Draft Utopia has had the top ranked NBA Mock Draft the last two years in a row in 2017 and 2018. We are aiming to three peat just like the Golden State Warriors. Hopefully the Utopia of Sports accomplishes what Golden State failed to achieve.
The 6-7 285 lb Zion Williamson is versatile enough to play the 2 at shooting guard, 3 at small forward, 4 at power forward, or the 5 at center. He's exceptional defensively to the point where he can defend against the 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. It doesn't matter whether you are a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, or center. Zion is a special player defensively despite being an inconsistent shooter at times.
New Orleans has a good starting five when healthy including point guard Lonzo Ball, shooting guard Jrue Holliday, small forward Brandon Ingram, and they got Julius Randle moving to the 5 at center after being a power forward his entire career.
The 18-year-old Zion Williamson averaged 22.6 points per game, 8.9 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, 2.1 steals per game, 1.8 blocks per game, a 68% field goal percentage, a 64% free throw percentage, and a 33.8% three point percentage. Williamson was the top recruit coming out of High School as well as the heart and soul of Duke’s basketball team in 2019 when he was healthy.
Some are comparing Williamson to LeBron James. He doesn’t hit three pointers like LeBron, plus I compared Ben Simmons to LeBron James and I don’t think Williamson is as polished as Simmons was coming out of LSU. I think he’s the best power forward to enter the NBA Draft since Anthony Davis , however he’s not as big as Davis was coming out of Kentucky. Williamson may be a blue-chip player, but his ceiling isn't as high as Davis.
Zion Williamson is the best player in this class though. He will help the Pelicans out right away with or without Anthony Davis in 2019.
I also have a film session of Zion Williamson on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Michigan State.
The 6-3 175 lb Ja Morant is going to be the starting point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis traded Mike Conley Jr. to Utah for the twenty third pick in this draft.
Ja Morant averaged 24.5 points per game, 10 assists per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, a 49.9% field goal percentage, a 81.3% free throw percentage, and a 36.3% three point percentage. Ja Morant can play the 1, 2, or 3 with his versatility, but projects best at the 1 due to inconsistent defensive awareness as well as a lack of speed, plus a tendency to take bad angles when defending. These are things Morant can correct as he develops because he passes like a Harlem Globetrotter and shoots like a young Russell Westbrook so there is a lot to love with Morant despite reports of a hamstring injury.
Morant gives Memphis a new face of the franchise at point guard. Morant can help Memphis rebuild into a contender quickly.
I also have a film session of Ja Morant on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Auburn.
The 6-7 202 lb R.J. Barrett is the best shooting guard in this years 2019 NBA Draft. He showed the ability to be the feature guy at times when Zion Williamson was injured. There are rumors that Atlanta wants to move 8 and 10 to move up to 3 for Barrett. This is something the Knicks should mull over in such a deep draft class.
Barrett is 18-years-old and turns 19-years-old days before the 2019 NBA Draft. New York may get some star players like Kyrie Irving at point guard, Kevin Durant at small forward, or Anthony Davis at center in the offseason. Getting all three of these guys and Barrett would allow a quick turnaround for the New York Knicks.
R.J. Barrett averaged 22.6 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, 4.3 assists per game, a 45.4% field goal percentage, a 66.5% free throw percentage, and a 30.8% three point percentage. Barrett is the best player available for the New York Knicks despite his inconsistent defending and inconsistent three point shooting.
One thing I will gave Barrett credit for was is ability to defend Indiana shooting guard Romeo Langford who was Barrett's competition to be the top shooting guard in High School. Langford was 3/15 VS Barrett and 0/4 from three point range. He can be clutch despite his flaws and was once projected to go ahead of Zion Williamson back in the Summer and was my second best overall player on my 2018 High School Rankings for Basketball heading into this season.
I also have a film session of R.J. Barrett on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Michigan State.
Atlanta traded Taurean Prince to Brooklyn. They just moved 8, 17, and 35 for this pick so they are taking De'Andre Hunter at 4.
