Key Takeaways from 2019 NBA Draft

The 2019 NBA Draft was a marathon with four lottery picks traded, a green room invitee falling to the 40s and several executives turning heads with their choices.

Some guy named Zion Williamson from Duke went first overall and will garner most of the headlines, but there were many more layers to the evenings festivities. Despite this drafts label as a three-player race,there is a slew of potentially valuable NBA contributors.

Thursdays proceedings at the Barclays Center could have a seismic long-term impact on the NBA, so lets dive into some of the biggest takeaways from one of the leagues most pivotal nights of the year.

The otherPelicans lottery prize

As part of their sizable pre-draft trade with the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans moved back from No. 4 to No. 8 and nabbed Texas freshman Jaxson Hayes.

Hayes zoomed up draft boards throughout the year thanks to his athletic interior scoring skills and noticeable rim-protecting potential. Per, the 19-year-old center led Texas in Defensive Rating, Defensive Box Plus/Minus (DPBM), blocks and Block Percentage.

It might take time and the right surrounding personnel for Hayes and Zion Williamson to mesh, but thats an exciting, hyper-athletic frontcourt. TBW’s Adam Spinella offers a breakdown of Hayesstrengths:

Cam Reddish could vastly outplay draft spot

Dukes third wheel had a tumultuous freshman campaign after entering the year as a presumptive top-5 pick. He wound up finishing at 36 percent from the field, including just 51 percent at the rim (per Those are horrendous numbers for a 6’9″ forward who didnt have to carry the offense. Due to his underwhelming assertiveness, inconsistent defense and poor scoring efficiency, he fell to No. 10 in the draft.

So the Hawks are getting a youngster with a lot to prove, but a lot to gain. Reddish could end up being one of the top two or three players from this draft if he addresses his weaknesses and enhances his strengths. Atlanta ould be a superb fit for him.

Why? He has a picturesque shooting motion, and he showed at Duke that he can get hot from deep while attacking the hoop in the open floor. His sturdy frame, agility and tangible ball-handling potential could translate well during Atlantas rebuild. Trae Young might be the perfect young quarterback for Reddish.

One Cam falls, another skyrockets

Mar 29, 2019; Kansas City, MO, United States; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Cameron Johnson (13) during the first half against the Auburn Tigers in the semifinals of the midwest regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

While Reddish slid to 10th, Cameron Johnson went much higher than anticipated. The Tar Heel was projected by most prognosticators to land in the 18-25 range, yet the Phoenix Suns stunned everyone by grabbing him at No. 11.

Hes not a flashy pick because hes an upperclassman, had hip issues and isnt a dynamic shot-creator. But he can consistently fill up the hoop as a catch-and-score threat, whether its a 3-pointer off a screen or a timely cut from the weak side. Synergy Basketball noted his outstanding efficiency in 2018-19:

Was it a stretch for Phoenix to take him at No. 11? Probably. There were more multidimensional and high-upside prospects available. However, that doesnt mean he wont have a productive career.

More Canadians than Europeans in first round

That’s right, three Europeans were picked in the first round of the 2019 draft, but Canada was represented by four. The Norths contingent was headlined by R.J. Barrett at No. 3 to the New York Knicks. While Europe is still a strong basketball feeder system, this draft showcased Canadas continued rise in talent. Its prospects are increasingly excelling in college and finding successful avenues to the Association.

Some head-scratching moves

Jun 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Tyler Herro (Kentucky) walks off the stage after being selected as the number thirteen overall pick to the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta trading up to take Virginias DeAndre Hunter is not a bad decision, and Hunters defense could fit in nicely in their rotation. I just think they could have gotten more value: Jarrett Culver is a better all-around prospect and probably should have landed before No. 6.

Tyler Herro to the Heat at No. 13 isnt puzzling, but its gutsy. While the Kentucky 2-guard is a fluid perimeter shooter with some ball-handling skills, his ceiling is likely modest. He has a negative wingspan (6’6″ height, 6′3″ wingspan) and is not the speediest guard. He just doesnt offer much defensive versatility for Erik Spoelstra, either.

