I’m back with the third iteration of my mock 2019 NBA 2K League Entry Draft, which will take place on March 5 at Barclays Center. Check out my second 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, won lottery): Ria
The Jazz are in the enviable position where they can do literally whatever they want. With this unparalleled opportunity, I still have them going for Ria. The Jazz have Compete, so they don’t need a point guard, and pairing the former third-overall pick with this year’s top selection should be a simple recipe for success.
2. Warriors Gaming Squad (4-10): Gradient
The Warriors have a lot of needs: point guard (though sources say they might be comfortable with BSmoove there), lock, center, wherever Type doesn’t wind up. They have another first-round pick with which to address another of those needs, but the second overall pick has to be about acquiring a player who won’t be there later on. Thankfully, either Gradient or Ria will be there at No. 2, and so the Warriors can snatch up a very talented and 2K19-experienced player. Again, either Gradient or Ria will be here, so the worst-case scenario isn’t too bad. The worst case though, would be if picks three through nine see an absolute run on point guards, and the Warriors aren’t able to grab a top guard at 10. The risk of that is low, considering the number of first-round point guards available, but if the Warriors grab a point guard here they can probably kiss (my timbs) a top lock goodbye.
3. Kings Guard Gaming (4-10): BPTheGod
BP is here, and they take him. The Kings desperately need a point guard, and BP is the consensus top point guard on the board. As long as he’s available and he’s the top-rated point guard on the Kings’ board, this should be the pick. The Jazz most likely won’t take BP, but it’s not inconceivable that the Warriors do. After a disastrous season one, the Kings know they need a point guard, and if BP isn’t there they’ll have to go for their second choice. You never want to go for your second choice if you have the third overall pick. That would probably mean reaching for BearDaBeast or MrStylez.
The Pistons have some holes to fill. They’ll go for a point guard later on, but if BP fell to them here, they’d have a lot of thinking to do. Meanwhile, however, they can grab a talented player at a position of need by taking one of the best locks on the game at No. 4. General Manager Adam Rubin wants to win, and Breadwinner will give teams a better chance to do so.
5. Mavs Gaming (6-8): PeteBeBallin
Big pick for the Mavs here. Rumours abound that they could go for a secondary ballhandler if they really think they have a good match—more on that later—but for now, with Pete available at No. 5, the Mavs grab a proven center to be Dimez’s pick-and-roll partner. This is a crucial pick, and if the Mavs throw a curveball and, say, pick a guard, some teams are going to be scrambling.
6. Bucks Gaming (6-8): BearDaBeast
One of the more volatile teams in the draft surprisingly hasn’t really changed over these last few weeks. Bear still seems the likeliest pick, with the team liking his gameplay and marketability. Drake at shooting guard seems to be the new direction for Milwaukee, so we’ll keep a steady course for Sam Pham and the Bucks.
7. Grizz Gaming (6-8): MrStylez
No change here. The likeliest positional change for the Grizz is Authentic African’s return to center, and that means the Grizz are in the market for a natural backcourt player. Finding the right pick-and-roll partner for AA is essential, and Stylez, one presumes, can be that guy.
8. CLTX Gaming (8-6): No Autographs
With Pete off the board, the Celtics are free to take their chosen center. Word around the league still has No Autographs heading to Boston, in place of May. The Celtics must replace Arsonal with a pick-and-roll threat, and they—and most importantly Fab—have to be comfortable and certain about who that may be.
9. Magic Gaming (8-6): ImVandii
The Magic really need a point guard. Furthermore, they want one with identity and integrity, and Vandii’s social-media silence may play to his favor in the Magic’s decision-making. UCManny and KingCam are versatile players, with Manny even making a spot start at point guard in season one, but with the way the combine valued guards, not having a top-tier point guard doesn’t look like the recipe for success.
10. Warriors Gaming Squad (4-10; pick acquired from Lakers Gaming): Kina
The Warriors miraculously land the second part of the KMT showing, pairing Kina with Gradient once again. Kina has experience sharing some ballhandling duties, which the Warriors may necessitate with BSmoove in the fold, but his experience and chemistry with Gradient would probably be too much to resist. If the Warriors see Kina as a potential cornerstone, there’s no chance he gets past No. 10.
11. T-Wolves Gaming (Expansion): May
May is a very good player. The T-Wolves will benefit from having very good players who fit around Hood. While they’ve already got Feast in the frontcourt, it never hurts to have more talent up front, especially if Hood plays point guard and needs a pick-and-roll partner. May has a lot of potential destinations, but for now Minnesota’s the one.
