KJ Doyle, Max Lissette and Cam Caldwell team up for the 2nd and final Guy Boston Sports 2019 NBA Mock Draft ahead of Thursday night's NBA Draft. A full 1st round mock with player comparisons and pick analysis.
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson (F - Duke)
Ceiling: Charles Barkley
Floor: Larry Johnson
KJ Doyle: The new Lob City? That notion has quickly become a popular sentiment around New Orleans now that Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson are set to share the floor. While trading a player like Anthony Davis was a less than ideal situation to be in, the Pelicans are fortunate to have the opportunity to immediately surround Williamson with elite young talent, something they were never able to do with Davis. The deal leaves the Pelicans with virtually no holes on their roster and a chance to build chemistry between a dynamic young core right away. The Pelicans now have arguably the most talented young roster in the league and a chance to be one of the NBA’s elite teams in just a few years. Williamson has the chance to redefine what it means to be a power forward in the NBA. With his elite ability in transition, overpowering frame and elite first step, there’s no telling how good Williamson could eventually be.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant (PG - Murray State)
Ceiling: Mike Conley
Floor: Jeff Teague
Max Lissette: This pick is one that seems pretty set in stone. Even before the Grizzlies landed the 2nd pick, Morant was destined to be the second player chosen. Once the Grizzlies did land it, the plan for them to go all in on a rebuild centered around Jaren Jackson Jr. and Morant became evident. All signs point to a team like Indiana, Utah, or even Boston making a move for Mike Conley as Morant steps in as Memphis’ point guard of the future.
3. New York Knicks: RJ Barrett (G/F - Duke)
Ceiling: DeMar Derozan
Floor: Rodney Hood
Cam Caldwell: This is the safest pick here. If Barrett can fine-tune his playmaking ability, he has a chance to be a star in the Big Apple. How many superstars he has to start his career playing with could really help his NBA fate. Barrett was the go-to scorer on a tremendously talented Duke team that also had Zion Williamson. He is a potential alpha dog when it comes late-game scoring, but it will be the consistency that might be an issue for the Canadian.
4. New Orleans Pelican s: Bol Bol (C - Oregon)
Ceiling: Kristaps Porzingis
Floor: Thon Maker
KJ Doyle: The Pelicans reportedly have interest in trading down from the 4th pick. Don’t be surprised if it’s with the intention of selecting Bol Bol. The Pelicans can afford to take some risk with their second top-5 pick in the draft with the otherworldly number of assets they’ve accumulated as a result of the Anthony Davis trade. Why not take Bol? The conversation around Bol has become far to focused on his injury concerns and has almost completely ignored his otherworldly talent. In his 9 games last season, Bol averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks on 56% shooting from the field and 52% shooting from three (2.8 3PA per game). Does anyone realize how absurd that is? His 38.5 PER was 2nd only to Zion Williamson in college basketball last year. Bol is special. His injury concerns are real, but not real enough to disregard his ridiculous natural talent.
The Pelicans are set at virtually every other position on their roster and with Julius Randle set to hit unrestricted free agency, they are desperate for a center to pair with Zion Williamson. Bol and Zion are a marketing dream for the Pelicans and their games fit together seamlessly with Bol’s ability to space the floor for Zion to drive to the basket. If New Orleans can’t find a trade partner, taking Bol at 4 is well worth the risk.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Culver (G/F - Texas Tech)
Ceiling: DeMar DeRozan
Floor: Evan Turner
Max Lissette: Culver’s run to the NCAA Championship game with Texas Tech certainly helped elevate his profile in the eyes of the public. Funnily enough, I can see the choice for the Cavaliers being between him and the guy who outshone him in that very game, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, if both are still on the board as they are in this mock. Culver has all of the potential to be the second best player in the draft, but he’ll need to put significant work into his shot. Cleveland would be a great fit for Culver as he’d step right into the starting SG role and have the potential to be THE building block for their rebuild with questions still looming about Collin Sexton’s potential.
