The 2019 NBA draft is just hours away, but the state of things is far from certain—at least beyond the first few picks, for now. Over the past week, there have already been several first-round picks traded, and teams expect much more action as the day progresses toward the event itself. Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett will go off the board first, but from there, things really get started.
This is shaping up to be one of the toughest drafts to predict in recent memory, due in large part to the prospect of potential deals. It’s hard to predict the draft when you don’t know who’s picking where, after all, but based on the latest information at hand, here’s what we have. Among the biggest storylines:
• Pelicans still fielding calls for No. 4, but eyeing several players
• Cavs targeting De'Andre Hunter, but may not get him
• Will the Hawks trade up or keep their first-rounders?
Scroll down for the latest intel and analysis, and our final projections for all 60 picks. For scouting reports our ranking of the Top 100 prospects, see our Big Board. For the latest rumors and reports leading up to the draft, click here. And be sure to check out our full 2019 NBA draft guide for all your draft day needs. For the latest rumors leading up to the draft, click here.
SI's Jake Fischer contributed reporting.
TRADE ALERT: We have THREE big trades before the draft begins. The Pacers have acquired T.J. Warren and the No. 32 pick from the Suns in exchange for cash considerations. And the Pelicans have dealt the No. 4 pick to the Hawks for the Nos. 8, 17, 35 pick. New Orleans is also sending Solomon Hill, the No. 57 pick and a future second-rounder in the deal. In addition, the Timberwolves acquired the No. 6 pick from the Suns in exchange for the No. 11 pick and Dario Saric.
New Orleans Pelicans
There's a case to be made that Williamson is the individual winner in the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade. All that's left to do is walk across the stage on Thursday, and he'll officially become the centerpiece of one of the NBA's most favorable long-term situations, after New Orleans made out with nearly all of the Lakers' long-term draft assets, in addition to Lonzo Ball (who in particular complements him stylistically), Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart and the No. 4 pick in this draft, for which the Pelicans continue to field calls and offers as the draft approaches.
We've written plenty on Williamson's individual talent dating back to the fall and will spare the full breakdown in this space, but safe to say New Orleans is in a close to optimal position to engineer a winning team around his unique abilities going into the 2020s (a decade everyone has to think about now). Like any other teenage prospect, his game comes with holes, but surround him with smart players who can shoot threes and play uptempo, and you've got a start. So, as it's all turned out, the Pelicans under Alvin Gentry and EVP David Griffin have become perhaps the softest possible landing spot for Williamson to begin his pro career. It's a promising marriage.
The Grizzlies cleared the way for Morant on Wednesday, sending Mike Conley to Utah in a package that includes the 23rd pick in this year’s draft, a protected future first-rounder designed to convey in 2022, Grayson Allen and veterans Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver, per reports. Buzz had mounted over the past 48 hours that a deal was close, and Memphis extracting two first-rounders was the key part of that package in terms of value.
The expectation dating back to the draft combine has been that Memphis would take Morant here, and all indications are that they still plan to do so, particularly now that Conley is off to Utah. Morant has visited with Memphis and New York, and also met with New Orleans at the combine, but barring something unexpected, he’ll go at No. 2. He recently had a minor knee procedure done, but it’s not thought to be a serious concern moving forward, other than that he could miss summer league as a precaution. Morant may take a season or two to adjust to the speed of the NBA game, but his innate playmaking ability, elite athleticism and unique improvisational qualities give him a chance to be special.
New York Knicks
The Knicks are expected to draft Barrett here, barring any unexpected last-second turns atop the draft. Darius Garland worked out for them on Wednesday, but that meeting was viewed as more of an additional contingency for New York. This will not shock anyone, and makes plenty of sense given the circumstances. The fact New York couldn’t gain much traction in the end in the Anthony Davis trade talks is a definite referendum on the leaguewide valuation of their young assets, and Barrett may walk onto the roster and be their most promising piece out of the gate. It’s unclear whether they’ll lure a star this summer, with Kevin Durant’s injury and Kyrie Irving seemingly intent on Brooklyn, but the Knicks had big designs on the offseason, and taking Barrett likely won’t impact that.
Barrett’s hard-wired scoring mentality will be a nice fit with the Knicks, and he’ll be able to grow into a bigger offensive role and take his lumps next season. He can at times be aggressive to a fault, but the hope is that his decision-making becomes more team-oriented as he matures, and that his outside shot improves. He may not be the franchise savior, but players of that caliber are few and far between. Expect Barrett to work hard and maximize his individual ability, and if he makes the right adjustments in playstyle, there’s strong upside here.
New Orleans Pelicans
According to league sources, the Pelicans continue to field calls and weigh their options with the fourth pick going into draft night. There are strong indications right now that New Orleans will aim to maximize the value of this pick and move down in the lottery, with additional first-round picks or an established player they like coming back as part of the return. Given that the entire league shares an expectation for how the first three picks of the draft will unfold, naturally, there’s a market for No. 4, as there’s little confusion about who will be on the board here. With those discussions in mind, there are three players to keep an eye on: Hunter, Darius Garland and Jarrett Culver.
