3. New York Knicks
R.J. Barrett: Wing – Duke
R.J. Barrett, the godson of Steve Nash, is the consensus third overall pick in the NBA Draft. The Canadian born, athletic left handed wing scorer, entered his only collegiate season as the number one recruit in the nation, but was somewhat overshadowed by his teammate Zion Williamson. Barrett has a passion for the game of basketball and the bright lights of New York city would not be something that he is afraid of. He is a good initiator of an offense, but can be inefficient when his jumpshot isn’t falling on a regular basis. The key to stardom for R.J. is becoming a more consistent shooter. If he does, many say his ceiling is a James Harden type player. There is uncertainty regarding rather the Knicks will keep this pick, or attempt to move it in a package for an superstar, most notably Anthony Davis. Should that happen, Barrett will once again team up with his Duke roommate Zion Williamson.
CBS Sports’ draft expert Kyle Boone has R.J. Barrett slotted to New York in his mock draft as well. Here is what he said about Barrett as a prospect:
"Probably not the Duke star Knicks had in mind on lottery night, but Barrett is more than just a consolation — he’s a building block. Barrett is an instinctive scorer who averaged 22.6 points per game at Duke — tied for the most on Duke’s roster with Zion Williamson — and he’s got good playmaking skills to boot. Barrett at Duke was sometimes criticized for being an inefficient scorer who dominated the ball, which are valid concerns. Still yet, there’s reason to believe in Barrett because of his instincts and pure competitiveness. If we look up in five years and he’s the best player in this draft class, it wouldn’t be the most stunning development."
2018 Stats: Pts:22.6 REB:7.7 APG:4.3 STL:0.9 BLK:0.4 FG%:45.4 2P%:52.9 3P%:30.8 FT%:66.5
4. Los Angeles Lakers
De’Andre Hunter: Forward – Virginia
The Los Angeles Lakers are in win now mode, so selecting the most NBA ready player makes sense for them. De’Andre Hunter fits that bill, after being a major cog in the Virginia Cavaliers National Championship run. Hunter is a tough defender, aided by his incredible wingspan. Offensively he’s a high percentage three point shooter, though he’s not a high volume guy. He’s a patient player that rarely takes bad shots. There are questions about Hunter’s ability to create shots for himself, but that won’t hinder him in Los Angeles, with LeBron James running the show. There are also questions about rather he’s quick enough to guard NBA wing players, which would make him more of a small ball power forward. Should those questions prove true, that would put his draft stock in serious jeopardy.
The current CBS Sports mock draft offered by Kyle Boone, has De’Andre Hunter slotted to the Lakers at number four. Boone offered this analysis:
De’Andre Hunter | Virginia | Jr | SF | 6-7
"If the Lakers want an immediate impact player — and based on LeBron James’s championship window, most suspect they do — Hunter fits the bill. After redshirting his first season, Hunter put together consecutive seasons in which he shot greater than 38% from 3-point range — including 43.8% last season. To complement his deep threat ability, Hunter is a tenacious defender who can switch onto guards, a premium trait for forwards in the NBA."