Convention play has kicked off and some key names are being penciled in on the prime of all draft boards. theScore’s Wael Saghir ranks the early favorites to land within the lottery for the 2019 NBA Draft.
1. Zion Williamson – Duke, Freshman, F
At first look, Williamson‘s 6-foot-7, 285-pound body mixed together with his generational athleticism is the first purpose for the hype surrounding the 18-year-old. Nonetheless, an unheralded facet of his sport is his ball-handling and imaginative and prescient. Will probably be more and more troublesome to restrict the Blue Devils celebrity to 1 place as soon as he reaches the subsequent degree.
Williamson’s lack of a constant jumper will drive him to function a playmaker on the perimeter towards opposing large males. Opponents that may decrease his verticality and energy could also be regarding, however happily, he ought to affect each ends of the ground in some capability from Day 1.
2. R.J. Barrett – Duke, Freshman, G/F
Barrett‘s excessive expectations have led to questions on his consistency up to now. His maturity and pure really feel for the sport ought to assist quiet the doubters who’ve been fast to check his occasional inefficiency to fellow Canadian and Minnesota Timberwolves ahead Andrew Wiggins.
On the finish of the day, Barrett is a 20-plus point-scorer with sturdy rebounding numbers and has higher imaginative and prescient than his aforementioned countryman. It is comforting that this 6-foot-7 terror does not draw back from large moments, even when issues aren’t going his method. If he turns into a reputable menace from three, he may overtake Williamson for 2019’s greatest.
3. Cam Reddish – Duke, Freshman, F
Reddish‘s affect continues to dwindle as he sits fourth in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s pecking order behind Williamson, Barrett, and level guard Tre Jones. His numbers proceed to dip in his minimized function, scoring in single digits in three of his final 4 video games.
The irony is he was the primary of Duke’s supposed Massive Three to decide to the distinguished program and it is potential that if his star teammates did not tag alongside, it will be a distinct scenario for the struggling ahead. The forgotten Reddish stays an elite prospect that may play both ahead place and tackle level guard duties. Not many on this class can match his well-rounded expertise on offense.
4. Nassir Little – North Carolina, Freshman, F
Little‘s unusual season continues as Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams has chosen to stay together with his star seniors. Although he is nonetheless uncooked on each ends, he stays the very best non-Zion athlete within the draft, with great leaping skill. He is additionally a extremely succesful 3-point menace regardless of connecting on simply 24 % from past the arc thus far. Persistence shall be key for any events, however it’s arduous to think about he falls exterior the highest 5 come June.
5. Romeo Langford – Indiana, Freshman, G
Langford continues to be productive for one of many higher groups within the nation. At 6-foot-6 and 215 kilos, he has the best construct to play both wing spot within the NBA. His size ought to make him a menace on protection, and he has the ceiling of a two-way star that ought to have a protracted and productive profession. Nonetheless, he’ll want to begin hitting 3-pointers with consistency if he desires to climb the board.
6. Kevin Porter Jr. – USC, Freshman, G/F
Porter’s scorching begin by way of the primary 5 video games of the yr has been placed on maintain whereas he recovers from a thigh bruise, however he is comfortably catapulted himself right into a top-10 expertise. His dimension and physicality make him a troublesome cowl for any perimeter-oriented participant, and that ought to translate within the NBA. He is ready to make use of his stature to his benefit in one-on-one conditions however has struggled to adapt to a workforce surroundings the place he is not constantly the highest possibility.
7. Ja Morant – Murray State, Sophomore, G
Few gamers have the reputable star potential of the Racers‘ 6-foot-Three rocket. Morant‘s innate skill to break down defenses and get to his spots with ease will instantly make him efficient as a playmaker within the fashionable NBA.
With Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland accomplished for the yr, Morant is comfortably slotted as the highest level guard prospect within the draft. He can typically rating at will and is arguably the very best passer out there, however there shall be questions on his skinny body.
