NBA Mock Draft

Jay Serrano

1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)

There should be zero debate at this point as to who the Pelicans should draft here. With his versatility and unique blend of size and athleticism, Zion is widely regarded as the best prospect since LeBron James in 2003. He averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game on 68% shooting from the field during his lone season at Duke, reminding us highlight after highlight just how special he is.

On June 15th the Pelicans agreed to officially trade Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and 3 first round picks including this year #4 pick . With the haul the Pelicans received they will have a chance to rebuild around another franchise talent in Zion, giving him plenty of reasons to be excited. The media wanted him in New York, however it is safe to say his in the perfect position as it stands with the Pelicans His versatility and unique athleticism separate him from the rest of the prospects. His name will be the first called on June 20, 2019.

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant (Murray State, PG, Sophomore)

On May 15, 2019, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported that the Grizzlies were focused on selecting Ja Morant with the number two overall pick. Morant averaged 24.5 points, 10.0 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game during his sophomore season, becoming the first player in NCAA history to average 20 points and 10 assists, cementing himself not only as the top point guard of the draft but falling just behind Zion for the best player in the draft.

There is a strong debate as to whether RJ Barrett should be the selection here, however with Memphis finally agreeing to trade starting point guard Michael Conley to the Utah Jazz, all signs point to them drafting their point guard of the future. With last years number four overall pick Jaren Jackson Jr. already showing potential signs of superstardom, the Grizzlies will need two franchise pieces to build for the future.

3.  New York Knicks: RJ Barrett (Duke ,SG/SF, Freshman)

The Knicks shouldn’t get cute here. Unfortunately, the top of the lottery didn’t play out in the Knicks’ favor as most fans hoped. However with that being said, this could wind up working out in the long run as RJ was highly touted as the best player overall in this years draft class before the season started. He averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists during his freshman season at Duke.

RJ may not have the star power Zion has, though he could be the better pro throughout the course of their careers. Some scouts believe  RJ is overall better than Zion, including Hall of Fame point guard and Phoenix Suns Legend Steve Nash. Who also happens to be his Godfather. Safe the say the Knicks could have a star on their hands in RJ.

4. New Orleans Pelicans (Via Lakers): Darius Garland: (Vanderbilt, PG, Freshman)

There seems to be a consensus amongst scouts and GMs that there is a significant drop in talent after the first 3 picks. It seems likely the Pelicans will try and trade this pick for a veteran player like Bradley Beal, as it has been rumored.

With that being said out of the remaining prospects Garland seems to have the most intriguing potential. The biggest knock on Garland, however, is the fact that he only played 5 games before going down with a season ending injury. He showed flashes, averaging 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists on 53% from the field during that 5 game stretch. Perhaps his best skills are his shooting ability and his potential to lead a team. With Lonzo and Jrue Holiday in the fold is questionable whether they should draft another guard. With that being said don’t expect Garland to drop beyond #4.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Cam Reddish (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)

Perhaps nobody’s stock fell lower than that of Cam Reddish this past season. He came in as the number 3 prospect behind Zion and RJ, and often touted as the best shooter in the class. Despite being the third option at Duke, he was still expected to be one of the best players in college basketball. He would go on to average a mere 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists on 35.6% from the field. His field goal percentage raises some red flags to some scouts, however, he fits the mold of the modern NBA wing that his potential outweighs his inconsistency shooting the ball.

6. Phoenix Suns: Coby White (North Carolina, PG, Freshman)

This is going to be an interesting spot to watch in the draft as there have been reports about a promise between Vanderbilt PG Darius Garland and the Suns. Phoenix desperately needs a PG so look for them to target Coby White if Garland is off the board by the time the Suns pick.

White averaged 16.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists as a freshman and is considered the second best point guard in the draft. Do not rule out the possibility of Phoenix of trading this pick to try and select Garland or for a veteran guard.

7. Chicago Bulls: De’Andre Hunter (Virgina, SG/SF,Sophomore)

Although the Bulls are in the search for their point guard of the future to replace Kris Dunn, with Garland and White off of the board they will not find that in this slot. In such case, they should go into best player available mode and go with Hunter.

