It’s no secret that the 2019 NBA Draft class seems to be top-heavy. After the first small handful of prospects, there’s considered to be somewhat of a severe drop-off. I’m here to tell you that that popular mindset can help you score big in your Dynasty rookie drafts.
I’ve noticed Dynasty GM’s trading away 1st-round picks left and right recently because of this notion. The consensus is that after Zion, Morant, and Barrett the draft becomes a barren wasteland with nothing left to acquire but roleplayers at best. Take advantage of this. There are several sleepers waiting in the depths. For a full breakdown of each of the top prospects, including those sleepers and potential fantasy breakout options, go check out our 2019 Tiered Prospect Rankings. Some value plays will be available after your Dynasty draft lottery.
Remember, this Mock Draft is built to reflect which prospect we believe each team might draft, considering team fit and player potential. This is for real-life consideration – not fantasy. That means some of your leaguemates who don’t do their homework might just pay attention to the real-life potential of a player and forego the fantasy side. A player like Brandon Clarke, who I’ve preached about all season, is a prime example of what I’m trying to translate here. Even though he was possibly the best defensive player in college this past season, his age and slight offensive limitations could see him fall toward the end – or completely out of – the lottery. But his hustle stat upside is so enticing, I would pounce on him maybe even as early as the 4th or 5th pick in Dynasty drafts.
Do your homework. Take a gander at this Mock and be sure to check out those Prospect Rankings as well.
Now let’s get into our 2019 Mock Draft: the Lottery.
New Orleans Pelicans select…
Likely Fantasy Position: PF/C
Fantasy Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Steals – Blocks – FG% – some Assists
Why: Do we really need to go here at this point?
What this means: As the most anticipated prospect in recent (or even not-so-recent) memory, Zion will undoubtedly produce profound ripple effects on the roster in which he lands. Assuming the Pelicans don’t make the mistake of all mistakes, Zion will be a starter in a new, exciting New Orleans frontcourt. Alvin Gentry is the perfect coach for a player like Williamson – an innovative mind who likes to use his big men in unique ways with the ball in their hands. Considering the Pelicans don’t have any consequential frontcourt players in their rotation outside of Anthony Davis (for now), Zion could be in for huge minutes and huge fantasy production. If they don’t snag anyone significant in free agency, Christian Wood could be a fun partner for Williamson. Regardless of what position in which he starts – or finishes – the Pelicans’ new treasure will post monstrous numbers. From points, rebounds, steals, and blocks to FG% and even the ability to rack up some Assists, Zion Williamson should dominate the ball in New Orleans. Jrue Holiday should still get his, but until we see who David Griffin and newly-hired GM Trajan Langdon accept in return in an Anthony Davis trade, we don’t know for sure just how much to expect out of this team in terms of fantasy production.
2. Memphis Grizzlies select…
Likely Fantasy Position: PG
Fantasy Strengths: Points – Assists – Rebounds – Steals – FT%
Why: Labeled as the next Russell Westbrook, or a De’Aaron Fox clone, Morant might not fit the bill as an exact Mike Conley replica. That doesn’t mean he can’t be the heir apparent Point Guard in Memphis. The Grizzlies could trade Conley as soon as this summer, and, as the last remaining piece of the Grit-and-Grind days, the team will have a very different feel – especially considering Morant’s defense is still a bit underwhelming. But boy, will they be fun to watch. The combination of Morant and Jaren Jackson should fill seats – which should not be understated in the early portions of a rebuild.
What this means: If Conley stays in town until the trade deadline as a sort of player-coach to Morant, his fantasy numbers could take a slight hit with Morant likely dominating the ball at times. Another aspect to consider when drafting Grizzlies players is that they owe a top-6 protected 1st-round pick to Boston in 2020. Will they attempt to win games this season and convey the pick to keep their selection in 2021? Or would the team rather risk tanking in 2019-20 to hang on to their 2020 draft spot instead? We’ve all just witnessed how much of an uncertainty tanking will be with this new lottery setup now. All will become clear when/if Mike Conley gets the trade he wants.
3. New York Knicks select…
Likely Fantasy Position: SG/SF
Fantasy Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Assists – some 3’s
Why: While he’s not the prince that was promised, the Knicks should be content with drafting RJ Barrett – a player who was predominantly thought of as the top prospect coming out of high school. One of the more NBA-ready prospects of this draft, Barrett will be ready to contribute almost as soon as the season starts – which will be invaluable to a squad aiming to find success in 2019-20 after potentially winning big in free agency with two max cap slots. Another plausible scenario for Barrett is the thought of him being dealt to New Orleans in an Anthony Davis trade, in which case he’d get the opportunity to continue playing alongside Duke teammate Zion Williamson.
