The NBA offseason is off and running already. Yesterday the Woj bomb dropped and we found out that Anthony Davis will be a Laker next year, and with that the 2019 draft order had a slight shake up. Anyway, regardless of who’s picking where, I love the draft. And this one is particularly interesting. I’ll give a brief explanation for the lottery picks (top 14). For all 30 I will offer up what roles I think each player could potentially play on a team, as well as what current/former NBA player they compare to.
1: New Orleans Pelicans- Zion Williamson, Forward, Duke
I don’t think there has been more of a “no-brainer” at #1 maybe since the last time New Orleans was picking 1st (Anthony Davis, 2012). Zion showed last season that he is NBA ready. He’s a grown man. While I do think there will be an adjustment period for him, and he’ll have to improve his shooting, Zion’s athleticism is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
Comp: Larry Johnson/Blake Griffin
2: Memphis Grizzlies- Ja Morant, Point Guard, Murray State
Morant is this years best example of modern NBA influence. He’s a ball-dominant guard that can shoot from deep and has superb vision. Any other year he’d be the #1 pick in my opinion. As a small school kid, there were fair questions about the competition he faced at Murray State, but he answered all of those questions in this years NCAA Tournament.
Comp: Russell Westbrook athleticism with Steve Nash vision and shooting
3: New York Knicks- JR Barrett, Shooting Guard, Duke
Knicks fans were justifiably upset after missing out on the #1 pick and the once in a life time athlete that would have come with it in Zion Williamson. But drafting Zion’s teammate 3rd is not a bad backup plan. Barrett came into last season as the projected number 1 pick, and for much of the season he looked like it. He’s the best transition finisher in the draft, has James Harden like craftiness, and is an above average athlete. His shot is inconsistent, but its not a form issue. Theres no reason to believe he can’t get more consistent from 3 point range.
Potential: All Star
Comp: Manu Ginobili/Paul George
4: New Orleans Pelicans (From LAL)- Jarrett Culver, Guard/Forward, Texas Tech
Culver shocked many of us with his play last season, earning Big12 POY honers and leading Texas Tech to a National Title appearance. Culver will be the highest draft pick to ever come out of Texas Tech. He’s a good athlete with a knack for getting the ball in the net. Culver was a really good college scorer, but I think he will make his mark as a defender in the NBA. Has potential to be able to create offense for himself as well as his teammates, but lack of an elite first step might hold him back in this regard. Will be a good building piece for the new-look Pels.
Potential: Elite 3-D Wing
Comp: Trevor Ariza/Phili Andre Iguadala
5: Cleveland Cavaliers- DeAndre Hunter, Small Forward, Virginia
Hunter has the potential to be a really good scorer in the NBA. He was really impressive in the National Title game, where he outplayed Culver. I see Hunter and Culver as pretty similar prospect. Hunter having a slight offensive edge, Culver a slight defensive edge.
Potential: Elite 3-D Wing
Comp: Kyle Kuzma/Jeff Green
6: Phoenix Suns- Darius Garland, Point Guard, Vanderbilt
Garland is both mostly unknown and one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft. He was really highly regarded coming out of high school, but missed all but 5 games in his lone season at Vanderbilt due to injury. Because of this, he has drawn some Kyrie Irving comparisons. From what I have seen, I wouldn’t make that comp at all. But he does fit into that mold as a PG that can get buckets. Watching some of his highlights, the one thing that sticks out is his quick twitch ability, and how he stays on balance really well. The Suns haven’t had a legit PG in years, I think they’ll take Garland over Coby White because of Garland’s off ball ability.
Potential: Second tier all-star
Comp: Somewhere between Jeff Teague and Damian Lillard
7: Chicago Bulls- Coby White, Point Guard, North Carolina
One of my favorite prospects to watch. I didn’t watch many UNC games last year, but as I was prepping for this mock I fell in love with White’s game. He’s a long, score first PG that will fit into today’s NBA really well. He’s got a great shot, he’s a pretty good passer, and has the size to be a solid defender.
Potential: Second tier all-star
Comp: Taller Jamal Murray
8: Atlanta Hawks- PJ Washington, Forward, Kentucky
Atlanta hasn’t really tried to hide the fact that they’re trying to build a team in the mold Golden State. They drafted Trae Young and Kevin Huerter last year in hopes that they can be an elite shooting backcourt. If they’re going to stay on that trend, they need a playmaking forward… And thats exactly what PJ Washington has the potential to be. A guy that would have been labeled a “tweeter” in years past is now the type of player many teams want at the 4 position. PJ has a long way to go to become Draymond Green, but thats the guy he needs to try to immulate (except for the pouting), regardless of who picks him.
Potential: Elite glue-guy
Comp: Offensive Draymond Green
9: Washington Wizards- Cam Reddish, Duke
Here’s a guy that was simply a victim of circumstances at Duke in my opinion. Playing alongside two of the top three prospects in this years draft forced Reddish to take a major back seat. But while he was the clear #3 on that team, he’s a legit prospect. Has great size for his position, and should be a pretty versatile defender. He’s a solid athlete, but his strength is his range.