Fresh off scoring 27 pts, 9 reb, and 1st in the 2019 NCAA Championship game and leading Virgina to the title, Hunters stock is at an all time high.

8. Atlanta Hawks: Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech,   SG, Sophomore)

Jarrett Culver would benefit from sliding here to here the Hawks as he would seem to be an ideal fit with the young core of Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter. Although his 3 point shooting regressed some from his freshman season, he proved during his breakout sophomore campaign that he can not only create his own shot but lockdown on defense as well averaging 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. That potential fit should make this pick a no brainer for the Hawks.

9. Washington Wizards: Sekou Doumbouya (France, SF/PF, 2000)

With this pick, the Wizards should be looking for the most potential regardless of position due John Wall’s injury and the possibility of a Bradley Beal trade. With that being said, despite being the youngest in the draft, top international prospect 6’10” combo forward Sekou Doumbouya has shot up recent draft boards based on his versatility and two way play, most notably his improved offensive repertoire. After exploding for 34 points on May 18th, he has shown enough flashes for a team to take a gamble on him in the top 10.

10. Atlanta Hawks: Jaxson Hayes  (Texas, C, Freshman)

With two top 10 picks in what is considered a weak draft after the top 3 prospects, the Hawks should be interested in listening to trade offers for a team trying to move up. Jaxson Hayes is considered the best rim protector in the draft. His defense combined with offensive efficiency (72.8 field goal percentage) makes him one of the safest picks on the board. Hayes will bring immediate impact as a strong rim protector for the next decade plus.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Porter Jr. (USC, SG, Freshman)

Despite Derrick Rose’s stellar play last season the Timberwolves need their long term answer at point guard. With the lack of point guard depth after Morant, Garland, and White are off the board, there is a possibility they try to package this pick in order to move up and hopefully select one of them. If that plan fails the Timberwolves should look at the wing positions in case they look to move Andrew Wiggins as has been reported.

Porter Jr. fits the mold of a modern wing that can score from anywhere and play lockdown defense ala Klay Thompson.

12. Charlotte Hornets: Rui Hachimura  (Gonzaga, SF/PF, Junior)

Considering he skipped the draft combine, it seems Rui Hachimura was promised by some team to be taken in the lottery. Hachimura averaged 19.7 ppg and 6.5 reb on 59% shooting from the field. Although his ceiling seems to be lower than other top prospects, his rapid improvement since coming to the USA from Japan instills confidence he can continue to grow in the NBA.

13. Miami Heat: Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga, PF/C, Junior)

The appeal to draft Clarke here for the Heat stems from his bounce and defense. Albeit is on the older side at 22 years old, so his intangibles and athleticism make him a low-risk option. Something that could serve the Heat as they look to adjust their roster.

14. Boston Celtics (via Kings): PJ Washington (Kentucky, PF, Sophomore)

Despite having one of the more talented rosters in the league, the Celtics failed to reach expectations this past season. That coupled the potential departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in free agency, It would wise for Boston to look at players that either fit the current timeline of their young core or can come in and contribute right away. In Kentucky‘s loss to Auburn in the NCAA tournament, he posted 28 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks and showed his improvement and versatility as a scorer.

15.  Detroit Pistons: Nassir Little (North Carolina, SF/PF, Freshman)

Despite not reaching expectations in what was a down year, Little’s 6’6” frame and ability to score from anywhere on the floor make his potential worth the gamble at this stage in the draft. He is of the biggest sleepers in the entire draft.

16. Orlando Magic: Nikeil Alexander-Walker (Virgina Tech, PG/SG, Sophomore)

The rise of Alexander-Walker comes from a good combine showing in which he showed his expanding playmaking and off the dribble skills while remaining a consistent threat from deep, He was invited into the green room. He could help stabalize either guard position for the Magic.

17. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn): Bol Bol  (Oregon, C, Freshman)

On Thursday June 6, 2019, the Brooklyn Nets traded their 17th pick in the 2019 draft along with Allen Crabbe and future 2021 1st rounder for Taurean Prince in order to clear cap space to resign D’Angelo Russell and possibly Kyrie Irving in free agency.

