2019 NBA Mock Draft Showdown: Matt Babcock vs. Matt McKay Jr.
In anticipation of the 2019 NBA Draft, NBA Draft Analyst Matt Babcock faces off against former NBA scout Matt McKay, Jr. as they alternate picks, making their own selections for teams drafting in this year’s lottery.
Matt Babcock: Alright, McKay. Here we go! To start, let’s flip for the first pick. I’ll let you make the call.
Matt McKay Jr: Okay, I’ll take heads.
(Flip — heads)
Babcock: Heads it is. You’re on the clock with the Pelicans first pick. Good luck!
1) New Orleans Pelicans
McKay: I don’t need much time to think this one over. With the first pick in the 2019 Babcock Hoops Mock Draft Showdown, I pick Zion Williamson.
McKay: In all seriousness, Zion makes the most sense here no matter which angle you’re looking at it. He has the highest ceiling, the best chance to be a perennial all-star, and gives a team a shot to immediately move the needle in the right direction as a franchise. I’m not necessarily in the camp that considers this guy the best prospect since LeBron or AD, but I do think he is the right choice at number one in this draft. Alright, you’re up. For what it’s worth - I think Memphis is in a total win-win situation here with the second pick...
2) Memphis Grizzlies
Babcock: With the second pick I will take Ja Morant. Again, not much of a shocker here. Although I think you would have selected Barrett. If developed properly I think Morant has the talent and potential to be categorized with some of the top point guards in the league. He is incredibly dynamic as a playmaker and scorer to go along with top-notch athleticism. He simply has too much talent to pass up at number two.
McKay: You’re right - I do give the slight edge to Barrett with this pick, but I can’t knock you for sending the top PG in this draft class to Memphis to pair with JJJ. That will be a talented duo for years to come.
3) New York Knicks
McKay: With the third pick, I will be selecting the second-best player in the draft, R.J. Barrett.
McKay: I love R.J. here for a lot of reasons, but for the sake of this mock draft, I’ll keep it short: at 6’6-6’7, R.J. is a positionless perimeter ‘Swiss Army Knife’ that a team can plug in anywhere between the one and the three depending on who he’s sharing the floor with. He’s wired to score and make plays, consistently keeping the opposition on their heels. Though his offensive game is ahead of his defense, I think he will offer more on both sides of the ball long term than Ja will. I also think he was unfairly scrutinized at Duke. First of all, he had a tremendous freshman season. Secondly, did everyone forget about his body of work leading up to his time in Durham? Go back and watch his Team Canada stuff for a refresher. This guy is a winner! I could go on, but I don’t want to make you go back and change your mind with that second pick.
Babcock: Again, pssh. I’m half-joking. R.J. is a good pick here.
4) Los Angeles Lakers
Babcock: The Lakers are in an interesting situation with this pick and their roster in general. They have a lot of young pieces with Ball, Ingram, and Kuzma to go along with one of the best veterans in the league in LeBron James. It is widely reported that they are going to be aggressive in free agency this summer, chasing the top free agents and, of course, the possibility of adding Anthony Davis via trade, as well. Considering all of these variables, I will go with the next best player, I select Darius Garland. Although the sweet-shooting point guard missed most of his freshman season due to injury, I have him rated just slightly lower than Morant and I think his ability to shoot with range and carve up the defense off the dribble will translate to the next level seamlessly.
McKay: I have no arguments here.
5) Cleveland Cavaliers
McKay: Here’s where it gets interesting. I’m in the minority on this one, but I’m going to stick to my guns. With the fifth pick, I am going to go with Rui Hachimura. There are plenty of sound reasons for this, but more than anything, this is a player I believe in. I think he’s a player with both a high floor and a high ceiling. With the way he’s wired, Rui isn’t someone that’s going to flop or bust - he’s going to maximize his potential. I view him as a prospect that still has multiple potential quantum leaps in his development, despite being 21 years old. Yes, he still has some maturing to do as a player (especially with reads on both ends), but he’s going to guard, play hard, and soak up coaching like a sponge. He was far from a volume outside shooter at Gonzaga, but I’ve watched him pre, post, and during practices and can confidently say that I have zero worries about his shot, long term. It may look like a stretch on draft night, but my gut tells me Rui will be considered a top player from this draft class at the end of the day.
Babcock: Although I agree you are in the minority on this one, you are ‘preaching to the choir’ with me. I think this is a great pick!
6) Phoenix Suns
Babcock: I’m going to select Coby White here. I think this is on the high side for White but I think with how Phoenix’s roster is set up they desperately need help and depth at both guard spots. Although it sounds as if they are looking to add a veteran point guard via free agency or trade, I think White could be a terrific addition as he complements their star player, Devin Booker, very well. Initially, he is capable of backing up Booker or playing alongside him. I think he could be a great running mate with Booker in their backcourt long-term.
McKay: Nice pick. I think White makes a ton of sense here.
7) Chicago Bulls
McKay: With the seventh pick, I am taking De’Andre Hunter. I could see Chicago coveting White, but if Hunter is the consolation prize, things could be worse. Hunter projects as a hybrid forward that can impact the game on both ends of the floor. He’s a long, versatile defender that should be able to knock down open shots. If he falls here, Chicago will be stacked in the frontcourt for the better part of the next decade - fitting him in alongside Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter will be a good problem to have for Jim Boylen.
Babcock: I think Hunter is more of a solid, complementary piece rather than a high upside prospect but I can’t deny that he fits this team well. I think he would be very effective for Coach Boylen and the Bulls.
8) Atlanta Hawks
Babcock: I feared I would be in a position to be forced to take a hard look at Cam Reddish, as he is a very high risk, high reward prospect. His casual approach and lack of consistent production are certainly worrisome but at nearly 6’9” and possessing a full toolbox of offensive skills, including a silky smooth jumper, there is just too much talent for me to overlook at the eighth pick. Cam Reddish is my pick.
McKay: He’s about as polarizing as they come, but this is his range. Assuming they don’t make any more trades (they grabbed the seventeenth pick, last week), having two picks in the top ten makes it somewhat easier to swing for the fences versus going the safe route.