Gonzagas Brandon Clarke fell out of the top 20. The first 10 teams get a pass, while the late-lottery and late-teen drafters get a disapproving head shake. Clarkes explosiveness, alertness and skill set around the hoop will make a dent in the league, and he shouldnt have slipped to No. 21. Memphis now has an exciting rebuilding identity anchored by Jaren Jackson Jr., Ja Morant and Clarke.

Ditto for UNC forward Nassir Little. The Blazers should rejoice that he fell into their lap at No. 25. His physicality, defense and above-the-rim finishing will complement Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. If his jump shot continues to develop, there will be a bunch of clubs kicking themselves.

The Wizards reached a little bit for Rui Hachimura at No. 9. Gonzagas forward has agility, size and shooting potential, yet I dont view him as a multi-dimensional player with lofty upside. His instincts and IQ arent impressive on offense or defense, and he doesnt have a ton of shot-creating juice. Id have prefered Sekou Doumbouya or P.J. Washington in that spot.

Strategic swap for Brooklyn

Brooklyn didnt execute a trade involving high-profile prospects. Instead, they made a move to position themselves to land high-profile free agents, dealing their No. 27 pick to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for this years 56th pick and a 2020 first-round pick. That will save Brooklyn around $2 million next season, which will give them enough cash to pursue multiple max-contract free agents.

The Nets didnt make headlines Thursday, but they might be all over the news in just a couple of days.

Bol Bol plummets

Mar 6, 2019; Pullman, WA, USA; Oregon Ducks center Bol Bol (1) looks on during a basketball game against the Washington State Cougars in the second half at Beasley Coliseum. The Duck won72-61. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Its not shocking that Bol fell outside the top 20. He was always one of the most polarizing prospects in this class. It is surprising that he fell as far as he did (44th to Miami), though. Oregons 7-2 stretch big has a couple of significant red flags (an exceptionally slender frame and a navicular bone injury), and those concerns obviously scared away almost every team in the league.

Via a trade with the Heat, the Nuggets were the franchise that finally took a chance on him. They could use more 3-point shooting depth in their frontcourt, so a mid-second round gamble is more than reasonable.

No College? No Overseas Hoops? No Problem.

After originally committing to Syracuse and then the G-League, 19-year old prospect Darius Bazley decided to skip competitive hoops this year. Instead, he worked out privately and interned at New Balance.

It worked out pretty well for him, as he earned a first-round selection. Bazley slowly climbed up mock draft projections in recent weeks, and he landed 23rd with the Oklahoma City Thunder. His route to the league is part of a growing undercurrent of prospects foregoing the NCAA before entering the draft.

Celtics retool their roster and cap sheet

Jun 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Romeo Langford (Indiana) reacts on stage after being selected as the number fourteen overall pick to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Its been a crazy week for Boston, who might lose both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in free agency. Danny Ainge did some reshuffling Thursday, including trading Aron Baynes and the No. 24 pick to the Suns in exchange for a 2020 draft pick. That will clear more salary cap room and give the Celtics about $23 million to play with this summer.

Meanwhile, Bostons actual incoming draftees is an intriguing mix of proven skill and upside. Grant Williams (No. 22) and Carsen Edwards (No. 33) give the Shamrocks NBA-ready offense, whereas Romeo Langford (No. 14) is more of a long-term asset who could be a dynamic, shifty wing.

Second-round standouts

Eric Paschall and Golden State will have a great marriage. The Villanova veteran went 41st to the Dubs, and he could quickly help remedy their shaky depth. Paschall is a skilled shot-maker and drive finisher, so hell slide in nicely as a complementary piece in Steve Kerrs system. More importantly, hes as close to an NBA-ready defender as youll find outside the lottery.

Terance Mann fits well with the Los Angeles Clippersculture of unheralded prospects. His end-to-end energy and blossoming 3-point stroke (39 percent in 2018-19) will get him on the court early in his career.

Nic Claxton is barely a second-round pick at No. 31, but he was solid choice for Brooklyn. He offers a nice mix of proven skills near the cup and perimeter potential. Hell polish his skills into a modest role off the bench.