Less than two weeks away from the 2019 NBA Draft, and a more firm consensus of what’s going to happen up top seems in motion. Trade season has also officially started with Brooklyn trading the No. 17 pick to rid themselves of Allen Crabbe’s expiring contract to chase Kyrie Irving and another star free agent.
How will Anthony Davis trade talks impact draft night? I believe it will loom large, and I’m submitting my prediction now Davis ends up a member of the Knicks or Lakers on or before June 20. Pelicans EVP David Griffin would be wise to reset pairing Zion Williamson with another top four selection like RJ Barrett or Jarrett Culver.
Without further ado, let’s dive into Bright Side’s second version of the Mock Draft Roundup. Plenty of changes amongst the consensus compared to last week.
Gary Parrish - CBS Sports = Darius Garland
Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Deandre Ayton, is on record saying Phoenix needs a point guard. So selecting Garland here would make a lot of sense -- even if he is coming off of season-ending knee surgery, which is less-than-ideal. Before getting hurt, Garland appeared in five games for Vanderbilt. He averaged 16.2 points while shooting 53.7% from the field and 47.8% from 3-point range. He’s great with the ball. He’s a tremendous shooter. If he develops into an All-Star, it won’t surprise me.
NBA Draft Staff - The Ringer = De’Andre Hunter
Good spot-up shooter who has a sense for relocating and cutting, though he should quicken his shooting release.
His shot creation has improved considerably; he can get to the rim on straight-line drives, make basic one- or two-dribble pull-ups, and face up from the post.
Good on-ball perimeter defender due to his notable combination of mass, length, and quickness.
Plays sound positional defense off-ball; he rotates well, minimizes mistakes, and has the bulk to neutralize rim runners when helping in the pick-and-roll.
Stout post defender due to strength, length, and strong base; he’s hard to overpower.
Jonathan Givony - ESPN = Jarrett Culver
Culver helped Texas Tech overachieve significantly in reaching the national championship game. Although he struggled at times in the NCAA tournament, there is quite a bit to like about what he brings on both ends of the floor. Culver has the versatility to play any of the backcourt spots, and he is an active defender and rebounder. He displayed impressive shot-making and shot-creation prowess en route to winning Big 12 player of the year.
A slow release on his jump shot and average explosiveness beating defenders off the dribble are things he’ll have to address in the pre-draft process, but he has as high a floor as any prospect and plenty of room to grow, considering his youth and late-blooming trajectory.
Culver is an interesting fit with Devin Booker, who has turned into a primary ballhandler in Phoenix but also can play off the ball thanks to his tremendous perimeter shooting ability. While Suns fans might be clamoring for more of a traditional point guard, Culver’s NBA future is likely playing on the ball as a combo guard operating off a player in Booker’s mold.
Phoenix’s front office has told rival NBA teams it’s open to trading this pick if the right veteran guard is available.
Brad Rowland - UPROXX = Jarrett Culver
Culver’s combine measurements assuaged any doubt about his size and, in my own evaluation, he would be in a nip-and-tuck battle with Barrett for the No. 3 spot in this class. With that in mind, Phoenix would be pulling off a heist here. Culver has two-way potential, can already defend at a high level, and brings serious creativity to the table on the offensive end. Yes, the Suns need a point guard, but the value of Culver is too much to pass on at No. 6 overall.
The hype train behind Darius Garland landing with the Lakers has removed him from most mock drafts before No. 6. And if Jarrett Culver lands with the Cavaliers, or they trade down and allow another team to leapfrog, the Suns are facing a non-desireable outcome. Williamson is in his own tier this draft class, but Ja Morant, Culver, Barrett and Garland all have their own star equity within their profiles. Outside of those five, this class really falls off from that aspect.
How will the draft end up going for Phoenix? Should the Suns’ front office be content with how the board falls, or be aggressive making a trade?
What should the Suns do if the top five goes Zion, Ja, RJ, Garland and Culver?
This poll is closed
Draft De’Andre Hunter, Wing, Virginia
Draft Coby White, Ball Handler, North Carolina
Draft Cam Reddish, Wing, Duke
Draft Brandon Clarke, Big, Gonzaga
Trade back or out of the first round for a starting-caliber PG or PF