6. Phoenix Suns: Coby White (G - North Carolina)
Ceiling: Jamal Murray
Floor: Jose Calderon
Cam Caldwell: Underrated his whole life, this small, super quick point guard could provide the same impact on the game as DeAaron Fox has in Sacramento. Let’s just hope his size doesn’t detriment him. In the open floor and in transition, this guy is as fast as any in this class. He has a pretty good set shot too, and adding a shot that he could use on the move wouldn’t hurt. The Suns are looking for a point guard to shoulder some of the load for Devin Booker, and I believe they will take a chance on White.
7. Chicago Bulls: DeAndre Hunter (F - Virginia)
Ceiling: Bruce Bowen
Floor: Maurice Harkless
KJ Doyle: If the Bulls plan on having Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkannen on the floor together, they’ll need to be surrounded by some elite defenders to make up for their shortcomings on that end of the floor. Hunter’s elite defensive potential and winning mentality are exactly what the Bulls need after a tumultuous season both on and off the court. Cam Reddish’s potential is tempting, but it might only worsen a Bulls locker room that is flush with players with large egos. Hunter could be just what the doctor ordered in Chicago.
8. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish (F - Duke)
Ceiling: Paul George (Absolute Ceiling)
Floor: Jeff Green/Ben McLemore
Max Lissette: With a lineup that already includes Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and John Collins, and that just lost Taurean Prince to the Nets, the Hawks two biggest needs will be at the 3 and 5 positions. Reddish is a guy that at times looks like he has major star potential, largely because he’s the prototypical workout stud and has super appealing physical intangibles. On the other hand though, he did little to impress in his time at Duke despite entering the year as a guy expected to go top-5. He will need to improve his outside shot (33% on 7.5 3PA/G at Duke) because his ability to get to the rim was about as discouraging as it gets (17% of his halfcourt shots came at the rim and he finished in the 29th percentile at the rim, according to Max Carlin of CelticsBlog.com)
9. Washington Wizards: Darius Garland (PG - Vanderbilt)
Ceiling: Damian Lillard
Floor: Emmanuel Mudiay
Cam Caldwell: Before tearing his ACL early in college, this once thought-to-be top 5 pick has a chance to be an absolute steal for DC. He has elite athleticism despite the injury and can shoot the ball from anywhere. I believe he will be ready to go for training camp and the stale organization that is Washington needs a bit of a jolt. Once Garland gets healthy and learns the NBA game, the Wizards might want to move on from John Wall rather fast.
10. Atlanta Hawks: Sekou Doumbouya (F - France)
Ceiling: Pascal Siakam
Floor: Al-Farouq Aminu
KJ Doyle: Sekou Doumbouya has an elite handle for a player of his size and has flashed an improving scoring skillset that could one day turn him into an elite offensive threat. His ability to run in transition will fit perfectly alongside Trae Young and John Collins and Atlanta could run some exciting lineups with Doumbouya and Collins at the 4 and 5 spots. Doumbouya is somewhat of a wild card, but his athleticism and ball skills jump off the screen. With three first round picks, Atlanta can afford to take a chance on Doumbouya at 10.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Clarke (F/C - Gonzaga)
Ceiling: Shawn Marion/Paul Millsap
Floor: Jordan Bell
Max Lissette: The Wolves have needs to fill at multiple positions, and if Brandon Clarke happens to fall this far to them, they should pounce on him. Clarke has the potential to be one of the 3 best players out of this draft, and would provide the Wolves with an athletic, high-IQ, defensive force of a big man to pair with Karl Anthony-Towns. Clarke boasted the highest defensive rating in the NCAA this past year, in large part due to his excellent defensive timing. He averaged 4.5 blocks and 1.7 steals per-36 minutes and would become an instant contributor with his ability to help KAT on that end of the floor. As a Celtics fan, the dream scenario is that he falls to 14, but the Wolves would be silly not to jump on him if he’s available here.
12. Charlotte Hornets: Jaxon Hayes (F/C - Texas)
Ceiling: Clint Capela
Floor: Cody Zeller
Cam Caldwell: A big man with good length, Hayes has a chance to be a really good system player, although his offense will need a lot of work. Being a rim runner and defensive pest will need to be his calling card. His shooting of all kinds needs work and getting in foul trouble will need to not be an issue. If he can get in the gym and work, this kid could surprise some people.