What this means: Barrett might not be the best projected fit alongside Knicks’ free agency targets Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and even Jimmy Butler or Kemba Walker. Barrett’s rookie-year fantasy impact will be underwhelming if he doesn’t have the ball in his hands. He just doesn’t seem to fit with anything the Knicks are trying to accomplish this offseason. Regardless of which big-name free agents New York acquires, they’re going to want spacing and solid veteran presences surrounding their stars. It makes a lot of sense to trade Barrett – whether it be in a much larger package to acquire a star, or in a smaller, youth-for-veteran-spacing and/or cap relief swap. Barrett’s presence in the Big Apple likely wouldn’t affect any potential star’s fantasy production; but on the flip side, that potential star’s presence will undoubtedly impact Barrett’s fantasy production in a negative manner.
4. Los Angeles Lakers select…
Likely Fantasy Position: SF
Fantasy Strengths: Points – 3’s – FG% – FT% – TOs – and potential for more
Why: Assuming the Lakers don’t trade this pick/prospect in a deal to acquire another star, DeAndre Hunter is an obvious candidate to be drafted here. A player who can step in and guard almost any position right from the jump, Hunter can be an immediate positive for a potential championship-or-bust Lakers squad. With that being said, I’d be shocked if the Lakers kept this pick – or the player they drafted with this pick – through the summer. It’s looking like the Anthony Davis sweepstakes might come down to New York and Los Angeles, so whichever player is selected with either this pick, or the 3rd pick, might be one the Pelicans are hinting that they want most.
What this means: Judging the fantasy implications of the Lakers’ 4th-overall draft pick is largely irrelevant given that I fully expect the team to trade the selection before the season even begins. In the unlikely event that this Lebron-lead keeps their rookie, we shouldn’t expect his first-year fantasy production to be anything more than end-of-roster levels.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers select…
Likely Fantasy Position: SG
Fantasy Strengths: Points – Steals – 3’s – some Assists
Why: Cleveland shouldn’t be picky with this selection. Their draft goal at this point in their rebuild should be to select the best available prospect. That plan should lead them to Jarrett Culver – a prospect whose potential rivals even RJ Barrett’s in some experts’ eyes. Collin Sexton’s future doesn’t exactly scream “star” at the moment. The Cavs should take Culver and put the ball in his hands as much as possible.
What this means: While Sexton seemed to find his groove toward the end of the 2018-19 season, he’s still a longshot from a surefire starting Point Guard. Cedi Osman was a rollercoaster for anyone who drafted him last year. Culver’s presence might knock both of those guys down just a peg, but it should be worth it for the Cavs in the long term.
6. Phoenix Suns select…
Likely Fantasy Position: PG
Fantasy Strengths: Points – Assists – 3’s – FT%
Why: While the Suns might be bummed about where their pick landed, there is a glimmer of hope here. Assuming Cleveland makes the right call (which isn’t exactly a given) and drafts the best available prospect one spot earlier, Phoenix can still get a youngster with “Point Guard of their future” potential. While a backcourt duo of Devin Booker and Darius Garland has very little immediate defensive upside, they would certainly be something fun to watch. Garland displayed an innate knack for getting the ball in the hoop from anywhere on the court in his short time at Vanderbilt. And before that, he showed some value as a playmaker in high school. Combine that with Booker’s proven abilities and you have the potential for “the next Dame & CJ” – a title that the organization would love to utilize as a money-making model.
What this means: If Phoenix opts to put the ball in Garland’s hands early and often, Booker’s fantasy stock could fall just a tad. However, I don’t believe the impact is negative enough to scare you away from selecting him in the early rounds of Dynasty drafts. Potential deep-league upside picks out of the Suns’ backcourt, like DeAnthony Melton and Elie Okobo, would also lose some value.
7. Chicago Bulls select…
Likely Fantasy Position: PG/SG
Fantasy Strengths: Points – Assists – FT% – 3’s
Why: Chicago likely had their eyes on either Morant or Garland but will have to settle for someone else at this point in the draft. Coby White, while more of a Combo Guard than a traditional Point, still has some playmaking in his bones – he averaged 4.1 assists on 28.5 minutes per game at UNC. Combine that with his 16.1 points, 2.3 three’s, and 80% from the line and you have a pretty diverse offensive weapon.
