Perhaps Duke’s sensational freshman trio is not destined for top five status. Ja Morant crashes into the top two in our latest 2019 NBA Mock Draft.
As always, projected standings are based upon FiveThirtyEight’s CARM-Elo rankings. This version of the mock uses projections as of Jan. 28, with the five worst teams in the league jockeying for position to get the best lottery odds, clearly separated from the rest of the NBA.
Morant’s rise to prominence from internet draft nerd sensation has been the draft’s biggest story this year, but the prize as ever remains Zion Williamson.
Already a versatile 3-and-D player, Paschall actually upped his 3-point percentage this year to 39 percent but has had less defensive impact for a worse Villanova squad than last year’s championship team. He would be a plug-and-play option for Golden State.
G, Iowa State
Put a long, athletic shooter in Milwaukee and they will thrive, apparently. This year, D.J. Wilson, Sterling Brown and Tony Snell have been rejuvenated by Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer and Haliburton would be the perfect project to keep development going.
This pick comes to San Antonio by way of the Kawhi Leonard trade — drafting Washington would give the Spurs a modern defensive big to pair with their cluster of promising young guards.
The guys at The Stepien have been all over Sirvydis for months. Sirvydis is a versatile, efficient shooter who would add to Brooklyn’s collection of Euro floor-spacers alongside Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs.
Dosunmu could be what Markelle Fultz never was — a big defender and floor-spacer for the Sixers alongside Ben Simmons, should Philadelphia actually choose to take another young player at this spot.
Fernando is only getting more interesting with time, improving in just about every statistic across the board and potentially flashing a 3-point shot as well. While Boston just invested in Robert Williams III at this spot last year, Fernando is worth it as the Celtics eye the possibility of moving on from Al Horford in an Anthony Davis trade.
G, North Carolina
If Oklahoma City could consolidate Raymond Felton, Abdel Nader and Alex Abrines’ minutes into one cheap young player, they would probably love to. White could be that guy, with size and point guard ball skills.
Williams is a perfect fit in Houston’s switching scheme on defense and has hit the 3 at a high rate this year — could he be the team’s next P.J. Tucker as the veteran small-ball center ages out of the league?
Utah will likely move on from Derrick Favors in the offseason and play smaller around big man Rudy Gobert. That leaves Gafford as a potential backup that would allow the Jazz to play the same in bench units as they do with the starters — with a dominant finisher and rim protector down low.
G/F, Iowa State
Horton-Tucker is the advanced defensive statistical darling of this year’s draft, the 2019 De’Anthony Melton. As Portland continues to revamp its roster into a more modern outfit, Horton-Tucker would fit right in as a combo forward next to Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic.
G, Arizona State
Dort has been relatively disappointing this year. He plays like a point guard but his size and lack of separation speed and ball-handling mean he makes more sense as an off-guard. However, he lacks the defensive impact to be super valuable at that point. Altogether, drafting Dort is a bet on potential more than anything.
The Spurs are not historically a team that seeks out risk to the degree that Bol would present them, but with two first-round picks this year and plenty of promising young talent on the roster, perhaps San Antonio would take the big man despite his season-ending foot surgery.
Unless this pick, originally belonging to the Clippers, lands in the lottery, it will give Boston yet another bite at the apple (or ammo in an Anthony Davis deal). Clarke could be the biggest prize of the entire draft should he settle into a NBA position.
Porter is recovering from MCL and ACL tears he suffered during an October scrimmage but would provide excellent balance for Brooklyn’s frontcourt alongside Jarrett Allen.
Jones is far closer to the type of point guard you want next to Blake Griffin. He may not have the offensive upside Detroit wants to shoot for to restock its roster with young talent but Jones is a safe pick with potential to be one of the best point guard defenders in the NBA and a great fit on the Pistons.
If there’s a team I trust to develop the young, dynamic Doumbouya, it’s Miami. This is a franchise that just made Justise Winslow its point guard and prioritizes ball movement and size at every position, plus maintains a brilliant culture every season regardless of the win total.