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2019 NBA Mock Draft

*All Draft Positions as of 4/5/19

*These picks are based on what I think the teams should do, not will do


New York Knicks: Zion Williamson, Forward, Duke

Basically the only thing I can assure in this draft is that Zion will go first overall; not even the Knicks can mess that up. Williamson is a generational athletic marvel who can score on command off of the drive, block shots, catch lobs, and occasionally step out and score from three. Zion is the best combination of basketball IQ and physical prowess in a prospect since LeBron himself and is a lock for the first pick.


Phoenix Suns: Ja Morant, Guard, Murray State

Although, RJ Barrett is probably the better player, his fit in Phoenix next to Devin Booker would be horrendous, while Morant slides in to the Suns roster almost perfectly. The late blooming sophomore from the Ohio Valley Conference went from not being able to dunk as a junior to having his bounce displayed regularly on Sports Center. With Morant’s functional athleticism and genius playmaking I expect him to energize the Suns and help them get out of the NBA’s basement, even if his unconventional but effective jumper doesn’t translate.


Cleveland Cavaliers: RJ Barrett, Guard, Duke

Barrett may not bring back all of the Cavaliers fans whose fandom went to LA with LeBron, but he is still something that Cavs fans can be excited about. The Canadian prodigy can score from anywhere with his killer mentality, electrifying athleticism, nice jumper, and advanced footwork.


Chicago Bulls: Darius Garland, Guard, Vanderbilt

After the first three prospects, the talent level falls off a little so the Bulls should be in a position to fulfill their needs, and a point guard would make the most sense. Although Garland’s college career was cut short by a meniscus injury, his talent is still obvious. Even though his physical tools are average, Garland offers deadly handles, serious range, and a basketball mind.


Atlanta Hawks: Jarrett Culver, Guard, Texas Tech

After the Hawks impressed the league with their excellent shooting, they should look to add dimension to their offense with a player that can drive like Culver. The sophomore who had a huge hand in Texas Tech’s March Madness run can defend, make plays, score at the rim, and potentially knock down threes at the NBA level.


Memphis Grizzlies: Cameron Reddish, Forward, Duke

Reddish is one of the prospects in this draft who I have trouble with judging. He started out the year strong with his great jumper, size, and defense. However, he hit a shooting slump later in the year which exposed his dismal ability to score around the basket. The Grizzlies should take a risk with Reddish and see if they can develop him into the Paul George-esque player that he could be.


Atlanta Hawks (Via Dallas Mavericks): Jaxson Hayes, Center, Texas

With Atlanta’s second pick in the draft they should look to fill out their starting roster with youth and see if they can secure a spot in the playoffs. Hayes can be a defensive anchor who can operate with Trae Young or Jarrett Culver in the pick and roll to great success


New Orleans Pelicans: Romeo Langford, Guard, Indiana

In the post-Davis era, New Orleans should look to take the best player available to kick off their rebuild. That player is Romeo Langford, a guy who can become the prototypical NBA wing with his physical ability, defense, ability to draw fouls, and promising jumpshot.


Washington Wizards: DeAndre Hunter, Forward, Virginia

The Wizards are not in a good place right now so to capitalize on star Bradley Beal and heal locker room chemistry, they need a role player like Hunter who can shoot, play defense, and score at the rim.


Los Angeles Lakers: Keldon Johnson, Forward, Kentucky

This offseason, the Lakers should try to do the opposite of what they did last year and surround LeBron and their young core with shooters. This makes Kentucky’s Johnson an obvious pick with his outside shooting prowess and nice physical frame.


Minnesota Timberwolves: Coby White, Guard, North Carolina

Still recovering from the Jimmy Butler controversy, Minnesota needs a guy like White to give them the shooting, defense, explosiveness, and unselfishness that they need.


Charlotte Hornets: Bol Bol, Center, Oregon

The Hornets have been in need of a center basically since they traded Alonzo Mourning in 1995, so they really should not pass on Bol. As the most unique player in the draft, Manute Bol’s son can knock down jumpers at 7’2” and handle the ball like a wing while still grabbing boards and blocking shots.


Miami Heat: Rui Hachimura, Forward, Gonzaga

The Heat are in dire need of consistency as a team that seems to make the playoffs every other year. Hachimura can bring wins to Miami almost immediately as he was one of the best but oldest players in the NCAA with his defensive versatility and high scoring.


Boston Celtics (Via Sacramento Kings): Sekou Doumbouya, Forward, France

Although Doumbouya may not have an immediate impact on the C’s, his ceiling is too high to pass on. Doumbouya stands at 6’9” and is a freak athlete, after the rise of Pascal Siakam I could see Doumbouya becoming a similar player because if he really develops, he could guard all five positions.


 

The GOAT Discussion: Ryan vs. Johnson

Pitchers have long been the building blocks behind great baseball franchises. The pitcher is the centerpiece of the defense, where all the attention is given when the team goes out on the field, and who mainly determines whether the other team can get runs.

A good pitching rotation is often the difference maker in a championship run. The list of legendary pitchers goes on and on - Sandy Koufax, Roger Clemens, Bob Gibson, Walter Johnson, and so forth - but two earn my respect as the two most dominant and talented to ever hurl towards the plate.

Those two are Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan. So what sets each of them as the two greatest, and which of them has the edge?

They each have a spot in the top two strikeouts of all time- Ryan with 5,714 and Johnson with 4,875. Ryan did play 5 more years and almost had 200 more games played than Johnson, however.

It is still a remarkable amount, and it is questionable whether Johnson would have caught him. Ryan supposedly was the fastest to ever throw, although Johnson was close in speed.

However, speed radar wasn’t accurate enough at the time of their careers to be completely sure. Each of them won a single title in their careers, and, unlike Ryan, Johnson won Series MVP for his appearance.

They are comparable in ability and their ability to win- but there is an important factor that Randy Johnson sweeps Nolan Ryan in.

Despite being recognized as probably the best pitcher of his era, especially when he was playing for the Houston Astros, not once did Ryan win a Cy Young award, the highest honor for a pitcher to receive at the end of each season for being the best of that respective season.

Randy Johnson, on the other hand, won the award 5 different times, meaning he was acknowledged as the best pitcher in five different seasons, the second most times ever only behind Roger Clemens. Johnson had the best ERA in the MLB 4 times vs. Ryan’s 2, and despite playing considerably less than him, Johnson is only 21 career wins behind Ryan’s numbers.

Even if Ryan possessed the power to fan batters again and again, strikeouts can’t be the only thing that builds you up as the greatest pitcher of all time.

You need to have been able to contribute all the time, all around, on a level like no other - and Ryan misses out on that criteria to Randy Johnson, who in my opinion, is the greatest pitcher of all time.