What this means: If the Bulls miss on acquiring a Point Guard upgrade in free agency, Coach Jim Boylen may just decide to continue starting Kris Dunn at PG for his defense and passing. White’s chemistry with similarly-styled Guard Zach Lavine might be questionable in this starting lineup. A Sixth Man role on this roster is the most likely scenario for White. He could push Dunn even closer to the bottom of standard-league relevancy – or out of it completely. Lavine’s fantasy outlook would also take a dip but to a lesser degree than Dunn’s. The way things stand now, White’s potential role and playstyle may be too similar to that of Lavine’s but as long as the 6’5 North Carolina product continues developing his playmaking and distributing, he could become even more valuable than his Bulls backcourt counterpart. Also, any hope we had of Ryan Arcidiacono becoming a reliable late-round Point Guard in Chicago would become exponentially more difficult.
8. Atlanta Hawks select…
Likely Fantasy Position: SG/SF/PF
Fantasy Strengths: Points – Steals – 3’s – potentially FT%
Why: Between underrated all-around player and smooth-shooter Kevin Huerter, the bouncy John Collins, and their point leader, Trae Young, the Hawks are obviously moving towards a pace-and-space style. Cam Reddish would fit snug anywhere between the 2 and 4 spots. Atlanta may also be looking for a young paint presence, but with Jaxson Hayes, Bol Bol, and Goga Bitadze all still available, they’ll still get their shot when their next pick rolls around at 10.
What this means: Reddish’s three-and-steal style would easily slide into the starting Small Forward spot next to Huerter, Young, and Collins in this era that Lloyd Pierce is establishing in Atlanta. While he’d steal a few shots from his teammates, the only players I’d be worried about taking a hit to their fantasy values are deep-leaguer DeAndre’ Bembry and trade candidate Taurean Prince. Kent Bazemore could also see a slight drop in usage if he picks up his Player Option for the 2019-20 season. I preached wariness for Taurean Prince owners since last summer because of this very scenario. Several teams will be calling the Hawks about acquiring Prince. Let’s hope, for the sake of all these players, that Atlanta pulls the trigger on a trade to ship him out.
9. Washington Wizards select…
Likely Fantasy Position: C
Fantasy Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Blocks – 3’s – FG% – FT%
Why: With official Combine measurements of 7’2.5 in height and a 7’7 wingspan, plus an average 3pt stroke of 52% (that’s not a typo) and 2.7 blocks per game in his lone collegiate year at Oregon, Bol is a unique talent – the epitome of a unicorn, if you will. The major concern with Bol is the idea of his thin frame attempting to anchor a defense. If he got bullied a bit in college, imagine the issues he’ll bring in the big leagues. Another question mark Bol brings is his health. After a relatively serious foot injury, any team drafting him would be biting their fingernails every time he bumps into another player under the rim. But even taking these concerns into consideration, several teams will give Bol a hard look when it’s their turn to select a player given the talents he obviously brings.
What this means: After catching a rough foot injury, any team drafting Bol knows he’ll have to sit out for an extended period of time – even into the season. That’s where the Wizards come in. With John Wall’s unfortunate injury possibly holding him out for a large portion of next year, and the breakout of Thomas Bryant, Washington might be content drafting and stashing Bol. Once Bol regains his health, Bryant’s fantasy value will take a serious dip. Bobby Portis might also see a downturn in value. Regardless, the Wizards need to add talent but, depending on the mindset of whichever new GM they hire, they might be content to wait out the storm and reap the rewards in the end with a talent like Bol.
10. Atlanta Hawks select…
Likely Fantasy Position: C
Fantasy Strengths: Rebounds – Blocks – FG%
Why: A raw but hyped athletic engine, Hayes will bring energy to any squad that drafts him. Standing at over 6’11 with a 7’3.5 wingspan and lacking any shooting range, Hayes will initially be pigeonholed to a limited role offensively. However, as a high-upside clean slate, the Hawks and Coach Lloyd Pierce will be in a position to develop Jaxson into whatever their minds can conjure up.
