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NBA AM: Post-Deadline 2015 NBA Mock Draft

With March Madness around the corner and trades out of the way, here’s a look at the 2015 NBA Draft and how things could play out.

Steve Kyler

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First Mock Draft Post-Trade Deadline:  Yannis Koutroupis has filed several Mock Drafts so far this season, but for the most part I have stayed out of the Mock game. This will be my first round Mock Draft of the season.

I will post some thoughts and comments on each pick after the chart, so without further ado, here is my 2015 NBA Mock Draft – Post Deadline edition.

*** Draft order is based on games played through 2/22/14 - for a complete listing of traded draft picks check out the NBA Draft Pick Debt page.

1 – New York Knicks – Jahlil Okafor C 19 years old; 6’11”; 272 lbs.

Regardless of which team ends up with the top overall pick, Jahlil Okafor is arguably the selection. The only variable here is the 76ers, who are loaded with young bigs. Okafor is arguably the best pure low-post players the NBA has seen coming out of college in a generation and while he may not become much on the defensive end, his upside and potential trumps almost everyone in the field. The Knicks landing Okafor puts them in a great position to jump start the rebuild.

2 – Philadelphia 76ers – D’Angelo Russell PG/SG 18 years old; 6’5″; 175 lbs.

This one could have gone one of two ways – Russell or Mudiay, but opting for Russell was more about a proven body of work and more versatility. The 76ers just traded out of guard Michael Carter-Williams and this is likely why. Russell should be a ready-to-play, impact player for the 76ers and his ceiling may be slightly higher than Mudiay’s.

3 – Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl Towns PF/C 19 years old; 7’0″; 248 lbs.

This one is about potential and chemistry. Towns and Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins have a relationship that spans back to the Hoops Summit in 2013. Towns is arguably one of the better upside players in the class. The Wolves have bigs that can allow Towns to grow into his NBA game slowly and with Kevin Garnett being brought in at the trade deadline and likely extended beyond this season, there is veteran leadership to help Towns grow. Kristaps Porzingis and Justise Winslow could be options here, but the dare-to-be-great pick might be Towns.

4 – Los Angeles Lakers – Emmanuel Mudiay PG 18 years old; 6’5″; 200 lbs.

If Towns and Russell are off the board, then the Lakers have two real options – Mudiay or Justise Winslow. Mudiay offers more immediate bang for the buck and could be a franchise-level point guard. Given that the Lakers have Julius Randle returning next season, having a one-two punch of Mudiay and Randle is a nice starting spot on the rebuild. The only wrinkle here is the Lakers have been linked to both Mavericks guard Rajon Rondo and newly acquired HEAT guard Goran Dragic as free agent targets, so if the Lakers get the sense they can land one of them, they may spend this pick elsewhere.

5 – Orlando Magic – Myles Turner C 18 years old; 6’11”; 242 lbs.

The Magic’s most pressing need is a power forward type that can do the dirty work Nik Vucevic just doesn’t do, and the best option on the board might be Turner. He is long, athletic and very cerebral as a player. He is aggressive on both ends and could be that guy, especially with last year’s pick Aaron Gordon maybe being more of a three in the NBA. The wrinkle here is the future of Tobias Harris. If the Magic are going to match contract offers on Harris, they become extremely bloated in swing players at the three and four. Turner might be the best long-term fit, but players like Kansas’ Cliff Alexander, international big man Kristaps Porzingis and Arizona swingman Stanley Johnson should be looks at this spot. The Magic have a history of drafting the best upside player so this pick could go a lot of ways.

6 – Sacramento Kings – Kristaps Porzingis PF 19 years old; 7’0″; 220 lbs.

Porzingis could be the next big thing from the international field and with the Kings and George Karl, the appeal of Porzingis’ skill set might be too much to pass on. When you get to this part in the draft, a lot of things will be about what’s on the board and Porzingis might be the best option available. There are a few wrinkles here. If either Mudiay or Russell is within striking distance by trade, the Kings could move up and solidify their point guard spot. They may also look seriously at Alexander and Turner as the complement piece to Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins.

7 – Denver Nuggets – Stanley Johnson SF 18 years old; 6’8″; 243 lbs.

