Find your perfect NBA draft prospect
Intrigue abounds in the 2019 NBA Draft. While Zion Williamson overshadowed the rest of his peers during the college basketball season, this draft class is full of compelling prospects that will ultimately help mold the future of the NBA.
This draft has something for everyone. There are shifty lead guards with shooting ability. There are big men who can protect the rim and stretch the floor. There are wings who can defend and create.
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Zion Williamson turned into a worldwide phenomenon during his one-and-done season at Duke. His unprecedented combination of strength, agility, and athletic explosiveness would have been enough to make him a star on its own, but Williamson’s game is so much deeper than that. In putting together the most statistically dominant college season of the modern era, Williamson showed a refined skill set featuring incredible touch around the basket, a strong feel for the game, and an undeniable nose for the ball. In addition to being the greatest pure talent college basketball has seen in a long, long time, Williamson also proved to be a selfless teammate and natural leader.
There is zero debate that Williamson is the best player in this NBA Draft. The only question is how he stacks up to the best prospects of the last decade. This is a future NBA superstar in every regard.
Morant’s impossible rise from a mid-major recruit to the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft is a testament to his breathtaking talent. This is a point guard with elite athleticism who spent his sophomore year at Murray State collecting victims for his own personal highlight reel. While his dunks got most of the attention, Morant’s best skill is actually his passing vision. He led all of Division I in assist rate this season, whipping passes with either hand to unsuspecting teammates the moment the defense collapsed on him. While mostly projecting as a ball dominant guard, Morant is a high-level facilitator who will help his teammates reach their offensive potential. He’s also a developing shooter who was better from both the free throw line and three-point line than most give him credit for.
Morant’s defense is a question mark, and he’ll have to prove his shooting from the NBA line. In the meantime, expect him to be one of the most exciting young players in the league.
It wasn’t long ago that Barrett was considered the top prospect in this draft class. While his Duke teammate Zion Williamson almost immediately surpassed him in the eyes of scouts, Barrett still had an undeniably productive freshman season, averaging 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in arguably the toughest conference in the country. This is an 18-year-old who will be ready for NBA physicality from Day 1. He projects as a volume scorer on the wing who can take his game to new levels if he improves his vision and decision-making.
While Barrett put up big numbers, his shot selection came under heavy critique amid allegations of tunnel vision. He’ll also need to prove he can use his physicality to become a better defender. For now, Barrett is safe bet to be a productive scorer with room to grow in other areas.
Culver’s breakout sophomore season was the biggest factor in Texas Tech’s shocking run to the national title game. The 6’6 wing brings all of the versatility that’s valued in today’s game: He’s a skilled finisher, a great help defender, a smart passer, and always seems to be in the right place at the right time on both ends of the floor. After playing primarily on the wing as a freshman, Culver became the Red Raiders’ de facto point guard this past season and proved to be an impressive creator off the dribble for himself and others. His jump shot remains a question mark, but Culver checks so many other boxes.
Culver might lack takeover scoring ability and knock down shooting, but he makes up for it with a complete two-way skill set. More than anything, Culver just helps you win basketball games.
No player enjoyed a bigger rise up draft boards this season than Brandon Clarke. A year ago at this time, Clarke was preparing to make his debut in a stacked Gonzaga front court after sitting out a year following a transfer from San Jose State. He quickly emerged as a defensive wrecking ball who gobbled up blocks at the rim and had the quickness to stay with guards on the perimeter. Offensively, Clarke was incredibly efficient, finishing with a sparkling 70 percent true shooting percentage mostly on the strength of dunks, put-backs, and short floaters around the rim.
Clarke lacks ideal size for a center at 6’8 with proportional arms and a slim build. He’s also a rough outside shooter at this stage, though he has made progress over the last year. Put him next to a floor-stretching center and Clarke would be an incredibly effective glue guy who helps you win.
White broke high school scoring records in the state of North Carolina before he became a Tar Heel. The question was how he would transition to point guard at the college level after taking over for a four-year starter in Joel Berry. The results were as good as anyone could have hoped. With White at the controls, UNC played played at its fastest tempo in the last 20 years and still finished with a top-10 offense in efficiency.
White soared up on draft boards as a shifty 6’5 guard with refined scoring instincts who thrived on catch-and-shoot opportunities and showed upside as a pull-up shooter. He can take his game to new levels if he continues to improve as a playmaker for his teammates.
The 6’11 center makes up for a lack of elite athleticism with a well-rounded skill set and impressive feel for the game. At 18 years old, he’s already been remarkably productive as a pro in his short career, winning Euroleague’s prestigious Rising Star Award this season. His feel for the game stands out on both ends of the floor, particularly with his defensive positioning and screen setting on offense. He’s a quality shooter and should be an NBA-caliber rebounder from Day 1. This is a traditional center will still be able to thrive in a changing NBA.
