I’m back with the second iteration of my mock 2019 NBA 2K League Entry Draft, which will take place on March 5 at Barclays Center. Check out my first mock to situate yourself before diving into this one.
Same caveat as last time:
Mock drafts are never right. This one is an attempt to see what I think teams will do, not what I personally think teams should do, based on a combination of team necessity and hours of discussion with team players, officials and followers. What’s written below isn’t what will happen on draft day, because drafts are by nature unpredictable, but it’s a good indication of what teams are considering and who they might be looking at.
1. Utah Jazz Gaming (5-9): Ria
Ria sticks at No. 1 for the second consecutive mock because, well, he’s really good. There’s no reason for Comp and co. to pass on Ria after a sterling combine performance that scored very highly. The No. 1 pick is the best chance to grab the best talent available, and Ria is the best way to make sure the pick comes to fruition.
2. Warriors Gaming Squad (4-10): Gradient
Like Ria, Gradient goes nowhere for mock 2.0. The Warriors have their eyes on one of the premier locks in the draft pool with their first of two first-round picks. I think this is the most pivotal pick of the first round. The player the Warriors take here will be really good in Oakland. But the player whom they don’t pick might make for the most interesting decision of the draft. For now, the former is still Gradient.
3. Kings Guard Gaming (4-10): BPTheGod
Another pick with no change. New Kings Guard head coach DJ Layton has to be salivating at the chance to mould arguably the best point guard in the draft pool after his own days as a college PG. The Kings desperately need a primary ballhandler and scorer, BP is still on the board, and they have the chance to right some wrongs from last year.
4. Pistons GT (9-5): PeteBeBallin
Movement! The Pistons smartly decide that they can grab one of the safest picks in the draft at No. 4, and do so. Pete, by all accounts, is one of the most appealing prospects in the pool. The Pistons would have to move JosephTheTruth to PF again, but with an overall lack of talent and the rational sense that Pete won’t be available long, the Pistons will make a move. Having a second first-round pick with which to procure a guard eases the sting of lacking a second-round pick.
5. Mavs Gaming (6-8): Real_Reizey
If both Pete and Gradient are off the board by the time the Mavs pick comes around, they’ll be sweating. The team only has Dimez on the roster, so they need talent everywhere. Most importantly, that talent has to be able to fit around Dimez, without question. Let’s go with the hometown kid to give Dimez a locus for his assists with their first pick of the round. Another option at this pivotal pick: a center.
6. Bucks Gaming (6-8): BearDaBeast
We’re sticking with Bear at six. The Bucks want a point guard, and they grab a skilled player who can bring some flash and panache to Milwaukee. The brain trust has to rely on Sam Pham to deliver a home run pick at No. 6, and the talent and marketability of Bear might be too hard to pass on.
7. Grizz Gaming (6-8): MrStylez
MrStylez vaults into the lottery as the Grizz prioritize a point guard. Star AuthenticAfrican likely wants to return to center, his preferred position, and so the Grizz go for a polished player to join him in the pick-and-roll. MrStylez has the competitive history and capable presentation to secure his spot in Memphis.
8. CLTX Gaming (8-6): No Autographs
With Fab already established as one of the league’s stars at point guard, adding a pick-and-roll partner for him at center is a must. The Celtics are comfortable with ProFusion and MelEast, but losing Arsonal means they have a real hole at the 5. It’s all about Fab, which means this pick has to be someone he’s comfortable with. I had May in this spot last time, but sources have indicated that Boston may prefer No Autographs to May at No. 8.
9. Magic Gaming (8-6): Kina
The Magic are in the market for a point guard and primary ballhandler with KingCamRoyalty and UCManny on the roster already. New head coach Jonah Edwards knows how important a capable point guard is after a season leading Mavs Gaming, and he goes for a proven lead guard—as long as he knows Kina will buy in 100%.
10. Warriors Gaming Squad (4-10): Dozuh (ImSoFarAhead)
The Warriors would take Kina if he were to make it to 10, but instead they’ll snap up their point guard in Dozuh. No point guard, it can be argued, has worked harder in NBA 2K19, as the unretained Pistons GT guard has played Pro-Am consistently with No Smoke. His draft stock is rising high, and the Warriors, although potentially willing to let BSmoove run the one, will seize on a player with both league and 2K19 experience.