Johnson might be the best all-around player in the draft and his skill set looks to be suited for the NBA game. The Nuggets need players and when you think about what the Nuggets already have on the roster in Jusuf Nurkic, Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson, Johnson could plug in nicely into that situation. International shooter Mario Hezonja is also a fit, as would be Justise Winslow. Kentucky shooter Devin Booker could be the long shot here too. The Nuggets have a lot to work with so they can be a little choosey here.

8 – Utah Jazz – Mario Hezonja SG 19 years old; 6’8″; 200 lbs.

This one is tough. I went Hezonja here as best talent on the board, but the Jazz could easily go Willie Cauley-Stein, Justise Winslow or Devin Booker. The fit here is about being a little further along developmentally, being someone that can absolutely score from the perimeter and likely doesn’t push back on being in Utah and that’s always a factor to consider. The Jazz are in a tough spot with this pick, because this is where the talent level sort of starts to taper off and it’s an eye of the beholder pick. With Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors really coming around, do you bring in players that need minutes at their spot? I opted for filling a need versus duplication.

9 – Boston Celtics – Justise Winslow SF 18 years old; 6’7″; 229 lbs.

Winslow could easily go four spots higher, but when we get to Boston at nine, this is a great fit for both Winslow and the Celtics. He can play right away, he should fit in nicely with the guards and bigs already on the roster and he’ll plug right into the Jeff Green role. This is a solid fit for both involved. The wrinkle is that Winslow could easily go higher, which means guys like Johnson or Hezonja could be here and that changes things dramatically. A dark horse here is Porzingis if he falls, even though he is awfully similar as a player to C’s big man Kelly Olynyk.

10 – Charlotte Hornets – Devin Booker SG 18 years old; 6’5″; 186 lbs.

Charlotte gets their shooter. No. 10 might be a bit high for Booker, but given the Hornets’ need for shooting and how many gaps they have filled already, this is a best talent, best fit scenario. Willie Cauley-Stein might be tempting for the Hornets especially with Al Jefferson having the option to walk away this summer. This could also be Porzingis’ floor.

11 – Detroit Pistons – Cliff Alexander PF/C 19 years old; 6’9″; 254 lbs.

The assumption with this pick is that Greg Monroe is leaving via free agency, which means Alexander plugs in next to Andre Drummond and the Pistons have a monster front line. Alexander is a Van Gundy kind of player, very tenacious and aggressive. He could be off the board higher, but if he’s there, this one might be hard to pass on. A couple names also fit here: Winslow or Johnson if either falls; this could also be where Kelly Oubre jumps up. Oubre is a draft enigma because of how he’s played at Kansas, but he could be someone a team gambles on, especially if a team believes in its development process. Sam Dekker could be an interesting pick here too.

12 – Indiana Pacers – Willie Cauley-Stein C 21 years old; 7’0″; 244 lbs.

The Pacers could lose Roy Hibbert to free agency, but regardless Cauley-Stein at 12 might be too much to wish for. It’s very possible he is long gone before 12, but if he’s there he fits in right away, is a better long-term building block for the Pacers and can do many things Hibbert can’t do. Some other options here are Jerian Grant, Kevon Looney and Winslow if he takes a tumble.

13 – New Orleans Pelicans – Frank Kaminsky PF 21 years old; 7’0″; 242 lbs.

This pick is the assumption that Omer Asik walks as a free agent. Kaminsky is not nearly the rebounder Asik is, but he is a big body that can score, play in a system and complement Anthony Davis. Fundamentally disciplined is a great way to think of Kaminsky. A couple of wrinkles here, who is making the pick? There is a real chance if the Pelicans do not make the postseason that there is change either at head coach or possibly even the front office. This pick assumes status quo. Cauley-Stein would be excellent here as would Alexander. A dark horse here could be Trey Lyles.

14 – Phoenix Suns – Caris LeVert PG/SG 20 years old; 6’7″; 200 lbs.

This one absolutely is best talent on the board. The problem here is he is coming off a major foot injury so he will have to go through a lengthy medical evaluation and teams will have to decide if the risk is worth it. Given where the Suns are talent wise now, their medical staff and the fact they can be patient makes LeVert an interesting option. This could also be where Oubre, Dekker, Looney and even Brazilian point guard George Lucas lands.