Potential: Solid starting wing
Comp: Kris Middleton/Brandon Ingram
10: Atlanta Hawks- Jaxson Hayes, Center, Texas
Hayes is pretty much your standard modern NBA Center. Has good size, can protect the rim, good P&R finish potential, and should be really good on the boards. I don’t know if I would use a top 10 pick on this type of player, because they seem to be a dime a dozen these days. While it’s tough to find a really good one, its easy to get an average one.
Potential: Starting Center
Comp: Jarrett Allen/Kavon Looney
11: Minnesota Timberwolves- Nassir Little, Small Forward, North Carolina
Nasser Little is a throwback to 2006 if Ive ever seen one. He’s an old school small forward that doesn’t look to shoot first. He’s got good size and he’s really bouncy. Great hustle guy who is going to grab offensive rebounds, scramble for steals and loose balls, and finish strong in transition.
Potential: Starting SF
Comp: Shorter Al-Fairq Aminu
12: Charlotte Hornets- Sekou Doumbouya, Power Forward, France
If I’m being honest here, I didn’t know anything about this kid before I started prepping for this mock. But after watching just a couple scout videos, the one thing that sticks out most is how fearless he is. He’s raw but doesn’t really know it yet, if that makes sense. He’s a really strong athlete with good finishing ability. But at times he’ll rely on that athleticism too much by trying to dunk on 3 guys when he could have been a little more under control and maybe drawn a foul, or kick out to an open shooter. He has pretty good shot form for being so raw, so he should be an adequate 3 point shooter. I like him, but there is bust potential.
Comp: Could be Pascal Siakam, or could be Anthony Randolph
13: Miami Heat- Kevin Porter, Shooting Guard, USC
Pat Riley should have had a Dwayne Wade replacement lined up by now, but sense he doesn’t, I expect them to draft for potential right away hoping that they can strike gold with a high upside/potential pick. To me, thats exactly what Kevin Porter is. He’s a great athlete with pretty much all the tools to be an all-star at the next level, but potential decision making issues both on and off the court have caused legitimate concerns.
Potential: 6th man scoring threat
Comp: Monta Ellis
14: Boston Celtics- Romeo Langford, Shooting Guard, Indiana
This being the first of three 1st round picks for Boston, theres a better than good chance that they move at least one of them, if not more. Just something to keep in mind.
Assuming they do keep the pick, Langford is a guy that makes a lot of sense as they’ll need playmakers to fill the likely void that Kyrie Irving will leave. Langford is a 2, but he’s a willing (and good) passer. Really good in P&R. Didn’t shoot the 3 well in college, but was able to penetrate the lane at a high level. Similar to Kevin Porter, this would be a risky pick. But only because of the lack of 3 point shot Langford has shown to this point. If he can add that to his game, its a steal.
Potential: Border line all-star Guard
Comp: Lonzo Ball/Victor Oladipo
15: Detroit Pistons- Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Point Guard, Virginia Tech
Comp: Jordan Clarkson
16: Orlando Magic- Ty Jerome, Point Guard, Virginia
Comp: George Hill
17: Atlanta Hawks- Rui Hachimura, Forward, Gonzaga
Potential: Solid Role Player
Comp: Jabari Parker/Markieff Morris
18: Indiana Pacers- Tyler Herro, Shooting Guard, Kentucky
Comp: Somewhere between CJ McCollum and JJ Reddick
19: San Antonio Spurs- Keldon Johnson, Guard/Forward, Kentucky
Potential: Role Player
Comp: Norman Powell
20: Boston Celtics- Bol Bol, Center, Oregon
Potential: Stretch 5
Comp: Brook Lopez
21: Oklahoma City Thunder- Bruno Fernando, Center, Maryland
Comparison: Ian Mihinmi/Steven Adams
22: Boston Celtics- Luka Samanic
Potential: Decent Backup
Comp: Jonas Jerebko
23: Utah Jazz- Grant Williams, Forward, Tennessee
Potential: Decent backup
Comp: Mike Scott
24: Philadelphia 76ers- Carson Edwards, Point Guard, Purdue
Potential: Backup guard
Comp: Patty Mills
25: Portland Trailblazers- Chuma Okeke, Small Forward, Auburn
Potential: Role player off the bench
Comp: Wilson Chandler
26: Cleveland Cavaliers- Brandon Clarke, Forward/Center, Gonzaga
Potential: Rotational big
Comp: Jorden Bell
27: Brooklyn Nets- Eric Pashall, Forward, Villanova
Potential: Glue-guy off the bench
Comp: Lesser PJ Tucker
28: Golden State Warriors- Dylan Windler, Shooting Guard, Belmont
Potential: Shooter off the bench
Comp: Sam Dekker
29: San Antonio Spurs- Mfiondu Kebengele, Center, Florida State
Potential: Backup Center
Comp: Serge Ibaka
30: Milwaukee Bucks- Goga Bitadze
Potential: Backup center
Comp: Willy Hernangomez