As the first round of the NBA draft unfolds, the Tribune’s Andy Larsen will break down each pick live as it occurs on this page. Keep refreshing throughout the night for a quick take on each player.
No. 1 - New Orleans: Zion Williamson
Power forward, Duke
I like draft analyst Dean Demakis’ NBA comparison for Zion Williamson: Charles Barkley, with more tools. Where Barkley was undersized, Williamson is maybe oversized. But Williamson is an explosive bowling ball in the same mold.
No. 2 - Memphis: Ja Morant
Point guard, Murray State
The prospect who came in second to Williamson in ESPN highlights earned goes second to him in the NBA Draft. Morant’s not a complete prospect — his jumpshot and defense need work — but he’ll be very good in the NBA.
No. 3 - New York: R.J. Barrett
Small forward, Duke
The production was prolific, but the efficiency maybe wasn’t. Barrett was expected to be the No. 1 pick in this draft, but was surpassed in the last year. The Knicks will be hoping he can show even more.
No. 4 - Atlanta (via New Orleans via Los Angeles Lakers): De’Andre Hunter
Small forward, Virginia
I think DeAndre Hunter will be a good, not great NBA player. So to give up No. 8, No. 17, No. 35, and to take on the contract of Solomon Hill seems like an excessive price for Atlanta to pay, in my opinion.
No. 5 - Cleveland: Darius Garland
Point guard, Vanderbilt
Probably the best value pick available, Garland can shoot and score with the best of them. There are questions: is he a great passer? Can he fit next to Collin Sexton? But at this point, Cavs just need more talent.
No. 6 - Minnesota: Jarrett Culver
Shooting guard, Texas Tech
Culver’s a multi-faceted guard: he’s a smart player, a good shooter, and an impactful defender on one of the NCAA’s best defenses last year. Minnesota clearly needs wings, Culver should give them help.
No. 7 - Chicago: Coby White
Point guard, UNC
Coby White was the catalyst in UNC’s go-go offense last year, pushing the pace up and down the court and scoring in multiple ways. He’s not a pass-first guy, but might be able to play off the ball too with his height.
No. 8 - New Orleans: Jaxson Hayes
This is pretty early for Hayes! But we’re pretty sure what Hayes will be in the NBA: an explosive, long rim-runner, along the lines of Clint Capela and Javale McGee. Where he falls in that range depends on how his basketball IQ develops.
No. 9 - Washington: Rui Hachimura
Power forward, Gonzaga
It’s not a shocking pick, but I think Hachimura is a scoring power forward without much of a defensive impact at all: think Jabari Parker. They just traded for Jabari Parker four months ago, though he’s a free agent.
No. 10 - Atlanta: Cam Reddish
Small forward, Duke
Cam Reddish was such a highly-recruited prospect, but was such a bust: he shot only 35 percent from the field. He couldn’t score efficiently inside or out. Maybe he’ll figure it out in the NBA, but I’m pessimistic.
No. 11 - Phoenix: Cameron Johnson
Small forward, North Carolina
Him? Now? Cam Johnson can shoot the ball, making over 45% of his 3s last year, but he projects as a role player only because he doesn’t have much defensive ability or shot creation skills to speak of. Surprised he goes No. 11.
No. 12 - Charlotte: P.J. Washington
Power forward, Kentucky
He’ll be a solid enough NBA player, thanks to his height (6-foot-8) and wingspan (7-foot-2) that means he’ll certainly contribute. He’s not vertically athletic, but he’s skilled: he can shoot outside and score inside.
No. 13 - Miami: Tyler Herro
Shooting guard, Kentucky
Two Wildcats in a row. Herro looks the part of a very good NBA shooter: a stroke that looks like it will translate in catch-and-shoot, off the dribble and off screens. Ended up only shooting 35% from deep, but I think he’ll be better in the NBA.
No. 14 - Boston: Romeo Langford
Shooting guard, Indiana
The Hoosier — Langford both played at Indiana and grew up there — flashes high-level scoring instincts at a young age. The production wasn’t really there, though, maybe due to an injury he played through. It’s a bet by the Celtics.
