2019 NBA Mock Draft, Post-Draft Lottery Edition
With the NBA lottery now complete, teams can officially begin to strategize for the June 20 draft.
After winning the lottery, the New Orleans Pelicans can narrow their search to one name: Zion Williamson. The next step is deciding what to do with Anthony Davis.
The real fun starts at No. 2 overall, where the Memphis Grizzlies must decide whether to add their point guard of the future in Ja Morant or settle on volume-scoring wing RJ Barrett.
Anything goes after that. Results from the predraft process will help determine how the rest of the board shakes out.
The NBA combine on Thursday and Friday represents the next key opportunity for both prospects and scouts.
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)
Tuesday night's lottery likely revealed Zion Williamson's home for next season and beyond.
In Williamson, the New Orleans Pelicans have found their replacement for Davis, assuming he still wants to be traded. They now have a new franchise player to build around. The question is who they'll be able to surround him with.
Williamson finished with the highest player efficiency rating of any NCAA prospect in at least a decade, punishing opponents all season with an unreal mix of power, explosion, quickness and motor.
But the 18-year-old flashed more than just natural talent. He demonstrated enough ball-handling skill, post moves, touch and defensive versatility to create first-team All-NBA potential.
New executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin will do his best to convince Davis to stay and team up with Williamson. The two could eventually become the league's toughest frontcourt pairing.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant (Murray State, PG, Sophomore)
While there hasn't been debate about who's going No. 1, two players have been tied to the second pick.
The lottery was always going to be a key factor in determining whether Ja Morant or RJ Barrett would follow Williamson. And now that the draft order is set, it's easy to envision Morant will go No. 2 to the Memphis Grizzlies.
With Mike Conley's time running out in Memphis, the Grizzlies can draft his long-term replacement at the point.
Nifty ball-handling, vision and ambidextrous passing skill fuel elite playmaking potential for Morant, the nation's assist leader. Even if he struggles to improve as a shooter, his ability to set up teammates is a strength Memphis can bank on.
He also led the country in transition points, and with explosive speed, he should continue to put pressure on defenses both in the open floor and off ball screens in the half court.
Shooting will be a swing skill that affects his NBA trajectory, and he'll likely have trouble early with decision-making, turnovers and defense.
3. New York Knicks: RJ Barrett (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)
The New York Knicks won't be happy about missing out on Williamson, but they'll feel safe with Barrett at No. 3. The 6'7", 18-year-old wing averaged 22.6 points per game for the Duke Blue Devils as a freshman.
Questions have popped up throughout the season about his scoring efficiency and shot selection, though. He still possesses top-notch instincts and an unteachable ability to improvise to go with a strong physical profile for a guard. The 1.9 threes per game underline promising shot-making potential, while his 4.3 assists per night highlight passing and ball-screen playmaking.
Barrett may be flawed and in need of sharper one-on-one moves and vision, but he's one of the draft's best bets to produce at a high level. He also possesses the confidence and go-to mentality to embrace the pressure in New York.
Barrett may also have to deal with trade rumors before his first career game. It wouldn't be surprising if the Knicks included him in a trade proposal for Anthony Davis. The Pelicans may be interested in pairing Barrett back up with Williamson, his college teammate.
4. Los Angeles Lakers: De'Andre Hunter (Virginia, SF/PF, Sophomore)
After jumping up to No. 4 during the lottery, the Los Angeles Lakers may want to call the New Orleans Pelicans and ask who they'd want them to draft in case an Anthony Davis trade regains traction.
De'Andre Hunter used the national title game (27 points) to presumably secure a spot in the tier that follows Williamson, Morant and Barrett.
A 43.8 percent three-point shooter and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Hunter would be a fit for practically every team in the lottery. The 6'7", 225-pound forward can be immediately useful in L.A. alongside LeBron James with his ability to stretch the floor, attack closeouts and switch onto any position.
However, he'll need to improve in the shot-creation department to become more than a role player.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech, SG, Sophomore)
Scouts agree Jarrett Culver is a lottery pick, but many are split as to whether he projects as a star scorer or role-playing 2-guard.
For the Cleveland Cavaliers, it's worth finding out at No. 5 overall, given his 6'6" size, 18.5 points per game and run to the national title game.
