Ok, let’s cut all pretenses. We’re just hours away from the 2019 NBA 2K League entry draft. This is go time. This is for real. Twenty-one NBA 2K League franchises are about to change. One hundred and ninety-eight people’s lives are about to be transformed dramatically.
I’ve heard so much over these last few days about who’s going where and why. We won’t know who goes where until the picks are actually called in. That’s how drafts work—something happens right away that throws everything off. That’s not what we’re going to guess here, but I will throw in each team’s alternate first-round pick. Those won’t follow any particular single-narrative thread, but represents other rumors and arguments I’ve heard.
1. Utah Jazz Gaming: Ria
Ria hasn’t moved from the top of the mock draft since being slotted in at No. 1 in Mock 1.0. He’s not going anywhere now. Ria is, according to most, the best player at multiple frontcourt spots. While he’s younger than the Jazz might perhaps like, talent speaks volumes, and by that metric Ria makes too much noise to ignore.
If not Ria, then Gradient.
2. Warriors Gaming Squad: Gradient
Here’s where it really gets interesting. The Warriors are not going to get what they want, which is the KMT duo of Gradient and Kina. Gradient is the lock in both sense of the word: projection and position. Kina is going before No. 10. The Warriors have to decide which one they want more, and they have to rely on their expansive draft-prep staff to make the right decision.
If not Gradient, then Kina.
3. Kings Guard Gaming: BPtheGod
So, Timelycook is suspended for the season. You know what? That doesn’t change this pick. This is more secure than it was two days ago. The Kings need backcourt scoring, and no one can score like BP. Last year’s draft and season taught the Kings that they need a true point guard. BP’s endured some scares at this spot, but we’re going to lock him in here. Nothing’s ever as certain as it seems, however, and it’s not inconceivable that the Kings go for a point guard whom they might see as more of a potential franchise cornerstone.
If not BPtheGod, then Kina.
4. Pistons GT: MrStylez
The wacky world of Pistons draft speculation has settled on MrStylez at No. 4. The Pistons have had an, er, interesting draft process, and they may be forced with a tough decision here. That tough decision may lead them to settle on MrStylez, a proven point guard who plays like a true floor general. The toughest job for Adam Rubin and co. may be convincing players that they truly want to play in Detroit. Right now, they seem to be hoping that Stylez is the guy.
If not MrStylez, then PeteBeBallin.
5. Mavs Gaming: PeteBeBallin
I want to slot Kina in here. I truly do. But I don’t think Dimez, in the long run, wants more than a secondary ballhandler in the first round. There are only so many touches to go around, and taking a highly prized point guard like Kina will limit Dimez’s touches. The Mavs have committed to him, and that means swallowing ambition and taking the right complementary fit.
If not PeteBeBallin, then Kina.
6. Bucks Gaming: BearDaBeast
Bear’s mini-doc, produced by the league itself, certainly didn’t hurt. He’s a confident and assertive player, exactly the type of point guard the Bucks want to put beside Game6Drake. The Island Gang connection doesn’t hurt, either. But if Kina’s still on the board, do the Bucks deviate from their path and go for the KMT man?
If not BearDaBeast, then Kina.
7. Grizz Gaming: Vandii
Vandii can score, and the Grizz need scoring in the backcourt. AuthenticAfrican is the centerpiece, and for now we have to take that as the literal center, beyond its figurative implication. While the Grizz would consider one of the point guards taken above, Vandii has the track record, combine scores and appeal for the Grizz to take him at No. 7.
If not Vandii, then Kina.
8. Celtics Crossover Gaming: Breadwinner
We return to where we started with the Celtics after a long No Autographs dalliance. The Celtics know they need a big man at some point. But they’ve got a second round pick to pursue that, should they so wish, and they could well simply not want to pass up on the talent they see in Breadwinner at 8. Another late rumour is that Shuttles could be the pick here, giving the team a lethal pick-and-roll five, and if the dice fall a certain way that could well be the pick here.
If not Breadwinner, then Shuttles.
9. Magic Gaming: Kina
The question of the draft is: has Kina done enough to deter teams other than Warriors Gaming from taking him? The draft hangs on that entire issue. I don’t know whether the Magic are one of the teams sufficiently turned off. But for now, I’ll go with them expecting Kina to take to Jonah and Orlando. If not, however, Reid is a likely candidate here.
If not Kina, then Reid.
10. Warriors Gaming Squad: Dozuh (ImSoFarAhead)
By all accounts, the Warriors like Dozuh. They’d prefer the KMT duo of Gradient and Kina, but getting Gradient and a proven point guard isn’t a bad alternative. No one has resuscitated his draft stock over the NBA 2K19 cycle like Dozuh has, and it pays off as he teams up with Gradient, Smoove and Type in Oakland.
If not Dozuh, then JMoney.
