It has been a while since I have done an NBA Mock Draft. With the Final Four upon us, now is a good time.
For the record, I am no fan of this draft, after the first pick. A serious lack of talent this go around, but there could be some surprises.
Lottery simulation courtesy of http://www.tankathon.com
1. Washington Wizards
SF/PF Zion Williamson, Fr, Duke
6’7, 285 lbs
22.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.1 apg
This is what you would call a one man draft. Teams will be praying to the basketball gods that the lottery balls will fall their way. In this scenario, the Washington Wizards are the ultimate winners, jumping six spots to number one overall.
Zion Williamson has NBA superstar written all over him. He reminds me so much of a young Charlotte Hornets-era Larry Johnson. The toughness and explosiveness is just off the charts. He seems to have the drive, determination and love for the game to be great, though there will be questions on how his game could translate to the NBA. Still, a no brainer first overall pick, and a massive upgrade and face of the franchise for any team lucky enough to end up in the one spot.
2. Dallas Mavericks
PG Ja Morant, So, Murray State
6’3, 195 lbs
24.5 ppg, 10.0 apg, 5.7 rpg
With a top three selection, not only do the Mavericks get to keep their own pick, but they have a new running mate for Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Ja Murray’s stats would make him an NBA All Star, and he showed how good he could be during Murray State’s Tournament run. The Russell Westbrook comparisons are lofty, but there are some similarities there.
3. Chicago Bulls
SG/SF RJ Barrett, Fr, Duke
6’7, 202 lbs
22.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 4.3 apg
I am not a huge fan of RJ Barrett, but the class falls off after the top three players. At the least, he should be a solid source of counting stats, though scouts are worried if they have another Harrison Barnes/Andrew Wiggins on their hands; a guy who can put up numbers, but not carry their teams to wins. If anything, the Bulls will be a great scoring team.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
SG Jarrett Culver, So, Texas Tech
6’5, 195 lbs
18.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.8 apg
Jarrett Culver is, by far, the best prospect in the Final Four. He reminds me a bit of a poor man’s Bradley Beal. He needs to add some serious muscle, but his shooting and scoring should translate quite well to the NBA. With Collin Sexton, Cleveland could have a very solid scoring back court.
5. New York Knicks
SG Coby White, Fr, North Carolina
6’5, 185 lbs
16.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.5 apg
The new lottery reform claims it’s first victim. Knicks fans have suffered through one of the worst NBA seasons of all time, and all they get to show for it here is the fifth overall pick in a miserable draft.
The next ten or so players are talented but heavily flawed, and could all be interchangeable, so I will go with team needs here. Despite not being the highest recruit, Coby White proved to be the best freshman for the Tar Heels in 2018-2019. He can handle the ball, shoot and play solid defense. The Knicks have a lot of mediocre combo guards on the roster, but White should separate himself rather quickly. Still, what a massive disappointment this would be for the Knicks.
6. Phoenix Suns
SF/PF Rui Hachimura, Jr, Gonzaga
6’8, 230 lbs
19.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg
The Phoenix Suns are the other big losers with this particular lottery exercise. Rui Hachimura gets the Tobias Harris comp from me. He really developed his offense this year, even showing a bit of three point touch. He looks to be an ideal 2019 power forward, though he could get exposed a bit on defense, something that would be troublesome for a Suns team that is really challenged on that side of the ball.
7. Atlanta Hawks
SF/PF Cam Reddish, Fr, Duke
6’8, 218 lbs
13.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.0 apg
How good is Cam Reddish really? He struggled bad as the third fiddle in Duke’s offense, but he was a top recruit. That will be up to scouts to determine, but here he would be a decent gamble. This is a really bad draft, of course. The Hawks will hope he can be a top backup to Taurean Prince and John Collins with the potential to start.
