The 2019 NBA Draft goes down Thursday, June 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In preparation for the first round—in which the Trail Blazers currently hold the No. 25 pick—Blazer’s Edge contributor Steve Dewald mocked the first 30 selections.
We begin with the initial 15 picks. The No. 1 overall selection will be made by the new-look New Orleans Pelicans.
In the aftermath of the trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers, there could be some early trade movement when the No. 4 pick hits the clock. Outside of the Pelicans, the Hawks and Celtics will have the luxury of multiple selections in the first round.
Let’s get started.
No. 1 | New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson | PF | Duke
No shocker here, Williamson is the most sought-after prospect in nearly a decade. Equipped with phenomenal athleticism and excellent court vision, New Orleans will start its rebuild in a big way.
No. 2 | Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant | PG | Murray State
No longer hidden at a small college, Morant captured the spotlight with a stellar NCAA Tournament performance. He is a superb floor general with the physical tools to match. If the Grizzlies ship Mike Conley out in a trade on draft night, Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. will start their promising partnership earlier than expected.
No. 3 | New York Knicks
RJ Barrett | SG | Duke
Listed as the No. 1 prospect entering the year, Barrett slides to the Knicks after an up-and-down season with the Blue Devils. Barrett is a throwback guard who is dangerous off the dribble. If the Knicks surround him with shooters, he could post big-time numbers.
No. 4 | New Orleans Pelicans (via Lakers)
Darius Garland | PG | Vanderbilt
Sound like the Pelicans might be shopping this pick for a proven commodity, which could send this selection in several different directions. Garland will take time to get up to speed, but his offensive skill set perfectly aligns with top-tier NBA point guards. Pelicans or not, Garland’s upside is tough to pass on.
No. 5 | Cleveland Cavaliers
Jarrett Culver | SG | Texas Tech
Like the Pelicans, the Cavaliers could easily look to move this selection to pick up more assets. Culver represents the last prospect in the post-Zion top tier of players and he has the chops to impact the game on both ends of the floor. Cleveland might have its eyes on De’Andre Hunter, but Culver’s ceiling is much higher.
No. 6 | Phoenix Suns
De’Andre Hunter | F | Virginia
With Morant and Garland off the board, the Suns opt to go with the best player available. Hunter was a key contributor to Virginia’s success and his leadership should carry over to the NBA. His defense should earn him minutes immediately in Phoenix.
No. 7 | Chicago Bulls
Coby White | PG | North Carolina
The Bulls finally snag their point guard of the future in White. He has the length and off-ball offense to flourish in multiple lineups. Chicago built a potentially dominant post duo through the draft and now they get some much-needed help at point guard.
No. 8 | Atlanta Hawks
Cam Reddish | SF | Duke
Reddish was the odd man out during the majority of his time at Duke. In the right situation, he has the profile typically found in players selected in the top five. Alongside the Hawks’ young crop of talented players, Reddish has a perfect opportunity to reclaim his lofty status.
No. 9 | Washington Wizards
Jaxson Hayes | C | Texas
Ian Mahinmi’s forgettable chapter with the Wizards is nearly complete and Hayes would represent a bright light on the horizon. Buoyed by his potential to blossom into a high-level rim-running big man, Hayes rocketed up draft boards. He is raw, but he should have time to develop on a Wizards team that is stuck in limbo.
No. 10 | Atlanta Hawks (via Mavericks)
Sekou Doumbouya | F | International
If the Hawks keep all their picks, they can afford to take chances. Doumbouya produces highlight-worthy plays on both ends of the court, but his transition to the NBA could be cumbersome. If he reaches his potential, the Hawks will have another talented youngster to build around.
No. 11 | Minnesota Timberwolves
PJ Washington | PF | Kentucky
Washington has the tools and tenacity to blossom into the perfect frontcourt parter for Karl-Anthony Towns. Equipped to make a difference on both ends of the court, Washington could ease the potential departure of Taj Gibson.
No. 12 | Charlotte Hornets
Nassir Little | SF | North Carolina
Trapped in an awkward role in college, Little’s stock plummeted. In the right situation, he has the potential to become an absolute steal. His length and athleticism on the perimeter would give the Hornets’ forward rotation an immediate boost.
No. 13 | Miami Heat
Rui Hachimura | F | Gonzaga
Despite his status as a 21-year-old prospect, Hachimura has plenty of room to grow. He has all the physical gifts commonly possessed by starter-quality forwards, but he needs to polish his game. In Miami, he will go from Mark Few’s tutelage to Eric Spoelstra’s guidance.
No. 14 | Boston Celtics (via Kings)
Goga Bitadze | C | International
Bitadze’s experience as a professional should allow him to hit the ground running in the NBA. Even without continued improvement to his outside shot, Bitadze is equipped with the tools required to remain on the court in crunch time. The Celtics have multiple picks, so look for them to explore options at every position.
No. 15 | Detroit Pistons
Nickeil Alexander-Walker | G | Virginia Tech
This could be considered a reach here, but Alexander-Walker has a well-rounded game and he fits at a position of need for the Pistons. His growth as a pick-and-roll operator could pay dividends if he manages to earn minutes next to Blake Griffin.
Check out the next 15 picks in Part Two of the 2019 Blazer’s Edge Mock Draft.