2019 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions, Storylines Surrounding 1st-Round Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 16, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Darius Garland #10 of the Vanderbilt Commodores looks on against the USC Trojans during a game at The Galen Center on November 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
Cassy Athena/Getty Images

The first major NBA draft domino toppled Saturday night with the news of the Anthony Davis trade from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers.

When the deal, which was first reported by ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, becomes official, the Pelicans will have the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks for Thursday's NBA draft.

The Pelicans are pretty much guaranteed to select Zion Williamson first, but their decision with the No. 4 pick is up in the air.

Even before the trade between the Lakers and Pelicans took place, the No. 4 pick was expected to be the first place of intrigue Thursday because Williamson, Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett have been viewed as the consensus top three picks for months.


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: R.J. Barrett, SF, Duke

4. New Orleans Pelicans (from Los Angeles Lakers): De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia

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

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

7. Chicago Bulls: Darius Garland, PG, Chicago Bulls

8. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke

9. Washington Wizards: Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, France

10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas): Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga

12. Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Washington, PF, Kentucky

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

14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento): Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

15. Detroit Pistons: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

16. Orlando Magic: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

17. Atlanta Hawks (from Brooklyn): Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech 

18. Indiana Pacers: Goga Bitadze, C, Republic of Georgia

19. San Antonio Spurs: Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State

20. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers): Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

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

22. Boston Celtics: Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky

23. Utah Jazz: Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington 

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

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston): Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia

27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver): Ty Jerome, PG, Virginia

28. Golden State Warriors: KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford

29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto): Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Nicolas Claxton, C, Georgia


Storylines Surrounding Top Prospects

New Orleans' Intentions At No. 4

As long as Williamson, Morant and Barrett go 1-2-3 as expected, the first fireworks of the draft will come at the No. 4 pick, which is in possession of the Pelicans.

According to Wojnarowski, teams have expressed significant interest in the No. 4 pick since it shifted hands Saturday night.

The Pelicans are in an ideal position because they can either draft one of De'Andre Hunter, Jarrett Culver or Darius Garland to add to their young core or deal the selection away for more assets to help with their rebuild.

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

According to The Athletic's Sam Vecenie, the team brought up the most around the league regarding the No. 4 pick are the Chicago Bulls.

If the Bulls were to trade up three spots, they would have a clear target in Garland, who would fill the team's need at point guard.

In his mock draft released after the news of the Davis trade, ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony stated the decision would be down to Culver, Garland or Coby White if the Pelicans keep the pick.

Culver would provide the Pelicans with an extra shooter to complement Williamson and the core they gained in the Davis deal.

Garland and White are intriguing options as well because they are younger options at the point who could learn behind Jrue Holiday for a year or two before taking the reins of the offense.

While those three players would all make an impact in New Orleans, the Pelicans should also consider Hunter, who is considered the top defender in the draft class.

The combination of Williamson and Hunter defending on the perimeter would have the potential to turn into one of the best defensive duos in the league.


Where Will Garland Land? 

When the college basketball season ended in early spring, there was no guarantee Garland would be taken in the top five because he missed the majority of Vanderbilt's season with a meniscus injury.

Garland is a bit of mysterious prospect because he left the combine early and has not participated in a ton of private workouts.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

According to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin, Garland recently held private workouts for the Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Lakers workout is now irrelevant because of the deal that sent the No. 4 pick to the Pelicans. 

Garland could possibly land with New Orleans at No. 4, as one of the many key pieces added by the franchise in June to set the foundation for the future.

Even though Cleveland is not desperate for a point guard because it drafted Collin Sexton a year ago, it could take a chance on Garland if it is convinced he is the best player on the board.

If he does not land in the top five, Garland will be coveted by the Phoenix Suns, No. 6, or Chicago, No. 7, since both franchises are looking for help at the point.

Regardless of where he lands, Garland has a large dose of confidence in himself, as he told McMenamin.

"I humbly say this: I think I'm the best [guard] in the draft," Garland said. "I mean, I think I can do everything that an NBA team wants me to do.


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