15 – Atlanta Hawks – Kelly Oubre SF 19 years old; 6’6″; 204 lbs.

This one absolutely is again best talent on the board. Oubre could be a nice talent infusion for the Hawks. The challenge here is they may go safe at 15. This pick is the result of the Joe Johnson trade in which Atlanta got the right to swap picks with Brooklyn, so this is house money so to speak. The safe pick here might be Dekker, Alexander if he falls, Looney or even Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Hawks have a lot of options here, but given where they are they can also afford a little risk hence the Oubre pick.

16 – Philadelphia 76ers – Sam Dekker SF 20 years old; 6’9″; 229 lbs.

This one could go a lot of ways. We have seen the 76ers make some bold moves when they have a second pick on the board, but this pick was about getting a solid contributor that can score. But how often have the 76ers shown traditional wisdom? So with that in mind, here are the swing-for-the-fence moves – Oubre, Lucas and Lyles. A dark horse here could be UNLV’s Christian Wood; he may be too similar in style to Nerlens Noel, but he might be that special talent the Sixers have been looking for.

17 – Oklahoma City Thunder – Jerian Grant PG 22 years old; 6’5″; 204 lbs.

This one is about replacing Reggie Jackson and could have gone a couple of ways. Grant is further along and a little older and more established, but another option here could be Lucas or Kris Dunn. Keep in mind, the Thunder have Josh Huestis stashed in the D-League and he’ll get a roster spot, so they may look to defer this pick a little with an international prospect or another stash in the D-League type guy. The Thunder lose this pick if it falls outside the top 18, so in this scenario they have it, but if they keep winning it goes to Cleveland.

18 – Milwaukee Bucks – Jakob Poeltl C 19 years old; 7’0″; 235 lbs.

There wasn’t much here that helps the Bucks, so this one was best big man on the board to fill in the gaps created by the Larry Sanders buy out. With Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, a returning Jabari Parker, an evolving Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Henson, the only real need is a starting big man. The Bucks may pursue that in free agency or they may swing for a big in the draft. This could also be where you start to see UNLV’s Christian Wood get real consideration.

19 – Washington Wizards – Montrezl Harrell PF 21 years old; 6’8″; 230 lbs.

This one was tough because the Wizards do not have many needs, so this was a talent grab more than anything. Harrell is so tough to project because of his height. He is a monster physically, but undersized for the NBA front court. The Wizards could go a lot of places here: Looney, Bobby Portis, Lyles or even Dakari Johnson. A dark horse here could be Duke guard Tyus Jones, Cal’s Ty Wallace or even Louisville’s Terry Rozier.

20 – Chicago Bulls – Justin Anderson SF 21 years old; 6’6″; 222 lbs.

This one is tough because there isn’t a pure need to be filled outside of maybe a two guard, but with Jimmy Butler being so interchangeable, isn’t the biggest need perimeter scoring? Anderson is currently knocking in 48.4 percent of his threes and can score. This one is about fit, but also about best fitting talent on the board. The Bulls could try to back fill a few more spots here, but Anderson seems like the best long-term solution.

21 – San Antonio Spurs – Kevon Looney PF 19 years old; 6’9″; 220 lbs.

Looney could go significantly higher than 21, but if he is here, boy is he intriguing for the Spurs. He has crazy length and size. Looney is a monster rebounder and a fairly decent shot challenger and blocker. You have seen Looney listed all the way up to 12, so this would be something of a tumble considering what he brings to the table, but the fit would be stellar. This is also where Hollis-Jefferson, Portis, Woods and Lyles get long looks.

22 – Cleveland Cavaliers – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 20 years old; 6’6″; 212 lbs.

This one is a best on the board scenario. Hollis-Jefferson isn’t much of a perimeter scorer, but he is an energy guy that gets after it. In Cleveland, he likely plays limited minutes so his skill set could fit in nicely. It’s hard to gauge what the Cavs would truly want at this point in the season, so Hollis-Jefferson is best on the board. One thing to consider is that the Cavs may have to make a choice on Tristian Thompson and even though it seems a forgone conclusion the Cavs match free agent offers for Thompson to keep LeBron and his agents happy, Christian Wood would be a tremendous fit here.

23 – Dallas Mavericks – George Lucas PG 18 years old; 6’5″; 196 lbs.

