NBA Draft 2019 Results: Grades for Each Team, Top Prospects and Sleepers

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

Zion Williamson, of Duke, smiles before the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

For some of the top prospects in the 2019 NBA draft class, Thursday night was just a formality to confirm the destinations they have known for months.

As expected, Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett were the first three players off the board, and all are expected to make an immediate impact with their new teams.

But they weren't the only intriguing options selected Thursday, as plenty of late first-round and early second-round picks are expected to make a mark in their rookie seasons as well. 

The top sleeper picks from the 2019 draft are looking to follow in the path set by Kevin Huerter and Landry Shamet a year agolate first-round picks who made an impact in their first professional season.


2019 NBA Draft Results



Atlanta: A

Boston: A- 

Brooklyn: B- 

Charlotte: C  

Chicago: B- 


Dallas: C+ 

Denver: B+ 

Detroit: B- 

Golden State: 

Houston: N/A 


Los Angeles Clippers: B- 

Los Angeles Lakers: 


Miami: B+ 

Milwaukee: N/A 

Minnesota: B- 

New Orleans: 

New York: 

Oklahoma City: B- 

Orlando: C- 


Phoenix: C- 

Portland: A-  

Sacramento: C

San Antonio: B+ 

Toronto: C+ 

Utah: C+

Washington: B- 


Top Prospects

Zion Williamson

By the time Thursday rolled around, Williamson had been the clear-cut No. 1 pick for months. 

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

During his lone season at Duke, the 18-year-old established himself as a once-in-a-generation player with his highlight-reel athleticism and scoring ability. 

Williamson finished with 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.5 offensive rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. 

The one-and-done star out of Duke is not the same player as Anthony Davis, but he will be able to fill the superstar void on the New Orleans roster, and he will be able to come into his own alongside a handful of other top young stars. 

With the addition of Jaxson Hayes at No. 8, the Pelicans will not have to rely on Williamson to be the only impact defender around the rim. 

Since New Orleans added three solid shooters in the Davis trade and Nickeil Alexander-Walker at No. 17, Williamson will have time to develop an outside shot to become a complete player who can thrive for decades in the NBA. 


Ja Morant

Ja Morant is in line for similar success in Memphis because of the pieces surrounding him. 

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The 19-year-old will be given the reins to the offense right away, after the Grizzlies traded Mike Conley to Utah to collect assets and allow the sophomore out of Murray State to operate freely from the start of his career. 

Morant's rookie-year production will be boosted by the presence of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke in the paint. 

If he is able to cut through NBA defenses as he did at Murray State, he will be able to dish out plenty of assists to the frontcourt duo. 

Memphis is also getting a player who scored 24.5 points per game and shot 36.3 percent from three-point range.

Of course, Morant will have to refine parts of his game, but if he continues to make improvements, the Grizzlies will be in great shape moving forward. 


Top Sleepers

Dylan Windler

In most college seasons, Dylan Windler would have been the best player in the Ohio Valley Conference, but he was overshadowed by Morant for most of the year. 

Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

The shooting guard out of Belmont shot over 42 percent from three-point range in each of his last two seasons, and he increased his scoring output to 21.3 points per game in his senior campaign. 

At No. 26, Cleveland got a steal with Windler, who should thrive in John Beilein's offense that benefited backcourt players for years during the coach's time at Michigan. 

The Cavs are not just getting a shooter, though, as the 22-year-old averaged a double-double in his senior season with 10.8 rebounds per game. 

With two point guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland on the roster, Windler should receive plenty of opportunities to make an impact in the Cleveland offense during his rookie season. 


Mfiondu Kabengele

The Los Angeles Clippers made a great move by trading up to No. 27 to select Mfiondu Kabengele. 

Phil Sears/Associated Press

The nephew of Dikembe Mutombo averaged 13.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game at Florida State last season. 

Kabengele gives the Clippers an enforcing paint presence to go along with the set of intriguing pieces they added over the last year. 

If he performs the way he did at Florida State, the 21-year-old could end up as a nice complement to Montrezl Harrell down low for the Clippers. 

Kabengele has plenty of experience playing next to another dominant paint player, as he controlled the paint with Christ Koumadje at Florida State. 

The big man also carries a X-factor in his hard playing style from his time learning under head coach Leonard Hamilton, who consistently gets the best out of his players at Florida State.


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Statistics obtained from Sports Reference