The team that’s always had the most ammunition for a deal here is the Atlanta Hawks, who as we’ve previously reported have been aggressive in attempting to package their first-round picks and move up from No. 8. There’s been some uncertainty over the past week as to which player the Hawks covet most; rival teams have come to believe that player is Hunter. There is also a strong belief around the league that Cleveland has real interest in Hunter at No. 5, meaning that Atlanta may have to come up to No. 4 to get him. The Timberwolves have also called about the fourth pick, according to league sources, but the Hawks can create a package involving No. 8 which could include either No. 10 or No. 17. There’s a reasonable school of thought that two chances in the lottery might be worth more than one in this draft, noting how minimal-to-nonexistent the gap in available talent becomes after the first two or three players are off the board. If you’re New Orleans, moving down for the right deal is something worth considering.
If the Pelicans choose to keep this pick, there’s a legitimate lack of clarity as to who they’d take. Given their acquisition of Lonzo Ball, Darius Garland feels like a luxury at point guard. Culver’s jump shooting concerns make his fit somewhat foggy, given New Orleans will already have to try and develop all three of Ball, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson into more consistent threats from distance. Hunter may not have immense upside, but he’s further along as a set shooter and you can understand why New Orleans might feel most comfortable plugging him in here, particularly from a defensive standpoint. What the Pelicans decide to do here will have a ripple effect on the rest of the draft.
Cleveland is thought to have real interest in De’Andre Hunter, and if he does fall to No. 5, league sources expect the Cavs would select him here. If Hunter were to go fourth, as in this scenario, it puts Cleveland at the forefront of the trade market for Garland, with a number of teams interested and buying in on his long-term potential. It’s entirely possible the Cavs could opt to move down from No. 5 and pick up extra value in that transaction.
The Cavs are also thought to have some degree of interest in Garland, as well as Coby White, and although they selected Collin Sexton No. 8 in last year’s draft, they could conceivably play him alongside another guard who shoots well from outside and is more playmaking-oriented in style. In this type of draft, there’s a good case for just taking the best prospect available here, and certainly, there are some who think it’s Garland.
The Suns would be thrilled to see Culver fall here, as they have maintained serious interest in him dating back to the regular season. There’s now a scenario in play where he makes it to No. 6, a spot many rival teams view as his floor in the draft. They like him enough to select him ahead of either Garland or White, if that’s indeed the choice they face on Thursday night. Phoenix has maintained an interest in finding a more experienced point guard to run their team next season, and can pursue that end while still taking the guy they covet here.
In the event Culver is off the board, the Suns would presumably grab either Garland or White: White fits well with Booker, noting his size defensively, but Garland is craftier off the dribble and closer to being a feasible setup man who can get more out of the Suns’ other players. But Culver’s size, feel, defensive acumen and rapid degree of improvement have made him a very attractive option in this range of the draft, and Phoenix will feel comfortable taking the best player available here if he’s on the board.
The Bulls would likely be pleased with White making it to them at No. 7, given that point guard is their primary area of long-term need. There now looks to be a possibility he makes it to this spot. Chicago has also worked out Sekou Doumbouya and Jaxson Hayes, but the prevailing thought around the league is that they’d prefer to go guard here, with White, and Garland, if he slips, being strong fits.
White makes a lot of sense for Chicago in that he can play alongside either Zach LaVine or Kris Dunn in the early-going, supplying additional shooting and playmaking as he continues to learn his position. He has some untapped potential as a lead guard, good size for his position, and his outside shooting gives him a strong development base. Many teams think this would be his floor.
According to league sources, Atlanta continues to remain active in exploring all its options, with packages including Nos. 8 and either 10 or 17 creating different opportunities to move up. As previously noted, the fourth pick is available and creates an opportunity for them to target De’Andre Hunter or Jarrett Culver. There are scenarios where the Hawks deal both of these picks, and also ones where they end up keeping one, but the perception appears to be that they won’t keep both. With the first seven players appearing settled in some sequence, Reddish’s range would seem to begin here.
Reddish is thought around the league to be an option for the Hawks, and a natural fit. It would be a low-pressure development situation for him, where he can play off of Trae Young and others and focus on defending and making shots in a low-leverage role, at least to begin with. Still, teams are all over the board with their evaluations of Reddish: his statistics and performance at Duke unto themselves were uninspiring, and it would be easier to buy into him if he simply showed up to play on a more consistent basis. He floats in and out of games and seemed comfortable just fitting into the background, which would be more palatable if his play had been better.
The worst-case scenario for Reddish would be the Hawks dealing away 8 and 10 to a team that A) intends to keep both picks and B) isn’t interested in selecting him. It’s thought that the Wizards may pass if given the option, and that would send him into the late lottery. That’s considered the back end of his range, and his upside should still be well worth a shot at that point in the draft.
