- NEW ORLEANS PELICANS – PF Zion Williamson, Duke Fr.
After trading away franchise player Anthony Davis the Pelicans will now build their team around Williamson. He took the college basketball world by storm this season and finished with a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 42.55, five points higher than anyone else in the country. At 6’7 and 285 lbs, Williamson displays insane athleticism but is much more than just that as he can pass, defend multiple positions, and handle the ball to go along with a strong work ethic. A no-brainer selection at #1.
2. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – PG Ja Morant, Murray State Soph.
The Grizzlies are looking to shop current PG Mike Conley and reports have been stating the Grizzlies front office wants to draft Morant so this is an easy choice. The Grizzlies can pair Morant with Jaren Jackson as a core to build around for the future. Morant is an excellent passer and finisher but does have to work on his shooting mechanics and there are concerns about his narrow frame holding up but the positives certainly outweigh the negatives as he should easily be able to excite the Grizzlies fan base with his creative passing.
3. NEW YORK KNICKS – SF R.J. Barrett, Duke Fr.
This time last year, Barrett was considered to be the #1 pick of this draft. Despite all of the attention teammate Zion Williamson garnered at Duke, Barrett was still able to excel. He averated22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 35.3 minutes per game and scored more points (860) than any freshman in ACC history. The Knicks are in dire need of a go-to scorer and Barrett might be the best pure scorer in the entire draft. He could end up being a steal at #3.
4. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS – PG Darius Garland, Vanderbilt Fr.
I do not expect Garland to stay with the Pelicans but I do expect him to be the 4th overall pick and traded somewhere. There are numerous suitors for this spot. Chicago, Minnesota, and Boston are both in desperate need of a point guard. Atlanta and Indiana have also inquired about this pick. And the Pelicans have reportedly shown interest in trading for Bradley Beal. If the Pelicans do decide to keep this pick and not shop then they could go with either Jarrett Culver or DeAndre Hunter. There’s also a chance the Pelicans could shop PG Jrue Holiday and have Garland and Ball in the back court but I imagine someone putting together a package to move up for Garland, who can shoot from anywhere on the court, has blazing speed, and can run the pick & roll as good as anyone else in this draft. The Damian Lillard comparisons are enough to make any fan of wherever he is selected happy.
5. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – SF De’Andre Hunter, Virginia Soph.
There are rumors of Atlanta being enamored with Hunter and Cleveland wanting to add more picks in the draft, which makes these teams perfect trade partners if they do decide to go those routes. Hunter is a perfect fit for new head coach John Beilein’s free-flowing offense as he can shoot from deep and run screens on pick-and-rolls. Another way they could go here is Coby White as a combo guard to pair with last year’s 1st round pick Collin Sexton or with Jarrett Culver.
6. PHOENIX SUNS – SG Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech Soph.
There was a report at the combine that Phoenix promised to take PG Coby White with this pick if he was still on the board but a later report came out that the team wanted a veteran (D’Angelo Russell, perhaps) to pair with Devin Booker in the back court. The Suns are also reportedly high on Culver and I cannot see him going past this point in the draft because someone will trade up to get him. Culver is a versatile defender and can even create offense for others (He even played the point for Texas Tech at times), which will also help Booker and DeAndre Ayton. His shot does need work, however.
7. CHICAGO BULLS – PG Coby White, North Carolina Fr.
When John Paxson, Executive VP of Basketball Operations, said after the lottery he felt the team was really solid at the “2,3,4,5” spots, it became clear the team thought current starting PG Kris Dunn was not the answer. White who is primarily thought of as a scorer (He broke Michael Jordan’s freshman scoring record at North Carolina) but was able to show improvement as a passer. White can shoot from deep unlike the other point guards trotted out by the team this past season.
8. ATLANTA HAWKS – SF Cam Reddish, Duke Fr.
Again, with six picks in this draft and GM Travis Schlenk stating they are not going to keep all their picks, its likely the team trades up to grab someone like Hunter or Culver. However, anyone picking 8th would likely be intrigued by Reddish. Despite the inconsistent season at Duke he can shoot, something the team prioritizes, and they do need another wing player since trading Taurean Prince. If not Reddish and the Hawks are picking here they also could use a rim protector to pair with John Collins with Jaxson Hayes and Goga Bitadze as the top options.
