The craziness continues!
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.
Here’s where we stand four picks in-
- New Orleans Pelicans - Zion Williamson, forward, Duke University
- Memphis Grizzlies - Ja Morant, guard, Murray State University
- Atlanta Hawks (via New York) - RJ Barrett, wing, Duke University
- New York Knicks (via Atlanta via LA Lakers) - Jarrett Culver, wing, Texas Tech
Told you it was crazy.
You’d think that the unsettled lottery would calm down from there...but NO. It did not. A seismic trade involving #5 overall was agreed to and approved between Cleveland Cavaliers Mock GM Eric Lentz and Houston Rockets Mock GM Christian Lewis.
The Houston Rockets have agreed to send P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon, an unprotected 2021 1st round pick and an unprotected 2023 1st round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for the #5 overall pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft and Kevin Love.
From Cleveland’s perspective, if you do not love any prospect at #5 this trade is a home run. You get two future 1sts, including one in 2023 that should be in a pretty deep draft assuming the college one-and-done rule is gone, and you shed the Kevin Love contract which doesn’t necessarily fit your long-term rebuild plans.
And if you’re Houston? Well, let’s let GM Lewis explain-
...We see Kevin as the missing piece for our team as he brings his championship experience to our locker room. Kevin will serve as the facilitating “4” that we have seen blossom over the past couple of seasons in the NBA and that our team was severely lacking. Along with his outstanding passing ability, Love is a highly productive player in his own right with averages of 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in only 27 minutes per game.
So Houston doesn’t give up Clint Capela or Chris Paul and acquires a possible game changer in Love. A heck of a trade for an “all-in” squad.
So who does Houston take?
With the 5th pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets select De’Andre Hunter, wing, University of Virginia.
Paul/Harden/Hunter/Love/Capela. That’s a heck of a starting five.
Here again is GM Lewis on the pick-
...De’Andre was the top guy on the national champion Cavaliers this past season and averaged 15.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists a game. Along with being a highly efficient scorer, De’Andre also won Defensive Player of the Year in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Finally, we evaluated our current lineup of Paul, Harden, Love, and Capela and felt that Hunter would be the perfect piece to round out our starters. With this move, we believe that we are perfectly equipped to go the distance and bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to Houston.
With the 6th pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select Darius Garland, guard, Vanderbilt University
Here’s why McCarty with with Garland-
The Phoenix Suns have been bad for a while now, and probably will be for at least two more years. But there is a ton of cap space going in to this off season, and with that in mind, no trades made sense to ship the sixth pick elsewhere. For one, PHX doesn’t have a lot of tradeable assets in general, and even less that are worth very much. Secondly, with so much cap space to look forward to, adding a top pick to a roster that will likely be rounded out by a max (or close) contract player with experience makes a lot of sense.
Phoenix needs a point guard in the worst way. The top two point guards left in the draft are Darius Garland and Coby White. Garland is more a pure scorer, a top notch offensive weapon. White has a little more experience simply because his team went deeper in the tournament and played better competition, but Garland seems the most NBA ready right now. He will have a chance to learn under guys that were drafted high from top tier blue-chip schools, along with whoever the Suns have a chance to grab in free agency.
While Phoenix probably won’t land a Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, perhaps they could lure Khris Middleton or Tobias Harris to the Suns. Garland, in that case, makes sense if the hope is to acquire that type of player.
Next, the Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers (via Atlanta) will be on the clock. Will they stay put? Stay tuned - the GBB Community Mock NBA Draft rolls on.