The 2018 draft cycle has concluded. The Draft took place Thursday night and we now know the fate of the 2018 rookie class. Naturally, it is time to get a first look at the 2019 prospect class with a 2019 NBA mock draft.
This class is generally viewed as weaker than the last two years, but the players at the top are just as good as any that we’ve seen. After the top ten, it is incredibly hard to read at this juncture. We’ll likely see an extraordinary amount of movement during this draft cycle.
The 2019 class appears to be dominated by wing prospects. Versatility and length on both ends look like central themes for the group. This comes at a great time for the league considering the premium being placed on switchable wings in the NBA. Let’s take a look at the top 30 prospects in the 2019 NBA mock draft.
1. RJ Barrett (Wing- Duke)
This spot is the easiest to decide. RJ Barrett has been the best player amongst his peers before and after his reclassification. Barrett projects as a very high-level two-way prospect who can defend multiple positions and play anywhere on the wing or backcourt. Barrett’s one weakness- shooting- has looked much improved in recent months and he could be one of the most polished prospects we have seen in a very long time. Look for Barrett’s name to be discussed with the best prospects we’ve seen this century.
2. Cam Reddish (Wing- Duke)
Duke gets the top two players in the high school class and subsequently the top two players in the draft class. Reddish is an absurdly talented player who has drawn comparisons to a young Kevin Durant. Reddish is 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot wingspan who has guard skills and move effortlessly. He can score at all three levels and defend multiple positions. When he is locked in, there is virtually no one at this level who can stop him.
3. Sekou Doumboya (Combo Forward- Poitiers)
Doumboya is a French combo forward who offers a really smooth game. Very similar to Reddish, Doumbouya is a terrific athlete who can score from almost anywhere on the floor. What Doumboya lacks in consistent high-level shooting, he makes up for in craftiness and high basketball IQ. He’ll need to clean up some technical skills, but his natural scoring instincts and physical tools offer an outstanding foundation.
4. De’Andre Hunter (Combo Forward- Virginia)
De’Andre Hunter is the first player here who withdrew from the 2018 draft just a couple of months after he suffered a broken wrist which didn’t allow him to play in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hunter is an elite defender with NBA-ready length in the mold of Kawhi Leonard. His offensive game is still raw, however, we saw a budding skill-set as the season went on. If he can continue on his current developmental path, look for Hunter to be a lock for the top five.
5. Nassir Little (Wing- North Carolina)
Little is another two-way wing who will need some development on offense. Little is a scrappy, high motor player who goes hard on every possession. With a serviceable jump shot off the bounce, Little will work towards becoming a more consistent spot-up shooter and polishing off his handle and rim finishing. Little has the athleticism and physical tools to become an All-Star in the NBA.
6. Romeo Langford (Combo Guard- Indiana)
The Indiana product is a smooth score-first guard who lacks explosive athleticism in a similar mold of James Harden. while Langford still has plenty of work to do to understand how to use his body and the angles on the court to his advantage, his natural scoring polish will grab the attention of scouts. He will need to show at least average defensive ability if he wants to stay amongst the best prospects.
7. Charles Bassey (Big- Western Kentucky)
Bassey is the first big on this list and he is one with immense upside. After reclassifying to the class of 2018, Bassey makes a huge splash in this draft class. Bassey is an uber-athletic 6-foot-10 center who projects as a top-tier rim diver and rim protector. This will be an extremely intriguing space to watch over the course of the season.
8. Bol Bol (Big- Oregon)
The next player here is also a big man. The heralded son of Manute Bol offers some serious upside for the NBA, but also some serious risk. Bol is very thin and lacks NBA athleticism. However, Bol has a solid shooting stroke and defensive instincts that do inspire confidence for next level projection.
9. Luka Samanic (Big- Barcelona)
Another international prospect makes this list in Luka Samanic. Samanic is a fluid 6-foot-11 big man who can space the floor. While a large portion of his game is still with his back to the basket, he has shown the ability to create for himself from the perimeter and knock down a deep jumper.
10. Quentin Grimes (Wing- Kansas)
Grimes projects as a bit of a project, but one that could be worthwhile. Quentin Grimes is an athletic scoring guard who could be a scoring specialist in the NBA. There are questions about his defensive ability as well as his ability to finish at the rim. With some development, Grimes could become a complete offensive package.
11. Zion Williamson (Combo Forward- Duke)
Zion Williamson will likely be higher on other boards, but he does have some worrisome holes. Williamson has a very concerning jump-shot and there are legitimate questions about his functional quickness allowing him to shuffle his feet against quicker guards and create his own offense. Despite that, Williamson is an athletic specimen with underrated passing ability. A solid comparison would be a Julius Randle-lite.
12. Daniel Gafford (Big- Arkansas)
The next player is also someone who was once in the 2018 draft. Gafford is known as a player with outstanding physical tools and athleticism. His basketball feel and IQ are still a work in progress, but his tools are worth the pick here. Gafford may only be a rim diver and rim protector, but that in itself has value in today’s NBA.
13. Keldon Johnson (Wing- Kentucky)
Keldon Johnson could be someone who rises up many boards. Johnson is a jack of all trades who does not excel at anything. He can make plays from the wing while also being a serious scoring threat. He lacks dynamic athleticism but has enough fluidity to suffice at the next level. With ideal positonal size and length, Johnson offers potential as a two-way player.