13. Miami Heat: Kevin Porter Jr. (G/F - USC)
Ceiling: Jimmy Butler
Floor: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
KJ Doyle: The Heat ranked 26th in points per game last season and are in desperate need of an offensive star. There’s not much elite talent left as 13, but Porter Jr. has some of the best potential of any player left in the draft. Porter Jr. shot 47% from the field and 41% from three at USC during his freshman season, but never really got the playing time to showcase his elite offensive skill and athleticism. Miami has enough good role players on their roster and should be taking big swings looking for players with elite potential with their draft picks. Porter Jr. is not a sure bet to become a star, but athletic tools and scoring skills that make him worth the risk at 13.
14. Boston Celtics: Tyler Herro (SG - Kentucky)
Ceiling: Devin Booker (absolute ceiling), better on-ball JJ Redick
Floor: Nik Stauskas
Max Lissette: I would love if the Celtics could get Herro with one of their later picks, but with guys like Bol Bol and Clarke gone, the risk of passing on him at 14 was too great. Herro would provide the Celtics with much needed shooting right off of the bat if his shooting numbers in college are able to translate to the NBA. At Kentucky, Herro hit just 36% of his three pointers, so I would like to see improvement in that number, but his versatility as a shooter can not be understated. This past year, he shot 42% on uncontested threes, 51% from between 17 feet and the 3-point line (long two’s), and ranked in the 90th percentile on runners. There are concerns about his length (6’6 with a 6’3 wingspan) and defensive abilities, but chances are he’d be playing alongside great defensive players like Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown quite often which could help cover for him on that end of the floor.
15. Detroit Pistons: Nassir Little (SF - North Carolina)
Ceiling: Khris Middleton
Floor: Evan Turner
Cam Caldwell: Although his stock has dropped since last year, Little could end up being a very good player. He wasn’t much of a factor at UNC but NBA scouts have loved what they have seen so far. He’s a combo wing that can shoot it when open, break the defense down with his dribble, and also get to the basket. He seemed to be a little emotional and maybe let some of his struggles get to him at Carolina. He will need to toughen up mentally a little more before he truly reaches his skill level.
16. Orlando Magic: Ty Jerome (G - Virginia)
Ceiling: Malcolm Brogdon/Austin Rivers
Floor: E’Twaun Moore
KJ Doyle: The Magic have enough bigs and desperately need guard help. Ty Jerome provides the shooting that the Magic have to pair with Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon, who have yet to develop consistent outside shots. Jerome can provide stability and reliability to a young core that to this point has been made up of freak athletes with high ceilings. Jerome is the opposite. An unathletic guard with a history of winning who can space the floor and complement the Magic’s franchise centerpieces.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Romeo Langford (SG - Indiana)
Ceiling: Demar DeRozan
Floor: Will Barton
Max Lissette: In this mock draft, the Hawks have already filled much needed holes with the selections of Cam Reddish and Sekou Doumbouya, so at #17, they take a slight risk on one of, if not the best remaining player on the board. Langford seems to be one of the more polarizing players in the draft and for that reason, he could be gone several picks before this, or still be on the board when the Hawks pick at 17. When it comes to Shooting Guards in the draft, Langford is clearly behind Culver, but the order of Herro, Kevin Porter Jr, Langford and Nickeil Alexander-Walker is all in the eye of the beholder. Still 19 years old and with great physical intangibles (6’6, 215lbs with a 6’11 wingspan), Langford is a raw prospect with great potential if he can develop a consistent and reliable jumper. Developing alongside a three-point heavy guard duo like Trae Young and Kevin Huerter may be a great fit for a guy in need of an improved shooting touch.
18. Indiana Pacers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (SG - Virginia Tech)
Ceiling: Joe Johnson
Floor: Cameron Payne
Cam Caldwell: NAW’s game should translate nicely to the next level, but he will need to be better at scoring in 1-on-1 situations to reach his maximum potential. He possesses nice shooting ability and can guard the 1 through 3 positions. Nickeil could wind up being a sneaky good pick for Indiana. The Pacers would be smart to add him alongside Oladipo.
