2019 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Most Intriguing Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 4, 2019

Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland plays against Alcorn State in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

NBA draft prospects intrigue for a wide variety of reasons.

They could have a unique skill set or rarely seen physical gifts. Others might have an encouraging but limited track record, leading to a wide variety of potential outcomes for their pro careers.

With the 2019 talent grab quickly approaching, we'll spotlight three of this draft's most intriguing prospects after running through our latest mock first round.


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: Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

6. Phoenix Suns: Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina

7. Chicago Bulls: De'Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Virginia

8. Atlanta Hawks: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

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: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

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

20. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

22. Boston Celtics: Mfiondu Kabengele, PF/C, Florida State

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

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

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston Rockets): Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech

27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets): Chuma Okeke, PF, Auburn

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

29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors): KZ Okpala, SF/PF, Stanford

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


Most Intriguing Prospects

Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

Whether it's a reflection of this class or Garland himself, the draft's mystery man could be one of the first players selected despite barely getting a run over the last year.

A meniscus tear shortened his run with the Commodores to five games, or really four games and a couple of minutes. His combine appearance then ended shortly after it started, as he departed early amid speculation of a lottery promise.

What's interesting is the lack of film might be working to his benefit.

"Garland appears to be capitalizing on the intrigue he created from a small sample size of flashes," Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman wrote. "The injury may wind up actually benefiting his draft stock, after it eliminated opponents' chances to expose his weaknesses as a floor general and defender."

The 6'2" point guard has shifty handles and a reliable three-ball off the catch and on the move. He also has question marks about his ability to lead an offense, after tallying more turnovers (15) than assists (13) in limited action. For now, it seems clubs feel his strengths outweigh the weaknesses.


Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 14:  NBA Draft Prospect, Cam Reddish 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 th
David Sherman/Getty Images

At the beginning of the season, the Blue Devils had a Big Three in Williamson, Barrett and Reddish. The campaign created a pretty clear hierarchy among them, with Reddish drawing the short end of the stick.

Duke never found the right role for him, and his stats took a heavy hit because of that. The only categories that stood out did so for the wrong reasons, like his 35.6 field-goal percentage or 33.3 perimeter conversion rate.

But the physical gifts that initially made him such an attractive prospect are still present. At the combine, he measured 6'8" with a 7'0½" wingspan, almost the ideal size of a three-and-D wing.

He could've made a lot of noise on the pre-draft circuit, but he recently opted for surgery on a nagging core injury that could keep him out six weeks. Maybe that will keep his draft stock from rising back to preseason levels, but with upside like his, he won't be waiting long to hear his name called.


Bol Bol, C, Oregon

The idea of Bol defines the word intriguing.

He stands 7'2½", sports a 7'7" wingspan and splashed 52 percent of his threes over nine games at Oregon. He has the coordination to create shots off the dribble or clean the glass and lead the offense. He's also the interior force his size says he should be, as his per-40-minute averages included 28.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks.

But his red flags stretch as high as he does. A stress fracture ended his college career, and history isn't kind to big men with foot problems. He also weighed a minuscule 208 pounds at the combine, and it isn't clear how much extra weight his skinny frame can carry.

No prospect brings more boom-or-bust potential to this draft.

"He has Kristaps Porzingis ability," a scout told Wasserman. "But he could also get you fired."

Bol's ceiling is high enough to get him squarely into the lottery conversation, but his basement is so low it might bump him into the bottom-third of the first round.