The NBA held the drawing for the lottery picks on Tuesday night, and the end result saw New Orleans shaking off the odds to gain the #11 pick. The Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers jumped into the top four, while New York was pushed down into the third spot.
With teams all over the top fourteen, it bodes to be an interesting draft when the NBA rolls into the Barclay’s Center on June 20th. Three analysts from within The Athletes Hub took note of Tuesday’s proceedings, and mocked the first fourteen picks of the draft based upon the selections of Tuesday.
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson (Fr, PF/C, Duke)
We’ve known since the opening night of the college basketball season that Zion Williamson will flourish in the NBA. The only questions that we had were if he would declare after his freshman year, and where he would go at the #1 spot.
That’s now been answered for the most part, barring a trade. At 6’7″ and 285 pounds, Zion can either replace or compliment Anthony Davis and become a franchise player that New Orleans can build upon.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant (So, PG, Murray State)
As Zion Williamson goes #1, expect for Memphis to take the best available player in Ja Morant. Although the Grizzlies have Mike Conley on the roster, Morant provides superstar potential for years to come.
3. New York Knicks: RJ Barrett (Fr, SG/SF, Duke)
RJ Barrett was the #1 recruit overall coming out of high school in 2017. Barrett was part of a three-man show at Duke which saw him average nearly 23 points. The Knicks need a point guard who can score and set up others at the same time. All in all, while fans may not be happy with their selection, they should be able to snag their point guard of the future.
4. Los Angeles Lakers: DeAndre Hunter (So, SF/PF, Virginia)
Assuming that the Lakers don’t send this pick to New Orleans in a bid for Anthony Davis, DeAndre Hunter should be the call here at #4.
Hunter knocked down 27 points in the National Championship game against Texas Tech, to go with the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Not to mention, he shot at 43.8% from the arc and can switch to anywhere on the court. With a year or two under the wing of LeBron James, Hunter could be one of the franchise players to build around in LA.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Culver (So, SG, Texas Tech)
The Cleveland Cavaliers were robbed of a top four selection, but Jarrett Culver is a talent nonetheless. He provides depth at the shooting guard position and could ease his way into the starting lineup.
6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland (Fr, PG, Vanderbilt)
The Nation’s 16th overall recruit only played five games last season due to injury, but has all the tools to complement the set of young stars already in Phoenix. Sliding him next to Devin Booker could potentially become a scary backcourt for opponents fairly quickly. He is a great 3-point shooter who will fit into today’s NBA.
7. Chicago Bulls: Cam Reddish (Fr, SG/SF, Duke)
Chicago can go one of two ways here, but with the selection of Cam Reddish, they get a player that could slide straight into the starting line up and provide some scoring assistance for Zach LaVine.
Reddish had his issues at Duke with inconsistency, but his ability to play at either 2 or 3 will work well here. His defense is solid, with an average of 1.6 steals per game. If he can work on finishing inside the paint and consistency, Chicago will be enjoying the fruition of this pick for years to come.
8. Atlanta Hawks: Sekou Doumbouya (18 yo, SF/PF, France)
Although he didn’t start playing basketball until the age of 12, scouts view Sekou Doumbouya as one of the top two-way players in this draft class. With some patience from the Atlanta Hawks, Doumbouya could gather some success at the professional level.
9. Washington Wizards: Jaxson Hayes (Fr, C, Texas)
Jaxson Hayes is an essential clone of Jarrett Allen; both protect the paint while forcing players to think twice about entering it. His three games of 5+ blocks last year shows he will be a force to be reckoned with defensively year in and year out. The Wizards will get a young defensive stud who should complement their all-star backcourt.
10. Atlanta Hawks: Brandon Clarke (Jr, PF/C, Gonzaga)
Teams could be sworn away by the fact that Brandon Clarke is 22, however, he shoots at close to 70% and has 4.6 blocks per 40 minutes. Atlanta doesn’t have many issues with their offense, but their defense needs improvement and Clarke would be that presence in the paint warranting a top 10 pick.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Coby White (Fr, PG/SG, North Carolina)
The Minnesota Timberwolves need a point guard, and Coby White fits the bill. With Derrick Rose sitting as a promising free agent this summer, White has the ability to slide into Rose’s spot off the bench if need be.
12. Charlotte Hornets: Bol Bol (Fr, C, Oregon)
The Charlotte Hornets haven’t seen a player with “superstar” potential in the paint since Dwight Howard’s one-year stint with the team in 2017. There is plenty of depth at the center position, but Bol Bol is a prospect who can elevate this team to playoff aspirations.
13. Miami Heat: Romeo Langford (Fr, SG, Indiana)
The main issue with Langford is that he is coming off surgery for a torn ligament in his thumb. The side-story from this year is that he still averaged close to 17 points per game with it. Miami could’ve gone with Kevin Porter Jr, however, the shot-making ability that Langford has here will see him walk into the same spot that Dwayne Wade held. Whether he will have the same impact remains to be seen, but the Heat have a bargain here with Langford dropping to #13.
14. Boston Celtics: Kevin Porter Jr. (Fr, SG, USC)
Many expect for the Boston Celtics to go for a big man, but there is no telling what the future of this roster looks like. Kevin Porter can provide talent off the bench for a team looking to contend in the East for years to come.
Image credit: Bleacher Report/AP