Draft Utopia has had the top ranked NBA Mock Draft the last two years in a row in 2017 and 2018. We are aiming to three peat just like the Golden State Warriors. Hopefully the Utopia of Sports accomplishes what Golden State failed to achieve.
The 6-7 285 lb Zion Williamson is versatile enough to play the 2 at shooting guard, 3 at small forward, 4 at power forward, or the 5 at center. He's exceptional defensively to the point where he can defend against the 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. It doesn't matter whether you are a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, or center. Zion is a special player defensively despite being an inconsistent shooter at times.
New Orleans has a good starting five when healthy including point guard Lonzo Ball, shooting guard Jrue Holliday, small forward Brandon Ingram, and they got Julius Randle moving to the 5 at center after being a power forward his entire career.
The 18-year-old Zion Williamson averaged 22.6 points per game, 8.9 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, 2.1 steals per game, 1.8 blocks per game, a 68% field goal percentage, a 64% free throw percentage, and a 33.8% three point percentage. Williamson was the top recruit coming out of High School as well as the heart and soul of Duke’s basketball team in 2019 when he was healthy.
Some are comparing Williamson to LeBron James. He doesn’t hit three pointers like LeBron, plus I compared Ben Simmons to LeBron James and I don’t think Williamson is as polished as Simmons was coming out of LSU despite having just as high of a ceiling. I think he’s the best power forward to enter the NBA Draft since Anthony Davis, however he’s not as big as Davis was coming out of Kentucky. Williamson is just as durable as the former Pelicans big man and will transition to center easier then Julius Randle.
Zion Williamson is the best player in this class though. He will help the Pelicans out right away with or without Anthony Davis in 2019.
I also have a film session of Zion Williamson on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Michigan State.
The 6-3 175 lb Ja Morant is going to be the starting point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis traded Mike Conley Jr. to Utah for the twenty third pick in this draft.
Ja Morant averaged 24.5 points per game, 10 assists per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, a 49.9% field goal percentage, a 81.3% free throw percentage, and a 36.3% three point percentage. Ja Morant can play the 1, 2, or 3 with his versatility, but projects best at the 1 due to inconsistent defensive awareness as well as a lack of speed, plus a tendency to take bad angles when defending. These are things Morant can correct as he develops because he passes like a Harlem Globetrotter and shoots like a young Russell Westbrook so there is a lot to love with Morant despite reports of a hamstring injury.
Morant gives Memphis a new face of the franchise at point guard. Morant can help Memphis rebuild into a contender quickly.
I also have a film session of Ja Morant on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Auburn.
The 6-7 202 lb R.J. Barrett is the best shooting guard/small forward in this years 2019 NBA Draft. He's a wing that can play either the 2 or 3 with his versatility. He showed the ability to be the feature guy at times when Zion Williamson was injured. There are rumors that Atlanta wants to move 8 and 10 to move up to 3 for Barrett. This is something the Knicks should mull over in such a deep draft class.
Barrett is 18-years-old and turns 19-years-old days before the 2019 NBA Draft. New York may get some star players like Kyrie Irving at point guard, Kevin Durant at small forward, or Anthony Davis at center in the offseason. Getting all three of these guys and Barrett would allow a quick turnaround for the New York Knicks.
R.J. Barrett averaged 22.6 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, 4.3 assists per game, a 45.4% field goal percentage, a 66.5% free throw percentage, and a 30.8% three point percentage. Barrett is the best player available for the New York Knicks despite his inconsistent defending and inconsistent three point shooting.
One thing I will gave Barrett credit for was is ability to defend Indiana shooting guard Romeo Langford who was Barrett's competition to be the top shooting guard in High School. Langford was 3/15 VS Barrett and 0/4 from three point range. He can be clutch despite his flaws and was once projected to go ahead of Zion Williamson back in the Summer and was my second best overall player on my 2018 High School Rankings for Basketball heading into this season.
I also have a film session of R.J. Barrett on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Michigan State where Duke used the top shooting guard in the HS class of 2018 as a small forward.
Atlanta traded Taurean Prince to Brooklyn. They just moved 8, 17, and 35 for this pick so they are taking De'Andre Hunter at 4.
