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Consensus Mock Draft: Zion Williamson is clear No. 1, but plenty of uncertainty follows

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The Consensus Mock Draft is a compilation of the best mock drafts around the web. We bring them together to come up with a good estimate of how the  2019 NBA Draft  could play out.

Some notes after Tuesday’s Draft Lottery, which saw the New Orleans Pelicans land the No. 1 pick (last update: May 14):

  • As expected, Zion Williamson is a consensus lock to go No. 1 to the New Orleans Pelicans. With Anthony Davis potentially leaving, New Orleans couldn’t have asked for a better outcome as they get their new franchise-changing centerpiece. With Williamson No. 1 on all 10 mock drafts, it would be a complete shock if he didn’t end up playing in the Big Easy.
     
  • The intrigue begins with the No. 2 pick, where the Memphis Grizzlies will likely take either Murray State point guard Ja Morant or Duke’s R.J. Barrett. Six of the 10 mock drafts see Memphis taking Morant and letting him learn behind Mike Conley. That would leave the Knicks taking Duke swingman Barrett, who will have the tough task of making fans forget about missing on Williamson.
     
  • All eyes will be on No. 4, where the Lakers got lucky with the ping pong balls. Five of the 10 mocks see L.A. going with Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, who showed his two-way skills during Virginia’s national championship run. Another possibility here is Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, who could slide into the two-guard slot and provide scoring alongside Lonzo Ball in the backcourt.
     
  • Duke’s Cam Reddish appears in the lottery on all 10 mocks, as high as No. 4, but most commonly at No. 8 (five times), where he’d end up with the Hawks.
     
  • Looks like the Bulls might be going for a point guard with the No. 7 pick, if our prognosticators are correct. That point guard would be North Carolina’s Coby White, who heads to Chicago in seven of our 10 mock drafts. The Bulls have Kris Dunn already, but they may not be sold on him as their long-term solution at the point.
     
  • One player who is all over the different mocks is Texas’ Jaxson Hayes. The center appears in the lottery on all 10 mock drafts, as high as No. 5 (Cavs) and as low as No. 12 (Hornets). His most common landing spot is at No. 10, though, where three mocks have the Hawks grabbing him.
     
  • The first overseas international player coming off the board looks to be Sekou Doumbouya, a young, raw forward from Guinea who’s been playing in France for Limoges. His potential is clear, though, and eight of our 10 mock drafts have him going in the lottery. Another international prospect getting lottery consideration is Goga Bitadze, a big man out of Georgia who appears on two of the 10 mocks.
     
  • Seven players appear on all 10 mocks we survey: Williamson, Morant, Barrett, Hunter, Culver, Hayes, Reddish. This is far less than past years, showing a lot of uncertainty, but should even out after the Draft Combine and players begin meeting with teams.
     
  • One logistical note: Three of our regular mock drafts (USA Today, NetScouts and Sporting News) hadn’t been updated after the Lottery, so bookmark this page and check back in the next week as those are published and we tweak the results.

MOST COMMON PICKS

No. 1 (Pelicans): Zion Williamson (10)
No. 2 (Grizzlies): Ja Morant (6)
No. 3 (Knicks): R.J. Barrett (6)
No. 4 (Lakers): De’Andre Hunter (5)
No. 5 (Cavaliers): Jarrett Culver, Cam Reddish (3)
No. 6 (Suns): Darius Garland (7)
No. 7 (Bulls): Coby White (7)
No. 8 (Hawks): Cam Reddish (5)
No. 9 (Wizards): Sekou Doumbouya (3)
No. 10 (Hawks): Jaxson Hayes (3)
No. 11 (Timberwolves): Brandon Clarke, Doumbouya (2)
No. 12 (Hornets): Bol, Doumbouya, Hayes (2)
No. 13 (Heat): Rui Hachimura (3)
No. 14 (Celtics): P.J. Washington (3)

Most common (above): Pick at which the player is most commonly projected, with number of mock drafts in parentheses. For example, Zion Williamson is projected to go first in all 10 of the mock drafts listed below.