9. WASHINGTON WIZARDS – PF Sekou Doumbouya, France
With the John Wall contract crippling the team financially and rumors swirling around about Bradley Beal possibly getting traded, the Wizards seem to be in a total rebuild mode. Doumbouya is the youngest player in this draft (Will not turn 19 years old until December) and the team can afford to be patient with his development. He reportedly turned heads at his pro day in Dallas and if coached up properly has the tools to become an elite defender. Other possibilities for the Wizards include C Jaxson Hayes and SF Nassir Little.
10. ATLANTA HAWKS – C Jaxson Hayes, Texas Fr.
If the Hawks do end up keeping this pick, Hayes as a rim protector to pair with Collins would be the best fit. He is raw but at the very least on offense should be able to catch lobs from Trae Young. He even shot 74% from the free throw line this season so there is potential that he could develop a jump shot. If the Hawks want to go a different route, Goga Bitadze from Georgia can be an option as he can shot from deep, a trait the Hawks look for at all positions. Hayes shows more potential, however.
11. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES – SF Nassir Little, North Carolina Fr.
After a disappointing season, Little has reportedly done quite well in the pre-draft process where he displayed better shooting than the 28% he shot this past season. He has all the tools (athleticism, ability to defend multiple positions, good rebounder) that you want out of a wing player in today’s game and really become something special if he figures it out.
12. CHARLOTTE HORNETS – PF Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga Jr.
The biggest priority for Charlotte is re-signing Kemba Walker but with this selection there is not a point guard worthy of the pick. However, they could also use someone to pair with Miles Bridges at forward and help space the floor. Charlotte also has a history of selecting players that succeeded in the NCAA in which Hachimura fits the bill. Oddly enough, Hachimura has been a mystery in the pre-draft process since he skipped the combine and does not appear to have had any private workouts, which one would assume means a team in the lottery made him a promise and Charlotte is as safe a bet. Charlotte could also consider Hachimura’s teammate, Brandon Clarke, if they want more help protecting the rim.
13. MIAMI HEAT – PF PJ Washington, Kentucky Soph.
Miami is a team with a lot of money tied up with mediocre players. They also have a glaring weakness and power forward and Washington is a tough player, something Miami values. He shot 42% from behind the arc this past season and can play with his back to the basket as well. Another option to consider is SG Romeo Langford as the Heat have pending free agents on the wing next season.
14. BOSTON CELTICS – C Goga Bitadze, Georgia (International)
With the news of Al Horford opting out and looking to sign elsewhere and the only two bigs under contract for next season being Aron Baynes and Robert Williams, the team needs help in a big way. Bitadze performed at a high level in the Euroleague and his best attribute at the moment is rebounding, something the Celtics lack in a big way. There was a rumor of combo guard Tyler Herro shooting lights out in a workout and someone like Rui Hachimura would be welcome since all signs point towards Marcus Morris leaving the team. If they happen to package this pick and move up for get Bradley Beal then Bitadze is still an intriguing option at #14.
15. DETROIT PISTONS – SG Tyler Herro, Kentucky Fr.
With little cap room and subpar drafting over the past few seasons, Detroit has needs on the wing and to potentially replace Reggie Jackson after next season. Herro is one of the better shooters in the draft and has seen his name rise up draft boards after impressive workouts and interviews. Head coach Dwane Casey runs a system heavy on shooting three-pointers and Herro could thrive in this system. Wings Romeo Langford and Nickeil Alexander-Walker are other options with this selection.
16. ORLANDO MAGIC – SG Romeo Langford, Indiana Fr.
Orlando has little depth on the wing and Terence Ross as an unrestricted free agent. The team also favors length and athleticism, which Langford possesses. Langford can shoot off the dribble and defend and can hopefully improve his shooting from behind the arc, which was hindered this past season due to a hand injury.
