The NBA crowned a new champion in the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night. Congratulations to Nick Nurse and his team for a job well done. But while the Raptors celebrate and the Warriors start to heal their wounds, the rest of the league is getting ready for the 2019 NBA Draft which is set to take place on June 20, 2019, at the Barclays Center in New York.

During that draft, the “less fortunate” NBA teams, who had the worst records in the league during the regular season, will get a chance to improve their rosters by picking ahead of the elite teams in the NBA draft. These are the lottery teams, a group composed of the teams with the 13 worst records during the regular season. These lottery teams already have a predetermined order of picking the 2019 applicants.

Given the available talent and the needs of the respective teams, here is our predicted order for the Top 10 picks of the 2019 NBA Draft:

Baseball 1. Zion Williamson ( New Orleans Pelicans )

  • Duke | Position: PF/C | Height: 6-7
  • Status: Freshman

I don’t think there is a question about who will go #1 in the 2019 NBA Draft. Zion Williamson is the biggest NBA prospect since LeBron James. Williamson is a never-before-seen physical specimen. He is explosive, powerful and energetic. He uses his strength to score from the post and he is also an intelligent passer when double-teamed. His intensity and energy for the game are infectious and although he lacks height, he should develop into a rebounding demon as Charles Barkley did. He also has the skills to be an elite defender in the NBA. Williamson is so good that he is NBA-ready at the age of 18. When he develops that outside shot and improves his shooting skills, he will be virtually unstoppable inside the basketball court. In his freshman season at Duke, Zion was named as both the ACC Player of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year. He is also the Consensus National Player of the Year award winner, the Wayman Tisdale Award winner for outstanding collegiate freshman and Karl Malone award recipient for a top college power forward. The Pelicans were troubled about Anthony Davis wanting to leave. Not anymore.

Baseball 2. Ja Morant ( Memphis Grizzlies )

  • Murray St. | Position: PG | Height: 6-3
  • Status: Sophomore

Ja Morant’s stock rose during his team’s run to the NCAA Tournament. First, he nailed a game-winner to send Murray State to the Conference Championship and when they reached the NCAA tournament, he posted a triple-double in helping his team reach the second round of the tournament. Of course, Morant also had a terrific second season at Murray St. where he led the nation in assists while scoring 24.5 points per game. He is lightning quick with explosive athleticism and highlight reel-ability. He is quick, shifty and can go downhill really fast. He also has excellent finishing ability and once he gets by his defender with his quickness and handles, he is able to finish with authority or take contact and make the play. Morant’s ability to play big in big games. Morant was the OVC Player of the Year, OVC Tournament MVP and a First-team All-American.  Memphis has a terrific point guard in Mike Conley, who was the lone bright spot of their bleak season. The rumor is that the Grizzlies will let Morant learn and grow up alongside Mike Conley.

Baseball 3. R.J. Barrett ( New York Knicks )

  • Duke | Position: G/F | Height: 6-7
  • Status: Freshman

R.J. Barrett was Zion Williamson’s teammate at Duke. The two could’ve easily gone 1-2 in the draft but it seems Memphis is dead set on taking Morant. As for Barrett, he was as advertised. Barrett is still a kid at 18 but he already has an NBA-ready body. At his size, he is able to play point-forward and has no problem being the primary playmaker. He is also a solid finisher and is able to take contact and still make the basket. His motor is impressive and if he can develop a consistent jump shot in the future, he is going to be a force to reckon with in the NBA. As a freshman, he led the ACC in scoring at 22.6 points per game. He was All-ACC First team, All-ACC Freshman, a finalist for the Wooden Award and a consensus First-team  All-American. The Knicks would’ve preferred to pick Zion Williamson but I’m sure they wouldn’t regret taking Barrett who should be good as advertised

Baseball 4. Darius Garland ( Los Angeles Lakers )

  • Vanderbilt | Position: PG | Height: 6-2
  • Status: Freshman

Darius Garland may not be a familiar name unlike the first three names on this list but that’s because he played only five games for Vanderbilt this past season. Garland tore a meniscus that cut his freshman season short. After undergoing surgery last November, he left Vanderbilt to prepare for the NBA draft. But before he disappeared from the limelight, Garland was the #1 points guard and the #16 prospect in the Class of 2018 according to ESPN. He has an elite handle, lightning quick and is shifty with the ball. He can finish around the rim despite his small frame but what makes him special is that he can already shoot with consistency from long range at his age. He can create his own shot, shoot off the dribble and off picks. The Lakers aren’t sure of keeping the 4th pick as they want to use it as one of the baits to land Anthony Davis. But if they keep it, Garland and Lonzo Ball would give Los Angeles an exciting backcourt duo for the future.

