The 2019 NBA Draft was headlined by a star-studded lottery, featuring three guys commended as can’t-miss prospects at the top of the draft, that was pretty much set-in-stone since last college season ended. Zion Williamson, a name that NBA teams have been waiting to see available since he was a 16-year-old social media phenom, was taken first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans as they experience life after Anthony Davis. With the second overall pick, the Memphis Grizzlies took Murray State star guard Ja Morant who has drawn comparisons to Russell Westbrook. The crowd at the Barclays Center erupted when the New York Knicks selected Duke’s RJ Barrett with the third selection. Barrett, also known as The Maple Mamba, along with the other young stars taken early in the draft will look to make an immediate impact in the pros but, who were the best value picks made later in the draft?
SF Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks
#10 Overall Pick
Although the Atlanta Hawks have not won many games over the past few seasons, they have done a pretty good job of drafting players. Last year they selected Trae Young and Kevin Huerter who both had solid rookie seasons and can shoot the ball very well from deep. In today’s NBA it is vital to be able to convert three-pointers at a high clip and the Hawks are building their roster around this concept. Reddish fits right into this philosophy. The Hawks originally sat with the #8 and #10 selections in the first round but, after actively shopping trades, they moved up to #4 and took De’Andre Hunter from UVA. Luckily, they were able to hold onto the tenth pick. Cam Reddish was considered a potential top 5 prospect headed into his freshman season at Duke but, inconsistency and failure to perform under pressure at times along with other deficiencies in his game allowed him to slide down the lottery. It is a great value pick because Reddish has the talent and potential to be right up there with the best players in the draft. The Hawks young team is a great situation to join for Reddish to mature his game and see a lot of action early on. He will serve as a “three and D” type player but, has great potential offensively.
F Eric Paschal, Golden State Warriors
#41 Overall Pick (acquired from ATL)
It can be aggravating at times how good the Golden State Warriors are, and how they always seem to get better. That being said, they have key injuries to star players and looked to the draft to find some young talent to fill their needs. The Warriors will have Draymond Green though, and after trading for the 41st overall selection, they took a Villanova star whose game resembles Green in many ways. Eric Paschall has the makings to potentially be the next young star we see blossom in the Bay Area. As a senior, Paschall averaged 16.5 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting and 6.2 rebounds per game and was named to the First-Team All-Big East. Not only is he a strong defender and rebounder, but he can hot scoring the ball as well. Paschall, like a lot of Warrior players, knows about winning. He was a key contributor to a National Title for Villanova in 2018 and was apart of one of the best programs in the nation for the past few years. The Warriors definitely need help headed into next season and get great value with the 41st pick.
C Bol Bol, Denver NuggetsYouTube / Charles Barkley
#44 Overall Pick
Oregon center Bol Bol is the son of an NBA legend and is a 7 foot 2 prospect that could be like nobody we have seen before. After a strong start to the college basketball season, Bol Bol acquired a lot of hype and attention for what he could potentially bring to the next level. This had him landing as high as the top 5 in some mock drafts leading up to June. Concerns regarding his lack of effort and health concerns contributed to this hype train dying down, and Bol Bol slid down all the way to the middle of the second round. Last year, the Denver Nuggets took a chance on Michael Porter Jr. who was pretty much heading into the draft with the intention to “red-shirt” his first season and get right before he hits the hardwood. With the Oregon freshman still available at #44, why not take another chance on a guy other teams refuse to? It has been reported that Porter Jr. is recovery is going according to plan, so now the Nuggets will have their next big project with loads of potential. If he turns out to be the elite shot blocker and rim protector that the Denver hopes for, this could stand out as one of the better draft selections.
G Ty Jerome, Pheonix Suns
#24 Overall Pick (acquired from BOS)
Outside of offensive stud Devin Booker, the Suns haven’t had too much to get excited about in recent years. In this year’s draft, they did not find the immediate answer to all of their losing woes but, still added a couple of solid pieces. With the #11 selection, the Suns took F Cameron Johnson from UNC to hop on board with their rebuilding project. Johnson will make an immediate impact but, the Suns had one of the best-value selections in G Ty Jerome from Virginia. Jerome is not the biggest or fastest or most athletic prospect but, the fact of the matter is – the guy can just ball. He will slot in next to Booker in the Pheonix backcourt and serve as their new floor general. Ty is a solid height for a point guard, and his elite basketball IQ paired with his passing and playmaking ability will elevate the play of the young guys around him and hopefully help to build some chemistry in Pheonix. With a lot of backcourt guys going early in the draft, the Suns get good value at #24 because Jerome can start and look to improve right off the bat.
F Kevin Porter Jr, Cleveland Cavaliers
#30 Overall Pick (acquired from DET)
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been desperate to add talent to their roster since the LeBron-Kyrie tandem left town. After taking Vanderbilt PG Darius Garland with the fifth pick, the Cavs really wanted to make their way back into the first round on a busy day of trading. They were able to acquire the 30th overall pick from Milwaukee in exchange for four second-round picks, in which they elected to take USC F, Kevin Porter Jr. Although they gave up a lot to get him, Porter is a dynamic scorer that very easily could have gone early in the first round. This is a trade Cleveland will not regret making because Porter is the kind of player they need to bring in to turn things around. He will have the opportunity to play a lot of minutes early on and will be featured as a scorer on a team that lacks options. The Cavaliers were an ideal landing spot for the USC standout which adds to the value of this pick. Porter is becoming apart of a franchise that is hungry for their next king. This could wind up being the best selection made, as Porter brings a lottery-caliber talent to Cleveland with the last pick of the first round.