With lower than two weeks till the 2019 NBA Draft, the first-round image is beginning to take form. This yr’s crop has few jaw-dropping prospects and a slew of query marks, so a number of groups will take huge dangers on June 20th.
Past the primary couple of picks, a lot of the lottery continues to be in flux. The place will NCAA finalists DeAndre Hunter and Jarrett Culver land? Which worldwide prospects will land within the first spherical? Which Gonzaga star will come off the board first? Virtually nothing is in stone but.
Listed here are our closest projections of what each first-round group will do with their choice. These picks are based mostly on the prospects’ tangible potential, pre-draft performances and every workforce’s tendencies.
*Stats and draft order up to date as of June 7
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, Duke PF (6-7, Fr.)
Fortune smiled on the Pels, so they’ll draft probably the most coveted prospect within the final half-dozen years. Buying Williamson will immediately reinvigorate the franchise each on the courtroom and all through the Huge Straightforward.
Along with his mind-melting bodily prowess, Zion additionally gives promising talent improvement, aggressive juice and a marketable character. If New Orleans tries to win over Anthony Davis as David Griffin indicated, it might run out some enjoyable lineups that embrace Zion, the Forehead and Jrue Vacation. If the Pelicans deal AD, then Zion stays an thrilling piece of the reloading course of.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, Murray State PG (6-Three, So.)
The Ja-to-Griz state of affairs has picked up steam because the lottery outcomes got here out, and it’s not exhausting to see why Memphis would tab the mid-major celebrity. Moron’s mixture of playmaking and scoring creativity look tailored for a lead-guard position within the NBA.
The Grizzlies might groom the neophyte with Mike Conley within the close to future, then hand the reins to Morant once they half methods with the veteran. Whereas Morant must sharpen his decision-making, iron out his jumper and turn out to be extra constant on protection, he has the all-around expertise and moxie to excel.
Three. New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett, Duke G/F (6-7, Fr.)
It’s handy that Barrett has the very best upside on the board, as a result of the Knicks want extra wing scoring. Duke’s southpaw slasher is way from a completed product, however he has top-shelf bodily presents and budding shot-creating and playmaking potential.
I’m not letting Barrett off the hook for his freshman shortcomings. He lacks polish in a number of departments, together with some tunnel imaginative and prescient and unreliable jump-shooting. Thankfully, he has the foundational instruments to be the multidimensional swingman New York is thirsting for.
Four. Los Angeles Lakers: DeAndre Hunter, Virginia F (6-7, So.)
Nobody must be stunned if the Lakers goal Darius Garland or Jarrett Culver at this spot. We’ll give Hunter the nod for now, as a result of L.A. will possible worth his elite protection and promising capturing. He’s probably the most versatile defender on this class, and his enjoying fashion and talent set might work seamlessly subsequent to LeBron James, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Co.
Hunter shot almost 44 % from three-point vary this season, feasting totally on spot-up makes an attempt. At worst, he’ll be a flooring spacer. He’s additionally proven flashes of attacking the rim off the bounce, however I’m not bought on him shaking NBA defenders persistently.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Cam Reddish, Duke F (6-Eight, Fr.)
The celebrity comparisons for Cam Reddish are unfair to the younger Blue Satan. Choosing him within the prime 5, nevertheless, is just not out of the query. His mixture of capturing expertise, measurement and agility might make for an extended, productive profession.
The Cavaliers have to swing for the fences on a prospect with excessive upside, and that’s what Reddish provides. The draw back is that he could possibly be a wildly inconsistent weapon. Final season, his assertiveness and shot-making wavered, and he struggled to attain on the tin in visitors. Can he shake the doubts surrounding him in a brand new state of affairs?
6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland, Vanderbilt PG (6-Four, So.)
Even when this isn’t the right match for Phoenix, it’s the probably selection if Vandy’s teenager continues to be unpicked. Garland is the perfect prospect on the board and he addresses the Suns’ guard deficiencies. So long as his meniscus points are minor, he’s nicely value a high-lottery choice.
