In this week’s 2019 NBA Mock Draft, we break down how the Lakers’ collapse impacts the draft lottery.
As always, projected standings are based upon FiveThirtyEight’s CARM-Elo rankings. This version of the mock uses projections as of March 10, with a recent run by the Suns pushing Cleveland back into the top two.
We also discuss two high-pressure performances by Ja Morant to win the Ohio Valley Conferene and get into the NCAA tournament, as well as Jarrett Culver’s career scoring night to capture a share of the B1G crown for Texas Tech and Duke-North Carolina Part II.
Without further ado:
Schofield is a great fit within the 3-jacking, read-and-react system Milwaukee runs on offense and would give greater power to their scary constricting defense.
Fernando is one of the few big men in this draft you could see playing crunch time against the NBA’s most versatile teams. It could mean he goes far higher than this, but Toronto could steal him as a bench/development option behind veterans Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney are free agents this summer. Golden State needs wings, but maybe they draft another big man if Gafford falls — the sophomore is ready to contribute.
C, Mega Bemax
This pick is a relic of the Kenneth Faried trade. Brooklyn adds to its deep trove of international prospects with the huge, versatile Bitadze.
G, North Carolina
Boston goes best player available as it attempts to cobble together a package for Anthony Davis that does not include Jayson Tatum.
Thanks to the Rockets, Cleveland will have the chance to take a risk on someone like Bol. If no one takes the freshman — who is recovering from a foot injury — by this point, the Cavaliers should surely bring him in if only for his skyscraping ceiling.
Ty Jerome has gotten a lot of attention at this spot, probably because he is older and therefore believed to be more NBA-ready, but Herro is bigger and at least as good a shooter, plus he’s two years younger. Herro could play for Philadelphia in 2019.
G, Arizona State
Backup units for Portland that include CJ McCollum and Seth Curry have looked great this year, scoring 113.9 points per 100 possessions, meaning Portland may finally have found stability at the third guard spot. Adding Dort, someone who could contribute on defense right away, would be another interesting bite at the apple for the perennially guard-needy Trail Blazers.
Okpala is a player whose talent is lottery-level but who could fall depending on what they do in March and how they measure at the combine. He is a sophomore as well, so perhaps that extra year in college will cost him a few spots on draft night.
But if Okpala were to end up in Oklahoma City, he would join Terrance Ferguson, Andre Roberson and Jerami Grant and create a versatile group of young role players to fill out the rotation around Paul George and Russell Westbrook.
G, Virginia Tech
Alexander-Walker is one of the safer picks in the draft but, like Okpala, that could mean he falls into the 20s, particularly if Virginia Tech falls early in the NCAA tournament again. Pairing him with Donovan Mitchell would give Utah a very intriguing guard tandem, if they are OK drafting yet another backcourt player this year.
Williams is the big, physical wing defender Indiana needs if they move on from veterans Thaddeus Young and Tyreke Evans and move toward a system that fits Victor Oladipo even better on both ends.
F, Iowa State
This pick comes via the Clippers and drops a player in Boston’s lap whom some believe is a top-five prospect in this class considering his age, intelligence and statistical output.
Porter is recovering from a preseason knee injury but would be a nice balance for San Antonio’s array of young, athletic guards at the elbow and spacing the floor.
With a tremendous 3.71 assist-to-turnover ratio and and incredible 3.4 steal percentage given his diminutive stature and competition in the ACC, Jones is the prototypical point guard to play next to Blake Griffin as the All-NBA big man finishes his prime.
For the sake of Hachimura’s career, let’s all pray he ends up in a player development situation as good as Kenny Atkinson’s in Brooklyn. He has too much talent to be wasted under a coach that would green-light his worst habits.
Kevin Porter Jr.
Our hunch is that Porter gets back into the lottery by June (perhaps at the expense of Nassir Little or Keldon Johnson), but if Orlando has the chance, they should 100 percent pull the trigger on the smart, explosive combo guard.