In this week’s 2019 NBA Mock Draft, we break down the conference tournaments and preview how March Madness might affect the draft.
As always, projected standings are based upon FiveThirtyEight’s CARM-Elo rankings. This version of the mock uses projections as of March 18, with the Knicks firmly in place as the worst team in the NBA as the Suns continue to win games.
Zion Williamson is back and Duke is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. NBA teams are about to convince themselves of guys who have no business in the first round.
Villanova ended up with a relatively easy path to win some games in the tourney. They only have to get through the weakest 2-seed to reach an Elite Eight. Paschall will be a big factor in any success they have this spring.
F, North Carolina
Johnson may be the best shooter in the country, and he is surely the best shooter who is at least 6-7. He made nearly 50 percent of his total attempts and his ability to launch from deep makes the Tar Heel offense chug. His NBA role is already etched in stone.
This pick comes via the Raptors, giving the Spurs another two-way piece for their player development machine. Against Temple on Tuesday night, Windler struggled as a scorer and his lack of athleticism showed up, but he is a dogged, smart rebounder and instinctive multi-positional defender at 6-8.
This pick comes via the Nuggets, and Fernando makes sense as another big man who can shoot to join the Nets’ player development juggernaut and develop with Jarrett Allen.
Thybulle’s defensive production is simply too strong to ignore at this point, and he faces an incredible matchup to flex his skills in the second round against UNC.
Cleveland gets this pick from Houston and could use it on one of the best shooters in the country in Herro. The freshman made 37.3 percent of his 3s and 94 percent of his free throws, competes on defense and has solid size for the wing.
Jones’ draft stock is tied directly to that of Coby White, who’s rising quickly. The Duke point guard won’t have much of an opportunity to show off with the other three freshmen stealing the show, but his sterling statistical value means the 20s are probably his floor.
C, Mega Bemax
A perfect backup for Jusuf Nurkic who, like the Bosnian Most Improved Player candidate, can do a little of everything and has incredible size on the interior.
Williams needs to get back to being a playmaker from the post to push Tennessee back to what they looked like during the winter — and cement his two-way value as a big man with NBA-caliber skill and basketball IQ.
Okpala ended the season poorly after missing time with an upper-body injury, but he is the type of big wing Oklahoma City has desperately needed since the Kevin Durant days.
Kevin Porter Jr.
If someone with Porter Jr.’s skill level were to fall to Indiana, the Pacers would be doing backflips. He is an ideal secondary playmaker alongside Victor Oladipo and has the size to defend either guard position.
The Celtics could go with the perceived best player available here to sweeten the package for some sort of trade for a star, or opt to develop Bol themselves.
The perfect Spur, Porter would slide right into the Pau Gasol/Tim Duncan role as an elbow playmaker and stationary rim protector.
G, North Carolina
White seems to be the apple of everyone’s eye lately, making big plays during the ACC Tournament in front of a bigger national audience. However, we humbly believe he is not quite the lottery lock some to be proclaiming.
G, Virginia Tech
A big March could solidify Alexander-Walker in the lottery. He is one of the best shooters in the country and can put the ball on the floor to attack closeouts and set up teammates as well. The sophomore will be in one of the most high-profile games of the tourney with a matchup against Duke looming in the Sweet 16.
Teams only need to listen to Dick Vitale’s color commentary from the SEC tournament semifinal to understand Johnson’s problems. Vitale was spot-on when he said Johnson’s primary value on offense right now is as a transition finisher, despite noise about his shooting (streaky) and playmaking (mostly nonexistent). That’s not a lottery player.