NBA Draft

2019 NBA Mock Draft: Searching for clarity two weeks from draft night

In this week’s 2019 NBA Mock Draft, the jumble of prospects from 10-40 makes it difficult to find perfect fits between team and player.

We talk about how the teams picking between five and 10 control this year’s draft, plus we continue to re-scout the top prospects.

Cowabunga:

Bruno Fernando

C, Maryland

A legit, replicable shooting stroke and NBA-caliber size at center make Fernando a possible replacement for Brook Lopez in Milwaukee’s drop defensive scheme.

Nic Claxton

F/C, Georgia

Upon rewatching Georgia’s Dec. 15 loss to Arizona State, here are a few big-picture pros and cons that stood out from Claxton’s performance:

  • He is the fourth best perimeter defender of this draft’s big men, behind Zion Williamson, Brandon Clarke and De’Andre Hunter. Claxton is supremely mobile and functionally uses his length to contain drives and contest shots inside.
  • Though he operated as a playmaker for the Bulldogs, he rarely was used as the primary facilitator. His handle isn’t at the level to create shots for teammates yet.
  • His poor shooting touch around the basket and low free-throw efficiency makes his jump shot hard to trust heading into the NBA.

Nevertheless, anyone within shouting distance of being a 3-and-D big man in the NBA deserves to be a first-round pick.

Cameron Johnson

F, North Carolina

Insert Johnson into Golden State’s motion offense and the floor spacing will improve in 2019-20.

Keldon Johnson

G/F, Kentucky

This pick comes by way of the Nuggets, giving Brooklyn an athletic wing prospect to develop alongside their guards and shooting forwards.

Bol Bol

C, Oregon

Unless Brooklyn pulls the trigger at No. 17 or the Celtics think Bol is a good addition to their trade packages, he will fall here, to Cleveland, a team that will happily jump on the chance to develop the elite-shooting big man.

Check out our full scouting report on Bol Bol.

Mfiondu Kabengele

F/C, Florida State

Rewatching the Seminoles’ late-season home victory over Virginia Tech, Kabengele’s lack of basketball intelligence jumped out in a big way. He plays hard, but reminds one of an early-career Serge Ibaka with the way he jumps out of position and fails to make basic plays on offense (screening, boxing out, moving the ball) that help teams win.

Ty Jerome

G, Virginia

The perfect guard to play alongside Ben Simmons — efficient, smart, big and experienced.

Terence Davis

G/F, Mississippi

There may be a battle for Davis on draft night, vaulting him into the first round. No one could have seen this coming from a guy who wasn’t expected to even get an invite to the NBA Draft Combine last month.

Grant Williams

F, Tennessee

Boston has long valued smart, versatile forwards like Williams. This is a team that got decent value out of both Evan Turner and Kelly Olynyk while they were in town.

Check out our full scouting report on Grant Williams.

Matisse Thybulle

G/F, Washington

Oklahoma City should pull the trigger on any wing they think can play for them next season. Thybulle might just be the best bet, even at 21.

Kevin Porter Jr.

G/F, USC

We watched Porter’s game against Vanderbilt on the second night of the college season. Some takeaways from Porter before his injury and suspension:

  • He over-helps on defense, reminiscent of a young Russell Westbrook. While it occasionally results in big plays from the weak side (steal and block rates over 2 percent), Porter fouled out of this game and can be taken advantage of with cuts and off-ball screens.
  • He doesn’t impact the game on offense when the ball is not in his hands. Mostly, he just stands in the corner. We saw more of this after the suspension — Porter will check out when he’s not involved.
  • The jumper always goes up as Porter is tilting backward, which has to be concerning coupled with his 52 percent free-throw efficiency.
  • Explosive leaping ability off two feet from offensive rebounds, transition plays, drives.

Check out our full scouting report on Kevin Porter Jr.

Rui Hachimura

F, Gonzaga

More mid-range shooting for the Spurs. Love to see it.

Check out our full scouting report on Rui Hachimura.

Tyler Herro

G, Kentucky

Herro can grow to be a nice floor-spacing, ball-moving option next to Victor Oladipo in the backcourt.

Goga Bitadze

C, Mega Bemax

Jarrett Allen showed in the first round of the playoffs this year the difficulties he will have against bigs like Joel Embiid as well as when teams go small. Allen is good, but his presence won’t preclude Brooklyn from drafting another talented big man like Bitadze.

Check out our full scouting report on Goga Bitadze.

Talen Horton-Tucker

G/F, Iowa State

Young, long, skilled — that’s a Magic player.

Romeo Langford

G, Indiana

We’re starting to wonder whether Detroit might move this pick in order to get off Reggie Jackson’s salary. Would Cleveland trade up from No. 26 to No. 15, take Jackson back, and take another top-20 talent?

Check out our full scouting report on Romeo Langford.

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