New Orleans immediately becomes must-see television for basketball fans next season, and the No. 1 selection only adds intrigue to the team's offseason plans with superstar big man Anthony Davis requesting a trade in January.
The rest of the first round features a host of intriguing talent led by Murray State point guard Ja Morant and Duke forward RJ Barrett, who figure to round out the top three.
Here's a look at first-round projections post-lottery as well as further breakdowns on three selections.
2019 NBA Mock Draft: 1st Round
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Duke F Zion Williamson
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Murray State PG Ja Morant
3. New York Knicks: Duke F RJ Barrett
4. Los Angeles Lakers: Texas Tech G/F Jarrett Culver
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Virginia F De'Andre Hunter
6. Phoenix Suns: UNC G Coby White
7. Chicago Bulls: Duke F Cam Reddish
8. Atlanta Hawks: Oregon C Bol Bol
9. Washington Wizards: Vanderbilt G Darius Garland
10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas Mavericks): Limoges CSP F Sekou Doumbouya
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: UNC F Nassir Little
12. Charlotte Hornets: Texas F/C Jaxson Hayes
13. Miami Heat: Gonzaga F Rui Hachimura
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento Kings): Maryland C Bruno Fernando
15. Detroit Pistons: Indiana G Romeo Langford
16. Orlando Magic: Virginia Tech G Nickeil Alexander-Walker
17. Brooklyn Nets: Gonzaga F Brandon Clarke
18. Indiana Pacers: Kentucky G/F Keldon Johnson
19. San Antonio Spurs: Mega Bemax C Goga Bitadze
20. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers): Kentucky G Tyler Herro
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Purdue G Carsen Edwards
22. Boston Celtics: Stanford F KZ Okpala
23. Utah Jazz: Kentucky F PJ Washington
24. Philadelphia 76ers: USC G Kevin Porter Jr.
25. Portland Trail Blazers: Virginia G Ty Jerome
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston Rockets): UNC F Cameron Johnson
27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver Nuggets): Arkansas F Daniel Gafford
28. Golden State Warriors: Florida State F Mfiondu Kabengele
29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto Raptors): Washington F Matisse Thybulle
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Arizona State G Luguentz Dort
Washington Wizards: Vanderbilt G Darius Garland
The Washington Wizards do not have a bright future.
Wizards point guard John Wall, who is signed with the team through 2023 if he picks up his 2022-23 player option, may not play in 2019-20 after suffering a ruptured Achilles in February.
The team has far less future cap space than the vast majority of NBA teams, per HoopsHype, so improving via free agency is a near-fruitless enterprise. Of note, the team already has the fifth-most money committed against the 2020-21 cap.
Plus, the Wizards still haven't found a general manager to take over ex-president Ernie Grunfeld, who was relieved of his duties on April 2.
At this point, the Wizards may as well take the best available player regardless of position, and that could be Vanderbilt floor general Darius Garland.
Garland suffered a torn ACL that prematurely ended his season, but not before showing why he deserves to be drafted in the top half of the lottery thanks to 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in five games.
Mike Schmitz of ESPN has him ranked fourth on his big board:
Schmitz broke Garland down further:
Wall may be fine within a year, but the Wizards shouldn't let a talent like Garland slip past them even if he shares the same position. Washington needs to take the best player available.
Atlanta Hawks: Oregon C Bol Bol
The Atlanta Hawks' 29-53 record may not show much improvement from their 24-58 campaign the year before, but they are on the rise thanks to Trae Young and John Collins, who should form the core of a perennial playoff contender soon.
The Hawks have plenty of young talent outside of those two, including wings Kevin Huerter and Taurean Prince and power forward Omari Spellman.
However, Atlanta could use a young and promising center with sky-high potential and can get that with Oregon center Bol Bol at No. 8 or No. 10.
Bol, the son of former NBA big man Manute Bol, averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in nine games last season. Unfortunately, Bol suffered a season-ending navicular stress fracture in his left foot.
If Bol passes medical tests prior to the draft, the 7'2" big man with a 7'8" wingspan will be hard for the Hawks to pass up, in part because he can spread the floor with his three-point shooting prowess (13-of-25 last season).
Big men who can knock down three-pointers aren't a dime a dozen, let alone 7'2" centers. While Bol's injury is a concern, the Hawks should take a chance on a high-reward prospect who can help vault the team into the playoffs.
Boston Celtics: Maryland C Bruno Fernando
Boston Celtics center Al Horford will be a free agent either this summer or the next one thanks to a 2019-20 player option that caps his current deal.
Horford enjoyed a productive 2018-19 campaign with 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds, but he's turning 33 years old in June. The ex-Florida star is in the twilight of his career, and the Celtics should consider looking for his eventual replacement.
Maryland center Bruno Fernando is an option: The 6'10" big man posted 13.6 points, 10.6 boards and 1.9 blocks for the Terrapins last season.
Reviews are mixed on Fernando's first-round placement. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report called him a "fringe first-rounder:"
However, ESPN Insider Jordan Schultz called Fernando a "grown man" who has "all the makings of becoming a lottery pick."
Notably, Fernando improved significantly between his freshman to sophomore years.
"I think about last year at this time," Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon told reporters before the 2019 NCAA tournament. "He had trouble catching passes. He had trouble finishing. He was always in foul trouble. He was emotional in the wrong way.
"Now he can catch, now he can score against the double-team. He's been an all-league first-team defensive player. He'll stay out foul trouble. Been a great leader. There's been a lot of things he's improved on and continued to improve on as the season goes on. I've said it a lot this year, but he's one of the most improved players from one season to the next that I ever coached."
NBC Sports College Basketball Insider Rob Dauster also raved about Fernando to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington.
"If he catches it with his back to the basket, you're dead. He's going to bury you. He's really athletic and explosive. If in the NBA you're asking him to go 20 minutes a night and be a like a DeAndre Jordan, a big body in front of the rim and go get some rebounds, score on you and catch some lobs, he can do that.”
Ideally, Fernando will play more than 20 minutes per game, but if he's in the vicinity of New York Knicks center DeAndre Jordan, then the Celtics will get a steal at No. 14.