In this week’s 2019 NBA Mock Draft, we survey the draft field as the buyers and sellers settle in for the stretch run.
As always, projected standings are based upon FiveThirtyEight’s CARM-Elo rankings. This version of the mock uses projections as of Feb. 10, with the four worst teams in the league jockeying for position to get the best lottery odds, clearly separated from the rest of the NBA and with no improvement in sight.
Zion Williamson continues to set college basketball on fire, but some interesting players at the back of the draft are becoming more interesting as we see more of them.
As seen in the steady playing time for D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown this year, the Bucks aren’t afraid to play young. They will need to do it even more as their roster gets more expensive (four of their starters are free agents this summer) and Paschall’s age and versatility make him a smooth fit on a contending roster.
Golden State has had no reason to invest in or develop young wings over the past several years (as evidenced by losing Patrick McCaw in restricted free agency hard ball), limiting their depth and shortening their options should Kevin Durant leave. Schofield would bring a big body capable of spacing the floor and playing aggressive defense.
This pick comes to San Antonio by way of the Kawhi Leonard trade — drafting Gafford would give them an athletic, defensive rim-reaper to pair with the Spurs versatile guard rotation, breaking out this year in a big way.
Maybe Dosunmu is the long, crafty, athletic guard Philadelphia believed it was getting in the Markelle Fultz draft?
F, Perlas Vilnius
Brooklyn gets this pick after taking on Kenneth Faried’s salary to get Denver under the luxury tax. Sirvydis would give them yet another mobile shooter and role player.
Jones fits nicely what Oklahoma City built around Russell Westbrook since Durant left — long, physical and smart — and fills a hole the Thunder have slid Raymond Felton into for too long.
PG, North Carolina
White is 100 percent a better prospect than a mid-20s placement would suggest but this is where he’s been landing in most places. He is running the country’s best offense and has the size and shooting ability requisite for NBA guards today. The Celtics (drafting for themselves or the Pelicans) get a winner.
Cleveland won this pick by taking on Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss at the deadline. Fernando brings the upside to potentially one day become a 3-and-D center — the rarest form of NBA big man.
Indiana may have to bid farewell to Bojan Bogdanovic, Tyreke Evans and Thaddeus Young today depending on what else they do, meaning their veteran forward depth will disappear. Williams, a savvy two-way junior, would help shore up the position.
G, Arizona State
The Jazz’s reported interest in Mike Conley at the deadline signals they are not finished at point guard despite Ricky Rubio’s solid play for them the past two seasons. Dort would join Exum as bigger, defense-first options at that spot for Utah.
Willing it into being. Tillie would be the longer, more mobile version of Meyers Leonard that Portland thought it was signing in 2016.
F, Iowa State
It’s just not right for the Spurs not to have a player like Kyle Anderson around. In Horton-Tucker, San Antonio would find the heir to that throne — someone who is smart, versatile and can knock down shots.
We’re still not convinced the Clippers actually make the playoffs with this misfit toy roster but Boston grabbing Clarke would be the ultimate cherry on top of their Godfather offer for Anthony Davis this summer.
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. The Nets will also have the patience to rehab his injury and develop the all-around offensive skill set and IQ that make Porter so special.
Okpala, Malik Monk and Miles Bridges is the kind of core Charlotte should have been building around Kemba Walker all along. Should the Hornets get another commitment from Walker this summer, they can reset with the confidence of keeping the All-Star around for the next several seasons and build a sustainable winner he will lead.
It will be fascinating to see how Detroit under Ed Stefanski, Sachin Gupta, Brent Barry and Dwane Casey operate this offseason. It is the franchise’s first opportunity since moving on from Stan Van Gundy to truly move forward building around Blake Griffin in the draft and free agency. The courage to take on the rehabilitation and development of the immensely talented Bol would be a risk with potentially high reward.