North Carolina State v Duke

With the NBA Finals nearing a close, we can start to shift our focus to the NBA Draft. Spoiler alert, Zion Williamson’s going to be the top pick in this draft, but will the pick be traded? How will the rest of the lottery shakeout? Here’s how I see the top-14 picks in the draft going:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Pelicans reportedly own the rights to the No. 4 overall pick following the Anthony Davis trade, per ESPN. Updated Mock Draft at the bottom.

1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson (PF)

2018-19 stats (Freshman at Duke): 22.6 pts, 8.9 reb, 2.1 ast, 2.1 sta, 1.8 blk, 68% FG
Zion is currently -10,000 on DraftKings Sportsbook to be the top overall pick, and all indications are that the Pelicans will make that selection. There’s not much I can tell you that you don’t already know, Zion’s a freak athlete with multiple skills that should translate to the NBA at at elite level. If he can develop his jump shot, the sky’s the limit. Anthony Davis could very well wind up getting moved on Draft night, which would give the Pelicans a brand new young core to build around Zion.


2. Memphis Grizzles: Ja Morant (PG)

2018-19 stats (Sophomore at Murray St.): 24.5 pts, 10.0 ast, 5.7 reb, 1.8 stl, 50% FG
Morant was one of the spectacular players that nobody knew about to begin the season, but we learned about him quickly. Morant has a Russell Westbrook-type of impact on the box score, and we got to see it in a first-round thrashing of Marquette during March Madness. With Mike Conley aging, Morant and Jaren Jackson would make for an electric young duo in Memphis.


New York Knicks: RJ Barrett (SG/SF)

2018-19 stats (Freshman at Duke): 22.6 pts, 7.6 reb, 4.3 ast
It was Barrett, not Zion that entered last season as the top overall prospect, and he didn’t do all that much to play himself out of that spot. Barrett dropping on the draft board is mostly just because of Williamson and Morant exceeding their expectations by wide margins. Barrett’s a gifted scorer that’s extremely aggressive getting to the rim. He’s a capable shooter, but will never live up to his star potential unless he significantly improves his shooting percentages from the perimeter, particularly from downtown.


4. Los Angeles Lakers: Darius Garland (PG)

2018-19 stats (Freshman at Vanderbilt): 16.2 pts, 3.8 reb, 2.6 ast, 53.7% FG (5 games)
Garland is one of the names we keep hearing just outside of the top-three prospects getting all the hype, but we didn’t get to see much of him in his lone year in college. Garland is a terrific shooter with deep range, and also has great handle. He suffered a season-ending knee injury after just five games at Vandy, but we’d be talking about him much more had he gotten the chance to play his freshman season out.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Pelicans reportedly own the rights to the No. 4 overall pick following the Anthony Davis trade, per ESPN. Updated Mock Draft at the bottom.


5. Cleveland Cavaliers: DeAndre Hunter (SF)

2018-19 stats (Sophomore at Virginia): 15.2 pts, 5.1 reb, 2.0 ast, 52% FG, 43.8% 3pt FG
I think the Cavaliers’ decision comes down to Hunter or Jarrett Culver, and it really could be a coin flip. The two faced off in the title game, with Hunter’s Virginia Cavaliers prevailing. Hunter has elite scoring ability, and a silky smooth game. He may struggle a bit adapting to NBA range, which isn’t ideal, but the rest of his game is built for the next level. I see a lot of Rudy Gay in Hunter, who go off to an All-Star level start to his career with the Grizzlies.


6. Phoenix Suns: Coby White (PG)

2018-19 stats (Freshman at UNC): 16.1 pts, 4.1 ast, 3.5 reb, 1.1 stl
I think there are much better players available here (like the next two players below), but what have we heard about the Suns the last two seasons? They’re desperately searching for a point guard. With Morant clearly off the board, White is the next option. If I’m Phoenix, I aim a little higher for another potential star to place next to Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton (think Cam Reddish), but White will be a solid fit, and at least fill a huge positional need. He plays at a pace that will be electric to watch in the NBA, which should lead to plenty of monster fantasy outbursts.


7. Chicago Bulls: Jarrett Culver (SG)

2018-19 stats (Sophomore at Texas Tech): 18.5 pts, 6.4 reb, 3.7 ast, 1.5 stl
Culver has top-five potential, but the Bulls should be very pleased if he slides to them. He became a star at Texas Tech as a sophomore, and has one of the safest floors in the draft. He’ll need to improve his shooting and decision making, but the Bulls get a nice piece to add to the perimeter. Culver’s game would fit nicely alongside Zach LaVine.


8. Atlanta Hawks: Cameron Reddish (SF)

2018-19 stats (Freshman at Duke): 13.5 pts, 3.7 reb, 1.9 ast, 1.6 stl
Reddish is one of the most interesting prospects in this draft. He was one of the top prospects in his class, but clearly took a backseat to Williamson and Barrett. It really hurt his draft stock at times, but Reddish also showed flashes of what he’s capable of. NBA scouts have been as high on Reddish as Paul George, while he’s also drawn comparisons to simply being a role player like Rodney Hood. Atlanta has three picks in the top 17, and can afford to chase a high ceiling. If Reddish pans out, it gives Trae Young a great scoring option alongside him.


9. Washington Wizards: Sekou Doumbouya (SF/PF)

2018-19 stats (France): 11.2 points, 3.5 reb, 1.3 ast, 1.4 stl (22.3 minutes)
I’m not going to pretend I know this kid’s game like the back of my hand, but he impressed enough at a young age in the French leagues that he’s jumped into the lottery conversation. With the current state of the Wizards (John Wall injured, Bradley Beal not committed long-term), they could use a prospect that might take some time to develop. Consider this the start of a rebuild.


10. Atlanta Hawks: Rui Hachimura (SF/PF)

2018-19 stats (Junior at Gonzaga): 19.7 pts, 6.5 reb, 1.5 ast, 59.1% FG, 41.7% 3pt FG
Hachimura’s another guy that flashed the potential of a top-five pick at times. He was born in Japan, and hasn’t been playing basketball for many years, but found his aggressiveness last season. He’s a spectacular shooter, and is also able to bull his way to the rim when he needs to. The Hawks would now be getting two forwards capable of playing inside and out, each with a very high ceiling.


11. Minnesota Timberwolves: P.J. Washington (PF)

2018-19 stats (Sophomore at Kentucky): 15.2 pts, 7.5 reb, 1.8 ast, 1.2 blk, 52.2% FG, 42.3% 3pt FG


12. Charlotte Hornets: Nassir Little (SF/PF)

2018-19 stats (Freshman at North Carolina): 9.8 pts, 4.6 reb (18.2 minutes)


13. Miami Heat: Romeo Langford (SG)

2018-19 stats (Freshman at Indiana): 16.5 pts, 5.4 reb, 2.3 ast


14. Boston Celtics: Brandon Clarke (PF)

2018-19 stats (Junior at Gonzaga): 16.9 pts, 8.9 reb, 1.9 ast, 3.2 blk, 1.2 stl, 68.7% FG


UPDATED MOCK DRAFT LOTTERY PICKS (June 18)

1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant
3. New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett
4. New Orleans Pelicans: Jarrett Culver
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: De’Andre Hunter
6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland
7. Chicago Bulls: Cam Reddish
8. Atlanta Hawks: Rui Hachimura
9. Washington Wizards: Coby White
10. Atlanta Hawks: Jaxson Hayes
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: P.J. Washington
12. Charlotte Hornets: Nassir Little
13. Miami Heat: Tyler Herro
14. Boston Celtics: Brandon Clarke


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.