NBA Draft 2019 Highlights and Analyses: 20 Best picks from the class of 2019
In the NBA, the new league year officially starts with free agency. However, for some, it is the leadup to that period of insanity that really sets the stage for what is to come. The 2019-20 NBA season kicked off on June 20th, 2019 at the NBA Draft.
Following months of constant speculation, talks, and debate, all the hypotheticals go out the window as the 30 NBA teams have made their decisions as to who will be joining their roster in October. Some made long prognosticated picks, others made surprising trades to move up or down and take guys they thought would impact their roster at a position need.
Overall, with the excitement and the player’s stories, it was a life-changing, team changing, and even free agency power shifting draft.
Here were some of the highlight picks of the 2019 NBA Draft Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
#20 Miami Heat (traded to DEN) – Bol Bol (Oregon)
It may be his cool name. It might be the NBA lineage in his last name. It is not 100% certain what is about Bol Bol, but there was something that got tons of fans at the draft, many younger kids, staying late to wait to hear his name called. Fourteen picks into the second round, they got their wish.
Bol Bol, the 7’3” center from the University of Oregon, is headed via a trade with Miami to the Denver Nuggets. He joins the likes of Nikola Jokic within Denver's ranks.
Thanks to his incredible height, scoring in the paint tends to come at ease. If more movement than a slight jump and dunk is needed, Bol Bol is fluid and agile with his feet, even at his length.
With a 7’7” wingspan and 9’7.5” standing reach, getting shots off without fear of blocks also comes at ease and he can hit it from almost anywhere in the interior and from 3. At Oregon, he protected the ball well and made just over 50% of his 3-point attempts and was 76% from the free throw line.
As one would expect he is an excellent rim protector and shot blocker. With two big defenders, the Nuggets could create fear in Western Conference opponents. However, the one weakness and attack point for the opposition that he has is getting into the teeth of the defender. Too often he plays weak on a post-up and that leads to easy baskets for the other team.
ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz calls Bol Bol “the only unicorn in the draft not named Zion” and details all these reasons as well for why he is a unique player. If he works on the intensity of his defensive game, he might just be worth the hype he received at draft night.
#19 Golden State Warriors – Eric Paschall, 41st overall pick (Villanova)
One of the lead men on Jay Wright-led Villanova squad was Eric Paschall who will be heading to the San Franciso bay to play with Golden State Warriors.
Whether it be on the offensive or defensive side, Paschall is extremely reliant on his powerful feet to drive through defenses to the basket or to stick with a defender and make a blocking play. When it comes to finishing in the paint or at the rim, he is one of the best in the class, converting 68.2%.
Paschall likes to play hardnose defense, getting into the face of the defender and making his movements difficult. Many of his defensive clips show him surrounding the defender on a double team and taking a steal to the basket.
At times he can be a streaky shooter which is something he needs to work on in order to be a solid forward in the NBA, but he has already made improvements during his senior season. During the season, he shot 35% from the perimeter while averaging 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Most of his scoring comes from mid-range and the free throw line where he converts 74.6%.
To add onto all of this, Paschall also has good teammate skills and is okay with sharing the ball with the open man and being the complementary player when the game demands it. If he works enough on his shooting from deep, Paschall could be another beloved player in Golden State.
#18 Philadelphia 76ers (traded to BOS) – Carsen Edwards (Purdue)
The Boston Celtics got an absolute undercover stud at 33 in Purdue’s Carsen Edwards. Edwards was one of the most thrilling players in March Madness and was probably the biggest factor in getting his Boilermakers to an Elite 8 appearance.
He is an extremely athletic player who can move anywhere on the court with the ball, find the open man, knock down shots from the interior and perimeter, there’s nearly nothing he can’t do for a franchise. Edwards' averages for his junior year at Purdue were 24.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Some say his shooting has similarities to Lou Williams and it showed in the Tournament.
Defense could be a concern, but Edwards proved in the tournament that he has room to improve and can improve past the level of college defense. The Boston Celtics will have risks with Edwards - one being whether he will continue his success in the NBA - but with them comes even more rewards.
#17 San Antonio Spurs – Keldon Johnson, 29th overall pick (Kentucky)
Keldon Johnson will have spent one year at the University of Kentucky before entering the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs.
During his freshmen season with the Wildcats, Johnson averaged 13.5 points per game and 5.9 rebounds, making him an average scorer. He likes to attack the paint in a straight-line drive to get the layups in contact or to draw in the defense and open the perimeter for other shooters. From the perimeter, he is a capable shooter.
On the defense, Johnson is tough and competitive, using his 6’9” wingspan and 8’8” standing reach to protect the rim and grab an abundance of rebounds.
The one thing the Spurs will need to work with him on is his streaky shooting and the speed of his release. Johnson himself will need to keep defenders in front of him each time down the floor as well because he can be beaten at times by smaller players with professional instincts.