The Wizards have a number of needs on their roster and will be prepared to grab whoever they deem the best prospect available at this spot. Per a league source, Washington has received a degree of interest in this pick, and will consider trading down in the right situation. It could certainly make sense for them to deal if they have the ability to add draft capital and still pick in a position they like, particularly given that the roster could use an injection of younger talent overall, and that much of the payroll is tied up in the injured John Wall and All-Star Bradley Beal, who they will reportedly offer a large extension to remain with the team.
Whether they stay put at No. 9 or opt to trade back, Doumbouya would be a strong option for the Wizards, with appealing physical tools and upside at forward, particularly in this range of the draft. He’s thought to be far off from a maturity standpoint, and his offensive skill set is still expanding, but his athleticism, strength and shooting touch are tangible, and he showcased appealing defensive versatility over the course of the season in France. The Wizards would be comfortable affording him the time and patience he needs.
Atlanta Hawks (via Mavericks)
Hayes told SI on Wednesday that the only teams he worked out for were Atlanta and Chicago, and rival teams believe he’ll be a strong option for the Hawks at this juncture if they keep the pick. His combination of physical tools and defensive upside have put him firmly in the back half of the lottery. Granted, it’s not clear whether Atlanta will make this pick or if it moves, but he’s also someone other teams may attempt to target via trade in this range of the draft.
Hayes isn’t a perfect fit with the Hawks, unless you believe in his ability to eventually knock down open threes — spacing is going to be imperative going forward as they build around Trae Young. He does come with some risk due to iffy rebounding numbers and the fact he’s so raw. In the late lottery, the upside with him will be worth a shot. While Hayes likely won’t contribute much immediately, he might be closer to NBA-ready than perception suggests: if he adds strength to his above-average frame and continues to work on fundamentals, he should be able to make an impact as a defender and rim-rummer at some point on his rookie contract.
The latest on this pick is that the Timberwolves have made serious efforts to move up in the draft, seemingly targeting Darius Garland. But there’s an expectation that if they stay put, Hachimura will be the pick. Minnesota exploring its trade options would seem to be an indicator that they have not given him a hard promise, but rival teams believe Minnesota will be comfortable drafting him if he makes it to this spot. Per sources, there are teams trying to trade up to get Hachimura in this range, and if Minnesota sits on the pick, those suitors would have to move in front of No. 11. If the Timberwolves do move up, Hachimura isn’t expected to fall past No. 12, whether it’s Charlotte or another team making that pick.
New Timberwolves boss Gersson Rosas is known to be extremely familiar with Hachimura, who was a participant in the 2016 Basketball Without Borders Global Camp, which Rosas helped direct. Rosas did say this week that Minnesota’s M.O. will not be giving players guarantees, but to be fair, the entire philosophy behind a draft promise is trying as hard as possible to then keep it a secret. Whether the Wolves did or didn’t do it isn’t the point: the likelihood of Rosas ever publicly admitting he did is close to miniscule. Regardless, Hachimura is thought to be a strong option for them if they hang on to No. 11. He would fill a positional need for the Timberwolves, possesses strong physical tools and has significantly more room to grow as a scorer.
It’s worth noting that Hachimura skipped the combine, but did participate in his agency’s pro day at the end of May, which generally dispelled the notion of a hard promise at that point in time. He was not shut down for good at that juncture. But according to a source with knowledge of the situation, over the course of the past week, Hachimura canceled last-minute on a final, pre-scheduled workout with a team picking in the back half of the Top 10. The whole thing has been far too quiet, and there’s firm reason to believe that he at least has a sense of where he’s going — if it’s not Minnesota, it can’t be much further down.
Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak said publicly this week that the team has explored ways to move up from this pick to improve the roster, and would like to get higher in the draft. What’s implied there, if he’s telling the truth, is that the Hornets are either targeting someone specific, or that they’re simply hoping to get up into what seems to be a more attractive part of the draft. They have two second-rounders, Nos. 36 and 52, which could help facilitate that, in addition to their own future firsts and multiple seconds in the 2020 and 2021 draft. It’s feasible that Charlotte can offer enough to get up from here into the 8–10 range, though perhaps not much higher.
Charlotte is thought to have real interest in Little, with their deep organizational ties to UNC factoring in. There’s a good chance he’s on the board here at 12. Little is a powerful athlete with an undeniably appealing physical profile at forward, but teams continue to dig into his struggles at North Carolina, and still have their concerns. His limited off-dribble game and bouts of tunnel vision as a scorer make him more of a project than most expected coming into the season. It’s possible he ends up falling out of the lottery and into the teens, as he’s a bit further off from contributing than some of the others in this range. The Hornets could also look to move down from this spot if an opportunity presents itself.
Miami has several areas of need, and could go a few different directions here. Speculatively, this pick could present an opportunity for the Heat to try and offload some salary, by attaching a contract to it via trade. Otherwise, they’ll pick from this next group of prospects. Miami is thought to be the absolute floor for Sekou Doumbouya, and players like Washington and Kevin Porter Jr. have come up as real options for them.