Top 14 (below): To calculate the consensus, we awarded 14 points for every mock draft in which the player went first overall, 13 for second, continuing to one point for the final lottery pick. The player with the highest point total represents the top overall selection, which is as follows:

No. 1: Zion Williamson | New Orleans Pelicans

Duke | Position: PF/C | Height: 6-7
Status: Freshman
Most Common: 1 (10)

Has unmatched athletic ability and all-around skills to become franchise-transforming centerpiece
 

No. 2: Ja Morant | Memphis Grizzlies

Murray St. | Position: PG | Height: 6-3
Status: Sophomore
Most Common: 2 (6)

Athletic playmaker who has the potential to lead a franchise with his speed, passing ability and versatile scoring

No. 3: R.J. Barrett | New York Knicks

Duke | Position: G/F | Height: 6-7
Status: Freshman
Most Common: 3 (6)

Potential superstar who can shoot, rebound and defend
 

No. 4: DeAndre Hunter | Los Angeles Lakers

Virginia | Position: SF/PF | Height: 6-7
Status: Sophomore
Most Common: 4 (5)

ACC Defensive Player of the Year will step in and help any team on defensive end, but his potential will depend on how he develops his offensive game
 

No. 5: Jarrett Culver | Cleveland Cavaliers

Texas Tech | Position: SG | Height: 6-6
Status: Sophomore
Most Common: 4, 5 (3)

Multifaceted wing with all-around game that should translate well to NBA; Can hit mid-range jumper and defend 

No. 6: Darius Garland | Phoenix Suns

Vanderbilt | Position: PG | Height: 6-2
Status: Freshman
Most Common: 6 (7)

Shoot-first point guard can score anywhere on the court; Also has speed and playmaking ability

No. 7: Cameron Reddish | Chicago Bulls

Duke | Position: SG/SF | Height: 6-7
Status: Freshman
Most Common: 8 (5)

Has size and talent to become star scorer and has decent playmaking skills, but questions remain about effort and consistency

No. 8: Coby White | Atlanta Hawks

North Carolina | Position: PG/SG | Height: 6-5
Status: Freshman
Most Common: 7 (7)

Lightning-quick point guard can shine in transition; Talented spot-up shooter who can score off pick and roll while playing either backcourt position

No. 9: Jaxson Hayes | Washington Wizards

Texas | Position: PF/C | Height: 6-11
Status: Freshman
Most Common: 10 (3)

Raw, athletic big man has size and agility to become major finisher above the rim; Long wingspan and quickness make him potentially elite rim protector

No. 10: Sekou Doumbouya | Atlanta Hawks

Limoges CSP/France | Position: SF/PF | Height: 6-9
Status: International
Most Common: 9 (3)

Physically impressive but untested international talent has big upside thanks to size and potential as a shooter and defender

No. 11: Romeo Langford | Minnesota Timberwolves

Indiana | Position: G | Height: 6-6
Status: Freshman
Most Common: 10 (2)

Has shown ability to create shots with length and a quick first step, but 3-point shooting (27.2 percent) might scare off some 

No. 12: Nassir Little | Charlotte Hornets

North Carolina | Position: SF | Height: 6-6
Status: Freshman
Most Common: 9 (2)

Has the size and quickness to play several positions; raw talent who needs to improve shooting (26.9 percent on 3s)

No. 13: Bol Bol | Miami Heat

Oregon | Position: C | Height: 7-2
Status: Freshman
Most Common: 10, 12 (2)

Not quite as tall as his father, Manute, but still a physical specimen who has surprising agility and shooting ability 

No. 14: Brandon Clarke | Boston Celtics

Gonzaga | Position: PF | Height: 6-8
Status: Junior
Most Common:11 (2)

Versatile defender with explosive athleticism; Offensive game needs work, and his age (22) could make teams wary

Last updated: May 14, 2019

MOCK DRAFTS

ESPN.com

1. Zion Williamson
2. Ja Morant
3. R.J. Barrett
4. Darius Garland
5. De’Andre Hunter
6. Jarrett Culver
7. Coby White
8. Cam Reddish
9. Sekou Doumbouya
10. Jaxson Hayes
11. Brandon Clarke
12. P.J. Washington
13. Bol Bol
14. Kevin Porter Jr.
Last updated: May 14

The Ringer

1. Zion Williamson
2. R.J. Barrett
3. Ja Morant
4. De’Andre Hunter
5. Jarrett Culver
6. Darius Garland
7. Coby White
8. Cam Reddish
9. Sekou Doumbouya
10. Jaxson Hayes
11. Brandon Clarke
12. Bol Bol
13. Romeo Langford
14. Nassir Little
Last updated: May 14

The Athletic

1. Zion Williamson
2. Ja Morant
3. R.J. Barrett
4. Jarrett Culver
5. De’Andre Hunter
6. Darius Garland
7. Coby White
8. Cam Reddish
9. Nassir Little
10. Jaxson Hayes
11. Sekou Doumbouya
12. Rui Hachimura
13. P.J. Washington
14. Brandon Clarke
Last updated: May 14