Baseball 5. De’Andre Hunter ( Cleveland Cavaliers )

  • Virginia | Position: SF/PF | Height: 6-7
  • Status: Sophomore

De’Andre Hunter has drawn comparisons to Kawhi Leonard, at least in his defensive abilities. At 21, he already has an NBA-ready body and also possesses a 7-2 wingspan. At his size, he is able to defend from positions #1 to #4. Arguably, he is the best defender in his draft class. He is also an efficient scorer who shot 52% from the floor and 43.8% from behind the arc this past season. He was named to the All-ACC Freshman team and the ACC Sixth Man of the Year in 2018. This past season, Hunter was named as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was a member on both the All-ACC First team and the All-ACC Defensive First team. Hunter was a two-way star in Virginia’s 2019 NCAA title-winning team, earning a spot on the All-NCAA tournament team. In Cleveland, he is expected to help Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love up front.

Baseball 6. Jarrett Culver ( Phoenix Suns )

  • Texas Tech | Position: SG | Height: 6-6
  • Status: Sophomore

Jarrett Culver was a stand-out player in the NCAA this past season. As a sophomore, he averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He led the Texas Tech Raiders to a share of the Big-12 regular season title and in the process, earned Big-12 Player of the Year honors. During the first round of the NCAA tournament, Culver nearly posted a triple-double with 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. During the Raiders’ historic upset of #2 Michigan in the Sweet 16, Culver scored 22 points. In the Elite 8, he scored 19 points as Texas Tech upset #1 Gonzaga to make their first-ever Final Four Appearance. Culver would take them one notch higher by leading them to their first ever National Finals appearance. He struggled on 5-22 shooting against Virginia in the Finals. Despite the unsavory ending to his season, Culver received All-American First team honors and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team. He was also a finalist for the Wooden Award. With his ability to play NBA two-guard, Culver should be the perfect partner for Devin Booker in the Phoenix backcourt.

Baseball 7. Coby White ( Chicago Bulls )

  • North Carolina | Position: PG/SG | Height: 6-5
  • Status: Freshman

Coby White started his freshman year at North Carolina as second fiddle to Nassir Little but at the end of the season, he has emerged as the better NBA Draft prospect and was even named to the All-ACC 2nd team this past year.  White has an incredible motor and is always moving at a high speed. His speed and ability to attack the basket makes him a huge problem in transition. He is also a very decent spot-up shooter but he does not have the consistency to shoot off the dribble. There are no glaring weaknesses to his game right now although there is plenty of room for him to develop as a defender, shooter, and playmaker. Chicago already has a star guard in Zach LaVine and White could play behind him. But if White can develop into an NBA point guard, he and LaVine could be a fearsome two-some in Chicago.

Baseball 8. Cam Reddish ( Atlanta Hawks )

  • Duke | Position: SG/SF | Height: 6-7
  • Status: Freshman

The third super freshman at Duke should break into the Top 10 of the draft with the Atlanta Hawks having two picks in the top ten. He is listed as 6-9 but he plays small forward and that’s what makes him an enticing prospect. During his lone season at Duke, he played in the shadows of Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett. Despite that, he was able to showcase his skills when one of those two went down or didn’t have a good game. His numbers may not show that he is a shooter but Reddish can shoot consistently from both the perimeter and three-point range. He could be a steal for the Hawks at #8.

Baseball 9. Sekou Doumbouya ( Washington Wizards )

  • Limoges CSP/France | Position: SF/PF | Height: 6-9
  • Status: International

Sekou Doumbouya is one of the top international prospects of the 2019 NBA Draft. The 18-year old Doumbouya currently plays for Limoges CSP of the LNB Pro A which is the top tier professional basketball league in France. This kid is blessed with an NBA body frame and athleticism. He can play both forward positions and his upside is undeniable, especially on the defensive end of the court. He runs the floor very well and fils the lanes like a pro. He isn’t a good shooter but his good shooting mechanics make him very teachable at the NBA level. His scoring is mostly post-up and finishing off the break but if he develops an outside shot, he will be dangerous. His rebounding is already at a high level and his shot-blocking skills can develop given his 6-11 wingspan. No question, he has the tools to become the Wizards’ defensive anchor and the big man that John Wall needs to take the team to the next level.

Baseball 10. Jaxson Hayes ( Atlanta Hawks )

  • Texas | Position: PF/C | Height: 6-11
  • Status: Freshman

Jaxson Hayes is one of the top center prospects in this draft class. He is the son of former NFL player and current Cincinnati Bengals tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes. Jaxson was a stud in his one-and-done season at Texas. He averaged 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. His total of 71 blocks for the season ranked 4th in the conference while his 2.2 blocks per game average were third in the Big 12. Hayes was All-Big-12 Rookie Team, All-Big-12 Second Team, Big 12 All-Defensive Team and was named as Big 12 Rookie of the Year,  The Hawks already have a talented big man in John Collins. Hayes will help solidify their frontline and enhance their defense.

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