NBA Draft 2019: Mock Draft Projections for 1st-Round Players Who Will Be Steals

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2019

Cameron Johnson
Cameron JohnsonChuck Burton/Associated Press

The 2019 NBA draft appears to be heavy with talent at the top and underwhelming further down the draft board. Prospects like Zion Williamson and Ja Morant appear to have legitimate superstar potential, but after the first few selections, it feels like teams will be picking among mere role players.

While there appear to be fewer stars in the draft, there still could be some real steals after the lottery picks have been made. Here, you'll find a look at some of the biggest potential steals in the first round, along with an updated Round 1 mock.


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: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

6. Phoenix Suns: De'Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Virginia

7. Chicago Bulls: Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

8. Atlanta Hawks: Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina

9. Washington Wizards: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas): Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Keldon Johnson, SG/SF, Kentucky

12. Charlotte Hornets: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

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

14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento): Bol Bol, C, Oregon  

15. Detroit Pistons: PJ Washington, PF/C, Kentucky

16. Orlando Magic: Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

17. Brooklyn Nets: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

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

19. San Antonio Spurs: Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, France

20. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Iowa State

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

22. Boston Celtics: Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina

23. Utah Jazz: Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Gonzaga

24. Philadelphia 76ers: Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Chuma Okeke, PF, Auburn

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

27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets): Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland

28. Golden State Warriors: Admiral Schofield, PF, Tennessee

29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto): Dylan Windler, SF, Belmont

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue


Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

North Carolina's Cameron Johnson is a 23-year-old prospect who has been widely overlooked leading up to the draft. His age suggests that he is already close to reaching his ceiling, but it also means that Johnson is a mature player ready for the rigors of the NBA.

What makes Johnson a potential steal is the fact he's a 6'9" forward who can hit shots from the outside—the type of player that has become increasingly popular in today's NBA.

Johnson shot 50.6 percent from the floor this past season and made 45.7 percent of his three-point attempts. He averaged 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

While he has the size and range to develop into a serviceable perimeter defender, Johnson also has the quick release and court vision needed to be a legitimate threat on offense. He'll likely begin his career as a high-end bench player, but he has the tools to become a starter sooner rather than later.


Bol Bol, C, Oregon

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Injuries limited Oregon's Bol Bol to just nine games this past season, and this is largely why he may fall to the middle or back end of Round 1. It's easy to forget that he was one of the most heavily-hyped prospects entering college just a year ago—he was ranked fourth overall by 247sports—and that he actually lived up to his potential once he got on the court.

Blessed with uncanny athleticism for a 7'2" center, Bol is a tremendous defender both on the inside and at the perimeter. He's also a capable scorer who can put points on the board in bunches. This past season, he averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He also managed to make 52 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

Bol has the potential to be an immediate contributor, either as a bench defender or a potential starter. He should develop into a long-term fixture at center for whichever franchise pulls the trigger on draft day.


Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina

Chuck Burton/Associated Press

While teammate Johnson may be getting overlooked because of his advanced age, Nassir Little could be because he isn't a prolific scorer. He averaged just 9.8 points per game this past season to go with 4.6 rebounds and 0.7 assists.

However, Little is a tremendous defender who could develop into a great two-way player at the next level.

"I feel like I can come in as a second version of Kawhi Leonard, be our defensive guy that is able to hit open shots early on and later on add pieces to the game," Little said, per David Wilson of the Miami Herald.

While Little is probably setting the bar a bit too high with Leonard comparisons, he could be a far more impactful player as a pro than he was in college. Steady two-way players are valuable, and that's exactly what Little might be early in his NBA career.