2019 post-lottery NBA mock draft: RJ Barrett to the Big Apple?

From disgruntled New York Knicks fans, to celebratory New Orleans Pelicans peeps, here's a great recap of reactions from the NBA Draft Lottery.

Following last night’s shocking draft lottery, we now know that the New Orleans Pelicans will have the privilege of selecting Zion Williamson with the first overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 20.

After the first three picks in what many believe to be a top-heavy class, it’s up in the air which prospects the remaining lottery teams will select once their time on the draft clock begins.

With that in mind, here are some of the likeliest names you can expect to see drafted within the top-14 selections during what’s sure to be an even wilder draft night.

Pick Team Player
1 Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
Williamson quickly separated himself from the pack with his one-of-a-kind strength and athleticism in what was a dominant freshman season. The Blue Devils star averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game while shooting an efficient 68 per cent from the field with high usage. Williamson used his explosive 285-pound frame to establish himself as a nearly unstoppable paint presence at Duke and should have no issues bringing that element of his game with him to the NBA. Anthony Davis’ stance on a trade out of New Orleans reportedly hasn’t wavered, even after the draft lottery, meaning Williamson will have to usher in a new era of Pelicans basketball as the franchise’s lone star.
2 Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
Morant offers a combination of size and speed that should help make his pro transition a smooth one. He’s great at barreling into the paint and finishing around the rim, but his true calling card is playmaking. The sophomore became the first Division 1 player in more than two decades to average double-digit assists, and the first to average at least 20 points and 10 assists since 1983 (the year assists started being tracked). For a team in need of a floor general with all-star potential, look no further than Morant. The writing’s now on the wall for Memphis to explore trading veteran point guard Mike Conley for young prospects or picks.
3 RJ Barrett, SG/SF, Duke
The Mississauga, Ont. native figures to be a go-to scorer right from Day 1, which makes him an attractive pick for a team lacking players that initiating their own offence. The biggest question mark for Barrett is his scoring efficiency from long range, with the Canadian only connecting on 30.8 per cent of his three-pointers on 6.2 attempts per game while at Duke. You can bet the Knicks and their fans are irate they didn’t get a chance to snag Williamson at No. 1, but Barrett is certainly a strong consolation price. Watching the Canadian play under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden — potentially alongside a star free agent or two — will be something.
4 Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
Culver stepped up in his sophomore season as the Red Raiders’ primary scorer and ball handler, averaging a team-high 18.5 points and 3.7 assists for the NCAA Tournament runner-ups. Standing at six-foot-six with a seven-foot-one wingspan, the Texas native has ample length to thrive as a two-guard or small-ball forward. Culver showed he was capable of creating his own shot and initiating for others. His jumper regressed after his freshman season, but if it becomes a more reliable offensive weapon for him, watch out. LeBron James creating clean looks for him on a regular basis should do wonders for Culver in that regard.
5 De’Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
Hunter’s projection as a versatile wing defender capable of guarding multiple positions makes him an unlikely name to fall out of the top-five. The six-foot-seven forward, who’s coming off ACC Defensive Player of the Year honours and a National Championship victory with Virginia, is also an above-average shooter (converted 43.8 per cent of his threes on 2.8 attempts per game) which can only improve his outlook in today’s three-point oriented game. Hunter’s defensive versatility should provide an instant boost for a team that was one of the league’s worst on that end of the floor this season.
6 Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
Son of former NBA point guard Winston Garland, Darius only appeared in five games for the Commodores before meniscus surgery cut his season short. Nevertheless, he was still able to showcase plenty of upside beforehand, scoring in double-figures in three of four games prior to his injury, while shooting 47.8 per cent from distance. For a team lacking point guard depth and perimeter shooting like the Suns, Garland will help fill that void.
7 Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina
White, who passed Michael Jordan on North Carolina’s freshman scoring list back in March, is a strong shooter capable with a high basketball IQ that’s proven he can create his own offence, or spot-up. White wreaked havoc with his blistering speed in college when running the Tar Heels’ transition offence, and he’ll surely continue to try and utilize that in the pros. The Bulls should consider him with the seventh pick considering Kris Dunn’s struggles to date.
8 Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke
Arguably the most polarizing prospect of the 2019 class, Reddish occupied a tertiary role in Duke’s offence behind the duo of Williamson and Barrett. That makes evaluating him somewhat difficult, considering he tended to take a back seat when one or both of his star teammates were initiating the Blue Devils’ attack. Consistency will be the key to unlocking his full potential as the 19-year-old has all the tools necessary — especially an NBA-ready shot — to develop into a dangerous scoring threat. With that being said, Reddish’s finishing ability in the lane is an area he has sizeable room for improvement in. Pairing Reddish next to Trae Young and John Collins could make for one of the league’s most exciting — and balanced — young cores.
9 Jaxson Hayes, C/PF, Texas
It’s no secret the former Longhorn’s calling card is defence and rim protection (averaged 2.2 blocks in only 23.3 minutes per game). Utilizing his athleticism to slam down rim-rattling lobs in transition won’t be a problem from Day 1, either, although other aspects of Hayes’ offensive game still need a lot of work. For a team seeking a potential defensive anchor — with a clean bill of health — on draft night, Hayes is the top option on the board. For a Wizards team that owned one of the league’s worst defensive ratings, Hayes should help tremendously.
10 Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, France
Selecting Doumbouya in the lottery would largely be based off his potential rather than his current body of work. An uber-athletic combo forward, the Frenchman has a ton of defensive potential and thrives in transition. He’s very much a raw prospect at this point who has relied on a sizeable athleticism advantage over his defenders to score, which makes improving his basketball IQ and fundamentals the logical next steps in his development. If the Hawks decide to use their second pick within the top-10 on Doumbouya, this Atlanta team has the potential to be a nightmare in transition and an extremely exciting Eastern Conference team for years to come.
11 Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
Langford has excellent size for a two-guard at six-foot-six, 210 pounds, something that can only benefit him once he’s tasked with creating opportunities to get his own shot off. The Indiana product does a little bit of everything out there, but doesn’t excel in one particular area. Even so, his ability to impact multiple facets of the game should intrigue teams drafting in the early to mid-first round. Langford must improve his three-point shot, which he converted just 27 per cent of the time on 3.9 attempts per game. Considering the lack of shooting guard depth in Minnesota, Langford feels like a logical pick.
12 Bol Bol, C, Oregon
Former NBA centre Manute Bol’s son possesses the shot-blocking prowess his father once did, not to mention a much more refined offensive game featuring a smooth jumper. A stress fracture in his left foot limited Bol’s collegiate career with Oregon to just nine games, so durability concerns certainly played a role in pushing him further down teams’ draft boards. Listed at seven-foot-two, weighing 235 pounds, Bol will be one of the league’s most physically-imposing players once he debuts. If he’s able to stay healthy, the Sudanese big man could wind up being the biggest steal on draft night.
13 Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Gonzaga
Hachimura took massive strides offensively as a junior, rounding out into Gonzaga’s primary scoring option (19.7 points per game). A native of Toyama, Japan, Hachimura attacks a defence in multiple ways, most notably with his strong mid-range jumper and touch around the rim. Aside from addressing his most glaring weakness — defence — improving his decision-making and extending his range to become a more willing three-point shooter will go a long way in helping the 21-year-old raise his floor.
14 Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Gonzaga
Clarke will be undersized at six-foot-eight, but should more than make up for that with above-average athleticism, defensive versatility and a tremendous motor. He’s a terrific shot blocker, having led the NCAA in blocks his Junior year.

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