There are just a few weeks left remaining in the regular season, yet still so much has not been decided. As fringe players are staking their claim as a high-level NBA prospect and guys are out to prove their worthiness during the final stretch, it is time for an updated 2019 NBA mock draft.
There is not much movement, but plenty of players are beginning to really rise or slide. It is typically at this point that prospects show if they are legitimate or not.
2019 NBA Mock Draft
1. Phoenix Suns
Zion Williamson: Combo Forward- Duke
The team in the one spot will change plenty of time between now and the official lottery. The name in the one spot, however, will remain the same. Zion is an outlier level prospect.
Williamson did suffer a scary looking injury in Duke’s first matchup against UNC on February 20th after his shoe exploded and he strained his knee. Still, barring any potentially catastrophic situation, Williamson is far and away the top prospect in his class going into the postseason and an injury that won’t keep him on the shelf for too long shouldn’t be an issue with his long-term draft position. It will be interesting to see how Williamson does finish out what is expected to be his lone campaign in college basketball. Will he suit up again for Duke or will he elect to go the route of fellow prospect Darius Garland and leave school to begin pursuing his professional aspirations? Only time will tell.
2. New York Knicks
RJ Barrett: Wing- Duke
Barrett hasn’t lit the world on fire in his time at Duke, but he is the ACC’s leading scorer. While the Canadian freshman has ball-hogging and tunnel vision issues, his talent is undeniable. He forces an impact on games and offers elite upside given his physical tools. The second pick is not a great spot to be in, but Barrett’s ability is too much to pass up.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
De’Andre Hunter: Combo Forward- Virginia
The Virginia standout hasn’t made waves with athletic highlights or scoring outbursts, but he offers arguably the safest skill in the draft. De’Andre Hunter offers All-NBA level upside on defense, with a reliable 3-point shot to compliment it. He won’t light up scoreboards, but as people watch more film, it will be easy to see his impact and how he can translate to the NBA.
4. Chicago Bulls
Ja Morant: Lead Guard- Murray State
For the Bulls, taking a point guard to lead the young unit alongside their two promising big men is the logical choice. Morant brings a passing ability that is, at times, jaw-dropping. Pair that with his size and supreme athletic ability, and Morant becomes a tantalizing prospect with a very high ceiling.
5. Atlanta Hawks
Cam Reddish: Wing- Duke
Cam Reddish has been coming into his own during conference play. While his performances are still up-and-down, his confidence is up and he’s channeling his ability to make big plays and bringing it to fruition. Reddish’s mobility and shooting stroke at 6-foot-8 will offer enough of a foundation for a team to reasonably work with. The freshman could be a steal at five if he develops fully, as Reddish possesses elite level two-way upside.
6. Memphis Grizzlies
Darius Garland: Lead Guard- Vanderbilt
Darius Garland’s unknown status will likely work in his favor in a weaker class such as this. Prior to his season-ending injury, Garland was shooting 48% from deep on nearly 5 attempts per game. The Tennessee native offers a serious scoring punch, scoring in a variety of ways- using a variety of scoring moves, a flashes some playmaking ability. For the Grizzlies, Garland could be the heir to Mike Conley’s throne. His decision to hire Rich Paul of Klutch Sports immediately raises his profile among the lottery’s elite.
7. Washington Wizards
Jarrett Culver: Wing- Texas Tech
For the Wizards, selecting the best player available at this stage is the logical choice. Culver projects as a high-level 3-and-D player. With his slow, mechanical jump shot, however, questions remain about just how well his shot will translate.
8. New Orleans Pelicans
Jaxson Hayes: Big- Texas
Jaxson Hayes is the best player left at this spot. The Texas big man is 6-foot-11 yet can accelerate and move like a guard. Hayes fits the Clint Capela-like archetype that is becoming increasingly valuable in the NBA. Once he puts it all together on a consistent basis, Hayes projects as a quality two-way contributor.
9. Atlanta Hawks (Via Dallas Mavericks)
Nassir Little: Combo Forward- North Carolina
The heralded freshman’s rollercoaster of a year has seemingly steadied as of late. However, his performances have not been as promising as NBA scouts would like. Nonetheless, Little has shown flashes off dribble-drive dominance due to his elite physical tools. At this point in Little’s development, picking him in the top 10 is something of a gamble on development, but could pay off in a big way if his IQ and feel catch up to his physical traits.
10. Orlando Magic
Romeo Langford: Wing- Indiana
Langford continues to struggle from beyond the arc, but his defensive prowess and ability to finish around the rim hold his stock up. Add in flashes of playmaking ability and Langford’s offense becomes worth the pick while he attempts to develop his deep jumper.
