Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press
A variety of factors can cause an NBA draft prospect to slide beyond their expected selection range.
Maybe the most common (and obvious) is a red-flagged medical report, which uncovers a condition that will or even could have negative ramifications down the line. But sometimes it’s less dramatic. An older prospect may be dinged for a perceived lack of upside. A prospect could even be hurt by not having the specific skills coveted by the clubs on the clock.
After running through our most recent mock, we’ll identify three prospects who could have a longer-than-expected draft night.
2019 NBA Mock Draft
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, PF/C, Duke
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
3. New York Knicks: RJ Barrett, SG/SF, Duke
4. Los Angeles Lakers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: De’Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Virginia
6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
7. Chicago Bulls: Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina
8. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke
9. Washington Wizards: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks): Bol Bol, C, Oregon
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, France
12. Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington, PF/C, Kentucky
13. Miami Heat: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings): Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina
15. Detroit Pistons: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
16. Orlando Magic: Keldon Johnson, SG/SF, Kentucky
17. Brooklyn Nets: Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia
18. Indiana Pacers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
19. San Antonio Spurs: Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Gonzaga
20. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
22. Boston Celtics: Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga
23. Utah Jazz: Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Iowa State
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
25. Portland Trail Blazers: Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston Rockets): Mfiondu Kabengele, PF/C, Florida State
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets): KZ Okpala, SF/PF, Stanford
28. Golden State Warriors: Ty Jerome, PG/SG, Virginia
29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors): Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Isaiah Roby, PF/C, Nebraska
De’Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Virginia
Hunter’s appeal is all tied to safety. He’s someone teams can draft and confidently (and reasonably) expect to handle a rotation role already as a rookie.
He can defend multiple positions. He can shut players down one-on-one (ask Jarrett Culver). If Hunter can add three-point volume while maintaining his efficiency (0.9 triples per game at a 41.9 percent clip in college), he might be the best three-and-D prospect in this class.
But role players appeal most to well-built contenders. Save for the Celtics, who select 14th, that description doesn’t describe any of the lottery teams. Even if Hunter is one of the top talents in this class, he might not be treated as such on draft night if clubs focus more on potential ceilings than floors.
“It wouldn’t be surprising if he didn’t finish as a top-four prospect from the class since there are questions about his upside,” Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman wrote. “He will turn 22 in December and isn’t an explosive athlete or advanced shot-creator—and even his three-point shooting success came on just 105 attempts.”
Bol Bol, C, Oregon
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press
The idea of Bol is fascinating.
The same player who stood 7’2½” and measured a 7’7″ wingspan at the combine also hit 52 percent of his college triples. Granted, he only took 25 over his nine outings, but he still showed smooth shooting mechanics and enough ball skills to be more than a spot-up specialist.
But his reality is much more of a question mark.
The reason he only suited up nine times was a fractured foot, and history hasn’t been kind to big men with foot problems. He also weighed just 208 pounds, highlighting how frail his long and lean frame is. Then on the court, there are questions of whether he has the lateral quickness to keep in front of NBA players on the perimeter.
While his upside is almost as high as any in this draft, his floor is low enough to potentially move several centers in front of him. Jaxson Hayes is easily projectable as a rim-runner, Brandon Clarke boasts an intriguing combination of explosive and energy, and Goga Bitadze mirrors many of Bol’s strengths without the injury concerns.
Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue
Edwards’ draft mantra should be: “All it takes is one.”
All it takes is one evaluator to see Edwards’ prodigious point production at Purdue carrying over to the NBA for his draft stock to sit comfortably inside the first round. He averaged 24.3 points and 3.8 three-pointers this past season, then he skyrocketed each statistic during the NCAA tournament (34.8 and 7.0, respectively).
But what if that scout, coach or executive never surfaces? What if teams look at Edwards not as the next Lou Williams, but the next Patty Mills or Quinn Cook? Would they still invest a first-round pick at that point?
Edwards’ 6’0¼” height creates obvious issues at the defensive end, but maybe the more worrisome thing is his lack of point-guard skills to accompany his point-guard size. His microwave-scorer upside is clear, but it’s not like the Association is littered with 6’0¼” scoring specialists.