The Commodores’ standout might complement Devin Booker fantastically, particularly on offense. He has superior ball-handling expertise for his age and a reasonably good really feel for facilitating, so he would take some shot-creating strain off Booker. Garland is equally snug as a shooter, so he might area the ground when it’s Devin’s flip to provoke the offense. Can this backcourt maintain its personal defensively? That’s a lot iffier.
7. Chicago Bulls: Coby White, North Carolina PG (6-Four, Fr.)
White’s artistic. He’s shifty. He’s 6-foot-5. And he can shoot it. North Carolina’s freshman flooring basic has so much going for him, particularly in a draft that doesn’t have many thrilling guards outdoors of Ja Morant and Darius Garland.
The Bulls will take a flyer on the younger Tar Heel because of his mixture of scoring and promising playmaking. Though he didn’t submit loopy help numbers or show superior flooring common expertise, White confirmed a knack for breaking down defenses and discovering open teammates. White additionally reveals fluidity in pick-and-rolls.
He’s a bit nearer to NBA-ready with regards to getting separation for scoring alternatives and hitting catch-and-shoot triples. Chicago may also profit from his defensive quickness, alertness and depth. He may solely have the ability to guard 1.5 positions, however he’ll do it properly.
Eight. Atlanta Hawks: Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech F (6-7, So.)
This is absolutely the farthest Culver might fall. If he’s nonetheless there at No. Eight, the Hawks will gladly snatch him up and incorporate him into their dynamic rebuild. The NCAA runner-up doesn’t have one or two areas the place he’s superb, however as an alternative is simply fairly strong throughout the board.
His slashing, mid-range capturing and spurts of playmaking will all be helpful for Lloyd Pierce, as will his defensive mastery. Culver’s smarts and expertise as a stopper and workforce defender fueled Texas Tech’s NCAA-leading protection; he’ll verify all types of guards and wings within the NBA.
9. Washington Wizards: Sekou Doumbouya, France F/C (6-9, 18 years previous)
Doumbouya is arguably Europe’s prime prospect in 2019, however there’s little question he gives the very best upside from the continent this yr. The re-tooling Wizards want so as to add him to their long-term image.
Armed with a robust, agile body and blossoming offensive expertise, Doumbouya is a rising standout for French membership CSP Limoges. He’s capturing 48 % from the sector and 32 % from the worldwide arc this season, uncorking a rising provide of jump-shots, swooping drives and emphatic finishes. With continued enchancment, he might play each the Four and 5 spot offensively and guard as much as three positions on protection.
10. Atlanta Hawks: Jaxson Hayes, Texas F/C (6-11, Fr.)
Texas’ freshman massive man has rim-diving and rim-protecting expertise that gained’t doubtless go ignored previous the highest 10. Atlanta might use extra long-term depth within the submit, and Hayes might thrive alongside the Hawks’ younger core.
He has excellent anticipation and coordination on most catch-and-finish performs, and he can rating forcefully or with finesse. Whereas I wouldn’t classify him as a top-tier athlete, he strikes fairly properly for his measurement and has nice physique management and depth notion across the bucket.
Hayes’ inside protection is as thrilling as his offense, if no more. He notched Three.Eight blocks per 40 minutes and a block proportion of 10.6 final season, because of nice footwork, timing and aggressiveness.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga PF (6-Eight, Jr.)
Ryan Saunders’ squad might use some long-term frontcourt assist, and Clarke provides well-defined contributions on offense and protection.
He’s undersized at 6-foot-Eight, however Clarke’s 99th-percentile athleticism (did you see his 40.5’ vertical leap on the mix?) will empower him to examine each energy forwards and facilities. Clarke’s explosiveness is paired with wonderful timing to erase tons of would-be buckets. He had a seismic block proportion of 11.Three in 2018-19, and he’ll problem all types of slashers and rim divers within the NBA.
Clarke may have a modest, but necessary scoring position in Minny’s offense. He’s adept at catching and scoring forcefully, and he additionally has gentle contact on non-dunks. Don’t anticipate rather more than rim-running and the occasional mid-range try.
