Only 16 teams are going to the NBA playoffs and for those who are unlucky not to make the postseason, they will have the opportunity to strengthen their rosters via the NBA Draft.

The 14 teams who will miss the playoffs will proceed to a Draft lottery to be held on May 14, 2019. During that process, the NBA will determine the order in picking the Top 14 picks of the 2019 NBA Draft via a lottery. The 2019 NBA Draft will be held on June 20, 2019 with this year’s draft lottery winner expected to select Duke freshman Zion Williamson with the #1 overall pick.

Let’s take a quick look at the Top 10 prospects for the 2019 NBA Draft:

Basketball 1. Zion Williamson

  • 6-7, 285 lbs
  • Duke Blue Devils

Let’s start the discussion by telling you that he recently busted his shoe, literally, while planting his feet going to the basket. I’ve never seen that before but neither have we seen someone like Zion. He’s 6-7 and 285 pounds but runs likes a guard, barrels in like a forward and has ridiculous jumping ability, especially given his size. I mean, words aren’t enough to describe his athleticism. But he’s not just that His recent injury proved that he is an impact player. Top ranked Duke looked like a different team when he was out. He could be the most athletic player in the NBA next season. He doesn’t have an outside shot yet but he’s only 18 and his flaws are overshadowed by how extremely gifted he is physically. We don’t have to talk about his resume anymore. The kid is NBA ready and no doubt will be the #1 pick in the draft.

Basketball 2. RJ Barrett

  • 6-7, 200 lbs
  • Duke Blue Devils

Incredible that Duke has both Williamson and R.J. Barrett in one draft class. Barrett is the “other” freshman at Duke making waves this season. He led the Canadian national team to the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA Under-19 World Championships and won MVP honors in the process. Barrett was the both Naismith Prep Player of the Year and Gatorade National Player of the Year as the best high school basketball player in the U.S. Like Williamson, his body is NBA ready and still has plenty of room for improvement. Unlike Williamson he is a capable shooter and has decent range. He is not afraid to take contact and finish around the basket. His long arms and wide shoulder could help make him a solid NBA defender. Offensively, he’s an excellent scorer who is also an intelligent passer with a potential to be a playmaker. Don’t blink on him, Duke could go 1-2 with Zion and Barrett in the draft this June.

Basketball 3. Ja Morant

  • 6-3, 170 lbs
  • Murray State Racers

Murray State’s sophomore point guard has drawn comparison to Russell Westbrook, or at least that’s what Alabama’s Avery Johnson thinks. After Zion Williamson, Morant may be the next guy who is sure to be a superstar at the next level. He has unbelievable court vision, explosiveness off the dribble and the ability to finish with either hand. Although it’s always his athleticism that gets noticed first, don’t forget that his feel for the game and overall skill level are impressive. He excels in transition but is also very effective in the half court set. And yes, he’s willing to take over games when warranted. His turnover numbers aren’t sexy but that’s because his usage is higher than what it’s supposed to be. But his mistakes are more because of aggression rather than being careless. No doubt, Morant is going to be a game-changer in the NBA.

Basketball 4. Cam Reddish

  • 6-7, 203 lbs
  • Duke Blue Devils

Okay, so there is a third freshman at Duke. But while Zion and R.J. have taken center stage, Cam Reddish has been like their side dish. Reddish has looked more ordinary this season but that’s only because he’s playing behind perhaps the Top 2 picks of the 2019 NBA Draft. A closer look though and you realize that there is a third lottery pick in Duke. While he has not been a difference maker for the Blue Devils, his natural basketball talent is ultra-impressive. His ability to make shots and move the ball given his size is impressive. He possesses the length which could make him a potential defensive superstar at the NBA level. He plays forward but has combo guard skills. At his age, he has a smooth jumper, good range and a terrific spot up shooter. He played point guard in high school so there is no denying his ball-handling skills.  Overall, this 2018 Mr. Pennsylvania Basketball winner’s skill set fits nicely with the current NBA game.

