In this week’s 2019 NBA Mock Draft, we break down the deal between Brooklyn and Atlanta and continue to give out final scouting notes.
We also mock out another trade that seems exceedingly likely between now and draft night between Atlanta and Cleveland.
Until the very end:
One of the better pairings between team and player in this draft, as Fernando’s size and mobility dropping into pick-and-roll coverage around the basket coupled with his scaleable floor-spacing ability makes him a rare possible replacement for Brook Lopez with the Bucks.
With two picks in this draft thanks to the Kawhi Leonard trade, the Spurs can afford to wait on Okeke’s torn ACL, which will likely steal his entire rookie season. When he returns, San Antonio will get a skilled, athletic forward to be an awesome role player alongside their dynamic young backcourt.
An underrated subplot of the Warriors’ lack of depth is that no one they’ve drafted during the dynasty besides Kevon Looney has panned out, even with coach Steve Kerr’s proclivity to go deep into the bench regularly. Windler is more ready to contribute now than wildcards like Jordan Bell or Jacob Evans, whom they’ve drafted in the past.
Brooklyn no longer has two picks in this draft, but still has the chance to hit a home run with one of the draft’s most interesting prospects in Claxton, a rare 3-and-D playmaker with size to play both big man spots in the NBA.
Cleveland will likely look to come away from this draft with multiple young players (more on that later), so if 2019-20 is a development season for John Beilein and his staff, the offensively challenged Thybulle is the type of guy you take a risk on.
F/C, Florida State
Kabengele’s future in the NBA is murky if his shot doesn’t come around, but Portland needs to keep trying for modern big men.
G, Arizona State
If Ty Jerome is not available for Philadelphia here, the focus turns to depth, especially young players who can defend right away. Dort isn’t going to be much of a shooter or playmaker early on, but should be able to defend 1-3 right away.
We rewatched the Feb. 11 matchup in Chapel Hill between Virginia and UNC. Here are our notes on Jerome’s performance:
- Functional strength around the basket mitigates the negative impact of his short wingspan. He can absorb contact at the rim and his touch allows him to finish well with either hand.
- Unlike teammate Kyle Guy, the Cavaliers had Jerome cut short coming off pindown screens, which put him in position around the elbow to make plays or reset the offense. He was incredibly patient and comfortable running Virginia’s slow system.
- Has to rely on footwork and tricks to get by players on the perimeter. That includes quick shot fakes, pivots, etc. Jerome couldn’t get past Tar Heel big man Garrison Brooks in crunch time in isolation after a switch.
Jerome won’t be the most dynamic player, and comparisons to Malcolm Brogdon because of the Virginia connection give Jerome’s athleticism and length too much credit. Yet across from Donovan Mitchell on a good defensive team, Jerome’s role will be simple and he can excel.
C, Mega Bemax
We have no idea where Bitadze will land because as always, it’s tough to tell who has actually put the time in scouting him in France this year. Yet with Al Horford potentially leaving this year or next, the Celtics will need a new versatile big man to grow with their younger players.
F, North Carolina
Our scouting notes for Johnson from that home loss to Virginia on Feb. 11:
- Guarded everyone from Kyle Guy to Mamadi Diakite to De’Andre Hunter, showing his versatility and underrated athleticism. Plays smart on defense, shooting the gap to disrupt Virginia’s screen-heavy system and rotating over to protect the rim on several occasions.
- Extraordinary feel for his own equilibrium and space on jump shots. Johnson decides in a split-second, like the best NBA shooters, whether he can make the shot and progresses into a drive or gives the ball up immediately after the catch.
- Buzzes around in the halfcourt like a poor man’s Klay Thompson, screening for others as well as zooming into space when there’s an opening.
- Great transition scorer with length and intuitive leak-out sense.
Kevin Porter Jr.
The Celtics, with three first-round picks, can afford to take a risk on Porter Jr. and develop him behind their older wing players.
F, Iowa State
Just put all the youth and athleticism in San Antonio — turn it all around. We don’t even know what a typical Spur looks like anymore.
Trust Nate McMillan to turn talented prospects with questionable decision-making into good NBA players.
If Atlanta keeps this pick, we expect them to take a risk. Bol represents a potentially solid fit next to John Collins, and the Hawks will have less riding on his development if he is one of a handful of top-40 picks they walk away with on June 20.
If Orlando truly wants to give Markelle Fultz a chance, space the floor for him and give him other playmakers to carry the load. Adding Tyler Herro just makes too much sense if this is how the Magic want to play it out.
G, Virginia Tech
Pistons fans are probably tired of being told about the promise of versatile shooters on draft night after Luke Kennard, Svi Mykhailiuk and Khyri Thomas the past few years, but Alexander-Walker’s size and passing ability set him apart.