No. 15 - Detroit: Sekou Doumbouya
Power forward, Limoges
A small fall for Doumbouya, who is a very good leaper in a solid body, though it really hasn’t come through in his European production. Probably 2 years away, at least, but has a highish ceiling to become something good.
No. 16 - Orlando: Chuma Okeke
Power forward, Auburn
He tore his ACL in March, so he won’t play for most, maybe all of the 2019-20 NBA season. He’s talented, but most saw him as potentially a second round guy, and the Orlando Magic don’t exactly need more fours.
No. 17 - New Orleans: Nickeil Alexander-Walker
Shooting guard, Virginia Tech
I love Nickeil Alexander-Walker: if I were drafting in this draft, he’d be in the top 10. A combo guard with size and defensive impact, with an ability to shoot and score. Think Malcolm Brogdon. New Orleans is doing very well.
No. 18 - Indiana: Goga Bitadze
The big, NBA-ready center from Europe is ready to contribute right away, and looks exceedingly likely to develop into one of those above-average NBA starters like Marcin Gortat or Jusuf Nurkic.
No. 19 - San Antonio: Luka Samanic
Power forward, Olimpija
Personally, I suspect they could have waited until No. 29 to make this pick, and so I have to dock the grade because of that. Samanic figures to be a stretch four with some ball-handling capabilities.
No. 20 - Philadelphia: Matisse Thybulle
Small forward, Washington
He had more steals than rebounds, more blocks than assists. That’s an incredible defensive resume and a very average one in every other facet. But the Sixers traded up to get him in the hopes they can teach him the latter.
No. 21 - Memphis: Brandon Clarke
Power forward, Gonzaga
Memphis traded No. 23 to move up two slots in order to get this pick, in order to take Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke. Clarke was one of the most impactful players in NCAA last year, everywhere defensively and smart offensively. Great move.
No. 22 - Boston: Grant Williams
Power forward, Tennessee
A strong power forward on the defensive end, a smart playmaker on the offensive end. He just has excellent feel for the game, if not the tools to get above the rim or a high level of quickness.
No. 23 - Oklahoma City: Darius Bazley
Small forward, New Balance
This pick used to be Utah’s, but was traded to Memphis in the Conley deal, who then forwarded it on to OKC. Bazley didn’t go to college last year, instead taking an internship with shoe company New Balance. When he played in high school, he was a long, versatile forward.
No. 24 - Phoenix: Ty Jerome
Shooting guard, Virginia
Traded to the Suns, I think Jerome will be a good backup point guard in the NBA: very smart, he’s also a terrific passer and shooter. It’s just whether or not his limited athleticism will allow him to keep up. How excited can you be about a backup PG at No. 24?
No. 25 - Portland: Nassir Little
Small forward, UNC
Nassir Little was not a good player in college in UNC, not bringing good shooting and defense despite being touted for those things coming out of high school. Can he rekindle that in the NBA? I think it’s a good bet for Portland.
No. 26 - Cleveland: Dylan Windler
Small forward, Belmont
Dylan Windler put up excellent numbers in a small conference as a senior, usually, I’m not a believer in those players. But with Windler’s size and shooting ability, I think he can stick in the NBA.
No. 27 - Los Angeles Clippers: Mfiondu Kabengele
Center, Florida State
The Clippers received this pick in a last-minute trade with the Nets. Kabengele came off the bench and scored a ton of points for Florida State last year, inside and outside with a jump shot. A bit of a black hole, though.
No. 28 - Golden State: Jordan Poole
Shooting guard, Michigan
Can the Warriors teach Poole how to play efficient, team-first basketball? He’s a talent, but takes bad shots and doesn’t defend well. Maybe in the Warriors’ construct, he’ll learn. Picked much earlier than anyone anticipated.
No. 29 - San Antonio: Keldon Johnson
Shooting guard, Kentucky
If they had taken Keldon Johnson No. 19 and Luka Samanic No. 29, it would have matched more mock drafts. But by getting Johnson here, their draft looks good from traditional and unconventional means.
No. 30 - Cleveland: Kevin Porter, Jr.
Shooting guard, USC
Kevin Porter, Jr. is a risky pick, thanks to his season-ending suspension as a freshman. But he did flash scoring threats at times, and might develop into a good player. Cleveland certainly has time to find out.