11. Miami Heat
Keldon Johnson: Wing- Kentucky
Keldon Johnson has quelled concerns over his jump shot by shooting over 40% from deep and 75% from the free throw line. Johnson doesn’t offer much scoring outside of catch-and-shoot 3s and straight-line drives, but he has a handle that offers promise of developing a middle game.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Porter Jr: Wing- USC
After a hot, flashy start to the season, Porter Jr has gone through injury and suspension to get where he is at this point. Questions surround Porter Jr regarding his ability to contribute to winning due to his isolation style of play. While he has an array of scoring moves and shot making ability from anywhere on the court, his ceiling will be limited if he cannot show the quality to contribute to wins.
13. Los Angeles Lakers
Bol Bol: Big- Oregon
Despite Bol Bol’s season-ending injury, his stock keeps him in the lottery conversation. Any time you have a player standing at 7-foot-2 and shooting 52% from deep, the scouts will salivate. His recovery will be watched closely, and teams will need to believe he can hold his own, physically, at the next level.
14. Boston Celtics (Via Sacramento Kings)
Tre Jones: Lead Guard- Duke
Arguably the least appreciated player in the class, Jones is a steady hand who possesses the type of moxie needed to thrive in the NBA. The Duke point guard rarely makes a mistake as he leads the ACC in assists per game, and is fearless in attacking the rim. On top of that, Jones is a suffocating defender- one of the best in the country at his position. The consistency of his jumper is a concern, but Jones’ ability to run a team and play high-level defense makes him a safe pick
15. Detroit Pistons
Sekou Doumboya: Combo Forward- Poitiers
The Pistons hardly need to add to their frontcourt, but Doumboya’s upside may be too interesting to pass on. The Guinean youngster has an excellent frame with tantalizing mobility at 6-foot-9. He has the tools and ability to become a quality switchable defender at the next level so long as his feel continues to increase. He’s shown flashes of being able to shoot the ball but will need to make it a consistent staple in order to be viewed as effective. Doumboya is mostly upside right now, but given the level of talent outside of the lottery, he could be a gamble that results in a big payoff.
16. Charlotte Hornets
Brandon Clarke: Big- Gonzaga
Brandon Clarke is an elite defender who can guard in space as well as stay home to protect the paint. The redshirt junior pairs extremely high IQ with functional strength and athleticism to utilize to his advantage on both ends of the court. Clarke can dominate a mismatch; either scoring on a small defender in the low post or getting by a bigger defender from the high post. His ceiling comes to question when you consider his age (will be 23 by the start of next NBA season) and the fact that his jumper is mostly nonexistent at this point. Despite that, Clarke is a high-floor prospect that can contribute immediately.
17. Brooklyn Nets
Nickeil Alexander-Walker: Wing- Virginia Tech
Alexander-Walker is a scoring wing who is expanding his ability off the dribble. The sophomore has increased his 2pt% by 10 percent and is shooting over 39% from deep. Alexander-Walker can operate out of pick-n-rolls, displaying good vision for a secondary initiator. His ceiling isn’t terribly high, as he lacks dynamic athleticism and ‘shake’ with the ball, but his floor as a scorer and secondary playmaker is valuable in today’s NBA.
18. Boston Celtics (Via Los Angeles Clippers)
Jontay Porter: Big- Missouri
It seems fitting that the big man to work under Al Horford is a player of a similar mold. Porter, like Horford, is a center who does the little things, is fundamentally sound, and can space the floor. Porter is an outlier level passer for a big man and will be a threat as a 3-point shooter. Most of his concerns are rooted in his physical abilities, as he notably had the highest body fat percentage in the draft combine last year. Pair that with an ACL injury and there are some red flags. This brings questions about switchability on defense and how mobile he can be on offense. Nonetheless, the offensive prowess he’s displayed will be enticing as a big man.
19. San Antonio Spurs
Jordan Poole: Wing- Michigan
Poole is a dynamic offensive player who oozes high-level potential. The long, lanky 6-foot-4 sophomore is shooting over 40 percent from deep and has begun showing more consistency in his ability to create his own offense. Poole’s long frame and functional athleticism also signal a tantalizing defensive ceiling under the proper tutelage. Poole has much upside as anyone left at this stage of the draft, but it will depend on his IQ development as well as his consistency.
20. Utah Jazz
Coby White: Lead Guard- North Carolina
The Jazz have been seeking a dynamic backcourt mate for young star Donovan Mitchell. Coby White is as dynamic as they come. White is a downhill point guard who has a wide array of scoring moves. An elite scorer, the freshman can bend defenses and has shown he can dish out a laser pass for a bucket with some regularity. White will need to develop his feel for half-court offense as well as become a better overall defender, but the prospect of his athleticism and scoring ability offer an interesting foundation.
