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):
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!