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NBA Saturday: A New NBA Mock Draft

An expanded look at the latest NBA Mock Draft including the logic behind each pick and the latest rumors on which ones could be traded… The role medical plays in the NBA Draft.

Steve Kyler

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Explaining The Latest Mock Draft:  Every week all the way up to the 2014 NBA Draft, we will drop what we have always called our “Consensus Mock Draft,” and while some poke fun at the idea that the four personalities powering the multi-opinion mock rarely agree and have a “consensus,” the idea is what is the “consensus of the draft” and what we often find is there really isn’t one.

Recently, more and more of you have asked for a deeper dive into mock drafts with explanations behind each pick. We have built some pretty elaborate draft tools to organize the process, and those tools were not built with detailed explanation in mind. We’ll work on that going forward, but for now I’ll break this out manually for you and give you at least my thoughts on the latest mock draft version.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Every week I introduce a new variable in my process. Until we really start to get a sense of which players a team is narrowing in on, I play the wrinkle game. I ask myself: What does the draft look like if this event happens? That changes from week to week.

If you wonder why I do it this way, it’s because this is how NBA teams do it. This is how teams prepare for every eventuality. Believing that one guy has to go number one and the next guy absolutely has to go number two is how you end up unprepared on draft night. Teams play through every draft scenario possible, so I try and do the same with my mock drafts.

With that in mind, here is this week’s mock:

#1 – Cleveland Cavaliers

Joel Embiid – C – 7’0″ – 240 – 20

This draft was filed before the news surfaced that Embiid may have had issues in his medical review with the Cavaliers. If the report of “numerous” issues is true, you can safely say Andrew Wiggins slides into the number one spot and Embiid takes a tumble. The problem with this lone report of issues is that none of the other media outlets in Cleveland or the top news breakers in the business are following suit on this story. So for the time being, until more is known on Embiid, the assumption is that he is healthy and his workout and medical review went as initially as reported. He is the top guy until medical reports to the contrary rule him off the board.

#2 – Milwaukee Bucks

Jabari Parker – SF/PF – 6’8″ – 241 – 19

There is a real chance that Dante Exum lands here. However, for the purposes of this week’s mock draft wrinkle, Exum slides and the Bucks take the safest bet on the board. A lot of this pick is going to come down to new ownership. There is a sense that they are willing to “dare to be great,” but at the same time they want to see progression in their new asset and adding Parker gives them a better “win-now” chance than taking Exum. Wiggins is very much in play here as well, but Parker seems to be a more natural fit with what the Bucks already have on the roster.

#3 – Philadelphia 76ers

Andrew Wiggins – SG/SF – 6’8″ – 197 – 19

If Embiid goes one and Parker goes two, then Wiggins lands at three. For months there have been reports that the 76ers really were high on Wiggins and that they would have taken him number one overall had they landed the pick. If Wiggins is there at three, he is Philly’s guy. The dark horse here is Exum, although this week’s mock assumes he tumbles, so down the board he goes.

#4 – Orlando Magic

Marcus Smart – PG – 6’3″ – 227 – 20

Smart has been in to the see the Magic twice already, and while some have read that to be they have him first on their board and some say they might, there is another school of thought and that is his first workout was not what both expected hence the second visit. The Magic are keeping things very close to the vest, so it’s unclear if Smart had a poor workout, or was unable to compete for some reason, which has been suggested. The Magic were linked to Smart last year and while Exum theoretically would still be on the board here, this week’s mock assumes he falls, and that means Smart is Orlando’s guy.

#5 – Utah Jazz

Noah Vonleh – PF/C – 6’9″ – 247 – 18

There are a few things floating around about Vonleh. The biggest being that Noah has opted to change his shooting mechanics; the net result is he is not shooting the ball as fluidly in workouts as he did at Indiana. It was a puzzling move for sure and it’s one he is clearly pushing back on in workouts. The Jazz seem poised to draft a four man if they stay in the fifth pick. There have been several indications from teams lower on the board that Utah might be trying to trade down on draft night. If the Jazz stay at five, Vonleh looks like their man. There have been some comments about Vonleh’s conditioning, but it does not seem to bother teams enough to warrant his stock taking a hit. Julius Randle is a real option here too, however with reports that he may have a foot issue that could require surgery at some point, Vonleh may be the safer, more opportune pick.

#6 – Boston Celtics

Aaron Gordon – PF – 6’9″ – 220 – 18

Last year there was a sense that the Celtics were going to come away from the draft with Kelly Olynyk, and while the C’s did not draft him, they did trade around and ultimately landed him. There is that same buzz going around about Aaron Gordon. The Celtics could take Randle here, but there is a real sense that the Celtics have locked in on Gordon, so for the purposes of this mock he lands in Boston at six.