14. Darius Garland (Lead Guard- Vanderbilt)
Finally, the first lead guard on this board. Darius Garland does have some size issues at a lanky 6-foot-3, but his skill level is enough for a team to take- his body will catch up. Garland has a great jumpshot off the dribble with some serious playmaking prowess. While concerns about his lack of explosive athleticism will hinder some defensive and interior finishing upside, his ability to intitiate an offense and create for himself as well as others will prove valuable.
15. Naz Reid (Big- LSU)
Naz Reid is an extremely skilled big man who can space the floor. His body will need work to lose some softness, but his skillset will be the attention-grabber. Reid can handle the ball, work from the perimeter, and spot-up at a reliable clip. His defensive instincts need work, however, his offensive ability will be worth taking a flyer on in a weak class.
16. Simi Shittu (Big- Vanderbilt)
Shittu is another big man who has a solid foundation with quality tools to work with. Shittu isn’t quite a reliable floor spacer, but he can operate well in face-up situations and knows how to use his body to score. He does not always look engaged- especially on defense- but he does have natural talent despite questionable basketball instincts.
17. Louis King (Wing- Oregon)
Louis King offers a scoring option for teams needing wing players at this juncture. King is a mostly raw player who has shown the ability to score at all three levels as well as defend multiple positons. His positional size and length are ideal for the modern NBA. With the physical tools to thrive in the NBA, developing bonafide NBA skills will be crucial for King.
18. Darius Bazley (Combo Forward- Syracuse)
Bazley is an intriguing prospect, as he decided to skip college ball and go straight to the G-League. NBA teams will likely get a good look at him playing there, which could help or hurt. Bazley is a smooth combo forward. He has a natural feel to the game but does not excel in any particular area. He can handle the ball and creat his own offense at 6-foot-10, which is valuable. However, he is awkward defensively given his size. If he can show the ability to either protect the rim well or switch onto wings on the perimeter, his value could shoot up.
19. Rui Hachimura (Big- Gonzaga)
Hachimura fits the mold of the modern power forward. He is athletic for his size and can create his own offense from the perimter. He is the oldest guy listed so far but should provide defensive versatility that will make scouts drool. The developing consistency of his jumpshot will be crucial for his draft stock.
20. Jalen Smith (Big- Maryland)
Jalen “Sticks” Smith is the ideal mold for a modern power forward. Smith has intriguing size at 6-foot-10 with the athleticism to be impactful at the next level. Smith is still very raw, however, and will need to polish his game if he wants to contribute sooner rather than later.
21. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Wing- Virginia Tech)
Alexander-Walker got some buzz last season but that was short lived. Alexander-Walker is a scoring specialist who thrives in spot-up situations. Next season, we will need to see his body progress and his ability to create his own offense off the dribble will need to be at a high level.
22. Lindell Wigginton (Lead Guard- Iowa State)
Lindell Wigginton had a great year at Iowa State and got a bit of draft buzz last season. While undersized, Wigginton can initiate offense for himself as well as others. Wigginton shot 40% from deep last year and has a mature offensive arsenal. He will need to show that he can hold his own on defense and finish at the rim.
23. Caleb Martin (Wing- Nevada)
Martin waited until the last hour to withdraw from the 2018 draft, but he will be returning for his senior year. Caleb Martin has enough athleticism to suffice with his three-level scoring package. Martin is an ideal wing scorer, but will need to step up his defensive conistency to be considered as a first round lock.
24. Jontay Porter (Big- Missouri)
Porter has shown all the flashes you want to see from a modern-day center. His work is cut out for him in getting his overall consistency to a higher level. He will also need to work on getting his body ready for the NBA, as his athletic measurements at the 2018 NBA combine turned many scouts off.
25. Oshae Brissett (Wing- Syracuse)
Brissett turned many heads at Syracuse last season. His positional size and length stand out as NBA-ready. He has a standout scoring package inside the arc- as he can finish right at the rim by dunking on the oppositions or laying it in through contact. Also, his potential has a multi-positional defender will be immensely valuable in the NBA. If he can work on his 3-point shot, Brissett will be a lottery talent.
26. Tre Jones (Lead Guard- Duke)
Tre Jones is a scrappy point guard who star players will want to play with. Jones is a terrific distributor of the ball and loves to do the dirty work on both ends. His scoring tools are a large question mark, as he does not excel at any aspect of scoring.
27. Killian Tillie (Big- Gonzaga)
Tillie is exactly what you want on offense from your center in today’s NBA. Tillie is smart and can pick out passes from the high post while being able to space the floor beyond the arc. Not much of an athlete, it will be important to see how he can hang with NBA physicality on the boards and defensively.
28. Tyus Battle (Wing- Syracuse)
Battle had some buzz for the 2018 draft but ended up pulling his name out. Battle is very much a score-first wing who can do it in a multitude of ways. Beyond that, Battle has more upside than actual defensive ability at the moment. Given his athletic abilities, he can become a helpful defender with proper training, and if he can clean up his basketball IQ- he could be another candidate to rise.
29. Jarrey Foster (Wing- SMU)
Jarrey Foster projects as a reliable 3-and-D wing who can be a positive rotational player in the NBA. At 6-foot-5 with length, Foster should be switchable on defense. While his athleticism doesn’t jump out at you, he has fluidly quick feet that should suffice in the NBA. Look for Foster to be a high floor, low ceiling prospect for the late first round.
30. Bruno Fernando (Big- Maryland)
The final player on this board had some legitimate 2018 draft buzz before withdrawing. Fernando is a raw, athletic big man with a high motor. The key for him will be refining his basketball skills on both ends. Thus, becoming a more solid prospect rather than just a project big.