SI.com

1. Zion Williamson
2. Ja Morant
3. R.J. Barrett
4. Jarrett Culver
5. Cam Reddish
6. Darius Garland
7. Coby White
8. De’Andre Hunter
9. Jaxson Hayes
10. Goga Bitadze
11. Nassir Little
12. Sekou Doumbouya
13. Kevin Porter Jr.
14. P.J. Washington
Last updated: May 14

Sporting News

1. Zion Williamson
2. R.J. Barrett
3. Ja Morant
4. Jarrett Culver
5. Jaxson Hayes
6. De’Andre Hunter
7. Cam Reddish
8. Coby White
9. Romeo Langford
10. Darius Garland
11. P.J. Washington
12. Bol Bol
13. Rui Hachimura
14. Mfiondu Kabengele
Last updated: May 3

USA Today

1. Zion Williamson
2. R.J. Barrett
3. Ja Morant
4. De’Andre Hunter
5. Cam Reddish
6. Darius Garland
7. Jarrett Culver
8. Jaxson Hayes
9. Coby White
10. Romeo Langford
11. Kevin Porter Jr.
12. Sekou Doumbouya
13. Rui Hachimura 
14. P.J. Washington
Last updated: April 10

Bleacher Report

1. Zion Williamson
2. Ja Morant
3. R.J. Barrett
4. De’Andre Hunter
5. Jarrett Culver
6. Darius Garland
7. Coby White
8. Cam Reddish
9. Bol Bol
10. Romeo Langford
11. Sekou Doumbouya
12. Jaxson Hayes
13. Kevin Porter Jr.
14. Goga Bitadze
Last updated: May 14

Net Scouts

1. Zion Williamson
2. R.J. Barrett
3. Ja Morant
4. Cam Reddish
5. Romeo Langford
6. De’Andre Hunter
7. Nassir Little
8. Jarrett Culver
9. Sekou Doumbouya
10. Bol Bol
11. Jaxson Hayes
12. Keldon Johnson
13. Rui Hachimura
14. P.J. Washington
Last updated: March 2

CBS Sports

1. Zion Williamson
2. Ja Morant
3. R.J. Barrett
4. De’Andre Hunter
5. Cam Reddish
6. Darius Garland
7. Coby White
8. Jarrett Culver
9. Nassir Little
10. Brandon Clarke
11. Rui Hachimura
12. Jaxson Hayes
13. Grant Williams
14. Sekou Doumbouya
Last updated: May 14

Basketball Insiders

1. Zion Williamson
2. Ja Morant
3. R.J. Barrett
4. De’Andre Hunter
5. Jarrett Culver
6. Darius Garland
7. Coby White
8. Cam Reddish
9. Jaxson Hayes
10. Bol Bol
11. Romeo Langford
12. Daniel Gafford
13. Nassir Little
14. Bruno Fernando
Last updated: May 14

* * *

ESPN Insider: Jonathan Givony 
The Ringer: Kevin O’Connor 
The Athletic: Sam Vecenie
SI.com: Jeremy Woo 
SportingNews.com: Sean Deveney
Net Scouts: Carl Berman 
Bleacher Report: Jonathan Wasserman 

USA Today: Jeff Zillgit
CBS Sports: Kyle Boone
Basketball Insiders: Steve Kyler 

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Raptors on brink of first Finals berth in franchise history

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TORONTO — Twenty-one would be a very cool number for the Toronto Raptors. Before they get it, though, they’ll need to get one.

And one would be beyond cool. Off the charts, historic, potentially transformative and largely indescribable.

Twenty-one: That’s how many teams in NBA playoff history will have overcome an 0-2 start to win a best-of-seven series, if the Raptors manage to close out the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals. Whether it happens in Game 6 Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena or in Game 7 back in Milwaukee Monday, Toronto would buck outlandish odds — this is the 289th series to begin with the same team winning the first two games, so we’re talking a 7 percent likelihood (20 of 288).

One: That’s all that stands between the Raptors and the first NBA Final appearance in Toronto franchise history. One more victory in the next three days would validate the risks and twists of this 2018-19 season for the Raptors, while exorcising nearly a quarter century’s worth of demons.

One little win and Toronto finally will break through, capping a stellar six-year run of promising regular seasons and heartbreaking postseasons. They will have earned, in the face of so much uncertainty, their best shot yet at a championship, even if it means going through the mighty Golden State Warriors.

 

The Starters discuss what kind of adjustments the Bucks need to make to get their offense back on track.

When Raptors president Masai Ujiri traded for star forward Kawhi Leonard, he was gambling not just that Leonard could recover from the right quadriceps injury that scuttled his 2017-18. He was guessing that swapping in Leonard for former All-Star wing DeMar DeRozan could push Toronto to, well, right where they’re at. And he was hoping Leonard, a rent-a-player able to leave this summer in free agency, would enjoy the whole experience enough to let Ujiri pay him $220 million over the next five seasons.