#7 – LA Lakers

Dante Exum – PG/SG – 6’6″ – 196 – 18

The wrinkle in this week’s mock was that Exum falls out of the top tier. The truth is if Exum is still on the board at No. 5, there may be some trading taking place. However, if Exum is there for the Lakers at seven, he is their guy. Julius Randle could get some play here as well.

#8 – Sacramento Kings

Nik Stauskas – SG – 6’6″ – 207 – 20

The Kings are said to have three players very high on their board: Marcus Smart, Nik Stauskas and Elfrid Payton. Smart should be long gone by the time the Kings pick at eight, leaving Stauskas and Payton. This one really is a coin flip. There is a case for Stauskas as a perimeter threat and backup combo guard, but there is also a case that Payton could be the point guard of the future. The Kings are very much in the market to trade around, especially if they can nab additional assets. Eight might not have a lot of appeal before the draft, but if a key player starts to tumble, they could be in business. A dark horse here for the Kings is Randle, so that’s one worth noting.

#9 – Charlotte Hornets

Doug McDermott – SF – 6’8″ – 218 – 22

There is a belief that the Charlotte Hornets won’t let McDermott get past them. However, if Randle is still on the board that might be too much to pass on. The Hornets are open for business on the ninth pick and would be willing to move it for the right veteran player. However, this mock assumes the Hornets draft and McDermott seems to be their guy. If Stauskas is still around at nine he could be a Hornet as well.

#10 – Philadelphia 76ers

Julius Randle – PF – 6’9″ – 250 – 19

At some point risk gets outweighed by reward, and Randle becomes too attractive at 10 to pass up, especially for a Philly team that was patient with Nerlens Noel last year. If Randle is off the board, then Dario Saric, Jusuf Nurkic and possibly James Young become possibilities depending on what is on the board at 10.

#11 – Denver Nuggets

James Young – SG/SF – 6’7″ – 213 – 18

The Nuggets have a few options available to them. They are said to be very high on Stauskas and Gary Harris, but Young might present the most dynamic option for them at No. 11. There has been some talk about a package deal with the Bulls that could see Chicago picking at 11, so that’s one to watch.

#12 – Orlando Magic

Dario Saric – SF/PF – 6’10” – 223 – 20

Assuming the Magic draft a point guard at number four, there is a chance they go with big guy like an Adreian Payne or Nurkic, but there have also being some rumblings that the Magic might go with a “draft-and-stash” at 12, meaning Saric becomes an option here. Assuming the Magic do not trade out of the 12, which is a real possibility, Saric might be the best draft-and-stash option. There has also been some talk about Zach LaVine at 12, which might make sense if Arron Afflalo is moved this summer.

#13 – Minnesota Timberwolves

Adreian Payne – PF – 6’10” – 239 – 23

There have been three names strongly linked to the Timberwolves: Stauskas, Young and Payne. In this mock, two of the three are gone, so Payne is the guy. With the inevitability of the Wolves having to trade Kevin Love, Payne is ready to play at the four spot. He’s not Love, but he could hold his own from day one, hence his appeal.

#14 – Phoenix Suns

Rodney Hood – SF – 6’8″ – 208 – 21

The Suns need perimeter scoring and that’s what Hood will provide in the NBA. There are a couple of other options here but Hood looks to fit the team’s culture and the biggest need. The Suns hold multiple picks so there is a chance they grab Nurkic as a best talent “draft-and-stash” here and hope for Hood later.

#15 – Atlanta Hawks

T.J. Warren – SF/PF – 6’8″ – 220 – 20

The Hawks proved last year that are willing to be patient with draft picks so Nurkic, Kristaps Porzingis or even Zach LaVine become real options here. With that said, the best fit for the Hawks today might be T.J Warren. Warren is an elite level scorer and could contribute right away for a Hawks team that showed this season they are not that far away when healthy.

#16 – Chicago Bulls

Zach LaVine – SG – 6’6″ – 181 – 19

The Bulls could go a number of ways here including Payton or Tyler Ennis. However, if LaVine is here, and the Bulls have not traded up as some suggest they might, he might have too much upside and athleticism to pass.

#17 – Boston Celtics

Elfrid Payton – PG – 6’4″ – 185 – 20

There are likely four teams above the Celtics that could pluck Payton or trade up to grab him. It’s unlikely he is here, but if he is word is the Celtics would draft him at 17. The question becomes will he be there at 17? Porzingis is said to be a strong option as is Saric if he is there. If Nurkic is still on the board, this could be his landing spot too.

#18 – Phoenix Suns

Clint Capela – PF – 6’11” – 222 – 20

With their earlier pick, the Suns solved their top need with Hood; at this pick they start looking at draft-and-stash. That puts them on Nurkic, Porzingis and Capela. Capela seems like the choice, although it really is a coin toss.

