The 2019 NBA Draft is on Thursday, and everything is starting to heat up, from mock drafts to big boards to trade rumors of all shapes and sizes. While the Anthony Davis trade has finally been completed, eyes remain on the Pelicans, who may get creative with what they do with their newest draft pick in the top five.
The top three, as has been the case for months, is set in stone, but everything else is a big question mark. Here’s the last NBA mock draft before the main event in Brooklyn come Thursday.
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, F, Duke
There’s just no chance they don’t go with Williamson. Ready to play and already a gigantic draw for fans, Williamson will revitalize the basketball scene in New Orleans after fans grew understandably disillusioned by the Anthony Davis debacle.
Now that it’s over, Williamson gets to work with several other players on a similar timeline in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. His defensive versatility will help make for a stingy team in that regard, and the Lonzo-to-Williamson lobs will be constant and awesome. He’s the new big thing in the Big Easy.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
The Grizzlies have been quite open about their desire to take Morant, and they don’t deviate from the script here. Morant is the perfect complement to pair with Jaren Jackson Jr., and Memphis has quite the future with those two at the helm.
There will be ugly moments aplenty with the rookie running the show, but they’ll be outweighed by the flashes of greatness and highlight plays Morant has a penchant for. An excellent fit that the Grizzlies won’t ponder for long over.
3. New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett, G, Duke
The Knicks’ grand plans were presumably laid to waste by Kevin Durant’s ruptured Achilles. This step, however, remains unchanged. Barrett has said all the right things leading up to the draft about wanting to come to New York, and hasn’t even worked out for anyone else. Barrett can score, no doubt about that. It’ll just be a few years before he can score efficiently, and his first year may be filled with a lot of lowlights if he’s given the keys to the offense from day one.
He may even be better suited as a sidekick to a marquee free agent, only relied upon to score without taking much of the heat if team success doesn’t come. But he has the style and skills to succeed in New York, and Knicks fans will come to love him.