2019 NBA Draft Big Board – First Round

You didn’t think I’d let another NBA Draft pass by without me attempting to evaluate and rank players, did you? I used the same methodology to rank players this year as I did last. I tried my best to grade players out of three categories: 10 points each for ceiling (C), floor (F), and personality (P). It goes without saying these ratings are EXTREMELY subjective and with no real science behind it. If I have multiple prospects tied with the same score, I rank the one with the higher personality grade higher. If there is a tie on personality, I rank the prospect with the higher ceiling above the other.

Generally, I noticed this draft class does not have the same amount of All-Star Potential (rating of 8 or higher) as the 2018 draft class did. But there’s a considerable amount of players who are very safe with high floors to be good rotation players (rating of 5 = average potential). Without further ado, here are my scores for my top 30 prospects along with a few notes for each player and some of my favorite highlights. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

 

  1. Zion (C: 10, F: 7.5, P: 9.5)
  • You don’t need me to tell you how good Zion is, do you?

 

  1. RJ Barrett (C: 8.5, F: 7, P: 9.5)
  • Groomed to be a top pick from young age and impressive confidence/demeanor
  • Impressive stat line despite not having perfect shooting numbers
  • Will need to improve jumper (i.e. move non-shooting hand to the side of the ball rather than top of the ball)
  • We know he can score but likes to operate from the elbow, uses his scoring threat to playmake (he is Nash’s godson after all)
  • Underrated athleticism
  1. Ja Morant (C: 9, F: 6.5, P: 9)
  • One man wrecking crew and legitimate triple double threat
  • Played in Zion’s shadow in high school so always underrated till now
  • Athletic point guard who uses his skills to open shots for teammates
  • Shot works but won’t be lethal and doesn’t have built frame like Westbrook

 

  1. De’Andre Hunter (C: 8.5, F: 6.5, P: 8)
  • Best player on national champion Virginia so proven “winner”
  • More than just a 3&D guy, can create own shot and be a focal point on offense a la Khris Middleton (if you’re drunk enough, can see some Kawhi)
  • Doesn’t steal and rebound as much as you would think

 

  1. Jarrett Culver (C: 8, F: 6, P: 8.5)
  • Good size for a 2 guard and can play in the post at times
  • Better shot creator than you would think
  • Competes on defense, too long of a shot? Can he extend to NBA 3-point range?
  • Extremely hard worker so can be in that Jimmy Butler mold

 

  1. Darius Garland (C: 8.5, F: 5.5, P: 8)
  • Great PnR player and can pull up from just about anywhere on the court
  • Not quite as good as Trae Young but still fits the mold of new Curry inspired guards
  • Can finish with either hand, attracts defenders to open up teammates
  • Shows flashes of playmaking ability but he’s not a great passer yet

 

  1. Luguentz Dort (C: 8, F: 5, P: 8.5)
  • Built Canadian freshman guard for Arizona State embraces underdog mentality
  • Has that Donovan Mitchell frame where despite being undersized, plays aggressive
  • Rugged defender, gets steals, and has potential playmaking ability
  • Questions about shooting consistency, gets to FT line at good clip
  1. Coby White (C: 8, F: 5.5, P:8)
  • UNC freshman point guard is a very talented shot creator and plays up-tempo
  • Can be a better decision maker but he can make difficult step backs
  • Looks more like a combo guard in the mold of Reggie Jackson?

 

  1. Goga Bitadze (C: 7.5, F: 5, P: 8.5)
  • Very intelligent international big man from Georgia
  • Doesn’t need ball in his hands to be effective
  • Has that Enes Kanter frame but can he can also elevate and block shots
  • Owns a very effortless jump shot and can easily be a stretch 5

 

  1. Grant Williams (C: 6.5, F: 6.5, P: 8.5)
  • Tennessee junior and PF might be the smartest guy in this draft
  • Carries himself like a 10-year NBA veteran, shapes game after PJ Tucker
  • Scores in the interior and playmakes from the post, improving 3-point shot
  • Tough physical defender, rebounds, and can block some shots

 

  1. Brandon Clarke (C: 7, F: 6. P: 8)
  • Gonzaga big man is a versatile defender with an impressive 3.2 blocks per game
  • Has very good hands (handy for catching lobs) and can play some small ball center
  • Tweener size? 3.2 BPG? Miles Bridges athleticism with nice spin moves

 

  1. Cam Reddish (C: 8.5, F: 5, P: 7.5)
  • Third freshman star on Duke entered season as lock to be a top 5 pick
  • Easy to dream on because of his frame and effortless shot; can create his own shot
  • Struggles to play through contact, poor rebounding numbers, low bball lQ?

 

  1. Rui Hachimura (C: 8, F: 4, P: 8.5)
  • Zags junior from Japan knows how to be a mismatch with a methodical jumper
  • Can shoot midrange like Kyle Kuzma and uses his size on offense and defense
  • Makes improvements every year so shot will continue to improve and has advanced offensive skillset including going to FT line
  • I’d bet on game slowing down for him.
  1. Bol Bol (C: 9, F: 4.5, P: 7)
  • Son of Manute Bol has one of the highest ceilings in the draft class with his size and shooting ability and I really want this kid to succeed but…
  • Very big questions about his motor and physicality
  • Don’t get great feel for personality either (does he love the game? does he need it?)

