Sean Rayford/Associated Press
The 2019 NBA playoffs are underway. For the 16 teams involved, the coming days and weeks will be spent chasing the Larry O’Brien Trophy. For the rest of the league, however, this time will be spent prepping for June’s draft.
Part of the pre-draft process, of course, will involve the draft lottery—scheduled to May 14 this year. During the lottery, the exact draft order will be determined. Those 14 non-playoff teams will each have a shot at “winning” the first overall selection, which is likely to become Duke’s Zion Williamson on draft day.
The New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers have the top odds of earning the first overall pick.
Williamson isn’t the only premier prospect in this draft class, though. Here you’ll find a look at some of the best pro prospects, along with a look at their draft-stock trends and a full first-round mock.
Draft order is based on the final regular-season standings.
2019 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. New York Knicks: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
2. Phoenix Suns: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: RJ Barrett, SG, Duke
4. Chicago Bulls: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
5. Atlanta Hawks:De’Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
6. Washington Wizards: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
7. Memphis Grizzlies: Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Gonzaga
8. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas): Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
9. New Orleans Pelicans: Sekou Doumbouya, PF/SF, France
10. Minnesota Timberwolves: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
11. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
12. Charlotte Hornets: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
13. Miami Heat: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento): PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky
15. Detroit Pistons: Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina
16. Brooklyn Nets: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
17. Orlando Magic: Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina
18. Indiana Pacers: Keldon Johnson, SG/SF, Kentucky
19. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers): Goga Bitadze, C, Montenegro
20. San Antonio Spurs: Grant Williams, PF, Tennesse
21. Boston Celtics: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
22. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
23. Utah Jazz: Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
25. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston): Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State
26. Portland Trailblazers: Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver): Naz Reid, PF, LSU
28. Golden State Warriors: K.Z. Okpala, SF, Stanford
29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto): Dylan Windler, SF, Belmont
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington
Stock Up: Zion Williamson, Duke
Williamson has looked like a potential No. 1 pick since before he even joined the Blue Devils prior to this season. However, the fact he was going to play with another top prospect in R.J. Barrett left things a little less clear-cut than they are now.
Not everyone was sold on Williamson as a future star.
Doug Gottlieb @GottliebShow
Zion Williamson feels like the next Shabazz Muhammad – by that I mean he is physically dominant against kids, not a shooter, has to be an undersized 4? 6’5″ 4 in the league? Better defend and rebound/shoot!
However, Williamson shined in a big way during what will likely be his only collegiate season. He average 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, helped Duke reach the Elite Eight and was named the AP Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year.
Williamson also showed that he isn’t afraid to handle the media and to be the face of a team.
“I was comfortable with it because you don’t really have a choice,” Williamson told the Associated Press. “I think if you try to force it out, then it’s going to bother you. … My mom just told me to look at it as a lot of kids would wish to be in my position, so if it does bother me, I just think about it like that.”
Williamson has the tools to be a franchise centerpiece both on and off the court. If he isn’t the first player drafted in June, it would be a surprise.
Stock Down: Naz Reid, LSU
Alex Brandon/Associated Press
The LSU Tigers also made a solid tournament run, reaching the Sweet 16. They did so in large part because of Naz Reid. While Reid certainly wasn’t a star on Williamson’s level, he produced a solid 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. However, it’s Reid’s size—he’s listed at 6’10” and 250 pounds—that is going to intrigue teams.
Reid has already made his decision to enter the 2019 draft.
While Reid is likely to get drafted, there’s no guarantee that he’ll go in Round 1. His stock isn’t quite where it was a few months ago.
Bleacher Report NBA draft analyst Jonathan Wasserman, for example, ranked Reid seventh on his big board back in October. In a recent ranking of draft prospects, Wasserman ranked Reid just 44th overall.
There is a chance, of course, that a team falls in love with Reid’s measurables and takes a chance on him high. However, the former Tiger no longer looks like a surefire lottery pick the way he once did.
Stock Up: Ja Morant, Murray State
While Reid has the fascinating size and Williamson has the charisma, Murray State’s Ja Morant has the scoring and distribution skills of a future pro.
Morant tries to emulate one of the game’s most unguardable players.
“I would say who I try to play like is [Russell] Westbrook,” Morant told the Dan Patrick Show. “He’s my favorite player and I just like how he plays all around: He scores, rebounds and passes. And also just the aggressiveness he plays with just like he’s got a chip on his shoulder.”
He averaged an impressive 24.5 points and 10.0 assists for the Racers this past season. He was also eventually given the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s best point guard.
Murray State Sports @MSURacers
Ja Morant (@igotgame_12 ) is officially named as the best point guard in the Nation while winning the Bob Cousy Award!!! 🏀🏆
#RacerTradition 🏇🏼🏀 https://t.co/dzWlbswAKI
For a player who wasn’t viewed as one of the top few players in the country coming into the season—Wasserman ranked him 17th back in October, for example—Morant has risen dramatically and rapidly.