NBA Mock Draft 2019: Bold Predictions for Low-Profile Prospects

Talen Horton-Tucker should have the power and strength to make a contribution in the NBA.

Talen Horton-Tucker should have the power and strength to make a contribution in the NBA.Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

As the 16 teams that qualified for the playoffs fight to advance in the NBA postseason, the front offices of all 30 teams prepare for the annual draft in June.

This is a draft with four potential superstars at the top, including Duke’s Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett along with Murray State’s Ja Morant and Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver.

However, it’s not just the superstars who are going to have an impact in the NBA. Scouts and general managers know that if they do their job well, some of the lower-profile players in the second half of the first round and beyond can also help.

In this piece, we present our mock draft, using the draft order of Tankathon.com, to make our pick selections. We also look at two players in the bottom half of the first round who have the skills and ability to make a contribution at the NBA level.

           

NBA Mock Draft 

1. New York Knicks: PF Zion Williamson, Duke

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: SF R.J. Barrett, Duke

3. Phoenix Suns: PG Ja Morant, Murray State

4. Chicago Bulls: SG Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech

5. Atlanta Hawks, SF Cam Reddish, Duke

6. Washington Wizards, C Jaxson Hayes, Texas

7. New Orleans Pelicans, SG Romeo Langford, Indiana

8. Memphis Grizzlies, PG Darius Garland, Vanderbilt

9. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas Mavericks), PF P.J. Washington, Kentucky

10. Minnesota Timberwolves, PG-SG Coby White, North Carolina

11. Los Angeles Lakers, SG Kevin Porter Jr., USC

12. Charlotte Hornets, SF De’Andre Hunter, Virginia

13. Miami Heat, PF/SF Sekou Doumbouya, Limoges CSP

14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento Kings), C Bol Bol, Oregon

15. Detroit Pistons, SF Nassir Little, North Carolina

16. Orlando Magic, SG Tyler Herro, Kentucky

17. Brooklyn Kings, C Bruno Fernando, Maryland

18. Indiana Pacers, SF Nassir Little, North Carolina

19. San Antonio Spurs, C Goga Bitadze, Buducnost

20. Boston Celtics (L.A. Clippers), PG-SG Ty Jerome, Virginia

21. Oklahoma City Thunder, PF Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

22. Boston Celtics, PF Grant Williams, Tennessee

23. Utah Jazz, SG-SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State

24. Philadelphia 76ers, SF Keldon Johnson, Kentucky

25. Portland Trail Blazers, C Daniel Gafford, Arkansas

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston Rockets), SF KZ Okpala, Stanford

27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver Nuggets), PG Carsen Edwards, Purdue

28. Golden State Warriors, SF Matisse Thybulle, Washington

29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto Raptors), SF-PF Isaiah Roby, Nebraska

30. Milwaukee Bucks, C Jontay Porter, Missouri

             

SG-SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State

There is little doubt every NBA team is looking for a player with the kind of skills that can break a game open at any time. The elite players who possess those talents are likely to go at the top of the draft every year. 

The question for scouts, coaches and general managers is what makes one player worthy of being drafted in the first round.

Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker may have the characteristic that makes him worthy of a draft pick in the back half of the first round: toughness.

The 18-year-old is a 6’4″ shooting guard-small forward who checks in at 238 pounds, and his most impressive physical asset is his 7’1″ wingspan. That bulk gives him the strength and thickness to play bully ball when he takes his man down low.

Horton-Tucker finished his freshman season with the Cyclones averaging 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He may not be an NBA starter, but he could be the kind of player who makes a difference coming off the bench.

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman noted that when Horton-Tucker gets to the NBA, coaches will emphasize improvements in his decision-making and conditioning.

              

SF KZ Okpala, Stanford

KZ Okpala demonstrated he could be a productive player with the Cardinal, and he has the kind of length that should make him valuable at the next level.

He is 6’9″ and 215 pounds, and he has a 7’2″ wingspan that allows him to cause defensive problems because he can get in the passing lanes and disrupt the offense.

Okpala averaged 16.9 points and 5.7 rebounds for Stanford, and the sophomore added 1.0 steal per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field. That shooting percentage may seem average or slightly above, but he improved in that area from the start of the season to the finish.

The 19-year-old is a face-up scorer, and that’s an option that is always appreciated in end-of-game situations when points are hard to come by. He can cut through the paint, receive the ball and get his shot off quickly.

Look for him to get drafted with the 26th pick, and if he goes in Round 1, he will be the first Stanford player to do so since Robin and Brook Lopez in 2008.

Wasserman sees Okpala as the kind of player who can create mismatches, but he needs to work on his shot creation and off-the-dribble skills.  

NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA http://bit.ly/2gMI6gF

April 17, 2019 at 05:12AM

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