With the 2019 NBA Draft now only three weeks away, mock draft season is in full swing! With Zion Williamson being a foregone conclusion to be the #1 overall pick, how does the rest of the lottery shape up? Does Rui Hachimura make the cut? With a fair share of moving and shaking since last week’s mock draft, we give you our 1-14 lottery picks in our updated 2019 Mock NBA Draft.
14 – Boston Celtics: Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
Position: F / Height: 6’8” / Age: 21
NBA Player Comp: beefier Wilson Chandler with elements of Thaddeus Young
Previously: Bol Bol, Oregon
With impressive strength for his 6’8” frame, the hard-nosed Hachimura cracks the lottery with the Celtics taking him at #14. Hachimura is a beast in transition and can take it coast-to-coast as good as anybody his size. Hachimura has improved immensely since his freshman year, and was a consensus All-American this season after nearly averaging 20 points, 6.5 boards and 1.5 assists per game for the Zags. While he shot north of 41% from three, it was in limited supply, and Hachimura still has a lot to prove when it comes to being a big-time outside shooter. With the potential to be the first ever Japanese national to be drafted in the first round (let alone the lottery) in NBA history, Hachimura is an excellent fit for Boston at #14.
13 – Miami Heat: Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
Position: F / Height: 6’8” / Age: 22
NBA Player Comp: a Paul Millsap/Jordan Bell blend
Previously: Romeo Langford, Indiana
Despite dropping two spots from last week, 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 blue collar 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 Heat would be wise to snatch him up considering the disappointing return on investment they’ve had on Hassan Whiteside and that max contract (which is over after 2019-20’s $27 million player option).
12 – Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington, Kentucky
Position: F / Height: 6’8” / Age: 20
NBA Player Comp: throw Patrick Patterson and Taj Gibson in a blender
Previously: Nassir Little, North Carolina
It’d be the furthest thing from a surprise if the Hornets went and got a Kentucky guy here. That guy would be PJ Washington, a fast-rising sophomore who added tons of scoring touch (> 42% from 3) to his game in his sophomore campaign. He had a strong NCAA Tournament which helped him enter the conversation as a legit lottery pick. Washington could join fellow ex-Kentucky hoopers Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk on a Charlotte team that may or may not be without Kemba Walker in a few months’ time. He can really pass it for his size as well, and while he lacks the explosiveness that you’d want for today’s NBA, he’s an excellent finisher inside and out and gives the Hornets a well-rounded forward who is already on the fast track in terms of his development.
11 – Minnesota Timberwolves: 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
Previously: Brandon Clarke
A week after going 12th to the Hornets, Nassir Little bumps up a spot to #11 this week. 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. In this case, it’s the T-Wolves even though they’re still locked into four more years of max Andrew Wiggins. Yikes.
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