#19 – Chicago Bulls

Tyler Ennis – PG – 6’2″ – 182 – 19

The Bulls are said to be very high on Ennis and view him as their answer at backup point guard and in some situations as part of a Ennis-Derrick Rose backcourt. If Ennis is here and the Bulls still hold the pick, this is likely where they go. With their earlier pick we had them with LaVine, so it could be interchangeable.

#20 – Toronto Raptors

K.J. McDaniels – SF – 6’6″ – 196 – 21

The Raptors are said to be very high on Payne, but this mock has him gone to the Wolves, which leaves them looking for a defensive-minded wing and the best of the bunch may be K.J. McDaniels. This could also be where Nurkic, Porzingis or Capela land if they are still on the board.

#21 – Oklahoma City Thunder

Kristaps Porzingis – PF – 7’0″ – 220 – 18

The Thunder are said to covet Porzingis and may trade up to ensure they get him. He has a $1.6 million dollar buyout on his deal, so going higher would help him land in the NBA next season. Expect the Thunder to look at picks a little higher in a package of their two lower-tier selections. If the Thunder miss on Porzingis, look for them to consider Nurkic and Jarnell Stokes at some point before it’s done.

#22 – Memphis Grizzlies

Gary Harris – SG – 6’4″ – 205 – 19

The Grizzlies want a perimeter scorer, and while this is really low for Harris there are some scouts that are low on him. They feel on draft night he could be primed to slip, especially if other guys start to slide down the board. There is a real chance Harris is gone to Chicago in the teens, but if he is here at 22, he is what Memphis is looking for. Cleanthony Early is an option here as is McDaniels.

#23 – Utah Jazz

Kyle Anderson – SF – 6’8″ – 230 – 20

The Jazz are not likely to make this pick when it’s said and done. However, assuming they are drafting here, Kyle Anderson offers an interesting package of size and ball handling. He is not viewed as the most athletic guy in the bunch but his high basketball IQ and the mismatches he could create at point forward make him an interesting wrinkle for the Jazz.

#24 – Charlotte Hornets

P.J. Hairston – SG – 6’5″ – 229 – 21

Assuming the Hornets are in this pick, this is likely where Hairston lands for a number of reasons. As a franchise, the Hornets have taken some players with character flags, and when it comes down to it Hairston might the most ready option left on the board. He can flat out score and if they are still in this pick, and Hairston is still there, that’s the perfect fit for both.

#25 – Houston Rockets

Jerami Grant – SF – 6’8″ – 214 – 20

The Rockets covet a long, smart perimeter player and Grant may be the best option left on the board. The Rockets are always tough to read because they work out more than 60 players every year, but Grant seems to fill the biggest need and may be the best talent left on the board. Early and Nurkic are also options with this pick.

#26 – Miami HEAT

Jarnell Stokes – PF – 6’8″ – 263 – 20

Stokes continues to float around the bottom of the first in several team’s draft scenarios. A lot about Stokes will be who is there when teams with the last five start picking. Stokes had a great work out with the Miami HEAT and it’s believed that he is fairly high on their board, however if guys like Nurkic, Early and Napier are still there, things may change.

#27 – Phoenix Suns

Jusuf Nurkic – C – 6’11” – 280 – 19

Nurkic may be one of the top-15 most talented options in the draft. Factor in that his contract buyout isn’t silly and that he could be in the NBA right away, he may be gone well before the Suns pick at 27. That said, there have been some questions about Nurkic off the court and that has some teams pausing on his potential. It’s highly likely that Nurkic is gone significantly higher, but if he is here at 27, he’ll be gone to Phoenix.

#28 – LA Clippers

Cleanthony Early – SF – 6’7″ – 209 – 23

There is a real chance the Clippers go point guard here, especially with guys like Shabazz Napier and Jordan Clarkson on the board. That said small forward was a problem for the Clippers all year and Early, if still on the board, might be the best talent and solution for the Clips, who can look for a backup point guard in trade or in free agency.

#29 – Oklahoma City Thunder

Shabazz Napier – PG – 6’1″ – 175 – 22

There are a lot of places the Thunder could go with the 29th selection, and the most likely is they bundle it with No. 21 to move up and the 29 belongs to someone else. However, with Reggie Jackson poised to join the starting line up at point guard next season, the Thunder will need some spark from the bench and Napier could be that guy. There are a few other options to watch, namely Walter Tavares, Stokes and Spencer Dinwiddie.

#30 – San Antonio Spurs

Walter Tavares – C – 7’3″ – 265 – 22

The Spurs are likely playing the best future upside card here and that’s where Tavares, Artem Klimenko and even Vasilije Micic get some consideration. Of the bunch Tavares at a legit 7’3 might present the most potential to be a solid NBA player. The Spurs continue to look a year or two ahead when drafting toward the bottom and with last year’s first round pick Livio Jean-Charles likely joining the team this year, there is no urgency on this pick playing right away.

