Welcome to a special edition of Brinkman Bracketology. This special summer edition will apply the knowledge of individual talents I obtained over the college basketball season and develop the first ever Brinkman Bracketology NBA Mock Draft.
1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson (Duke)
You can’t be the GM that passes on Zion. His athleticism, explosiveness, and defensive instincts make him almost a can’t miss prospect. Williamson is the perfect player to jump start the Pelicans rebuild.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – RJ Barrett (Duke)
I feel that passing on Barrett here for Ja Morant is foolish. Memphis already has Mike Conley on an unmovable contract and Barrett has all the tools to develop into an all-star caliber wing.
3. New York Knicks – Ja Morant (Murray State)
Morant is third on my board in a three-player draft and a no brainer for the Knicks. He’ll start right away over offensively challenged Frank Ntilikina. His ability to be a playmaker and make inferior players better make him a perfect fit in New York.
Ja Morant showing off his athleticism👀pic.twitter.com/oEW23s5YLL
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 27, 2019
4. New Orleans Pelicans – Coby White (North Carolina)
The Pelicans did get Lonzo Ball in the package for Anthony Davis, but I still feel White is the pick here at four. He can play and defend both guard positions. White can also score in a variety of ways. Also, how much longer is Jrue Holiday going to be in New Orleans?
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – Deandre Hunter (Virginia)
I like what I saw from Cleveland’s first round pick Colin Sexton and it appears Cleveland is on the right track post Lebron. Deandre Hunter is probably the best two-way player in the draft. His toughness and athleticism are his two best attributes.
6. Phoenix Suns – Darius Garland (Vanderbilt)
This is a potential and need fit as opposed a collegiate production pick. Bottom line is the Suns need a point guard to lead the likes of Devin Booker and Dandre Ayton on the offensive end of the floor. Garland can really shoot the three which fits the run and gun style of the Suns. His question marks on defense also fit the Suns perfectly.
7. Chicago Bulls – Romeo Langford (Indiana)
I absolutely love what the Bulls are building in Chicago. The Bulls have a glaring need at PG but Garland, Morant, and White are off the board. I’m way higher on Langford than the mainstream. I feel he projects as a volume scorer at the wing position.
Don’t tell me Romeo Langford isn’t tough. Here’s what he went through to play for IU basketball. https://t.co/8cYxe0KpAn
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) May 31, 2019
8. Atlanta Hawks – Bol Bol (Oregon)
Bol Bol is the definition of positionless basketball and is a perfect representation of the center position in 2019. Bol Bol can run the floor, shoot from the outside, and protect the rim. I love how the projected fit running alongside Trae Young.
9. Washington Wizards – Nassir Little (North Carolina)
Little was lost in the shuffle a bit on an extremely talented North Carolina team. His ability to find his niche and flourish in a bench role only improved his draft stock in my opinion. Little proved he stacks up with 2019 one and done pool by taking home MVP honors in the 2018 Mcdonald’s All-American game.
10. Atlanta Hawks – Cameron Johnson (North Carolina)
Cameron Johnson is the best prospect in the draft that no one is talking about. Johnson possess great size at 6’9 and is an excellent two-way player. Johnson could also be the best three-point shooter in the draft. Johnson shot a staggering 45 percent from three in his senior season at Chapel Hill.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Sekou Doumbouya (France)
Doumbouya is a poor man’s version of projected top pick Zion Williamson. He’s not as polished offensively but has all the size and athleticism to be an elite defender. His relentless work ethic and hustle are also huge feathers in his cap. Hopefully these attributes can rub off on potential teammates Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
12. Charlotte Hornets – Jarret Culver (Texas Tech)
Culver reminds me a lot of Kawhi Leonard as a draft prospect in the sense that his defense is league ready but his offensive skills need to be developed a bit. If Kemba Walker does decide to leave in free agency Culver is a great player to begin the rebuild in Charlotte with.
13. Miami Heat – Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga)
The Heat are an interesting franchise. They always seem to be in the playoff mix despite lacking talent since Lebron left and always seems to an attractive destination for free agents based on no state income tax and the party climate Miami brings. I see a close resemblance to 2014 fourth overall selection Aaron Gordon.
14. Boston Celtics – Jackson Hayes (Texas)
Boston was a playoff team last year and has three first round draft picks putting them in position to draft the best player on the board three times. If nothing else Hayes projects as an elite rim protector after averaging 3.5 blocks per game last season at Texas.
15. Detroit Pistons – Cam Reddish (Duke)
The wait is finally over for high pedigree standout Cam Reddish. Reddish was in consideration at picks nine and twelve in this mock but I think Little and Culver were better fits at those slots. The Pistons desperately need someone to step up and sure up the perimeter with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond manning the post positions.
