Although the season is currently postponed, the 2019 NBA Draft lottery class has had plenty of time to showcase their skills and abilities. It’s definitely too early to label any flops, but some have not lived up to expectations yet, while others have flourished. With the draft being less than a year ago, it’s important to note that there’s plenty of time left for the prospects, and hindsight is always 20/20.
Re-grading the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery
14. Romeo Langford, Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics were in an interesting place with a lottery pick but not an immediate need as they already had a playoff-caliber team. Romeo Langford remains a project, but the Celtics have plenty of depth in their guard positions. Brandon Clarke or Eric Paschall could’ve greatly helped the frontcourt.
13. Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler‘s Miami Heat have exceeded expectations, due in large part to surprising breakouts from role players. Tyler Herro is the epitome of this. The sweet-shooting guard was expected to hit a learning curve, but he has been a hit across the league. His swagger both on and off the court fit Miami perfectly, and he’ll be a stud in a couple of years. He’s a 2019 NBA Draft lottery steal.
12. P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets
P.J. Washington is emerging as a promising prospect for the rebuilding Charlotte Hornets, as he is already a starter. The team is young, and the forward looks to be one of the centerpieces of their future plan. The Hornets did well in the 2019 NBA Draft.
11. Cam Johnson, Phoenix Suns
Cam Johnson is a solid player, but his ceiling already looks near his peak. He was drafted as an older player at already 23, but he should be a decent 3-and-D player during his career. There were better options on the board for Phoenix Suns, however.
10. Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks
Cam Reddish was the Atlanta Hawks’ second pick in the lottery. He didn’t flourish at Duke as expected, but he played third fiddle to two better prospects. His play improved post-All Star break after a pretty bleak start, and things are starting to look up in his favor in terms of developing into a solid player.
9. Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards
Rui Hachimura is turning out to be a good NBA player. He hasn’t shown many flashes of All-Star brilliance yet but looks like a starter for years to come. Sure, the Washington Wizards’ all-out offensive play may inflate some statistics, but the first Japanese player ever selected in the first round of the NBA Draft has been a valuable pick.
8. Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans Pelicans
Jaxson Hayes was drafted as a prospect. The high-flying forward/center was seen as an enticing prospect for the New Orleans Pelicans post-Anthony Davis. He’s had his shares of ups and downs, but his flashes of athleticism and brilliance are there. He isn’t the first choice in the Pelican’s frontcourt, but he’s still in his teens and already a solid above-the-rim player with great shot-blocking potential.
7. Coby White, Chicago Bulls
Coby White exploded after the league’s All-Star break to become one of the 2019 NBA Draft’s best scorers. He was averaging about 25 points on a shooting split of 47-41-90 in his last 10 games prior to the season’s postponement. The Chicago Bulls still have a lot to figure out, but White looks to be a great scoring partner to Zach LaVine in the backcourt.
6. Jarrett Culver, Minnesota Timberwolves
Jarrett Culver’s draft stock was certainly helped by leading Texas Tech into the March Madness championship game, but he’s been a solid player nonetheless. The Minnesota Timberwolves went on a brutal losing streak and have been struggling for much of the season. This, of course, has not helped Culver. Malik Beasley‘s and Josh Okogie‘s improved play also does not bode well for Culver. He has time to improve but needs to reclaim his place in the starting line up.
5. Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
A lot of questions surrounded Darius Garland after only playing a few games in college, and those questions still persist. He’s not in the ideal situation, however, as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ plethora of guards block some room for development. Garland has not flopped, however. He’s a capable scorer but needs to solidify his reputation as a primary ball-handler for this grade to improve.
4. De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks
De’Andre Hunter, like Culver, had his draft stock rise through March Madness. On the same note, Hunter hasn’t been amazing, but he’s been solid. The Hawks’ offense runs through Trae Young and John Collins, so Hunter needs to prove his worth defensively (which was a major factor for him getting drafted so high in the 2019 NBA Draft lottery). The Hawks want to make the playoffs as soon as possible under Young’s offensive barrage, and with Kevin Huerter looking better and better, Hunter will need to improve quickly unless he wants his name thrown into potential trades.
3. R.J. Barrett, New York Knicks
The New York Knicks went with the best player available from sample size with the third pick, which was the right choice. R.J. Barrett struggled with shooting right out the gates, and still has to an extent, but has improved as the season went on. He’s currently averaging about 14 points, five rebounds, and three assists per game, all of which are solid numbers.
The potential is clearly there. The Knicks need to solve their roster issues if they want Barrett to continue to grow, however, as they have logjams of mediocre players in just about every position.
2. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant has been nothing short of spectacular and has emerged as a fan-favorite across the entire league. His combination of mind-boggling dribbling skills, quickness/agility, and high-flying dunks has made the Memphis Grizzlies a fun team to watch and a potential playoff team.
He’s already a leader on a young and hungry Memphis team, and his averages of nearly 18 points per game and seven assists are special for a rookie. He’ll be an All-Star in no time, maybe as soon as next season, and the Grizzlies have now become a team to watch for the future. The Memphis front office did a fantastic job of not questioning a player coming from a smaller school in Murray State.
- Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson was seen as the biggest can’t-miss prospect in the draft and has been just that. He missed a large portion of the season due to an injury during the preseason but has been a sight to see in every single game since his debut. He even dazzled in his minutes-restrictions to start out his NBA career.
In less than 30 minutes per game, Williamson is averaging nearly 24 points and seven rebounds per game. This comes along with a shooting percentage of 59 percent and a three-point shooting percentage of 47 percent. He’s only played 19 games but scored less than 20 points in only three of them. What might be most impressive is that he’s only 19 but overpowers the majority of NBA players with his strength. Williamson, like Morant, will be an All-Star in no time and will make the Pelicans a team to fear.