The 2019 NBA Draft will be held on June 21 (AEST) at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn.
1. New Orleans Pelicans - Zion Williamson (Duke, PF)
Williamson is a once-in-a-generation type player whose dominance in college should easily translate to the big league. The Duke freshman, who turns 19 in July, has been providing ridiculous dunk packages since high school. A phenomenal case of athleticism, he towers over opponents with 6-foot-7, 285-pound frame with an insane vertical. Williamson averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds 30 minutes per game in college ball this season. Not only did he record the highest player efficiency rating of any NCAA prospect, but he was also chosen as the consensus choice for the National College Player of the Year (2019).
The Pelicans won the lottery, and now have the opportunity to convince Anthony Davis to sign and begin a dynasty with the most exciting NBA draftee since LeBron James.
Player comparisons: Blake Griffin, Larry Johnson, more athletic Charles Barkley
2. Memphis Grizzlies - Ja Morant (Murray State, PG)
The Murray State sophomore will have a much clearer idea of where he'll play next season after the lottery revealed the Memphis as the owners of the number two pick. Morant is a tantalizing prospect, and no doubt the best point guard in this draft class. His strengths are his exceptional ball-handling, vision and passing (both sides of his body), his play-making would already be classed as elite in the NBA. Morant, who is a top rebounder for his height, recorded a triple double (17 points, 16 assissts, 11 rebounds) in the NCAA tournament. There has only ever been nine of those recorded in tournament history, and it was the first since Draymond Green in 2012, while the last guard to do it was Dwayne Wade in 2003.
His speed with the ball is a highlight, and can get you plenty of transition buckets. Whatever the Grizzlies decide to do with Mike Conley, there's no doubt Morant will be a key pillar for years to come.
Player comparisons: John Wall, taller De'Aaron Fox
3. New York Knicks - RJ Barrett (Duke, SG/SF)
The Knicks will be kicking themselves that they couldn't land Williamson, but given the opportunity to draft RJ Barrett is still a major win. Barrett, Zion's partner-in-crime at Duke, has no limit to his potential offensively after averaging 22.6 PPG (to go with 4.3 assists) for the Blue Devils in his freshman year. The 6-7 wing is made for the bright lights, and has already shown his win-mentality and confidence playing for the Canadian national team as a 17-year-old.
Playing for a city such as New York comes with excess pressure, which Barrett should eat up after starring for Duke, the most professional team in College basketball.
Player Comparison: Jalen Rose, Grant Hill, aggressive Andrew Wiggins
4. Los Angeles Lakers - De'Andre Hunter (Virginia, F)
There's every chance the Lakers will package this pick with other assets to bring in a ready-made star, but for now it's theirs. The sophomore out of Virginia is a prolific two-way player who possesses a 7-foot-2 wingspan. That, among other traits gave him all the tools to become one of the toughest defenders in the NCAA, switching onto both big and small players with ease. Offensively, Hunter still has a heap of potential to unlock. He shot 43.8% from 3-point distance this season, helping Virginia win the National Championship.
The Lakers have holes to fill, but instead of going for the best scorer they should look at the top defender in the class in Hunter, who some have drawn comparisons to a younger Kawhi Leonard.
Player Comparison: Luol Deng, Mikal Bridges
5. Cleveland Cavaliers - Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech, SG)
A young man who came up against Hunter in the NCAA title match, Culver offers a slight edge in scoring, but was exposed by Hunter on this particular day. Measuring in at 6-foot-6, Culver can sometimes seem taller when watching him play. The two-way guard recorded 18.5 points and 3.7 assists in his Sophomore season, increasing his inside game and play-making ability.
With Collin Sexton showing glimpses of hope post-Lebron era, pairing him with a role playing shooting guard would still be a win for a team who were expecting a much higher first-round selection.
Player Comparison: Khris Middleton, Jeremy Lamb
6. Phoenix Suns - Darius Garland (Vanderbilt, PG)
The Suns fell deep from their projected pick, with the lottery handing them the sixth selection in this upcoming draft. At this stage, there should still be one of Darius Garland or Coby White available, and the Suns could do with either. Garland will offer Phoenix much-needed play-making and shooting, and while he may not be as explosive or impacting as Morant, his jump shoot is a lot more damaging and safer.
The 6-foot-2 guard from Nashville averaged 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists this season, and should fill a crucial hole in Phoenix's starting five.
Player Comparison: Jeff Teague, Nick Van Exel
7. Chicago Bulls - Coby White (North Carolina, PG/SG)
Although he doesn't have the tools to make an immediate impact in the league, White is a player who can play both guard positions exceptionally well. Not many expected White to rise up draft boards so fast during his freshman season, but he's one that Chicago will be desperately chasing in order to pick up the pace in transition.
In March this year, White passed Michael Jordan on the North Carolina all-time scoring list with 469 points, making it an obvious decision to nominate for the draft.
Player Comparison: Jamal Murray, Brandon Knight
8. Atlanta Hawks - Cam Reddish (Duke, SF)
The third-string option behind Zion and RJ, Reddish had a roller-coaster season as a Duke freshman. His field goal percentage dropped to 35.6% during the season, a major reason for him to slide down many draft boards since the start of 2019.
His size for a 19-year-old is intriguing, at 6-foot-8 he can player either the 2 or 3 position wherever he lands. Not having the ball in his hands as much as he would've at any other college team didn't help his draft cause, but a team like Atlanta could do with a sharp-shooting winger to play alongside Trae Young and John Collins. Reddish made 2.5 threes and 1.6 steals per game, which has helped him remain a potential top 10 selection.
Player comparison: Less explosive Paul George, Tyreke Evans, Rashard Lewis
9. Washington Wizards - Bol Bol (Oregon, C)
Bol is undoubtedly the most polarising prospect to declare for this year's draft. Measuring in at 7-foot-2, he possesses much cleaner offensive skills than his father Manute Bol. The ability to put the ball on the deck, space-out defenders with effective 3-point shooting and a mighty shot blocking prowess - Bol is in a field of his own. Unfortunately, there's reason for his projected slide. The Ducks prospect suffered a foot injury in December, and surgery held him back from playing again. Whether it's top 10 or top 20, there will be one team who takes a gamble on Bol and could reap the rewards in due time.
Player Comparison: Thon Maker, Kristaps Porzingis
10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas) - Jaxson Hayes (Texas, PF)
A finisher, shot-blocker with decent running abilities will see Hayes develop into a solid big in the NBA. The 6-foot-11 forward recorded a shooting percentage of 72.8%, which was largely due to his inability to make jump shots and dunk-first mindset.
For Atlanta, if they can secure a decent wing then they just need an old-school big to run the pick and roll with Trae Young - and Hayes fits the bill.
Player Comparison: Clint Capela, JaVale McGee, Hassan Whiteside