11. T-Wolves Gaming: Reid
I think the T-Wolves want someone with a little more versatility than May here. Reid is an eminently capable scorer to complement Hood, and a proven and non-turbulent commodity, something that is not to be undervalued. If Hood wants to play in the backcourt, Reid will be a very good complement to him there, especially since the league meta figures to be guard-dominant.
If not Reid, then May.
12. Nets GC: JMoney
The Nets badly need a point guard, having drafted frontcourt players Nate Kahl and Shockey in the expansion draft. With the top point guards off the board in this scenario, the best available is JMoney. I’m not sure if JMoney will mesh with Brooklyn’s soft-spoken players and experienced front office, but sometimes necessity demands more than caution.
If not JMoney, then LavishTV
13. Hawks Talon GC: DevGoss
Dev finally disconnects from the Pistons as Hawks Talon, desperate for backcourt scoring, leaps on the highly touted guard at 13. It’s hard to say how much Shotz and Arsonal want Dev, but the Hawks are prepared to go for star power with the consensus top guards off the board. By all accounts, Dev’s combine and interview scores validated the pockets of the community hyping him up, and so up he jumps to 13.
If not DevGoss, then Mo.
14. Mavs Gaming: Mo
This is predicated on the Pete pick at No. 5, but sources have long indicated a brewing connection between Mo and the Mavs. It’s acknowledged by now that the Mavs are in the market for a secondary ballhander, and few players in the pool have as much high-level experience in that role as Mo. Is it the right fit for him? That’s to be seen, but for now the Dimez-Mo relationship will become the hot topic in Dallas.
If not Mo, then Sherm.
15. Raptors Uprising GC: May
May falls a little bit here, but that may be beneficial for him in the long run. The Raptors are most likely in the market for a center, although the versatility of Kenny and Trey make position-based drafting a little less important. With a player like May on the board here, however, the Raptors can jump on a player at a position of need.
If not May, then Plondo.
16. Pistons GT: Sherm
With Dev off the board, the Pistons are forced to make a tough decision. They likely want to round out their all-important backcourt, since they don’t have a second-round pick, and Sherm is a good option who can theoretically slide up or down a position or two depending on how the final roster plays out. They’ll need to settle on who the primary scoring option will be, but they won’t be displeased if they emerge from the first round with two skilled guards.
If not Sherm, then Shuttles.
17. Bucks Gaming: SlayIsland
I’ve had the Bucks linked with Slay forever, now, and that hasn’t changed. He moves up to the first round, however, because I’m not sure if the Bucks can afford to wait until their second-round pick to nab him. Those league-produced mini-documentaries have impact, I think, and the Bucks really want Slay. The Island Gang connection, the hometown kid, the mini-doc… it all adds up.
If not Slay, then Plondo.
18. Cavs Legion GC: LykaPro
The Cavs, by their own admission, are only looking at a select number of guards. If one of those guys doesn’t fall to this pick, all indications point to the Cavs being willing to sit back despite lacking a second-round pick. But recent sources indicate that the Cavs are unafraid to reach for a guy they like, especially since they don’t pick again until the third round. And sources say that LykaPro might just be that guy.
If not LykaPro, then EasyMoney.
19. 76ers GC: Shuttles
Tucker is not going to the 76ers here, sources indicate. So I’ll shake off my long-tenured feeling and hand them a different player, a guy who is somewhat falling and somewhat rising. Boston is seriously considering Shuttles at eight, and they know it’s unlikely that he falls to their second-round spot. The 76ers need a stretch big to replace Feast, and Shuttles could well be that player. Also keep an eye out for a guard here, or Jaakob, since the 76ers don’t have another pick until the fourth round.
If not Shuttles, then Strainer.
20. Heat Check Gaming: No Autographs
This is still a toss-up, since the Heat are hard to read. They want versatility. They probably want a point guard or a forward. But No Autographs has slipped all the way to this spot, and since I don’t have a better idea for the Heat, I’ll slot him in here. Good players do well wherever they go, and the Heat are the right situation for malleable talent.
If not No Autographs, then Bully.
21. Knicks Gaming: BallLikeSeem
And we wrap up the first round with nothing new, as Seem heads to the Big Apple. He didn’t showcase his full potential in a turbulent season with the Mavs, but Seem has the talent to slide into a championship core and contribute immediately. His experience in the league both on and off the court will help the Knicks right away as they try to rebound from losing NateKahl.
If not BallLikeSeem, then Strainer.
- Kings Guard Gaming: Malik
- Jazz Gaming: Lotty
- Pacers Gaming: Strainer
- Mavs GG: Too cool
- Bucks GG: Plondo
- Grizz Gaming: JROD
- Celtics Crossover Gaming: EasyMoney
- Magic Gaming: Toxsik Bangs
- Hawks Talon GC: Maverick
- Nets Gaming Crew: LavishTV
- T-Wolves Gaming: MrUserPick
- Lakers Gaming: NoLimitKev
- Wizards District Gaming: Gliz2K
- Raptors Uprising GC: Phenom
- Blazer5 Gaming: FollowTheGod