12. Charlotte Hornets: Bol Bol, Oregon C (7-2, Fr.)
Manute Bol’s son is probably the riskiest big-name prospect on this draft. He has an ultra-slender body, is coming off a navicular bone surgical procedure and he doesn’t have a robust enjoying fashion.
Nevertheless, as soon as we get into the late lottery, a membership like Charlotte goes to roll the cube. Why? The payoff might be large. Bol is 7-foot-2 with a fluid capturing contact—he went 13-of-25 from past the arc in his nine-game stint with the Geese. He additionally has good physique management and accuracy on mid-post jumpers. And though his offensive aggressiveness wavers, he’s proven glimpses of shot-blocking which are onerous to duplicate.
13. Miami Warmth: Romeo Langford, Indiana G (6-6, Fr.)
If Langford shot the three-ball a bit of higher at Indiana, he’d in all probability be a high-lottery decide. However his unorthodox launch and 27 % mark from distance will hold him obtainable previous No. 10. His measurement and shot-creating maneuverability might be priceless for Miami’s backcourt and wing corps.
With a 6-foot-6 body and a knack for weaving his method throughout the ground, Langford will convey scoring punch to Erik Spoelstra’s assault. The jumper continues to be in query, however the Warmth are the type of group that may get probably the most out of him and enlarge his strengths.
14. Boston Celtics: P.J. Washington, Kentucky F/C (6-Eight, So.)
Kentucky’s star ahead produced extra versatile offense in 2018-19 than he did as a freshman, and it considerably boosted his draft outlook. the Celtics will doubtless take a tough take a look at how his versatility might improve their frontcourt.
Washington can be a useful offensive weapon within the NBA, because of his inside scoring and improved capturing. The 6-foot-Eight sophomore can convert submit touches in visitors, brief jumpers and runners within the lane and pick-and-pop jumpers. A part of his offensive worth comes from his rebounding expertise. Washington has nice instincts and arms for o-boards, and he posted an offensive rebounding proportion of 10.zero final season.
15. Detroit Pistons: Kevin Porter Jr., USC G/F (6-5, Fr.)
Porter presents a notable quantity of danger. His fundamentals on each ends of the courtroom want numerous refining, and he was additionally suspended by USC halfway by way of the season for an unknown cause. However, his shot-creating and shot-making upside is a worthwhile funding for Detroit at this juncture.
Porter’s slashing expertise are intriguing, and he owns top-tier athleticism and physique management to complete on the rim. He posted the very best field-goal proportion on the rim (68 %) in USC’s rotation, per Hoop-Math.com. Porter additionally has thrilling stop-and-pop capturing footwork, and he went 28-of-68 (41 %) from three-point vary in 21 video games final season.
16. Orlando Magic: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech (6-5, So.)
Guard depth and general flooring spacing are two key areas Orlando should tackle this offseason. That makes Nickel Alexander-Walker a main goal at No. 16, as a result of he addresses each considerations and is arguably the most effective prospect nonetheless on the board.
The Hokies’ combo guard shot 116-of-303 (38 %) from lengthy vary in his two seasons in Blacksburg. He tasks to be an above-average catch-and-shoot menace, however his off-the-bounce movement is a bit inflexible. I’m most impressed by his playmaking enchancment; as a sophomore, he did a pleasant job intermittently facilitating off screens.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Nassir Little, North Carolina F (6-6, Fr.)
What Nassir Little lacked in manufacturing and consistency for UNC, he’ll compensate with top-rung bodily presents and long-term progress for Brooklyn. He didn’t have a considerable alternative within the Tar Heels’ rotation, however he’s seemed spectacular in the course of the pre-draft course of.
Whereas Little didn’t unleash an in depth array offensive expertise final season, he has the agility, dexterity and creativity to turn into a multidimensional scorer. At worst, his granite body and explosive power will make a dent as a rebounder, on-ball defender and open-floor finisher. Endurance will repay for Kenny Atkinson and Co.
