NBA NBA Draft Technology

The Step Back 2019 NBA Draft Big Board: December Update

Zion Williamson has separated himself as the highest participant within the 2019 NBA Draft, plus different ideas after the primary month of school basketball.

The 2019 NBA Draft image is beginning to take form. Six weeks into the NBA season, we all know who a couple of of the groups who can be choosing on the prime of the draft are. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, and Chicago Bulls will probably be among the many touchdown spots for the category’s prime tier, and groups just like the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks appear a couple of video games from becoming a member of them. In the meantime, we’re a month into the school basketball season, which has helped us type out who the gamers are that can be headed to these locations.

The school season has been headlined by Duke, and their trio of top-five prospects. Loads of questions surrounded the unifying of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cameron Reddish within the preseason — might the trio coexist? Would one of many three get marginalized? Up to now, the workforce has principally been a steamroller, they usually’ve gotten alongside fairly properly — Barrett initiates the offense, Williamson terrorizes on the break, and Cameron Reddish cleans up the scraps with spot-up 3s and playmaking in rubbish time. All three nonetheless seem like prime 5 picks thus far.

There’s nonetheless about three weeks till convention play begins, when a majority of the significant recreation tape we’ll see on the highest prospects takes place. However to date, we’re getting an excellent image of who will fill in the remainder of the lottery. We now have seen some gamers shoot up the board with promising begins to the marketing campaign, corresponding to Kevin Porter of USC and Luguentz Dort of Arizona State. Now we see if these gamers can stick with it, and switch what was purported to be a nasty draft class into an honest one.

To get a gauge on the place the 2019 NBA Draft class stands, listed here are our prime 60 prospects, cut up into 5 tiers – with tier one being the one participant who has separated himself from the pack.

Tier 1

Zion Williamson

PF, Duke

Williamson is an athletic freak with a uncommon mixture of ball-handling talent and measurement. He’s a bit brief to play the 4, however he must be a cushty driving scorer on the NBA degree. For extra on Williamson, click on right here.

Williamson has taken over the consciousness of each the school basketball and NBA Draft communities. He could be probably the most athletic participant we’ve seen in years, and he additionally exhibits a excessive degree of talent to go together with it. Questions on his positional match within the NBA are largely overblown. He has the dimensions to bully school fours one-on-one in face-up conditions, and he’s fast sufficient to defend guards on the perimeter. He does have his warts — he actually struggles with strain from lengthy groups like Auburn, and his defensive depth isn’t constant. However his dominance is just too troublesome to disregard, and there’s a reasonably clear position for him as a Blake Griffin-style initiator on the 4. To date he seems to be far and away to be the most effective shot a workforce has at a star on this class.

Tier 2

R.J. Barrett

SF, Duke

Barrett hasn’t seemed the perfect at Duke, however it’s arduous to disregard how simply scoring involves him. When paired together with his highschool tape, it paints the image of a future star. For extra on Barrett, click on right here.

Nassir Little


Little doesn’t play massive minutes for UNC, however he has all of the instruments to develop into a robust two-way initiator on the NBA degree.. For extra on Little, click on right here.

Cameron Reddish

SG, Duke

Reddish is the most effective capturing prospect within the prime tiers of this yr’s class, and has the instruments to be an honest combo guard. His defensive development proven at Duke can also be promising. For extra on Reddish, click on right here.

Barrett’s protection has been a reliable drawback — he doesn’t appear to know the right way to shut out on a shooter, and he has been largely hidden in Duke’s defensive system when he shares the ground with Reddish and Jack White as a result of his consciousness has been problematic. On offense, he has been a productive isolation scorer and exhibits good catch-and-shoot mechanics, however his ending troubles have been worrying even when he has proven some craft across the basket. For these causes he stays on this tier under Williamson, together with Reddish, who has been frankly astounding together with his defensive engagement and luxury with off-ball capturing, and Little, whose flashes in quite a lot of talent areas can’t be ignored even when he isn’t producing at a ok degree of effectivity proper now.


Tier three

Bol Bol

C, Oregon

On some possessions, Bol appears like one of the best participant within the draft. On others, he seems to be like he doesn’t belong on the ground in a Energy 5 convention. Which Bol we see extra of because the ear goes on will decide his last draft standing. For extra on Bol, click on right here.

Simi Shittu

C, Vanderbilt

Coming off an ACL tear, Shittu has appeared to regain his athleticism and has all the offensive traits to make him a flexible small-ball 5.

Keldon Johnson

SF, Kentucky

Johnson has proven flashes of quite a lot of offensive expertise, and has the dimensions and athleticism to be a robust two-way complimentary wing. He must show he can take cost at Kentucky to raise himself to the extent of the category’s prime tier.

