2019 NBA Mock Draft: Updated 1st-Round Predictions Before NCAA Championship

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson (1) celebrates after Duke defeated Florida State in the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Nell Redmond/Associated Press

With only one more game in the college basketball season, most of the top players will turn their attention to the 2019 NBA draft.

Although prospects will get a chance to improve their stock at the combine and in workouts before the June 20 draft, the film is mostly set. There are few proven commodities in this class, but there is no shortage of high-upside players who can turn into impact players.

The draft order will change with the NBA lottery on May 14, but here are the latest predictions for how the first round will shake out.


NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. New York Knicks: Zion Williamson, SF, Duke

2. Phoenix Suns: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State

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3. Cleveland Cavaliers: RJ Barrett, SG, Duke

4. Chicago Bulls: Coby White, PG, North Carolina

5. Atlanta Hawks: De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia

6. Atlanta Hawks (via Mavericks): Bol Bol, C, Oregon

7. New Orleans Pelicans: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

8. Washington Wizards: Rui Hachimura, SF, Gonzaga

9. Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies): Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

10. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

12. Charlotte Hornets: Cameron Reddish, SG, Duke

13. Miami Heat: Sekou Doumbouya, PF, France

14. Boston Celtics (via Kings): Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

15. Detroit Pistons: Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina

16. Brooklyn Nets: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

17. Orlando Magic: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

18. San Antonio Spurs: Keldon Johnson, SG, Kentucky

19. Oklahoma City Thunder: PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky

20. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee

21. Indiana Pacers: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

22. Boston Celtics: Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State

23. Philadelphia 76ers: Jontay Porter, C, Missouri

24. Utah Jazz: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Bruno Fernando, PF, Maryland

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets): Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia

27. Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

28. Golden State Warriors: Carsen Edwards, SG, Purdue

29. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): KZ Okpala, PF, Stanford

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas

Draft order via Tankathon.com


Top Prospects

Zion Williamson, PF, Duke

Sean Rayford/Associated Press

The dunks are fun, but Zion Williamson is much more than just his highlight-reel jams.

The freshman knows how to use his athleticism to make an impact in a variety of ways, especially on the defensive end:

He finished the year averaging 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game while showing the ability to defend multiple positions.

This will keep his floor extremely high regardless of how the rest of his game progresses.

Meanwhile, a developing outside shot could make Williamson borderline unstoppable offensively when added to his ability to get into the lane and attack the basket.

His value goes well beyond his dunks, and he should be the top pick regardless of which team wins the lottery.


Ja Morant, PG, Murray State

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - MARCH 23:  Ja Morant #12 of the Murray State Racers is defended by Anthony Polite #13 of the Florida State Seminoles in the second half during the second round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at XL Center on March 23,
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The NCAA tournament was a breakout opportunity for Ja Morant, who tallied a triple-double in Murray State's upset win over Marquette. He followed that with 28 points in a second-round loss to Florida State where he shot 5-of-6 from three-point range.

These games showed what he can do against quality competition, but his talent has been on display all year.

Morant is one of the country's best passers, as he led college basketball with 10 assists per game. He is sometimes overly aggressive, but he is willing to find teammates all over the court with a variety of passing styles.

As a scorer, the guard can penetrate into the lane with ease with the type of athleticism necessary to finish at the rim even at the next level.

Although he could still improve his shooting, Morant has the skill set to be an NBA star.


RJ Barrett, SG, Duke

Chuck Burton/Associated Press

There are a lot of doubters surrounding RJ Barrett after he played second fiddle to Williamson over the past season.

The guard was inefficient and sometimes got into "hero mode" late in games where he would force bad shots.

On the other hand, he averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game as a freshman in the ACC and was named an All-American by the Associated Press. His skills were also on display throughout the year:

Barrett has an NBA game with the ability to create open shots for himself, as he can beat players off the dribble while using his 6'7" frame to elevate over opponents.

He can get into the paint and finish with consistency, which will be even easier without the clogged lanes in college.

The guard will have time to improve his shot selection and decision-making on the court, but he should be a reliable NBA scorer.


Coby White, PG, North Carolina

John Minchillo/Associated Press

Few players improved their stock down the stretch of the season as much as Coby White.

After deferring to veterans for much of the year, the freshman got more aggressive in the second half of the season to help North Carolina climb up the polls and become a No. 1 seed.

Over the final nine games of the season, White averaged 18.4 points, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

At 6'5", the point guard has great size for the position and the speed to beat nearly everyone down the court. His quickness will allow him to continue his production in the NBA, and he has star upside.

Of course, White is still raw heading into the draft. He needs to improve his jump shot and develop more playmaking ability to create opportunities for teammates.

However, the potential is there for the guard to be a big-time NBA prospect.