8. Bol Bol – Oregon, Freshman, C
Bol‘s inventory took a significant hit after the 7-foot-2 large man underwent season-ending foot surgical procedure. Previous to the damage, he was Oregon‘s lone vivid spot, main the workforce in factors (21.0), rebounds (9.6), and blocks (2.7) whereas taking pictures a remarkably environment friendly 52 % from behind the arc.
His draft positioning could proceed to dip if he will not be able to play for the beginning of the 2019-20 NBA season. Nonetheless, groups have lately proven a willingness to take the chance and choose gamers who’re nonetheless recovering from accidents, because the Philadelphia 76ers did with Joel Embiid or the Denver Nuggets with Michael Porter Jr.
9. Sekou Doumbouya – Limoges CSP (France), G/F
The lone worldwide prospect on the board comes with the instruments of a future celebrity. In contrast to the notion of most abroad draftees, his dimension and athleticism give him the very best bodily profile for a European since Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It will possible take some time (if ever) earlier than Doumbouya reaches his ceiling. He is as uncooked as they arrive however has already proven off an excellent contact on his jumper and will flip into a flexible 3-and-D combo ahead.
10. Rui Hachimura – Gonzaga, Junior, F
Outdoors of a disappointing effort towards North Carolina, Hachimura has been a gentle drive. He does not have the kind of athleticism that stands out, however he is a nimble-footed large man with elite energy and steadiness.
The Japanese product remains to be noticeably working by way of sure kinks in his sport, however he ought to grow to be the highest stretch energy ahead in his class with the defensive versatility to modify on the perimeter. If he was enjoying this fashion as a freshman, he’d be within the dialog for prime choose within the draft.
11. De’Andre Hunter – Virginia, Sophomore, G/F
It is typically tempting to place Hunter excessive on the checklist contemplating his elite 3-and-D potential and 7-foot-2 wingspan. The Cavaliers star could also be the very best defensive prospect within the class and is main the best way for a top-five protection within the nation. The sophomore continues to point out progress from the perimeter, hitting 42.Three % on 2.2 3-point makes an attempt per sport. A better quantity with related effectivity would solely add to his worth come draft day.
12. Jarrett Culver – Texas Tech, Sophomore, G
Culver is the lone new entry on this checklist after a robust December, together with a 25-point efficiency towards top-ranked Duke. He is already an environment friendly spot-up shooter with a terrific pull-up sport. The 6-foot-5 guard by no means appears like he is in a rush due to his deceptively artful footwork, which helps him create separation and discover openings within the protection. He leads the 12-1 Pink Raiders in factors, rebounds, and assists whereas taking pictures 45.2 % from three.
13. Keldon Johnson – Kentucky, Freshman, G
Johnson‘s been elite for a surging Kentucky squad after a brutal opener towards the Blue Devils. He is been taking pictures effectively, connecting on 53.7 % from the sector, 43.2 % from behind the arc, and leads one of many prime offenses within the nation in scoring.
The 6-foot-6 guard excels on protection and has a excessive IQ with a terrific understanding of defensive positioning. He could be a bit of lean to tackle bodily demanding assignments on the subsequent degree, however head coach John Calipari at all times appears to have essentially the most NBA-ready expertise within the draft.
14. Darius Garland – Vanderbilt, Freshman, G
An unlucky season-ending MCL tear has probably derailed Garland’s draft inventory simply 5 video games into the yr. He was in a position to showcase his 3-point vary throughout his short-lived marketing campaign, hitting 11-of-23 from distance, whereas shortly proving he has the expertise to stay across the NBA regardless of missing dimension.
Garland is a mean athlete however understands the sport and reads the ground higher than most out there prospects. He is an excellent finisher across the basket and will grow to be a serviceable distributor whether or not he is a full-time starter or profession backup. The 6-foot-Three level guard might want to present he is bodily match in the course of the mix if he desires to stand up the rankings.