8. Memphis Grizzlies
SF/PF De’Andre Hunter, So, Virginia
6’7, 225 lbs
14.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
The Grizzlies will be on the lookout for three and D wing players, and De’Andre Hunter could fit that bill. His stats are not eye popping, but Virginia is a deep, well coached team who spreads the ball around. Hunter will probably never be an All Star, but could develop into a solid starter.
9. New Orleans Pelicans
C Bol Bol, Fr, Oregon
7’2, 222 lbs
21.0 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.7 bpg
The Pelicans are most likely beginning a very long term rebuild, so they could be one team that gambles on Bol Bol in the late lottery. Lower body injuries for big men are always scary, but Bol was rolling before his injury. New Orleans could always choose to redshirt him in 2019-2020.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves
SF/PF Sekou Doumbouya, France
6’9, 230 lbs
6.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.5 apg
Sekou Doumbouya has not developed as hoped, but still could be a late lottery draft and stash prospect, due to the lack of talent in this class. The Timberwolves have plenty of young players to develop, and could choose to keep Doumbouya overseas for a year in hopes he can harness his immense potential.
11. Los Angeles Lakers
C Daniel Gafford, So, Arkansas
6’11, 233 lbs
16.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.0 bpg
Scouts continue to focus on what Daniel Gafford cannot do as opposed to what he can. He is not a shooter, and might not be strong enough to bang for 30 minutes per game. However, he is a very athletic and hard working big man who could be the perfect first big off the bench. Then the Lakers can trade him for Miles Plumlee.
12. Charlotte Hornets
PG Darius Garland, Fr, Vanderbilt
6’2, 175 lbs
16.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.6 apg
This could be insurance in case Kemba Walker leaves as a free agent. Even if not, Charlotte has lacked a backup point guard for years. Darius Garland has the ability to score 20 points per game, but he has to overcome an injury and put in a lot of work to get to that level.
13. Boston Celtics (from SAC)
C Goga Bitadze, Republic of Georgia
6’11, 250 lbs
11.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.5 bpg
This may be a bit high for the Georgia big man, but then again, this is a bad draft so is anyone truly considered a reach? Especially since the Celtics have three first round picks. Goga Bitadze has drawn some Jusuf Nurkic comparisons for his bruising game and spark plug attitude. He could work his way into a starter in Boston.
14. Orlando Magic
SG Romeo Langford, Fr, Indiana
6’6, 215 lbs
16.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg
It was not the most efficient season for Romeo Langford, but he showed offensive flashes. If Langford can tighten up his sloppy play, he could be a mid tier starting shooting guard in the NBA. At the worst, he would give the always offensively challenged Magic some scoring punch off of the bench.
15. Miami Heat
SF/PF Brandon Clarke, Jr, Gonzaga
6’8, 215 lbs
16.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 3.2 bpg
There might not be much room for growth here with Brandon Clarke, but you cannot ignore the production. Clarke can shoot the three, rebound and block shots. He would fit right in with the Heat, along similar hustle guys like Justise Winslow and James Johnson.
16. Brooklyn Nets
SG/SF Nassir Little, Fr, North Carolina
6’6, 220 lbs
9.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.7 apg
Nassir Little had a pretty nice NCAA Tournament run, but there is just not enough to go off of to ensure a lottery selection. He would be a solid choice in the teens though, due to theoretical upside. The Nets have done well with picks like this.
17. Detroit Pistons
SG/SF Keldon Johnson, Fr, Kentucky
6’6, 211 lbs
13.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
Keldon Johnson is a decent shooter and a solid scorer. Not much of a defender but what do you expect at this point in the draft? He could be Detroit’s new Reggie Bullock.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder
SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, So, Virginia Tech
6’5, 205 lbs
16.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg
Nickiel Alexander-Walker’s miserable NCAA Tournament could hurt his stock a bit, but he is still a solid shooter and teams always need that. Especially the Thunder, who really struggle to get points outside of their two superstars.