Washington blossomed as a three-point shooter during his sophomore year at Kentucky to unlock his lottery potential. After making just five three-pointers at a 23 percent clip as a freshman, Washington drained 33 triples on 42 percent of his attempts this past season. Already blessed with the length (7’2 wingspan) and strength to play in an NBA front court, he now has the skill to match his physicality.
Washington’s quickness and newfound shooting strokes gives him great versatility. While he’ll likely spend most of his career at the four, he could see minutes at center in small ball lineups or even attempt to defend wings if his shooting continues to impress. This is a quality rebounder and capable shot blocker who can score efficiently out of the post or as a face-up attacker. He needs to continue to get more comfortable as a ball handler to fully unlock his upside.
There has never been a college prospect with Bol’s combination of historic length and knockdown outside shooting. His 9’7 standing reach and 7’7 wingspan are equaled only by the likes of Rudy Gobert and Mo Bamba. He separates himself with incredible shot-making ability with range that extends beyond the NBA three-point line. Bol hit 52 percent of his threes at Oregon before a fractured navicular bone in his left foot ended his season after nine games. He also would have finished top 10 in the country in block rate if he played enough games.
There remains serious questions about Bol’s frame, mobility, durability. Big men with a history of foot injuries are a scary proposition, especially when they lack the lateral quickness desired in today’s NBA. He also weighed in at only 208 pounds at the draft combine. Even still, his special physical gifts and ridiculous shooting touch give him star upside that is worth gambling on.
Hunter is a long and strong forward who shot 44 percent on three-pointers as a redshirt sophomore this past season. He was the star of Virginia’s national championship game victory over Texas Tech, winning the individual matchup against fellow top prospect Jarrett Culver by hitting several clutch shots late. While Hunter has a high floor as a 3-and-D wing, his upside is limited by his lack of creation ability off the dribble. He also posted curiously low block and steal rates given his defensive reputation.
Hunter is a safe bet to be a productive, but his ceiling depends on the development of his ball handling ability and how he can fit into team-oriented defensive scheme.
Garland played only five games for Vanderbilt before having season-ending meniscus surgery. Despite the small sample, he was able to establish himself as a possible top-five draft pick mostly off the strength of his pull-up shooting ability. Garland shot 48 percent from three at Vandy and has the type of range that should translate seamlessly to the NBA. He’s also a quick and shifty ball handler who can break down a defense at the point of attack. No defender will ever want to go under a screen when Garland has the ball.
There will be questions over his lack of size (6’2), finishing, and defensive versatility. Garland had more turnovers than assists during his brief college career, which makes facilitating his biggest area of growth. If he proves to be a capable playmaker, taking him in the top five won’t look so risky.
Reddish drew comparisons to Paul George and Tracy McGrady as a high school recruit for his length, shooting ability, and defensive versatility. After an underwhelming and inefficient freshman season at Duke, it’s time to temper those expectations. While Reddish lacked the burst and feel for the game to have a sky-high ceiling, he should still have a long pro career for all the reasons that originally made him intriguing.
He showed flashes of impressive shooting versatility this season and also made a habit of getting in the passing lanes for steals. Wings with his size and shooting will always have value.
Alexander-Walker is a 6’5 guard who can dribble, pass, and shoot. The Virginia Tech sophomore and cousin of Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander won’t blow you away with his athleticism, but he has the size to play either backcourt spot and a baseline competency at the game’s most important skills. His steal rate of 3.4 is among the highest of any projected first rounder. He also shot 78 percent from the foul line.
Alexander-Walker could struggle to create off the dribble against the NBA’s biggest and strongest defenders, but his two-way versatility means he should have a long career whether he’s a starter or third guard who can give a team positive minutes off the bench.
Williams might look like an undersized power forward without knockdown shooting ability at first glance, but a closer inspection reveals he’s one of the smartest and most well-rounded players in this year’s class. A two-time SEC Player of the Year, Williams is a powerfully built 6’7 forward who dominated college basketball. While his inside scoring might suffer as he jumps to the pros, he’ll still succeed because he’s a good passer, gifted help defender, and able to provide that type of supplemental rebounding and rim protection teams need to win.
He can take his game to another level if he continues to develop as a shooter after hitting 32 percent of his attempts this season. The fact that Williams shot 82 percent from the foul line should give teams hope.
Doumbouya is a 18-year-old French forward with the frame and athleticism NBA teams look for. At 6’9 with wide shoulders and long arms, Doumbouya is a ball of clay right now who is just growing into his body and his game despite already being a pro for multiple years. His outside shot started to make strides this season in France’s top league and he’s already showed the ability to finish plays in transition. Defensively, he has the tools to one day guard up to three positions, but remains unrefined in technique.
