2019 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Prospects Whose Stocks Are on the Rise

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

Duke forward RJ Barrett (5) reacts after scoring against Michigan State during the second half of an NCAA men's East Regional final college basketball game in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

The countdown to the 2019 NBA draft is down to single digits.

Come June 20, all the speculation, analysis and rumors will go out the window, as clubs officially attach themselves to the Association's next rookie class.

While most evaluations are in the rearview, prospect stocks stay fluid up until the actual talent grab. After running through our updated first round, we'll look at three players trending in the right direction.


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: De'Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Virginia

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

6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

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

8. Atlanta Hawks: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

9. Washington Wizards: Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks)Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

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

12. Charlotte Hornets: Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

13. Miami Heat: Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina

14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings): Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Gonzaga

15. Detroit Pistons: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

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

17. Brooklyn Nets: Bol Bol, C, Oregon

18. Indiana Pacers: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

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

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

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

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

23. Utah Jazz: PJ Washington, PF/C, Kentucky

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


Prospects on the Rise

RJ Barrett, SG/SF, Duke

Before the 2018-19 campaign kicked off, Barrett was the most coveted NBA prospect in the freshman class. While Williamson and Morant have since zipped to the top of most boards, it seems evaluators are remembering how high Barrett's ceiling sits.

He might occupy the third spot on this and other mocks, but he's reportedly still in play at the second overall selection.

"Memphis' leadership has not come to a firm decision on this pick yet, with RJ Barrett still a candidate for No. 2," SI.com's Jeremy Woo reported.

While Barrett needs to improve his decision-making and outside shot, he's already shown flashes of No. 1 option potential. He averaged 22.6 points on 45.4 percent shooting as an 18-year-old freshman in the ACC.


Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 14: NBA Draft Prospect, Nassir Little 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 t
David Sherman/Getty Images

MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game last summer, Little struggled to find his niche on a deep, experienced Tar Heels team.

While his incredible physical tools popped here and there, his limited role effectively muted his impact. He never started a game, averaging just 18.2 minutes a night and clearing the 20-point mark only three times in 36 outings.

Earlier in the draft process, it seemed the underwhelming statistics might push him into the bottom third of the opening round. But the workout circuit has helped him send reminders of his towering potential, and Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman feels he won't get past the lottery:

Jonathan Wasserman @NBADraftWass

Thinking the Celtics are Little’s draft floor. Ainge often shows willingness to overlook college impact/efficiency. Little’s range looking like 8-14.

Little is an explosive athlete with the size and strength (6'6", 224 lbs) to lock down multiple positions. His handles and jump shot could both be tightened, but he's an aerial acrobat with intriguing pull-up and spot-up potential.


Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

In a normal draft, Porter's red flags might be too much to overlook.

He failed to grab the wheel on a sub-.500 USC team, averaging fewer than 23 minutes and only single-digit points. Injuries cost him court time and then a suspension for "personal conduct issues" did the same.

In this draft, though, the former 5-star recruit might have too much potential for teams to pass up. He has the bounce, handles, a lethal step-back jumper and shiftiness to consistently lose defenders.

His offensive bag of tricks, in other words, is almost overflowing. He could step into an instant-offense role and perhaps grow into a featured one sooner rather than later.