Re-Drafting 2019 NBA Rookie Class 1 Month into Season


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Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

21. Memphis Grizzlies: Cameron Johnson (North Carolina, SF, No. 11 in 2019)

Looking for shooters to surround Ja Morant, the Grizzlies could target Johnson, a 45.7 percent three-point marksman at North Carolina already making 39.5 percent of his NBA threes in Phoenix. Without any creativity to his game and already 23 years old, he’ll slip from No. 11 overall to No. 21, but he’ll carve out a specialty role with his ability to hit quick-release jumpers off spots-ups and movement.

22. Boston Celtics: Grant Williams (Tennessee, PF, No. 22 in 2019)

Williams’ rookie numbers haven’t been flashy, and his stats may never jump off the box score. But the Celtics should already see a defensive ace due to his physical tools, mobility and high-IQ reads. His defense and intangibles should eventually outweigh a lack of scoring upside, though he still has untapped post-up and shooting potential.

23. Oklahoma City Thunder: Darius Bazley (USA, SF/PF, No. 23 in 2019)

Oklahoma City liked Bazley even before it knew the team would have to rebuild. Now that Russell Westbrook and Paul George are gone, the Thunder should feel even more comfortable re-drafting the 19-year-old who’s already given them decent rookie minutes. Bazley, a 6’8″ combo forward, has made 11 of his first 30 threes and should have plenty of room to grow as a creator and scorer.

24. Phoenix Suns: Kevin Porter Jr. (USC, SG, No. 30 in 2019)

In his first NBA start on Monday, Porter finished with 18 points against the New York Knicks, flashing the athleticism and scoring ability that earned him the No. 14 spot on our predraft board. He’ll need time to improve his shot selection, decision-making and shooting, but he’s too talented and skilled to slip into the second round.

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Nicolas Claxton (Georgia, PF/C, No. 31 in 2019)

Claxton has only gotten into six games, but his defensive potential continues to pop the way it did at Georgia. At 6’11”, he’s in the conversation for the class’ most switchable rookie. His scoring skills and body need work, but enough flashes of athleticism at the rim, touch and face-up play create optimism.

26. Cleveland Cavaliers: Sekou Doumbouya (France, SF/PF, No. 15 in 2019)

The youngest eligible prospect in June’s draft, Doumbouya will require patience. The scouting lens is drawn to his physical tools, quickness, shooting potential, defensive versatility and flashes of scoring creation. He just sunk the Westchester Knicks in the G League with 28 points and clutch fourth-quarter shots.

27. Los Angeles Clippers: Cam Reddish (Duke, SF, No. 10 in 2019)

The Atlanta Hawks initially overlooked Reddish’s inefficient Duke season for long-term potential and fit. But after he shot 27.0 percent from the field through the first month, he’ll be too tough to trust with a lottery pick. The Clippers will catch his fall at No. 27, where it’s easier to gamble on his shooting and defense coming around.

28. Golden State Warriors: Terence Davis (Ole Miss, SG, Undrafted in 2019)

While it’s still a mystery as to how Davis went undrafted—he was No. 38 on our board—teams wouldn’t allow it to happen again. He’s shooting 46.4 percent from three, bringing scoring firepower and energy off the Raptors’ bench. His frenetic style points to potential inconsistency, but he’ll carve out a career by sparking second units.

29. San Antonio Spurs: Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State, C, No. 27 in 2019)

Limited minutes in L.A. lead to Kabengele dropping to No. 29 in a re-draft, a fall that isn’t a reflection of his play or potential. The 250-pounder separates himself from other bigs with powerful physical tools and three-point range that he was able to show against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

30. Cleveland Cavaliers: Didi Louzada (Brazil, SG, No. 35 in 2019)

Playing for the Sydney Kings instead of the New Orleans Pelicans, Louzada has quietly put up scoring numbers in the Australian NBL (12.3 points per game) similar to projected 2020 lottery picks LaMelo Ball (14.7 points) and RJ Hampton (9.2 points). After shooting 44.4 percent from three in summer league, he continues to look more like a first-round talent who slipped through the cracks coming from Brazil.

Stats courtesy of NBA.com, ESPN, Synergy Sports, RealGM.com and Sports-Reference.com

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