Doumbouya still needs to improve his “feel for the game” which is tricky but not impossible for someone his age. He could be the first international player off the board in this draft.
Okeke was putting together the game of his life in Auburn’s upset of North Carolina in the Sweet 16 when he tore his ACL. The team that drafts him will have to be patient, but could be richly rewarded with a two-way forward who seems like an ideal fit in the modern NBA. Okeke was only Auburn’s third leading scorer this season, but he contributes in so many other aspects of the game.
The 6’8, 230-pound sophomore wing shot 39 percent from three-point range, put up huge block and steal rates on defense, and was effective crashing the offensive glass. He should make a positive impact defensively with the versatility to guard multiple positions early in his career. His two-year track record of being efficient on catch-and-shoot opportunities should also translate to the next level. Despite the injury, this could be one of the biggest sleepers in the draft.
Hayes exploded onto draft boards this season as a freshman center at Texas. After entering college as a four-star recruit without much draft hype, Hayes immediately impressed pro scouts with his length, quickness, and coordination. Hayes thrives running the floor and finishing at the rim with long strides and effective touch in the paint. He was immediately effective as a shot blocker, finishing top 10 in the country in block rate. His 7’3.5 wingspan makes him one of the longest prospects in this class.
Hayes will need to add strength to his thin frame and continue to develop his skill set. Rebounding is his biggest area of improvement. He didn’t attempt a three-pointer this year at Texas but did hit 74 percent of his free throws. He projects as a run-and-jump big man who catches lobs and protects the rim.
It’s tough to know what to make of Porter after an up-and-down freshman season at USC. At his best, Porter was drawing top-10 hype as a 6’6 wing with an advanced scoring package. Porter had a habit of making tough shots look easy, using step-backs, pull-ups, and athletic up-and-unders as part of his arsenal. He also shot 41 percent from three-point range and surprised some scouts by putting up impressive block and steal rates defensively.
For all of Porter’s talent, he never seemed to find his place on a USC team that finished a game under .500. Injuries limited him to 22 games and he was only seventh on his team in minutes per game. Porter wasn’t always a willing passer for the Trojans and also struggled with turnovers. He feels like one of the biggest boom-or-bust picks in this draft.
Little entered the college season as a projected top-three pick only to see his stock slip as he struggled to find his role within a veteran North Carolina front court. Coming off the bench for the entire season, Little underwelmed with his three-point shot (27 percent) and posted a turnover rate that was nearly three times as high as his assist rate. He’ll need to learn to read the floor and make quick decisions if he’s ever going to fulfill the promise so many scouts saw him as a recruit.
Despite a disappointing season, the 19-year-old still has upside for a variety of reasons. At 6’6, 225 pounds with a 7’1 wingspan, he has the ideal frame for a combo forward. He rebounded the ball well and has always had a reputation for playing with a high motor. He also shot 77 percent on free throws, which shows he still has potential as a shooter.
Langford was considered a top-five recruit entering college after a prodigious prep career where he set scoring records in the state of Indiana. His lone season for the hometown Hoosiers was a mixed bag, as Langford scored well but struggled with his three-point shot and saw his team miss the NCAA tournament. His NBA value will mostly be dependent on his ability to fix his jumper after shooting only 27 percent from behind the arc.
If there is a mechanical change that can better his outside shot, Langford will suddenly look like an impressive prospect. He has a great frame for a shooting guard with a 6’11 wingspan and showcased soft touch inside the arc. He was particularly good as a pull-up shooter and on floaters. If Langford is still on the board as the draft hits the teens, he’s worth gambling on.
Kabengele never started a game for Florida State, but still led the team in scoring as a sophomore this season. The nephew of Dikembe Mutombo, Kabengele has a great frame for a front court player, measuring at 6’10, 255 pounds and with a 7’3 wingspan at the combine. His combination of strength and three-point shooting should be intriguing to teams at the middle or end of the first round. He shot 37 percent on threes, 76 percent on free throws, and finished with an impressive block rate of 8.3 percent.
Kabengele is limited with the ball in his hands right now, posting only 21 assists combined over two seasons. He mostly scores on dunks or catch-and-shoot opportunities, but also thrives drawing fouls when attacking the basket.
Horton-Tucker has one of the most unique profiles of any player in the draft. At 6’4, 235 pounds with a 7’1 wingspan, THT has the frame to defend multiple positions and also posted impressive block and steal rates during his freshman season at Iowa State. His offensive skill set is unrefined, but intriguing. He can handle the ball in the open floor and had nine games this season with at least four assists. He struggled as a shooter, both from the three-point line (31 percent) and the foul line (62 percent). At the same time, he was able to get off three-point attempts at such an impressive volume that he could have major value if he makes a mechanical tweak to his shot.