Washington seems to have enough fans that it’s easy to see him winding up anywhere in the late lottery, worst-case being a soft landing spot in the teens. He’s made strides skill-wise and profiles as a solid frontcourt piece, particularly if his jump shot continues to improve. Teams view him as a relatively safe bet to be a contributor, and he’s athletic and versatile enough to fit into different types of lineups. He feels like a nice fit for Miami, and a solid frontcourt partner for Bam Adebayo long-term.
Boston Celtics (via Kings)
Boston’s situation going into the draft appears unstable, with reports indicating that Kyrie Irving and now Al Horford will be on the way out. This could incentivize the Celtics to hang onto their picks and use them creatively, as they attempt to reload around what‘s left of their rotation. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the key long-term pieces for Boston, who are in real flux after a disappointing season. The Celtics are expected to be active in exploring their trade options, but it wouldn’t be crazy to see them use at least two of their three first-round picks.
Herro would be an attractive fit with the Celtics, who league sources believe have serious interest in him, and certainly lack clarity with their backcourt going forward. He’s become a viable option for teams as high as the late lottery due to his potent jumper and developing off-dribble game. His stock is considered to be pretty safe in this range, with the Magic mentioned as a possible destination if he falls from here. Herro is one of the more gifted perimeter scorers in the draft, and more importantly, one of the few who couple outside shooting capabilities with some legitimate long-term upside.
Detroit is thought to have made this pick available via trade, with a wide range of players potentially available. They have a need on the wing, but could potentially move down and still address it adequately. They also could use depth up front, with Andre Drummond holding an option for 2020-21. Bitadze is considered by some to be the best center in the draft, and is pretty clearly the closest to making an impact in the NBA. He could help the Pistons early on. He’s thought to have interest higher than this with Charlotte, as well as from the Spurs further down. According to multiple sources, the Spurs have expressed interest in coming up to this spot, potentially targeting Bitadze.
Bitadze comes off a strong year overseas in which he won multiple MVPs and the EuroLeague’s Rising Star award. His impressive productivity at a high European level as a teenager bodes well, and his size, interior skills, physicality and developing jumper are legit. Bitadze’s ceiling might be capped a bit defensively, where he’s not very versatile, but he has some timing as a shot-blocker and should bring enough to the table that scheme can help cover up some of those issues.
With a host of recent lottery picks still developing in the frontcourt, it would make sense for the Magic to shore up the perimeter with this selection. Alexander-Walker possesses an excellent complementary skillset, shoots and moves the ball well and would be a strong partner for Markelle Fultz, who will get a career reset when he makes his Magic debut next season. There is no way to maximize Fultz without putting reliable shooters around him, and Orlando is hoping to rehabilitate his value, acquiring him at a very palatable price (primarily, a top-20 protected first in next year's draft).
Scoring-oriented wings like Romeo Langford and Nassir Little could be on the board here, but neither one is a great fit with Fultz, or with Orlando's roster in general. As a bigger guard who defends, can make plays for others and will be at his best working off of another perimeter creator, Alexander-Walker's versatility vibes nicely with what they're building. The Magic are thought to covet Tyler Herro, but if he’s not available here, Alexander-Walker is a solid option.
Atlanta Hawks (via Nets)
After acquiring this pick from Brooklyn, Atlanta could still repackage it in another trade if it chooses. The Hawks have tons of options, and won't keep all six of their draft picks. Clarke's range would seem to begin with Minnesota at No. 11, but if they don't grab him there, it's possible he slips into the teens. He would be a very strong fit for the Hawks, but perhaps not a necessary commitment at Nos. 8 or 10. At this pick, some of the financial investment and overall risk when it comes to his game translating is mitigated. In Atlanta, he’d fit well as defensive cover, as a transition-oriented player, and as a lob target for Trae Young.
With a wildly productive season under his belt, Clarke is a favorite of analytic models around the league and was hyper-efficient at Gonzaga. Teams like his energy and intangibles, but there are valid questions about translation, given that he's so small for his position and may not be able to hit threes at a sustainable clip. He's heavily right-hand dominant, will be challenged to play in taller crowds in the NBA, and his effectiveness as a scorer was buoyed on some level by his elite athleticism and feel, as a 22-year-old college player. The most probable outcome for Clarke falls somewhere in the middle, but his shot-blocking, rebounding and smarts give him something to hang his hat on.
According to league sources, Bol's medical information was made available to every team in attendance at his private pro day last Wednesday in Thousand Oaks, in which he showcased his health as he works back from a foot fracture. Bol's workout ran for just 30 minutes, and while he displayed his coordination and ability to shoot from outside, the showcase may not have moved the needle a whole lot. But the fact his medical is now in the hands of teams points to his camp being willing to put their chips on the table. His range is wide, but it appears someone will take a chance in the first round.