No, it’s not the Star Wars guy, but he is an interesting draft prospect. Lucas’ full name is George Lucas Alves De Paula, so you may hear him referred to as George De Paula. Lucas has a monster 7’1 wingspan and enormous hands for a point guard. He has a stout frame and a very NBA-ready body. Word is he will begin draft preparation in the US as early as late April and could be a real sleeper in the draft process. The Mavericks could have a need at guard depending on what Rajon Rondo does in free agency and Lucas could be the kind of player the Mavericks roll the dice on, assuming the Thunder don’t poach him considerably higher. Considering how well Dennis Schroder is coming along, Lucas could get more attention in the process.

24 – Portland Trail Blazers – Bobby Portis PF 20 years old; 6’10”; 235 lbs.

Portis has some interesting attributes – he’s big and long but isn’t a blow you away athlete or leaper. This one was a tough pick; this might be best talent on the board, which shows the lack of impact at the bottom of the projected class. The Blazers could go a lot of other places here including Lyles, Woods, Tyus Jones or Ty Wallace. Dakari Johnson could be a reach at 24, but might be a solid fit too considering the uncertainty of Robin Lopez in free agency.

25 – Boston Celtics – R.J. Hunter SG 21 years old; 6’5″; 180 lbs.

This might be a reach for Hunter. He is a junior so this would be buying on what you know, not what you think he could be down the road. The Celtics have a history of drafting guys they understand, and Hunter has been around for a while. The problem with drafting a guard is the Celtics are loaded with guards, including James Young who they drafted last year and haven’t found much time for. A smarter play here might be a swing man or another small forward or a deferred pick. Something else to consider is this is where Boston starts to sell off a pick for a second-rounder or future assets. With all the picks the Celtics have amassed, at some point they are going to have too many young guys, which is why drafting a somewhat established player like Hunter might make sense. There’s a lower ceiling, but a smaller learning curve too.

26 – Toronto Raptors – Christian Wood PF 19 years old; 6’11”; 220 lbs.

This might be really low for Wood. He has crazy length and size and has posted solid numbers at UNLV. He’s 19, 6’11, has 7’2 wingspan and is posting 2.9 blocks per game (one of the top shot blockers in the nation). Wood has a solid handle for a big man and is pretty solid off the bounce. If there is a real dark-horse in this process, it might be Woods. However, as this mock played out, Woods is there for the Raptors, which would be a steal for them. He’d be the perfect complement to Jonas Valanciunas and could play right away for the Raptors. This one might be a stretch because the odds that he’s here at 26 are slim.

27 – Los Angeles Lakers – Trey Lyles PF 19 years old; 6’10”; 250 lbs.

The Lakers might be able to do better than Lyles, but this would be a best-upside pick. Lyles clocks in at 6’10 with a 7’3 wingspan, so as they say, you can’t teach length. Lyles could be a very nice complementary player to fellow UK alum Julius Randle. Not sure I am in love with this pick, but that’s how it played out. Other options that make sense here are Utah’s Delon Wright, Ty Wallace or even Vandy sophomore Damian Jones if he opts to declare.

28 – Cleveland Cavaliers – Kris Dunn PG 20 years old; 6’4″; 205 lbs.

This one is best upside and fit on the board. The Cavs have to make a decision on potential restricted free agent Iman Shumpert and Dunn would give them a solid, ready-to-play backup point guard that can be a real playmaker from the bench. He is big and strong and a little more physically mature than some of the other options. This one could really go a lot of ways, but given the Cavs’ situation, adding a ready-to-play, versatile guard with length makes the most sense. The Cavs could also start collecting size here with Johnson, Upshaw or even Gonzaga big man Domantas Sabonis.

29 – Brooklyn Nets – Dakari Johnson C 19 years old; 6’11”; 263 lbs.

This one is best talent on the board. Johnson could go substantially higher, but if he’s here, he is a solid pick up for the Nets who may lose Brook Lopez to free agency. This is where things get massively unpredictable in the draft because the talent available from 25 to 45 is about equal.

30 – Golden State Warriors – Robert Upshaw C 21 years old; 7’0″; 264 lbs.