17. ATLANTA HAWKS – SG Kevin Porter Jr., USC Fr.
With all the picks Atlanta has its worth the gamble for Porter, who is considered a lottery talent but carries a lot of baggage (suspended at USC indefinitely for an undisclosed off-court reason). He can create his own shot and shots for others, creating a potentially dangerous back court with Trae Young. Although a young team, coach Lloyd Pierce’s team bonding on and off court could provide the positive environment needed for Porter to reach his potential.
18. INDIANA PACERS – SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech Soph.
The Pacers have several free agents, including Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic, plus lost Tyreke Evans due to suspension so they need help in the back court. While not a great shooter from deep, Alexander-Walker is a strong passer that can guard multiple positions and could be a nice compliment to Victor Oladipo.
19. SAN ANTONIO SPURS – PF Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga Jr.
If not for his age (will be 23 years old when the season starts) Clarke would have been a safe bet as a lottery pick. I really cannot see San Antonio passing on him with this pick. Although just 6’8, he can protect the rim and play center when going small and with Jakob Poeltl the only center currently on the roster and LaMarcus Aldridge turning 34 years old next month help is needed in the front court.
20. BOSTON CELTICS – SF Cameron Johnson, North Carolina Sr.
The Celtics do not have any great three-point shooters on their team, which will make Johnson a valuable commodity. He could really thrive in Brad Stevens’ motion offense and can space the floor for the other wings on the team. He will need to add strength to compete in the NBA though but the potential is there to be a productive role player as a rookie.
21. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – PF Mfiondu Kabengele, Florida State Soph.
The Thunder have little cap room and a desperate need for shooting, no matter the position. Kabengele can block shots and shoot from deep and has drawn comparisons to former Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka. With a short bench Kabengele will have a chance to play early.
22. BOSTON CELTICS – PF Nicolas Claxton, Georgia Soph.
Boston still needs a lot of help in the front court and doubling up if they keep these picks is a real possibility. Claxton has a world of potential on defense but has to improve his shooting and fill out his frame to earn minutes. A strong showing at the draft combine should solidify Claxton as a first round pick.
23. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – SG Keldon Johnson, Kentucky Fr.
Memphis does not have much at the wing. They received Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver in the Mike Conley trade but they’re both free agents after this season. Johnson is athletic, can shoot from deep, and defend. Makes for a good pairing in the back court with fellow rookie Ja Morant.
24. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – SG Ty Jerome, Virginia Jr.
Whatever happens to Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in free agency doesn’t change the fact Philadelphia needs help on the bench. Jerome can shoot and provide toughness to help give the second unit some identity.
25. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERSPG Carsen Edwards, Purdue Jr.
Portland is over the luxury tax and has a mid-level exemption to use on so there’s a good chance that Seth Curry will depart via free agency, leaving a hole on the bench. Edwards could fill in that role as a potential scorer off the bench as he showed the ability to score buckets in bunches during the NCAA Tournament.
26. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – C Bol Bol, Oregon Fr.
Despite the injury history, concerns about his work ethic and rail thin frame at 7’2 and 208 lbs, Bol can still be an offensive threat in the NBA. He still managed to shoot over 50% from three-point land in the nine games he played before requiring season-ending foot surgery. Cleveland needs help at center and are in no need to rush anyone since they will not be competing anytime soon.
27. BROOKLYN NETS – SF Dylan Windler, Belmont Sr.
Windler shot over 42% from behind the arc the past two seasons and grabbed 10.8 rebounds per game this past season. Since Allen Crabbe was traded and with Joe Harris a free agent next season there is a chance for Windler to see significant minutes to start his career. He is a good fit for coach Kenny Atkinson’s system that is based on shooting from long range.
28. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – SF Matisse Thybulle, Washington Sr.
With Kevin Durant likely missing this coming season and Klay Thompson also projected to miss a significant amount of time the Warriors are going to have to count on whoever they select here. Thybulle is a strong defender and decent three-point shooter that could become a defensive stopper for the team when Andre Igoudala retires.