Bol did receive an invitation to the green room on Thursday, which likely bodes well, but the perception remains that he's essentially a dart throw. His ultimate landing spot will depend on how confident a team can feel relative to the opportunity cost and financial risk of rostering him. The upside tied to his three-point shooting and shot-blocking ability remains intriguing, and for a team like Indiana, who have a bit of a window to experiment with Victor Oladipo injured, he could warrant a roll of the dice.
San Antonio Spurs
If Langford bounces back after an uneven freshman season, he could certainly return value at this spot in the draft. He could be selected higher than this, but it won’t be a total shocker if he does fall a bit, as teams seem to be having some trouble talking themselves into him to a point, and there are players who we have slated ahead of him who are viewed as safer options. The Spurs are thought to be using this pick in attempts to move up in the draft. Two names that have come up frequently for San Antonio as targets in that case are Goga Bitadze and Rui Hachimura.
Langford played through injuries during the season and does have a strong long-term track record as a scorer, and he’s positioned as a buy-low opportunity for someone. It’s just that he has no true elite skill to sell right now. His jumper remains a big question, and he has to improve his game off the dribble, but there’s still a good chance he’s better than what he showed at Indiana. This would a low cost, substantial upside pick here.
Boston Celtics (via Clippers)
Porter comes with a wide variance of outcomes, but would be an intriguing project for the Celtics, who are thought to have real interest and are positioned to take a risk if they want. The sense I get is that Porter’s range begins at the end of the lottery. Miami at No. 13 is where his range starts, and he could be on the board at any of Boston’s picks. Cleveland has also come up as a seriously interested party.
The myriad concerns regarding Porter’s off-court issues at USC and his overall maturity have hurt him a bit, but he’s capable of some things most players can’t do with the ball in his hands. Porter isn’t considered to be a bad egg, but it will take some insulation early on to help keep him on track and focus on becoming a pro. On ability alone, he’s totally justifiable in the lottery, teams just have to feel comfortable that they can put him in a positive environment to help him get acclimated and avoid distractions.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have been trying to attach this pick to salary in order to get out of the luxury tax. There’s been long-standing buzz dating back to the combine that they promised Matisse Thybulle here, but they’ve been signaling otherwise. Claxton opted to end his workouts for teams early, and is thought to feel secure with where he stands going into draft night. He was invited Tuesday to attend the draft in the green room, which certainly bodes well, too. His range now begins somewhere in the teens, as he’s been one of the more notable risers during the past six weeks, and has been able to showcase his versatility and tools during workouts.
There’s some real optimism around the league that Claxton can do some ball-handling and become uniquely useful on the perimeter as more of a forward than a center. His defensive capabilities are also extremely promising, as he’s mobile enough to switch on the perimeter and also help on the inside. Claxton is just starting to tap into his ability, and finding someone with his upside in this range of the draft is appealing.
Fernando is jockeying for position in a tier of bigs that includes Mfiondu Kabengele and Nic Claxton. He has fans around the league and could feasibly land as early as in the teens, but it’s also possible he falls toward the back of the first round. He’s coming off a strong season at Maryland and continues to make individual strides, with solid physical tools and productive play backing up his case this high. While his ceiling isn’t extremely high, the fact he plays hard consistently creates some degree of floor.
It would make sense for the Celtics to get deeper up front in this draft, with Al Horford on his way out and Robert Williams not viewed as the long-term solution at center. Fernando would be a nice fit at either 20 or 22, depending what Boston does here.
Memphis Grizzlies (via Jazz)
The Grizzlies have made this pick available, per league sources, after acquiring it from Utah in the Mike Conley deal. There’s some chatter that they want to move up, but also a chance they deal this for extra value. Paschall could be a fit for the Grizzlies here, but he could also be a target for playoff teams attempting to move up in the 20s to land someone who can play immediately.
There are some teams with late first-round grades on Paschall, and others who view him as more of a second-round talent, but over the course of the past week it’s become apparent that he’ll likely end up in the first round, with the Nets at 27 thought by some to be his floor. His game is rugged and unflashy, and there’s some skepticism about his shooting translating to the NBA line, but he could be a good fit on a competitive roster. The market has heated up to the point that he appears to be firmly in this range.
Johnson is in play for Philadelphia here at their first selection. He’s already 23, but he might be the best pure shooter in this draft class. Teams have expressed concerns pertaining to Johnson’s medical, specifically his hips, which have been a long-term health concern for him and have required surgery in the past—there’s a chance he slips a bit as a result, potentially all the way to the Sixers’ picks at No. 33 and 34. Still, there’s reason to think they’ll grab him here, as the fit is close to perfect with what they need, and with shooting coming at a premium.
Portland Trail Blazers
Okpala’s stock is all over the place: it’s conceivable he’s taken off the board as early as the teens, while it wouldn’t be crazy for him to slip into the early 30s, either. Teams are decidedly split on his upside and growth potential relative to where he’s currently at development-wise. Most still think he’ll be selected in the first round. Okpala is a late bloomer who seems to still be adjusting to his body, and while his career was up and down at Stanford, he has a strong mix of workable skills and nice slashing ability. He has to get stronger, but could be extremely versatile on both ends as his body matures.
Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets)
There’s been a lot of league-wide speculation that Thybulle has a promise somewhere in the 20s, dating back to his decision to skip the combine. Trying to figure it out has been one of the more mysterious subplots of this predraft process, and there’s been nary a peep about Thybulle or any sign he’s been working out for anyone. It’s still unclear where Thybulle’s guarantee may have come from, but the smart money is that he has one.
With strong instincts for forcing turnovers and athletic gifts that could make him immediately impactful on that side of the ball, Thybulle is a worthy option in this range. If a team can develop his catch-and-shoot game and help him become a passable offensive player, he feels like a no-brainer rotation guy at worst. There’s been very little chatter about this Cavaliers pick, and with two first-rounders in hand (and this one being in a range where it’s harder to see someone you like falling too far), it’s reasonable to theorize by process of elimination that Cleveland might be the team that takes him.
Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets)
Although his stock dropped a little bit at Kentucky, Johnson’s intangibles hold strong appeal for teams—his competitive makeup points to a good chance to find a useful role somewhere and add value. Johnson isn’t a great off-dribble creator, but he’s strong, can score at all three levels, and defends willingly. He won’t be a sexy pick, but he might be a pro for a long time. In this scenario, he falls further than expected—he’s in play in the Top 20 for teams, but trade action might result in him slipping. Johnson would be a terrific value pick for the Nets if he makes it this far.
Golden State Warriors
Teams seem to think Jerome will wind up somewhere in the 20s, and he has been seriously tied to Cleveland as a possible landing spot, due large in part to an exceedingly strong, long-standing relationship with Cavs GM Koby Altman, who was an assistant coach at Columbia when he first met Jerome. That said, there’s a chance he slips a bit further, in which case, Golden State would be a nice match.
It’s worth noting that multiple teams have expressed concerns about Jerome’s medical, primarily stemming from a double-hip surgery he had at the end of his high school career. But for the Warriors, landing an experienced player who is mentally ready and savvy enough to help their team sooner than later would be a nice coup here. Golden State is also thought to have interest in Belmont’s Dylan Windler for this spot.
San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors)
According to league sources, the Spurs are widely thought to have a serious interest in Samanic, but more likely for this spot, or if they were to come up in the 20s, than at No. 19. Many teams think this is his floor. His mixture of skill level and size at a young age have helped set him apart from the pack, the hope being that he develops into a useful stretch big who can play a variety of roles, and even playmake a little bit on the perimeter. There’s some optimism required with him, and some mixture of opinion, but San Antonio seem to be believers.
Samanic has to keep getting stronger to handle the physicality of the NBA, and he probably needs a year to get up to speed, but his talent level is certainly evident. I’m told he intends to come over and be a roster player next season, as opposed to being stashed in Europe for another year. He would fit the Spurs to a T.
Detroit Pistons (via Bucks)
The Pistons acquired this pick from Milwaukee on Wednesday night in a deal that enabled the Bucks to unload Tony Snell’s long-term contract. Bazley has been among the buzziest prospects anywhery over the past couple days, and conducted a second, 1-on-0 workout for the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday morning, according to league sources. Detroit is thought to have interest in him, but there’s also a sense Bazley could be selected higher than this.
After sitting out the year to intern at New Balance and train in the Boston area Bazley is viewed by teams as a project, but at the combine, he did appear to have put helpful time in developing his body while sitting out this season. His feel is a work in progress, but his athleticism has begun to take off a bit, and there’s some appeal with him as a long-term project. Bazley will benefit from G League time, but he would appear to have real first-round momentum late in the process.
31. Brooklyn (via New York): Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State
Kabengele has been a notable riser over the course of workouts and appears to be sitting pretty safely in the first round — teams genuinely like him as a person, he plays hard, and he earned an invitation to the green room, which is a positive indicator. However, there is also a degree of trepidation shared by multiple teams about the long-term health of his knees, one which could see him slip a bit further down in the draft than some expect.
The Nets were thought to have Kabengele in play for No. 17, and if he slips here, it’s easy to see him being a strong fit at either Nos. 27 or 31. He’ll turn 22 this summer, but he’s big, athletic, shoots with touch, and was exceptionally productive on a per-minute basis at Florida State. He’s not much of a passer and is strictly a high-energy big who finishes plays, but there’s plenty of utility in that.
32. Phoenix: Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State
Dort would be nice value for someone if he falls here, and his physical attributes help make up for his shortcomings as a shooter in this part of the draft. He’ll be in play in the 20s, but it’s possible he slips a little bit due to the efficiency concerns. The fact Dort isn’t really a point guard but needs the ball to make an impact at this stage, plus the fact he’s an older freshman with so-so feel, may drive him down into the early second round. He could give the Suns some defensive cover and an extra ball-handler to develop.