Horton-Tucker is also one of the youngest prospects in this draft, not turning 19 years old until November. Right now, he’s mostly a blank slate with great tools. He’ll need to find a patient team who is willing to develop him long-term.
Johnson is one of the few seniors projected to go in the first round, but his combination of size and shooting can’t be ignored. A 6’9 combo forward, Johnson was one of the very best shooters in the country this season, hitting nearly 46 percent of his three-pointers. He should immediately have value as a catch-and-shoot threat for a team that needs floor spacing around a more dynamic shot creator.
Johnson is limited as a ball handler and playmaker, but he did improve dramatically as a transition scorer this season. Teams will wonder if he can stay on the floor defensively given his lack of natural quickness.
Herro was an indispensable shooter in the backcourt for John Calipari during his freshman season at Kentucky. The 6’4 off guard scored efficiently on a variety of play types, thriving on spot-up opportunities and floaters in the half court while also emerging as a surprisingly effective transition threat. He was also the best free throw shooter in college basketball this season, hitting 93.5 percent of his attempts. He’s a better shooter than his 35 percent three-point percentage would indicate.
Scouts will question Herro’s defense and his ability to create shots off the dribble. His 6’3 wingspan is the shortest of any player who measured at the combine. He also lacks ideal athleticism for a pro shooting guard. In an ideal scenario, Herro would develop into a feared shooter who can run off screens and attack closeouts like JJ Redick.
Jerome was the backbone of Virginia’s national title run this season as a 6’5 junior guard who can pass, shoot, and dribble. Jerome hit 40 percent of his threes this season and finished in the 99th percentile on spot-up shooting attempts, per Synergy Sports. He also was one of the better facilitators in the country, finishing in the top 50 in the country in assist rate. Jerome is not particularly quick or athletic, so scouts will question his ability to defend and create off the dribble. With the size to play either backcourt spot and a strong feel for the game, Jerome has a high floor as a potential third guard.
Thybulle has a case to be the best defensive prospect in this draft. The 6’5 senior was a wrecking ball in the middle of Washington’s zone defense this season, averaging 3.5 steals and 2.5 blocks per game. As a long and strong wing, Thybulle projects to be effective as a point-of-attack stopper but really shines by making plays as a help defender.
His offensive skill set is unrefined, but Thybulle did finish well at the rim. Shooting remains his biggest weakness. Thybulle’s three-point volume was impressive this season but his accuracy from the behind the arc (30 percent) was not. A team towards the end of the first round will hope he can be a lockdown defender from Day 1 as his jumper develops.
Samanic flashed intriguing talent as a pro in Europe before impressing scouts at the NBA Draft combine in May. The 6’11 forward has improved his frame since first coming onto NBA radars in FIBA youth tournaments, no longer looking physically overmatched as he took the court at the combine. NBA teams will target him as a stretch shooter in the front court with a pretty stroke that features a high release point and quick motion. His defense, rebounding, and ability to score in transition will come under a microscope as a pro.
Hachimura became one of the biggest stars in college basketball this season as a junior. He led a powerful Gonzaga team in scoring, showcasing impressive touch from mid-range and the physicality to finish near the basket. At 6’8, 230 pounds, he has the frame to play the four in the league if he continues to improve his volume as a three-point shooter after hitting 41 percent of his attempts this past year.
Scouts question Hachimura’s feel for the game on both ends of the floor. He averaged more turnovers than assists and was often caught out of position on defense. Hachimura will receive plenty of attention from the moment he enters the league as the greatest Japanese basketball prospect ever. As long as he can limit his mistakes on each end, his shooting touch and physicality should give him a long career.
Claxton was a three-star recruit entering college who blossomed into a possible first-round pick after two years at Georgia. The 6’11 big man has elite quickness and movement skills for his position, projecting as a center who can switch screens and contest shots. He offers some rim protection ability after finishing in the top 75 in the country in block rate this past season, though he’ll need to add strength to his 220-pound frame. With a nearly 7’3 wingspan, he’s also one of the longest players in this class.
Claxton can take his game to the next level if he continues to improve as a shooter. After hitting eight three-pointers as a freshman, he drained 18 threes this season, though only at a 28 percent clip. Until that happens, scouts will continue to question his physicality and touch as an inside scorer.
Gafford was projected as a possible lottery pick a year ago, but chose to return to Arkansas for his sophomore season. While his stock slipped slightly as his numbers remained similar, there’s still a lot to like for NBA scouts. A 6’11 center with a 7’2 wingspan, Gafford tied Claxton for the best max vertical of any center at 36.5 inches. His shot blocking numbers fell slightly this year, but he still should make his money as a rim protector. Offensively, Gafford mostly scores on alley-oops and put-backs. He’s going to need to improve as a free throw shooter after never hitting better than 59 percent of his shots from the charity stripe during his two years in college.