2019 NBA Mock Draft: Latest Prospects' Stock Movement and Predictions

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2019

Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver (23) celebrates after defeating Michigan State 61-51 in the second half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

We're four games into the NBA Finals, but teams watching the series from afar don't have any downtime.

While mock drafters can guess what the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies will do with the Nos. 1 and 2 picks, respectively, the fun starts at the third spot.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the New York Knicks set up a meeting with forward RJ Barrett, who seems like a strong bet for the No. 3 overall pick. He and Zion Williamson averaged 22.6 points per game to lead Duke to the men's NCAA Elite Eight last year. 

The Knicks will also consider other options, per ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony: "Although sources say Barrett would be excited about landing in New York, the Knicks planned to do their due diligence by making calls on trade options and evaluating other prospects in the top 10."

If the Los Angeles Lakers hold on to the fourth overall pick, general manager Rob Pelinka would have a tough decision among high-end prospects outside the marquee names in this class.

Let's take a look at first-round projections and dig a little deeper on prospects who may have gained steam or lost some wind to their draft sails 12 days away from the selection process. 

                   

2019 NBA Mock Draft 1st-Round Predictions  

1. New Orleans Pelicans: F Zion Williamson, Duke 

2. Memphis Grizzlies: G Ja Morant, Murray State

3. New York Knicks: F RJ Barrett, Duke

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

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: F De'Andre Hunter, Virginia 

6. Phoenix Suns: G Coby White, North Carolina

7. Chicago Bulls: G Darius Garland, Vanderbilt

8. Atlanta Hawks: C Jaxson Hayes, Texas 

9. Washington Wizards: F Cam Reddish, Duke

10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas): F Sekou Doumbouya, France

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: F PJ Washington, Kentucky

12. Charlotte Hornets: F Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga

13. Miami Heat: F Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento): G Cameron Johnson, North Carolina 

15. Detroit Pistons: G Tyler Herro, Kentucky

16. Orlando Magic: F Nassir Little, North Carolina 

17. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn): C Nicolas Claxton, Georgia 

18. Indiana Pacers: G Kevin Porter Jr., USC

19. San Antonio Spurs: C Goga Bitadze, Buducnost

20. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: G Romeo Langford, Indiana

22. Boston Celtics: C Bol Bol, Oregon 

23. Utah Jazz: G Carsen Edwards, Purdue 

24. Philadelphia 76ers: G Ty Jerome, Virginia

25. Portland Trail Blazers: F Grant Williams, Tennessee

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston): G Keldon Johnson, Kentucky

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

28. Golden State Warriors: C Bruno Fernando, Maryland

29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto): F Admiral Schofield, Tennessee 

30. Milwaukee Bucks: F Eric Paschall, Villanova

                  

Latest Stock Movement

Stock Up: Jarrett Culver 

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Before we cement Williamson, Ja Morant and Barrett in the top-three slots on draft day, consider a surprise selection. Guard Jarrett Culver put together a breakout sophomore campaign at Texas Tech, and he's gained traction during the offseason.

Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo placed Culver third on his big board Wednesday and labeled him a building block for a franchise that's looking for a versatile playmaker at the 2.

"His size and developing handle profile nicely as an off-guard and secondary playmaker, and he has the ability to become an NBA building block if he continues to improve," Woo wrote. "Culver is an instinctive finisher, unselfish passer, and should be able to fit in with a variety of lineups and systems."

Culver averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals per contest last season, leading the Red Raiders to their first national final—although they fell short to Virginia. At 20 years old, he's still in the early stages of development. Teams may wonder about his ability to create opportunities with possession, but the Texas Tech product offers some intrigue as a high-level scorer with a reliable jump shot. 

In actuality, Culver isn't likely to crack the top three in this year's draft, but he's generating enough buzz to earn mention among the top prospects in this class. His ability to scorch the net should appeal to the Lakers. Shooting guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Bullock could test the free-agent market this summer.

                   

Stock Down: Ty Jerome

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Guard Ty Jerome played a vital role with the men's NCAA champions. He averaged 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals per contest during the last campaign. The 21-year-old can handle both spots in the backcourt; he led Virginia in assists over the last two campaigns. 

What's the issue with Jerome's game? According to The Athletic's Michael Scotto, general managers and scouts worry about his lack of athleticism and a questionable ability on the defensive end.

"I know he can score, shoot, and has a high IQ," said an anonymous NBA general manager. "I worry about where to play him defensively. I know he understands angles and concepts, but who will he guard due to weak lateral movement? He's got a winning personality though." 

NBA front offices will have to weigh Jerome's lack of agility against his floor awareness. Can he keep himself in position, forcing playmakers to work for their buckets? 

At 6'6", 194 pounds, Jerome doesn't have the size-speed combination to wow talent evaluators, but he sees the entire floor as a distributor and keeps his hands active on defense. NBA discussion circles aren't buzzing about him as a building block, but a strong rotation usually features a group of high-end role players.

                    

Stock Up: Coby White

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Coby White #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels handles the ball against the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by J
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Coby White only spent one year on the collegiate level before garnering palpable NBA buzz. He's a playmaking point guard who can set up teammates for an open shot with timely passes or collapse the defense while driving to the paint. The North Carolina product could also step back and knock down shots from deep range. 

White averaged 16.1 points and 4.1 assists per game, converting 35 percent of his three-point attempts last season. At 6'5", 185 pounds, he's going to become a matchup nightmare for smaller guards in NBA backcourts. 

At the NBA's Scouting Combine, White boosted his stock with an accurate shot, per Kyle Ratke of NBA.com.

"[I've] been shooting it well in workouts,” White said at the Combine in Chicago. “I've always had deep range, so I feel like it's not an adjustment for me at all." 

The pace of today's game emphasizes floor spacing, length and shooting ability; White checks all three boxes. He may not come off the draft board within the first five selections, but the Phoenix Suns need a guard to pair with Devin Booker.

If not Darius Garland, who suffered a meniscus injury in November, White seems like an ideal pick for general manager James Jones at No. 6.

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