Have no fear. Our first annual Way-too-Early 2019 NBA Mock Draft is here.
Like many of you probably are, I am still coming down from the hoops-high I got from last Thursday’s NBA Draft. So here’s your next fix.
For those of you whose team completely botched in the lottery yet again, this mock draft is for you. First, we’ll profile some of the “can’t-miss” prospects that you’ll hope to see on your team’s roster a year from today. After that, I’m going to throw a bunch of names of people you’ve probably never heard of right below them. And we’re just going to roll with it.
Dim the lights… Here we go.
Note: All incoming freshmen measurements according to 247sports.com. All college measurements according to team websites.
1. R.J. Barrett – G/F | Duke | FR | 6’7″ | 200 lbs
Alright, This dude is raw af. In a good way. I’ve watched countless hours of hoop mixtapes, the McDonald’s All-American game, and the Nike Hoops Summit over the past few months, and this kid is a lock to go number 1.
Barrett has the mamba mentality. He wants to destroy every opponent he faces. Unless you’re Bill Laimbeer, you will not stop this kid in transition. Like James Harden, Barrett is a crafty lefty capable of scoring in many ways. He even has a devastating eurostep the Beard would be proud of. Take a look at this one… creamy.
Barrett dunks like Russell Westbrook and shows shades of Ben Simmons. He’s got the body of a legit NBA wing but is at his best with the rock in his hands. The only knock on this kid’s game is his developing jumper, which can be smoothed out within the next couple of years.
2. Cam Reddish – G/F | Duke | FR | 6’7″ | 211 lbs
Reddish is going to get buckets alongside that Canadian lad mentioned above. Like Barrett, Reddish may be best playing the point forward position. He excelled in a ball-dominant role in high school.
Paul George comps will stem from Reddish’s ability to shoot off the dribble — a sought-after skill in today’s NBA. This kid is so smooth with a basketball it almost looks like he’s not even trying. Please, look at what I’m talking about.
Reddish is a dream prospect and a prime example of a “positionless” player. If his frequently criticized motor gets fixed in Coach K’s body shop, Reddish will become a perennial NBA All-Star.
3. Nassir Little – SF | North Carolina | FR | 6’7″ | 205 lbs
Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s stunt double, Nassir Little, is coming hot out of the Orlando Zoo. Roy Williams is going to need everything he can get out of this kid to hang with Duke’s embarrassment of riches next season. A star in the making, Little exploded to the very top of recruiting rankings this past Spring.
He’s a fearless competitor with a high-powered motor. Little wants to suffocate his enemies on defense, wet threes in your face, and dunk on everything in sight. Here’s a quick look into some of the talents he’s taking to Chapel Hill.
Little will bring much needed athleticism to a team whose featured player is a knockoff Kevin Love, in Luke Maye. His range is expanding, and his work ethic will only accelerate that. Tune in when the Tar Heels on your TV next year. Little should be one of college hoop’s most exciting players to watch.
4. Zion Williamson – SF/PF | Duke | FR | 6’6″ | 275 lbs
If Barrett is Quavo and Reddish is Offset (low-key looks like him), Zion Williamson is Takeoff. And I am not just saying that because he is the greatest in-game dunker on 5’6″ white kids I have ever seen. Zion just simply won’t be “the guy” at Duke.
Williamson will be the NCAA version of the “Human Highlight Reel.” I can’t wait to see how much money they make off his likeness. Enough typing, here’s Zion dunking a basketball.
Zion’s skillset is tough to analyze as a prospect. With elite quickness, more hops than an IPA, and the body of a grown-ass-man, NBA scouts should overlook his unproven shooting ability because of the sheer upside he brings to the table.
5. Quentin Grimes – G | Kansas | FR | 6’5″ | 200 lbs
Quentin Grimes should be the first one-and-done guard off the board next year. The most polished guard in the 2018 recruiting class, Grimes won tourney MVP honors at the FIBA U-18 Americas in Canada this Summer.
He’s a flashy passer, fantastic athlete, and is capable of scoring in many different ways. His future college coach, Bill Self, claimed Grimes to be “as complete a guard” as he’s ever had at KU. That is high praise coming from a coach who’s seen Andrew Wiggins, Mario Chalmers, Frank Mason, Ben McLemore, and more come through the ranks.
6. Romeo Langford – G | Indiana | FR | 6’5″ | 191 lbs
Held upside down by his heels and dipped into the Ohio River as an infant, Romeo Langford is a basketball demigod from New Albany, Indiana. In the high school version of LeBron’s “Decision” TV special, Romeo announced he was being paid by Sean Miller’s brother hooping for the Indiana Hoosiers next season.
All jokes aside, Langford is an ultra-smooth bucket-getter and score-first guard. He is often considered one of the best shooters in the class, so NBA scouts will surely keep an eye on his shooting efficiency next season. A squad needing another go-to scorer should jump against this Indiana product.
7. Rui Hachimura – F | Gonzaga | JR | 6’8″ | 225 lbs
Rui, “The Samurai,” Hachimura is a Japanese beast out of Gonzaga. A 1st-Team All-West Coast player off the bench, Hachimura projects as an extremely versatile big in the league. He puts the ball on the floor incredibly well for a guy of his size and could serve as an effective small-ball center. Check this inside-out dribble and finger roll on this coast-to-coast drive.
