The 2019 NBA Draft is seven months away. With nearly a month of college basketball to evaluate, of course it’s time for a 2019 Mock Draft. We offered a very preliminary Mock Draft in June, but much has changed. The NBA team order here is based on the standings on Dec. 3rd.
1. Phoenix – RJ Barrett, G/F, Duke. His Maui finish against Gonzaga aside, he’s been as advertised (22.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.0 apg). Shooting numbers aren’t very good now (40/31/62) but he just turned 18 in June. I still lean Barrett over Williamson now, but the gap is closing because Williamson is such a freak athlete. I’d project Barrett as a guy who could lead the NBA in scoring and be a #1 on a title contender. Not yet sure Williamson can offensively carry a team like that, but it is early.
2. Chicago – Zion Williamson, F, Duke. Potentially an all-time great athlete, and no player is more fun to watch. He’ll be must-see TV and a huge box office draw. He’s only 2-of-8 on three-pointers this season, that’s his only question mark. Hitting 68 percent from the line. According to Ken Pom, he has the #1 offensive rating in the country at 136.3. Going back 15 years, nobody has ever eclipsed 130.
3. Atlanta – Cam Reddish, SF, Duke. Not taking the volume of shots as Barrett or Williamson, but hitting 43 percent on 3-pointers and averaging 15.3 ppg in just 23 minutes per game. A bit turnover prone, but some of that is trying to do too much and keep up with the other two. The Hawks have their point guard in Trae Young, who leads them in points (15.6) and assists (7.6), but is really struggling with his shot (37 percent field goals, 24 percent 3-pointers).
4. Cleveland – Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana. The Cavs should be in full tank mode, and everyone on their roster is expendable with the exception of Collin Sexton. (I’d like to see what Ante Zizic looks like, he is only 21.) Sexton needs a backcourt mate, and Langford (18 ppg) is the scorer he needs.
5. Brooklyn – Nassir Little, SF, UNC. Disappointing that Roy Williams is just playing him 19.5 minutes per game, but he’s got two seniors (Cameron Johnson, Luke Maye) in front of him. I see a little potential for a Draymond Green-type defender.
6. New York – Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky. They should have an idea by draft time whether or not Kevin Durant is in play. New York has talent on the wing in Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier and Mario Hezonja, and Johnson (15.9 ppg) gives them more perimeter flexibility.