19. San Antonio Spurs: Rui Hachimura (PF - Gonzaga)
Ceiling: Thaddeus Young
Floor: Josh McRoberts
KJ Doyle: With Rudy Gay set to hit free agency, the Spurs need to look to find someone to replace him in their frontcourt. Hachimura has made massive improvements in his game in his three years at Gonzaga. His three point shooting has made a significant leap, he has elite ball handling skills for a big and his 19.7 PPG as the leading scorer on the 30-3 top-seeded Bulldogs suggest the Spurs could be getting their hands on an undervalued upperclassmen in the middle of the first round. Hachimura’s skillset will fit nicely with DeJounte Murray who the Spurs will hand the reigns of the team to upon his return from his ACL tear. Murray and Hachimura could be the foundation of the Spurs budding young core in the coming years.
20. Boston Celtics: Goga Bitadze (C - Republic of Georgia)
Ceiling: Jusuf Nurkic
Floor: Ante Zizic
Max Lissette: It should be stated that I’m not sure how possible it is that the Celtics make all three of their picks and don’t trade any or all of them. While they are likely heading towards a “youth movement”, I just can’t see them bringing in three more rookies when they are still trying to contend for home-court advantage in the playoffs, and guys like Robert Williams haven’t yet gotten a chance to showcase their abilities. That being said, at #20, having already grabbed a shooter with the 14 pick, I have the Celtics taking a risk on a guy who has a large range of possibilities for where he is taken. I could see Goga going in the back end of the lottery, or back in the 20’s all depending on how team’s view him. What Goga lacks in mobility and speed (a la, former C’s pick Ante Zizic), he makes up for with a big, strong frame that Bol Bol for example doesn’t yet have. European players are typically thought of as unknown quantities because of their competition level being so hard to determine, but Goga’s performance overseas was relatively promising. The 6’11, 250lb Center with a 7’2 wingspan averaged 18/10/2 per 36-minutes to go along with 3.5 blocks in the Euroleague this past season.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cam Johnson (SF - North Carolina)
Ceiling: Tobias Harris
Floor: Doug McDermott
Cam Caldwell: Johnson is an absolute sniper when left open and also a very good defender. Isolation situations are going to be the deciding factor to tell if he will be a hidden gem. He has the length and athleticism to get to where he wants to be. He would be great in OKC’s system. Westbrook needs more shooters to kick out to, and Johnson could fall in line.
22. Boston Celtics: P.J. Washington (PF - Kentucky)
Ceiling: Rashard Lewis
Floor: Andrew Nicholson
KJ Doyle: The Celtics lack a quality true power forward on their roster and PJ Washington is the perfect player to fill that void. Washington has immense offensive upside and showed flashes of elite shooting and passing in his sophomore season at Kentucky. With Marcus Morris set to become a free agent, Washington could serve as a youthful replacement and his game would fit nicely next to Tatum and Brown on the wing for years to come. Washington has the skills that coach Brad Stevens covets in big men and although he lacks significant size at the position, his strong frame makes up for it.
23. Memphis Grizzlies: Keldon Johnson (G/F - Kentucky)
Ceiling: Otto Porter
Floor: Garrett Temple
Max Lissette: With Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. as their building blocks for the future, the Grizzlies can use this newly acquired 23rd pick to try to start putting young talent around those two. Keldon Johnson has the frame (6’6, 215 lbs, 6’9 wingspan) and energy level to be a great defensive guard, and his 38% 3-point shooting along with aggression in getting to the rim provides hope that he can be a relatively quick contributor on both ends of the floor.
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Matisse Thybulle (G/F - Washington)
Ceiling: Tony Allen
Floor: Torrey Craig
Cam Caldwell: Thybulle is an absolute star on the defensive end. That alone will keep him on teams and in rotations. If he truly wants to be a complete player, get in the gym and start shooting. This might be the best value pick in the draft.