It’s impossible to know where things stand on that last front, owing to Leonard’s inscrutability and a decision that’s still six weeks away. But the Raptors never have gotten this far, so there is an opportunity here to be savored, with more potentially to come.

“It would be a very, very long summer thinking about what could have been or what you could have done,” guard Fred VanVleet said, framing things a bit negatively after raining 7-of-9 3-pointers on Milwaukee in the 105-99 Game 5 victory. “So we’ve just got to go out there and have no regrets. … One win away from the Finals sounds pretty good to me.”

Sounds a little easier, maybe, than it actually will be. The Raptors are at home for Game 6 and the crowd at Scotiabank crowd, already dialed high, will be able to let it rip without any fear — immediate fear, anyway — of failure.

But Milwaukee will be desperate. Giannis Antetokounmpo has pledged that his team will not “fold.” And the Bucks have zero interest in a knock-knock year, believing all season that they were good enough to reach and win the championship.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo after Bucks’ loss in Game 5: “We’re not gonna fold. We’re gonna go in, give it everything we got.”

They wouldn’t be human if they weren’t shaken by the three consecutive defeats Toronto has dealt them. The Raptors have managed to surround and partially stifle Antetokounmpo, while still firing out enough to bother Milwaukee’s 3-point shooters into repeated misfires.

The Bucks’ defense has been probed and poked like a cut-rate steak. They resorted again to some uncharacteristic switching in Game 5 but had most of their success inside the arc. Late in the pivotal loss, they got beat for five offensive rebounds, when grabbing two or three might have swung the outcome.

“It’s win or lose,” coach Mike Budenholzer said Friday in a conference call with reporters. “When you win, there are things that [still] are concerning and unsettling that you need to work on and improve. I think there’s just enough possessions where there’s a couple of rebounds that stand out.

“Can we do a little bit better job in some of our activity in certain situations. Offensively, I think at times can our spacing be better and our ball movement be better? But I would say it’s like a lot of games. We didn’t get it done.”

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Trail Blazers sign Stotts to extension through 2022

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PORTLAND (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers have formally announced that coach Terry Stotts signed a contract extension through the 2021-22 season.

The extension was first revealed the day after the Trail Blazers were eliminated from the postseason by the Golden State Warriors, but terms were not released.

Stotts, Portland’s coach since 2012, led the team to its first appearance in the Western Conference finals in 19 years. The Blazers finished the regular season 53-29 to secure the third seed then got past Oklahoma City and Denver in the opening rounds of the playoffs.

The Blazers have made the playoffs in six straight seasons under Stotts.

The Blazers also announced Friday that President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey has signed to a contract extension through the 2023-24 season. Olshey joined the team in 2012 as general manager and was promoted in 2015.

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Durant initially thought injury was much worse

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Superstar Warriors forward Kevin Durant was forced to sit out the entire Western Conference finals with a calf injury suffered in the previous round, and it’s increasingly likely he’ll miss at least part of the upcoming Finals against either Toronto or Milwaukee as Golden State pursues its third straight title and fourth in five years. 

But it could have been much worse based on his split-second reaction to the injury he suffered late in the Warriors’ Game 5 victory on May 8 of their Western Conference semifinals series with Houston. 

While Durant was later diagnosed with a right calf strain, he initially feared — along with many watching — that he might have torn his Achilles tendon based on the non-contact nature of the injury. 

“I felt somebody trip me up,” said Durant, who spoke about the injury for the first time on Friday. “First thing that came to mind, “Boogie (Cousins) said, Kobe (Bryant) said…” that it felt like somebody kicked them (after they tore Achilles tendons).

“So the first thing in my mind was to slow down and process what happened. Then I started walking, and I could put weight on it, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

But still bad enough that Durant has been out for more than two weeks, and has yet to be cleared for on-court activities. The Warriors announced on Thursday that Durant continues to make “good progress” with the injury, and is “hopeful” to return at some point during The Finals, which begin next Thursday and conclude, if it lasts all seven games, on June 16. 

“I’m just taking it a second at a time,” Durant said. “I don’t really know too much about this injury. I’m just leaving it up to the team doctors.”

The Warriors can at least count on the return of veteran reserve Andre Iguodala (calf), who is expected to return for Game 1, and perhaps All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins (quad), who the Warriors expect to return at some point during The Finals.  

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said both players participated in a full team scrimmage on Friday, with no restrictions on contact or playing time. Durant, he said, sat out as he continues to rehab. 

 

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