2019 NBA Mock Draft: Complete 1st-Round Predictions for Top Prospects and More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 13, 2019

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - MARCH 23:  Ja Morant #12 of the Murray State Racers attempts a shot against Mfiondu Kabengele #25 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, 2019 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The top prospects in men's college basketball have begun declaring for the 2019 NBA draft.

A social media announcement stating a prospect's intentions to play professional basketball next season is a daily occurrence this time of year. 

The teams that land at the top of the first round after the May 14 NBA draft lottery are hoping to be paired with some of the elite talent that caught our attention throughout the 2019 NCAA men's basketball tournament. 

Three of the top prospects played one season at Duke, while the favorite to be selected second overall hails from a small school in the Ohio Valley Conference that made some noise during March Madness. 


2019 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft

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

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

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: RJ Barrett, SG, Duke

4. Chicago Bulls: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech 

5. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke

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

7. Memphis Grizzlies: Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Gonzaga

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

9. New Orleans Pelicans: Sekou Doumbouya, PF/SF, Limoges CSP (France)

10. Minnesota Timberwolves: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

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

12. Charlotte Hornets: Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina

13. Miami Heat: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento): PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky

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

16. Brooklyn Nets: Bol Bol, C, Oregon

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

18. Indiana Pacers: Keldon Johnson, SG/SF, Kentucky

19. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers): Goga Bitadze, C, Buducnost (Montenegro)

20. San Antonio Spurs: Grant Williams, PF, Tennesse

21. Boston Celtics: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech

22. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

23. Utah Jazz: Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

24. Philadelphia 76ers: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

25. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston): Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State

26. Portland Trailblazers: Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland

27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver): KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford

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

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

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State


Top Prospects

Zion Williamson

Unless one of the most shocking decisions in NBA draft history occurs, Zion Williamson will be the No. 1 overall selection. 

The fate of the Duke freshman will be determined well before draft night, with the lottery taking place in the middle of the postseason. 

The meteoric talent was linked with the New York Knicks for most of the NBA season, and they successfully tanked and earned the worst record in the NBA. 

Sean Rayford/Associated Press

But with the new lottery rules in place, the Knicks have level odds with the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers to take home the No. 1 pick. 

Of course, the top selection isn't limited to those three teams since any of the 14 franchises entered into the lottery could conceivably win it. 

Whichever franchise has the most luck on May 14 will get an otherworldly talent that took college basketball by storm from the first second he stepped on the floor. 

Williamson came into Duke with plenty of hype as a YouTube phenomenon, and he more than lived up to it by displaying his athleticism on rim-rattling dunks and blocks in which he soared above the basket. 

Simply put, Williamson is a franchise-altering prospect who is expected to make a massive impact wherever he ends up.

Depending on which team selects him with the first pick, Williamson could be able to guide it into playoff contention. 

But in order to take the step up from basement dweller to borderline playoff team, the franchises in the mix for Williamson have to add pieces around him through free agency, trades or other draft picks.

Prediction: No. 1 pick.


Ja Morant 

While Williamson established himself as the No. 1 overall pick, Ja Morant earned the title of second-best prospect in the eyes of many experts through his performances at Murray State. 

The belief that Morant will be a high lottery pick was reinforced by the number of NBA personnel, including former Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, that flocked to Evansville, Indiana, for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. 

The sophomore guard—who hails from South Carolina, just like Williamson—put on a show in his final four collegiate games. 

Jessica Hill/Associated Press

In the OVC and NCAA tournaments, Morant averaged 27.5 points, 7.8 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game, with his top performance being a triple-double in the NCAA first-round win over Marquette. 

Morant's backcourt vision and ability to get to the basket are two of the qualities NBA personnel have fallen in love with, and it has led to a rise up the draft board.

Going into the individual evaluation portion of the draft process, Morant is the favorite to be taken No. 2, with Duke's RJ Barrett being most significant competition. 

As he long as he performs well at the NBA combine, Morant will be the second prospect called up to the stage by NBA commissioner Adam Silver June 20.

Prediction: No. 2 pick


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90


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