Welcome to NBA Mock Draft 6.0 at SKORNorth.com. Unlike in the previous five editions, we have the legitimate draft order now, meaning we’ll no longer be simulating the order.
The first five versions all incorporated simulations from Tankathon.com, and those mock drafts can be found below.
Here’s the result of the first draft simulation with the 2019 NBA Draft order set.
1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson, Duke
Well, I mean, duh. There’s only one option here with this selection. The Pelicans are going to take Zion Williamson first overall in June. He’s the first consensus No. 1 overall since the last time New Orleans held the top selection, in 2012 when Anthony Davis was selected. Maybe this leads Davis to think about changing his mind and wanting to stay with the franchise, but maybe it makes more sense to them to build around Williamson.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant, Murray State
It was reported by ESPN on Wednesday that the Grizzlies were “locked in on selecting Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick.” This would likely mean the end of Mike Conley in Memphis, and it would make sense to trade the 31-year-old guard elsewhere for future draft assets to bolster the rebuild in Memphis.
3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett, Duke
With Morant going No. 2 to the Grizzlies, it opens up the door for the Knicks to select Barrett at No. 3. With that being said, the Knicks are planning on having a big summer. This pick could be worth more to them by using it to acquire more of a ‘win-now’ asset instead of a 19-year-old ball dominant player. It’s no secret that the Knicks are hoping that come mid-July both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have pledged to play their home games at Madison Square Garden. If that’s the case, this could be a rough fit for Barrett. It would be unfair to expect him to develop quickly enough to help those two players compete for a championship right now.
4. Los Angeles Lakers – Darius Garland, Vanderbilt
Garland is a bit of a wild card for the Lakers, and partly because this is found money. The Lakers weren’t expecting to end up in the top four of the draft, but here they are. In this situation – much like the one right before it in New York – it probably makes sense for the franchise to use this asset to acquire something that could help them compete for a championship in 2020 with LeBron James in the picture still. Maybe that something includes a deal with New Orleans for Davis.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – De’Andre Hunter, Virginia
Now we enter the part of the draft that’s most disappointed. The Cavaliers – like the Knicks and the Suns – had the best chance to select No. 1 overall in the draft, but ended up sliding down to fifth. Hunter is a relatively safe pick for the Cavs. He’d be a good 3-and-D player in Cleveland that would help bolster the core of Collin Sexton and Kevin Love. Maybe moving back a couple of slots for a few future assets makes sense for this team that’s facing a lengthy rebuild.
6. Phoenix Suns – Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
Just like the Cavs, the Suns had to come away from Tuesday’s lottery festivities incredibly disappointed. The Suns already have Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton, but of course they still need more. Booker certainly needs some backcourt help on the Suns. Culver may not be a player to help them win in the immediate future, but the Suns clearly aren’t ready for that either.
7. Chicago Bulls – Cam Reddish, Duke
Reddish has a pretty high ceiling for going seventh overall. He very well could be the next Paul George, but there’s also legitimate concern that he’s the next Andrew Wiggins and completely underwhelming. Reddish is a bit of a wild card for the Bulls.
8. Atlanta Hawks – Nassir Little, North Carolina
Little didn’t have a great collegiate season at North Carolina, but he certainly still has the potential to make a splash in the NBA. He should be a good defender at the very least. The Hawks have a very strong, young backcourt in Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, and a terrific frontcourt player in John Collins. The team needs wing depth, and if Little works out they’ll be a scary team in the future.
9. Washington Wizards – Coby White, North Carolina
White is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft coming out of Carolina. He’s got the size and speed to fit into the NBA game wonderfully, and his outside shot should translate as well to the NBA. The Wizards have a question mark with John Wall’s injury history, but his contract won’t be doing them any favors in the near future.
10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas) – Jaxson Hayes, Texas
Hayes has plenty of things to work on, and the fit between he and Collins might not be perfect in the frontcourt from the start for the Hawks, but if he can develop more of an outside game the Hawks could have a loaded squad. It also could make sense for them to deal this pick as well seeing as they’ll be making five selections as of now. Maybe give this one up to move up to No. 5 where Cleveland currently sits.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
The Wolves are another team that has to be disappointed with how the day went during the lottery. They dropped one spot from their 10th slot to the 11th pick thanks to the Lakers leaping up to No. 4. Clarke is essentially a do-it-all big man that would fit in relatively nicely next to Karl-Anthony Towns. He needs to work on his outside shot to become more than a quality rotation player in the league, but he should possess a defensive prowess early on. The Wolves going take a risk here with a guy like Sekou Doumbouya, but we don’t know too much about the thinking of the front office in Minnesota yet.
12. Charlotte Hornets – Romeo Langford, Indiana
Langford is a score-first guard that could potentially be the first step of a rebuild if the Hornets are without Kemba Walker moving forward. If Walker sticks around, he could be a compliment to take some of the load off of Walker in Charlotte.
13. Miami Heat – Kevin Porter, Jr., USC
Porter is – as of right now – thought of as a boom-or-bust type prospect. Well, Miami has been searching for a replacement for the prime-level Dwyane Wade for some time now. Maybe Porter is that guy for them, or maybe the Heat continue to revel in the middle of the NBA for the foreseeable future.
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento via Philadelphia) – Bol Bol, Oregon
Bol is a risk here, mostly because of his injury history. He’s never finished a full season in his basketball career, and it’s tough to think that an 82-game slate in the NBA would be the first time that he stays healthy. With that said, the Celtics are in a position where they can take a risk here, seeing has they’ve got a wide-open championship window with a decent amount of room for error. If Bol works out, the Celtics become that much scarier.