With the pre-lottery order set, it is time for an updated mock draft.
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.
1. New York Knicks (17-65)
SF/PF Zion Williamson, Fr, Duke
6’7, 285 lbs
22.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.1 apg
Every team would be better with Zion Williamson, but no team needs him as much as the Knicks. The long suffering franchise gave up on Kristaps Porzingis, and is once again in seek of a new face of the franchise.
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. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-63)
SG/SF RJ Barrett, Fr, Duke
6’7, 202 lbs
22.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 4.3 apg
No stranger to the top of the lottery, the Cavaliers are once again picking up the pieces post-LeBron James. 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. Cleveland could definitely use the scoring, though.
3. Phoenix Suns (19-63)
PG Ja Morant, So, Murray State
6’3, 195 lbs
24.5 ppg, 10.0 apg, 5.7 rpg
Even with first overall pick DeAndre Ayton aboard, the Phoenix Suns suffered through another miserable season. 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. He would be a great fit with the Suns and back court mate Devin Booker.
4. Chicago Bulls (22-60)
PG/SG Coby White, Fr, North Carolina
6’5, 185 lbs
16.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.5 apg
Despite the chaotic season and terrible record, Chicago has the makings of a decent starting five. What the team lacks is punch at point guard. Coby White is not a traditional point guard, but can play the position if need be. White wound up as North Carolina’s best freshman, despite not being the highest recruit. He is quick, a good shooter and has the ability to be a top defender.
5. Atlanta Hawks (29-53)
SG Jarrett Culver, So, Texas Tech
6’5, 195 lbs
18.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.7 apg
Jarrett Culver did not have a good Final Four run, but I do not think that will effect his stock all that much. 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. The Hawks are looking to duplicate the Warriors, and Culver could be the Klay Thompson to Trae Young’s Stephen Curry.
6. Washington Wizards (32-50)
SF/PF Rui Hachimura, Jr, Gonzaga
6’8, 230 lbs
19.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg
Other than emerging superstar Bradley Beal, this Washington franchise is full of question marks, making this a “best player available” pick. 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 thanks to less than ideal athleticism.
7. New Orleans Pelicans (33-49)
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, which makes the question mark a little easier to swallow. The Pelicans brought aboard respected General Manager David Griffin to oversee the complete rebuild.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (33-49)
SF/PF De’Andre Hunter, So, Virginia
6’7, 225 lbs
15.2 ppg, 5.1 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. Fresh off a 27 point, 9 rebound game in an NCAA championship win, Hunter should be a mid late to lottery lock. He may never be an All Star, but Memphis should have a long time starter on their hands.
9. Atlanta Hawks (29-53) (from DAL)
C Bol Bol, Fr, Oregon
7’2, 222 lbs
21.0 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.7 bpg
The Hawks are still in the beginning stages of a rebuild, and will have two top ten picks, 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. Atlanta could always choose to redshirt him in 2019-2020.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves (36-46)
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 (37-45)
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? 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 Los Angeles. I will focus on the Lakers draft pick, and not the clown show the organization has become.
12. Charlotte Hornets (39-43)
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. Miami Heat (39-43)
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? The Heat have a ton of free agent wingmen, so there could be a few minutes available for Johnson.
14. Boston Celtics (49-33) (from SAC)
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 work his way into a decent starting center for the Celtics.
15. Detroit Pistons (41-41)
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. Detroit needs some wing players to help take the pressure off of their two big men.
16. Orlando Magic (42-40)
SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, So, Virginia Tech
6’5, 205 lbs
16.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg
Good for the Magic for making the playoffs. It might be short lived (though they won game one), but it has been a very long road, and Orlando fans have to enjoy some playoff basketball again. 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. Plus he can play some point guard, making him a nice fit as a backup combo guard in Orlando.
17. Brooklyn Nets (42-40)
SG Romeo Langford, Fr, Indiana
6’6, 215 lbs
16.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg
Like Orlando, Brooklyn is back in the playoffs, and already have a win to their credit. Just in time for the franchise crippling Boston Celtics trade to run its course. 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.
18. Indiana Pacers (48-34)
SF KZ Okpala, So, Stanford
6’9, 215 lbs
16.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.0 apg
From here on out every pick will basically be “best player available”. That is usually how the second half of the first round goes. KZ Okpala has nice length and a strong mid range game, and has worked hard to improve his three point shooting. He is not much of a defender, but could give Indiana’s second unit some scoring punch.
19. San Antonio Spurs (48-34)
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. Boston Celtics (49-33) (from LAC)
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 in the first round and could continue to fill out the bench with cheap, young options.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (49-33)
SG Tyler Herro, Fr, Kentucky
6’5, 195 lbs
14.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.5 apg
Tyler Herro has not officially hired an agent, but thanks to his shooting and ability to handle the ball, along with a weak class, he should be a first round pick. Oklahoma City always seems to lack bench scoring, and Herro can chip in at both guard spots.
22. Boston Celtics (49-33) (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 (50-32)
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.
24. Philadelphia 76ers (51-31)
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 fast paced game, Charles Bassey has the ability to be a solid backup big man who can do the dirty things in the paint.
25. Portland Trail Blazers (53-29)
SF Louis King, Fr, Oregon
6’9, 205 lbs
13.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 apg
Louis King was a late arrival to the Oregon roster, but had a nice freshman season. He could stick around as a bench scorer, with a nice ability to cut to the basket.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-63) (from HOU)
SF Dylan Windler, Sr, Belmont
6’8, 200 lbs
21.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.5 apg
Kyle Korver, anyone? Dylan Windler is a supremely confident shooter with the percentages to back it up. The jump in competition will obviously be a challenge, but shooting is shooting.
27. Brooklyn Nets (42-40) (from DEN)
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 could limit his draft stock and ultimately his NBA potential. Still, there will be a spot for him as a backup big man.
28. Golden State Warriors (57-25)
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, as a 6’5 guard. He will never be asked to contribute much on offense, but could become a defensive pest.
29. San Antonio Spurs (48-34) (from TOR)
SF/PF Dedric Lawson, Jr, Kansas
6’9, 235 lbs
19.4 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Dedric Lawson put up some truly awful athletic testing numbers during the combine last year, but the production should get him drafted, perhaps as early as the late first round. He is a multi-stat contributor who was even better for Kansas than he was at Memphis.
30. Milwaukee Bucks (60-22)
SG Kevin Porter Jr., Fr, USC
6’6, 217 lbs
9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.4 apg
Kevin Porter hung around the top ten in a lot of Mock Drafts earlier this year, but ultimately had an underwhelming college career. He has the ability to score and could develop into a nice all around off guard, though it will probably not happen on a very deep Bucks roster.