Culver lacks explosiveness, and his three-point shooting inexplicably fell from 38.2 percent as a freshman to 30.4 percent as a sophomore. But he made significant improvements as a shot-creator and finisher inside the arc. And he added playmaking ability, having averaged 3.7 assists and flashed enough ball-screen passing feel.
Even if the Cavaliers are undecided about Culver's ceiling, his floor appears high. He should be able to give Cleveland a well-rounded offensive player and solid defensive link next to Collin Sexton.
6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland (Vanderbilt, PG, Freshman)
The predraft process represents a suitable opportunity for Darius Garland to strengthen his case as the No. 2 point guard in the class.
He'll plug a gaping hole in Phoenix, where the Suns need both point guard play and shooting.
Garland won't scrimmage at the combine, and it wouldn't be surprising if he skips athletic testing. Instead, he should be salivating at the chance to work out for teams and showcase his shooting.
Garland isn't the playmaker or athlete Morant is, but his jump shot is far more dangerous and could serve him well early in his career.
He gave scouts just a taste of his scoring ability over five games before he tore his meniscus in November. But it should have been enough to validate his high school scouting report and create more intrigue surrounding his potential.
7. Chicago Bulls: Coby White (North Carolina, PG/SG, Freshman)
Coby White shouldn't have a label entering the draft. He's generated interest with well-rounded skills from both backcourt spots.
He ranked in the 97th percentile as a pick-and-roll passer and the 95th percentile as a spot-up player, demonstrating impressive ball-screen playmaking instincts and a persuasive shooting stroke.
He'll bring an uptempo pace to the Chicago Bulls, which results in both open looks in transition and turnovers. White also lacks explosive burst while turning the corner and elevating around the basket, and his defense was inconsistent.
The Bulls, who don't appear sold on Kris Dunn as their long-term point guard, could use some additional firepower at the 1. And at 6'5", White should be able to slot in at either backcourt position with tough shot-making, open-floor attacking and setup assists.
8. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)
To an extent, teams will be willing to overlook Cam Reddish's brutal inefficiency. Even though he shot only 35.6 percent from the floor as a freshman at Duke, his 2.5 threes and 1.6 steals per game have helped keep lottery interest alive.
The Atlanta Hawks should value his shooting range and defensive potential for a 6'8", 19-year-old wing. He can play either the 2 or 3 alongside Kevin Huerter between Trae Young and John Collins.
Even though Reddish struggled for most of the season, particularly as a scorer and finisher inside the arc, his potential will seem more appealing than that of any of the available role-playing bigs.
9. Washington Wizards: Bol Bol (Oregon, C, Freshman)
Durability questions could paint Bol Bol as too risky for a top-10 pick. But the Washington Wizards need to swing for the fences rather than settle on a low-upside role player.
Bol will ease some concerns by returning for workouts after he missed most of the season with a fractured foot. He has the potential to turn heads in a workout setting with his 7'2" size, ball-handling, specialty shot-making and effortless shooting stroke.
He was able to flash each of those skills in nine games at Oregon, during which time he averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks while shooting 13-of-25 from three.
Bol had issues with defensive effort and awareness. But Washington will take its chances with his 7'8" wingspan and scoring potential.
The Wizards could deem Bol worth the risk at No. 9 overall if his foot is healed and medical reports check out.
10. Atlanta Hawks (via Mavericks): Romeo Langford (Indiana, SG, Freshman)
Romeo Langford will use workouts to answer questions about his 27.2 percent three-point shooting.
Analyzing his jump shot should be a priority for teams during the predraft process, since he reportedly just had surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament, per ESPN's Jonathan Givony. But despite his long-range shooting woes, he still averaged 16.5 points per game.
With 6'6", 2-guard size, he's a smooth, effective slasher and driver, and he's flashed strong shot-creating ability with mid-range pull-ups and step-backs.
If he looks more comfortable while shooting from distance during workouts, Atlanta could consider Langford a value pick at No. 10 overall.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sekou Doumbouya (France, SF/PF, 2000)
Sekou Doumbouya pops with a 6'9", 230-pound physical profile as an 18-year-old. The scouting challenge is determining the likelihood that his shooting, slashing and defensive awareness could improve.
