2019 NBA Mock Draft: 2 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 1-15
My first 2019 NBA Mock Draft is now up. Enjoy!
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 6, 2019.
New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
- 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.
- The 6-7 285 lb Zion Williamson is versatile enough to play the 3 at small forward or the 4 at power forward. New Orleans has a good starting five when healthy including point guard Jrue Holliday, shooting guard E'Twuan Moore, small forward Solomon Hill, power forward Julius Randle, and center Anthony Davis.
- Julius Randle is opting out of his contract with the New Orleans Pelicans thanks to his player option. Zion Williamson will most likely take Randle's place at the 4.
- The big question is what happens to the teams star player Anthony Davis. Davis has made it clear he wants out of New Orleans, but it makes no sense to deal him before the NBA Trade Deadline next season with the player option for Davis not taking effect until next season. The New York Knicks at 3 and the Los Angeles Lakers at 4 are two teams that could trade their pick for the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
- 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.
Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
- The 6-3 175 lb Ja Morant is going to be the future starting point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis is making a conscious attempt to trade their long-time starter Mike Conley Jr., who they drafted fourth overall in the 2007 NBA Draft out of Ohio State away to another team.
- Morant is taller then Mike Conley Jr. who is only 6-1. There is a huge age difference between the two players as well with Mike Conley Jr. being 31-years-old and Ja Morant being 19-years-old.
- 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.
- Morant gives Memphis a new face of the franchise at point guard. Morant can help Memphis rebuild into a contender quickly.
New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett, SG, Duke
- 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.
Los Angeles Lakers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
- Now we get to my favorite NBA team. The Los Angeles Lakers have a good starting five featuring Lonzo Ball at point guard, Brandon Ingram playing shooting guard as a second small forward, LeBron James at small forward, Kyle Kuzma at power forward, and Javale McGee at center. Everyone in this starting five averaged at least 9.9 points per game with Ball scoring the fewest points among the starters.
- Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope averaged 11.4 points per game despite only having 23 starts. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was also the only player on the Lakers to appear in all 82 games this past season. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Javale McGee are set to be Free Agents in 2019 with 2018 first round pick Moritz Wagner moving to center in 2019 at 6-11 245 lbs unless the Lakers find a way to get Anthony Davis.
- The Los Angeles Lakers have narrowed this pick down to three players. Texas Tech shooting guard Jarrett Culver, Virginia small forward DeAndre Hunter, and Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland. Initially, Garland and Hunter were the front runners to be the pick, but with Culver impressing LeBron James on Saturday, all of the sudden Culver is now in the conversation to go fourth to the Lakers.
- Culver is the fourth best player on my board, and honestly he makes the most sense for the Lakers despite lots of rumors about the Lakers. The reason I believe this pick will be Culver or Garland is because they are the two youngest players with Garland being 19 and Culver being 20. Hunter is 21 and I think the Lakers will take age into consideration at the end of the day when scouting all three prospects despite the fact that Hunter led Virginia to a Championship since the Lakers are already loaded at small forward.
- 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 Lakers and got words of encouragement after working out with LeBron James. Like LeBron, Culver wants to win at any cost so Culver and LeBron share the same philosophy about team outlook which is a reason to draft him.
- 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 Lakers taking Culver at 4.
- Worst case scenario you got a really good sixth man for Lonzo Ball at point guard and Brandon Ingram playing shooting guard as a second small forward. Best case scenario, Culver comes in and takes a starting spot from either Ball or Ingram most likely Ball.
Cleveland Cavaliers: De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
- Cleveland has 0 small forwards on their depth chart according to Spotrac. LeBron James left and this team needs a new starter to replace him. DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish are Cleveland's top two players on their board behind Williamson, Morant, and Barrett. Both are small forwards and Cleveland will take Hunter or Reddish at 5 depending on what the Lakers do at 4.
- If Hunter gets drafted by the Lakers, then I expect Reddish to get drafted by the Cavaliers at 5. Otherwise, expect Clevleand to take DeAndre Hunter.
- 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.
- De'Andre Hunter will have the same impact on Cleveland that Collin Sexton had on the Cavaliers if they take him at 5. He won't light up the world like LeBron James, but he should excel as a rookie getting pushed to compete like Sexton did last season.
Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
- 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.
Chicago Bulls: Coby White, PG, North Carolina
- 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.
Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
- Atlanta drafts for depth. They have a starting five with Trae Young at point guard, Kent Bazemore at shooting guard, Taurean Prince at small forward, John Collins at power forward, and Alex Len at center.
- 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.
- Atlanta can start Reddish off as a backup to Prince. Reddish has a higher ceiling then Prince and can take over once Prince's contract expires which is one huge advantage to the Hawks drafting Cam Reddish and then slowly developing him off the bench.
Washington Wizards: Rui Hachimura, SF, Gonzaga
- 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.
- The 6-8 230 lb Rui Hachimura is from Japan. He helped Japan make the 2019 FIBA World Cup averaging 21 points per game and 6 rebounds per game for Japan in that tournament.
- The 21-year-old forward from Gonzaga can play either small forward or power forward. Hachimura also has a massive 7-2 wingspan which is why he excels in terms of both offensive awareness and defensive awareness. His high basketball IQ makes him one of the top prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft as well as a massive steal for anyone outside of the top 10 lucky enough to land Hachimura.
- In this mock draft, Washington lands Hachimura at 9. Hachimura averaged 19.7 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists per game, a 59.1% field goal percentage, a 73.9% free throw percentage, and a 41.7% three point percentage.
Atlanta Hawks: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
- 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 Timberwolves: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
- 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%.
- 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.
Charlotte Hornets: Nickeil-Alexander Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
- 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.
Previous Pick: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
Miami Heat: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
- 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.
Previous Pick: Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
Boston Celtics: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
- 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.
Previous Pick: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
Detroit Pistons: Sekou Doumbaya, SF, Limoges CSP
- 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. I'm giving Detroit the first International player in this mock draft.
- Most mocks have Sekou Doumbaya going as high as eleven, but he's ranked twenty ninth on my board. The top international player in this class is only 18-years-old.
- 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.
- 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 Detroit Pistons assuming they develop him correctly.
Previous Pick: Chuma Okeke, SF, Auburn
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