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Daniel Wilco | NCAA.com | June 20, 2019

2019 NBA mock draft: Picks 1-14 projected by Andy Katz

NBA Draft Profile: Duke's Zion Williamson

NCAA.com basketball expert Andy Katz is in New York for the 2019 NBA Draft where he just made his projection for who he thinks will be taken in the first round. You can watch that right here:

Here is a breakdown of Andy's projections for who will go where tonight. Draft coverage begins at 7 p.m. Eastern on ESPN and streams on WatchESPN.

1. New Orleans — Zion Williamson, Duke

NBA Draft: Zion Williamson's top NCAA tournament highlights

No surprise here. Zion is Zion, and after trading away Anthony Davis, to see New Orleans take anyone but the Duke star would be the biggest surprise in the history of the draft.

MORE ZION: Profile and background of top NBA Draft prospect

2. Memphis — Ja Morant, Murray State

Could Ja Morant be a better NBA player than Zion?

The sophomore guard burst onto the scene this season, when he averaged 24.5 points and 10 assists at Murray State, and there’s little question who the best player in this class is after Williamson. Katz has said that there’s an argument to be made that Morant will be a better NBA player than Williamson.

MORE JA: NBA draft projection, college highlights, statistics

3. New York — RJ Barrett, Duke

NBA Draft: RJ Barrett's top NCAA tournament highlights

Yes, Zion’s dunks and athleticism and skill made him the face of Duke this season, but it was Barrett who led the Blue Devils in scoring. The freshman put up 22.6 points per game, while shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 30.8 from deep.

MORE RJ: NBA draft projection, college highlights, statistics

4. New Orleans (via Lakers) — Darius Garland, Vanderbilt

Andy Katz explains Darius Garland's meteoric rise in NBA Draft rankings

Garland has shot up the draft boards recently. The Vanderbilt freshman was injured in November and missed the rest of the season, but he averaged 16.2 points in five games for the Commodores. He spent the rest of the year getting healthy and ready for this moment, and after the star trio ahead of him, Garland looks to be one of the best players available Thursday.

5. Cleveland — De'Andre Hunter, Virginia

Watch De'Andre Hunter's 27-point championship performance

How valuable is De’Andre Hunter? Just ask Virignia, which lost to UMBC in the 2018 NCAA tournament, when Hunter didn’t play, and won its first championship in 2019, when Hunter did play. He's a great defensive player who can stretch the floor as a more-than-capable 3-point shooter.

6. Phoenix — Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech

Is there anything Jarrett Culver can't do?

Culver improved dramatically in his second season at Texas Tech, averaging 18.5 points and 6.4 rebounds, becoming the go-to option for the Red Raiders. 

7. Chicago — Coby White, North Carolina

NBA Draft: Coby White and Nassir Little's top NCAA tournament highlights

White was a catalyst for the Tar Heels last year, breaking all sorts of records in a stellar freshman year as he propelled UNC to an ACC regular-season championship with precision passing and dynamic shooting. He has a high upside, but still has plenty of work to do.

8. Atlanta — Cam Reddish, Duke

Reddish was sometimes overshadowed on a Duke team with Williamson and Barrett, but the 6-8 small forward has all the tools to be a steal for the Hawks at No. 8, with great potential from deep.

9. Washington — Nassir Little, North Carolina

NBA Draft: Coby White and Nassir Little's top NCAA tournament highlights

Little humbly served as a role player for Roy Williams, but he showed great skill and even more potential in his one year in Chapel Hill.

10. Atlanta — Jaxson Hayes, Texas

Hayes is a force inside, averaging 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while shooting 72.8 percent in just 23.3 minutes per game last year. That performance earned him a plethora of Big 12 awards, highlighted by the conference rookie of the year honors.

11. Minnesota — Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

NBA Draft: Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke's top NCAA tournament highlights

Hachimura has steadily and significantly improved during his time at Gonzaga, transforming into the Bulldogs’ star by his junior year, where he averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds, while even adding a 3-point shot (41.7 percent) to his arsenal.

12. Charlotte — PJ Washington, Kentucky

NBA Draft: Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, and PJ Washington's top NCAA tournament highlights

Washington withdrew from last year’s draft and returned to Kentucky. That turned out to be a great decision. He earned All-SEC honors after averaging 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 52.2 percent from the floor and 42.3 percent from deep on a significant increase in 3-point shots this year. And there’s no questioning his heart, as the forward fought to return to Kentucky’s tournament run after injuring his leg late in the year.

13. Miami — Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech

Alexander-Walker might not be the flashiest pick Thursday, but he offers some great depth to any team that can snag him. He outshined Kerry Blackshear, Jr. in Blacksburg 

14. Boston — Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga

NBA Draft: Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke's top NCAA tournament highlights

Clarke had a bit of a drop off last year after transferring to Gonzaga from San Jose State, but the 6-8 guard showed great energy and athleticism at a higher level with the Bulldogs. He’s a fantastic defender, and while he isn’t a top shooter, he’s reliable enough to be a threat.

Here is the draft order for the rest of the first round, as of 2 p.m. Eastern on Thursday:

  • 15. Detroit
  • 16. Orlando
  • 17. Brooklyn
  • 18. Indiana
  • 19. San Antonio
  • 20. Boston (from LA Clippers via Memphis)
  • 21. Oklahoma City
  • 22. Boston
  • 23. Utah
  • 24. Philadelphia
  • 25. Portland
  • 26. Cleveland (from Houston)
  • 27. Brooklyn (from Denver)
  • 28. Golden State
  • 29. San Antonio (from Toronto)
  • 30. Milwaukee

Milwaukee reportedly traded Tony Snell and the 30th pick in the draft to Detroit for Jon Leuer.

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