The NBA draft will be a huge event this year, with a generational player in Duke's Zion Williamson almost certain to be the top pick June 20.
That was the case when the college basketball season ended with the NCAA title game between Virginia and Texas Tech in early April and after the draft lottery on May 14, and the same situation remains after the NBA Scouting Combine.
The players who will immediately follow Williamson also seem fairly sure, with Ja Morant of Murray State and RJ Barrett of Duke the second and third picks.
If there are no trades by the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks, the three players will go in that order to those three teams.
Many of the experts recording their mock drafts made their selections after the lottery, but we look at the picks from the Detroit Free Press, NJ.com and Sports Illustrated. The experts from these publications delivered their picks after the combine in Chicago came to its conclusion.
Detroit Free Press, compiled by Vince Ellis
1. New Orleans Pelicans: PF Zion Williamson
2. Memphis Grizzlies: PG Ja Morant
3. New York Knicks: G/F R.J. Barrett
4. L.A. Lakers: F De'Andre Hunter
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: F Jarrett Culver
6. Phoenix Suns: PG Darius Garland
7. Chicago Bulls: F Cam Reddish
8. Atlanta Hawks: F Sekou Doumbouya
9. Washington Wizards: G Coby White
10. Atlanta Hawks (via Mavs): C Bol Bol
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: F P.J. Washington
12. Charlotte Hornets: C Jaxson Hayes
13. Miami Heat: G Tyler Herro
14. Boston Celtics (via Kings): F Brandon Clarke
15. Detroit Pistons: G/F Kevin Porter Jr.
16. Orlando Magic: F Rui Hachimura
17. Brooklyn Nets: G/F Romeo Langford
18. Indiana Pacers: G/F Nassir Little
19. San Antonio Spurs: G/F Nickeil Alexander-Walker
20. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): F KZ Okpala
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: G/F Talen Horton-Tucker
22. Boston Celtics: F Grant Williams
23. Utah Jazz: G Carsen Edwards
24. Philadelphia 76ers: F Keldon Johnson
25. Portland Trail Blazers: F Chuma Okeke
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets): F Cameron Johnson
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): G/F Luguentz Dort
28. Golden State Warriors: C Goga Bitadze
29. San Antonia Spurs (via Raptors): F Matisse Thybulle
30. Milwaukee: F Dylan Windler
A look at Ellis' picks reveals a couple of interesting developments. Bol Bol came in 7'2" and 208 pounds with a 7.1 percent body fat measurement and a standing reach of 9'7".
The most eye-catching aspect of those measurements was the weight, because the idea of Bol competing physically with the NBA's biggest and strongest centers is difficult to consider.
The 19-year-old did not have an outstanding camp, yet Ellis has him going 10th to the Hawks. His height and reach should make him an excellent shot-blocker like his father, the late Manute Bol, who excelled in that area. He played 10 years in the NBA for four teams.
Ellis also has Brandon Clarke going 14th to the the Boston Celtics. The 22-year-old showed off his tremendous leaping ability in Chicago, as he led all participants in standing vertical leap and maximum vertical leap:
Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress
Followup to our Brandon Clarke measurements discussion. No surprise who is leading the pack early in the vertical leap testing. Both running and standing. The Gonzaga product is an elite athlete and is blessed with incredible timing as a shot blocker. https://t.co/hjKcSw9jjw
Clarke did not fare as well in the measurements, because his 6'8¼" wingspan was less than is normally expected from a 6'8¼" player. Nevertheless, he showed off his defensive and shot-blocking ability at the combine.