33. Philadelphia (via Cleveland): Dylan Windler, SF, Belmont
It’s no surprise that outside shooting is going to come at a premium in this draft, and Windler’s skill set has put him in consideration starting in the back part of the first round. His shooting ability would have appeal for the Sixers, who could move all their second-rounders, but are known to covet floor-spacers. Windler is in the mix for the Warriors at No. 28, but it’s possible he ends up falling into the 30s.
34. Philadelphia (via Chicago): Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue
We have a late first-round grade on Edwards, but looking at the shape of the draft, it’s tricky to find a spot for him—conceivably, if a team really loves him, he could go in the 20s. If he makes it this far, he’s a terrific value pick, with legitimate microwave scoring ability, and impressive strength and toughness that help cover for his lack of size. With his ability to shoot on the move, he’d be an interesting backcourt fit in Philadelphia alongside Ben Simmons.
35. Atlanta: Chuma Okeke, F Auburn
Okeke has a case to go in the first round, and before his season-ending ACL injury, he was tracking in that direction. He could still end up going in the 20s, and seems unlikely to fall out of the 30s, at worst. He could be a big-time value pick for someone in this range. If not for the knee injury, there would likely be much more buzz here.
36. Charlotte (via Washington): Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee
Williams is another experienced college player who could end up in the 20s, but it’s also possible he falls a bit here just based on the way the second round tends to work, and the overall discrepancy in how teams view the 20-40 range this year. Teams have doubts about his outside shot and perimeter defense translating to the NBA, which has kept his value deflated despite a strong statistical case. The Hornets tend to like established college guys like him, and could experiment with him at forward next to Miles Bridges.
37. Dallas: Naz Reid, C, LSU
Although teams began to come around on Reid a bit after a strong finish to the season at LSU, it's been tough to find a place for him in the first round, with the other available bigs all making pretty good cases. When he played hard, he was almost always impactful in college. If a team can get the most out of him, he could be a value pick here.
38. Chicago (via Memphis): Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas
It appears Gafford is set to slip into the second round, after beginning the year as a potential lottery pick. Multiple teams have concerns about his medical, specifically a knee issue, and the word is he has not helped himself on the workout circuit. His lack of progression has been concerning for teams, but it still seems likely he’s drafted. He may not be more than a backup center.
39. New Orleans: Jalen Lecque, G, Brewster Academy
Lecque is making the leap to the pros directly from a prep year at Brewster, and showed well enough at the combine to shut it down after one day. His athleticism and flashes of playmaking ability will get him picked in this range as an upside play. I’m personally airing on the side of optimism with him, and a year in the G League will be telling. The Pelicans may end up rostering multiple first-rounders next year, and could give Lecque time to develop with little pressure. It could also make sense to stash an international player at this spot.
40. Sacramento (via Minnesota): Talen Horton-Tucker, G/F, Iowa State
Horton-Tucker’s stock has cooled a bit, and teams have their doubts about his body type, shooting and athleticism translating, but the Kings are thought to have interest. It still seems like he won’t fall much further than this, and the pivotal thing for him will be landing with an organization that’s invested in his growth. The Kings are also expected to be opportunistic in terms of moving up in the draft, currently holding three second–round selections.
41. Golden State (via Atlanta): Marial Shayok, G/F, Iowa State
The Warriors officially acquired this pick from the Hawks on Thursday. Atlanta netted $1.3 million and a 2024 second-round pick in the deal. Shayok is thought to be among the players Golden State liked in this range, and his shooting ability and experience level would seem to hold positive appeal for the Warriors as a plug and play role option on the cheap.
42. Philadelphia (via Sacramento): Isaiah Roby, PF, Nebraska
The sense right now is that any and all of the Sixers’ second-rounders are available to other teams. If Roby falls this far, he’d be an interesting development project, and a gamble on length and athleticism over positionality. It’s hard to see him falling much further than this, although teams have questions about his toughness and physical strength. He’s surprisingly skilled for a guy his size, and would be a strong option if he slips into the 40s.
43. Minnesota (via Miami): Jordan Poole, SG, Michigan
Apparently, Poole has been working out notably well for teams. The lack of consistency at Michigan has deflated his stock a bit, but the talent level has been evident up close, and he seems secure as a second round pick thanks to his jump shooting potential. Spending time in the G League to cultivate his guard skills might be helpful next season. Minnesota could really use more shooting in the backcourt, and he’s an attractive project on some level. The Timberwolves might be looking to sign their pick to a two-way deal at this spot, I’m told.
44. Miami (via Atlanta): Ky Bowman, PG, Boston College
The Heat acquired this pick from the Hawks via trade on Wednesday afternoon, and Bowman and Zylan Cheatham are thought to be two of the players in the mix. Bowman’s toughness and physicality makes sense with Miami’s organizational preferences, and the Heat could angle to develop him into a defensive-oriented backup at the point.