18. Indiana Pacers: Keldon Johnson, Kentucky G (6-6, Fr.)
Indiana has a bunch of potential free agent departures within the backcourt this summer time. Johnson gained’t immediately substitute the influence of veterans, however he’s a flexible asset for the longer term.
He can rating from a bunch of various spots, together with three-point vary. Johnson assaults off the bounce a bit bit, though he doesn’t have the smoothest deal with and have to be extra environment friendly when attacking the rim.
Johnson’s defensive exercise can also be promising as a result of he likes to be disruptive and problem opponents. If his footwork and staff execution enhance, he’ll be a plus defender on the perimeter.
19. San Antonio Spurs: Grant Williams, Tennessee F (6-Eight, Jr.)
Because of his underwhelming foot velocity and leaping, Williams should be obtainable within the late teenagers. He’s an absolute steal in that vary, and the Spurs will correctly pluck him.
Williams is useful in so some ways. He’s a robust presence close to the ring as a submit scorer, inside defender and rebounder, and that’s simply scratching the floor. Williams additionally has a superb wanting capturing type that would steadily prolong to three-land (he shot 15-of-46 in 2018-19), and he’s an alert passer from the excessive submit.
Don’t let his unspectacular NBA Mix idiot you. In the fitting system, he’s a useful two-way cog.
20. Boston Celtics: Cameron Johnson, North Carolina SF (6-9, Sr.)
Brad Stevens can plug Johnson into his offense and anticipate sharp execution and effectivity. Johnson is among the older gamers on this class, so he’s polished and able to collaborate with Boston’s playoff-ready crew.
Johnson combines an elite catch-and-shoot toolkit with efficient pump-and-drive counters. He was probably the most correct three-level scorer for Roy Williams, capturing 46 % from deep, 42 % on two-point jumpers and 73 % on the rim (per hoop-math.com).The remainder of his recreation isn’t excellent, and his ceiling isn’t as excessive as another wings on this class, which is why he’s obtainable for the Shamrocks at No. 20.
21. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder: Tyler Herro, Kentucky SG (6-6, Fr.)
Oklahoma Metropolis has been ravenous for enough capturing for years now. A part of the reply to that predicament is drafting Kentucky’s budding 2-guard.
Herro exhibits encouraging potential as each an off-ball stretch man and as an off-the-dribble menace. He’s adept at sliding to open spots for catch-and-shoot buckets, and he additionally will get separation off the bounce. Herro shot fairly effectively for a freshman on a excessive quantity of photographs: He took 403 subject objective makes an attempt and made 46 % of them, together with 36 % from deep and 66 % on the rim (per hoop-math.com).
22. Boston Celtics: Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State G (6-Four, Fr.)
I’m unsure I’ve ever seen a prospect fairly like Horton-Tucker, and I imply that principally in a great way.
The Iowa State standout used his thick, 6-foot-Four body and ridiculously lengthy arms (7-foot-1 wingspan) to create all method of scoring possibilities. He has an superior mixture of power and nimbleness that the Celtics might weaponize off the bounce. Horton-Tucker isn’t a better decide as a result of he lacks defensive agility and should show he can shoot extra persistently.
23. Utah Jazz: Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga PF (6-Eight, Jr.)
After displaying intriguing enchancment as a sophomore, Hachimura solidified his NBA Draft worth because the Zags’ anchor all through his junior yr. He has a variety of outcomes on draft night time, and that is about so far as he’d slide.
Though he was a star for Gonzaga within the WCC, mood your expectations for him within the NBA. His lack of foot velocity and defensive consciousness might forestall him from excelling on protection. And on offense, he’ll probably be a task participant who can complement the Jazz offense as a submit finisher and pick-and-pop choice. He shot 45 % on two-point jumpers final season (per hoop-math.com). If he expands his capturing vary to past the arc, then his ceiling will get considerably loftier.
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Chuma Okeke, Auburn F (6-Eight, So.)
In some instances, being clean and sensible can compensate for underwhelming athleticism. That is perhaps the case for Auburn’s Chuma Okeke, who will probably be on Philly’s radar within the late-first spherical.
