NBA Draft 2019: Latest Mock Draft for the Best Prospects Atop Round 1

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2019

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MARCH 30:  Ty Jerome #11, Kyle Guy #5, Mamadi Diakite #25, and De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Virginia Cavaliers celebrate during overtime of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 30, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Now that the Virginia Cavaliers have won their first-ever national championship and the NCAA men's college basketball season is officially over, the sheer volume of players declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft is starting to become a bit dizzying.

Just on the Virginia squad alone, there are four players who have thrown their hats into the ring: De'Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome, Mamadi Diakite and Kyle Guy.

The final tally will likely be higher than in previous seasons, though. This year, the NCAA is allowing undergraduate prospects to test the draft waters by letting them sign with agents while still enrolled in school, but if they aren't selected in the draft in June, they can retain their eligibility and return to college.

That's the kind of new wrinkle that will add intrigue and varied speculation to all the mock drafts that will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

"[The changes are] in general aimed at eliminating some of the corrosive influences that we've seen in college basketball that the federal investigation highlighted," NCAA President Mark Emmert said last year via The Washington Post's Emily Giambalvo.

"We try to strengthen the integrity of the game and strengthen the accountability of all of us that work inside the games and, at the same time, do that in a way that provides student-athletes with much more flexibility and freedom about their decisions."

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With that in mind, here's the latest mock draft and a quick look at the top prospects that will be taken in the first round.


2019 NBA 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: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas 

8. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas): Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Gonzaga

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

10. Minnesota Timberwolves: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

11. Los Angeles Lakers: Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina 

12. Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky 

13. Miami Heat: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga 

14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento): Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

15. Detroit Pistons: Bol Bol, C, Oregon 

16. Brooklyn Nets: Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina

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): Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Ty Jerome, PG, Virginia


Top Prospects Available

RJ Barrett

Sean Rayford/Associated Press

RJ Barrett may have fallen from the top spot in mock drafts since the season began, but he didn't fall far.

Hailed as the most NBA ready player in the draft, the 6'7", 202-pound scoring machine is primed to make an immediate impact on any team that selects him.

In his lone season at Duke, he averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Blue Devils and managed to still standout on a team with the most exciting player in college basketball.

The Mississauga, Ontario, native won the Jerry West award for being the best shooting guard this season and was a consensus first-team All-American.

His game has been compared to Michael Redd, Rudy Gay and even James Harden due to his abilities as a volume scorer.

There's been a few knocks on his efficiency, but that's a nominal complaint, and he more than makes up for that perceived shortcoming with his competitive drive and knack for playing his best basketball when the moment is biggest.

Barrett is athletic, long and versatile. He's also got top-tier scoring instincts and can play with the ball or off the ball, which will help him succeed on the next level.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have a dearth of talent at nearly every position and have needs across the board. Picking up Barrett would be a great start to their continuing rebuild and will give him plenty of opportunities to grow as a player.

Look for Barrett to be an early front-runner for the 2020 Rookie of the Year award.

Prediction: No. 3 pick 


De'Andre Hunter

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 08:  De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Virginia Cavaliers is defended by Jarrett Culver #23 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half during the 2019 NCAA men's Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on A
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Hunter is probably still on cloud nine from winning it all earlier this month, and things are only going to get better for the versatile forward.

The 6'7", 222-pound sophomore is projected to be a lottery pick after bookending his collegiate career with an outstanding performance in the title game against Texas Tech.

Hunter finished with a career-high 27 points and nine rebounds and showed that he could hit the big shot in the big moment.

That coupled with his abilities as an on-ball defender will make him a valuable commodity for numerous NBA teams.

While not regarded as a great player on the offensive side of the ball, he did average 15.2 points (5.1 rebounds and 2 assists) per game this year while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from behind the arc for the Cavs—good for second-best behind the team's leading scorer, Kyle Guy.

He flew under the radar a bit this year with Zion Williamson and Ja Morant dominating the headlines, but he finished with a few honors of his own.

He won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and NABC Defensive Player of the Year awards, and he was picked for the Associated Press' All-America Third Team.

The Washington Wizards were the fourth-worst defensive team in the league this season, so they could use Hunter's size, 7'2" wingspan and defensive talents to help set the tone when trying to stop opponents.

Wizards fans may be wary of Hunter, thinking that he may be another version of Otto Porter, but the Philadelphia native has already shown that he's a better shooter than Porter and has a higher ceiling as a pro prospect.

Prediction: No. 6 pick 


Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com


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