The 6-7 225 lb De'Andre Hunter can play small forward, power forward, or shooting guard with his versatility. The 21-year-old sophomore redshirt did not break out until this season. He also led Virginia to a National Championship in 2019 after Virginia had the top seed and lost to a 16 seed UMBC in 2018.
De'Andre Hunter averaged 15.2 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, a 52% field goal percentage, a 78.3% free throw percentage, and a 43.8% three point percentage in his sophomore season. Hunter is also a great defender on tape.
Atlanta has a starting five with Trae Young at point guard, Kent Bazemore at shooting guard, De'Andre Hunter at small forward, John Collins at power forward, and Alex Len at center.
The 6-6 195 lb Jarrett Culver played point guard and shooting guard next to Zhaire Smith at Texas Tech when Smith played shooting guard and small forward as a true freshman when Culver averaged 11.2 points per game. Culver returned for his sophomore season averaging 18.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, 3.7 assists per game, a 46.1% field goal percentage, a 70.7% free throw percentage, and a 30.4% three point percentage. The 20-year-old two-guard can help the Cavaliers.
Culver may not score as frequently as R.J. Barrett. He's more versatile as a guard who can play both guard spots unlike Barrett. Jarrett Culver is also a way better defender on tape despite struggling with his three point shot at times like Barrett does. Culver is also a more consistent shooter with a better free throw percentage as well which is why it's hard to argue against the Cavaliers taking Culver at 5.
The Phoenix Suns traded Brandon Knight to Cleveland where he sucked. Now Phoenix officially has to draft a point guard to complete their starting five. The Suns were impressed by both Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland and North Carolina point guard Coby White at the 2019 NBA Combine.
The 6-2 175 lb Darius Garland was my second best point guard coming out of High School behind Tre Jones. Tre Jones returned to Duke for his sophomore season. The 19-year-old Garland is now the top point guard in this draft class as a result.
I've seen Garland hit short-range, mid-range, and long-range shots on tape despite what his stats say. Displays the ability to be an elite passer with offensive awareness and defensive awareness that you want in a point guard. He has an exceptional basketball IQ. Garland only played five games at Vanderbilt this season averaging 16.5 points per game, but in many ways he reminds me of Lonzo Ball or Kyrie Irving without the drama. He's a scrappy defender who can contest shots, rebound, and steal the ball despite his size.
Phoenix is taking a point guard at 6. This pick strictly comes down to whether Garland or White is higher on their draft board. Once the Suns get their point guard they will have a point guard who can pass it to shooting guard Devin Booker, small forward Josh Jackson, power forward Marques Chriss, or center DeAndre Ayton.
This is the third year in a row where the Chicago Bulls will have the seventh pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Chicago has a starting five with Kris Dunn at point guard, Zach LeVine at shooting guard, Otto Porter Jr. at small forward, Lauri Markanen at power forward, and Wendell Carter Jr. at center.
Chicago spent their last two seasons getting bigs at power forward and center with the seventh overall pick. The Bulls had ten different players average 10 points per game.
This draft class has 7 players in the running to be selected in the top 6 overall. These players include Duke power forward Zion Williamson, Murray State point guard Ja Morant, Duke shooting guard R.J. Barrett, Texas Tech shooting guard Jarrett Culver, Virginia small forward DeAndre Hunter, Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland, and North Carolina point guard Coby White.
Chicago will either land Coby White or Jarrett Culver at 7 because I think the Lakers are going to either take Culver or Garland. Most mocks have Garland to the Lakers since he's younger and a better three point shooter despite being injured for most of this season.
In that scenario Cleveland still gets Hunter and Phoenix would reach for White at point guard allowing the Bulls to take Culver at 7 in the event that the Lakers took Garland. In this mock though, I'm giving the Lakers Culver, even though that may change in my final mock draft.
Chicago needs a defensive presence for depth or a point guard to push Kris Dunn. The 6-5 185 lb Coby White can play point guard or shooting guard with his versatility.