DeAndre Hunter

SF, Virginia

Hunter stunned by returning to high school final yr, and appears poised to profit from it. He is perhaps this draft’s greatest perimeter defender, and he’s creating as an off-ball scorer as nicely.

Jontay Porter

C, Missouri

Porter will miss the yr with an ACL tear, however he must be prepared for the beginning of subsequent season and his worth wasn’t predicated on athleticism anyway. He has the perfect really feel within the class and looks like a lock to turn out to be a strong pick-and-pop huge. For extra on Porter, click on right here.

Darius Garland

PG, Vanderbilt

Garland will miss the remainder of the yr with a meniscus damage, however he’s one of the best level guard within the class regardless of his measurement. For extra on Garland, click on right here.

Coby White


An excellent open-court scorer with excessive degree capturing potential, White might be erratic, however has star potential if he can reign his high-octane recreation in. For extra on White, click on right here.

Sure, that’s two gamers who’re out for the yr with an damage in my prime ten. ACLs and meniscus accidents all the time scare individuals, particularly with school gamers, however the science of rehabilitation is enhancing yearly, and we see much less and fewer unfavourable results on a gamers’ long-term improvement from most of these accidents. Garland and Porter additionally characterize two of one of the best offensive values within the class, with Porter’s shot creation potential and Garland’s pick-and-roll talent degree wanting very translatable to the NBA degree. Each guys are additionally virtually assured now to slide under their precise worth when it comes to touchdown spot within the draft, which means there’s a better probability of them touchdown in good conditions that may perceive how one can develop their skills into gamers who can contribute shortly to profitable basketball.

Shittu vs. Bol is likely one of the extra fascinating questions of this replace to me. On one hand, Bol has all the bodily instruments that the undersized Shittu lacks, and may erase his personal errors with ease on the defensive finish resulting from his absurd size. However, Shittu seems to be like a carbon copy of Wendell Carter at occasions together with his innate really feel for pick-and-roll conditions and reads on protection, whereas Bol seemingly forgets the objective of protection as soon as each 5 possessions. I nonetheless have Bol forward for now because of the upside, however the extra I see of Shittu, the extra satisfied I’m that if he was 7-feet tall, he can be in the identical tier as Williamson.

Johnson and Hunter proceed to be the most secure bets to turn into two-way secondary playmakers on the wing, and that’s probably the most priceless NBA position for my draft board.


Tier four

Sekou Doumbouya

PF, Limoges

Doumbouya is an athletic power massive who’s displaying improvement as a ball-handler for Limoges in Eurocup. He’s this yr’s greatest worldwide prospect if he can type out some odd capturing mechanics.

Kevin Porter Jr


Porter is the rising star of this yr’s draft class. Comparatively unheralded in highschool, he has surged up the board as a result of his ending means and projection as a defender.

Jarrett Culver

SG, Texas Tech

Culver has some thrilling playmaking expertise and is having a breakout yr. He isn’t elite at something, however his shot variety and defensive utility ought to earn him a simple rotation spot.

Tre Jones

PG, Duke

Jones is getting overshadowed at Duke, however he’s the most effective passer within the freshman class outdoors of Barrett and has comparable defensive talent to his brother, present Timberwolf Tyus.

Daniel Gafford

C, Arkansas

It’s not a excessive ceiling, however Gafford seems able to be an NBA-level rim runner and inside defender, and luckily for him that ought to go far on this class.

Quentin Grimes

SG, Kansas

Grimes has athletic expertise, however doesn’t seem to have the inspiration to place it to make use of. Can he present sufficient talent at Kansas, or will NBA groups be drafting extra for potential?

Romeo Langford

SG, Indiana

Langford’s capturing has been a nightmare, however he’s been strong all over the place else. If the jumper will get going, he can undoubtedly be a lottery decide. For extra on Langford, click on right here.

Naz Reid


An athletic 4 with ball-handling talent and nice footwork, Reid must show defensive viability to outlive on the subsequent degree.

Luguentz Dort

SG, Arizona State

Dort’s torrid begin to the season has been enjoyable to observe. His fluidity across the rim and uncooked decision-making prowess might put him within the prime 10 by the top of the season.

Jaylen Hoard

PF, Wake Forest

Hoard is a troublesome participant to guage. On one hand, he has some robust switching potential on protection and is a strong passer. On the opposite, he fails in some elementary talent assessments, notably ending.

