2019 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions and Analysis for Top Prospects Available

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 15, 2019

Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) drives against North Dakota State forward Rocky Kreuser, left, during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

While the best teams in the NBA compete in the first round of the postseason, the 14 worst teams from the 2018-19 regular season are busy preparing scouting reports for the 2019 NBA draft. 

The franchises selecting in the lottery phase of the first round won't know where they will pick until May 14, but by that point, they would have done their due diligence on a handful of prospects. 

Duke's Zion Williamson is the consensus No. 1 overall pick, while Murray State's Ja Morant is likely going to be selected right behind the transcendent talent. 

However, there is a chance one of Williamson's Blue Devils teammates jumps over Morant on the draft board when June 20 rolls around. 

                     

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 Available

Zion Williamson 

The New York Knicks did everything right to tank and earn the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. 

Now they have to wait for a month to see if the entire process was worth it so they can draft Williamson. 

The power forward came to Duke with all sorts of hype as a YouTube dunking sensation, but he proved he was much more than just a highlight machine during his lone collegiate season. 

Williamson's pure athleticism on both sides of the hardwood make him one of the most intriguing prospects out of college basketball in at least the last decade.

Sean Rayford/Associated Press

As Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com noted in his latest mock draft, the 18-year-old had a Player Efficiency Rating that was five points higher than any other player in college basketball. 

ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony described Williamson as the best player and long-term prospect in the draft the moment he stepped on the floor at Duke. 

Wherever he lands in the NBA, he will be met with a massive amount of expectations because his talent alone should significantly improve his team's win total. 

If the Knicks land the No. 1 pick, Williamson could team up with star free agents that sign with the franchise to form the newest threat in the Eastern Conference. 

But there is no guarantee they will land him, as Phoenix and Cleveland have the same lottery odds to earn the No. 1 pick.

The Suns would add Williamson to their explosive group of young talent, while the Cavaliers would welcome the next-generational star to their franchise if they once again win the draft lottery. 

No matter which team wins the draft lottery, it is expected to have an easy decision choosing the teenager on draft night. 

Prediction: No. 1 pick

               

Ja Morant

Morant emerged as the worthy No. 2 pick behind Williamson with his performances in the Ohio Valley Conference and NCAA tournaments. 

The point guard shined throughout the entire regular season for Murray State, but the draft spotlight didn't full reach him until March.

Morant didn't disappoint with a triple-double in the first round of the NCAA tournament, which helped him show he is the best point guard in the draft class. 

Jessica Hill/Associated Press

The team that lands the No. 2 selection will be upset about missing out on Williamson, but Morant is an impressive talent in his own right. 

Givony, who has Morant landing at No. 2 in his most recent mock draft, stated that he should seamlessly fit into the NBA because he is a highly creative and ambidextrous passer with an ability to navigate through pick-and-rolls.

Parrish noted that Morant is incredibly difficult to keep out of the lane, which is what you want to see out of a point guard. 

The 19-year-old's vision at the point and ability to carve through opposing defenses make him a must-pick player at No. 2, but there is one case in which he could drop to No. 3.

If Cleveland lands the second pick, it could opt to go after Duke's R.J. Barrett or Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver since it selected point guard Collin Sexton in the first round in 2018. 

Prediction: No. 2 pick

                

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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