Synopsis: Regardless of which player from the 2019 NBA Draft has the best career, it will be remembered as the “One with Zion Williamson.” Williamson will live up to the hype or get overshadowed by another player. Either way, he will be in the center of the discussion as the certain #1 overall pick. The next two picks of Ja Morant and RJ Barrett seem almost as certain. After that, the draft should open up with five picks battling for the next five spots. I considered six players for the final two spots in my top 10.
2019 T10B MOCK NBA DRAFT
Going into the 2018 NBA Draft, I had a high degree of confidence that the first pick would be Deandre Ayton. I argued at the time that Luka Doncic deserved consideration for the top overall pick but felt very confident that Ayton would take the top spot. I have no doubt this year that Zion Williamson should be, and will be, the #1 overall pick With almost equal certainty, the next two picks will be Ja Morant and RJ Barrett. For now, I’m only trying to predict the order of the draft and will reserve judgment about Top 10 Bust potential in a later post.
After careful research, I offer my 2019 T10B Mock NBA Draft.
2019 T10B MOCK NBA DRAFT – SUMMARY STATS
|Mock Pick||Player||School (Country)||Position||Year||PPG||RPG||APG|
|2||Ja Morant||Murray State||PG||Sophomore||24.5||5.7||10.0|
|4||Jarrett Culver||Texas Tech||SG||Sophomore||18.5||6.4||3.7|
|7||Coby White||North Carolina||PG/SG||Freshman||16.1||3.5||4.1|
|11||Nassir Little||North Carolina||SF||Freshman||9.8||4.6||0.7|
Despite my previous statement regarding careful research, I simply averaged the projected draft positions from the sources in the following table when coming up with my mock draft. I watched a lot of Duke games starring Zion Williams, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish this past college season. In addition, I saw most of the other highlighted players in at least a couple games. However, I relied entirely on the work of others when developing my draft order. Based on past results, I feel confident that my system will prove to be quite accurate.
SUMMARY OF OTHER 2019 MOCK NBA DRAFTS
|Mock Pick||Player||Bleacher Report||CBS Sports||SB Nation||NBA Draft||Sporting News||SI||USA Today||ESPN|
Note: De’Andre Hunter and Darius Garland tied for the 5th spot while Nassir Little and Rui Hachimure tied for the 11th spot based on an average of the listed sources. I broke the tie by selecting the player more frequently chosen for that spot. For instance, five sources put Hunter in the 5th spot and three sources put Garland in the sixth spot. No sources put Garland 5th or Hunter 6th.
2019 T10B MOCK NBA DRAFT – COMMENTS
SUPREME CONFIDENCE – TOP 3 PICKS
#1 – New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson. No need to think twice about this one. Zion is the most hyped prospect to come into the draft since LeBron James. As the new EVP of Baseball Operations for the Pelicans, David Griffin would get fired on the spot if he doesn’t take the YouTube sensation and Duke phenom with the #1 pick.
#2 – Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant. While the pick of Morant by the Grizzlies seems certain, his future success in the NBA seems much less certain. After averaging 24 points, 6 rebounds and 10 rebounds per game for Murray State last year, Morant put up commendable stats. Furthermore, he led his team to a #12 vs. #5 upset over Marquette in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. I want to study some more numbers before determining his T10B potential.
#3 – New York Knicks: RJ Barrett. Due to Williamson’s freakish “broken shoe” injury, RJ Barrett put up the best numbers on the ultra-talented Duke team. Despite as the best incoming class since Michigan’s Fab Five, the Blue Devils underachieved by failing to make the 2019 Final Four. Still, their individual talent is undeniable. As such, the selection of Barrett with the #3 pick can be easily justified.
REASONABLE CONFIDENCE – PICKS 4-8
#4 – New Orleans Pelicans (from the Los Angeles Lakers): Jarrett Culver. As part of the blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis, the Pelicans picked up 2016 #2 overall pick Brandon Ingram, 2017 #2 overall pick Lonzo Ball, 2017 #30 overall pick Josh Hart, and three additional first round picks (including the 2019 #4 pick). As a shooting guard, Culver could fit nicely with Ball (PG), Ingram (SF), and projected #1 overall pick Zion Williamson (PF). Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Griffin traded down to get a few more picks given the grouping of talent for picks 4-8.
#5 – Cleveland Cavaliers: De’Andre Hunter. Based on my previously disclosed methodology, I predict that the Cavs will select the former Virginia SF/PF. However, Cleveland needs more help in the back court than front court so I wouldn’t be surprised if the team selects former Dukie Cam Reddish instead.
#6 – Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland. In need of a point guard to go alongside young talented players like SG Devin Booker, SF Josh Jackson and C Deandre Ayton, the Suns could do well by taking Vanderbilt PG Darius Garland. As a wild card, PG/SG Coby White could be in play in this slot as well.
#7 – Chicago Bulls: Coby White. Assuming White doesn’t go to the Suns with the 6th pick, the Bulls will be poised to take the UNC freshman standout. As a point guard, White could fit in nicely with PF Lauri Markkanen and SG Zach LaVine. However, that would mean a trade for 2016 #5 overall pick Kris Dunn.
#8 – Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish. I don’t think Reddish will stay on the board this long, but Atlanta will be his most likely landing spot based on the predictions of more qualified sources. If so, the Hawks likely will take whichever of the previously named players is still sitting in the green room.
LIMITED CONFIDENCE – PICKS 9-10
#9 – Washington Wizards: Jaxson Hayes. In desperate need of a big man, Texas Jaxson Hayes could fit the bill. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of Gonzaga PF Brandon Clarke jumped into the top 10 with this pick. Frankly, the final six players in the table (or even Oregon C Bol Bol) could go in this spot.
#10 – Atlanta Hawks: Sekou Doumbouya. With two picks in the top 10, Atlanta may be able to bundle them and move up as high as the #4 slot. If so, who knows which player will round out the top 10. I predict Sekou Doumbouya will become the #10 overall pick. However, I like Kentucky power forward PJ Washington as a potential wild card in the mix. I say go with a Kentucky player when in doubt.
With minutes remaining before the draft, it’s time to see how I did.