NBA mock draft 2019: Projected first-round picks post-draft lottery
1. Pelicans: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
Ummm … after wasting an entire season dealing with Anthony Davis’ trade request, the Pelicans just won the lottery. What does it all mean?
Will AD take back his trade request? Is it too little too late? This is a best-case scenario for the NBA, which has struggled to gain traction in the Big Easy.
2. Grizzlies: RJ Barrett, SG, Duke
Merry Christmas, Memphis! A move from No. 8 to No. 2 is huge.
This is a tough call, but Barrett can instantly slide in next to Mike Conley Jr. in the backcourt and make things interesting in Memphis. The Grizzlies could also use their veteran leader as trade bait and reset the roster completely with Jaren Jackson Jr. alongside either Barrett or Ja Morant as their cornerstones.
3. Knicks: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
The clear loser in the new lottery system, New York just posted a 17-win season and didn’t land the grand prize. Morant is an easy selection, as is Barrett here at No. 3.
It could have been worse, but not by much. One of the NBA’s marquee markets is stuck in perpetual basketball hell. Even Zion might not have changed that.
4. Lakers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
LA made the big jump, moving from No. 11 overall all the way to No. 4. It opens a lot of doors for the Lakers, who could easily move this pick for a veteran player to pair with LeBron James. If they stay here, Culver’s a big, athletic guard who might fit right into the backcourt in Los Angeles.
5. Cavaliers: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
The luck of the Cavs officially ran out. After struggling to a 19-63 record, Cleveland fell from a potential top-three pick down to No. 5 overall.
With nothing but needs, Reddish is one of the highest-ceiling players available at this point in the draft. You have to bank on potential in the top five.
6. Suns: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
While they didn’t land in the top spot of the draft, this might be the next best thing. Garland is a perfect fit player for the Suns, and he comes with an NBA pedigree.
Grabbing a true point guard also opens the door to move Devin Booker back to his natural shooting guard spot.
7. Bulls: De’Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
Dropping from four to seven is a tough blow for the Bulls. Garland will likely be off the board here, so you go best player available.
Hunter is loaded with potential and should be able to help right away. He can also play multiple positions and has a crazy big wingspan.
8. Hawks: Coby White, SG, North Carolina
The first of two top-10 picks for Atlanta, the Hawks need to go with the best player available here. They need a long term answer next to Trae Young, and White can really fill it up.
It’s a guard-driven league, and White can score at a high clip.
9. Wizards: Rui Hachimura, SF, Gonzaga
The Wizards' hopes took a big hit when two teams leapfrogged them in the lottery. They have a hole at the wing where they dealt away both Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter last season.
Adding a versatile, high-basketball IQ player with a big motor like Hachimura might help turn things around a little quicker.
10. Hawks: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
The good news is that Hawks landed the Mavericks' pick. The bad news is that it dropped to No. 10.
Hayes is an athletic rim-runner who will perfectly fit in Atlanta’s uptempo style. The Hawks could also package their two picks and move higher up the top 10.
11. Timberwolves: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
Is Andrew Wiggins really a two-guard? Is he really part of the long-term future in Minny?
Langford has good size and length. He’ll need to improve as a shooter, but he can stuff the stat sheet and has plenty of upside for the future.
12. Hornets: Keldon Johnson, SG, Kentucky
Charlotte loves to add centers and shooting guards in the first round. Johnson is a little raw, but he has all kinds of potential and great size for the position.
With Kemba Walker’s future unknown, the Hornets need to gamble on talent.
13. Heat: Nassir Little, SG, North Carolina
Little is an explosive athlete with potential to develop into a quality two-way player. He disappointed in his lone season in the ACC, but there is a ton to like from this Tar Heel.
Miami does a nice job of mining for talent, and the Heat's track record for development isn’t bad. This is a good gamble for the folks in South Beach.
14. Boston: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
Boston’s quick exit from the playoffs has to frustrate Danny Ainge. He needs a boost of energy in the post, and Brandon Clarke is just that.
A defensive wiz, Clarke is a mature player who could play minutes right away and give the Celtics a new look.
15. Pistons: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
Detroit is lost in no man's land. The Pistons made the playoffs, but just barely. They have players, but none of the pieces really fit together.