There will be two more Consensus Mock Drafts before the actual NBA Draft on Thursday, June 26. They will drop on Wednesday the 18th and a final one on Wednesday the 25th. Basketball Insiders will publish a final Mock Draft on Draft Day in this format, featuring all 60 picks and the logic behind each selection.

Until then, if you want to know everything you can know about the 2014 NBA Draft – make sure to get your copy of the 2014 Basketball Insiders Draft Magazine – it’s available for both Android and Apple mobile devices and from a web-platform for virtual any device you have.

Medical And Its Role In The Draft:  Over the last week there have been two high profile stories about medical issues and draft picks. The easy response is to say ‘there is too much talent, you can’t pass’, but the truth is botching a draft pick or having a pick fail out for medical reasons is an avoidable mistake, one teams take seriously.

There was a report out of Cleveland this week suggesting that Kansas big man Joel Embiid did not do well in his medical exam with the Cavaliers and that he had a “number of physical ailments.”

This report has been in conflict with other reports suggesting Embiid’s workout and medical went fine and there were no issues.

So which report is true? Honestly we won’t likely know until after the draft, as the Cavs likely signed confidentiality agreements in exchange for getting Embiid into their doctors.

Kentucky big man Julius Randle is undergoing something similar. Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Randle would likely need foot surgery to remove a screw inserted in his foot after a bone break in high school. Randle has since denied this story and has gone on the offensive to say his foot is fine.

So what are we to believe? Here is how it plays out:

Most players, Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker excluded, go through intense medical review at the annual NBA Draft Combine. This includes MRI’s, full blood panels and heart and health testing. These results are then made available to all 30 NBA teams, who have their medical staffs review and “flag” anything notable or of concern.

These “flagged” players then get discussed among the training staff and the decision makers. The idea behind it is to understand what’s going on with the player. How it could manifest itself if drafted, and whether or not the medical and training staff believe it could impact a player’s career, both in the short-term and in the long-term.

In 2005, many outsiders marveled that current Clipper Danny Granger was still on the draft board into the teens, ultimately getting drafted at 17 by the Indiana Pacers. What was not really talked about was that Gragner was flagged with a knee issue and many teams knew that he would have problems with that knee eventually. Fast forward to 2014, and Granger has been plagued by knee problems for most of his career.

The Pacers medical and training staff believed they could manage Granger’s knee and that at 17 there was too much upside to pass on and they drafted him.

Having an injury, or being red flagged does not kill a player’s chance to be drafted, although there have been some players whose draft staff took a massive blow after medical issues surfaced in the draft process.

The question always comes down to risk versus reward. Can a team accurately predict the injury probability, can the team’s doctors and training staff manage the problem effectively and is there a better option on the board without issues? Those are the questions the Cavaliers are likely asking themselves with regards to Embiid, and many teams are likely asking about Randle.

Randle’s issue is more procedural in nature, so it’s not as alarming as some long-term or structural issues. However, there is risk anytime a player needs surgery. Grant Hill thought he was having a routine procedure in 2000, and he was never the same after playing the next 12 seasons in and out due to issues.

In Embiid’s case it’s a little trickier. During the NCAA Tournament, Embiid was diagnosed with what’s believed to be Spondylolysis, or a stress fracture in the back. These are very common in athletes and usually clear up with rest and rehab. That’s the good news. The bad news is there is another form of this issue called Spondylolisthesis, which is a defect in the back in which lumbar vertebra “shift” and press against nerves. This one is scary for teams, because it usually requires spinal fusions, which could be career threatening.

Because of the confidential nature of medical information, it’s unlikely anyone is ever going to say specifically what they have seen in Embiid’s back, but that issue alone is very scary despite his immense talent and upside, especially for the Cavaliers drafting number one overall. The best modern example would be the Portland Trail Blazers knowing that Greg Oden was going to have the knee issues that have derailed his career, and drafted him anyway, passing on Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant.

The Cavs find themselves in the same situation. There are potentially three all-NBA type talents available to them with the top pick, and if Embiid genuinely has long-term flags around his health, the Cavs have to look at players that may not have as much risk.

The other thing to know about medical issues in the draft process is that most teams do not see things the same way. One team’s medical staff may see an issue and say ‘this is a big problem’ another teams staff may say ‘it is not that big of a deal’. The Phoenix Suns and Indiana Pacers have a long history of drafting players other teams may have flagged, simply because their medical and training staffs believe they can rehab an injury and those franchises take more risks.

Equally teams that are looking down the road may be more open to players with risks than teams that need their draft pick to produce right away. The Philadelphia 76ers traded for injured big man Nerlens Noel, despite being less than six months post-op on an ACL surgery. Wisely, Noel had his surgery done by Dr. James Andrews, one of the leading knee and ligament surgeons in the country, and made him openly available to teams with issues or questions about Noel’s knee.

