2019 NBA Mock Draft: Latest Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 8, 2019

Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver (23) celebrates after defeating Michigan State 61-51 in the second half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

With the college basketball season behind every team not named Virginia or Texas Tech, the 2019 NBA prospect pool is becoming officially populated.

Every day or so, another budding baller declares his entry into the annual talent grab. Once the draft class takes shape, the board can spring to life as workouts and interviews put the finishing touches on personal stocks.

After running through our latest mock draft, we'll identify three candidates who could wow scouts and executives on the workout circuit.


2019 NBA Mock Draft

1. New York Knicks: Zion Williamson, PF/C, Duke

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State

3. Phoenix Suns: RJ Barrett, SG/SF, Duke

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

5. Atlanta Hawks: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

6. Washington Wizards: De'Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Virginia

7. Memphis Grizzlies: Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

8. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks): Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

9. New Orleans Pelicans: Bol Bol, C, Oregon

10. Minnesota Timberwolves: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

11. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Gonzaga

12. Miami Heat: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

13. Charlotte Hornets: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings): Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, France

15. Detroit Pistons: Keldon Johnson, SG/SF, Kentucky

16. Brooklyn Nets: Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

17. Orlando Magic: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

18. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Boston Celtics

19. Indiana Pacers: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

20. San Antonio Spurs: PJ Washington, PF/C, Kentucky

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech

22. Boston Celtics: Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia

23. Utah Jazz: Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina

24. Philadelphia 76ers: KZ Okpala, SF/PF, Stanford

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston Rockets): Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas

27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets): Luguentz Dort, SG/SF, Arizona State

28. Golden State Warriors: Grant Williams, PF/C, Tennessee

29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors): Dylan Windler, SF, Belmont

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue

Draft order via Tankathon.com


Potential Workout Risers

Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

Johnson's shortcomings are easy to spot. He has trouble creating his own offense, and considering he's already 23 years old, that might just be a career-long issue.

But his strengths are just as noticeable, and they happen to be among today's most coveted skills.

Most importantly, he's a lethal long-range shooter who can overwhelm opponents with both volume and efficiency. Despite launching nearly six triples per game, he converted those shots at a 45.7 percent clip. He actually paced the Tar Heels in points (16.9) with threes making up 45.5 percent of his total field goals.

It isn't hard to imagine Johnson going berserk in shooting drills, and scouts of shooting-needy teams—i.e., everyone—struggling to contain their elation.

If that's not enough, he's also improving as a defender and should offer decent versatility at that end. Those are easily projectable skills and precisely the kind that win-now teams want out of a mid-to-late first-rounder.


Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina

Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Little was supposed to be the next big thing in Chapel Hill.

Last March, he was named MVP of the McDonald's All-American game. In October, he held the No. 3 spot on the big board of Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman. Little's ceiling appeared limitless, as he dazzled with physical tools, athleticism and a growing offensive arsenal.

But the light bulb never turned on during his one-and-done stay with the Heels. He averaged just 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game. He wasn't a consistent shot-creator or shot-maker from distance, and his feel for the game left plenty to be desired.

Still, his upside hasn't changed. Take those physical weapons, add in a more reliable and refined offensive game, and suddenly you're looking at a matchup nightmare at the next level.

Little was the third-ranked player in his high school class, and he's potentially battling against a lot of those same players again. If he outshined most of them before, why can't he do it again?


Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas

Rather than jump into the 2018 draft, where he may have been a lottery pick, Gafford returned for a second season with the Razorbacks. And in year two, he bumped his points (11.8 to 16.9), rebounds (6.2 to 8.7) and field-goal percentage (60.5 to 65.9), showing clear improvement with both quantity and quality.

But he's nowhere to be found in this year's lottery conversation and is far from guaranteed to be a first-rounder. He should use the workout portion of the audition process to show NBA teams how silly this "slide" is.

Sure, he doesn't have the most diverse offensive arsenal, but scouts knew that last year. He intrigues with size-plus-explosiveness combination that could fit him into the DeAndre Jordan, Clint Capela mold of rim-running 5s. Gafford's motor has the occasional misfire, but he's electric when fully revved.

"I've only seen one other guy in college basketball this season who's a better athlete than Daniel, and that's Zion Williamson," former Arkansas All-American and NBA center Joe Kleine said, via NBA.com's Chris Dortch.

Gafford has all the tools to be a combine star, and his stock could soar if he's consistently running past, finishing over and/or rejecting his positional peers in this draft.


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