2019 NBA Draft

Draft Notes: Combine, Langford, Horton-Tucker, Acquaah

The competition to be the No. 4 pick remains unsettled after this week’s draft combine, according to Scott Gleeson of USA Today. Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Duke’s Cam Reddish and North Carolina’s Coby White all improved their standing through measurements and drills, Gleeson states, but Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter may have helped themselves just as much by skipping the combine.

Duke’s Zion Williamson, Murray State’s Ja Morant and Duke’s R.J. Barrett are believed to have the top three spots locked up, leaving a difficult decision at the fourth pick for the Lakers or whomever they deal the selection to.

Gleeson identifies several players who stock either rose or fell at the combine. Among the winners are UCF’s Tacko Fall, Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, Tennessee’s Jordan Bone, North Carolina’s Nassir Little, Croatian Luka Samanic and Virginia’s Kyle Guy. Gleeson’s list of players who failed to help themselves includes Oregon’s Bol Bol, Kentucky’s Tyler Herro, former Syracuse signee Darius Bazley and St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated also chimes in with a list of draft risers and fallers based on their performance at the combine. He believes Georgia guard Nicolas Claxton improved his chances of being selected in the first round with an impressive defensive performance, while LSU guard Tremont Waters helped ease worries about his size and Miami’s Dewan Hernandez showed off his athleticism after sitting out the season because of connections to the FBI investigation.
  • Indiana’s Romeo Langford says he has fully recovered from the back problems that bothered him in college, tweets Scott Agness of The Athletic. Langford met with 13 teams at the combine, including the Pacers, Celtics (Twitter link) and Pistons (Twitter link).
  • Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker is committed to staying in the draft as he hopes to become the Cyclones’ first player taken in the first round since 2012, relays Travis Hines of The Ames Tribune. A top 50 recruit coming out of high school, Horton-Tucker has already interviewed with 14 teams.
  • Milan Acquaah of Cal Baptist has taken his name out of the draft, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

Execs Expect Hawks, Celtics, Sixers, Nets To Shop Draft Picks

Several executives around the NBA who spoke to Michael Scotto of The Athletic identified the Hawks, Celtics, Sixers, and Nets as teams that will be looking to trade at least one of their 2019 draft picks.

As we noted in our breakdown of draft picks by team earlier this week, there are eight teams that currently hold more than two selections apiece in the 2019 draft, and Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia represent four of those teams.

The Hawks, in particular, find themselves well-stocked for draft night, with a pair of top-10 picks and three more selections in the first half of the second round. When GM Travis Schlenk spoke about those five draft picks earlier this month, he acknowledged that the club is unlikely to bring five rookies to camp in the fall.

The 76ers also hold five picks, all of which fall between Nos. 24 and 54. Scotto suggests that Philadelphia may dangle some of those picks on the trade market in an effort to acquire bench depth.

Three of the Celtics’ four selections in the 2019 draft are first-rounders (Nos. 14, 20, and 22), and Scotto expects those picks to be brought up in any trade discussions Boston has about Anthony Davis.

As for the Nets, they only have three picks, but two are first-rounders (Nos. 17 and 27) and the third is the first pick of the second round (No. 31). Scotto has pointed out previously that those selections could help grease the wheels for an Allen Crabbe salary dump if Brooklyn wants to create additional cap room.

A year ago, NBA teams agreed to a total of 11 trades on draft night, so it’s safe to say that these four teams won’t be the only ones that consider moving picks next month. Still, they rank among the clubs most likely to be active, so they’re worth keeping an eye on leading up to – and during – the draft.

Morant Would Be Happy To Play For Grizzlies

Point guard Ja Morant wouldn’t mind if he’s drafted by a small-market team like the Grizzlies, he told David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal and other media members on Friday.

The Grizzlies are reportedly zeroing in on the Murray State floor leader with the No. 2 selection in the draft. A pair of big-market teams, the Knicks and Lakers, are next in line in the draft, but Morant says it’s all the same to him.

“If a team drafts me, big market or small market, it doesn’t matter,” Morant said at the draft combine. “I’m going to be happy where I’m at.”

Morant could join the Grizzlies’ lottery selection from last season, big man Jaren Jackson Jr., as the key figures in the club’s rebuild. Morant met with the Pelicans, who hold the No. 1 selection and will almost assuredly select Duke’s Zion Williamson, as well as Memphis and New York at the combine. He did not participate in any 5-on-5 games in Chicago.

He admits he’s not familiar with the city of Memphis.

“I just know Memphis Grizzlies basketball and that’s it,” Morant said. “If you ask me about Chicago, I know Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. It’s just that I’ve never been to places like that and I’m a big basketball guy, so I would probably know basketball.”

