Duke may get sponsorship rights for the 2019 NBA draft with the potential for three players to land in the top five. Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett headline the draft class as they continue to lead Duke towards a potential championship. Cam Reddish’s size and versatility makes him another Blue Devil likely to be selected with a high pick.
Williamson has already caused athletes and entertainers like Jay-Z and LeBron James to check out Duke games this years. The excitement over Williamson reminds some of the media attention James received coming out high school. After watching him in person, King James sounds like a believer in Williamson’s game.
“What strikes me? His agility and his quickness,” James explained to ESPN. “For his size, how strong he is, to be able to move like the way he moves, he’s very impressive. I mean, everybody can see the athleticism. That’s obviously, that’s ridiculous. But the speed and the quickness that he moves [with] at that size is very impressive.”
Barrett entered the college basketball season as the favorite to be the No. 1 pick, but seems to have been surpassed by his teammate. Barrett still has been impressive averaging 22.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and four assists. The Duke swingman can do it all and has had no problem sharing the spotlight on a deep Duke team.
How High Can North Carolina’s Nassir Little Rise?
On the North Carolina side, Nassir Little continues to be an intriguing prospect. Unlike his Duke rivals, Little has not gotten as much opportunity to shine.
Little is only averaging a little over 18 minutes per game. Little has shined at times over the season including 23 points and six rebounds against Virginia Tech. Little’s athleticism, scoring ability and the potential to be an elite defender will still push him up draft boards.
2019 NBA Draft Class May Not Be as Deep as Past Years
Questions still remain about just how well this draft class stacks up against prior years. Williamson and Barrett have created a lot of buzz, but teams picking later in the draft may find it challenging to find the kind of players we have seen at the bottom of the first round in years past. There is still time for this to change as March Madness always tends to reveal a few more NBA-caliber players.
Here is a look at our latest NBA mock draft. The order is based on the current standings, per Tankathon.
NBA Mock Draft 2019: 1st Round Picks
|No. 1 Suns||PF Zion Williamson, Duke|
|No. 2 Knicks||SG R.J. Barrett, Duke|
|No. 3 Cavaliers||PG Ja Morant, Murray State|
|No. 4 Bulls||SF Cam Reddish, Duke|
|No. 5 Hawks||SF Nassir Little, UNC|
|No. 6 Grizzlies||PF De’Andre Hunter, Virginia|
|No. 7 Wizards||SF Romeo Langford, Indiana|
|No. 8 Pelicans||PG Darius Garland, Vanderbilt|
|No. 9 Hawks (via Mavericks)||SF Keldon Johnson, Kentucky|
|No. 10 Magic||SG Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech|
|No. 11 Heat||PF Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga|
|No. 12 Timberwolves||SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech|
|No. 13 Lakers||F KZ Okpala, Stanford|
|No. 14 Celtics (via Kings)||PF PJ Washington, Kentucky|
|No. 15 Pistons||C Jaxson Hayes, Texas|
|No. 16 Hornets||G Coby White, North Carolina|
|No. 17 Nets||PF Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga|
|No. 18 Celtics (via Clippers)||PF Sekou Doumbouya, Limoges|
|No. 19 Spurs||C Bol Bol, Oregon|
|No. 20 Jazz||SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State|
|No. 21 Cavs (via Rockets)||SG Kevin Porter, USC|
|No. 22 Trail Blazers||PG Ashton Hagans, Kentucky|
|No. 23 Sixers||PF Jalen Smith, Maryland|
|No. 24 Celtics||SG Jaylen Nowell, Washington|
|No. 25 Thunder||F Admiral Schofield, Tennessee|
|No. 26 Pacers||C Jontay Porter, Missouri|
|No. 27 Nets (via Nuggets)||C Daniel Gafford, Arkansas|
|No. 28 Warriors||PG Tre Jones, Duke|
|No. 29 Spurs (via Raptors)||F Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State|
|No. 30 Bucks||C Naz Reid, LSU|