Josh Reaves

SG, Penn State

A pit bull defender who continues to progress as a three-point shooter, Reaves has numerous potential worth as a flooring spacer that may defend on the level of assault. For extra on Reaves, click on right here.

Grant Williams

SF, Tennessee

Williams has impressed this yr with one of many draft’s most versatile expertise units. He’s younger for a junior and appears like he’ll slot in a whole lot of totally different NBA techniques.

Ja Morant

SG, Murray State

Morant has an fascinating profile as an offensive participant, and he seems to be taking the subsequent step as a decision-maker.

Charles Matthews

SG, Michigan

With Matthews’ evolution right into a succesful isolation scorer this yr, he now presents a small shot at creation capability and expert defensive play, which means he’s in all probability value a first-round decide at this level.

Dean Wade

SF, Kansas State

Wade’s perimeter protection is a uncommon discover on this class, and he’s an honest shooter, too. With improvement, he might be a strong discover later within the draft.

Killian Tillie

PF, Gonzaga

Tillie has lottery expertise, however power has all the time been a problem, and now there’s the potential for his foot damage to considerably hassle him. Is he sturdy sufficient to play the 5 within the NBA?

Brandon Clarke

SF, Gonzaga

Clarke has proved himself early as a scorer, and is one other member of what seems like an extremely deep wing class.

A number of highlights from this large group of mid-to-late first-round prospects, nearly all of whom are wings:

Tre Jones continues to be probably the most basically sound level guard within the class and he has vital upside if he can get a practical jumper labored out. He’s forgotten at Duk, however could be very a lot a first-round prospect.

The Langford/Grimes choice is a troublesome one. Each are respectable gamers with secondary playmaker potential, however each are additionally very weak in necessary areas for that position. I belief Langford’s shot to return round greater than I belief Grimes’s protection at this level.

There are such a lot of three/4 combo varieties who appear to be future NBA small-ball lineup keystones off the bench on this class. I’d take any of Grant Williams, Dean Wade, Jaylen Hoard, and Brandon Clarke to be productive bench gamers for good groups ultimately.

Gamers with one of the best shot to maneuver up a tier within the subsequent month: Kevin Porter, whose athleticism and transition play could be very engaging; Ja Morant, if he can reveal extra constant decision-making and shot choice; and Langford, who in all probability will go within the lottery off the again of his highschool capturing popularity and school manufacturing, however actually must get a couple of to fall in a row quickly.

Tier 5

This carries us to the top of the board, so a couple of ideas and defenses of rankings are offered all through.

Jalen McDaniels

PF, San Diego State

McDaniels thrills together with his athleticism and rebounding, and is a reasonably good staff defender, however he’s a piece in progress on offense.

Segaba Konate

C, West Virginia

Konate isn’t tall, however he has spectacular size and makes even higher use of it as a rim protector. He hasn’t had the identical impression he did final yr, however has progressed as a shooter, making him an intriguing two-way middle.

It’s exhausting to inform what to make of Konate this yr — his manufacturing hasn’t slipped, however he doesn’t look as snug on movie, and his group has regressed considerably. He’s up right here primarily as a result of the large man class falls off a cliff after Gafford.

Admiral Schofield

PF, Tennessee

Schofield’s mixture of physicality and agility make him a really robust defensive prospect, and his passing enchancment makes him an attractive improvement undertaking.

Zoran Paunovic

SG, FMP Beograd

Paunovic exhibits some fascinating playmaking expertise from the 2 and is extraordinarily younger. How he develops as a secondary pick-and-roll menace might be fascinating this season.

Anfernee McLemore

SF, Auburn

One other member of the deep role-playing wing class, McLemore has bounced again from a ugly damage to even take a leap ahead as a defender.

Caleb Martin

SF, Nevada

Martin is a talented shooter regardless of a cool launch, and he tasks to be a robust slasher as properly.

Luka Samanic

PF, Olimpija Ljubljana

A talented passer, fascinating ballhandler, and interesting defender, Samanic’s potential as a stretch 4 ought to put him within the dialog for the primary spherical.

Devon Dotson

PG, Kansas

Dotson’s playmaking within the open courtroom is superb, and he has potential as a defender regardless of his measurement.

Rui Hachimura

PF, Gonzaga

Hachimura is a talented rebounder and wows together with his athleticism, and is getting lottery hype. However he’s additionally maybe the worst positional defender amongst this yr’s upperclassmen prospects, which considerably hinders his upside.