Porter Jr. has talent, although it comes with some baggage. In the right situation, he may blossom.
16. Magic: Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
With a huge question mark hanging over their heads with regards to pending free agent Nikola Vucevic, the Magic could use a bruiser down low. They could also use a starting-level point guard and shooters on the perimeter, but one step at a time.
Fernando is all over draft boards. He could go anywhere from here to the late first round.
17. Nets: Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky
Brooklyn is looking for players who buy in and play hard. The Nets would love to get Herro with their later pick, but he has the look of a climber in this year’s draft.
He is active, disruptive and versatile. And if D'Angelo Russell signs an offer sheet the Nets don't match, Herro might be able to eat a few minutes in year one.
18. Pacers: PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky
With half the squad entering free agency, Indiana could use a versatile player who is ready to step in and play minutes. Washington is a high-IQ player who improved his 3-point stroke dramatically in year two.
Could he fill in as a younger, less expensive Thaddeus Young?
19. Spurs: Sekou Doumbouya, F, Limoges CSP (France)
Doumbouya is long, athletic and has defensive potential at both forward positions. He’s going to need time to develop either in the NBA or overseas for another season or two. Sounds like a typical selection for San Antonio.
The Spurs have two picks in the second half of the draft. Expect a foreign investment on at least one of those picks.
20. Boston (from Clippers): KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford
Okpala is a project wing who showed major improvement from one year to the next at Stanford. He has the size and length to develop into a 3-and-D player.
Boston searches out talent, and Okpala has the potential to contribute in a year or two.
21. Thunder: Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee
Mature and accomplished, Williams is ready to play minutes in year one. He’s a tremendous competitor with a developed body.
The Thunder needs help after flaming out early in the postseason again. Whether Williams can be a difference-maker is unknown, but OKC needs whatever boost it can get.
22. Celtics: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
This is a project pick, but the Celtics have plenty of selections in this year’s draft. When he has played, Bol has impressed, but staying healthy might be an issue.
Giving veteran big man Al Horford young players to help develop for the future is a good idea.
23. Jazz: Talen Horton-Tucker, SG, Iowa State
Horton-Tucker is one of the youngest players in the draft, but at 6-foot-4 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, he is intriguing, to say the least.
Utah is in win-now mode. The Jazz has plenty of veteran help for the next season or two, and drafting for the future is probably their best bet.
24. 76ers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech
Where do the Sixers go from here? After going all in with Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philly flamed out in the second round.
The Sixers would love to keep all the pieces together, but that’s pricey. Alexander-Walker has good size and he’s a versatile scorer. J.J. Reddick can’t play forever.
25. Blazers: Goga Bitadze, C, Buducnost (Montenegro)
With Jusuf Nurkic likely to miss time next season and Enes Kanter an unrestricted free agent, the Blazers need to look for a big at this point in the draft. There are plenty to choose from but Bitadze has a nice skill set that might develop down the road.
26. Cleveland (from Houston): Mfiondu Kabengele, PF/C, Florida State
Boasting good size and a lengthy wingspan, Kagengele is a work in progress. He has plenty of potential, but he’s kind of a wild card after playing fewer than 22 minutes a game off the bench in his sophomore season. He can rebound and block shots, but he’s a project and a gamble.
27. Brooklyn (from Denver): Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
Johnson is a fifth-year college player with range. He knows his role and might make it in the NBA as a 3-and-D wing.
The Nets made a huge leap forward this season, but they are still building a squad. Adding a player who can step in right away is a decent idea.
28. Warriors: Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas
Mobile and fluid, Gafford went back to Arkansas for a second season and made huge improvements to his game. Golden State pieced its frontline together this season, and the Warriors might be in even worse shape next season if Kevon Looney, DeMarcus Cousins, and Andrew Bogut decide to walk away.
29. Spurs (from Raptors): Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington
Thybulle is a seasoned 6-foot-6 brawler who has a 7-foot wingspan. He has an NBA body, but he’ll need to improve as a shooter if he wants to become a 3-and-D wing at the next level. Landing in a spot like San Antonio, though, gives him a chance to succeed.
30. Bucks: Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky
Bassey is a project who can play both the four and the five. He’s not ready to contribute right away, but since he stands 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and crazy athleticism, Bassey could make a difference down the road.