(COVINGTON, LA.) — Every year new college hoops prospect make their way out onto the court and try to make a name for themselves. This year’s draft may be one of the best ones since the 2003 draft that featured LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and many others. Zion Williamson is one of the top prospects coming into this year’s draft, and many have referred to him as the next LeBron James. The 2019 draft class has been on many people have been waiting for. Will the trio of Duke superstars go picks 1-3?
Here are my projected lottery teams and picks (picks 1-14):
- Atlanta Hawks – Zion Williamson (Duke, Forward): This pick would help the Hawks out greatly at the small forward position. They are currently starting the oldest player in the league, Vince Carter, who is set to retire after this season. Williamson brings in athleticism we have never seen before from a 6’7” 285 pound man. He is averaging 21.3 points and 9 rebounds a contest for the third ranked Duke Blue Devils. Williamson has the highest vertical jump ever recorded at Duke, 40 inches. With his athleticism and untapped potential it should be a no brainer to pick him at the number one spot.
- Cleveland Cavaliers – R.J. Barrett (Duke, Forward) – Barrett has a chance to be the best scorer coming out of this draft, and that’s exactly what they need. The 6’7” forward is averaging 22.7 points per game, and can score at will. If he improves from the free throw line and on the defensive side he has a chance at going number one, but for now Barrett will most likely end up with the second spot.
- Phoenix Suns – Cameron Reddish (Duke, Shooting Guard) – Reddish is the best shooter of the trio of freshman coming out of Duke. The Suns have Devin Booker at shooting guard, but adding Reddish will get the group of the bench a pure scorer. He has the capability of getting hot at any moment, showing this by hitting the record for most three pointers in a game for Duke.
- Chicago Bulls- Darius Garland (Vanderbilt, Point Guard)– The Bulls are lacking at the point guard position with Cameron Payne being the starter. Garland would make the Bulls front court one of the most electric and athletic in the league with him and Zach Lavine at the guard position.
- New York Knicks – Romeo Langford (Indiana, Guard) – The Knicks have struggled finding a consistent guard who can score. Three point guards in Burke, Mudiay, and Ntilikina who all are very inconsistent in the way they play. Adding Langford could add a combo guard who can be an impact on both ends of the floor. Trier, Porzingis, and Langford would be the top three scores for them. The Knicks have a good core of rookies at the moment, but still need a couple of more pieces to be a playoff team. He has the ability to take over the starting role in his rookie season with the Knicks.
- Miami Heat – Kevin Porter Jr. (USC, Guard)– Porter might be the most explosive player in this draft class. At the beginning of the season he was not in the talk of being a first round pick, but his dunks and step back moves have gotten the attention from NBA scouts which has catapulted him into the top 10. Some people have even compared him to James Harden, but he is more athletic.
- Brooklyn Nets – Nassir Little (North Carolina, Forward)– The Nets have the possibility of bringing a Draymond Green like defender. He is only averaging 19.5 minutes per game at UNC, but he is playing behind two seniors. He can bring the energy and is a hustle player who can score if you need him to. He is a 6’6″ forward which is undersized for the NBA making him even more like Draymond Green. He has unlimited potential with his abilities and athleticism.
- Washington Wizards – Bol Bol (Oregon, Center) – Son of former NBA player, Manute Bol, Bol Bol stands at 7’3” and has a perimeter shot like a guard. If he is able to continue to develop his jumper as well as his interior defense, he may be hearing his name called even higher come next June. Bol Bol would slide into a starting lineup that includes All-Star Guards John Wall and Bradley Beal. But for now, he has the Ducks atop the Pac-12 conference with aspirations at a run in the NCAA Tournament.
- Sacramento Kings – Quenten Grimes (Kansas, Point Guard) – The Kings are a couple of pieces away from being a good playoff team. They need a big point guard who can handle the ball when Fox is out, and Grimes is the man for the job. Adding him to the back court with De’Aaron Fox would help the Kings out with spacing and passing. Grimes has not been able to get his rhythm going, but when he turns iron he can score the rock.
- Orlando Magic – Ja Morant (Murray State, Point Guard) – The 6’3” guard has come out of the gates shining this year, and having one of the best seasons we have seen in college in awhile. Averaging 27.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 9 assist a a game. The Magic need a dominant point guard who can score the ball and dish it out. Morant is one of the most electric players in the country and could be teaming up with the dominant bigs in Orlando, Vucevic, Bamba, and Gordon.
- Dallas Mavericks – DeAndre Hunter (Virginia, Forward) – The 6’7” Forward from Virginia is a force on the defensive end. His numbers might be the worst of the lottery, but his defense is sometimes compared to Kawhi Leonard’s defense. He has the length and strength to guard any position on the court. The Mavericks have a good rookie wing in Luka Doncic, but Hunter would help with the defense that Doncic lacks.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Sekou Doumbaya (France, Forward) – Doumbaya lead France to the 2016 U18 Euro Basketball Championships. He averaged 18 points per game and shot over 50 percent from the field during the title run. He currently plays for the CSP Limoges in the top French basketball league. The Pelicans have solid big men, but he would give them a unique skill with his athleticism, strength, and shooting. The 6’9″ forward would give them more athleticism to pair up with Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic, and Julius Randle.
- Utah Jazz – Keldon Johnson (Kentucky, Guard)– The Jazz lack scoring at the guard position with Rubio lacking in many offensive areas. Johnson is the leading scorer on a loaded Kentucky team, averaging 16 points per game. Mitchell and Johnson could be the best scoring back court if Johnson develops in a few season.
- San Antonio Spurs – Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech, Guard)– The Spurs lack scoring after Derozan and Aldridge, and Culver is averaging 19 points per game which would be a big add at the point guard position for them. Culver could add an electric spark off the bench once Murray comes back. If the Spurs can transition Demar Derozan to the small forward position they would have a dominant defender and a prolific scorer in their back court.