29. SAN ANTONIO SPURS – PF Luka Samanic, Croatia
The Spurs could use an offensively skilled stretch-4 like Samanic, who can also play inside. Coach Gregg Popovich’s system can be the one that gets him to live up to his potential.
30. DETROIT PISTONS – C Bruno Fernando, Maryland Soph.
There is a chance that Andre Drummond will become a free agent after next season and the team might have to start thinking about grooming his replacement. Fernando is athletic and reportedly has shot better than expected during player workouts which will make him an attractive choice with this pick.
31. BROOKLYN NETS – PF Chuma Okeke, Auburn Soph.
Prior to tearing his ACL during the NCAA Tournament, Okeke was shaping up to be a potential lottery pick. He can shoot from deep, score in the post, and protect the rim. Depending on how he comes back from surgery could turn this pick into a steal.
32. PHOENIX SUNS – PF Grant Williams, Tennessee Jr.
With many free agents and shallow depth coming off of the bench a versatile option like Williams coming off the bench will help. There’s also a chance Williams could be selected in the first round with some scouts higher than others.
33. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – SG Luguentz Dort, Arizona State Fr.
Adding a perimeter defender like Dort, who could easily get drafted in the first round, would be a huge boost to the team’s bench. They need help in that area.
34. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – PF Eric Paschall, Villanova Sr.
Paschall, who played college ball locally, might be able to contribute right away as a rotational player as he can defend multiple positions and shoot from deep. And with four selections in the second round expect Philadelphia to move some of these picks to cash-strapped teams looking to buy into the round (Los Angeles Lakers, Houston, Golden State). Fernando could be a target for one of those teams that needs frontcourt help.
35. ATLANTA HAWKS – SF KZ Okpala, Stanford Soph.
Atlanta was a horrible defensive team this past season. Although not there yet, Okpala has the skills to become a top wing defender. His shooting will also fit into the current Atlanta system.
36. CHARLOTTE HORNETS – PG Jalen Lecque, Brewster Academy (N.H.)
Whether or not Charlotte is able to retain Kemba Walker they still need more depth at point guard. Originally committing to North Carolina State out of prep school, Lecque has decided to enter the draft as he is eligible due to being a fifth-year senior. He will not be able to contribute right away but has a lot of potential and this team can afford to be patience with development.
37. DALLAS MAVERICKS – SF Admiral Schofield, Tennessee Sr.
Dallas needs to build around Luka Doncic and surround him with shooters. Schofield improved his shot throughout his career and performed well in big games at Tennessee.
38. CHICAGO BULLS – PF Zylan Cheatham, Arizona State Sr.
Cheatham improved his draft stock at the combine and has the toughness and physicality coach Jim Boylan wants from his players. The Bulls could use him as depth in the frontcourt.
39. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS – C Daniel Gafford, Arkansas Soph.
Without Anthony Davis they have a glaring hole at the center spot. Gafford can protect the rim and is more athletic than the other options on the roster.
40. SACRAMENTO KINGS – SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State Fr.
Sacramento could use a defensive wing player on the team to come off the bench. Luckily for the team, Horton-Tucker is one of the best defenders in the draft.
41. ATLANTA HAWKS – SF Deividas Sirvydis, Lithuania
Atlanta is going to trade some of its picks but taking a draft-and-stash option like Sirvydis is another way to go plus he has the shooting and passing ability the team craves from the wing.
42. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – C Naz Reid, LSU Fr.
Philadelphia needs to develop a backup to Joel Embiid. Reid can shoot and pass well for his size but is lacking on the defensive side of the ball.
43. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES – PG Tremont Waters, LSU Soph.
With Derrick Rose and Tyus Jones free agents and Jeff Teague possibly leaving if he does not pick up his player option, depth will be needed. Coach Ryan Saunders plays a more up tempo game and Waters is a good passer and and spot-up shooter. His lack of size (5’10) is a cause for concern, however.
