You thought it was crazy before?
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 ten 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
- Houston Rockets (via Cleveland) - De’Andre Hunter, wing, Virginia
- Phoenix Suns - Darius Garland, guard, Vanderbilt
- Memphis Grizzlies (via Chicago Bulls) - Cam Reddish, wing, Duke
- L.A. Lakers (via Atlanta Hawks) - Bol Bol, center, Oregon
- Washington Wizards - Bruno Fernando, center, Maryland
- L.A. Lakers (via Atlanta Hawks) - Tyler Herro, guard, Kentucky
There has been one very noticeable dropper in the draft to this point. For a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves and their Mock GM Omari Sankofa of The Athletic Memphis starved for a younger and/or better option at the point guard position, this is the best case scenario.
With the 11th pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Coby White, guard, University of North Carolina.
Arguably the most “sure thing” among the top three point guard prospects in this draft, White’s lower comparatively speaking ceiling likely hurt him here.
Here’s mock GM Sankofa on the pick-
Initially, I tried to get off of the 11th pick by packaging it in a trade. That ended up not panning out. I fielded a lot of offers for the pick, but none of them really made sense for Minnesota. It ended up being a blessing, because a few surprising reaches earlier in the draft allowed Coby White to fall right into my lap. White is the third-best point guard prospect in the draft and a worthy successor to Jeff Teague, who he will back up next season before Teague hits free agency. In White, I have another young prospect who can learn and grow alongside Karl Anthony-Towns. And hopefully he’ll someday be good enough to ease Towns’ scoring load.
Make no mistake, though - his combination of size (6’5”) and explosiveness off the dribble make him a very worthy pick at #11, especially when there is a real chance he could go off the board as early as six overall to the Phoenix Suns, depending on how the top five selections play out.
The Timberwolves get potentially the early steal of the draft at #11. At #12? We have another trade.
The Utah Jazz (and Mock GM Chris Dougherty) have traded Derrick Favors, the #23 pick and the #53 pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock Draft to the Charlotte Hornets (and Mock GM David Cobb of the Commercial Appeal) for Bismack Biyombo and the #12 overall pick.
Let’s start off with the rationale from the mock Jazz...well, they must really like someone at #12 overall to be willing to take on Biyombo.
With the 12th pick in the 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz select Rui Hachimura, forward, Gonzaga University.
Wow. The first Gonzaga player off the board isn’t Brandon Clarke.
Hachimura arguably has a more pro-ready offensive skill set than Clarke, but he’s nowhere near the defender and could probably have been had later on in the draft. A move up to 12 to secure his services probably wasn’t necessary, and that ignores the fact they gave up two picks in this draft and an established NBA big in Favors, on a relatively team-friendly contract, to get him.
All it takes is for one team to fall in love, though. Who knows, perhaps this pays off long-term for the Jazz.
Meanwhile, Charlotte is excited. Here is the rationale for the Mock Hornets from their GM-
The Charlotte Hornets decided to trade back from 12 in order to shed the contract of Bismack Biyombo. Perhaps in a deeper draft, we would have opted to remain at 12. But with no clear cut, high profile player available at that spot in the draft, we felt it was in the franchise’s best interest to part with dead weight. This is especially important for Charlotte in this moment, since the Hornets must begin formulating a way financial path forward in a world where Kemba Walker is super-max eligible. Plus, we landed Derrick Favors in the deal. He can either be cut for additional cash savings or fill Bismarck’s spot in the front court as an all-around better player.
Unfortunately, the Hornets have a number of questionable contracts on the books that make finding a way forward frustrating. We had two options as a front office: continue toiling away in mediocrity and hope to make the Eastern Conference Playoffs as a No. 8 seed, or get aggressive with reshaping the roster. Trading the No. 12 pick and Bismack Biyombo is a sign that we plan to do the latter.
It’ll be fun to see how far along in this money process Charlotte is able to get.
The 2019 GBB Community Mock NBA Draft rolls on!