The big red flag with Embiid is that his camp has not done that with his back, adding more intrigue and questions to the process. It is believed Embiid saw noted spinal surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins while at Kansas, however it’s unclear if Embiid’s camp is allowing concerned teams to talk with him about Embiid’s prognosis going forward.

While Embiid and Randle are the two names in this draft class being talked about the most, historically there are usually a dozen or more players flagged in some capacity. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday was flagged with an elbow issue in 2009, which saw his draft stock tumble into to 17, despite some teams in the top six expressing interest in drafting him.

The medical process plays a big role in who gets drafted and where, not because teams believe a player will fail; it’s usually because there is a similar option talent wise on the board that does not have issues. There are no certainties or guarantees in this process either and it is far from an exact measure. But as teams try and decide where to spend their picks, the medical information weighs into it in a significant way, not just in the short-term of can he compete in camp, but what are his potential long-term issues?

No two teams see the draft the same way. It is an eye of the beholder process. Some teams are willing to take more risks than others and some teams may view a problem more seriously than another. There is always a point in which the risk associated gets outweighed by the reward.

Both Embiid and Randle will be drafted, that’s an almost certainty. The question becomes how much will injuries weigh down their draft stock, and that’s really a team by team consideration.

More Twitter:  Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton , @JCameratoNBA and @YannisNBA.

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.

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Mock Drafts

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Final

For the last seven weeks, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers have been breaking down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft, here is their final look at all 60 picks.

Basketball Insiders

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For the last seven weeks, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers have been breaking down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft. Each week they provided an updated mock draft that reflected how each writer saw the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts and information from the pre-draft process as well as a notebook, outlining each writers’ thoughts, observations and reporting on the draft.

Keep in mind we are trying to find commonalities, which is why it is called the Consensus. The writers involved do not see each other’s selections until these are posted. It is done deliberately to make sure each writer is not influencing the others.

Here is the Final Consensus Mock for the 2019 NBA Draft:

*** The 30th pick in the first round was traded to the Detroit Pistons, and the picks made reflect that trade, which will not happen until after the player is selected

***The 32nd pick in the second round was traded to the Indiana Pacers, and the picks made reflect that trade, which will not happen until after the player is selected

***The 41st pick in the second round was traded to the Golden State Warriors, and the picks made reflect that trade, which will not happen until after the player is selected

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 | 6.0

Jesse’s Notebook Some recent trades, including the trades for Anthony Davis and Mike Conley, as well as a few other transactions have shifted the draft board yet again. First-round picks are being moved around after a period in which prying away a first-rounder from another team was basically a non-starter. With the way the last few days have unfolded, and with the Western Conference seemingly wide open, I am predicting there will be several major trades on draft night. Add in the uncertainty surrounding several star free agents, and it’s simply impossible to predict with much precision what will happen on Thursday. However, this is the sort of environment that excites fans almost as much as the actual playoffs and NBA Finals, and I am not one to complain.

What is interesting about this is the fact that this draft seemingly drops off a cliff (arguably) once we get to the ninth pick. It would be more understandable to anticipate major moves on draft night with a loaded class, but that simply isn’t the case this year. My draft board has moved around wildly throughout this process, and I am bracing myself to be off the mark on draft night. All it takes is one trade for things to get thrown off in a major way, and I am anticipating at least a few major moves.

Throughout this process, I was looking for a handful of players to grab my attention and never let it go. Last season, that player was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and I was very interested in seeing where Michael Porter Jr. would ultimately land given his talent and injury issues. That player never really emerged this year, however. I think Cameron Reddish is one of the more intriguing players in the class considering his talent and upside, but shaky college record.

I look forward to revisiting this draft a few years down the road. At least one general manager is going to get a steal somewhere in the middle or backend of the draft. Considering how comparable the talent is throughout the board once we get past the lottery, it’s hard to say who the steal of the draft may be. Again, I am fully prepared for draft night to go off script in a major way. I recommend all NBA fans do the same.

Drew’s Notebook After months of planning, the 2019 NBA Draft is finally upon us. And per the usual, the closer we get, the harder it is to differentiate between fact and fiction given the number of smokescreens generated by agents and teams.

The Grizzlies appear dead set on Ja Morant. And rightfully so considering they traded away Mike Conley. The Knicks have continued to do their due diligence having worked out Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland just yesterday – and those close to Garland say the interest is real. On the flip side of the Knicks’ decision, RJ Barrett claims to have made considerable improvements since we last saw him at Duke – take that with a grain of salt. But the Knicks still appear to be the first team with a real decision to make.

We also hear that Nassir Little could go as high as nine to Washington and that Sekou Doumbouya might have a guarantee from Orlando at 16. So watch out for those curveballs, too.