Morant took a diplomatic approach to the questions thrown at him. He clearly doesn’t want to say anything that might haunt him in the future. He zoomed up the prospects list in his sophomore season, averaging 24.5 PPG, 10.0 APG and 5.7 RPG while leading the Racers to the NCAA Tournament.

“I really would be happy with any team that drafts me,” Morant said. “That means they see something in me. It’s just an honor to be able to play this game at the highest level and just to be in the position that I’m in.”

Draft Notes: C. White, Barrett, Culver, G. Williams

A number of draft-eligible prospects who attended this week’s combine decided against participating in today’s scrimmages, with at least one prospect leaving the event altogether.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported (via Twitter) that Jalen Lecque, who performed well during Thursday’s scrimmages, decided not to play anymore based on feedback to his family. Croatian forward Luka Samanic followed suit, as did Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky), Moses Brown (UCLA), and DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa), according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com (via Twitter), who adds that Brown is believed to have suffered an injury on Thursday.

Meanwhile, projected lottery pick Coby White (UNC) left the combine on Friday after interviewing with several teams, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). White’s departure will likely fuel speculation of a draft promise, and while it’s a possibility, there have been no reports yet suggesting that’s the case.

Here’s more on the draft:

Draft Notes: Reddish, Clarke, Paschall

Cam Reddish met with the Lakers during the draft combine, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter link). Los Angeles owns the No. 4 overall pick and the organization apparently sent all stakeholders to the meeting. When asked who was there, Reddish replied, “Everybody, you name it.”

Reddish also sat down with the Bulls this week, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets.  He has a meeting set up with the Cavaliers on Friday, as we passed along earlier today.

There are more draft notes to pass along:

  • Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga) met with the Timberwolves today and the forward feels like they had a “really, really good talk,” as Dane Moore of Zone Coverage tweets. “Obviously, I think I would love playing with KAT,” Clarke said. The 22-year-old will work out for Minnesota in June.
  • Clarke’s first workout will be with the Hornets and Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports (Twitter link) that the team “clearly” has interest in him. Clarke, who met with Charlotte during the combine, will also meet with the Suns, per Gina Mizell of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets that Clarke will work out for the Celtics. The forward also has a workout set up with the Heat, per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Villanova’s Eric Paschall is performing some personal PR, checking through his social media to make sure he hasn’t tweeted out anything a team might deem as a red flag. “I thought I was in the clear… In today’s age, social media is everything,” Paschall said, as Mike Vorkunov of the Athletic passes along (Twitter link). Paschall has met with the Suns, Wizards, Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets and Lakers. He’ll add the Pacers to that list on Friday.

Eastern Draft Notes: Cavs, Wizards, Bulls

The Cavaliers will cast a “wide net” when searching for the right prospect to select with the No. 5 overall pick, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) and Bol Bol (Oregon) are two of the players the team will consider in that spot.

Porter, who was suspended during the 2018/19 season for a “personal conduct issue” at USC, met with the Cavs on Wednesday. The team plans to bring him in for a pre-draft workout in the coming weeks.

Bol underwent measurements at the combine in Chicago but is not expected to workout or conduct interviews. The 7’2″ center suffered a foot injury back in December and was unable to play the remainder of the campaign for the Ducks.

Here’s more from on the draft from teams in the Eastern Conference:

  • Cam Reddish will meet with the Cavaliers on Friday, Fedor adds in the same piece. Reddish is a candidate to be a top-five pick.
  • The Wizards hold the No. 9 overall pick and they have interviewed several top prospects, according to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Reddish, Coby White (North Carolina), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga), Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech), and Jordan Poole (Michigan) were interviewed by Washington. Other players who the team sat down with included Eric Paschall (Villanova), KZ Okpala (Stanford), and Ty Jerome (Virginia).
  • Prior to the combine, the Bulls worked out six prospects, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). Alpha Diallo (Providence), Fletcher Magee (Wofford), Isaiah Roby (Nebraska), Justin Turner (Bowling Green), Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State), Zach Norvell (Gonzaga/Simeon) all participated in drills with the team.

Draft Notes: Morant, Garland, Suns, Bucks

While he seems very likely to be selected by Memphis with the No. 2 overall pick, Murray State point guard Ja Morant covered his bases at this week’s draft combine in Chicago, according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who reports (via Twitter) that Morant met with the Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Knicks. Those, of course, are the teams with the top three picks in this year’s draft.

While Morant is in attendance at the combine, he’s not participating in the 5-on-5 games this week, per an Associated Press report. That’s no surprise, since it’s rare for top prospects to play in those games and put their stock at risk.

