It didn’t take long for the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft to get weird.
In case you’re just joining us, here’s the deal. Every year before the NBA Draft we here at Grizzly Bear Blues put on a mock draft of epic proportions. This isn’t your granddaddy’s mock draft - there are trades (lots of them, as you’re about to see) that have to be approved unanimously by our trade panel (former GBBer/current Patreon page owner Matt Hrdlicka, NBA Twitter hero Sagar Trika, and Peter Edmiston of Sports56 WHBQ in Memphis and The Athletic) - and also all thirty teams are represented by a collection of GBB contributors, GBB community members/readers/Twitter followers, and members of the Memphis media.
After two picks, things had gone according to plan-
- New Orleans Pelicans- Zion Williamson, Forward, Duke University
- Memphis Grizzlies- Ja Morant, Guard, Murray State University
Let’s begin with a trade for #4...because a trade for #3 doesn’t happen without it.
The Los Angeles Lakers (Mock GM GBB’s Justin Lewis) trade Brandon Ingram and the #4 pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft to the Atlanta Hawks (Mock GM 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis’ Connor Dunning) for Taurean Prince and the #8 and #10 picks in the draft.
Why do this? We asked the Lakers Mock GM...this was his response.
At 4, there was not a prospect that was going to make the Lakers significantly better next season, and with Lebron James on the team, it’s win now. Brandon Ingram’s leg clot is a scary thing, so any team willing to take him is worth exploring. At 4, there was not a prospect that was going to make the Lakers significantly better next season, and with Lebron James on the team, it’s win now.
Trading the 4 and Ingram to Atlanta for Taurean Prince and 8&10 had two purposes. Prince is a young 3 and D guy who doesn’t need to dominate the ball and is cheap. The draft picks were an attempt to accumulate assets to build a package for Anthony Davis but we were ultimately outbid.
More on that AD trade later.
From there, the mock Hawks turned around and acquired the #3 pick from the Knicks.
Atlanta receives- #3 pick
New York receives- #4 pick, #35 pick, #41 pick.
The Knicks make a move to acquire multiple selections. Why? We asked their Mock GM, GBB’s own Greg Ratliff, and this was his answer-
I felt like the deal with the Hawks to move back was a good opportunity to pick up a couple extra draft picks. By moving back one spot we knew we’d still get our guy. Culver was the pick for us but there was some heavy consideration to take Barrett which led to ATL moving to get ahead of us...
So who did the Hawks (and Knicks) select?
With the 3rd pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks select RJ Barrett, wing, Duke University
With the 4th pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select Jarrett Culver, wing, Texas Tech.
So the Hawks decided scorer extraordinaire RJ Barrett was their man to pair with Trae Young, Brandon Ingram (if healthy), John Collins, and Kevin Huerter. That starting five is a PROBLEM long term...and heaven forbid you land a starting big that would allow for Ingram to avoid playing the 4.
The Knicks, meanwhile, prioritized assets and liked Culver. Here’s Greg explaining his rationale-
When it comes to Culver we feel that Jarrett is equal to or greater than the player picked ahead of him in many different ways. He’s a very smart player with great court vision and the ability to play multiple positions right out of the gate. His skills as a defender were almost the biggest reason we were comfortable in moving down in this draft. Being an average to slightly above average defender instantly jumps him up our board.