The 6-7 225 lb De'Andre Hunter can play small forward, power forward, or shooting guard with his versatility. The 21-year-old sophomore redshirt did not break out until this season. He also led Virginia to a National Championship in 2019 after Virginia had the top seed and lost to a 16 seed UMBC in 2018.
De'Andre Hunter averaged 15.2 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, a 52% field goal percentage, a 78.3% free throw percentage, and a 43.8% three point percentage in his sophomore season. Hunter is also a great defender on tape.
Atlanta has a starting five with Trae Young at point guard, Kent Bazemore at shooting guard, De'Andre Hunter at small forward, John Collins at power forward, and Alex Len at center.
The 6-2 175 lb Darius Garland was my second best point guard coming out of High School behind Tre Jones. Tre Jones returned to Duke for his sophomore season. The 19-year-old Garland is now the top point guard in this draft class as a result.
I've seen Garland hit short-range, mid-range, and long-range shots on tape despite what his stats say. Displays the ability to be an elite passer with offensive awareness and defensive awareness that you want in a point guard. He has an exceptional basketball IQ. Garland only played five games at Vanderbilt this season averaging 16.5 points per game, but in many ways he reminds me of Lonzo Ball or Kyrie Irving without the drama. He's a scrappy defender who can contest shots, rebound, and steal the ball despite his size.
Cleveland has Collin Sexton and Brandon Knight. They could have gotten Jarrett Culver or Cam Reddish. There were reports that Cleveland would take Garland and I didn't guy into it. This pick gets an A grade, but not an A+ grade.
The 6-6 195 lb Jarrett Culver played point guard and shooting guard next to Zhaire Smith at Texas Tech when Smith played shooting guard and small forward as a true freshman when Culver averaged 11.2 points per game. Culver returned for his sophomore season averaging 18.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, 3.7 assists per game, a 46.1% field goal percentage, a 70.7% free throw percentage, and a 30.4% three point percentage. The 20-year-old two-guard can help the Timberwolves.
Culver may not score as frequently as R.J. Barrett. He's more versatile as a guard who can play both guard spots unlike Barrett. Jarrett Culver is also a way better defender on tape despite struggling with his three point shot at times like Barrett does. Culver is also a more consistent shooter with a better free throw percentage as well which is why it's hard to argue against the Timberwolves taking Culver at 6.
This is the third year in a row where the Chicago Bulls will have the seventh pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Chicago has a starting five with Kris Dunn at point guard, Zach LeVine at shooting guard, Otto Porter Jr. at small forward, Lauri Markanen at power forward, and Wendell Carter Jr. at center.
Chicago spent their last two seasons getting bigs at power forward and center with the seventh overall pick. The Bulls had ten different players average 10 points per game.
This draft class has 7 players in the running to be selected in the top 6 overall. These players include Duke power forward Zion Williamson, Murray State point guard Ja Morant, Duke shooting guard R.J. Barrett, Texas Tech shooting guard Jarrett Culver, Virginia small forward DeAndre Hunter, Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland, and North Carolina point guard Coby White.
Chicago will either land Coby White or Jarrett Culver at 7 because I think the Lakers are going to either take Culver or Garland. Most mocks have Garland to the Lakers since he's younger and a better three point shooter despite being injured for most of this season.
In that scenario Cleveland still gets Hunter and Phoenix would reach for White at point guard allowing the Bulls to take Culver at 7 in the event that the Lakers took Garland. In this mock though, I'm giving the Lakers Culver, even though that may change in my final mock draft.
Chicago needs a defensive presence for depth or a point guard to push Kris Dunn. The 6-5 185 lb Coby White can play point guard or shooting guard with his versatility.
The 19-year-old Coby White had 16.1 points per game, 4.1 assists per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 1.1 steals per game, a 42.2% field goal percentage, a 80% free throw percentage, and a 35.3% three point percentage. I gave Darius Garland a 94/100 grade out of High School. Coby White only had an 88/100 grade on my High School page. His defense is below average and will be a liability despite his versatility that Garland lacks.
Coby White surpassed Michael Jordan for points as a freshman at North Carolina. That's why White is getting overhyped. At the same time, I think White could end up being a bust because I don't see him as someone with a higher ceiling then Kris Dunn and that's what Chicago needs if they want to take a point guard at 7.
New Orleans gets someone to push center Jahlil Okafor and power forward Julius Randle who could move to center. Jaxson Hayes is a reach, but not a pick that is a masive reach plus this one of the better picks from a need standpoint.
