In this week’s 2019 NBA Mock Draft, we say goodbye to the NBA’s lottery teams as they close the season out of the playoffs.
This week, we set the lottery order with a Tankathon simulation. The rest of the draft is based on projected standings from FiveThirtyEight’s CARM-Elo rankings as of April 7.
We also break down the Final Four from the point of view of the 2019 NBA Draft, with an especially close look at top-five prospects De’Andre Hunter and Jarrett Culver.
There are actually probably 35 or so guys who have first-round talent. This draft is deeper than you think, with a lot of upperclassmen who will make an impact right away. Coach Mike Budenholzer’s ability to maximize players who can at least shoot and play intelligently makes Windler a better fit in Milwaukee than most teams.
This one comes via the Raptors as a result of the Kawhi Leonard trade (No. 29 for a superstar — woof), giving the Spurs a potential starting-caliber center late in the draft to pair with their promising trio of first-round guards taken the past two drafts.
After seeing the remarkable way Ryan Arcidiacono, Josh Hart, Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman have been able to transition to the NBA out of Villanova, it’s clear coach Jay Wright is developing a program that translates well into the modern NBA. All of his players can shoot and defend. Paschall is second only to Bridges in how he combines those two skills at a position of immense value in the pros.
This pick comes via the Nuggets, giving Brooklyn another interesting and hard-working wing to develop alongside Caris LeVert, Joe Harris and Dzanan Musa.
This pick comes via the Rockets, giving Cleveland a potential 3-and-D center who we saw make plays from the post and rebound well in the NCAA Tournament. Fernando is a relatively rare high-floor/high-ceiling big man this late in the first round.
Jerome is tailor-made to play under coach Brett Brown. He works like hell off the ball, makes mostly good decisions when he’s running point, and can shoot from anywhere. Plus, he’s big enough to capably defend either guard position if he plays next to Ben Simmons.
G, Virginia Tech
Adding Alexander-Walker to Anfernee Simons, Portland’s 2018 first-round pick, makes it easier should the Trail Blazers start to think about flipping CJ McCollum for a wing …
Johnson’s fall from grace may be slowed a bit at the draft combine in May. He will likely grade well in the strength and athleticism tests, but it seems very unlikely he ends up in the lottery at this point. Utah would snatch him up in an instant to shore up their aging wing rotation.
C, Mega Bemax
Al Horford ain’t gonna be around forever. Bitadze is bigger and less mobile but brings the same all-around skill set Horford boasts.
If the Spurs could really leave this draft with promising, older prospects at forward and center, they would be celebrating. Okpala has legit size as a combo 3/4 and maintained his shooting improvement throughout the season.
The Clippers pick many expected to be Boston’s third lottery selection lands at 20. However, Williams is a perfect addition the the Celtics’ roster — a bigger playmaker in the mold of Evan Turner, Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Morris whom we’ve seen help the Celtics in key moments over the years.
F, Iowa State
It feels like the Thunder only ever draft athletes and while Horton-Tucker is a nontraditional wing from a physical standpoint, he projects as a potentially elite shooter and already looks like a two-way playmaker on the wing.
Given Indiana’s proclivity for analytically unsound shot selection, it’s only fair to pair them with the prospect who brings that dichotomy to life on the court. Hachimura actually makes sense in the Hoosier State as the starting 4 next to Myles Turner long-term.
Bol is going to be one of the main inflection points of this draft, similar to Michael Porter Jr. last year. Considering Bol doesn’t bring quite the same amount of high school hype as Porter, we could see him falling a bit further. Porter went 13th to Denver last summer, Bol goes 17th here.
The late-rising Herro fits nicely in Orlando as a long-term replacement for Evan Fournier. Assuming the Magic enter next season with Markelle Fultz and DJ Augustin at point guard, Herro is a nice balance at two-guard with size and elite shooting ability.
F, North Carolina
Detroit should be in the business of snatching up any talent that falls to them. They were smart to grab Glenn Robinson III, Wayne Ellington and Thon Maker on buy-low deals this season, but Little would be the ultimate version of this strategy. He has top-three talent and should fit better in the NBA as a wing playmaker.