On June 20 the NBA will host the 2019 Draft. Everybody and their mother expects the 285-pound human pogo stick that is Zion Williamson to hear his name called first by Adam Silver, and the same can be said about Ja Morant and RJ Barett with the 2 and 3 picks, respectively.
After that, the draft will undoubtedly get more ambiguous.
The Lakers have been in trade talks for the Pelicans for what seems like 84 years. They’ve been after the Holy Grail that is Anthony Davis of course. Unfortunately, King Pelinka does not want to part with any of his knights, but the Lakers acquiring the No. 4 pick in the lottery has brought more rumors and it is looking more and more like the round table will look more like the Red Wedding come draft day.
This will certainly create some chaos but do not fear, I am here to give you the five prospects who teams will luck into drafting after all the dust has settled.
1. Brandon Clarke (GONZ)
Had Brandon Clarke played for a team on the east coast, there is no doubt in my mind he would be considered a top 5 pick in this draft. Clarke is currently projected to get his name called somewhere in the middle of the first round. That is pure blasphemy.
Last season Clarke was the West Coast version of Zion Williamson, averaging 17 points per contest while leading the team in blocks with an absurd 117. He also led the team in offensive rebounds (114) and field goal percentage (68%).
Many scouts will say he was able to put up these numbers because of the weakness of the WCC, but Clarke has shown he can do it against great competition too. In Gonzaga’s early season win against Duke Clarke had 17 points to go along with 6 blocks. In a loss at UNC, he had 15 and 3.
On the biggest stage in the NCAA tournament, Clarke averaged 20 points per game to go along with just under 4 blocks per contest. Brandon Clarke is going to be a very good NBA player.
2. Chuma Okeke (AUB)
The Auburn Tigers went on a draw dropping tear in the postseason, winning the SEC Tournament before making a run to the Final Four in Minneanapolis. While Jared Harper and Bryce Brown led the team for most of the year, it was Okeke who took over March.
While his overall body of work during the season was not that impressive (12 PPG and 6 RPG), it was what he did towards the end of the year that proved he can be a great player at the next level. Chuma led the way for Auburn in their win over Tenessee in the SEC Championship, as he put up an 18/13 stat line. He then went on to average 15 PPG in the NCAA tournament including 20 against UNC in the Elite Eight.
Unfortunately for Okeke and Auburn, he tore his ACL in the second half of that game. The team that decides to take a chance on his ACL and his talent will be rewarded greatly.
3. Tyler Herro (UK)
Tyler Herro has the chance to be the next Klay Thompson. Yes, he can be that good. Herro averaged 14 points for the young Kentucky Wildcats this year, but the most impressive part of his season was not anything in his stat line. His confidence to knock down any shot at any time was outmatched.
It seemed like every time his team was put in a hole he got them out of it. Herro shot 94% from the free throw line to go along with 36% from three. He was truly Mr. Big Shot for Kentucky, and he can be exactly that for whatever NBA team decides to take a chance on him.
Unlike the first two players on this list, Herro only played one year of College Basketball so obviously, he will have more time to develop, and with the Celtics sitting at 14, it looks like an amazing fit.
4. Carsen Edwards (PURDUE)
Ah, Carsen Edwards, the unanimous Big 10 first team guard had an incredible season for the Boiler Makers in 2018. The big reason he is not high on any draft boards is because of his size, but I believe there is a solid chance he can overcome his 6-foot stature to be a solid starter in the NBA.
There is no doubting his talent, as he averaged over 24 PPG last season. In the NCAA tournament, Edwards averaged an inhuman 35 PPG. Carsen Edwards can flat out score.
If he gets drafted in the right situation he could make some noise in the NBA.
5. Kevin Porter Jr. (USC)
Kevin Porter Jr. is a tough prospect to gauge after his freshmen year at USC. After averaging 27 PPG as a senior in High School and becoming a four-star recruit, he only averaged 9.5 PPG at USC.
His talent, however, is undeniable.
Porter Jr. is an extremely athletic guard who has the chance to become very good at the next level. He showed flashes of greatness in his lone college season, and whatever team drafts him will hope he can bottle up those flashes into one large frame of work.