21. Cleveland Cavaliers (Via Houston Rockets)
Grant Williams: Big- Tennessee
For the Cavs, starting your rebuild with a sturdy, high-floor player who can do a bit of everything is a logical choice. Williams has an “old man game” as he is methodical, possesses a high IQ, and is willing to do the dirty work. However, Williams has legitimate talent. The 6-foot-7 junior has immense strength and knows how to use it to score around the rim. However, Williams lacks explosive athleticism and has questions about his jumper. With that, it remains to be seen how switchable he will be against NBA wings.
22. Portland Trail Blazers
PJ Washington: Big- Kentucky
PJ Washington has been on a tear over the last month or so and capped it off with a dominant performance against Tennessee last weekend. Coming into the year, Washington needed to improve his shot and show that he could channel his physical tools into functionality that would help him become more productive. Both of these happened, as he is shooting 44% from deep this year and has even added some passing ability to his toolbox. As he puts his skill set together consistently, his stock will only rise.
23. Philadelphia 76ers
KZ Okpala: Big- Stanford
KZ Okpala fits the mold of a modern power forward. At 6-foot-9, Okpala is lanky yet incredibly mobile- moving like a guard at times. The sophomore is a knockdown shooter and is showing flashes of being able to create some of his own offense outside of straight line drives. His defensive upside is immense, and under the right conditions, he could become impactful on that side of the ball. Okpala’s skill set is far too enticing to pass up for a team who can afford to give him time.
24. Boston Celtics
Ignas Brazdeikis: Combo Forward- Michigan
Iggy Brazdeikis is a high-floor, high IQ forward who knows how to make the smart play on both ends. To add to that, Brazdeikis can shoot the ball well, offering spacing and decision-making to an offense that could use both. The immense upside may not totally be there, but Brazdeikis has a high floor with room to improve and become a valuable role player.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder
Daniel Gafford: Big- Arkansas
Daniel Gafford offers outstanding size and length at 6-foot-11 with freakish athleticism. With the resurgence of Nerlens Noel, drafting a player in his mold to replace him is a great idea for the Thunder. Gafford offers rim protection with some switchability in certain situations. On offense, he is a boisterous rim runner who can throw down lobs or catch it on the roll for a finish. A valuable role in today’s NBA, Gafford cam fill that with effectiveness immediately.
26. Indiana Pacers
Ty Jerome: Lead Guard- Virginia
The steady hand that the Pacers have been seeking to pair next to Victor Oladipo comes in the form of Ty Jerome. Coincidentally, Jerome epitomizes what it means to be a steady-handed point guard. Never phased, Jerome rarely makes a turnover and is always cool from behind the arc, where he shoots over 40 percent on 5 attempts per game. The junior has a 6-foot-5 frame that allows him to defend with versatility at a high level. Jerome’s ceiling isn’t terribly high due to lacking a degree of athleticism, but for a playoff team, his plug-and-play ability is of high value.
27. Brooklyn Nets (Via Denver Nuggets)
Louis King: Wing- Oregon
The Nets can bolster their versatility on the perimeter with this choice. King, who missed the first chunk of the year with an injury, is a long, versatile, two-way wing. At 6-foot-9, King has excellent mobility and athleticism, paired with his length and shooting ability. Right now, he primarily projects as a mobile 3-and-D prospect, but he can attack straight line drives and use his length at the rim. If King can improve his feel on both ends and add some scoring moves to his arsenal, he could become a major steal at this stage of the draft.
28. Golden State Warriors
Bruno Fernando: Big- Maryland
The desirable big man for the Warriors looks like a guy who can cut hard to the basket to bend defenses, provide energy on the boards, and offer paint protection. Bruno Fernando fits that bill. Fernando is learning how to contribute at a higher level this season but will need to continue to improve his feel and IQ in order to truly make an impact on a consistent basis in the NBA.
29. San Antonio Spurs (Via Toronto Raptors)
Admiral Schofield: Combo Forward- Tennessee
Tennessee’s standout senior Admiral Schofield is the ideal high-floor type of player that teams want in the late first round. Schofield provides quality floor spacing, the ability to straight line drive strongly, and switchable defense. 6-foot-6 and ripped, Schofield has a body that even NBA players would envy. Given his age and skill set, his ceiling isn’t terribly high. However, Schofield could be a valuable contributor as a role player for a long time
30. Milwaukee Bucks
Shamorie Ponds: Lead Guard- St. Johns
With Eric Bledsoe slated to be a free agent this summer, the Bucks could look to bolster their backcourt. Ponds is a lightning bolt of a guard who can score in bunches. Ponds’ scoring skill set allows him to play off the ball as a secondary initiator as well. His size works against him at only 6-foot-1, and there are questions about his ability to be an effective distributor as he runs a team. However, the potential as a bench scorer in the backcourt is worth taking the late first round pick on.