44. ATLANTA HAWKS – C Jontay Porter, Missouri Soph.
Porter has lottery talent but also tore his right ACL twice in a six-month span. A rebuilding team with many picks like Atlanta can afford to take a risk. He checks all the boxes for what the team wants in their players but will he be able to bounce back?
45. DETROIT PISTONS – PG Ky Bowman, Boston College Jr.
Bowman can shoot and plays fast. He could become a scoring option off of the bench and possibly replace fellow Boston College alum Reggie Jackson should the latter depart via free agency in 2020.
46. ORLANDO MAGIC – PG Jordan Bone, Tennessee Jr.
The Magic have DJ Augustin as their current starter with just Markelle Fultz behind him on the depth chart and given Fultz’s history he cannot be trusted to give you consistent playing time. Bone had himself a strong combine and a better shooter than both current guards on the roster.
47. SACRAMENTO KINGS – C Alen Smailagic, Serbia
Smailagic has potential to become a good offensive player and is just 18 years old, making him a solid option as a draft-and-stash for a team with three second-round picks. He needs to get stronger before coming over to the league.
48. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – PG Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech Sr.
With Patrick Beverly a free agent the team will need to find some depth if he departs. Robinson is not that athletic but can shoot (39% behind the arc), competes on defense, and reportedly did great during team interviews to make him a likely second round pick.
49. SAN ANTONIO SPURS – SF Terance Mann, Florida State Sr.
Mann is a strong defender and impressed during the G League combine. A solid choice for a team that needs depth on the wing.
50. INDIANA PACERS – SG Zach Norvell Jr., Gonzaga Soph.
Indiana could stand to use more shooting and that is Norvell’s specialty. He’s someone that could make a career out of being a three-point specialist.
51. BOSTON CELTICS – SG Terence Davis, Ole Miss Sr.
GM Danny Ainge always seems to go after aggressive perimeter players in the second round. Davis fits the bill and has the potential to improve on offense.
52. CHARLOTTE HORNETS – SF Darius Bazley, USA
After de-committing to Syracuse for the G-League, Bazley then decided against the G-League and took an internship with New Balance meaning he did not play competitive basketball this season. He has a lot of raw skill but needs to gain strength in order to make it in the league. With both Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist picking up their player options he has the chance to learn from the bench or down in the G League. A risk worth taking in the second round and there is a decent chance Bazley could get selected in the first round.
53. UTAH JAZZ – SF DaQuan Jeffries, Tulsa Sr.
Jeffries has 3-and-D potential, which will be needed seeing that the team moved on from Jae Crowder. He could fill a role as a utility player off of the bench.
54. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – PG Joshua Obiesie, Germany
Using a pick to stash away is a strong option for the 76ers. Obiesie has intrigue as a combo guard with size (6’6) and good passing ability.
55. NEW YORK KNICKS – SF Louis King, Oregon Fr.
New York needs to try and add depth regardless of what happens during free agency. King is a solid three-point shooter and defended multiple positions in college who will have to gain more strength (6’8 and 195 lbs) in order to see playing time.
56. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – C Tacko Fall, UCF Sr.
At 7’6″ Fall is one of the most intriguing players in the draft. It’ll be seen if he can adjust to the faster-paced game in the NBA but he tested better than expected athletically at the combine where he is worth a shot in the second round.
57. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS – SG Miye Oni, Yale Jr.
Oni impressed at Yale as a scorer although he had a dud of a game against LSU in the NCAA Tournament. He could develop into a solid three-and-D option.
58. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – PF Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State Soph.
McDaniels is a lanky combo forward that can get to the free throw line and finish around the rim. Given the health situations of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant the team might need someone with this pick to become a rotational player.
59. TORONTO RAPTORS – SF Isaiah Roby, Nebraska Jr.
Roby’s best attributes are size (6’9) and his potential on defense but will need to be more consistent from long range if he wants a chance at playing time.
60. SACRAMENTO KINGS – SF Yovel Zoosman, Israel
Zoosman is a versatile player lauded for his high basketball IQ who was the FIBA Europe U20 Championship MVP in 2018. With three picks this round they can afford to take another player to stash over in Europe.