 

  1. Mfiondu Kabengele (C: 6.5, F: 5, P: 8.5)
  • Big man for Florida State has great per 40 stats since he was sixth man
  • Efficient shooting #s, very good blocker (Dikembe Mutombo’s nephew after all)
  • Feels comfy in the post, shot more 3s, ball handling needs to be improved and maybe he should learn more post moves?

 

  1. Romeo Langford (C:8, F: 4, P: 8)
  • Hard to gauge personality of this Indiana freshman and shooting guard
  • Romeo has advanced skillset as a scoring guard at 19, can be effective 3 level scorer
  • Obviously the concern with him is the 27% from 3PT land but he looks to be much better shooter than his numbers suggest
  • Most highlights are w/ball rather than playing off ball (both on offense and defense)

 

  1. Tyler Herro (C: 7.5, F: 5, P: 7.5)
  • Everyone knows Herro is a good shooter but more impressive to me is his ability to run around and relocate for his shot like JJ Redick
  • Kentucky freshman not going to hurt defensively either as he competes and played most minutes for Calipari

 

  1. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (C: 7, F:5, P: 8)
  • Cousin of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander plays a lot like him as a steady combo guard
  • Has a better three point shot than Shai with over 7 three point attempts per game
  • Skillset not only has scoring but also making right pass; very solid kid and personality
  • Doesn’t need ball in hands all time, won’t wow you with athleticism

 

  1. Nicolas Claxton (C: 7, F: 5, P: 8)
  • His skillset is what teams look for in a modern big, rebound, defend/shot blocker,
  • Can shoot i.e. Myles Turner mold, great footwork and spin moves in the post
  • Very good athlete, can switch and defend guards on perimeter
  • Can push ball in transition , 3-point shot doesn’t look horrible- not afraid to shoot

 

  1. Zylan Cheatham (C: 6.5, F: 4, P: 9)
  • Redshirt senior for Arizona State might have the most heart in the draft
  • 6’8″ and still averages >10 RPG, runs well in transition with sneaky passing ability
  • Very good defender especially on switches, but w/ no jumper at this point
  • Wish he had more blocks and steals (dunk against Oregon)
  1. Kevin Porter Jr. (C: 7.5, F: 5, P: 8)
  • Young athletic freshman two-guard from USC has playing style that screams Seattle
  • Quick explosive first step and nice lefty stroke suggests some star potential but hasn’t shown consistency. Could’ve used another year in college to develop.
  • Fits mold of Jamal Crawford type microwave scorer

 

  1. Jalen McDaniels (C: 7.5, F: 4, P: 8)
  • San Diego State forward has very long arms , lanky frame, and active defensively
  • Nice shooting stroke, can be effective ISO scorer as well as pick and pop guy
  • Juwan Howard’s cousin, decided to forego 2018 draft (smart decision)
  • Very confident player with midrange and 3PT game
  1. Jaxson Hayes (C: 7, F: 4.5, P: 8)
  • Young former wide receiver now playing center for Texas (lob threat)
  • Athletic big who has decent touch and FT %, still learning the game
  • Innate shot blocker, didn’t rebound as much as you would want

 

  1. PJ Washington (C: 6.5, F: 5, P: 8)
  • Kentucky sophomore forward shot very well, improved 3pt shot but not from FT?
  • Improved 3PT% by nearly 20 points, good athlete, solid jumper
  • Marcus Morris type which can play inside and out, knows his role

 

  1. Matisse Thybulle (C: 6.5, F: 5, P: 8)
  • Very unique player for Washington who looks like a NFL safety quarterbacking and staying on top of UW’s zone defense
  • In the Danny Green mold, didn’t shoot well from 3 from last year but has history
  • Impressive combination of steals and blocks from the wing position
  1. Dylan Windler (C: 6.5, F: 5, P: 8)
  • Belmont senior might be the best shooter in the draft
  • Big reason why Belmont was in the NCAA tourney
  • Ridiculous stats, smooth lefty jumper as a big/forward who also isn’t afraid of contact and grabbing rebounds, questions about strength/athleticism?

 

  1. Admiral Schofield (C: 6, F: 4.5, P: 8.5)
  • Easily best name in the draft but Tennessee senior/forward plays with moxy
  • Chiseled body, real 3 PT shot, and not afraid to launch
  • Has posterizing ability, might be too “old” but will always bring energy on defense
  1. Keldon Johnson (C: 6.5, F: 4.5, P: 8)
  • Rare Kentucky freshman who isn’t getting any hype due to questions about ceiling
  • Good sized two guard is a solid player who will knock down open shots (3s)
  • Very good player in transition, competes on defense and on the glass

 

  1. Ty Jerome (C: 6.5, F: 4.5, P: 8)
  • Junior 6’5” point guard is a key reason for Virginia’s success (like Hunter)
  • Cerebral old school guard who has perhaps best vision in draft class
  • Competes on defense despite lacking athleticism, knows where to be on the floor

 

  1. Nassir Little (C: 6, F: 5, P: 8)
  • Highly regarded prospect coming out of HS but couldn’t find way to start for UNC
  • Freshman w/ a nice build, modern wing who can defend multiple positions
  • Performs best in transition and if he ever develops a 3 can be in Aminu mold
  • Bet he can shoot at some point since his FT% was good but who knows when?

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