Bol Bol, the son of NBA Legend Maunte Bol, fits the mold of a modern NBA center with his mobility and shooting ability, all while boasting a massive 7’2” frame with a 7’11” wingspan.

Though there is some risk tied to him due to a stress fracture in his foot he suffered earlier this year and his slender frame (208 lbs) his star potential is more than worth the risk at this point in the draft.

18. Indiana Pacers: Romeo Langford (USC, SG, Freshman)

Despite a down season shooting the ball from three, Romeo’s mid range and inside scoring and size (6’6”) give him the look of your typical NBA 2 guard. His success is dependent on whether he can hit his shots consistently enough.

19. San Antonio Spurs:  Goga Bitadaze (Georgia, C, 1999)

After averaging 19.8 in the Serbian League, Goga is stateside for workouts and has impressed to say the least. The knock on his game is his lack of versatility on defense, however his improved offensive should make up for that

The Spurs have an eye for drafting potential, this should be a perfect fit for both.

20. Boston Celtics: Tyler Herro (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

With their 2nd pick in the first round, the Celtics should be looking to bolster up their roster anyway they can with surrounding the uncertainty of Kyrie Irving and now Al Horford. Teams are overlooking Herro’s low shooting stats at Kentucky in favor of his lights out shooting during workouts. The level of interest for him has increased over the past week

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Matisse Thybulle (Washington, SF, Senior)

With Andre Roberson’s knee injury still keeping him sidelined, OKC would be wise to find his replacement. Thybulle has built a reputation as a great defender, averaging 3.5 steals and 2.3 blocks during his senior season.

22. Boston Celtics: Keldon Johnson  (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

With their third first round pick, the Celtics keep with the theme of adding wing depth and take in the best player available. Although his ceiling may be low, his floor is solid enough for him to contribute right away. However, it is very likely they trade this pick.

23. Utah Jazz: Cameron Johnson  (North Carolina, SF, Senior)

Carmeron Johnson is viewed by many as the best pure shooter in the entire draft.  Johnson has a bankable skill that could allow him to contribute right away. Although, he has limited upside due to his age. The Jazz should view him as a steal this late and a perfect fit alongside Donovan Mitchell and the newley acquired Michael Conley.

24. Philadelphia 76ers: Ty Jerome (Virgina, PG/SG, Junior)

Fresh off leading Virgina to a National Championship Ty Jerome has been hearing his name as possible late first round selection based on his shooting and ability to lead a team and control the tempo at either guard position. He would be a nice backup to Ben Simmons and possible replacement for JJ Redick.

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Luka Samanic (Croatia, PF, 2000)

The 6’11” forward checks the right boxes with three-point range, a solid face up game and good feet defensively. Thanks to the recent success of Luka Doncic, teams will be inclined to look at overseas talent.

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets): Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State, C, Sophomore) 

Kabengele got into the first round mix based on his size and his performance in the NCAA tournament, averaging 17 points off the bench. Cleveland could look to add depth at Center with uncertain future of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson looming.

27. Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): Chuma Okeke (Auburn, PF, Sophomore)

Okeke may have gone earlier had he not torn an ACL. His ACL injury put a stop to what was looking like a breakout season for the 6’8″, 230-pound forward with his improved shooting and scoring and versatility on defense.

28. Golden State Warriors: KZ Okpala (Stanford, SF/PF, Sophomore)

Okpala raised his scoring average to 16.8 points as a sophomore and still has significant room to improve his shot creation and shooting. He’ll be hit or miss with upside fueled by positional size (6’9″, 210 pounds) and scoring versatility but no established skills to bank on.

29. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Bruno Fernando (Maryland, C, Sophomore)

Although he is limited as a scorer, he improved his passing and defense this past season. His role will seem to that of an energizer status than any team will be happy to have.

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Carsen Edwards (Purdue, PG, Senior)

After averaging 24.3 points per game this season and a historic performance in the NCAA tournament he has definitely played his way into the first round conversation despite his size, similar to Stephen Curry coming out of Davidson. Edwards is severely underrated. He was the only player in NCAA history to hit nine threes in multiple games in the tournament. He will be the steal of the draft and a gem for the Bucks if they draft him even if its as a sixth man. Teams will regret letting him fall.