The only spot the Warriors really need anything at is center, so Upshaw represents the best talent at the center spot on the board. Clearly the Warriors could trade out of the guaranteed salary associated with this pick or trade the pick entirely for a second rounder (who wouldn’t be guaranteed). Not sure there is a lot on the board that other teams would trade for, but this is also where draft and stash comes into play in a major way.

So there you have it… 30 picks and my logic behind all of them. If you want to toss in your thoughts in the comment section below, fire away.

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, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton , @JCameratoNBA, @iamdpick, @jblancartenba, @johnzitzler, @CodyTaylorNBA, @MaryStevensNBA 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 – Ver 3.0

Each week, 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.

Basketball Insiders

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The 2019 NBA Draft lottery produced some unexpected results. Here are the results:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0

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 2.0

Each week, 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.

Basketball Insiders

Published

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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. Each week 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

Jesse’s Notebook: The NBA Combine is set to take place next week with 66 players expected to attend. Many of these players are going to scrimmage, take measurements, go through a variety of drills, and interview with teams. The Combine should provide a good amount of intel on these prospects that either isn’t available yet or has thus far been overlooked. This is also the time when teams will start giving more clues about their thoughts on certain prospects, what their respective teams are looking for and who is catching the attention of several teams. Oftentimes prospects start setting themselves apart and climbing team draft boards based on their performance at the Combine. On the flip side, some prospects are likely to start falling down team boards as new information is discovered. However, this is also a time where some players may get too much hype based on their measurements and other data points (let’s not forget the hype surrounding Luke Babbit after the 2010 Combine).

Mock draft boards are already all over the place and are sure to start shuffling even more as we move towards the Combine. However, the overall picture should start to become a bit clearer as prospects interview with teams, receive feedback, and as front office executives start making soft commitments to players and leaking out information about the players they have an eye on.

Spencer’s Notebook: In version two of our consensus mock draft, my top nine draft picks stayed the same as they were last week, but there was some slight tweaking otherwise.

As Steve said in the inaugural mock, predicting selections outside of the top slots is difficult. A good amount of teams could be picking for their need first and foremost rather than having a simple “best player available” approach. The picture will be a little clearer next week when we learn the results of the NBA Draft Lottery on May 14.

My most notable observation—there is an abundance of talented wings, raw and polished, in this 2019 NBA Draft class. Younger players such as RJ Barrett, Jarrett Culver, Cameron Reddish and De’Andre Hunter have the tools to succeed. However, finding the right organization to put those respective skill sets to use in the correct manner will be imperative to every one of them to reach their full potential.

Playoff teams are going to be able to add the more pro-ready prospects at that position, with multiple upperclassmen forwards who may be able to help right away – regardless of what team they end up with. Rui Hachimura, Cameron Johnson, Brandon Clarke, Matisse Thybulle and Grant Williams all fit the bill in that sense. While collegiate experience hardly compares to that of the NBA, the maturation of playing the game longer puts these guys ahead of the curve if you were to ask me.

Drew’s Notebook:Not much has changed since last week. The most noise we’ve heard in the last seven days is around accepted invitations to the NBA Draft Combine, as well as workouts. But fear not NBA fans, the Draft Lottery takes place this Tuesday with the Combine beginning the very next day. Things will definitely heat up soon!

With that being said, I spent a lot of time looking at the top teams in terms of draft order and thought a lot about their needs: the Bulls, Suns and Wizards could all be interested in adding a lead guard. This is, of course, an exercise in futility because we have not yet landed on a final draft order. Never the less, this led me bump Darius Garland up a few spots. I think he is extremely NBA-ready. And while a little undersized, he has an IT factor that most prospects at his level do not possess (excluding Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett). Garland could develop into Kyrie Irving-type of player, or he could end up closer to D.J. Augustin. But I really like his confidence and how he moves with the ball. And until the Draft Lottery dictates the final order on 5/14, I’ve got to arrange prospects by my feelings on overall talent.

Another guy I plan to plan to study more closely is Sekou Doumbouya. I was compelled to drop him a few spots after watching more film of him over the weekend, but his youth (18 years old) and perceived versatility indicate that he’ll grow into an effective NBA player, assuming he’s given the proper time and resources to develop. And potential is just as important (if not more) as refined skill. I’m excited to see what, if anything, we can learn about Doumbouya at the Combine.

Tuesday, May 14 can’t get here soon enough.

Steve’s Notebook: The invite list of the 2019 NBA Draft Combine is out, and 66 players accepted the NBA’s invite to take part in the NBA’s annual draft showcase event. It’s important to note that there are three types of invitations; the first is extended to those players expected to go in the top 20, which does not require participation in the on-court portion of the Combine. Those players will undergo medical testing and face to face interviews with teams. The next group will do the same medical and interviews but are also expected to participate in the on-court portion as well. The third tier are those players willing to be last minute alternates in the event players pull out.

This year the NBA is holding a G-League event for draft-eligible players, just prior to next week’s Combine, the NBA has pledged the possibility of a full Combine invite to players that stand out among those additional 40 plus players that were invited to participate.

Why is a Combine invite important? In a typical year, more than 70 percent of players invited to the Combine end up being drafted, making the Combine list a pretty solid barometer on who is legitimately in the draft discussion.

There are two notable players that declined the NBA’s invitations, the first being Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Washington’s Matisse Thybulle.

While it is not uncommon for players to bypass the Combine, especially if the players is all but assured to be drafted, it also usually signifies a player may have a draft commitment they are comfortable with making the dog and pony show of the Combine less desirable.

The 2019 NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14th, with the Combine itself getting underway on Wednesday with face to face team interviews.

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

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 1.0

Each week, 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.

Basketball Insiders

Published

on

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft. Each week 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:



Jesse’s Notebook: The Draft Lottery is still two weeks away, so it’s somewhat difficult to put together a mock draft that feels completely well-grounded. This is especially the case with this year’s draft class, which features a consensus No. 1 pick in Zion Williamson but little else in terms of clarity. There are notable individual talents in this class, but a large range of opinions on what order these prospects should be drafted.

Considering this, I predict that team-fit will have a bigger influence on this draft class than previous classes, which have often featured more than a handful of top-tier prospects. For example, many scouts, talent evaluators and members of the media rank R.J. Barrett as the second best player in the draft and list him as likely to be drafted second overall. However, the Suns have a glaring hole at point guard, which means Phoenix might favor Ja Morant over Barrett in a scenario in which they have the second pick in the draft. The point here is that teams will likely be giving considerable weight to how players fit on their respective rosters starting as early as the second pick in the draft.

It’s always fun to dissect every bit of new information and adjust mock drafts in the weeks leading up to the draft. And for many NBA fans, it’s fun to engage in that process and pick apart the mock drafts of writers and journalists who cover the league. This summer should be an especially good year for fans to do so considering how different each writer’s mock draft boards will look compared to others. So be sure to stop by Basketball Insiders frequently to keep up with our mock drafts and give us your feedback on Twitter.

Spencer’s Notebook: The best time of the league year is here! While the remaining teams in the postseason continue to battle it out for a chance at a championship opportunity, those who aren’t in the dance are gearing up for a chance to add new talent to their respective franchises via the NBA Draft.

We might not be sure who lands where in the lottery as of yet—we’ll know on May 14 officially—but whatever ball club draws the first overall selection is a shoo-in to take Duke superstar Zion Williamson.

Williamson is not just a highlight reel, he’s the real deal. Though the freakish combination of power and athleticism captures everyone’s attention, it’s the intelligence and natural playmaking ability that will guide him at the next level. With the association trending towards higher possessions and more scoring in transition opportunities, the 6-foot-9 phenom will thrive with whatever team brings him in.

On to the remaining notables in this lottery—I went with Coby White to the Chicago Bulls at four because of their inconsistency at point guard. He’s a facilitator that can open up the floor due to his threat to score inside and make shots on the outside.

My favorite part of putting this together was adding two top-five worthy picks to the growing core of the Atlanta Hawks. After a sizable leap in his sophomore season at Texas A&M, Jarrett Culver proved to be one of the most sought-after wings in this entire draft class. His length is a matchup nightmare for any team, as is his ability to put it on the floor and get to the line.

