2019 NBA Mock Drafts: Where Vols are Being Projected

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    We’re now just a couple days away from the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20th, and a monumental trade shook up how the draft is likely to play out.

    The New Orleans Pelicans dealt star big man Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round draft picks. Those draft selections include the Lakers’ No. 4 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

    Because of that trade, the draft order for the 2019 NBA Draft has changed, and it opens up a huge possibility for more trades. The Pelicans now have the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in the draft, and it’s believed they’ll trade the No. 4 pick, and that could shake up how the rest of the first round and even the second round play out.

    After that trade, NBA analysts have released their latest updates to their mock drafts with the caveat that further trades are bound to happen and shake up the selection process on Thursday.

    So where are Tennessee’s trio of likely draft prospects — Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, and Jordan Bone — showing up in these latest mock drafts? Let’s take a look at 10 prominent mock drafts to find out.

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    The Athletic

    Grant Williams – No. 29 overall, San Antonio Spurs
    Admiral Schofield – No. 43 overall, Minnesota Timberwolves

    In Sam Vecenie’s updated mock draft after the Anthony Davis trade, two Vols are projected to be taken in the draft. Vecenie has both Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield being selected, and Williams is slated as a first-round pick by the San Antonio Spurs.

    “Williams is a tough prospect to peg right now. Some really smart teams don’t have him rated as a first-round pick, seriously doubting his ability to shoot it from distance and defend away from the basket due to his mobility. I’m not one of those people,” Vecenie writes. “I have Williams at No. 15 on my board because I believe in his work ethic, physical strength and basketball IQ translating at a high level. Williams has been productive at every stop despite not possessing the body that people expect from a good basketball player. He’s a box-score filler across the board, posting 18.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. He and David West are the only two players in the last 25 years to average those numbers while also doing so on a national average true-shooting percentage. He’s also working to extend his range out beyond the NBA 3-point arc, with solid results thus far that can make you buy into him becoming a solid shooter from the corners.

    “The Spurs tend to value all of these aspects in players. If they took him, I’d have little doubt that he’d be a perfect fit in what they want to do. Still, on the whole, it’s no guarantee currently that Williams ends up in the first round. I’d peg his range wide, basically from No. 18 all the way to No. 35 or so.”

    Indeed, as you’ll see throughout the rest of this piece, Vecenie’s given range for Williams is fairly spot-on. Williams is showing up anywhere from a mid-first-round pick to an early second-round selection in most mock drafts. Analysts are divided on his overall fit and potential in the NBA, and that’s reflected in his status in mock drafts and big boards.

    Vecenie believes Williams should be taken higher than most are projecting, and he has the same belief about Admiral Schofield.

    In Vecenie’s mock draft, Schofield goes No. 43 overall to Minnesota. Vecenie thinks Schofield should be off the board before this, but he doubts that happens.

    “Another guy I’d take slightly higher than this, but I think Schofield could legitimately help the  Timberwolves next year,” Vecenie writes. “Putting him in lineups next to Robert Covington or Dario Saric as the forward next to them could provide some toughness and shooting that would complement either of them.”

    Vecenie doesn’t have point guard Jordan Bone projected to be drafted.

    CBS Sports – Matt Norlander

    Grant Williams – No. 27 overall, Brooklyn Nets
    Admiral Schofield – No. 31 overall, Brooklyn Nets

    Matt Norlander of CBS Sports added an interesting caveat to his latest mock draft. He noted that the Anthony Davis trade is likely just the first of many, and he believes there could be upwards of 20 trades that take place during the actual draft. Because of that, he took a slightly different approach to his mock draft.

    According to Norlander, his mock draft “is not so much a forecast of players going to specific franchises, but rather how the prospects align in this year’s pool.” Meaning that the players he has beyond the lottery picks are more based on where he has them on his big board and their overall value to NBA teams rather than the specific team he thinks will draft them.

    Norlander has Grant Williams going late in the first round and Admiral Schofield going with the first pick of the second round. Interestingly, he has both Vols being taken by the same team: The Brooklyn Nets.

    “Back-to-back SEC Player of the Year. That hadn’t been done in that league in 25 years,” Norland says of Williams. “Williams wasn’t a highly rated prospect. He’s not a physical wonder. But he knows how to use his body in all the right ways, uses the rim to his advantage and wins so many one-on-one battles by anticipating angles. Smart player. Brooklyn would be lucky to have him.”

    As for Schofield, Norlander was highly impressed by what Tennessee’s senior wing did in just one year’s time. Schofield tested the NBA waters last year and ultimately came back to UT for his senior season after receiving feedback from teams and scouts. According to Norlander, Schofield went from “undraftable” to potentially a first-round pick if things play out a certain way.

    “Schofield is on the cusp of first-round status, which means he did more for his stock in a year’s time than any player listed above him, Zion included,” Norlander writes. “A year ago at this time Schofield was not viewed as a draftable player. After helping Tennessee to its best season in school history, he proved himself as a shooter (41.8% from 3-point range) and reinforced his reputation as a viable defender and terrific vocal leader.”

    If Norlander’s predictions come true, then Williams and Schofield would remain teammates even in the pros. Vol fans would undoubtedly enjoy seeing that.

