NBA Mock Draft | Mock This Way
The 2019 NBA Draft is almost upon us! In preparation for what should be an unpredictable and exciting night, our web team took a crack at a time-honored NBA tradition—mock drafting. There are many different approaches to mock drafts, but for ours, we chose to act as if we were the general manager of each team. These picks don’t represent what we think each team will do, but rather what they should do. In a deep and talented draft, we didn’t agree on every pick, and things got a little weird. But who knows? In a world where 99 percent of mock drafts are wrong, and everyone knows both everything and nothing, we might have nailed it. But probably not.
With the first pick thanks to a coin flip, Julian Andrews is on the clock. Kyle Ratke is slotted to pick second. The two will alternate picks throughout the first round.
No. 1, New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, F, Duke
JA: You can write this one in pen. The Pelicans are in for an exciting decade building around Williamson. There's no way they pass. In all the infinite alternate future dimensions the Pelicans taking Williamson. It's happening.
No. 2, Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
KR: Is Morant the best point guard in the draft? Probably, but don’t sleep on Darius Garland. This pick seems like the perfect transition for Memphis from Conley/Gasol to Morant/Jackson Jr.
No. 3, New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett, F, Duke
JA: Playing alongside Williamson on a weird Duke roster might have led us to underrate Barrett heading into this draft. He's an incredibly exciting prospect with real go-to scoring upside. The Knicks shouldn't overthink this.
No. 4, Los Angeles Lakers: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
KR: Well, this is awkward. Will the Lakers actually keep this pick? We are an NBA website and we can’t speculate on these things, but chances are you’ve heard some things in the news lately. Garland is the top prospect available and is a good fit for either team, even one that might seem like it’s set at guard already.
No. 5, Cleveland Cavaliers: De'Andre Hunter, F, Virginia
JA: Hunter is a good fit for Cleveland's roster and he'll be able to do a lot right away as a proven shooter who can defend multiple positions. Hunter is a good fit with their second-year PG Collin Sexton, too. It will be interesting to see what happens with this pick, as the Cavs could go a lot of different directions.
No. 6, Phoenix Suns: PG, Coby White, North Carolina
KR: The Suns are in need of a point guard, and White can play both point and shooting guard spots. I’m a big fan of him and his electric speed. The dream would be if Garland fell, but White’s the next-best point guard. Culver is tempting, but it just doesn’t seem like he’d find minutes on a team with some talent on the wing.
No. 7, Chicago Bulls: Jarrett Culver, G, Texas Tech
JA: Culver could certainly go earlier than this, but he's a good fit with the Bulls if he drops. A playmaker of his caliber will do well next to Zach LaVine, even if it means LaVine will have to spend more time at point guard.
No. 8, Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
KR: Trae Young, my best friend Kevin Huerter AND Cam Reddish? Sign me up! There are some questions about Reddish after an up-and-down freshman season at Duke, and that’s why he’s fallen to eight. This seems like a great fit for both sides and if Reddish can shoot like he was projected to out of high school, this offense is going to be fun.
No. 9, Washington Wizards: Sekou Doumbouya, F, France
JA: The Wizards don't have a clear path to contention right now, so it makes sense to go with a high-upside pick for the future. Doumbouya isn't a sure thing, but the potential there is undeniable. He could be an exciting piece in Washington as they look to re-tool with young talent.
No. 10, Atlanta Hawks: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
KR: Doumbouya would have been a great gamble for the Hawks to take, but you've ruined my dreams. I don't love Jaxson Hayes. I think he needs to gain some weight and it could be a while before we see him contribute. But the Hawks have time, and a need for a center, now and into the future. Julian, you're up! WITH THE TIMBERWOLVES PICK! DON'T LET US DOWN!
No. 11, Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Clarke, F, Gonzaga
JA: Sorry folks, no splashy pick here, just the same one we made for the Wolves in our 1.0 Mock Draft. I love the fit for Clarke with the Wolves as an athletic forward who plays great defense and goes all-out on every position. He's also does well in analytics models which seems to align with the way the new Wolves front office is approaching things. Rui Hachimura could also be a good pick here for similar reasons. At this pick, it seems like the best players available will be forwards, but it's hard to say exactly which one of several promising guys the Wolves will land on.
No. 12, Charlotte Hornets: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech
KR: It feels like the Hornets have acquired 3,384 big men over the years. While there are guys like PJ Washington available, I don't know what kind of roster construction this team would have. With Tony Parker retiring, this team needs some depth at guard. There aren't any obvious picks here. I just really like Alexander-Walker's versatility and ability to shoot from deep.
No. 13, Miami Heat: Nassir Little, F, UNC
JA: Little is another slightly risky prospect but the reward could be high. He has the potential to be an elite defender and if his shot continues to develop a team could end up with a real bargain. There's something about Little's raw athleticism and potential that make me think he'd be a good fit in Miami.
No. 14, Boston Celtics: PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky
KR: I'm pretty sure I nailed this pick. I like Washington, a lot. After his freshman season, he decided to go back to Kentucky to clean up some things. He's become a solid shooter and has very good touch inside. This is a good fit.
