Playing 2019 NBA Draft Matchmaker, Part 3

Another eight teams are out of the running for the Larry O’Brien championship trophy. Most of those first-round losers from the 2019 NBA Playoffs also have draft picks in the coming draft, which means they too deserve a match-making draft selection.

The following are the next mid-round mock selections in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Remember: This is a mock draft that solely focuses on team need, as opposed to the normal BPA (Best Player Available) mentality.

You can read Part 1 here on the high lottery and Part 2 on the low-lottery teams.

15. Detroit Pistons – Tyler Herro, Kentucky – SG

Tyler Herro is an offensive explosion waiting to happen at the next level. His 14 points per game may seem modest, but his age (19) and the fact that he played in an offense that also featured P.J. Washington and Keldon Johnson—both of whom, like Herro, took over 10 shots a night—resulted in a season that wasn’t as statistically impressive as it could have been.

Make no mistake, however. Herro can score the ball and could develop into an elite NBA shooter. His release mechanics are fine, and his 93.5 FT percent suggests his shooting prowess will benefit from pros’ added space, as free throw percentage in college often goes hand-in-hand with three-point shooting success. The Pistons get a pure bucket getter on the perimeter, which they’ve been dying for during the past few years.

16. Orlando Magic – Ty Jerome, Virginia – PG/SG

Apr 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Ty Jerome (11) handles the ball against Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Kyler Edwards (0) during the first half in the championship game of the 2019 men’s Final Four at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic are loaded up front with Mo Bamba, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and a potentially re-signed Nikola Vucevic. Ty Jerome will make a welcomed addition to a team starving for guard depth. And, as luck would have it, he is good enough to make an immediate impact.

While the 21-year-old is not a high-volume scorer, he is a high-caliber shooter (39.2 percent from deep on four attempts per game over three seasons) who will spread out the offense for Orlando’s plentiful size.

What Jerome lacks in offensive volume, he makes up for in size and playmaking. At 6’5″, the lead guard averaged a very respectable 5.5 assists and 1.7 turnovers this season, fitting the concept of what a new-age NBA point guard can be: An off-ball scorer who functions as a secondary playmaker in a low-turnover system.

17. Brooklyn Nets – PJ Washington, Kentucky – PF/SF

Mar 31, 2019; Kansas City, MO, United States; Kentucky Wildcats forward PJ Washington (25) dunks against the Auburn Tigers in the championship game of the midwest regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets have a load of highly talented guards, including D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert, as well as an effective center (Jarrett Allen) who looks like a long-term solution in the middle. What they don’t have is a combo forward who can grow with the aforementioned core. Enter PJ Washington, a slick 6’8″ forward who has a well-established inside/outside game.

The 20-year-old drastically improved his three-point shot from his freshman to sophomore season (23.8 percent on 0.6 attempts to 42.3 percent on 2.2 attempts) which complemented his interior prowess. Washington netted 15.2 points for Kentucky and chipped in 7.6 rebounds during just 29.3 minutes of work this season. His polished offensive game—combined with athleticism that allows him to thrive in high-tempo transition opportunities—would make an immediate impact for the Nets.

18. Indiana Pacers – Nassir Little, North Carolina – SF/PF

Mar 29, 2019; Kansas City, MO, United States; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Nassir Little (5) shoots 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

The Pacers have a bunch of free agents this summer, making their needs difficult to project. But one thing they do need is an injection of talent. Little is (extremely) raw but does offer a rare mix of athleticism, size and statistical production.

His 7’1″ wingspan, on a chiseled 6’6 frame, is combined with quick feet, which ultimately bodes well for his defensive impact moving forward. He’s a high-volume rebounder for a small forward, and his 77.0 FT percent suggests he can develop as a shooter. While still not a complete product by any stretch, he projects as a defensively switchy combo forward, who has offensive upside.

19. San Antonio Spurs – Kevin Porter Jr., USC – SG

Mar 14, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, United States; USC Trojans guard Kevin Porter Jr. (4) celebrates with guard Derryck Thornton (5)after scoring as first half clock expired during a Pac-12 conference tournament game against the Washington Huskies at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs took Lonnie Walker IV last year, which would suggest they’re looking to fill needs elsewhere. But given that Walker played just 118 minutes all season (albeit due to an injury early on), there’s enough room for another wing who can score the ball.

Porter Jr. didn’t set the world on fire at USC, averaging a modest 9.5 points per game in 22.1 minutes, but his athleticism and 41.2 percent accuracy from downtown fills two needs the Spurs currently don’t have enough of: Shooting, and speed.

Porter Jr. likely won’t play much initially, but he could prove useful under the right circumstances. Much like with Indiana, San Antonio is in dire need of young players with considerable talent, and as raw as Porter Jr. is, he does have that going for him. Their developmental track record is also strong enough to ponder what a few years of seasoning could produce.

20. Boston Celtics – Sekou Doumbouya, Limoges – SF/PF

Under normal circumstances, Doumbouya would have been off the board a lot sooner—he’s projected as a Top 10 selection, and rightly so—but given his age (18) and overall lack of experience, it’s likely that the Frenchman will need a few years to get acclimated. However, his mix of talent, athleticism and overall feel for the game is already so good that he will carve out minutes one way or the another. He gives Boston a back-up combo forward to spot Jayson Tatum—and to replace Semi Ojeleye, should he not take another step forward soon.

Doumbouya is a 6’9″ fluid athlete with great shooting mechanics, who can handle the ball, switch onto both smaller and bigger players defensively, and is one of those guys you can insert defensively into virtually any line-up. This is a match made in heaven for a Boston team that prioritizes switchable wings.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virgina Tech – SG

Mar 29, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (4) handles the ball against Duke Blue Devils forward Cam Reddish (2) during the second half in the semifinals of the east regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If their first round loss to Portland Trail Blazers taught us anything, it’s that the Oklahoma City Thunder need secondary scoring help. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a 6’5″ off-guard who can do so from anywhere. He hit 37.4 percent of his triples and got to the line 4.2 times a game this season at Virginia Tech while leading his team in scoring at 16.2 a night.

Alexander-Walker is by no means a slouch defensively, either, having played a big role in his team’s allowed 62.1 points a game, 11th best in the nation. He’s a physical defender who will get into an opponent’s space and would immediately be an asset in Oklahoma City’s defensively-inclined system.

22. Boston Celtics – Grant Williams, Tennessee – PF

Mar 24, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Tennessee Volunteers forward Grant Williams (2) dunks the ball in the second half against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The 20-year-old Williams is a big 6’7″. He has a 6’11 wingspan and carries over 240 pounds, which will help him on the next level.

Versatile size has been a specific issue for Boston, and Williams is a highly effective scorer, averaging 18.8 points off 56.4 percent from the field and 81.9 percent from the line on an impressive 7.0 attempts per night. He’s an active playmaker, solid rebounder and an improving shooter.

Williams should be able to carve out a role that mimics what Marcus Morris provides: Activity, scoring, some rebounding, and a player who is capable of thriving in an offense predicated on movement.