Basketball 5. Jarrett Culver

  • 6-5, 195 lbs
  • Texas Tech Red Raiders

The 2019 Big 12 Player of the Year is an athletic swingman who can literally do anything inside the hard court. While some of the NCAA’s most talented guards lack size, he doesn’t and he too has excellent ball handling skills for someone who isn’t listed as a point guard. He can shoot from the outside and that’s what makes him an ideal NBA material. On defense, his length can be pesky for smaller guards. He can block shots and force steals as well. He’s a solid defender and a good rebounder for a guard. Overall, he isn’t really very special at one facet but he’s very solid in most aspects of the game. His overall feel for the game also makes him a perfect fit for the next level.

Basketball 6. Jaxson Hayes

  • 6-11, 220 lbs.
  • Texas Longhorns

Probably the first center to be drafted this June, Jaxson Hayes ’s 6-11 but with a 7-4 wingspan. At 18 year of age, he has advanced defensive instincts which make scouts and draft experts agree that he has a huge upside, especially as a defender. Although he is an admitted late bloomer, he has a natural feel for protecting the shaded lane and everything around the basket. His rebounding isn’t over the top but it’s elite. His offensive game is limited to being a finisher for now. But despite those deficiencies, his overall ceiling is high and given time to mature and the right training, he can develop into an excellent all-around big man.

Basketball 7. Darius Garland

  • 6-2, 175 lbs
  • Vanderbilt Commodores

I would have ranked Darius Garland higher but given that he played just five collegiate basketball games, I intentionally let him slip down. Garland joined Vanderbilt as a five-star recruit and averaged 19.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his first four games. But he suffered a season-ending knee injury ended his freshman season. Instead of returning to the Commodores, Garland announced that he will withdrawing from the school to prepare for the 2019 NBA Draft. Garland is probably the best ball-handler in the 2019 draft class. His dribble doesn’t just free up space for him but also allows him to make plays for his teammates. I think of Kemba Walker when I see Garland trying to break down his defender. Garland also showed the ability to shoot from the outside plus he has a nice pull up shot off the dribble. His size may be a disadvantage in defense but he is scrappy and should make up for his physical limitations.

Basketball 8. De’Andre Hunter

  • 6-7, 225 lbs
  • Virginia Cavaliers

If you’re looking for a player who is defensively ready to play in the NBA, this is your guy. Hunter has the ability to defend multiple positions and he can very well carry that versatility in the NBA. He has great size to defend the perimeter and has enough strength to hold his own in the low block. He isn’t flashy nor is he spectacular offensively but Hunter is an effective scorer as well. He can knock down open jumpers and his face-up game from mid-range has vastly improved. He also has good range which can be developed into a three point range. In the NBA, he will thrive with scorers and stars around him but while he may not become a superstar, he will always find an NBA home because of his versatility and his hard-nosed defensive mentality.

Basketball 9. Bol Bol

  • 7-2, 235 lbs.
  • Oregon Ducks

The son of former NBA player Manute Bol is the most intriguing prospect in the upcoming NBA Draft. At 7-2 with a wingspan of 7-8, his size alone can be a passport to the big league. But Bol is a very agile big man who can move his feet very well and can time shots well enough to block them. Aside from his obvious defensive benefits, Bol has displayed an uncanny ability to shoot. He can knock down threes with his feet set up and he can also shoot off the dribble. Sometimes I wonder if he thinks he’s a guard or a swingman because he moves like one but isn’t just because he is mammoth. And yeah, his standing reach of 9-7 can be a game changer in the NBA. If given proper training and motivation, I can see an more offensively gifted Rudy Gobert in him.

Basketball 10. Nassir Little

  • 6-6, 220 lbs
  • North Carolina Tar Heels

This 19-year old forward was the co-MVP of the 2018 Jordan Brand  Classic and the MVP of the 2018 McDonald’s All-American Game. His game is like that of Cam Reddish only that he operates more in the post. He may be undersized if he becomes a power forward at the NBA level but if he develops a consistent jump shot, he will most definitely be unstoppable at the  small forward position. Little has a relentless mentality on both ends of the floor. He is a very disruptive on-ball defender and has a fast growing offensive arsenal. He also has developed the ability to get his own shot off the dribble.

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