Given the 6-foot-Eight ahead’s measurement, talent and acute really feel for the sport, he might be a beneficial two-way contributor not lengthy after he recovers from knee surgical procedure. Okeke chipped in 16.5 factors, 2.6 assists and a couple of.5 steals per 40 minutes for the Tigers throughout his breakout sophomore yr.
Okeke’s smarts assist him as an all-around stopper in addition to a secondary playmaker. He reads the ground shortly as a assist defender and exhibits promising footwork and palms. On the opposite finish, his passing instincts are a tantalizing promoting level for his role-player potential.
25. Portland Path Blazers: Matisse Thybulle, Washington G/F (6-5, Sr.)
Thybulle won’t be one of the best all-around participant on the board at No. 25, however he’s virtually definitely one of the best defender out there. Rip Metropolis’s rotation of guards and wings wants a catalyst on that finish, and Thybulle might give them 15-20 minutes of high-end stoppage.
He has upper-echelon agility and sees the ground extraordinarily nicely defensively, albeit in Washington’s zone protection. Contemplating his instruments and consciousness, he’ll doubtless acclimate properly to the NBA and successfully stymie 2’s and three’s. His offense is a unique story; if it’s not a simple dive to the rim or open three-pointer, he’s not too spectacular.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers: Goga Bitadze, Georgia C (6-11, 19 years previous)
Bitadze isn’t even 20 years previous but, and he’s already extremely productive within the Adriatic League. He had three straight 20-plus level video games in mid-Might, flexing his knack for scoring across the rim in addition to sprinkling in some leap photographs. The Cavs are in a deep rebuild, and Bitadze will assist them enhance reasonably within the close to future and immensely down the street. He’s an superior worth decide this late within the first spherical.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Nicolas Claxton, Georgia C (6-11, So.)
Claxton is a type of instances of a robust NBA Mix paying dividends. The Bulldogs’ huge fella confirmed how efficient his 6-foot-11 body is towards different prospects, together with a seven-block efficiency in one of many scrimmages.
The slender lefty has proven tangible potential as an offensive contributor and a low-post guardian. He strikes extraordinarily nicely for his measurement, and he has some shake to his scoring arsenal. Brooklyn might take an opportunity on him to be Jarrett Allen’s long-term alternative.
28. Golden State Warriors: Mfiondu Kabengele, Florida State F/C (6-10, So.)
Kabengele stuffed the stat sheet in his modest position for the Seminoles this previous yr, and adopted it up with a very good displaying on the NBA Mix. He measured properly, examined properly athletically and shot the ball properly. Golden State will worth his exercise on the glass, aggressiveness on protection and enchancment from three-point vary.
In his post-combine report, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie famous that the 6-foot-10 ahead has key traits on each ends that ought to earn him an NBA position: “…His mixture of capturing and high-motor protection is terrific and matches the best way the NBA goes.”
29. San Antonio Spurs: Bruno Fernando, Maryland C (6-10, So.)
Fernando is a sturdy presence within the paint, each as a pick-and-roll finisher and a rim protector. He has good elevation, coordination, and smooth arms for many catch-and-score performs close to the bucket. As a bonus, he’s proven improvement in one-dribble drives to the cup, in addition to the beginnings of a fringe bounce shot.
Defensively, his really feel and footwork aren’t hermetic, but he successfully contested a ton of photographs at Maryland and cleaned up the defensive boards. San Antonio is certainly one of his higher matches and can take an in depth take a look at him late within the first spherical.
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Luka Samanic, Olimpija Ljubljana F (6-11, 19 years previous)
Nobody helped themselves out extra on the NBA Mix than Samanic, who’s Croatia’s subsequent fascinating prospect. He didn’t shine within the Adriatic League or Slovenian League this season, however his all-around mix efficiency may need catapulted him into first-round territory.
The teenage prodigy displayed clean expertise as a passer and shooter, in addition to the instincts to rotate and blanket the ground defensively. Samanic continues to be younger, so Milwaukee should be affected person and maybe even maintain him in Europe for now.
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