The 6-11 220 lb Jaxson Hayes can play power forward or center with his versatility. The son of former NFL tight end Jonathan Hayes is someone New Orleans can add for depth.
Jaxson Hayes had 10 points per game and 5 rebounds per game. He hardly generates assists, but is outstanding defensively with great rebounding and shot blocking.
Hayes is someone who relies on his short-range and mid-range shots. He cannot shoot from long-range at this point.
I had Rui Hachimura to the Wizards in a majority of my mocks before changing the pick in my final NBA Mock Draft. Rui Hachimura is someone myself and my NBA Insider Kyle loved heading into this draft and he fills that void that Otto Porter left.
Atlanta gets more depth as well as the best player on the board. This pick is easil an A+ Grade.
Drafting the 6-8 218 lb Cam Reddish makes sense. The 19-year-old averaged 13.5 points per game at Duke. His most memorable moment was that game-winning three pointer he hit versus Florida State. Reddish specializes with his shooting. His 77.2% free throw percentage and 33.3% three point percentage are impressive. The 35.6% field goal percentage by Reddish is alarming.
Cameron Johnson is a senior. When is the last time a senior went in the lottery.
The 23-year-old Cameron Johnson is a former Pitt Panther who transferred to North Carolina. At North Carolina, Johnson led the Tar Heels in scoring this season averaging 16.9 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, a 50.6% field goal percentage, a 81.8% free throw percentage, and a 45.7% three point percentage.
This is a huge reach. I was gonna give this an F grade, but his good shooting and consistent shooting is why I am giving the Suns a C grade. The Suns needed a point guard, and will probably be picking in the lottery again since they did not get a point guard.
The 6-8 228 lb P.J. Washington has two years of experience at Kentucky. He's versatile enough to play small forward or power forward with his versatility.
P.J. Washington had 10.8 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists per game, a 51.9% field goal percentage, 60.6% free throw percentage, and a 23.8% three point percentage as a freshman. This past season Washington averaged 15.2 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, 1.8 assists per game, a 52.2% field goal percentage, a 66.6% free throw percentage, and a 42.3% three point percentage. P.J. Washington is a reach at 12. This is still a solid pick that warrants a C grade.
Miami gets Tyler Herro for depth behind Goran Dragic as a future point guard down the road. One cannot help by raving about his athleticism, speed, explosion, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and basketball IQ. I see someone who has the short-range, mid-range, and long-range shots to dominate on tape as well.
The 6-5 195 lb Tyler Herro is versatile enough to play both point guard and shooting guard with his versatility. The 19-year-old guard is an effective two guard for depth and is capable of pushing for the point guard job in Detroit.
Herro averaged 14 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game, a 46.2% field goal percentage, a 93.5% free throw percentage, and a 35.5% three point percentage. Herro is a great shooter who is money from the free throw line. He can contribute with the Pistons as a role player. He may be able to supplant Kennard as the starting shooting guard down the road.
The Celtics grab the 6-6 215 lb Romeo Langford. Langford has a higher ceiling then any current shooting guard on the Celtics.
Langford averaged 16.5 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game a 44.8% field goal percentage, 72.2% free throw percentage, and a 27.2% three point percentage. Langford was my third best recruit coming out of High School, but he did not play like the top 5 prospect that many hoped he would be.
Langford still has a tremendous upside. He is still a top 10 pick despite not having good three point shooting due to his ability to play effectively on both offense and defense. Boston is getting a huge steal at 14.
One cannot help by raving about Doumbaya's athleticism, speed, explosion, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and basketball IQ. I see someone who has the short-range, mid-range, and long-range shots to dominate on tape as well. Sekou Doumbaya is also capable of playing the 2, 3, or 4 at shooting guard, small forward, or power forward with his versatility. He can defend the 1, 2, 3, or 4. Centers are the only players that can overwhelm him with size.
Sekou Doumbaya checks all the boxes on tape despite what his stats say which is why he's a boom or bust pick. Frank Ntilikina who the Knicks wasted a top 10 pick on had the same qualities on tape despite having lousy stats and he busted. Doumbaya is a better three point shooter than Ntilikina which is why Sekou Doumbaya has a good chance to succeed with a team like the Detroit Pistons because he's way more versatile too.