19. San Antonio Spurs
PF/C Jaxson Hayes, Fr, Texas
6’11, 220 lbs
10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.2 bpg
Jaxson Hayes has been great in small doses, but guys like him usually do not make much of a difference in the NBA. A lot of mocks have him in the top ten, but the mid to late first round makes more sense. If the Spurs can coach him up and develop him, they could have a decent starting center who can get rebounds and block shots, though it will take quite a while.
20. Indiana Pacers
C Bruno Fernando, So, Maryland
6’10, 240 lbs
13.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Bruno Fernando is your old fashioned banging big man that would have been a top ten pick fifteen years ago. He should have a nice long career as a backup center who can rebound and provide six fouls.
21. Boston Celtics
C Jontay Porter, So, Missouri
6’10, 240 lbs
Jontay Porter might have been a lottery pick in 2018, so this is a great spot for him here. The Celtics have three first round picks here and could continue to fill out the bench with cheap, young options.
22. Boston Celtics (from LAC)
PG Carsen Edwards, Jr, Purdue
6’1, 200 lbs
24.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.9 apg
What a show Carsen Edwards put on during the NCAA Tournament. He will probably be limited to a scorer off the bench, but he should be able to hang with the big boys at the NBA level, at least in smaller doses.
23. Utah Jazz
PG Shamorie Ponds, Jr, St. John’s
6’1, 175 lbs
19.7 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.1 rpg
Similar to Carsen Edwards, Shamorie Ponds could be instant offense off the bench. He also has the ability to lead the team in a pinch.
24. Portland Trail Blazers
C Charles Bassey, Fr, Western Kentucky
6’11, 245 lbs
14.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.4 bpg
Another old school big man who could be a bit lost in today’s game, Charles Bassey has the ability to be a solid backup big man who can do the dirty things in the paint.
25. Cleveland Cavaliers (from HOU)
SF/PF Grant Williams, Jr, Tennessee
6’7, 236 lbs
18.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.2 apg
Grant Williams epitomized Tennessee basketball. One of the best players in the nation that nobody has heard of, he has worked his way into a legit first round prospect. He will make his living in the NBA as a defender who will knock down the occasional jump shot.
26. Philadelphia 76ers
PF Luca Samanic, Croatia
6’10, 210 lbs
6.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.8 apg
Few teams draft and stash like the 76ers. With free agents and extensions looming, they could easily go that route again. Samanic is a tall three point shooter with a long way to go.
27. Brooklyn Nets (from DEN)
PG Tre Jones, Fr, Duke
6’2, 183 lbs
9.5 ppg, 5.3 ppg, 3.7 apg
Strangely, perhaps the best “pure point guard” in this class, Tre Jones is just not a good enough shooter to be a high draft pick. Like his brother Tyus, he will likely top out as a solid backup who will not make many mistakes.
28. Golden State Warriors
SF Dylan Windler, Sr, Belmont
6’8, 200 lbs
21.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.5 apg
Rumors abound that Kevin Durant could move on from Golden State, so why not replace him with a carbon copy? All jokes aside, Dylan Windler has Durant-like confidence and the numbers to back it up, albeit against mid major competition. All Golden State will need for him to do is showcase those excellent shooting percentages for a handful of minutes per game.
29. San Antonio Spurs (from TOR)
PF PJ Washington, So, Kentucky
6’8, 228 lbs
14.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.9 apg
PJ Washington improved his game in basically every way during his sophomore season at Kentucky. Unfortunately, he is undersized and not great at any one thing, which will limit his draft stock and ultimately his NBA potential.
30. Milwaukee Bucks
SG Matisse Thybulle, Sr, Washington
6’5, 195 lbs
9.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.5 spg
This generation’s Tony Allen. Matisse Thybulle is a defensive whiz who was among the league leaders in steals, and blocks have you, as a 6’5 guard. He will never be asked to do more than anything on offense, but could become a defensive pest.