The narrative is that Hachimura is a possible lottery decide due to his offensive improvement and positional measurement. Nevertheless, he’s additionally given improvement potential by some, however is 21-years previous and is an entire undertaking on protection at this level when it comes to recognizing actions and mandatory rotations. If I’m taking a 4 due to his thick, jacked body and potential versatility, I’d a lot moderately have Schofield regardless that he’s almost three inches shorter.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker

SG, Virginia Tech

Alexander-Walker’s scoring explosion in his sophomore yr has put him again on draft radars. He’s nonetheless in all probability too skinny to translate, however his off-movement capturing is promising.

Deivydas Sirvidis

SG, Lietuvos Rytas

He may weigh 170 kilos soaking moist, however his talent set could be very superior for being 18 years previous. The Lithuanian shooter will certainly be within the sights of NBA groups eager to draft-and-stash.

Isaiah Roby

PF, Nebraska

Roby tasks as a weakside rim protector and pick-and-pop huge with some dealing with potential. He’s one of many few second spherical prospects with star upside this yr if he can refine his recreation additional.

D’Marcus Simonds

SG, Georgia State

Simonds is among the higher athletes in school basketball, and exhibits some potential as a secondary creator. He’s a darkish horse lottery decide if he improves as a shooter.

Zach Norvell

SG, Gonzaga

Norvell doesn’t overwhelm you together with his play however quietly churns out numbers as a secondary playmaker for probably the greatest groups within the nation.

Goga Bitadze

C, Mega Bemax

An enormous Georgian middle, Bitadze has proven flashes as a shooter and is one in every of Europe’s higher younger defensive bigs.

Charles Bassey

C, Western Kentucky

Bassey is actually mini-Bol: He wows together with his rim safety and effectivity at occasions, however more often than not seems to be extraordinarily uncooked.

Darius Bazley

SF, New Stability

Bazley wasn’t tremendous promising earlier than he determined to forego school and practice for the draft. Now, he’s the draft’s largest thriller, each when it comes to improvement and the way groups price him.

I’m pressured to maintain Bazley on right here till given purpose in any other case.

Kerwin Roach

SG, Texas

Roach has taken over primary scoring duties for Texas, and is an effective sufficient finisher and level of assault defender to warrant a second-round flier.

Yovel Zoosman

SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

Zoosman thrilled on the U20 European Championships, and has been robust for Maccabi Tel Aviv early on. He’s older, however might some day be an NBA degree defender on the three.

Shamorie Ponds

PG, St. Johns

Ponds has established himself as an elite shooter, however questions on his ending capability linger over his draft inventory.

Nikola Rackocevic


Rackocevic is an effective finisher and rebounder, and doubtless has some worth as a bench huge if there’s a spot for him within the league.

Ignas Brazdeikis

SF, Michigan

Like Dort, Brazdeikis is a freshman from Canada who got here out of nowhere to have a robust begin to the season. He’s rather less translatable to the NBA degree, however nonetheless deserves a tough look if he retains wanting this robust.

Kris Wilkes


Wilkes is fascinating as a result of his scoring potential on the three, however wants vital athletic improvement to make the NBA.

P.J. Washington

PF, Kentucky

Unsustainable three level capturing apart, Washington’s profile hasn’t modified a lot from final yr – a playmaking 4 who struggles with choice making and isn’t a top quality defender.

Ayo Dosunmo

PG, Illinois

Dosunmo has been promising on protection, however his uncooked offensive efficiency possible signifies he’s not prepared but.

Ty Jerome

SG, Virginia

Jerome has confirmed to be an excellent off-ball shooter and defender, however he wants extra on ball talent to outlive at his measurement within the NBA.

Dedric Lawson

PF, Kansas

Lawson’s scoring and rebounding manufacturing is tough to disregard, however he lacks in actual contributions to profitable basketball.

Carsen Edwards

PG, Purdue

Identical to Ponds, Edwards is a strong school scorer who doesn’t actually really feel like he’ll translate nicely to the NBA degree with out vital power addition.

Together with Ponds, 54-56 is the “Would be a first-rounder if you were three inches taller” tier.

Eric Paschall

PF, Villanova

An honest finisher, Paschall clearly has expertise, nevertheless it’s onerous to undertaking what his NBA position will probably be.

Fletcher Magee

SG, Wofford

The greatest off-movement shooter in school basketball, Magee has flashed sufficient talent to make you consider that he can survive as an NBA rotation participant.

Let’s take a second to only marvel at the truth that Magee is taking 11 threes per recreation and hitting 38 % of them.

Dylan Windler

SF, Belmont

A flexible three on the low main degree, Windler could possibly be a productive position participant with some defensive improvement.

Jack White

SG, Duke

White has thrived because the fifth man at Duke, and takes main defensive assignments away from R.J. Barrett. He may need an NBA future doing the identical.

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