I don’t see Hachimura ever being the number one option on a NBA roster, but I CAN envision him as an ultimate glue guy. Like Draymond Green, Hachimura should be able to defend multiple positions and be an above average rebounder.
8. Keldon Johnson – G | Kentucky | FR | 6’6″ | 216 lbs
Megalo-point guard Keldon Johnson will have a golden opportunity to replace Clippers’ draft pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at Kentucky. Johnson has the looks of a physically dominant point guard with scoring ability at all three levels.
The way he scores and uses his body to his advantage reminds me a lot of Markelle Fultz. This Oak Hill product may become a fan favorite for #BigBlueNation this year.
9. Sekou Doumbouya – F | France | 17 | 6’9″ | 190 lbs
Over the same weekend as the 2018 All-Star break, the NBA held its Basketball Without Borders Global Camp. Sekou Doumbouya was quite clearly the camp’s most eye-popping prospect. NBA scouts only care about “long wingspans” nowadays and that box checks off for Doumbouya.
Raw in many areas, Doumbouya will be viewed as more of a project than a day-one contributor. On tape, he has a quick second bounce and looks like the type of player that does all the little things right. His top 10 valuation is banking on his potential to become a complete offensive player.
10. Louis King – G/F | Oregon | FR | 6’8″ | 195 lbs
Duck fans won’t miss Troy Brown too much with the entrance of Louis King. The Oregon-bound wing has the looks of a star in the making. He had to sit out a large amount of his senior year due to injury but should bounce back fine in Eugene next season.
King is higher on my board than most. A knack for scoring off the bounce and solid 3-point stroke project All-Star potential.
11. Daniel Gafford – C | Arkansas | SO | 6’11” | 234 lbs
Had he stayed in the 2018 draft, Gafford would have been a first round pick. Gafford plays a very similar role to that of newly drafted Boston Celtic and former Texas A&M Aggie Robert Williams. For long-armed centers with serious bounce, they have some seriously white names.
Gafford put up an impressive 12.1 points, 6.2 boards, and 2.2 blocks as a freshman. He recovers well against guards and could be a solid rim-runner/lob-catcher for years to come. He can also do this.
12. Jontay Porter – PF | Missouri | SO | 6’11” | 240 lbs
With big bro Michael Porter Jr. nursing that back injury in Denver with some medical marijuana, Jontay will own the limelight in CoMo. Rumors swirled that the San Antonio Spurs would have selected him with the 18th pick in this year’s draft.
Jontay is a capable shooter and shot blocker. Question marks about his athleticism will likely keep him out of the top 10.
13. Nazreon Reid – F | LSU | FR | 6’9″ | 220 lbs
Naz Reid plays the game of basketball with true swagger. He has a unique combination of size and skill for a big man. The man known as “Big Jelly” is a legitimate walking bucket and helluva passer.
I am as excited to watch him play for LSU as I am about nearly any other incoming freshman this year. Reid is the top recruit in a loaded class heading to Baton Rouge.
14. Sagaba Konate – F | West Virginia | JR | 6’8″ | 260 lbs
Sags Konate is better at blocking shots than this Christmas gift I received like 12 years ago. Konate blocked 3.3 shots per game last year at West Virginia, second in the Big 12 next to Mo Bamba.
If Konate can expand his offensive game this next season back in Morgantown, he should deservedly be a lottery pick. He is hands down one of the most elite shot blockers I’ve ever seen. Bob Huggins had to be jumping out of his seat or at least trying to after hearing of Konate’s return. His presence on the floor can completely change a game.
THE OTHER GUYS
15. De’Andre Hunter – G | Virginia | SO | 6’7″ | 222 lbs
16. Darius Garland – PG | Vanderbilt | FR | 6’3″ | 170 lbs
17. Bol Bol – C | Oregon | FR | 7’2″ | 230 lbs
18. Kris Wilkes – G | UCLA | SO | 6’8″ | 195 lbs
19. Luka Samanic – PF | Spain | 18 | 6’10” | 210 lbs
20. Jalen McDaniels – F | San Diego State | SO | 6’10” | 195 lbs
21. Bruno Fernando – F | Maryland | SO | 6’10” | 245 lbs
22. Killian Tillie – F | Gonzaga | JR | 6’10” | 215 lbs
23. Jaylen Hoard – SF | Maryland | FR | 6’8″ | 195 lbs
24. Carsen Edwards – G | Purdue | JR | 6’1″ | 200 lbs
25. Caleb Martin – G/F | Nevada | SR | 6’7″ | 205 lbs
26. Tyus Battle – G | Syracuse | JR | 6’6″ | 205 lbs
27. Jarrett Culver – G | Texas Tech | SO | 6’5″ | 190 lbs
28. P.J. Washington – F | Kentucky | SO | 6’7″ | 236 lbs
29. Darius Bazley – F | G-League | 18 | 6’9″ | 200 lbs
30. Lindell Wiggington – G | Iowa State | SO | 6’2″ | 188 lbs