore jump puts Okpala in play here and potentially for teams later in the lottery. He's coming off a career-high 30 points against California on Sunday and has raised his averages to 18.1 points on 49.4 percent shooting and an improved 41.9 percent from three. Considering his size (6'9", 215 lbs), the Nets will be drawn to his positional tools, faceup scoring, developing jump shot, budding passing and potential defensive versatility.
18. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Jontay Porter (Missouri, C, Sophomore)
Though he's out for the season (torn ACL), Porter showcased enough shooting, passing and shot blocking last year. The Celtics won't look to fill any specific needs with their second first-round pick (if they're still making it). Porter, 19 years old, would likely spend time in the G League to strengthen his body and conditioning, and his offensive confidence and skill.
19. Utah Jazz: Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga, PF/C, Junior)
The Jazz could look at Clarke for his athleticism and energy, which is translating to a 70.0 two-point percentage plus 4.4 blocks per 40 minutes. He's limited offensively, but signs point to an easy-basket specialist and defensive ace.
20. San Antonio Spurs: PJ Washington (Kentucky, PF, Sophomore)
With at least 20 points in four of Kentucky's last five games, Washington has his offense working from each level with his finishing, post game and shooting. Strong, long and nimble, the 6'8", 228-pounder is showing signs of improved skill and motor. There doesn't appear to be significant upside tied to him, but his tools, hands around the basket, projectable jumper and defensive mobility indicate a role-playing big man.
21. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets): Daniel Gafford (Arkansas, C, Sophomore)
Gafford's offense has picked up in February, with the 6'11", 233-pound center having combined for 51 points through two games. Shooting 66.7 percent on the season, he's an elite finishing target with strong shot-blocking tools, but his limited scoring repertoire for a non-switch defender are also turnoffs.
22. Portland Trail Blazers: Tre Jones (Duke, PG, Freshman)
Portland is a strong fit for Jones, who could focus on his strengths as a passer and defensive stopper behind Damian Lillard. He's the only player in the country averaging at least 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals and fewer than 1.5 turnovers per game. Though a limited scorer and athlete, he possesses the basketball IQ and toughness to carve out a similar role and career to those of Monte Morris or Fred VanVleet—valued NBA backups who were two of the 11 college players to previously match Jones' two-way playmaking numbers and efficiency.
23. Philadelphia 76ers: Jordan Poole (Michigan, SG, Sophomore)
Poole isn't for everyone, but the Sixers could be drawn to his shot-making skills (40.8 3PT%). An advanced shot-creator and streaky scorer, he projects as an instant-offense weapon—though his shot selection and playmaking are suspect.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois, SG, Freshman)
Depending on the game, Dosumno may look like a multiple-year college player, but in a perceived weak draft, teams may show a willingness to reach and wait on his development. At 6'5", he has positional size, a promising jumper (36.5 3PT%) and defensive quickness, but he'll fall under the project category without polished creating or playmaking skills.
25. Indiana Pacers: Coby White (North Carolina, PG/SG, Freshman)
A 6'5" combo guard making 2.1 threes per contest, White has size and skill in his pull-up game and passing. A lack of explosiveness and strength should improve the chances he'll be available for non-lottery teams.
26. Boston Celtics: Grant Williams (Tennessee, PF, Junior)
The leading scorer for the nation's No. 1 team, Williams ranks in the 86th percentile or better on post-ups, cuts, isolation, offensive rebounds and pick-and-rolls. His strong body, improved scoring and passing skills and defensive IQ should help compensate for having no bounce or positional height (6'7").
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): Goga Bitadze (Georgia, C, 1999)
Bitadze's breakout should lead to first-round looks for his size (6'11", 246 lbs), production (15.4 points, 2.4 blocks per game) and expanding offensive skill (15-of-39 three-pointers). A lack of defensive switchability is a drawback, though his finishing, rim protection and shooting potential should be enough.
28. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Deividas Sirvydis (Lithuania, SF, 2000)
After shooting 45.2 percent from three at the U18 European Championships, Sirvydis started the season as a prospect to watch. And he's delivered enough in limited action, flashing a promising mix of three-point shooting, driving and passing for a 6'7" wing.
29. Golden State Warriors: Ty Jerome (Virginia, SG, Junior)
Jerome's 40.6 percent three-point shooting and passing (5.0 assists per game) suggest he'd fit in Golden State. A smart decision-maker (1.7 turnovers per game), proven shot-maker and tough defender at 6'5", he won't need speed or explosiveness to succeed if given the right supporting role.
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Bruno Fernando (Maryland, C, Sophomore)
The draw to Fernando stems from his immaculate physical profile (6'10", 240 lbs), but he returned to Maryland an improved post scorer and defender. This late, it will be worth finding out if he can mirror Bam Adebayo's success in Miami.