2019 NBA Draft Set For Thursday Night

The NBA Championship ended less than a week ago but it’s already time for teams to begin their preparations for next year. For the teams that finished 2018-2019 near the bottom of the table hopes are high that they can find some talent in the NBA Draft that will improve their fortunes. The New Orleans Pelicans have the first pick in the draft and by virtue of their recent trade of Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers they also have the #4 pick.

Many analysts consider this to be a very ‘top heavy’ draft with several exceptional players at the top of the list in what is otherwise a fairly pedestrian crop. The first two picks in the draft are unlikely to be a surprise and both players definitely fall into the ‘exceptional’ category. The New Orleans Pelicans will almost certainly take Duke power forward Zion Williamson with the first overall pick. Williamson has a rare blend of strength and speed that has drawn comparison to superstars like LeBron James and Charles Barkley. His game needs some slight ‘polishing’ but overall he’s NBA ready right now. The Memphis Grizzlies have the second pick and are expected to go with Murray State pointguard Ja Morant. Like Williamson, he has some areas that need improvement but has already impressed observers with his slick playmaking skills and good court vision.

The drama and uncertainty begin with the third and fourth picks. The most likely scenario is that the New York Knicks will select Williamson’s Duke teammate RJ Barrett with the third pick though there have been some reports that they’re still ‘keeping their options open’. The real intrigue begins with the fourth pick. The first major question–will New Orleans keep the pick or trade it? The best players that are expected to be available at this point are guards and since the Davis trade the Pelicans have a nice trio of Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to build around. They would likely get the maximum value out of the pick by trading it.

The next question–who will go #4? Until recently, the thinking was that Jarrett Culver was the presumptive #4 pick but in recent weeks the stock of Vanderbilt pointguard Darius Garland has increased considerably. So too has that of Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter. From what we can discern from the ‘rumor mill’ at this point most of the teams looking to move up to #4 are interested in Garland. He’s now a favorite in the NBA Draft proposition odds to go fourth and strictly from a logic standpoint it makes the most sense.


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