As far as teams looking to consolidate their picks are concerned, the Hawks have resisted the idea of packaging the eighth pick along with 10 and/or 17, which may prohibit them from moving up as high as they would prefer. Atlanta owned six picks coming into the draft process – 8, 10, 17, 35, 41 and 44. They’ve already dealt 41 to Golden State and 44 to Miami. We’ll see if they continue moving/consolidating picks in hopes of mitigating the number of rookies they bring into training camp.

We’ve also heard that the Celtics would like to package their picks to move up, but it seems as though they’ve struggled to gain any traction – probably because teams can’t accurately predict who will be available with their selections (the Celtics’ first selection is 14). Boston may have to wait for some names to come off the board before others decide if trading back for multiple selections is the right move.

Draft night will inevitably deliver a number of surprises to the Brooklyn crowd. I expect heavy trade activity tomorrow night in advance of another wild free agency period, beginning June 30.

Spencer’s Notebook The day is here, folks! Tonight marks the official date of the 2019 NBA Draft, which will begin potentially one of the most hectic summers the association has ever seen.

In past notebooks from different versions of our Consensus Mock, I surmised that much of the shakeout would depend on what happened with Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Well, that situation resolved itself this past week when the Los Angeles Lakers made a franchise-altering trade with the Pelicans to land “The Brow” in Hollywood.

New Orleans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin now holds significant draft capital, as the team has both the first and fourth pick in this upcoming class. He also swindled three more first-rounders along with The Big Easy’s new upstart talents in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. Due to the abundance of young guard/wing talent, and multiple teams vying to trade up using different packages, there’s a reason for the Pelicans to deal away No. 4.

And because of the uncertainty of what will happen at that slot, it’s difficult to predict how the draft will ultimately shake out. For example, if New Orleans decides to hang onto it, they could take Darius Garland, or RJ Barrett (if he falls) or whomever they deem fits their organization. However, if a team like the Atlanta Hawks jumps the Cleveland Cavaliers to draft Jarrett Culver or De’Andre Hunter, it could cause a domino effect that may completely alter everybody else’s plans.

Just in the past 48 hours, we learned about developments in New York. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the Knicks brass is seriously considering Garland at No. 3 and worked him out Wednesday. Whether this is actual interest or a way to drive up an asking price for their draft pick in order to make a deal of their own, we don’t actually know. The same thing could be said for Cleveland, who despite having Collin Sexton, is intrigued by the dynamic point guard.

At this point in the process, the real information could differ completely from what’s being leaked. Smoke is already filling up the room. It’s almost impossible to predict what will happen in this year’s draft, especially when most people around NBA circles believe that, at the tail end of the lottery, there could be draft picks moved every which way.

This is like throwing a dart blindfolded. As I tweeted last night, we might be burning our mock drafts at the rate we rip up brackets in the month of March.

The Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks already moved their first-round picks in separate deals. That could only be the beginning. Who knows what the Hawks and Boston Celtics will do with three first-round selections in such a difficult class to differentiate player talent?

We won’t have to wait much longer to find out. Enjoy draft night, everyone!

Steve’s Notebook The 2019 NBA Draft is tonight in Brooklyn, New York, and while the suspense at the top of the draft board looks unchanged, there is a lot of potential for movement everywhere else.

As things stand today, Zion Williamson will be the top overall pick with almost no surprise there.

At number two, there continued to be talk last night that New Orleans was trying to pry the number two pick out of Memphis to grab Duke’s RJ Barrett, which would push Memphis back to the fourth spot and catching either Murray State’s Ja Morant or Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland, after the Knicks select at three. While these talks remain fluid, it does not appear at this point there will be a deal, but as is true with all trades, the right combination of assets changing hands can often turn a “No” into a “Yes.”

The New York Knicks have done their fair share of waffling on what to do at number three. While RJ Barrett remains the odds on favorite, the Knicks did take a long look at Garland on Wednesday in New York, as well as having surveyed executives from other teams for their views on Barrett, which is common due diligence, but also shows there may be some doubt on the long-term fit of Barrett.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have also been busy working on trade scenarios that could include in the fifth overall pick, the partially guaranteed cap clearing contract of JR Smith and their second pick at 26. The narrative around Cleveland is that they want to build around last year’s pick Collin Sexton, but the potential availability of Garland could test that commitment. Since the NBA Draft Combine, the Cavs have been linked to Duke’s Cam Reddish in trade down scenarios. There has been a belief that if Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver is there at five, the Cavs may grab him and flip him to the Atlanta Hawks for either of the eighth or tenth picks and the Hawks pick at 17 which they obtained from the Brooklyn Nets.

As for some of the notable teams:

The prevailing thought is the Chicago Bulls are grabbing either Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter or UNC’s Coby White at 7.

The Washington Wizards seemed to have three guys in their sights: White, UNC’s Nassir Little and Limoges CSP’s Sekou Doumbouya.

