The unthinkable just transpired in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery tonight, May 14th. With all of the drama surrounding the New Orleans Pelicans and their superstar Anthony Davis, the Pelicans might have just convinced the star to stay in town by landing the first overall pick.
That being said, it was certainly a very eventful night. Here is my mock lottery draft 1.0.
1. New Orleans Pelicans – SF Zion Williamson, Duke
This one is pretty clear. Everyone knew that the NBA Draft Lottery this season should have been entitled “The Race To Zion.” This is a huge night for not only the New Orleans Pelicans organization, but for the landscape of the 2019 NBA off-season.
Previously, Anthony Davis had made it very clear to the Pelicans front office that he had no intention of returning to New Orleans this season. Most of this was pent up frustration of being one of the best players in the league and being unable to maintain a good group of talent around the team. Center Demarcus Cousins left New Orleans at his first opportunity to go, running to play for the Golden State Warriors on a budget deal.
Now, by adding the most unique talent we have ever seen on the basketball court, the Pelicans may convince not only Davis to stay, but could squeeze one more free agent star into the roster.
Zion Williamson brings a complete package to the court. He’s freakishly athletic, combining an odd blend of size and speed to his game that allows him to dominate by playing any position on the court. At 6’6″ and 272 pounds, he projects best as a small forward, which can make the Pelicans front easily the most feared front court across the NBA.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – PG Ja Morant, Murray State
This is pretty much a gimmie for the Grizzlies too. Point guard Mike Conley is getting old, and not exactly worth his giant contract deal next season (over $32M), so the Grizzlies would like to add someome to the roster who can replace him next season when they terminate his contract early.
Morant reminds me of a Russell Westbrook type of a player. He’s an athletic freak who averaged 24.5 points per game last season and 10 assists. He’s a good shooter too, knocking down 50% of his shots from the floor. Morant is going to play a lot of minutes and provide a great statline. It makes for a very interesting combination with Jaren Jackson Jr, their first round pick last season.
3. New York Knicks – SF Cam Reddish, Duke
I wrote last week about how the Knicks needed to try and make a play for the 1st overall pick and throw everything that they could into the pot to get Zion Williamson. However, I did not anticipate the Pelicans landing the first overall pick at all. There is no way that the Knicks can pull off a move that the Pelicans will take.
That being said, rumors have started to move in NBA circles that the Knicks very much like Cam Reddish, the former Duke guard. Reddish was the odd man out at Duke, oftentimes overshaddowed by Zion and RJ Barrett. As a result, I believe that we saw Reddish try too hard to make an impact in the games he played in.
Reddish has the ability to make the plays. His highlight reels are filled with incredible shots from strange and difficult angles.
4. Los Angeles Lakers – SG RJ Barrett, Duke
Why would the Lakers pass on such a gifted talent? Barrett and LeBron is a good start for when the stars come knocking on LA.
Barrett is a talented shooter, and can pull up from anywhere on the court. His range is very effective. Barrett lead the Duke team in scoring last season, so he can take over a game himself.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – SG Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
The Cavaliers added PG Colin Sexton from Alabama last season, a balanced guard who plays pretty good defense. Now they have an opportunity to solidify their back court with another such player, and they shouldn’t pass on it.
Culver is a better shooter than Sexton, and provides better range. His defense is solid too. Culver could be a big piece to help Cleveland, and could bring then back into contention.
6. Phoenix Suns – SF De’Andre Hunter, Virginia
The Suns took a shot with Josh Jackson a couple of seasons ago, but so far that has not panned out well for them. The time is running out to retain SG Devin Booker, the emerging superstar that Phoenix wants to anchor their franchise upon.
7. Chicago Bulls – C Bol Bol, Oregon
The Chicago Bulls are trying to build a solid team again, scratching their team lasy offseason to rebuild from the ground up. They added a talented piece with Lauri Markkanen, and Kris Dunn has turned out to be a solid point guard. Now the Bulls can add a dominant middle man in Bol Bol, the son of Maunte Bol.
8. Atlanta Hawks – SG Romeo Langford, Indiana
The Hawks are also building from the ground up, much like the Bulls. This is another piece where they are filling a need and selecting a top talent at the same time.
9. Washington Wizards – PF Sekou Doumbouya, Guinea
The Wizards made a flurry of trades at the deadline, moving dead cap and prooving that the Wizards are deadlining and trying to start the team from scratch. 9th overall wasn’t the most ideal position for them to draft from, but hey, its a start.
10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas) – C Jaxson Hayes, Texas
The Hawks now complete their young starting five with the addition of the explosive Jaxson Hayes. Let’s take a quick look at what the Hawks starting five could potentially look like:
- PG Trae Young
- SG Romeo Langford
- SF Taurean Prince
- PF John Collins
- C Jaxson Hayes
That’s really a pretty solid young lineup. Jaxson Hayes is most effective under the basket, and is a hell of a talent. Paired with John Collins, these two can crash the boards and offer a lot of second chance points.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves – PG Coby White, North Carolina
The Timberwolves need to try and adjust their situation before their star, Karl Anthony Towns, looses patience in his franchise. Drama is building rapidly, and the income from the Minnesota team isn’t built to handle a lot of drama.
12. Charlotte Hornets – PF Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
The Hornets ended up with a short stick this season. They probably will not be able to retain PG Kemba Walker, so I would expect the organization to go in a mew direction.
13. Miami Heat – PF PJ Washington, Kentucky
The Heat are trying to build back to that playoff run that they made last season.
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento) – PG Ty Jerome, Virginia
Boston likes adding shooters. Ty Jerome is a shooter. End of story.