2019 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Prospects Poised to Shake Up 1st Round

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 10, 2019

Duke forward Cam Reddish (2) drives around Michigan State forward Aaron Henry (11) during the first half of an NCAA men's East Regional final college basketball game in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Our expectations for how the 2019 NBA draft plays out could be thrown out the window in the top five picks. 

Duke forward Zion Williamson and Murray State point guard Ja Morant appear to be locks go first and second, while Duke's R.J. Barrett is expected to go third. 

But after the New York Knicks select at No. 3, the draft appears to be wide open, which could lead to a few selections that shake up the complexion of the first round. 

The Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns could go in a variety of directions with their respective picks, which could lead to players making unexpected rises or falls on the draft board, or to ambitious trades up the draft order made by teams interested in certain prospects. 


2019 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft

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

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

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

4. Los Angeles Lakers: De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia

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

6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

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

8. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish, SG, Duke

9. Washington Wizards: Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina

10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas): Sekou Doumbouya, SF, France

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga

12. Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington, SF, Kentucky

13. Miami Heat: Jaxson Hayes, PF/C, Texas

14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento): Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

15. Detroit Pistons: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC 

16. Orlando Magic: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech

17. Atlanta Hawks (from Brooklyn): Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Gonzaga

18. Indiana Pacers: Ty Jerome, PG, Virginia

19. San Antonio Spurs: Goga Bitadze, C, Republic of Georgia

20. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers): Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Bol Bol, C, Oregon

22. Boston Celtics: Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee

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

24. Philadelphia 76ers: Keldon Johnson, SG, Kentucky

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston): Nic Claxton, C, Georgia

27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver): Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia

28. Golden State Warriors: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto): Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Dylan Windler, SG/SF, Belmont


Prospects Poised To Shake Up 1st Round

Darius Garland 

If the first three picks go as expected, the Los Angeles Lakers will make the first selection that could alter the makeup of the first round in a significant manner. 

Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland, Texas Tech sharpshooter Jarrett Culver and Virginia two-way wing De'Andre Hunter are the best prospects available to the Lakers, who could also package the No. 4 pick in some type of deal for an experienced player to partner with LeBron James. 

In a roundup of 10 mock drafts from various publications, NBA.com's Drew Packham noted Garland was the most common No. 4 pick in the mocks he analyzed. 

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie has the 19-year-old landing at No. 4 in his most recent mock draft, but he also reported few around the NBA have an inkling as to what the Lakers will do. 

Garland would be an intriguing fit for the Lakers, as he would give them another young ball-handler to play alongside, or back up, Lonzo Ball. 

If he is taken by the Lakers, it would give them a clearer idea of what positions they have to target in free agency in order to qualify for the postseason in James' second season with the team.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Garland's selection would cause a few things to happen directly beneath L.A. in the draft order. 

First, it would open up the opportunity for the Cavaliers and Suns to take Culver and Hunter in some order. 

It could also open up the trade market for the No. 5 pick if a team with enough assets to jump into the top five makes a strong offer to Cleveland. 

Garland going off the board at No. 4 would also alter the market for point guards. Phoenix and Chicago have the biggest needs at the position, and if the Suns decide to go with a rookie over a veteran floor general, they could take Coby White, who is lined up by many experts to go to the Bulls. 


Cam Reddish 

Unlike his two Duke teammates, Cam Reddish is not guaranteed of his spot in the lottery. 

The one-and-done player is stuck behind Garland, Hunter and Culver in most mock drafts and has not been consistent enough to make a case to land in the top five. 

According to Vecenie, who has Reddish landing eighth to Atlanta, he looked strong with no one on him during his pro day, but he then suffered a core muscle injury that will keep him out for the rest of the pre-draft process and Summer League. 

CBS Sports' Gary Parrish has the 19-year-old going outside of the top 10 to Minnesota at No. 11. He noted there are questions about the player's motor and he was too inconsistent, or invisible at times, while at Duke. 

Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The decision in front of teams considering Reddish is whether he can develop past those inconsistencies and live up to the potential he entered Duke with. 

If he is viewed as a can't-miss prospect by a team in the top seven, a surprise selection could happen, which would in turn allow a team further down the draft order to take a player it did not expect to be there. 

If Atlanta takes Reddish at No. 8, it could also shake up the first round because it would change the priorities for its selections at No. 10 and No. 17. 

With a forward in their possession, the Hawks could go after a big man at No. 10 to fill out their depth chart, while an experienced player out of the collegiate ranks should be waiting at No. 17. 

If the opposite happens to Reddish and he falls, it could alter the shape of the first round because a franchise could trade up for him based on potential, or a side in the back end of the lottery could change its draft plans to swoop for the Duke product. 


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