NJ.com, compiled by Joe Giglio
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
3. New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett, SG, Duke
4. Los Angeles Lakers: De'Andre Hunter, PF, Virginia
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
6. Phoenix Suns: Sekou Doumbouya, PF, Guinea
7. Chicago Bulls: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
8. Atlanta Hawks: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
9. Washington Wizards: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
10. Atlanta Hawks: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Coby White, SG, North Carolina
12. Charlotte Hornets: Romeo Langford, SF, Indiana
13. Miami Heat: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
14. New Orleans Pelicans: Nassir Little, SF, UNC
15. Detroit Pistons: PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky
16. Orlando Magic: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
17. Brooklyn Nets: Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia
18. Indiana Pacers: Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga
19. San Antonio Spurs: Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State
20. Boston Celtics: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky
22. Boston Celtics: Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee
23. Utah Jazz: Cameron Johnson, PF, North Carolina
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue
25. Portland Trail Blazers: Kevin Porter, SG, USC
26. Cleveland Cavaliers: KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford
27. Brooklyn Nets: Admiral Schofield, SF, Tennessee
28. Golden State Warriors: Ty Jerome, SG, Virginia
29. San Antonio Spurs: Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova
Both Ellis and Giglio have De'Andre Hunter and Jarrett Culver going fourth and fifth, respectively, to the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
They differ with the No. 6 pick, as Giglio has Sekou Doumbouya going to the Phoenix Suns, while Ellis has Darius Garland going to Phoenix with that pick.
However, it appears Garland has received a promise from the Suns, per Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report that they would draft him.
Garland left the combine before his measurements were taken, and it doesn't seem logical that he would have left the proceedings at that point unless the Suns had let him know they were going to take him.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium tweeted that his sources have reported Garland had received a draft promise from the Suns.
Sports Illustrated, by Jeremy Woo
1. Pelicans: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
2. Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
3. Knicks: RJ Barrett, G/F, Duke
4. Lakers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
5. Cavaliers: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
6. Suns: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
7. Bulls: Coby White, G, North Carolina
8. Hawks: De'Andre Hunter, F, Virginia
9. Wizards: Sekou Doumbouya, F, Limoges
10. Hawks (via Mavericks): Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
11. Timberwolves: Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga
12. Hornets: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
13. Heat: Nassir Little, F, North Carolina
14. Celtics (via Kings): Goga Bitadze, C, KK Buducnost
15. Pistons: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
16. Magic: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
17. Nets: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
18. Pacers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
19. Spurs: Mfiondu Kabengele, PF, Florida State
20. Celtics (via Clippers): PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky
21. Thunder: Matisse Thybulle, SG, Washington
22. Celtics: Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State
23. Jazz: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
24. Sixers: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
25. Blazers: Keldon Johnson, G/F, Kentucky
26. Cavs (via Rockets): Nic Claxton, F/C, Georgia
27. Nets (via Nuggets): Luka Samanic, F, Olimpija
28. Warriors: Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
29. Spurs (via Raptors): KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford
30. Bucks: Neemias Queta, C, Utah State
Woo has Sekou Doumbouya of Limoges (France) heading to the Washington Wizards with the No. 9 pick, while Goga Bitadze of KK Buducnost (Montenegro) going to the Boston Celtics at No. 14.
Doumbouya is a 6'9", 230-pound forward who can run the floor and fill the lanes with speed and explosiveness. He has the kind of frame that will allow him to get bigger and stronger.
The 18-year-old is still learning the game, so he has not developed all of his fundamentals, including ball-handling and shooting.
"An athletic combo forward with shooting touch, positional size and impressive defensive versatility, Doumbouya will require some time and attention to develop, but has a lot of long-term potential if all goes well," Woo noted.
Bitadze is a 6'11, 250-pound center who started off as a low-post player with quite a bit of baby fat on his frame. He has improved his conditioning, though, and his game has developed to the point where he has some outside shooting touch.
If he continues to improve in that area, he has a chance to develop into a good player.
"His high-level experience, legit size and natural scoring ability around the basket put him on good footing as he begins his NBA career, and it feels increasingly likely he lands somewhere in the late lottery," Woo wrote in his scouting assessment of Bitadze.
The top five players appear set at this point in the draft process, but the remaining 25 picks should be quite fluid from this point until June 20.