NBA Mock Draft 2019: Order of Selections and Final 1st-Round Team PredictionsJune 20, 2019
After the first three picks of the 2019 NBA draft, trades may shake up the order, resulting in an action-packed night.
The Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans agreed to a blockbuster deal that sent center Anthony Davis to the Purple and Gold in return for the fourth overall pick—and two future first-rounders—in addition to a young talented haul, including forward Brandon Ingram, guard Lonzo Ball and wingman Josh Hart.
The Memphis Grizzlies sent guard Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz for the 23rd overall pick, forward Jae Crowder, guard Grayson Allen and veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver Wednesday. Later that night, the Detroit Pistons acquired the final pick in the first round and swingman Tony Snell in exchange for forward Jon Leuer.
Those trades will become official July 6.
We all expect the Pelicans to select Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall selection. The Grizzlies' decision to deal Conley suggests they'll take Ja Morant in the second spot. Beyond that point, teams will weigh options before turning in picks, which opens the door for behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing.
With the 2019 draft upon us, let's take a look at final predictions for the first round.
2019 NBA Mock Draft 1st-Round Predictions
1. New Orleans Pelicans: F Zion Williamson, Duke
2. Memphis Grizzlies: G Ja Morant, Murray State
3. New York Knicks: F RJ Barrett, Duke
4. New Orleans Pelicans (via Los Angeles Lakers): G Darius Garland, Vanderbilt
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: G Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
6. Phoenix Suns: G Coby White, North Carolina
7. Chicago Bulls: F De'Andre Hunter, Virginia
8. Atlanta Hawks: F Cam Reddish, Duke
9. Washington Wizards: F Nassir Little, North Carolina
10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas): C Jaxson Hayes, Texas
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: G Tyler Herro, Kentucky
12. Charlotte Hornets: F Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
13. Miami Heat: F PJ Washington, Kentucky
14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento): G Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech
15. Detroit Pistons: F Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
16. Orlando Magic: F Sekou Doumbouya, France
17. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn): G Keldon Johnson, Kentucky
18. Indiana Pacers: G Romeo Langford, Indiana
19. San Antonio Spurs: C Goga Bitadze, Buducnost
20. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): C Bol Bol, Oregon
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: G Cameron Johnson, North Carolina
22. Boston Celtics: G Carsen Edwards, Purdue
23. Memphis Grizzlies (via Utah): C Nicolas Claxton, Georgia
24. Philadelphia 76ers: G Ty Jerome, Virginia
25. Portland Trail Blazers: F Grant Williams, Tennessee
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston): G Kevin Porter Jr., USC
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver): F Chuma Okeke, Auburn
28. Golden State Warriors: F Matisse Thybulle, Washington
29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto): F Admiral Schofield, Tennessee
30. Detroit Pistons (via Milwaukee): F Eric Paschall, Villanova
New York Knicks Select RJ Barrett with No. 3 Overall Pick
At one point, the New York Knicks seemed like a potential destination for top names on the move this offseason. However, the Lakers' bold move for Davis, Kevin Durant's torn Achilles and rumors connecting Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets may encourage general manager Scott Perry to focus on growing through the draft.
The Knicks don't need a splash move in their spot. Assuming Williamson and Morant go to New Orleans and Memphis, respectively, RJ Barrett would remain as the clear-cut best prospect on the board.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks have a deep interest in the 19-year-old:
If everything else holds, Barrett should land in New York City and take on a prominent role early in his professional career.
During the 2018-19 campaign, forward Kevin Knox struggled with scoring efficiency, shooting 37 percent from the field and averaging 12.8 points per game, though, he's only 19 with plenty of room to grow. Barrett has the potential to put on a scoring clinic right away. Together, the two forwards would give the Knicks a promising duo with length in the frontcourt.
Barrett knocked down 45 percent of his shot attempts and averaged 22.6 points per game in his one year at Duke. Although Williamson garnered most of the spotlight, the 6'7" forward from Canada took over some games, and he's improved his shooting range at Duke. The youngster can also set up teammates with the ball in his hands.
The Knicks would have a ready-made scoring machine set to elevate their level of competition for years to come.
New Orleans Pelicans Take Darius Garland, Potentially Trade No. 4 Pick
Executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin put the Pelicans in position to push for a playoff spot in the short term as opposed to a slow rebuild without Davis. Jrue Holiday, Ball, Ingram and Williamson look like an impressive group on paper.
According to WDSU-TV's Fletcher Mackel, New Orleans may consider trading back a few slots with another team eyeing Darius Garland:
Fletcher Mackel @FletcherWDSU
NBA source: Pelicans could trade #4 pick in 2019 @nba draft for #6 pick (Suns) or #7 pick (Bulls) and acquire a 2020 protected 1st round selection from Phoenix or Chicago. Suns/Bulls both strong interest in Darius Garland. Deal similar to Dallas/ATL 2018 Doncic draft trade. https://t.co/RLTh5ph5md
The Pelicans don't need a guard with Ball and Holiday in the backcourt, so a trade package may appeal to them. The front office could snag another veteran in addition to a high pick to bolster the bench.
The Pelicans take Garland with the fourth pick, but he's likely to switch hats Thursday night. The Chicago Bulls sound like an ideal trade partner because vice president of basketball operations John Paxson didn't give Kris Dunn a strong vote as the team's long-term point guard, per NBC Chicago's Mark Strotman.
"I think he has defensive abilities," Paxson said. "But we have to get better at that position, there's absolutely no question in my mind."
Dunn averaged 11.3 points during the 2018-19 campaign, a slight step back from 13 points in his first year with the club.
The Pelicans will have plenty of options in this spot, and they'll likely agree to the best offer. If not, Garland would become a high-upside scoring threat on the floor. Head coach Alvin Gentry can experiment with three-guard lineups, featuring the Vanderbilt product, Ball and Holiday.
Garland went down with a knee injury five games into his only collegiate season. In a short stint, he converted on 54 percent of his shot attempts and displayed deep shooting range, averaging 2.2 triples per game.
Atlanta Hawks Select Cam Reddish at No. 8
The Atlanta Hawks roll the dice on Cam Reddish with the eighth pick. Williamson and Barrett didn't leave much room for the 6'8" forward to shine at Duke, but he didn't capitalize on his opportunities, either.
Reddish shot 36 percent from the floor and averaged 13.5 points through 36 games. Still, he showed flashes of long-range shooting, athleticism and the ability to play the passing lanes on the defensive end.
The Hawks have three first-round picks, two in the top 10, so the front office can afford to swing at a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect. The roster also doesn't have a consistent, top-notch scorer on the wing. Atlanta acquired guard Allen Crabbe, but he's gone through plenty of peaks and valleys in his six-year career.
Reddish won't have tremendous pressure on his back with a rebuilding squad, and the coaching staff can steadily develop his skill set. But he does possess the physical tools to grow into a complete playmaker.