The 19-year-old Coby White had 16.1 points per game, 4.1 assists per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 1.1 steals per game, a 42.2% field goal percentage, a 80% free throw percentage, and a 35.3% three point percentage. I gave Darius Garland a 94/100 grade out of High School. Coby White only had an 88/100 grade on my High School page. His defense is below average and will be a liability despite his versatility that Garland lacks.
Coby White surpassed Michael Jordan for points as a freshman at North Carolina. That's why White is getting overhyped. At the same time, I think White could end up being a bust because I don't see him as someone with a higher ceiling then Kris Dunn and that's what Chicago needs if they want to take a point guard at 7.
New Orleans drafts for depth. Cam Reddish provides great depth at 8.
Drafting the 6-8 218 lb Cam Reddish makes sense. The 19-year-old averaged 13.5 points per game at Duke. His most memorable moment was that game-winning three pointer he hit versus Florida State. Reddish specializes with his shooting. His 77.2% free throw percentage and 33.3% three point percentage are impressive. The 35.6% field goal percentage by Reddish is alarming.
The Washington Wizards have John Wall at point guard, Bradley Beal at shooting guard, Jabari Parker at power forward, and Dwight Howard at center. They need someone to push Troy Brown for the starting small forward job after Brown only averaged 4.8 points per game.
Washington has two players in mind at 9 that they have scouted heavily assuming all of the top 8 players in this mock draft go off the board as expected with Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, R.J. Barrett, Jarrett Culver, De'Andre Hunter, Darius Garland, Coby White, and Cam Reddish all go top 8 as expected. We know those eight players are the studs that headline this class, but we don't know is who will be picked fourth after Zion, Morant, and Barrett get selected. The two players Washington is eyeing are Sekou Doumbaya and Jaxson Hayes. I have to believe Washington will take the former at 9 if that's who the Wizards have narrowed this pick down to after losing Otto Porter.
One cannot help by raving about Doumbaya's athleticism, speed, explosion, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and basketball IQ. I see someone who has the short-range, mid-range, and long-range shots to dominate on tape as well. Sekou Doumbaya is also capable of playing the 2, 3, or 4 at shooting guard, small forward, or power forward with his versatility. He can defend the 1, 2, 3, or 4. Centers are the only players that can overwhelm him with size.
Sekou Doumbaya checks all the boxes on tape despite what his stats say which is why he's a boom or bust pick. Frank Ntilikina who the Knicks wasted a top 10 pick on had the same qualities on tape despite having lousy stats and he busted. Doumbaya is a better three point shooter than Ntilikina which is why Sekou Doumbaya has a good chance to succeed with a team like the Washington Wizards because he's way more versatile too.
The Hawks grab the 6-6 215 lb Romeo Langford. Langford has a higher ceiling then Kevin Huerter even though Huerter showed he could be a future replacement for Kent Bazemore by winning All Rookie honors.
Langford averaged 16.5 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game a 44.8% field goal percentage, 72.2% free throw percentage, and a 27.2% three point percentage. Langford was my third best recruit coming out of High School, but he did not play like the top 5 prospect that many hoped he would be.
Langford still has a tremendous upside. He is still a top 10 pick despite not having good three point shooting due to his ability to play effectively on both offense and defense.
Minnesota will have Jeff Teague at point guard, Josh Okogie at shooting guard, Andrew Wiggins at small forward, Robert Covington at power forward, and Karl-Anthony Towns at center in their starting five. They still could use some depth though.
Jeff Teague is the only player playing for a new deal in 2019 next season. The rest of this starting five is under contract until 2022 with Covington set to be the next Free Agent. Minnesota has Okogie, Wiggins, and KAT locked up until at least 2023 so Minnesota just needs to get good coaching from Ryan Saunders, the son of Flip Saunders as well as some strong drafts from 2019 to 2021 so that Ryan Saunders can bring a championship to Minnesota at some point.