Here’s more on the 2019 NBA draft:

  • If point guard prospect Darius Garland received a promise from a team near the top of the draft, as has been speculated, it seems unlikely it came from the Cavaliers. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic (via Twitter), Garland left the combine without having met with Cleveland.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 suggests that Garland, Coby White (UNC), and Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech) are the three players worth keeping a close eye on as possibilities for the Suns at No. 6.
  • USC guard Kevin Porter Jr. is among the players who have met with the Knicks at the combine, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The No. 14 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Porter probably isn’t a target for New York unless the club makes some sort of trade.
  • The Bucks are believed to be keeping a close eye on shooting guards at this year’s combine, tweets Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box. Milwaukee has the 30th overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Lottery Promise For Darius Garland?

7:53pm: Per John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, the Suns, while interested, have not made a promise to Garland.

6:15pm: Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland, a projected top-five pick in this year’s draft, will skip this week’s NBA Draft Combine, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, who adds that Garland’s departure from Chicago may be tied to a promise from a team picking in the lottery.

The three likeliest teams to have given that promise appear to be the Lakers, Suns, or Bulls, who pick fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively. The Cavs, who pick fifth, selected Collin Sexton in last year’s lottery, and are therefore unlikely to add another point guard to their roster with their top selection.

Phoenix and Chicago, meanwhile, are both widely known to be looking for a franchise point guard to complement their young, promising rosters, while the Lakers have the first opportunity to select a player after the presumptive top-three players (Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and R.J. Barrett) are selected by the Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Knicks, respectively.

Despite appearing in only five games for Vanderbilt this season due to a season-ending knee injury, Garland has continued to move up draft boards after averaging 16.2 PPG on an impressive .537/.478/.750 shooting in those five games. He is widely considered the No. 2 point guard prospect behind Morant.

Grizzlies “Locked In” On Selecting Ja Morant

In more draft news coming out of Chicago this evening, Jonathan Givony of ESPN is reporting that the Grizzlies have zeroed in on Murray State point guard Ja Morant as their pick for the No. 2 overall selection in this summer’s 2019 NBA Draft.

Memphis, still looking for a new head coach after the ousting of J.B. Bickerstaff, will look to count on Morant to join last year’s lottery selection Jaren Jackson Jr. in leading a rebuild that began with the trade of franchise cornerstone Marc Gasol earlier this year and could see Gasol’s longtime running mate Mike Conley be traded soon as well.

Last night’s runner-up finish in the lottery was a serendipitous turn of events for Memphis, who only had a 12.3% chance of landing a top-2 pick. For months now, it was rumored that the Grizzlies would have preferred to lose their pick (top-8 protected) to the Celtics, but that was under the assumption that the pick didn’t land at the top of the draft.

However, because the Grizzlies kept their 2019 pick, the Celtics now own Memphis’ 2020 first-round pick if it falls out of the top six. In other words, it may pay for Grind City to be at the bottom of league standings again next season, making it all the more likely that Conley is traded sooner rather than later.

2019 NBA Draft Picks By Team

While the Sixers and Celtics suffered disappointing losses in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and face uncertain futures, both teams can at least fall back on the fact that they’re still loaded with draft assets. Philadelphia and Boston are two of only three NBA teams – the Hawks are the other – that possess at least four picks in the 2019 NBA draft.

As our full 2019 draft order shows, there are five other teams that more than two selections in this year’s draft. On the other end of the spectrum, nine teams own just one pick in 2018, while two teams – the Nuggets and Rockets – don’t have any selections.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2019 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 60 picks by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Atlanta Hawks (5): 8, 10, 35, 41, 44
  • Philadelphia 76ers (5): 24, 33, 34, 42, 54
  • Boston Celtics (4): 14, 20, 22, 51
  • New Orleans Pelicans (3): 1, 39, 57
  • Charlotte Hornets (3): 12, 36, 52
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 17, 27, 31
  • San Antonio Spurs (3): 19, 29, 49
  • Sacramento Kings (3): 40, 47, 60

Teams with two picks:

  • New York Knicks: 3, 55
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 5, 26
  • Phoenix Suns: 6, 32
  • Chicago Bulls: 7, 38
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 11, 43
  • Detroit Pistons: 15, 45
  • Orlando Magic: 16, 46
  • Indiana Pacers: 18, 50
  • Utah Jazz: 23, 53
  • Golden State Warriors: 28, 58
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 48, 56

Teams with one pick:

  • Memphis Grizzlies: 2
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 4
  • Washington Wizards: 9
  • Miami Heat: 13
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 21
  • Portland Trail Blazers: 25
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 30
  • Dallas Mavericks: 37
  • Toronto Raptors: 59

Teams with no picks:

  • Denver Nuggets
  • Houston Rockets