Mock drafts are tough to compile, especially this far out from the actual event because a ton can happen between now and then. However, it’s never too early to predict which ways teams decide to go based upon their respective needs. Next June expects to see a slew of young players drafted early, but which ones sneak into the top five? Without further ado, here is my 2019 NBA mock draft. Note: This mock draft is based on if the NBA season ended today and current records; it does not reflect future results or implications. Draft position and selections will likely change each month.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: F Zion Williamson-Duke; Fr
The decision between Zion Williamson and his college teammate R.J. Barrett is tough, but Cleveland is looking to build a new brand. What better way to do that than drafting the most electrifying player in college basketball? Although only a small sample size is taken into consideration, he is living up to the hype on the collegiate level. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward is averaging 25.3 PPG on 82.1% shooting, to go along with 10.7 RPG. Despite uncertainties regarding his perimeter shooting, his massive physicality, athleticism, and craftiness vaults him up to the top pick. Cleveland elects to start a new era and adds one of the most hyped-up prospects since former-Cavalier LeBron James.
2. Phoenix Suns: G/F RJ Barrett-Duke; Fr
It is clear that Phoenix will build around Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton; Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges are intriguing young prospects, but their roles are unclear. Selecting Barrett is a no-brainer for the Suns and will possibly form one of the brightest young trios in the league. Although he may be slightly overshadowed by college teammate Zion Williamson, Barrett has averaged the same amount of points per game (25.3). His already-advanced offensive arsenal makes him a top prospect, but he also has a ton of potential to grow and continue develop. Barrett can score in a plethora of ways and moves very well for his 6-foot-7 frame.
3. Atlanta Hawks: SF Nassir Little- North Carolina; Fr
Point guard is the only position that the Hawks don’t need to address. Adding a dynamic scorer and playmaker in Nassir Little puts them in the right direction. Little has a high ceiling and star potential. He can score from behind the arc, around the rim, and everywhere else in between. Not only offensively, but Little’s defense makes him a promising two-way wing prospect. Athleticism and length puts the icing on the cake and the Hawks address a major need.
4. New York Knicks: G Romeo Langford- Indiana; Fr
Are the Knicks continuing to build around Kristaps Porzingis? What about Frank Ntilikina or Kevin Knox? There are many young players on the roster, but it is uncertain who New York builds around. Romeo Langford is a prime candidate to help build an identity in the Big Apple. The 6-foot-6 guard can handle the ball or play shooting guard; Langford also doesn’t shy away from the spotlight. Alongside the defense of Ntilikina, Langford would be able to assume more offensive responsibilities. The Knicks need a playmaker in the backcourt and Langford fits the profile, not to mention his length and athleticism.
5. Chicago Bulls: G/F Cam Reddish- Duke; Fr
This is the third Duke player drafted in the top five. Reddish fills the Bulls’ need for a shooting guard/wing. The promising play of Zach LaVine allows Chicago to address additional background woes. At 6-foot-8, Reddish shoots the ball over 40 percent from deep and can play multiple positions. He can score in multiple ways due to his quickness and size. Reddish’s feel for the game and defensive ability allows the Bulls to add an other offensive threat while bolstering their defense as well. He will join a promising young front court that contains Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.
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