No. 15, Detroit Pistons: Romeo Langford, G, Indiana
JA: There are some question marks surrounding Langford, but his go-to scoring potential is intriguing and the Pistons are dying to get some offensive production on the wing. At this point, it's worth taking a swing on Langford.
No. 16, Orlando Magic: Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga
KR: As far as fit goes, this isn't great with Orlando already having Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac on the roster. But this seems like it's too far for Hachimura to drop. He's gained some steam lately, and when you watch him play, it's easy to see why. He can score at all three levels. This is a "best player available" move.
No. 17, Atlanta Hawks: Keldon Johnson, G, Kentucky
JA: Johnson could be a nice compliment to the Hawks' already-impressive backcourt as a defender and floor spacer who will play extremely hard off the bench. Johnson doesn't really have elite scoring guard skills, but that's not what the Hawks need right now. Johnson can get up and down in transition and create havoc on the defensive end. This would be a nice fit.
No. 18, Indiana Pacers: Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky
KR: Herro is more than just a shooter. He's athletic and can create shots for himself. I think there's a good chance we look back a year from now and wonder why he fell in the first round, much like we did with Kevin Huerter last season.
No. 19, San Antonio Spurs: Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia
JA: The Spurs have a long history of developing international prospects and they need a center to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge, either backing up Jacob Poeltl or replacing him in the starting lineup. As a rim-protector and potentially great pick and roll guy, Bitadze fits that bill. I actually think this is way too late for him to go, but I didn't really see the fit with any team before now.
No. 20, Boston Celtics: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
KR: Maybe this is early for Johnson. Some are afraid that he's already 23 years old. But I don't think that's a bad thing. He'll be able to contribute right away as a shooter, and everything else is kind of an added bonus. He'll be a great locker room guy and a very coachable player for coach Brad Stevens.
No. 21, Oklahoma City Thunder: Grant Williams, F, Tennesse
JA: Williams might not have a great perimeter game but he's a strong, old-school forward who I had way higher than this on my Big Board. He's a solid playmaker, a great rebounder and screener and a hard worker who will find a place in the NBA. The Thunder are actually in pretty good shape on the wings and could use Willams' hard-nosed interior presence.
No. 22, Boston Celtics: Nicolas Claxton, PF/C, Georgia
KR: I didn't have Claxton in my first big board, but got him into the top-30 in my second. He's what we call a theoretical shooter in the business, but for a big man, he's got a lot of guard-like skills. You know who he could learn a lot from? AL HORFORD, assuming Horford is back with the Celtics next season. This is a low-risk, high-reward pick.
No. 23, Utah Jazz: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
JA: It's happening! The tallest center duo in the league. There are a lot of risks with Bol, but how fun would this be if Bol can stay healthy? Bol can stretch the floor and might be able to spend some time playing at the same time at Gobert. That's too much fun to not think about. You've never seen basketball look like this.
No. 24, Philadelphia 76ers: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
KR: The 76ers desperately need some help off the bench and that couldn't be more obvious in the playoffs. Porter Jr. seems to have all the tools to be an effective player. He has had some questions around his attitude, and his play is a little more style than substance sometimes. But this is a risk you take at the end of the first round.
No. 25, Portland Trail Blazers: Matisse Thybulle, G, Washington
JA: This makes sense on so many levels. The Blazers could seriously use a defensive stopper on the wing and they have a good infrastructure in place for teaching offense (plus no shortage of outside shooters which gives them a little leeway in their pick). Thybulle is also already well-known in the Northwest. Thybulle and last year's first-round pick Anfernee Simons could be a nice bench duo down the road.
No. 26, Cleveland Cavaliers: Chuma Okeke, F, Auburn
KR: The Cavaliers aren't in a position to win now and Okeke is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in March. We don't know when he'll be ready to take the court, but the Cavaliers can afford to be patient with a player who can hit shots and make plays offensively. There is certainly a risk here, though, considering Okeke has history with injury in his left knee.
No. 27, Brooklyn Nets: Ty Jerome, G, Virginia
JA: It seems like Brooklyn is trending towards being competitive in 2019-20 and as such, they need players who are ready to play right away. Jerome fits that bill. He has a great basketball I.Q. and should be able to run Brooklyn's offense nicely for stretches. He also has the spot-up shooting ability to make himself useful if he's left open.
No. 28, Golden State Warriors: Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue
KR: An undersized guard who has deep range and can get hot for stretches. It feels like I've heard this before. . .
No. 29, San Antonio Spurs: Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State
JA: A difficult prospect to evaluate because he's a questionable athlete but has elite size. If he can stay in shape and keep his quickness up he could defend four positions in the league. Feels like the Spurs could figure out a way to use him.
No. 30, Milwaukee Bucks: Dylan Windler, F, Belmont
KR: Windler can flat-out shoot. The Bucks could take a player who is a project, but with how close they were to making the NBA Finals last season, it feels like Windler could be a player who could contribute right away.