25. Portland Trail Blazers: KZ Okpala (G/F - Stanford)
Ceiling: Josh Richardson
Floor: Patrick McCaw
KJ Doyle: The Trail Blazers have their guard and center positions sorted out, but have been looking for consistent options at forward for what seems like the past decade. Okpala will be the next in a long line of players the Trail Blazers have plugged in at the position. Okpala was Stanford’s leading scorer at 16.8 points per game and was awarded a spot on the All-Pac-12 team for his performance last season. He uses his physicality to finish at the basket, is excellent in running in transition and has also shown some limited, but impressive skill as a passer. Okpala’s athleticism and size can give Portland hope that he’ll improve on the defensive end once he gets in the NBA. Overall, Okpala isn’t a bad option for the Blazers and could eventually carve out a solid role next to Lillard and McCollum.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nicolas Claxton (PF - Georgia)
Ceiling: Joakim Noah (Physically & w/developed mid-range shot)
Floor: Jason Thompson
Max Lissette: Claxton seems to be one of the guys whose stock has risen the most as the draft approaches. The 20 year old sophomore out of Georgia has all of the physical intangibles to be a force at the next level as he stands just a quarter-inch short of 7 feet tall, weighs in at just over 215lbs and has a wingspan of nearly 7 feet, 3 inches. If he can pack on some muscle in his first few years, he should be even more of a force. This past year, he averaged 13/9/2 along with 2.5 blocks per game. He showed flashes of being able to develop an outside shot as he shot a dismal, but promising for his size, 28.1% from three on 64 attempts during the year. If he is still available as late as 26, I’d be surprised, but the Cavaliers would have a solid PG/C duo between him and Sexton if they are able to grab him. If they get a guy like Culver or Hunter at #5, that trio of ball handler, wing, and big man would have exciting potential to develop together over the next few years.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Chuma Okeke (F - Auburn)
Ceiling: Andre Iguodala
Floor: Richaun Holmes
Cam Caldwell: Okeke has rare potential that is still untapped. In his 2 seasons at Auburn, he was arguably the best player on the floor at all times, and shined in the NCAA Tournament before tearing his ACL. Brooklyn appears to be a prime destination for Okeke at the moment. If he gets a fire under him on the offensive side of the ball, this could be a top 5 player to come from this draft class.
28. Golden State Warriors: Dylan Windler (G/F - Belmont)
Ceiling: Joe Harris
Floor: Nik Stauskas
KJ Doyle: The lack of shooting outside of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson ended up really hurting the Warriors in the NBA Finals. Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston were non-threats from outside and Toronto’s defense chose to completely ignore them at times allowing them to double team Curry without serious repercussions. The Warriors need additional outside threats to stop defenses from playing this way in the future. Windler is one of the best shooters in the draft. He averaged 21.3 points per game and his 54/43/85 shooting splits from last season jump off the page. Windler wasn’t playing against the best competition in the Ohio Valley Conference, but the Warriors can at least be confident they’re getting a reliable shooter who defenses can’t ignore.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Bruno Fernando (C - Maryland)
Ceiling: Montrezl Harrell
Floor: Festus Ezeli
Max Lissette: The big man from Maryland seems to have experienced a pretty decent fall on most big-boards since prospect evaluation first picked up over the last month or so. Once projected near the lottery by some, the question now seems to be whether or not he will be chosen in the first round at all. I have him going to the Spurs here, an organization that has seen dominant big men play an integral role in their success for decades. From David Robinson to Tim Duncan to Lamarcus Aldridge, the lineage of talented big men is long in San Antonio. Not to say that Fernando has the potential that any of them had or will ever become close to any of those guys, but if he was to land in San Antonio, it would likely prove beneficial to his development. Fernando is a wildly athletic, rim-running big man with legitimate questions about his defensive capabilities and shot. With the coaching of Gregg Popovich and a mentor like LaMarcus Aldridge, Fernando would stand to learn how to fix those flaws from some of the best possible people.
30. Detroit Pistons: Eric Paschall (PF - Villanova)
Ceiling: PJ Tucker
Floor: Kyle O’Quinn
Cam Caldwell: I am not high on Paschall, but several teams have inquired about him. If he can shoot it consistently enough, he may find a role in this league. I comp him with PJ Tucker because what PJ lacks physically and skill-wise, he makes up for with hustle and determination. That will need to be Eric’s calling card.
Photo: (Robert Deutsch - USA Today Sports)(Richard Shiro - AP Photo)