The Hawks seem to be where Mega Bemax’s Goga Bitadze is going to land, likely at the ten spot.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are said to be extremely high on Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura, although things could get interesting if Texas big man Jaxson Hayes is still on the board.

The Miami HEAT seem very open to trading their pick at 13, and there was talk in New York that Darius Bazley may be the HEAT’s guy, even as high as 13 if they keep the pick. The Pistons are also believed to be very high on Bazley.

The 2019 NBA draft is shaping up to be one of the turbulent drafts in recent years. A typical draft will have 15 to 18 transactions, most involving moving picks around. This year’s draft may double that when all the trade volume is done, so don’t get too attached to anyone your team may draft – they may not be there long.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 21 years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last five years. Spencer Davies is also a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last three years. Drew Maresca is an NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders and is finishing his first season covering the NBA.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: 60-Pick Mock Draft – 6/18/2019

The 2019 NBA Draft is Thursday and things seem to be taking shape at the top of the draft board. However, the middle of the draft could be wildly unpredictable. Steve Kyler offers up another 60-pick Mock Draft.

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The NBA Draft is upon us, and while there still seems to be a lot of things in play in the middle of the draft, the top of the board seems to be settling in on a defined order.

Assuming the top 10 picks stay where they are, the draft could go pretty much as scripted. After the top 10, it seems this could be a wildly unpredictable draft, with what’s shaping up to be a lot of pick movement, especially as certain guys rise or fall.

Here are some of the situation to watch:

The New Orleans Pelicans, fresh off their agreed Anthony Davis trade with the LA Lakers, are still exploring moves that could involve the fourth overall pick. The prevailing thought is if New Orleans can flip the pick for a solid veteran they would, but there has also been recent talk that they would like to try and trade up to grab Duke forward RJ Barrett in front of the Knicks. It doesn’t seem likely that Memphis would do such a deal unless they were assured they would get Murray State’s Ja Morant at four. The Knicks have been pretty locked in on keeping the third pick and have made it clear to local media that they would be happy with either Barrett or Morant, likely killing any traction on a Memphis-Pelicans swap.

The Cleveland Cavaliers had been linked to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal for the fifth overall pick, but traction on that seems to have died off once the Pelicans got control of the fourth pick and seem to have zeroed in on Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver if they keep the pick. The Hawks have been exploring options on moving one of their middle first round picks, either the 10 or the 17, which they will receive from Brooklyn as part of the pending Allen Crabbe salary dump. League sources doubt the Hawks keep all of their picks, but it’s unclear where those moved picks would land as of today.

Speaking of moved picks, the Boston Celtics have been exploring options on their three first-round picks; it is believed the Celtics will ultimately deal the player they select with the 20th overall pick, although league sources say Boston is open to moving all of them if the return is right.

There could be some teams to watch in terms of trading into the draft; The Houston Rockets have explored deals that would get them into the late lottery, it does not seem like there is traction on anything as of today, but it’s a situation to watch.

The Denver Nuggets have also explored deals to get into the first round, mainly to obtain inexpensive bench players. The Nuggets could be one of the teams to watch for with one of the Celtics or Hawks picks.

With all of that in mind, here is the latest NBA Mock Draft. You can look for the Final Consensus Mock Draft tomorrow.

UPDATED: 6/18 - 4:00pm

Stay tuned to Basketball Insiders for the latest news and rumors surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft and instant reaction pieces on all the picks in the first round.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 6.0

With one week left, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2019 NBA Draft.

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Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft. With every new version, you’ll see an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process as well as a notebook, outlining each writers’ thoughts, observations and reporting on the draft.

Keep in mind; we are trying to find commonalities, which is why it is called the Consensus. The writers involved do not see each other’s selections until these are posted. It is done deliberately to make sure each writer is not influencing the others.

As this process plays out, the mocks will evolve, so look for a new Consensus each Wednesday, all the way up to draft day on June 20th.

Here is this week’s Consensus Mock:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0

Jesse’s Notebook: My board remains relatively intact from Ver 5.0, but I now have Darius Garland going to the Lakers with the fourth overall pick. Steve Kyler has reported that Garland may have a promise from the Lakers, which makes sense considering the team’s roster construction and Garland’s skill set.

I still predict the Knicks selecting RJ Barret with the third overall pick, but Jarret Culver seems intent on pushing for that slot by hyping up his defensive impact. Where I think things will get interesting is the fifth pick. Of course, what the Cavaliers ultimately do with the fifth overall pick depends on what happens with picks 1-4, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Cleveland takes a chance on someone who isn’t necessarily on our radar at this point.

Atlanta is emerging as one of the teams I am particularly interested in. Their front office is smart and aggressive collectively, so I am eager to see what they do on draft night. Atlanta is building an intriguing core of young talent, so a strong draft could catapult them another step forward in their rebuild.

