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2019 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Zion Williamson and 1st-Round Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 18, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson (1) shoots while defended by Central Florida's Tacko Fall (24) during the second half of a second round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Columbia, S.C. Sunday, March 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

The 2019 NBA draft will feature one of the least-dramatic announcements of a No. 1 overall pick in the event's history.

Before the end of the men's college basketball season, Duke's Zion Williamson established himself as the consensus No. 1 prospect on all draft boards.

Williamson's association with the New Orleans Pelicans will officially begin Thursday, and he could leave Barclays Center with a new teammate since the Pelicans recently acquired the No. 4 pick from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Williamson is not the only apparent lock in the first round, as Ja Morant and RJ Barrett have long been linked with Memphis and New York.

                       

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, Vanderbilt

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: PJ 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

                   

When the Pelicans won the NBA draft lottery, there was a slight possibility Williamson would be able to team up with Anthony Davis and make New Orleans one of the top franchises in the Western Conference.

Now with Davis heading to the Lakers, Williamson will be the centerpiece of the Pelicans organization with plenty of other young stars surrounding him.

When commissioner Adam Silver announces his name Thursday night, Williamson will become the fourth Duke player to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick.

Art Heyman (1963), Elton Brand (1999) and Kyrie Irving (2011) are the three Blue Devils who have been taken first in the past.

After Williamson goes off the board, the Memphis Grizzlies have an easy selection to make with Ja Morant.

Morant is viewed as the replacement for Mike Conley, who has been the subject of trade rumors since before the trade deadline.

Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Morant will combine with Jaren Jackson Jr. to form a formidable young duo in Memphis as the Grizzlies try to work their way back to relevance in the West.

The New York Knicks were one of three teams with the best odds to win the lottery, but they were awarded the No. 3 pick.

Although it was frustrating from the Knicks' perspective to miss out on Williamson, they are in line to take another talented Duke freshman in RJ Barrett.

Once the first three picks are announced, the draft could go in a number of directions, especially now that the No. 4 pick has traded hands in the Davis deal.

The Pelicans could add another young piece to their roster in the form of Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver or De'Andre Hunter, or they could trade the selection for more assets.

ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported teams are expressing significant interest in the No. 4 pick now that it belongs to New Orleans.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony reported if the Pelicans keep the No. 4 selection, it will likely come down to Culver, Garland or Coby White.

Garland is the prospect who could shake up the top 10 since a handful of teams beneath New Orleans, like the Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls, are in need of help at point guard.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

If Garland is taken at No. 4, that leaves White as the only high-quality point guard left on the draft board, and it will force one or both of the Suns and Bulls to go in a different direction.

But if the Pelicans decide not to select Garland or White, they will add a shooting guard in Culver, or wing in Hunter, who will open the door for Phoenix and Chicago to get point guards without trading up.

When the first round is over, as many as five different schools could have multiple players taken in the first 30 selections.

Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Gonzaga could have a pair of prospects taken, while Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky could be line to have three players drafted in the first round.

                      

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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