Along with Culver, I have Travis Schlenk taking a flier on Oregon’s Bol Bol. The luxury of having two lottery picks is being able to take risks. The 7-foot-2 big man displayed flashes of greatness with his versatility on both ends. He’s able to move and handle the ball exceptionally well for a player his size, can knock down jump shots and, obviously, protect the rim. He’ll need to bulk up more and, unfortunately, he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot and only played nine games. But if the success of Joel Embiid—who had the same exact injury in the other foot in 2014—has taught us anything, it’s to be patient and trust the process.

Drew’s Notebook: With the NBA Draft Lottery only two weeks away, front offices around the league are in serious exploration mode, familiarizing themselves with all of the prospects eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft.

And speaking of prospects, lots will change regarding how they are viewed thanks to the NBA Draft Combine, which is set to run from May 15-19 in Chicago. It’s worth noting that while the combine commences on May 15, teams can begin private workouts before the combine. For example, the Atlanta Hawks began workouts on April 30, kicking things off with a six-player workout headlined by Nevada forward Jordan Caroline.

The next big date to keep an eye on following the combine is May 29, which is the withdrawal deadline for all prospects who would like to maintain NCAA eligibility. By May 30, we will all have a much clearer picture of who will go where. Until then, the only (almost) certain thing about the 2019 NBA Draft is Zion Williamson will be selected first overall by whichever team wins the lottery.

Steve’s Notebook: The 2019 NBA Draft looks to be a little unpredictable; outside the top 3 or 4 players, the next 20 players could go in a wildly unexpected way, mainly because NBA teams do not few this draft class the same way, and a lot of the notable players are viewed as a little interchangeable. For example, how much of a difference is there at the next for UNC’s Coby White and Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver? It will come down to the team selecting and not some perceived gap in skill, potential or ability.

The same seems to be true of Texas’ Jaxson Hayes, Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford. Hayes looks like the best of the group and more likely to come off the board first. However, what’s coming from teams – is they view a lot of these guys in the same group and are looking for them to go head-to-head to settle some of the debate on who could be the better long-term pro and ultimately a draft pick.

There are also some guys to watch in terms of stock dropping.

There are real medical concerns on Oregon’s Bol Bol; teams will want a long look at his medical. The belief from scouts and executives is that if he were healthy, he’d be a top 10 prospect, but with the navicular injury and his tremendous size, there is a desire to fully understand where he really in his recovery is before some teams would commit to him.

UNC’s Nassir Little is a mixed bag among NBA scouts, some point to his tremendous high school career as a reason to believe, but his underwhelming season at Carolina has impacted how teams view him. He will need to answer a lot of questions for teams in the workout process. The current read is that Little could go anywhere from 15 to 35. Workouts and personal interviews could go a long way towards cementing what side of that range he really lands.

Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey is another name to watch. The word around NBA teams is that he may pull out of the 2019 NBA Draft if he does not get feedback at the NBA Combine suggesting he’d go in the first round. Word has it that his camp is looking for the ideal situation, and a soft promise might keep him in the draft. If teams are non-committal, he may pull out.

There are also some names projected lower in this draft that could surprise.

Virginia’s Kyle Guy has some fans. He could be one of the guys that could go 8 to 10 picks higher than his currently projected range. International guard Henri Drell could go late in the first round or early in the second round. It seems he has fans among teams holding multiple picks.

Washington State’s Robert Franks has had some teams in to see him recently, and the buzz on his is really positive. Franks is currently projected in the middle of the second round. However, there are some teams late in the first that seems to be very high on him; a solid workout schedule could garner a draft promise.

It is important to note that there are two different types of commitments teams give players – the first is the hard fast guarantee of selection. This usually accompanies a player shutting down workouts with other teams. In a typical draft, there are usually three or four of them made per draft.

The other is the soft commitment, which usually means a team pledged to draft the player, assuming the draft plays out as expected. This is a little riskier for the player in terms of shutting down workouts, because if the right player falls, they could be left without a chair.

Why do teams do these things – control and certainty. The draft is very unpredictable, and if a team is sold on a specific player, locking them in allows them to focus on other things in the transaction window. Because a team commits to a player, does not preclude a team higher up from drafting that player, they may not get the chance to work that player out.

Most smart agents will explain to their player that finding the ideal fit matters way more to a long NBA career than going one or two spots higher and getting that guaranteed floor, allows for the player to focus on being ready for Summer League and ultimately training camp.

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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