NBA Lottery Night: The Zion Stakes

In years past, the NBA Draft Lottery has been a pre-written show that was honestly quite boring. Everyone knew who would win the coveted number 1 pick, the worst team in the league. That team boasted a 25% chance of obtaining that selection. Then, the league made this event much more intriguing. The top (really bottom) 3 teams with the best odds all have 14% shots at the top pick. The next 6 worst teams will have 6-12.5% odds depending on their win percentage. To first, introduce you to the premise of this now interesting night, and second, highlight some of the top prospects that will likely hear the names called while a lottery team is picking, I used a realgm.com lottery simulator to make a first mock draft. Don’t necessarily think of this a mock, though. The order of picks almost definitely won’t look like it does in this first “mock”, so I’d advise you to read this as a preview to lotto night and then the Draft itself. Here’s the random order, along with the odds of each team having the top pick and a theoretical mock draft:
nba lotto mock.JPG

Now that you have the odds and a quick mock, here’s some information about the players I included in my very first 2019 NBA mock:

 

Zion Williamson, PF, Duke

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 280 lbs.

College Year: Freshman

I don’t think I have to write very much here. You probably have to be living under a rock if you consider yourself a sports fan but don’t know Williamson. His insane dunks and blocks have shattered the internet and he’s the favorite to go #1.

 

Ja Morant, PG, Murray St.

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 175 lbs.

College Year: Sophomore

Morant is another high-flier, but, unlike Zion, he went under the radar until this year. His flashy passing and ball-handling as well as improving shooting suggest he’ll be a star wherever he lands.

 

RJ Barrett, SG/SF, Duke

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 210 lbs.

College Year: Freshman

It’s a shame he played second-fiddle to Zion most of his college career because RJ Barrett is a special talent. He can rebound, pass, play with the bigs while scoring from anywhere on the floor. Zion wins the battle of athleticism, but I think Barrett is more NBA-ready.

 

DeAndre Hunter, SF, Virginia

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 225 lbs.

College Year: Sophomore

Hunter filled the role of 3 and D at reigning champion school UVA. He’s a great defender and he’s a talented scorer, too. And, as opposed to Barrett or Williamson, he has more maturity after spending two years in college.

 

Cameron Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 215 lbs.

College Year: Freshman

Reddish didn’t look like the top three high school prospect he was last season, but that was probably because he was the third scorer (after Zion and Barrett) on his team. NBA teams know Reddish is a great shooter with tons of potential, so it is plausible to have three Duke players going in the top 5.

 

Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Gonzaga

Height: 6’8”

Weight: 235 lbs.

College Year: Junior

Hachimura is an extremely interesting prospect. Hailing from Japan, he grabs board and scores from anywhere. I’ve seen him do interviews and he seems like a great guy. His intangibles, size, and versatility push me to believe he’s a top 8 player.

 

Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 195 lbs.

College Year: Sophomore

Culver came out of nowhere to lead Tech to the NCAA Championship this past season. He was a two-star recruit, but he played like a blue-chipper all year. He led Tech with 18.5 points per game and he played defense with the best. This kid is scrappy and deserves all the praise he’s received over the past few months.

 

Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 185 lbs.

College Year: Freshman

Coby White is one of the fastest guys I’ve ever seen play college basketball. He runs the floor at a meteoric pace. He’s a bit of a streaky shooter, but when he’s on, it’s the Coby Show. He’s a little rough around the edges, but his ceiling is sky-high.

 

Bol Bol, C, Oregon

Height: 7’2”

Weight: 236 lbs.

College Year: Freshman

Before an injury that cost him the season, the son of the late Manute Bol was a top ranked stud out of high school. His rating have cooled, though, but I don’t agree with his fall down draft boards. He’s so talented for his size that I’ll never ignore him. Watch because I think he could rise up those boards as fast as he dropped.

 

Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 175 lbs.

College Year: Freshman

Another player who seems to be forgotten because of a season-ending injury, Garland has been all over the USAB Circuit since age 14. He isn’t the best finisher right now, but his shot off the dribble is nasty. Defenders can’t give him any space for fear of him pulling up or stepping back and draining a jumper.

 

Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana  

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 205 lbs.

College Year: Freshman

Langford is a big wing who is also a talented shooter. He’s a good finisher, too. Because of his versatility and size for a shooting guard, he’s extremely hard to guard. He’ll be great for a team that needs a primary scorer.

 

Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland

Height: 6’10”

Weight: 245 lbs.

College Year: Sophomore

Fernando is a big, physical bruiser in the paint. He’s short for a center, but he makes up for it with his athleticism. He made some crazy blocks and dunks almost comparable to Zion last season. Also, like Hachimura and Hunter, he has some added maturity after staying in Maryland for two seasons.

 

Keldon Johnson, SG/SF, Kentucky

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 215 lbs.

College Year: Freshman

Like Romeo Langford, Keldon Johnson is a sturdy shooting guard who can score from anywhere. He averaged 13.5 points and 5.9 boards per game in his only year at UK. He doesn’t have quite the ceiling of Langford, but this guy is as solid as they come.

 

Jaxson Hayes, PF/C, Texas

Height: 6’11”

Weight: 220 lbs.

College Year: Freshman

I’ve only started watching film on this guy recently, but I wish I started earlier. He looks absolutely nasty. He reminds me a little bit of another Texas product, Jarrett Allen. They’re both a bit wiry, but when you give them an alley-oop, you better believe they’ll throw it down thunderously.

 

So, I’ll probably start making a real mock right after the Lottery tonight. Don’t overlook tonight’s event like you may have in the past because it is essential to the Draft process now. The Zion Stakes officially begin and maybe end tonight, so, no matter who you root for, this Lottery has an epic amount of hype that can’t be denied. Will the Knicks finally be able to attract superstars with Williamson? Can the Suns add Zion to their horde of young stars? Will the Cavs land the next Lebron? All of those questions could be answered tonight, and only one answer will be yes.

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