45. Detroit: Deividas Sirvydis, SF, Lietuvos Rytas
Sirvydis and the Pistons are thought to have mutual interest at this spot, although it’s possible he gets drafted earlier in the second round. His shooting ability, size and feel make him a viable second-round option in a thin international class, and a good role fit for what Detroit is seeking on the wing. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, he intends to come over to the NBA next season. That said, conceivably, it could benefit him to remain stashed overseas.
46. Orlando (via Brooklyn): Jontay Porter, F/C, Missouri
According to league sources, the Magic have made this pick available with intent to sell it.
The injury history with Porter will undoubtedly scare some teams off, but he would likely have been a first-rounder if he’d been able to put together a healthy season. He’ll be a nice value play anywhere in the second round, but the health situation is concerning enough that it may tank his stock. His shooting ability and feel should appeal to them.
47. Sacramento (via Orlando): Admiral Schofield, SF, Tennessee
This spot would seem to be around the back part of Schofield’s range, and a team that loves him as a fit could justify taking him in the 30s, but it seems he could slip a bit. The concerns with him come defensively and attacking the basket against better athletes, but he brings enough to the table from an intangibles perspective to see him sticking on a roster for a while.
48. LA Clippers: DaQuan Jeffries, G/F, Tulsa
Jeffries has a good shot to be drafted, but from my understanding has not worked out anywhere since the combine due to a hip injury. It's possible that could be masking some type of second-round or undrafted guarantee. But he's got role player potential as a strong, tough wing who can hit shots, and would be viable in the 40s.
49. San Antonio: Marcos “Didi” Louzada Silva, SG, Franca
There’s thought to be some mutual interest between Silva, a Brazilian forward who goes by “Didi,” and the Spurs at this spot. San Antonio is no stranger to going international, and Didi comes with some interesting long-term promise as a 3-and-D wing.
50. Indiana: Cody Martin, G, Nevada
Martin made progress over the past year, improving his shot and doing a much better job selling teams on his role player potential, despite being one of the oldest players in this class. He could be a fit for Indiana at this spot.
51. Boston: Terence Davis, SG, Mississippi
Davis is tough, physical, and has done enough for himself over the course of the predraft process to solidify himself as draftable. He played well at the G League Elite Camp and in the combine, showing he can knock down shots and plays with energy. He’s not particularly big for a two-guard and has no elite skill to sell, so a team would be betting on his tools and aggression paying off and turning him into a usable role player. His shot selection might eventually become an issue if he doesn’t make an adjustment.
52. Charlotte (via Oklahoma City): Louis King, SF, Oregon
This would be a major fall for King, but teams have real concerns about his thin frame and positional fit at forward, as well as knee issues stemming back to high school. He has size and shoots it well, but may not view himself as a role player. If he does buy in, he could be terrific value, but teams aren’t sold on him and have questioned his readiness to be a pro.
53. Utah - Zylan Cheatham, F, Arizona State
With Jae Crowder headed to Memphis, Cheatham’s defensive versatility and low-maintenance game could help fill that void at forward. He’s an interesting candidate late in the draft, despite the fact he turns 24 in November, and the hope is that he can make quick contributions and add some value.
54. Philadelphia: Tremont Waters, PG, LSU
Waters boasts impressive basketball IQ and overall chops that bely his small stature. Of the second round point guards, he seems to have a solid chance of being selected. It’s unclear if the Sixers will keep this selection.
55. New York (via Houston): Zach Norvell, SG, Gonzaga
With nice size and a promising jumper, Norvell has specialist potential, although his game off the dribble is somewhat limited at the moment. His size and quick trigger make him a good second-round candidate.
56. LA Clippers (via Portland): Miye Oni, G/F, Yale
Oni has appealing tools, and has likely done enough to get himself drafted, with the type of length and shooting ability that make him a feasible role player with added development.
57. New Orleans (via Denver): Quinndary Weatherspoon, SG, Mississippi State
Weatherspoon is one of my personal favorite sleepers in the draft, and while it’s not a lock he gets picked, he’s a good bet to deliver value somewhere. He’s athletic, can play with or without the ball, has some feel, plays active defense and can knock down outside shots.
58. Golden State - Alen Smailagic, F/C, Santa Cruz Warriors
Many around the league expect the Warriors to select Smailagic, who spent the past year playing for their G League affiliate and aroused some suspicions that Golden State was trying to keep him for themselves long-term. He's young and skilled enough that this is a viable move for them if he's available here. The Warriors have already invested time in him.
59. Toronto: Shamorie Ponds, PG, St. John’s
Ponds would be a solid value pick here, and does have real fans around the league, although opinion doesn’t seem strong enough to vault him much higher than this There are doubts about his ability to defend in the NBA, but he’s a natural, creative player, and is on the younger side for his class.
60. Sacramento (from Milwaukee):Jordan Bone, PG, Tennessee
Bone was probably the most underrated piece of Tennessee’s team this season, and he couples elite athleticism with leadership, toughness and passing chops. He’d be a strong two-way candidate in this range.