What this means: While a Collins/Hayes duo would be fun to watch, the on-court combination of the two could very well step on each other’s toes in terms of fantasy production. Collins’ hustle stats seemed to plummet already in 2018-19 after displaying high potential his 2017-18 rookie season with 1.6 blocks and 0.9 steals per-36 minutes. The addition of Hayes would negatively affect those stats even further given that he would have to eat up space in the middle on defense, leaving Collins to trail wings and forwards even more so than he did recently. Alex Len would suffer a hit to his minutes here; plus, the re-signing of Dewayne Dedmon would muddle this situation even further. Regardless of how many other big men Atlanta starts the season with, it’s Hayes and Collins that should be getting the bulk of the playing time up front.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves select…
Likely Fantasy Position: PF
Fantasy Strengths: Rebounds – Steals – Blocks – FG% – TOs
Why: Brandon Clarke will probably be really bad. With no fantasy potential at all, I wouldn’t recommend drafting him if you’re in one of my leagues…
All joking aside, Clarke is one of my favorite fantasy sleepers this year. His stocks upside is immense. The 6’8 Gonzaga Forward is a real energizer; in his last season, he averaged 3.2 blocks and 1.2 steals in just 28 minutes per game to go with 68.7% from the field. A real hustler on the court, Clarke will fit nicely into any lineup that can plug in enough shooting around him.
What this means: Turning 23 around the start of next season, Clarke will be one of the older potential lottery selections. He’ll enter the league ready and willing to contribute right away, which is good news for Minnesota. With a mixture of veteran talent and a bit of young upside remaining, Clarke will fit right in. He’ll also be a better frontcourt partner for Towns than the options currently available. While the addition of Clarke might rain on the parades of other Power Forward options, his top-tier defense will help KAT on the less-glamorous end while KAT’s loaded offensive arsenal will help cover Clarke on the other side of the court. Dario Saric coming off the bench could be beneficial for the on-court productivity of the team – but his fantasy value is a different story. Assuming he gets sufficient playing time, he could still climb the fantasy production ladder. Gorgui Dieng and Taj Gibson (if he remains in Minnesota after free agency) will also see a downtick in playing time.
12. Charlotte Hornets select…
Likely Fantasy Position: C
Fantasy Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Blocks – FG% – maybe some 3’s
Why: If the Hornets plan to keep Kemba Walker, they should look to snag a player who has somewhat proven to possess the ability to contribute immediately. Bitadze is a polished offensive post presence who has already displayed his worth overseas. At age 19, Bitadze is averaging 18.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per 36 minutes – against mature competition – on his way to winning the EuroLeague Rising Star award. The 6’11 big man also shows promise in efficiency and modern-day ball, posting a .548 FG%, .714 FT%, and a developing 3-point shot at 31.3%.
What this means: Even if Michael Jordan’s fears come to life, and Kemba bolts in free agency, Bitadze can be a solid option to anchor the beginning of a rebuild – albeit one that will put a damper on any hopes we had left of Willy Hernangomez becoming a reliable fantasy option if he stays. Frank Kaminsky and, more importantly, Cody Zeller would also fall in the rankings a bit.
13. Miami Heat select…
Likely Fantasy Position: PF
Fantasy Strengths: Rebounds – Blocks – FG% – TOs – and potential for more
Why: The Heat could look for an heir apparent to Dwyane Wade with this selection, but between Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, and Josh Richardson, Miami isn’t short on swingmen who want to put the ball in the hole. PJ Washington is a Spo-kind of player – a guy who knows his role and works hard on both ends of the court. An all-around prospect who will hustle and contribute in several aspects, Washington is one of my favorite late-round fantasy sleepers.
What this means: At 6’8, 230, and with a .423 3pt%, the Kentucky product can slide to Power Forward and seamlessly fit next to Bam Adebayo or Hassan Whiteside. Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson would likely see a downtick in playing time in this scenario.
14. Boston Celtics select…
Likely Fantasy Position: SF/PF
Fantasy Strengths: maybe Points – Rebounds – Steals – Blocks – FG%
Why: Already a relatively deep roster with several players who want the ball – even if Kyrie and/or Terry Rozier leave – the Celtics could look down a developmental path and select Sekou Doumbouya here. A 6’9 Forward out of one of a top French league, Doumbouya’s box scores might not look too sexy on the surface, but his body is built like a basketball android and his upside is considered to be ultra-high in this draft. Just recently, on May 18, Doumbouya put his whole upside on display when he poured in 34 points while making 5 of his 7 three-point attempts on 72.2% shooting to go with 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, and 75% from the charity stripe. If that’s the kind of hidden potential stored in this basketball Adonis’ frame, the youngest prospect in this draft should have no trouble finding success at the next level. Just remember that Sekou is still a very raw prospect with just as much risk as upside surrounding him.
What this means: The 18-year old will appreciate a light load of responsibility in Boston in his early months. There even exists a scenario where Doumbouya doesn’t step foot on a big-league court his rookie season at all, outside of the G League. You’re aiming for the long haul when targeting Doumbouya in your Dynasty drafts.