2019 NBA Mock Drafts: Rounding Up Experts' 1st-Round Predictions After Lottery

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2019

Pelicans general manager David Griffin
Pelicans general manager David GriffinNuccio DiNuzzo/Associated Press

The pingpong balls have spoken, and the New Orleans Pelicans are the lucky recipient of the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Zion Williamson, welcome to your new team.

Although a considerable gap exists between Williamson and the next-best prospects, there's a good bit of agreement after the Duke product. We browsed post-lottery mock drafts from Bleacher Report, The Athletic, SB Nation and Sports Illustrated, and all four have unanimous choices at second and third overall, too.

Dozens of other mocks could be featured, but we've focused on that quartet and identified the notable trends seen across them.


Easy as 1, 2, 3

Can't we all just get along? At least briefly, yes!

All four drafts pegged Zion to the Pels, followed by Murray State point guard Ja Morant to the Memphis Grizzlies and Duke guard RJ Barrett to the New York Knicks. The predraft process could affect Morant and Barrett, but that's the consensus ranking right now.

On June 20, Williamson will officially be drafted by New Orleansthough the question is whether he'll be alongside an All-Star in Anthony Davis. The early answer is no.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

The New Orleans Pelicans are now set up to be Zion Williamson’s franchise to lift, and No. 1 pick could ease potential trade of Anthony Davis. His stance on a trade has not changed, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.

Even if Davis gets traded, New Orleans can build around a cornerstone talent in Zion. "The Pelicans just landed a franchise-changing stud," SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell wrote.

Once the Duke superstar is off the board, Memphis may be running to the podium. Not only is Morant an exceptional passer and athletehe averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 assists last seasonhe's entering the NBA at an ideal moment for the franchise.

"The Grizzlies have been intent on trading Mike Conley," said Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, "and will be able to select a natural successor here in Morant while continuing to explore options.

Barring a surprise ascent elsewhere, that leaves the New York Knicks with an opportunity to select Barrett. While the organization will be disappointed to miss out on Zion, Barrett would give the Knicks the go-to offensive playmaker they desperately need.


Rounding Out the Top 10

After the aforementioned trio, the focus shifts to the wings.

The Athletic, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation all have the Los Angeles Lakers picking Texas Tech product Jarrett Culver. Though not an electrifying player, he's comfortable running the offense, a quality defender and has upside as a shooter.

"It's easy to imagine him as the 2-guard [in Los Angeles] and secondary ball-handler, given his size at 6'6" and creativity," said Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.

Jarrett Culver and De'Andre Hunter
Jarrett Culver and De'Andre HunterStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

While B/R has De'Andre Hunter going to the Lakers, both The Athletic and SB Nation send the Virginia wing to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He offers superb versatility, as evidenced by a 43.8 three-point clip and NABC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Then, once again, we have agreement!

Each mock projects Vanderbilt's Darius Garland to the Phoenix Suns and UNC's Coby White to the Chicago Bulls. B/R's Jonathan Wasserman notes the Bulls aren't sold on Kris Dunn as their long-term point guard and that White would be a major upgrade offensively: "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."

K.C. Johnson @KCJHoop

While obviously not guaranteeing anything, Bulls VP John Paxson conceded that dropping to 7 could bring positional need more into play than best player available.

From there, however, the forecasts mostly diverge.

Cam Reddishwho is Sports Illustrated's projected No. 5 pickappears in the No. 8-10 range on the remaining mocks. He's the eighth pick in B/R's mock, which has Oregon center Bol Bol and Indiana guard Romeo Langford completing the top 10.

Texas center Jaxson Hayes and Georgian center Goga Bitadze finish SI's draft, while UNC wing Nassir Little and Hayes wrap up The Athletic's projections. French forward Sekou Doumbouya and Gonzaga center Brandon Clarke round out SB Nation's top 10.

Mocks will be updated and tweaked after the NBA Draft Combine on Friday and Saturday, but the changes only add to the excitement and drama leading up to June 20.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.


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