Tonight begins the 2019 NBA Draft

The millionth-ish annual NBA Draft begins tonight - Here is what you need to know about the 2019 edition.

Even with the recent conclusion of the 2019 NBA Finals, the Association has remained abuzz with trades, rumors, and talk of the upcoming NBA Draft. For many of us, basketball has been a 365 day-per-year focus for a while now. More and more, the NBA alone is a year-round event.

With trades continuing to roll in, (recently Mike Conely Jr. from Memphis to Utah for Kyle Korver, Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, this year’s 23rd pick, and another future first-rounder) focus is firmly on the draft. The biggest trade after the season ended sent superstar Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and three first round picks, including number four overall tonight. This trade is noteworthy as it greatly affects tonight’s draft.

Lakerland is focused on winning now, as any team boasting LeBron James should be. The New Orleans Pelicans now have young talent to build around, which they will be able to do right away.

New Orleans will likely select consensus top-talent, Zion Williamson of Duke first overall. Now, they get to select another impressive talent to pair with him since they appear to have control of the number four pick technically still owned by the Lakers. The pick is expected to be Jarrett Culver or De’Andre Hunter to pair with Williamson. Darius Garland will be in the mix as well.

The Grizzlies and Knicks pick number two and three, respectively. Those picks are expected to be Ja Morant of Murray State or RJ Barrett out of Duke.

Below is a mock draft example taken directly from ESPN (that was before the AD to LA deal):

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These player rankings are speculation and it is wild how close to the moment these teams often change their minds. There is plenty of reason to believe there will be picks traded throughout the night as well, starting with that new number four overall pick.

It will be interesting to see how everything shakes out as so many young men see their dreams come true. 60 players will be selected - not all will go straight to the association, as many will wind up in the G-League, etc. Either way, they are all moving one step closer to the ultimate basketball dream and we wish them the best!

Ja Morant headlines list of players declared for the 2019 NBA Draft

NCAA underclassmen must declare before April 22nd to be eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft.

If these NCAA players opt to withdraw their declaration and return to college, they have until May 29th to do so. The NBA Draft Combine runs from May 16-20. So, we are still early in the window of declaration, but things are getting real with NCAA March Madness standout, Ja Morant throwing his hat into the ring.

As it stands today, Murray State’s Ja Morant would be projected at or around the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The consensus number one pick is still Duke’s Zion Williamson by a decent margin. Williamson has yet to declare, and his fellow Duke teammates have not either. Don’t worry; they will. Fellow freshman, RJ Barrett is projected to be picked in the top three with Zion and Ja.

Those players that have declared have likely signed with agents. How college students can afford professional agents is an article for another day.

Below is the list of declared players as it stands right now (per Yahoo! Sports):

Tyus Battle, Syracuse

Bol Bol, Oregon

Ky Bowman, Boston College

Daniel Gafford, Arkansas

Darius Garland, Vanderbilt

Dewan Henandez, Miami

Nassir Little, UNC

Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State

Ja Morant, Murray State

Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s

Naz Reid, LSU

Simi Shittu, Vanderbilt

Coby White, UNC

Kris Wilks, UCLA

The same Yahoo! Sports page names the following players as still “Testing the water.” This means that the players have declared to gauge interest, but have likely not gone so far as to hire agents and or go all-in.

Jordan Bone, Tennessee

Oshae Brissett, Syracuse

Charlie Brown, Saint Joseph’s

Amir Coffey, Minnesota

Steve Enoch, Louisville

Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State

Nathan Knight, William & Mary

Sagaba Konate, West Virginia

Jalen LeQue, N.C. State

Jaden Nwora, Louisville

Miye Oni, Yale

Reggie Perry, Mississippi State

Isaiah Reese, Canisius

Derrik Smits, Valparaiso

Jimmy Whitt, SMU

With the likes of ZIon absent from this list, you know that there are many names still on their way. It is still exciting to see players such as Ja Morant, Nassir Little, and Bol Bol already on here. As we near the April 22nd deadline, many of the names you are hearing amidst the March Madness will start to pop up.

You know we will keep you up-to-date if anything big happens leading up to the combine and the 2019 NBA Draft. Remember to follow us on Twitter @BBall_Movement, Instagram, and like us on Facebook to stay in the know!