While we are quickly coming up on draft night, I still don’t have a clear picture of what will happen after the 10th pick. My board continues to shift on a day-to-day basis and I would not be shocked if the draft ends up in chaos, with at least a few players making big leaps up the board and others suffering big drops.

Spencer’s Notebook: In the most up to date version of this mock draft, things have changed a bit. We learned about the first big trade prior to June 20, with the Brooklyn Nets sending Allen Crabbe, their current 17th pick to the Atlanta and a protected 2020 first-rounder for Taurean Prince and a future second round pick. Brooklyn offloaded a heavy contract to free up cap space for the upcoming summer of free agency, while the Hawks gained a meaningful extra selection.

It doesn’t quite shake things up in the lottery much yet, but that could certainly change. With three picks in the top 17 range of this draft, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Hawks to package together some picks to move up the board. It also offers flexibility for Atlanta with the amount of assets they possess.

Who knows what the Los Angeles Lakers do with that fourth pick, but if it’s kept, it could come down between Darius Garland and Jarrett Culver. The latter worked out for the team recently and the returns were impressive.

On another player I haven’t discussed much yet to this point – Nassir Little is a prospect that, before the NBA Draft process began, was expected to go at No. 15 at the highest after one year at North Carolina. His defensive ability comes into question, as does his outside shooting. It was all-in-all an underwhelming showing for a five-star high school prospect who—despite playing his role well—ended up as the Tar Heels’ sixth man.

However, there is no denying the athleticism and pro-ready frame, which will be Little’s ace in the hole heading into the draft. At the NBA Combine, he took an opportunity to show those elements off and ran with it. Put the former McDonald’s All-American in the right situation and the team who takes him might be getting a player with top-ten potential.

Drew’s Notebook: This past week looked like it would be a quiet one, and then the Nets traded the 17th overall pick and Allen Crabbe to the Hawks for Taurean Prince and a protected 2020 pick. So gone is the idea that Brooklyn will be drafting a backup big man. Instead, the Nets appear poised to make a play for at least one max-level free agent (if not two) in the very near future.

But the Nets aren’t the only team well-positioned following their trade. The Hawks now have three first-round picks. They can consolidate them via trade or they can opt to use all three. Either way, the Hawks are primed to add at least one top-flight rookie. Be on the lookout for the Hawks to discuss packaging all three picks in a deal with the Cavs and Bulls.

I am also interested in monitoring the New York Knicks’ interest in Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver. Rumors have been circulating for the last week or so about their fascination with the 6’6″ shooting guard, which could indicate interest in trading down; Culver was projected between the fifth and ninth pick in last week’s Basketball Insiders’ 2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft — Version 5.0.

The Knicks represent an inflection point in this year’s draft. What they choose to do with the third pick sets the tone for at least picks four through eight. They can either select RJ Barrett, pick Culver or whomever else they feel best fits their team and philosophy, trade down for additional assets or package the pick with other assets in exchange for a superstar-caliber player. Their interest in a deal with the Hawks could be significant now considering the Hawks have a third 2019 first-round pick to trade.

Regardless of what the Knicks choose to do, all of the teams that pick after them must have a number of strategies fleshed out to ensure complete preparedness. And with the draft less than two weeks away, all of the teams picking in the lottery should be prepared for chaos.

Steve’s Notebook: If you have followed me in previous drafts (this is the 15th draft I have covered professionally), there is usually a point in which I lose faith in everything I think I know. Maybe it’s information overload after the Combine, the Pro Days and the workouts, but it seems every year I get to a point where I don’t trust what I am hearing.

Does Garland really have a promise to the Lakers? Jarrett Culver’s camp doesn’t think so.

Are the Cavaliers trading the 5th pick? Atlanta seems to think they have the inside track on a deal that would allow them to keep the 8th pick while picking up the 5th pick, but is that deal hinged on Cleveland landing Cam Reddish; who they have coveted since before the Draft Lottery?

Are the Bulls getting Lonzo Ball from the Lakers in exchange for the 7th pick? It seems they might if that additional pick nets the Lakers Anthony Davis from New Orleans, or will Chicago swoop and scoop all of the Davis suitors and land him in Chicago for themselves and keep the 7th pick?

The Celtics seem to be open to moving most of their first-round picks, but who is buying? Denver seems like they want into the first-round, so does Houston.

If the chatter around this draft is illustrating anything to me, it’s that the bulk of the picks currently being held in the 6 to 26 range could change hands, it seems that crazy at this point, but that may simply be a by-product of so many teams exploring what their draft options are.

If you are grading the draft process at home, please be kind, I am not sure how much I really know at this point, and sadly, that’s not uncommon.

Things usually take much firmer shape on the Tuesday before the draft, which thankfully is just a few days away.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 21 years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last five years. Spencer Davies is also a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last three years. Drew Maresca is an NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders and is finishing his first season covering the NBA.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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