With the 2019 NBA Draft rapidly approaching, the best time of year officially begins: mock draft season! With Zion Williamson being a foregone conclusion to be the #1 overall pick, how does the rest of the lottery shape up? We put on our thinking hats as we give you our 1-14 lottery picks in our 2019 NBA Mock Draft.
14 – Boston Celtics: Bol Bol, Oregon
Position: C / Height: 7’3” / Age: 19
NBA Player Comp: somewhere between Kristaps Porzingis and Thon Maker
At nearly 7’3” with the ability to both stretch the floor from deep and protect the paint, there’s too much potential to have Bol Bol drop out of the lottery here. Not quite as tall as his pops, he barely weighs two bills and could get bullied by thicker bigs. While there’s no bigger injury risk in the draft (had an early season-ending foot injury after averaging 20 a game for Oregon), he’s got as high a ceiling as any big man in the draft and can be the steal of the draft at #14.
13 – Miami Heat: Romeo Langford, Indiana
Position: G / Height: 6’6” / Age: 19
NBA Player Comp: less refined Bradley Beal, idealized Evan Turner
A big wing with the ability to put up some serious scoring numbers, Langford would check in as an impact scorer for the Heat. He’s well built at 6’6” and 215 pounds, and can absorb contact and finish at the rim. He’s owned up to the need to tweak his shot and his shooting numbers (27.2% from 3) may have been affected by a nagging thumb injury that plagued him this past season. While scouts are split on whether he’s worth a late lottery look or not, it’s fair to say he’d be an instant upgrade over Dion Waiters and that abhorrent contract.
12 – Charlotte Hornets: Nassir Little, North Carolina
Position: F / Height: 6’6” / Age: 19
NBA Player Comp: poverty-stricken man’s Kawhi Leonard, moderately rich man’s Jae Crowder
His lone year of college ball at Chapel Hill was a dud, failing to live up to the billing as a top-5 recruit. He barely cracked 18 minutes a game in Roy Williams’ rotation, put up only 9.8 points per game and didn’t even hit on 27% of this threes. But his blend of strength and quickness allows him to defend guards and bigs alike, and that kind of defensive versatility is always coveted. There’s no way that a top-5 recruit’s Kawhi-like level of potential evaporated in 12 months, and some late lottery team is sure to agree.
11 – Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
Position: F / Height: 6’8” / Age: 22
NBA Player Comp: a Paul Millsap/Jordan Bell blend
Perhaps no player’s draft stock rose quicker than Brandon Clarke’s from an outstanding redshirt junior campaign and some ridiculous combine numbers (led all forwards with a 40.5-inch vert, fastest ¾ sprint). Despite being an undersized big, he’s an exceptional athlete with brilliant defensive instincts. He’s a hard-nosed player whose only knock against him is his ability to shoot the rock. He’s fantastic scoring inside, and despite being the oldest lottery prospect by a wide margin, the Wolves (and Karl-Anthony Towns in particular) stand to benefit greatly by adding a player of his caliber defensively at 11.
10 – Atlanta Hawks: Jaxson Hayes, Texas
Position: C / Height: 6’11” / Age: 19
NBA Player Comp: a cross-breed of Jarrett Allen and a competent JaVale McGee
The Hawks make out like bandits with two huge upside prospects taken at #8 and #10. Already an elite rim protector after one season at Texas, Hayes is undeniably raw as a prospect but has improved as much as any big man in the draft this year. His measurables are eye-catching and his athleticism allows him to convert at a high rate down low. He shot an impressive 74% from the line but a consistent shooting touch hasn’t been seen yet. He’s one of the youngest NBA Draft-eligible players this year, and there’s good reason to think he may not be done growing just yet. Him and John Collins would be fun.