The future home of Duke Blue Devils star RJ Barrett in the 2019 NBA Draft will almost certainly depend on how the lottery plays out. While the bottom three teams in the league receive the best odds to land a top-four pick as well as the No. 1 selection, it’s widely believed Barrett could already know when his name will be called.
With teammate Zion Williamson pegged as the near-consensus No. 1 pick and Murray State’s Ja Morant projected at No. 2, Barrett will likely be the third name called. But the question is, where will his NBA home be? It’s going to be an interesting waiting game on that front, but there seem to be two teams constantly popping up in the projections.
We’re going to evaluate Barrett’s latest projections and mock draft outlooks to get an idea of where analysts think he’ll begin his NBA career.
RJ Barrett NBA Draft Projections & Mocks
While many analysts have already crowned Zion and Morant as the top-two picks, it seems not everyone is fully onboard with that. Full disclosure here, as the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz came at the start of the 2019 NCAA Tournament so it may change.
But as things stand, ESPN has Barrett coming off the board at No. 2 overall behind Williamson, but ahead of Morant, who’s listed at No. 3.
This is somewhat of a rare occurrence, as the bulk of other mocks have the Duke star as the third pick, with 2-3 different landing spots popping up. But while the NBA draft lottery still has to happen, the popular belief points Barrett winding up with one of two teams, and the New York Knicks aren’t typically included.
Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers Popular RJ Barrett Landing Spots
For the likes of The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie and Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo, the No. 3 pick is where Barrett comes off the board. Vecenie has him landing with the Cleveland Cavaliers while Woo sends him to the Phoenix Suns. It’s an interesting spot, as the Suns have a massive need at point guard so he would make a bit more sense in Cleveland.
Pairing Barrett with Kevin Love and young point guard Collin Sexton would immediately improve the overall outlook for the Cavaliers. Another very possible and realistic landing spot would be the Knicks, but most are buying into the basketball Gods setting up Zion to land in the Big Apple.
Barrett has a chance to be a superb NBA player wherever he lands, and his spot as the No. 3 prospect really isn’t up for debate currently. But his best potential fits make sense as the Cavaliers and Knicks, while the Atlanta Hawks could also be a fun team to watch. Each of these teams is one or two players away from at least pushing for a playoff spot, and the Blue Devils forward could help them make the jump to the next level.