16. Orlando Magic – Kevin Porter Jr (USC)
Porter was the lone bright spot on a less than stellar USC team. Porter has a great skill set that projects well to the NBA. He has great size at 6’5, has the ability to create his own shot in isolation, and can shoot from deep. I also feel that some of his weaknesses like turnovers and free throws can be corrected with maturity and work ethic.
17. Atlanta Hawks – Carsen Edwards (Purdue)
The Hawks got potential max player compliment at pick eight and a potential elite wing player at pick ten, now its time to get a competent backup point guard. Edwards is a two-time first team All- American, can score at will, and shows outstanding promise as a perimeter defender at the next level.
18. Indiana Pacers – Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech)
The Pacers are quietly building a defensive monster in Indiana with Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Damontis Sabonis serving as its core pieces. His defensive analytics are through the roof, is an underrated playmaker, and has the unique ability of making his teammates better without being a primary ball handler.
19. San Antonio Spurs – Goga Bitadze (Republic of Georgia)
I’m not too sold on any of the perimeter players remaining on the board so I will go with best potential playmaker on the board. Bitadze is just shy of seven foot and can serve as a short-term compliment and long-term replacement for All-Star big man Lamarcus Aldridge. Bitadze’s elite passing skills and ability to shoot from the outside make him an attractive NBA prospect.
20. Boston Celtics – KZ Okpala (Stanford)
I think Okpala is a sneaky NBA prospect. He’s smooth in getting to the rim, but needs to improve his outside shooting. I feel he closely resembles standout lottery selction Jason Tatum.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga)
This is a classic example of drafting the best player on the board. Hachimura has the potential to fit in very well with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. He runs the floor extremely well, has potential to be future defensive player of the year, and is very fundamentally sound.
22. Boston Celtics – Luguentez Dort (Arizona State)
Dort is a beefy, physical, explosive guard who projects as an offensive version of Marcus Smart. With the additions of Hayes, Okpala, and now Dort the Celtics have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA and can now survive without Kyrie Irving.
23. Utah Jazz – Ty Jerome (Virginia)
The Jazz seem to be uninterested in bringing back point guard Rickey Rubio and Ty Jerome has the potential to be a very nice replacement. Jerome proved he can really shoot the rock by shooting over 40 percent from three last year at Virginia. Jerome also possesses great size at 6’5 and a great understanding of the game. He should fit in nice next to Donovan Mitchell.
24. Philadelphia 76ers – Bruno Fernando (Maryland)
The Sixers have a very top-heavy team and need to use this offseason to compliment their superstars. An insurance policy for Joel Embiid is at or at least near the top of the list. Fernando has a very similar skill set to Embiid and should be a plug and play guy off the Sixers bench as a rookie. This could be quite a steal at pick 24.
Maturity and motor have helped Maryland center Bruno Fernando go from man-child to leading man https://t.co/B4DuJQ3auJ
— Don Markus (@sportsprof56) February 11, 2019
25. Portland Trail Blazers – Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State)
The injury to Jusuf Nurkic down the stretch may have cost this team a championship and there are no guarantees that he is ever the same again. Kabengele has the potential to be an offensive powerhouse at the stretch four position and his ability to shoot the three should make things easier for standout perimeter players Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers – Tyler Herro (Kentucky)
Cleveland did well at pick five grabbing Deandre Hunter, but him and 2018 first round Colin Sexton are slashers. It’s time to add a shooter and Tyler Herro fits the bill. Herro also has good size at 6’6 for a two guard and projects as an above average defender in my eyes.
27. Brooklyn Nets – PJ Washington (Kentucky)
This is the simple case of best player on the board for Brooklyn. Washington is a relentless rebounder and shot over 40 percent from three last season at Kentucky. He should fit in well on any team’s bench as a key role player with potential to become more.
28. Golden State Warriors – Keldon Johnson (Kentucky)
Things could look very different in Golden State next season with Klay Thompson tearing his ACL, Kevin Durant rupturing his achilles tendon, and Andre Iguodola potentially retiring. Keldon Johnson from Kentucky projects to be a poor man’s Klay Thompson and could blossom into a key role player come playoff time.
29. San Antonio Spurs – Dylan Windler (Belmont)
Windler is the type of player that legendary Gregg Popovich can mold into an above average NBA player despite his lack of athleticism. Windler proved he can stretch the floor by shooting over forty percent from three and fifty four percent from the floor last season at Belmont. Windler also averaged over eleven rebounds last season and is a great value at the end of the first round.
30. Milwaukee Bucks – Jontay Porter (Missouri)
The drafting of Porter means the Bucks can let Brook Lopez walk and potentially improve. Porter can shoot and pass just as good as Lopez and is much more athletic.