2019 NBA Draft Notes:
LOOKING OUT FOR NO. 1
-- The New Orleans Pelicans are set to make the first pick in the NBA Draft for the second time in franchise history. In 2012, the Pelicans selected six-time NBA All-Star Anthony Davis with the top pick.
-- This marks the fourth time in nine years that new Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin will play a prominent role in the selection of the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. Griffin worked as a top executive with the Cleveland Cavaliers when the team drafted Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Bennett (2013) Andrew Wiggins (2014) first overall.
-- In the common era of the NBA Draft (since 1966), Kentucky has had the most No. 1 overall picks with three: John Wall (2010), Anthony Davis (2012) and Karl-Anthony Towns (2015).
-- This year, Duke has a chance to equal Kentucky with its third No. 1 overall pick in the common draft era. The Blue Devils’ two No. 1 selections are Elton Brand (1999) and Kyrie Irving (2011).
-- Since the NBA Draft Lottery began in 1985, four of 34 No. 1 overall picks have won an NBA championship with the team that drafted them: David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs, 1987), Tim Duncan (Spurs, 1997), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers, 2003) and Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers, 2011). James’ championship with the Cavaliers came in his second stint with the team.
PICKING AND CHOOSING
-- The Memphis Grizzlies are picking second for the fifth time. The Grizzlies previously selected Mike Bibby (1998), Steve Francis (1999), Stromile Swift (2000) and Hasheem Thabeet (2009) with the No. 2 pick.
-- The New York Knicks (third pick) will make their highest selection since landing Patrick Ewing with the No. 1 pick in 1985. The Knicks also had the third pick in 1979 and chose Bill Cartwright. Other topfive picks in Knicks history include Cazzie Russell in 1966 (first); Walt Frazier in 1967 (fifth); Micheal Ray Richardson in 1978 (fourth); Kenny Walker in 1986 (fifth; and Kristaps Porzingis in 2015 (fourth).
-- The Los Angeles Lakers are picking fourth for the first time. This is their fourth top-four pick in the last five years; the Lakers selected D’Angelo Russell (2015), Brandon Ingram (2016) and Lonzo Ball (2017) with the No. 2 pick in their respective drafts.
-- The Boston Celtics are set to make three three selections in the first round (Nos. 14, 20 and 22) and one selections in the second round (No. 51). If the Celtics make all four picks, that would give them an NBAhigh 21 draft picks since 2015.
-- Ja Morant is expected to become the second player from Murray State to be selected in the first round. Cameron Payne was chosen by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 14th pick in 2015. Payne and Isaiah Canaan, a second-round pick in 2013, are the school’s only two picks since 1996.
-- Jarrett Culver has a chance to become the third Texas Tech player selected in the first round, joining Tony Battie (1997) and Zhaire Smith (2018).
-- De’Andre Hunter has a chance to become Virginia’s first top-10 pick since Olden Polynice in 1987 and only the second first-round pick since 1995, along with Justin Anderson (2015). Recent second-picks Mike Scott (2012), Joe Harris (2014) and Malcolm Brogdon (2016) have found success in the NBA after playing collegiately at Virginia.
-- Since the NBA adopted a two-round draft in 1989, Kentucky has had the most first-round selections with 37. Duke is next with 36 first-round picks. Since 1989, Kentucky holds the record for the most picks in an NBA Draft – six each in 2012 and 2015.
-- A record 27 international players were drafted in 2016, including a record 15 in the first round and a record-tying 12 in the second round.
-- Duke’s RJ Barrett is set to continue a recent trend of Canadian players being selected in the NBA Draft Lottery, joining Anthony Bennett (2013), Kelly Olynyk (2013), Andrew Wiggins (2014), Nik Stauskas (2014), Trey Lyles (2015), Jamal Murray (2016) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2018).
-- Joining Barrett as potential draft picks from Canada this year are Virginia Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker; Michigan’s Ignas Brazdeikis; Syracuse’s Oshae Brissett; Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke; Arizona State’s Luguentz Dort; Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele; Iowa State’s Marial Shayok; and Vanderbilt’s Simi Shittu.
-- Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura is poised to become the first Japanese-born player drafted into the NBA. Only two Japanese-born players have appeared in a regular-season NBA game: Yuta Watanabe and Yuta Tabuse.
-- The top international players (who didn’t play at a U.S. college) for the 2019 NBA Draft include Goga Bitadze (Georgia), Sekou Doumbouya (France) and Luka Samanic (Croatia).
-- Doumbouya has a chance to become the highest pick ever from France. Frank Ntilikina was selected by the Knicks with the eighth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the highest for a French player.
-- Last year, Deandre Ayton (Bahamas) became the 13th international player to be selected No. 1 overall.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
-- Duke’s RJ Barrett is the son of Rowan Barrett, who played college basketball at St. John’s, professionally overseas and for Team Canada with two-time NBA MVP and RJ’s godfather, Steve Nash.
-- Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland is the son of Winston Garland, who played seven NBA seasons.
-- Oregon’s Bol Bol is the son of the late 7-7 center Manute Bol, who played 10 NBA seasons.
-- Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele is the nephew of Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo.
-- Missouri’s Jontay Porter is the brother of Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., a first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
-- Iowa State’s Nick Weiler-Babb is the brother of Chris Babb, who played with the Boston Celtics in in the 2013-14 season.
-- Georgia’s Nicolas Claxton is the son of Charles Claxton, who played three games with the Boston Celtics in the 1995-96 season.
-- Virginia Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker is the cousin of LA Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
-- San Diego State’s Jalen McDaniels is the cousin of former NBA All-Star Juwan Howard.
-- Brian Bowen, who played professionally in Australia this past season, is the cousin of former NBA guard Jason Richardson.
MORE FAMILY TIES
-- Boston College’s Ky Bowman is the cousin of Atlanta Falcons linebacker Bruce Carter. Nevada’s
-- Jordan Caroline is the son of former NFL All-Pro defensive end Simeon Rice.
-- Kansas’ Quentin Grimes is the brother of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers.
-- Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ is the cousin of New York Yankees pitcher J.A. Happ. Texas’ Jaxson Hayes is the son of former NFL tight end Jonathan Hayes.
-- Yale’s Miye Oni has a chance to become the first Ivy League player drafted into the NBA since current Boston Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen was taken in the second round out of Penn in 1995.
-- Point Loma Nazarene’s Daulton Hommes and Shaw’s Amir Hinton have a chance to become the first Divison II players drafted into the NBA since 2005, when the Utah Jazz selected Robert Whaley of Walsh University with the 51st pick. Shaw’s Ronald “Flip” Murray, a second-round pick in 2002, is the most recent Division II standout to enjoy a lengthy NBA career.
-- Santa Cruz Warriors forward Alen Smailagic of Serbia has chance to become the third international player drafted into the NBA from the NBA G League, joining Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Greece) and Chukwudiebere Maduabum (Nigeria).
-- A record 20 college freshmen were selected in the 2018 NBA Draft, two more than in 2017.
-- A college freshman has been selected No. 1 overall in each of the last nine years.
-- The top freshmen for the 2019 NBA Draft include RJ Barrett (Duke), Bol Bol (Oregon), Luguentz Dort (Arizona State), Darius Garland (Vanderbilt), Jaxson Hayes (Texas), Tyler Herro (Kentucky), Romeo Langford (Indiana), Nassir Little (North Carolina), Kevin Porter (USC) and Zion Williamson (Duke).
BY THE NUMBERS
-- Of the 60 players who were drafted in 2018, 37 spent time in the NBA G League during the 2018-19 season, including 12 first-round selections. They ranged from the No. 13 pick (Jerome Robinson, LA Clippers) to the 60th pick (Kostas Antetokounmpo, Dallas Mavericks).
-- Twenty-four of the 30 players selected in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft appeared in at least one game during the 2018-19 season. That group included the No. 36 pick, New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, who ranked second in the NBA in blocks per game and earned 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors.
-- Thirteen players who competed in the 2018 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (for top college seniors) played in the NBA in the 2018-19 season. Ten players who participated in the last three PITs have been selected in the NBA Draft, including 2017 first-round pick Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs.