2019 NBA Draft

Poll: Celtics’ 2019 First Round Picks

Before the 2018/19 season started, the Celtics looked like they were primed to receive two first-round draft picks in next summer’s 2019 NBA Draft – their own selection and the first-round pick of the Kings or Sixers (Boston loses out on this pick ONLY if Sacramento gets the No. 1 pick).

However, a strong start to the season for both the Clippers and the Grizzlies has put the C’s in position to realistically pick up both those club’s 2019 first-round picks as well for a total of four 2019 first round picks.

As it stands currently, the Celtics will receive the Grizzlies’ selection if it falls between picks 9-30, and Memphis is currently tied with San Antonio for the NBA’s ninth-best record. Meanwhile, the Celtics will also receive the Clippers’ 2019 first-round selection if it falls between selections 15-30, with Los Angeles currently tied with the Thunder for the league’s sixth-best record.

It’s still early in the season, of course, and both the Grizzlies and Clippers may eventually move back into position to retain their picks, but both Memphis’ and L.A.’s fast starts have made the issue an interesting discussion.

So, with that being said, how many picks with the Celtics end up with in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

How Early Hot, Cold Streaks May Impact Traded Draft Picks

The Raptors, NuggetsBucks, Grizzlies, and Kings are among the NBA teams that have made the strongest impression in the first month of the 2018/19 season, outperforming expectations early in the year. On the other end of the spectrum, the Cavaliers and Mavericks have been among the league’s worst teams, underperforming expectations that weren’t all that high to begin with.

These teams all have something in common — they’ve traded away their 2019 first-round picks, often with protections on them. We still have about 70 games to go in ’18/19, so it’s way too early to determine exactly where those picks will fall, or even whether or not they’ll changes hands in many cases. However, based on what we’ve seen from those teams so far, we have a better idea of what to expect the rest of the way than we did a month ago.

Let’s take a look at how some of those early-season trades may affect 2019’s traded first round picks…

Toronto Raptors (11-1)
First-round pick traded to Spurs (top-20 protected)

Even with top-20 protection, this pick looks like a very safe bet to change hands. If the season ended today, it would be No. 30, since Toronto has the NBA’s best record.

Denver Nuggets (9-2)
First-round pick traded to Nets (top-12 protected)

After a season in which the Nuggets narrowly missed the playoffs, it wasn’t unreasonable for Brooklyn to hope this pick would fall in the mid-teens. Instead, with Denver looking like one of the Western Conference’s best teams so far, it may land well into the 20s.

Milwaukee Bucks (9-2)
First-round pick traded to Suns (top-3 protected; 17-30 protected)

The unusual protections on this pick will likely to prevent it from changing hands for a second consecutive year, since it projects to fall in the 17-30 range. If Milwaukee’s 2019 first-rounder doesn’t convey, the Bucks would owe the Suns their 2020 first-rounder, with top-7 protection.

Memphis Grizzlies (6-4)
First-round pick traded to Celtics (top-8 protected)

After finishing last season with a 22-60 record, the Grizzlies were no lock to take a major step forward in 2018/19. In the early going though, the club looks like a legitimate playoff contender. Assuming Memphis can remain in the postseason mix, even if it’s just on the outskirts, this pick should stay out of the top eight and get sent to Boston.

Sacramento Kings (6-5)
First-round pick traded to Sixers (if it’s No. 1 overall or if it’s less favorable than Sixers’ pick) or Celtics (if it’s more favorable than Sixers’ pick and isn’t No. 1 overall)

The Kings, who were expected to be one of the NBA’s worst teams entering the season, would generate some fascinating drama between the Sixers and Celtics if their pick ends up in play for No. 1 overall. However, Sacramento’s young roster has created more problems than anticipated for opponents so far, with the team occupying a playoff spot for now.

Despite the Kings’ hot start, a finish in the lottery still seems likely, but if Sacramento keeps exceeding expectations, the team’s first-round pick will almost certainly end up in Boston instead of Philadelphia, avoiding that No. 1 spot.

Los Angeles Clippers (6-5)
First-round pick traded to Celtics (top-14 protected)

This could be one to watch all season long — the Clippers currently hold a playoff spot in the West by one game, but teams like the Jazz, Lakers, Pelicans, and Rockets are right on their tail. If the Clips eventually fall out of the top eight in the West, they’ll keep their 2019 pick and would owe Boston their top-14 protected 2020 first-rounder. If L.A. keeps winning, the Celtics have a real shot at ending up with four first-rounders next spring.

Dallas Mavericks (3-8)
First-round pick traded to Hawks (top-5 protected)

After drafting NBA-ready prospect Luka Doncic and signing DeAndre Jordan, the Mavericks hoped to contend for the postseason and expected to lose this pick. Given the way Dallas has struggled so far, that no longer looks like a sure thing. I don’t view the Mavs as a bottom-five team in the NBA, but if they don’t turn things around soon, an aggressive second-half tank is a possibility. The Hawks would love for this pick to land in the back half of the top 10.

Cleveland Cavaliers (1-10)
First-round pick traded to Hawks (top-10 protected)

While Atlanta may luck out with the Mavs’ pick, the Hawks will probably have to wait at least one more year to get anything from the Cavaliers, who have the NBA’s worst record so far and aren’t exactly in position to turn things around. If the Cavs keep their 2019 first-rounder, they’ll owe the Hawks their top-10 protected 2020 pick.

And-Ones: Ball Brothers, Payton, G. Green, Draft

Lonzo Ball‘s younger brothers are set to remain stateside after spending a portion of the 2017/18 season in Lithuania. Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) reported earlier this week that LiAngelo Ball has let G League teams know of his intent to sign a contract with the league. The NBAGL formally notifies its teams when a player enters the player pool, and as of this afternoon, there had been no official word on Ball, per Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link). Still, that should happen soon.

Meanwhile, LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of Lonzo and LiAngelo, told Franklyn Calle of Slam that he’ll play high school ball this season. LaMelo, who said that he’s “excited” to return to high school for his senior year, is enrolling at prep school Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, according to Calle.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Elfrid Payton‘s one-year, $3MM contract with the Pelicans was hardly one of the summer’s major deals, but New Orleans has badly missed Payton while he has been sidelined with an ankle injury. Scott Kushner of The Advocate has the story on the point guard, who was injured during the Pelicans’ first loss of the season and has seen his team go 1-5 since then.
  • After being in camp with the Pelicans this fall, Garlon Green has signed with Russian club Khimki, according to an official announcement from the team (hat tip to Sportando). Green, the younger brother of Rockets swingman Gerald Green, was waived by New Orleans along with Jarrett Jack at the end of the preseason.
  • With the 2018/19 NCAA season underway, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today has published his first NBA mock draft for 2019. Meanwhile, Alberto De Roa of HoopsHype identifies several of the top international prospects who could declare for the 2019 draft.

And-Ones: Wizards, 2019 Draft, Williamson, NBAGL

The Wizards recently became the 28th NBA team to reach a jersey patch agreement with a corporate sponsor, teaming with GEICO on a multiyear deal, as the club announced in a press release. GEICO’s logo will now appear on the uniforms of multiple D.C.-area organizations, with the Wizards, the Washington Mystics (WNBA), and the Capital City Go-Go (G League) all getting the advertisement patch.

The Pacers and Thunder are now the only two NBA teams without ads on their uniforms, as we outline here. The NBA’s jersey sponsorship pilot program is set to run through the 2019/20 season, but the league seems likely to extend it beyond that, given its success so far.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • ESPN’s draft gurus, including Jonathan Givony, recently revealed their complete prospect rankings for the 2019 draft, with Duke players nabbing three of the top four spots. R.J. Barrett leads the way, followed by Zion Williamson at No. 3 and Cameron Reddish at No. 4. The Blue Devils’ trio sandwiches North Carolina small forward Nassir Little at No. 2.
  • Speaking of Williamson, Chris Stone of The Sporting News took an in-depth look at the 285-pound youngster, writing that the Duke forward represents a “truly one-of-a-kind prospect.”
  • The NBA G League has reached a multiyear deal with ESPN that will allow ESPN+ subscribers to watch more than 200 games per season, the league announced today in a press release. This season’s broadcast schedule begins with three games on Tuesday.
  • The Timberwolves could still end up trading Jimmy Butler for valuable long-term pieces, and Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine could become long-term core pieces for the Bulls. However, in the view of Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, the 2017 trade between Minnesota and Chicago is at risk of becoming the sort of blockbuster deal that doesn’t turn out perfectly for either side.

Jalen Lecque May Enter 2019 Draft

Elite high school prospect Jalen Lecque may skip college basketball and declare for the 2019 draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Lecque, who committed to North Carolina State in October, could be eligible because he is in his fifth year of high school at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. He reclassified after his junior year and claims he has already met all the NCAA guidelines to graduate from high school.

“I could be a freshman on a college campus right now,” Lecque said. “I am eligible for the [2019] draft. I’m a fifth-year senior, but I’m also eligible for the draft because of my grades.”

A 6’4″ point guard, Lecque plans to delay a final decision until his high school season ends in March. Because he didn’t receive a diploma from his last school, he will need to petition the NBA by sending paperwork to the league office to declare himself eligible by the April 21 deadline for early entry into the draft.

Lecque is considered the best athlete in high school basketball, Givony adds, with a build similar to Russell Westbrook and Kris Dunn. Seven NBA teams are expected to send representatives to a tournament in the Bahamas for a closer look at Lecque and some other top prospects.

“I want to be a great college player, but my end goal is to help my family,” he said. “I want to be a concrete Round 1 player if I do make that decision. If I’m guaranteed a Round 1 position, then you never know. I could see myself doing it if I am in a good position at the end of the year.”

And-Ones: 2019 World Cup, Bryant, 2019 Draft

With the 2019 World Cup in China now just 10 months away, FIBA has announced that Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming will serve as global ambassadors for the event, taking part in activities leading up to next year’s tournament to help promote the event.

“Growing up in Italy and spending many years visiting China, I have always appreciated the global impact that basketball has had on the positive development of young people,” said Bryant, who has long been one of the NBA’s most popular players in China. “I’m honored FIBA has invited me to serve as an ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. I hope my participation inspires and motivates the best players from the 32 participating teams to represent their respective country on the world’s biggest stage. I look forward to seeing who will lift the trophy next year.”

Team USA hasn’t technically qualified for the 2019 World Cup yet, but is in position to do so comfortably, with a 7-1 record in qualifying games so far.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The struggling Cavaliers were the first NBA team to make major changes during the 2018/19 campaign, parting ways with Tyronn Lue and making major adjustments to their rotation just a handful of games into the season. Matt John of Basketball Insiders explores which teams around the league might be next to shake things up.
  • Firing a head coach is generally the simplest way a team can shake things up when it’s struggling, but the coach isn’t always to blame, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Meanwhile, an NBA.com panel explores which coaches might be feeling the heat next in the wake of Lue’s dismissal.
  • ESPN’s NBA draft gurus continued to examine the 2019 class this week, with Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz offering up their positional rankings for next year’s draft, while Givony, Schmitz, and Kevin Pelton attempt to answer some big questions about 2019’s class. Within that latter discussion, Givony suggests that none of the candidates for the No. 1 overall pick in 2019 have emerged as a lock.

Latest On Darius Bazley’s 2018/19 Plans

Potential 2019 first-rounder Darius Bazley figures to be draft-eligible next spring, but he’s not spending the 2018/19 season in college or playing in a professional league. As Marc Stein of The New York Times reports, Bazley has secured a three-month internship with New Balance as part of a shoe and endorsement deal with the company.

According to Stein and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Bazley’s agreement with New Balance will pay him a guaranteed $1MM, and can be worth up to $14MM if he reaches various performance incentives after going pro.

Bazley, who initially planned to play with Syracuse in 2018/19, decommitted from the college program in March and announced his intentions to spend a season in the G League. However, he changed course in August on that plan too, deciding not to play in the NBAGL after all. Instead, he’ll work for New Balance from January to March, spending time in marketing, footwear and apparel design, and other departments while he continues to train and stay in shape in advance of next June’s draft.

“There will be some things he misses out on, but I’m not worried at all — not with the talent and skill set he has,” agent Rich Paul told Stein. “No matter what we do this year, he still has to be developed in the NBA. You see it even with the highest draft picks — it’s not like you come into the league as a rookie and set the league on fire.”

Paul, who suggests that there would have been “no upside” to Bazley playing in the G League, remains optimistic about his client’s draft stock, as does Bazley himself. In ESPN’s latest 2019 mock draft, the young forward is projected to be the No. 26 overall pick, but he’s no lock to be a first-round selection after spending a year off the court, as Stein observes. Bazley feels comfortable taking that chance.

“This is my risk,” Bazley said. “I’m going to go ahead and do it this way, and I’m still going to succeed, even when others say I won’t. This will also be fun. It’s not like I’m going to be doing something I don’t want to do.”

Jontay Porter To Miss Season With Knee Injury

Potential 2019 lottery pick Jontay Porter of Missouri will sit out the college basketball season after suffering ACL and MCL tears during a scrimmage Sunday, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN.

The story is similar to what happened to his older brother, Michael Porter Jr., who missed nearly all of last season with the Tigers because of a back injury. Originally considered as a possible No. 1 pick, Porter Jr. slid to the Nuggets with the 14th selection because of concerns about his physical condition.

Jontay Porter is projected at No. 13 in the latest mock draft compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. He declared for the draft last spring after his freshman season, but decided to return to school.

A 6’11” power forward, Porter averaged 9.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks a year ago. He was a second-team choice on the all-SEC team released last week.

“Thanks to everyone who reached out,” Porter tweeted yesterday. “It’s hard to stay positive in the midst of something like this but everything happens for a reason.”

NBA, Players Association Face Final Hurdles To End One-And-Done

The NBA and the Players Association seek to lower the age limit to 18 for athletes to have the option of skipping one year of college, two major hurdles stand in the way of an agreement, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts are pushing for agents to provide medical information to teams regarding draft prospects, Wojnarowski relays. Also, the NBA wants players required to attend and participate, to varying degrees, in the pre-draft combine.

Withholding medical records has been one effective tool for agents and players to ensure which team drafts them. Requiring them to provide that information would alter those plans and give organizations more intel on prospective players and their health.

“Some organizations are run better than others,” one prominent agent told ESPN. “A lot of success comes from a player getting into the right situation at the right time. If I can do something that influences that, why would I give that up?”

If an agreement can be reached, high school seniors would be eligible to declare for the NBA Draft starting in 2022. The current ‘one-and-done’ rule came into effect as part of the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement, making the draft-eligible age 19, giving prospects the option of one year in college or playing overseas for one season.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the G League will offer an alternative to one-and-one. Starting in 2019, select contracts worth $125K will be offered to top prospects who are at least 18 years old but aren’t yet eligible for the NBA draft. The standard G-League salary is $35K.

And-Ones: 2019 Draft, Age Minimum, Team USA

After attending a handful of summer events involving top prospects, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link) have updated their 2019 NBA mock draft. While Duke freshman R.J. Barrett continues to be viewed as 2019’s top pick, he’s joined in the top three this time around by a fast-rising teammate — Givony and Schmitz have Duke forward Zion Williamson at No. 3 in their latest mock.

Other new names in ESPN’s top 10 include Kentucky freshman wing Keldon Johnson and Oregon freshman center Bol Bol. Johnson excelled in the Wildcats’ exhibition games in the Bahamas, though the ESPN duo was also impressed by Johnson’s teammate PJ Washington, who “looks to be in much better shape” than he was last season. As for Bol, he had a strong showing at the Nike Basketball Academy, as Givony detailed earlier in the month.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Although the NBA’s draft eligibility rule related to a player’s minimum age won’t change within the next couple years, it seems highly likely to be altered or eliminated at some point. Tom Ziller of SBNation.com explores a few possible alternatives to the current rule.
  • In a step toward the elimination of the one-and-done rule, the NBA, NCAA, and NBPA reached an agreement with USA Basketball, announcing today that Team USA will expand its Men’s Junior National Team program to include additional training camps and year-round player development programming. The program will include approximately 80 top high school prospects, or about 20 per high school class. Here’s the official announcement from USA Basketball, along with more details from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
  • Players on two-way contracts who spend the maximum allowable number of days with their NBA clubs in 2018/19 will be able to earn up to $385,612 this season, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad. That’s still well short of the NBA rookie minimum ($838,464), but greatly exceeds the standard $35K G League salary.
  • Shane Rhodes of Basketball Insiders examines some potential surprise teams for the 2018/19 season, suggesting that the Bulls, Mavericks, Pistons, Clippers, and Suns are candidates to exceed expectations.