While Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett are viewed as virtual locks to follow Zion Williamson off the board on draft night, point guard Darius Garland is still receiving serious consideration at No. 3, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). A source tells Givony that Garland will be conducting a last-minute workout with the Knicks tomorrow.
According to Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link), there are people around the NBA who believe it’s a mistake to view this as a three-player draft, since that view discounts Garland. There are even some evaluators who consider Garland 2019’s second-best prospect, Smith adds. ESPN’s Jordan Schultz (Twitter link) has also heard rave reviews for Garland from various league sources.
A source tells Givony (Twitter link) that Garland is 100% healthy again after undergoing knee surgery in November, and should be fine to participate in Summer League play. Garland’s private pre-draft workouts have been impressive, per Givony, who names the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Bulls that have worked out the 19-year-old.
Despite his rising stock, Garland is still unlikely to crack the top three ahead of Morant or Barrett. Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets that the Knicks are doing their due diligence on the former Vanderbilt point guard.
However, Garland is also receiving plenty of interest at No. 4, Givony notes. According to Givony, the Timberwolves, Celtics, and Bulls are among the teams that have considered the possibility of trading up to No. 4, with Garland in mind. The Pelicans currently hold the fourth overall pick as a result of the Anthony Davis blockbuster with the Lakers.
The Hawks are also among the teams that have aggressively explored trading up, using the Nos. 8 and 10 overall picks, a source tells Givony (Twitter link). Givony writes that the Knicks rebuffed that package for No. 3, but the Pelicans may be considering it for No. 4. It’s not clear which player the Hawks, who have promising young point guard Trae Young under contract long-term, would be targeting.