But he'll be the draft's youngest prospect. He's already held his own all year in France's top league (plus Eurocup), so he'll look like a gamble worth taking, particularly given the potential value tied to forwards who can make three-pointers and guard three positions.
Though he's highly raw in terms of skill level and feel, Doumbouya has flashed enough glimpses of shot-making and finishing on the move to create optimism regarding his long-term development.
12. Charlotte Hornets: Jaxson Hayes (Texas, C, Freshman)
The Charlotte Hornets should feel confident that Jaxson Hayes' rim running, finishing and shot blocking will carry over based on his tremendous efficiency, 6'11" size and standout athleticism.
At 18 years old, Hayes shot 72.8 percent this season, ranking in the 96th percentile as a cutter, 95th percentile as a roll man, 95th percentile in transition and 90th percentile on post-ups.
He made zero jump shots and totaled nine assists all season. He isn't a new-school big who'll put the ball on the floor. Instead, Charlotte will take Hayes for his ability to make an impact by running, jumping and reacting.
13. Miami Heat: Kevin Porter Jr. (USC, SG, Freshman)
The predraft process is suited and needed for Kevin Porter Jr., whose athleticism, ball skills and shot-making should pop during drills and workouts.
They didn't always do so during the season, though.
Porter came off the bench behind veterans at USC. Though he's not blameless for his inconsistent impact, he wasn't given the touches or chance to get the rhythm a scorer like him typically needs.
Time, pro coaching and improved confidence could help unlock obvious talent with the explosive 6'6" wing.
Porter will require patience from the Miami Heat, as he'll struggle early with his decision-making and getting into the flow of games. G League reps will help during his rookie season. But long term, Porter should look like a gamble worth taking for Miami outside the top 10.
The Heat can view him as Dwyane Wade's long-term replacement at the off-guard slot.
14. Boston Celtics (via Kings): Goga Bitadze (Georgia, C, 1999)
A recent recipient of the Euroleague Rising Star award, Goga Bitadze won't be a sleeper in this year's draft. He'll have the attention of lottery teams after he transformed into an impact inside-out scorer.
The 6'11" center has developed into a more versatile post player and finisher, as well as a legitimate shooting threat with a smooth jumper that's easy to believe in.
He doesn't come off as a high-level offensive initiator or switchy defender, weaknesses that make it tougher to envision upside. But in the late lottery to mid-first round, he's become a worthy option with NBA size, impressive production overseas and budding offensive skill set.
15. Detroit Pistons: PJ Washington (Kentucky, PF, Sophomore)
An improved jump shot and frame helped strengthen Washington's draft case. He still isn't a high-level shot-creator, but for a 6'8", 228-pound big man, Washington shows skill around the post and budding shooting potential (42.3 percent from deep) that point to a high floor. He'll be in the best-player-available mix at No. 15 for Detroit.
16. Orlando Magic: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech, PG/SG, Sophomore)
Alexander-Walker could fill a need in Orlando with his scoring and playmaking versatility. A 6'5" combo guard, the breakout sophomore developed into a tougher threat with the ball while continuing to make jump shots at a fine clip (37.4 percent from three). Adding strength will be a priority so he can offset problems caused by a lack of explosiveness and burst.
17. Brooklyn Nets: Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga, PF, Junior)
Hachimura would give the Nets a frontcourt scorer to pair with their rim protector, Jarrett Allen. Even though he averaged 19.7 points per game on 59.1 percent shooting, the junior forward could slip based on questions about his fit due to limited shooting range and poor passing, rebounding and defensive numbers. But at this point in the draft, the Nets should see an offensive force who can face up, post up and go to work around the basket.
18. Indiana Pacers: Keldon Johnson (Kentucky, SG/SF, Freshman)
Johnson will be able to put pressure on defenses by attacking downhill and scoring around the key with his signature runner. He's also proved to be capable of finding a rhythm as a spot shooter when set, though he offers little as a shot creator or playmaker. He'll want to shoot well during workouts to ease concerns from his drop-off in accuracy and volume during conference play.
19. San Antonio Spurs: Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga, PF/C, Junior)
Clarke's age (22) and limited offensive game don't help his draft case. He'll still draw looks from teams in the lottery for defensive-specialist potential fueled by explosive athleticism, effort and a nose for the ball. A 68.7 field-goal percentage and 4.5 blocks per 40 minutes tell the story with Clarke, who can help immediately by playing to his strengths as a high-energy, bouncy athlete.
20. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Tyler Herro (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
The eye test is more convincing than Herro's 35.5 percent three-ball. He'll use workouts to validate his picturesque shooting mechanics. The Celtics wouldn't use him to create; rather, Herro could fill an immediate role by spotting up in transition, spacing the floor and making jump shots off screens.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Matisse Thybulle (Washington, SF, Senior)
Mysteriously left off the NBA combine list, Thybulle presumably declined an invite, which suggests the defensive specialist may have received some assurance from a team. OKC can't be overly optimistic about Andre Roberson's future (one year left on his deal), after he totaled 39 games over the past two seasons. The only NCAA player to average at least three steals, two blocks and a three-pointer per game (since 1992), Thybulle offers unique defensive instincts and enough shooting touch.
22. Boston Celtics: Chuma Okeke (Auburn, PF, Sophomore)
A team with multiple picks like Boston could detect a buy-low opportunity with Okeke, who appeared to be on the rise before he tore his left ACL during the NCAA tournament. The 6'8", 230-pound forward checks the boxes of a modern big with 38.7 percent three-point shooting and defensive switchability. Okeke can be a value pick for a franchise that's willing to overlook short-term results for long-term potential.
23. Utah Jazz: Nassir Little (North Carolina, SF, Freshman)
Even if Little's role at UNC affected his rhythm and opportunities, the 2018 McDonald's All-American Game MVP will slip in the draft. Utah could buy low at No. 23 and hope his ball skills and shooting will catch up with his tools and athleticism. At 6'6" and 220 pounds, Little has a terrific build to guard both forward spots, as well as enough jump-shot fluidity, driving potential and offensive-rebounding ability to keep teams from closing his file.
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Grant Williams (Tennessee, PF, Junior)
Unlikely to go too high without plus athleticism, advanced creating ability or shooting range, Williams offers value-pick potential. His floor is high and propped up by skilled post-scoring moves and passes, a strong 236-pound frame and terrific IQ at both ends of the floor. The Sixers can overlook upside for the strong chance that Williams can bring efficient play and toughness in a bench role for years.
25. Portland Trail Blazers: Cameron Johnson (North Carolina, SF, Senior)
The eye test and a 45.7 percent three-ball earned Johnson a spot in the discussion for top shooter in the draft. Already 23 years old with skinny limbs, limited athleticism and minimal creating ability, he isn't an upside pick. But it's easy to envision Johnson as a shot-making specialist. At 6'9", he finished in the 97th percentile while shooting out of spot-ups and the 97th percentile shooting off screens.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets): Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State, SG/SF, Freshman)
With 6'4", 233-pound size, Horton-Tucker has drawn interest with his confident scoring, high skill level and motor. A lack of athleticism shows up inside the arc, and he isn't consistent as a shooter behind it. But at No. 26, Cleveland can buy into the flashes of ball-handling, shot making, acrobatic finishing and defensive pressure for the draft's youngest NCAA prospect (he'll turn 19 in late November).
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State, C, Sophomore)
Kabengele drew more attention to his breakout season by averaging 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds through three NCAA tournament games. A physical standout at 6'10" and 250 pounds, he improved his perimeter shot making and consequently his draft case as an inside-out big.
28. Golden State Warriors: Ty Jerome (Virginia, PG/SG, Junior)
Playoff teams should see value in Jerome, who could quickly fill a role with spot-up shooting, passing and perimeter defending. Already with enough scoring weapons, the Warriors could look to keep building their supporting cast through the draft.
29. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Isaiah Roby (Nebraska, PF/C, Junior)
Roby's upside beats his production. He averaged only 11.8 points per game as a junior, but his potential to stretch the floor, use the dribble, block shots and switch checks the right boxes for a new-school big. Roby would spend next season in the G League and work on his three-point shot and 6'8", 230-pound body.
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Daniel Gafford (Arkansas, C, Sophomore)
Limited to mostly finishing and low-post moves, the 6'11", 233-pound Gafford doesn't have much margin for error, so the lower shot-blocking rate (2.8 per 40, down from 3.8 as a freshman) may hurt his stock. He's still deserving of first-round consideration for his NBA-center size and potential to create and convert easy-basket chances at the rim.