NBA Draft 2019: TV Schedule, Latest Mock Predictions and Top Sleeper Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 17, 2019

Virginia Tech guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker scores past Saint Louis forward D.J. Foreman, right, during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The day that some of the best NBA prospects have been waiting months for arrives Thursday. 

The 2019 NBA draft is expected to have no surprises in the opening three picks, with Zion Williamson being the first name off the board ahead of Ja Morant and RJ Barrett. 

After those selections, there is a bigger chance for prospects to get selected based on their fit with certain teams and performances in predraft workouts. By this point, we have a good idea of where most players will land, but since some sleepers have flown under the radar, they could end up in a wide range of picks Thursday. 

While the selections may not be immediately praised, the best sleeper prospects could make a significant impact in the long run for their new employers. 


NBA Draft TV Schedule

Date: Thursday, June 20 

Start Time: 7 p.m. ET 


Live Stream: WatchESPN or ESPN app


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. 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


Top Sleeper Prospects

Nickeil Alexander-Walker 

Virginia Tech's Nickeil Alexander-Walker is one of a few guards expected to be taken in the middle of the first round. 

Ben Margot/Associated Press

Unlike a few of the other prospects predicted to be taken in that range, though, he comes into the draft with a lower profile because he played at Virginia Tech. 

Alexander-Walker was one of the main players who helped the Hokies land a spot in the Sweet 16, but the focus in that game was more on eventual winner Duke and its three first-round prospects. 

The 20-year-old averaged 16.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, four assists and 1.9 steals per game and shot 47.4 percent from the field in his sophomore season. 

During a workout with Orlando last week, Alexander-Walker told reporters he also worked out for Boston, Charlotte and Detroit, per The Athletic's Josh Robbins.

The 6'6", 204-pound guard should be a good addition in the middle of the first round because of his size, improving defensive skills and sound shooting stroke, all qualities that stand out to ESPN.com's Mike Schmitz

Anywhere from Nos. 14-17 seems like a solid landing spot for the Virginia Tech prospect. Boston could use some guard depth with one of its three first-rounders, and the same could be said about Atlanta. 

Detroit could use another scorer in the backcourt, while Orlando could pair Alexander-Walker with Markelle Fultz and hope to get the best out of its young guard combination. 


Keldon Johnson

Keldon Johnson does not come into the draft with the same hype as previous Kentucky prospects, but he could be a difference-maker for a team in the bottom third of the first round.

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony noted in his scouting report the Wildcat has good physical tools to be a wing player in the NBA. 

Givony projects Johnson as a three-and-D wing who needs to improve on his shooting and defensive range. 

In his freshman season at UK, the 19-year-old averaged 13.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 46.1 percent from the field. 

While his scoring and rebounding skills should impress potential suitors, Johnson needs to improve on his 38.1 three-point percentage. 

If a team picking from Nos. 14-20 likes Johnson's abilities enough, he could land in that range, but we expect him to go somewhere in the 20s to a team that can be patient developing his entire skill set. 

At No. 22, Boston could take a flier on Johnson in its attempt to fill out the depth chart with the impending departure of Kyrie Irving. 

Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and Utah could also be in the mix for Johnson to bolster their guard depth, but some of those teams might be after defensive-minded players like Matisse Thybulle or Bol Bol before they look at Johnson. 

Johnson's scoring ability and aggressiveness on the glass should eventually get him drafted at the back end of the first round, and if he continues to work on other parts of his game, he could make an impact for a contender by the time the playoff hunt rolls around next spring. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Sports Reference.