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NBA Draft 2019: Predicting Biggest Winners in 1st-Round Mock Draft

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2019

The New York Knicks could be in a position to come away with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
The New York Knicks could be in a position to come away with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The New York Knicks are hoping and praying that the pain of their 17-65 season will disappear May 14 in the NBA's draft lottery.

The Knicks don't have a better chance of winning that lottery than the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Phoenix Suns, even though those two teams finished with 19-63 records.

The lottery system used by the NBA this season gives the teams with the three worst records an equal chance to win the lottery.

Those three teams each have a 14.0 percent chance of coming away with the No. 1 pick and a 52.1 percent chance of coming away with a pick in the top four.

Each team that did not make the playoffs has a chance to win the lottery, and here's a look at this year's odds, per Tankathon.com.       

       

Team, Regular-Season Record, Top-4 pick pct., No. 1 pick pct.

New York Knicks, 17-65, 52.1%, 14.0%

Cleveland Cavaliers, 19-63, 52.1%, 14.0%

Phoenix Suns, 19-63, 52.1%, 14.0%

Chicago Bulls, 22-60, 48.0%, 12.5%

Atlanta Hawks, 29-53, 42.1%, 10.5%

Washington Wizards, 32-50, 37.2%, 9.0%

New Orleans Pelicans, 33-49, 26.3%, 6.0%

Dallas Mavericks, 33-49, 26.3%, 6.0%

Memphis Grizzlies, 33-49, 26.3%, 6.0%

Minnesota Timberwolves, 36-46, 13.9%, 3.0%

Los Angeles Lakers, 37-45, 9.4%, 2.0%

Charlotte Hornets, 39-43, 4.8%, 1.0%

Miami Heat, 39-43, 4.8%, 1.0%

Sacramento Kings, 39-43, 4.8%, 1.0%

For the sake of this mock draft, we are making the assumption that the team with the worst record will end up with the No. 1 pick.

Here's a look at a draft and the three teams that should come away as big winners on draft night.      

        

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: De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia

6. Washington Wizards: Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Gonzaga

7. Memphis Grizzlies: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

8. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas): Cam Reddish, SF, Duke

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

10. Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga

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

12. Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky

13. Miami Heat: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento): Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

15. Detroit Pistons: Bol Bol, C, Oregon

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

17. Orlando Magic: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

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

19. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers): Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State

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): Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State

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

29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto): KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Goga Bitadze, C, Buducnost (Montenegro)

      

Zion Williamson, New York Knicks

The Knicks have been languishing for years. Historically speaking, the Knicks have not been on top in the league since winning the 1973 NBA championship.

Recently, they have made the playoffs just three times in the last 14 years. They need a springboard to success, and winning the draft lottery will allow them to get the No. 1 pick and use it on Duke superstar Zion Williamson.

While he played just one season with the Blue Devils, Williamson was a dominant player. Not just with his numbers22.6 points and 8.9 reboundsbut the way he attacked the game and the opposition. Williamson is a 6'7", 285-pound force, and he can overpower nearly any opponent.

However, Williamson is more than just a strong man. He is a brilliant leaper who can run the court, and he is a skilled basketball player. While he needs to work on his jump shot, he is the kind of player who can help turn a team around.

The Knicks also have maneuverability under the salary cap, so the drafting of Williamson and adding one or two big-time free agents could help improve the franchise dramatically. 

         

Jarrett Culver, Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have been struggling in recent years, as the post-Michael Jordan era has largely been disappointing for them.

They have failed to make the playoffs in three of the past four years, and while they had a decent run during the Tom Thibodeau era, they are a team that needs a strong young player who excels at both ends of the floor.

That appears to be Culver, who was brilliant for the Texas Tech Red Raiders in their run to the NCAA title game. He has the ability to get it done on both ends of the court.

The 6'5", 195-pound Culver averaged 18.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, and he excelled throughout the tournament with his ability to get in the passing lanes, come up with steals and create scoring opportunities.

Culver showed significant improvement last season after studying elite players. 

"Watching some of the greatest players has improved my game a lot," said Culver, per Ben Golliver of the Washington Post. "I added my mid-range, post-up game, jabs and stuff this year. That's from watching a lot of Jayson Tatum, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan. There's a lot to improve on."

Culver would give the Bulls a complete player, and he could turn into a leader for a team with a number of talented young players in Lauri Markkanen, Zach Lavine and Wendell Carter Jr.

      

Brandon Clarke, Minnesota Timberwolves

The power forward from Gonzaga has been climbing the draft boards after a series of strong performances in the NCAA tournament.

His ability to show off his power leaping skills with excellent body control has helped him take over games. While teammate Rui Hachimura has been Gonzaga's best player, Clarke has demonstrated an improved shooting touch and the ability to assert himself when the game is on the line.

The 6'8", 215-pound Clarke averaged 16.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this season, and he has the kind of athleticism that translates well to the NBA. He is the type of player that will help the Timberwolves improve significantly.

Clarke was at his best in the second round of the NCAA Tournament when he scored 36 points in Gonzaga's win over Baylor, connecting on 15 of 18 shots from the field. 

Clark impressed Baylor head coach Scott Drew with his performance. "There's a reason he's on the draft board," Drew said, per Lindsay Schnell of USAToday.com. "I was a little surprised, I thought we could block him out a little bit better but man, he really has a quick jump." 

That ability could help the Timberwolves quite a bit in the 2019-20 season.  

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