11. T-Wolves Gaming (Expansion): Breadwinner
This pick, the first non-lottery selection of the draft, is another of those crucial waypoints in the draft. The T-Wolves have a lot of firepower both on and off the court, and so their pick holds a lot of weight. Feast has been playing well across the board in Pro-Am. Certain elements behind the T-Wolves draft might want Mo. But Bread has fallen out of the lottery in this situation, and the potential of combining his defensive talent with Hood’s offensive firepower is an eminently appealing proposition.
12. Nets Gaming Crew (Expansion): ImVandii
Vandii returns. Though he’s been quiet for a while, the Nets front office has a lot of experience under its belt so as not to be deterred by radio silence. More importantly, the team has a gaping hole in the backcourt and needs someone running the offense. With point guards flying off the board, Vandii might just be the answer.
13. Hawks Talon GC (Expansion): MambaMo
Mo finally lands in Atlanta, where Hawks Talon GC desperately needs a backcourt. The expansion team picked Shotz and Arsonal in the expansion draft. They need players to initiate and create, and Mo certainly has an appealing competitive history in that regard. Recent game-winners have certainly helped his cause. One of the most important factors in determining where he lands may be differentiating his character from his social media activity. For some teams, the two may be inseparable.
14. Mavs Gaming (6-8): Tooxcool
Dimez goes for a center he likes at 14 as the Mavs continue to add complementary talent to the roster. Tooxcool is consistently rated among the top big men in the draft pool; more importantly, he projects as a good fit alongside Dimez. If Dimez wants him and he’s there, off to Dallas he’ll go. If he’s no longer on the board, then May might hear his name called here.
15. Raptors Uprising GC (8-6): May
The Raptors are at an interesting juncture, because it’s hard to specify where on the court their two versatile players will suit up. With May falling this far—dependent on the Celtics and Mavs picks—I’ll slot him to the Raptors, who could use a traditional center. May is dependable and contributes in ways that don’t cramp Kenny and Trey, and that plus his talent may be all the Raptors want at No. 15.
16. Pistons GT (9-5): DevGoss
Rather than reaching for Dev at No. 4, the Pistons wait on their point guard until their second first-round pick. The Pistons have a clear opening at point guard. Dev has a lot of history with Insanity. It’s likely Dev makes it to No. 16 comfortably. It may be just as likely that he makes it no further. If Dev is gone, though, another scoring guard—JMoney or Malik—might appear in his place.
17. Bucks Gaming (6-8): Lotty
This may be attributing too much to preexisting connections. But Lotty has appeal at the Bucks’ second first-round selection due to his GFG ties to Drake and his eminent marketability. It helps that he’s a capable player, too, and one who projects to fit comfortably alongside Bear and Drake. If he’s gone at this slot, or if the Bucks see something in the dossiers, this might be the spot for an IslandGang member—SlayIsland or Rondo4Life.
18. Cavs Legion GC (8-6): JMoney
I don’t know how I feel about JMoney here. At this stage it seems to be a marriage of convenience, with the Cavs desperately (perhaps moreso than any returning team) needing backcourt scoring. JMoney has emerged as one of the better point guards on NBA 2K19, and he has the skill to merit this pick. If he has the interview and application scores, he might merit it entirely. Do the Cavs believe more in Malik here, perhaps?
19. 76ers GC (10-4): TuckerLocksUp
After protecting Radiant and retaining two sharpshooters in Scretty (ZDS) and Newdini, it stands to reason that Philadelphia takes a big man with their late first rounder. I can’t shake the feeling that TuckerLocksUp sneaks into the first round here, and so I’ll pair him with Steez, which would give the 76ers a sneakily good frontcourt. Tucker has been terrific and was one of the Pacers many capable big men; without a second- or third-round pick, and believing in their championship-caliber core, the 76ers may well decide that they need both demonstrated skill and experience.
20. Heat Check Gaming (8-6): YungIverson
If someone knows what the Heat are doing, please tell me. Until then, I’ll just mock YungIverson to them, because he is a player who is good at 2K, and FamousEnough is known to be fairly good at getting players who are good at 2K. Even a #OneManArmy needs foot soldiers.
21. Knicks Gaming (5-9): BallLikeSeem
Another unretained players goes in the first round. Seem was one of the best shooting guards in season one, but struggled to find a longterm fit in Dallas. While yeynotgaming performed admirably at the two in season one, the Knicks can nab some extra creative talent with one of their two picks and continue to build on the only championship-winning core in the league.