The 6-8 215 lb power forward has the body of a small forward. After averaging 17.5 points per game in 2017-2018 as a sophomore, he only averaged 16.9 points per game in 2018-2019 as a junior. His 8.9 rebounds from last year also dropped to 8.6 rebounds per game. He also saw a decrease in assists per game and three point percentage going from 33.3% to 26.7%. Minnesota could also take Rui Hachimura a teammate of Clarke, but I think the Timberwolves are higher on Clarke for some reason.
Clarke improved his field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and steals. Clarke is one of the best blockers in this draft class defensively. Gonzaga's forward would be a depth player on Minnesota and this is a role he'd thrive in.
The Charlotte Hornets should honestly trade this pick for a quality point guard. The 6-5 205 lb Nickeil-Alexander Walker has the versatility to play shooting guard or point guard with his versatility.
Nickeil-Alexander Walker averaged 16.2 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, 4.1 assists per game, a 47.4% field goal percentage, a 77.8% free throw percentage, and a 37.4% three point percentage. The 20-year-old Nickeil-Alexander Walker was one of two players along with Bruno Fernando to interview with Charlotte at both the 2019 NBA Combine and via a private workout with the Charlotte Hornets.
Bruno Fernando isn't explosive on tape and had a very poor vertical. Nickeil-Alexander Walker on the other hand is a great defender and can hit shots from short-range, mid-range, or long-range when you watch his tape. He's also a great passer with offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and the basketball IQ to blend in.
Charlotte isn't the only team in the top 15 bringing Nickeil-Alexander Walker in for a private workout. The Boston Celtics at 14 and the Detroit Pistons at 15 are also looking at Nickeil-Alexander Walker.
The Miami Heat have their starting five back next season. Point guard Goran Dragic, shooting guard Josh Richardson, small forward Justise Winslow, power forward Kelly Olynick, and center Hassan Whiteside make an outstanding core when all five are healthy. Dragic and Whiteside will accept the player options in their contracts with the Miami Heat for next season.
Miami drafts my best player on the board. The 7-2 235 lb Bol Bol with a 7-3 wingspan. Bol Bol missed most of his freshman season with an injury and is now 208 lbs which is why scouts are concerned about Bol Bol's durability.
The 19-year-old Bol Bol averaged 21 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game, 2.7 blocks per game, 1 assist, a 56.1% field goal percentage, a 75.7% free throw percentage, and a 52% three point percentage in 9 games. Bol Bol is criminally underrated and someone the Miami Heat should consider at 13 despite his durability concerns.
Point guard Kyrie Irving and center Al Horford both have player options in their contracts. Small forward Gordon Hayward has a player option that takes effect next season.
The 6-6 218 lb shooting guard has the ability to shoot a three point shot effectively as well as steal on tape. You have to look past his stats and the also look past the fact that he averages under 9.5 points per game.
This guy checks out all the boxes on tape when healthy. If Kevin Porter Jr. wasn't injured you could honestly argue that this is a top 10 pick for the Boston Celtics. That's one reason why I love this selection for the Boston Celtics.
The Pistons get a starting small forward at 15 to round out their starting five with Reggie Jackson at point guard, Luke Kennard at shooting guard, Blake Griffin at power forward, and Andre Drummond at center. Even though Detroit should draft a small forward, I feel like they will go with the best available player that has dominated private workouts leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft with Kentucky point guard Tyler Herro for depth behind Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard as a guard off the bench.
One cannot help by raving about his athleticism, speed, explosion, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and basketball IQ. I see someone who has the short-range, mid-range, and long-range shots to dominate on tape as well.
The 6-5 195 lb Tyler Herro is versatile enough to play both point guard and shooting guard with his versatility. The 19-year-old guard is an effective two guard for depth and is capable of pushing for the point guard job in Detroit.
Herro averaged 14 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game, a 46.2% field goal percentage, a 93.5% free throw percentage, and a 35.5% three point percentage. Herro is a great shooter who is money from the free throw line. He can contribute with the Pistons as a role player. He may be able to supplant Kennard as the starting shooting guard down the road.