2019 NBA Mock Draft: Latest Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 21, 2019

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 14: NBA Draft Prospect, Zion Williamson poses for a portrait at the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery on May 14, 2019 at the Chicago Hilton in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Sherman/Getty Images

The NBA saw the latest round of auditions for its 2019 draft completed over the past week in Chicago.

While the combine was missing some top prospects—as per usual—the event still offered several hopeful hoopers the opportunity to change their draft stock.

Some undoubtedly helped theirs, while others did the opposite.

After running through our latest first-round mock, we'll spot one riser and one faller coming out of the combine.


2019 NBA Mock Draft

1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, PF/C, Duke

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State

3. New York Knicks: RJ Barrett, SG/SF, Duke

4. Los Angeles Lakers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: De'Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Virginia

6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

7. Chicago Bulls: Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina

8. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

9. Washington Wizards: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks)Bol Bol, C, Oregon

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, France

12. Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington, PF/C, Kentucky

13. Miami Heat: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings): Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina

15. Detroit Pistons: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

16. Orlando Magic: Keldon Johnson, SG/SF, Kentucky

17. Brooklyn Nets: Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia

18. Indiana Pacers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech

19. San Antonio Spurs: Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Gonzaga

20. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

22. Boston Celtics: Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

23. Utah Jazz: Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Iowa State

24. Philadelphia 76ers: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston Rockets): Mfiondu Kabengele, PF/C, Florida State

27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets): KZ Okpala, SF/PF, Stanford

28. Golden State Warriors: Ty Jerome, PG/SG, Virginia

29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors): Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Isaiah Roby, PF/C, Nebraska


Stock Up: Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 16: Luka Samanic #72 participates in workouts during Day One of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest MultiSport Complex on May 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

While elite prospects have little to gain in the five-on-five scrimmages and therefore sit them out, those who are flying under the radar have an opportunity to play their way onto it.

Samanic might be that prospect this time around.

He's hardly an unknown, at least in scouting circles. For instance, when Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ran an early mock draft back in August, Samanic was slotted 15th.

But an up-and-down season in Slovenia forced him to prove his worth at the combine. He needed just one scrimmage to do it. He had 13 points and seven rebounds in his Thursday scrimmage, and he left ahead of Friday's having already put himself back on the first-round bubble.

As Wasserman relayed, Samanic shined in a way sure to excite modern NBA teams:

"The 6'11" forward, who was stroking threes during shooting drills, was the opening scrimmage's best player. His versatility popped at both ends. He flashed ball-handling skills for shot creation. He burned his man in the post with a baseline spin into a layup. We saw tough drives and finishes, plus a three-point make. And he did an admirable job sliding his feet on defense and competing with toughness. 

"His game even matches what NBA teams look for in 2019—a big who can stretch the floor, attack closeouts and switch defensively."

It's now up to scouts to decide how much stock they'll place in his combine showing. If they're buying like we're buying, Samanic could have solidified his first-round status.


Stock Down: Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 06:  Charles Bassey #23 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers reacts in the second half while taking on the Washington Huskies during their game at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on November 6, 2018 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Abbie Pa
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Bassey brought one-and-done buzz to Western Kentucky, then averaged a double-double (14.6 points, 10.0 rebounds) over his first and possibly last season with the Hilltoppers.

But you never would have guessed that based on his brief combine showing.

He measured shorter than expected (6'10" in shoes), shot an abysmal 1-of-6 in Thursday's scrimmage and sat out Friday for unknown reasons. He also failed to check any of the modern boxes NBA teams want in a big man.

As ESPN's Mike Schmitz observed, any concerns that Bassey's game could prove an awkward fit in today's Association were only magnified at the combine:

"Bassey failed to move the needle, struggling to prove exactly how he fits in today's NBA. His lack of skill and up-and-down motor really stood out in Chicago, where he shut things down after the first day. While he adds value in spurts as a rebounder and shot-blocker, he is an upright perimeter defender who far too often gets lost in space defensively. He also fails to drop in mid-range jumpers, push shots and jump hooks on the other end of the floor."

Bassey is underdeveloped as a scorer and passer, and he's not mobile enough to consistently handle perimeter switches. He's more of a good athlete than a great one, which can be a bigger issue than it sounds when combined with question marks around his skill and motor.

It's not a guarantee he'll stay in the draft, but if he does, he may not hear his name called until deep into the second round. 


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