12. Nets Gaming Crew (Expansion): Reizey
The Nets need backcourt scoring, badly. While they’d prefer a point guard with their pick, I don’t think Curt and Nick Gartrelle will reach for a point guard they’re uncertain about, especially in the first round. Instead, I’ll slate them one of the better shooting guards, a proven winner in Reizey who knows how to put the ball in the basket.
13. Hawks Talon GC (Expansion): Dozuh
The Hawks are in the market for some backcourt scoring. During the 2K19 cycle, few point guards have made an impact on the public consciousness equal to that of Dozuh’s, and that sort of thing affects recently arrived teams. Combine that with the position fit and Freddie’s experience in season one as a member of Pistons GT, and the No Smoke lead guard could see himself go as the first unretained player picked in the draft.
14. Mavs Gaming (6-8): Mo
More Mo, more motivation? While Dimez is the Mavs surefire point guard, it would be foolish to write off a secondary ball handler and scorer for the Mavs, who thrived when Seem was at his best last season. While this may be an interesting mesh of personalities, the Mavs will bank on their accumulated talent and experience in this scenario. More firepower is nothing to scoff at, and a balanced offensive attack may be just what the Mavs need.
15. Raptors Uprising GC (8-6): Rondo
The Raptors aren’t content to lose out on a center here with Pete, May and No Autographs off the board, but they’re confident enough in their system and their possession of a second-round pick to take one of the better guys available. If May or Bread falls to this pick, though, expect them to fall no further.
16. Pistons GT (9-5): DevGoss
This isn’t as airtight as it was last week. The Pistons still need a primary ballhandler, and if they don’t go for one at No. 4 then this pick has to acquire one. They need to hope Dev is still here or reach for him at four. As far as this mock draft has gone, he’s still here, but don’t be surprised if Mock Draft 4.0 has him going elsewhere.
17. Bucks Gaming (6-8): Slay
I had Lotty here in 2.0, but with the Bucks rounding out their backcourt I’m not sure that his ties to Drake are enough to get him picked in the first round. With Rondo off the board, I’ll slot in another player the Bucks could well like, who happens to play a position of greater need. BigMeek can’t be the answer at both forward positions, so Slay’s ability and Island Gang experience have him off to Milwaukee here. This might be a bit of a reach, since the Bucks should be able to get Slay in the second round,
18. Cavs Legion GC (8-6): JMoney
Once again I find myself sending JMoney to Cleveland. There’s talk that Larry might be the default point guard if the Cavs can’t find anything better, but at a position of such need it’s hard to see Cleveland passing up the talented JMoney, especially without possessing a second-round pick. There’s plenty of variability on this pick, though.
19. 76ers GC (10-4): TuckerLocksUp
The feeling that Tucker goes to the 76ers is unshakeable. They could use a true center if they want an elite frontcourt pairing with Steez (or if he goes to the three), and Tucker was one of the best interior defenders in season one. His rebounding and paint protection promises to be a perfect complement to the offensive firepower the 76ers already possess.
20. Heat Check Gaming (8-6): Sherm
Sherm’s draft stock has really risen in the last several weeks. He’s boosted his resume and his experience in Pro-Am, and good performances in high-profile series never hurt anyone’s draft stock. It may well be the wrong fit for the Heat, but talent has a way of figuring itself out, especially with a finalist culture.
21. Knicks Gaming (5-9): BallLikeSeem
Seem returns to the Knicks in this mock. He was one of the better season-one players to go unretained, and that had to do in part with the Mavs needing a total overhaul. Seem is a very talented player and someone who has played a very respectable amount of 2K19. The Knicks need an extra infusion of talent, and Seem could well be that guy.
- Kings Guard Gaming: Malik
- Jazz Gaming: Lotty
- Pacers Gaming: YungIverson
- Mavs GG: Shuttles
- Bucks GG: Lavish
- Grizz Gaming: Phenom
- Celtics Crossover Gaming: JROD
- Magic Gaming: Toxsik Bangs
- Hawks Talon GC: EasyMoneyLOE
- Nets Gaming Crew: Rando2K
- T-Wolves Gaming: Tooxcool
- Lakers Gaming: Mxverick
- Wizards District Gaming: Gliz2K
- Raptors Uprising GC: Strainer
- Blazer5 Gaming: FollowTheGod