    CBS Sports – Kyle Boone

    Grant Williams – No. 25 overall, Portland Trail Blazers 
    Admiral Schofield – No. 37 overall, Dallas Mavericks 
    Jordan Bone – No. 53 overall, Utah Jazz

    Another CBS Sports writer, Kyle Boone, also updated his NBA mock draft, and he included all three of Tennessee’s main draft prospects.

    Boone sees Williams going in the first round and both Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone being taken in the second round.

    “Opinions vary on Williams, and while this may be seen as a reach for Portland, it would be a perfect fit,” Boone writes. “Williams can run the short roll in the Blazers’ offense and give Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum another weapon to roll teams with. His physical presence and improving perimeter skills could help him grow into an even better form of the two-time SEC Player of the Year he was in college.”

    Boone believes Portland would be reaching a bit for Williams, but ultimately the two-time SEC Player of the Year would be a good fit for them. He’s even more bullish on Admiral Schofield’s value in the draft, claiming that Dallas would be using their lone pick in this year’s draft wisely by selecting the All-SEC wing.

    “Dallas has just one pick this draft, and getting Admiral Schofield at No. 37 would be making it count,” Boone states. “He’s a big-bodied wing who can shoot it well from 3-point range (career 38.7%) and defend up and down the lineup, making him a perfect fit for the Mavs.”

    Boone is one of a few analysts who predicts that Jordan Bone will be drafted, but a month ago nobody was projecting Bone in the two-round draft. Boone sees the Vols’ floor general going late in the second round, but not as late as some.

    “The Jazz are looking to bolster their depth at point guard — likely via a more experienced player — but Bone is a low-risk flyer who can push the pace and shoot it,” Boone writes.

    If Boone’s projections hold true, it would mark the first time since 1977 that Tennessee has three players taken in the same NBA Draft.

    NBADraft.net

    Grant Williams – No. 36 overall, Charlotte Hornets
    Jordan Bone – No. 50 overall, Indiana Pacers

    Interestingly, the mock draft on NBADraft.net does not include Admiral Schofield. Of all the updated mock drafts that include both rounds of the draft, theirs is the only one that doesn’t include Schofield.

    In their projections, both Grant Williams and Jordan Bone are second-round picks. Williams would wind up in Charlotte, his hometown, while Bone would go up north to Indiana.

    NBC Sports

    Grant Williams – No. 32 overall, Phoenix Suns
    Admiral Schofield – No. 36 overall, Charlotte Hornets

    Another mock draft that has Williams going early in the second round is the latest mock draft on NBC Sports. Ben Standig’s updated projections on NBC Sports have both Williams and Schofield going early in the second round.

    It’s worth noting that NBC Sports’ mock draft only looks at the first 40 picks of the draft for some reason, so the last 20 picks of the second round are not included.

    As for Williams, it’s clear that Standig thinks highly of him but doesn’t believe he’ll be taken as highly as others due to his poor fit in the NBA style of play. That’s why he projects him as the second pick in the second round.

    “Based on the past season’s production and leadership, Williams is a top 5 selection,” Standig writes. “The undersized power forward isn’t a stretch-4 now, but the effort is always there.”

    Standig sees Charlotte drafting a guard in the second round, but which guard will it be? According to his read on the draft, Schofield will get the call over two other SEC wings.

    “Seems likely the Hornets add a guard with one of their top two selections considering Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb are free agents. Maybe that’s Terence Davis from Ole Miss or LSU’s Tremont Waters,” Standig writes. “Based on this board the call is the 6-foot-6 Schofield. The rugged forward averaged 16.5 points and shot 42 percent from 3 during his senior season.”

    The Ringer

    Grant Williams – No. 25 overall, Portland Trail Blazers
    Admiral Schofield – No. 40 overall, Sacramento Kings

    In their updated draft post-Anthony Davis trade, The Ringer pegs Williams to the Trail Blazers (a popular choice) late in the first round and Admiral Schofield fairly early in the second round to Sacramento.

    The Ringer’s analysis of Williams says his main selling point is his “glue-guy skills” and calls him a “team-first player who runs the show from the post in college but will need to expand his game to the perimeter at the next level.” They also list him as one of the five best playmakers in the draft regardless of position.

    “Tennessee ran its offense through the junior forward, who averaged 18.8 points on 56.4 percent shooting and 3.2 assists per game,” writes Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer. “His size (6-foot-8 and 240 pounds) means that he won’t be able to play in the post in the NBA as much as he did in college, but he has the skill set to transition into more of a secondary role on the perimeter. Williams could thrive making plays as the roll man in the two-man game, much like Draymond Green.”

    Schofield moved up a few spots from The Ringer’s last mock draft, sliding just inside the top-40 overall picks. His main selling point is listed as his muscles and grit, and he’s tabbed as someone who has a physique “that’d make bodybuilders blush.” The Ringer’s analysis also states that Schofield “has the potential skill set of a 3-and-D forward.”

    Sports Illustrated

    Grant Williams – No. 39 overall, New Orleans Pelicans
    Admiral Schofield – No. 43 overall, Minnesota Timberwolves
    Jordan Bone – No. 59 overall, Toronto Raptors

    One of only two full NBA mock drafts that has all three Vols being drafted, Sports Illustrated’s latest projections have three Tennessee players being taken in the second round of this year’s draft.

    Jeremy Woo of SI has Williams projected lower than any other mock draft, predicting him to go No. 39 overall to New Orleans, teaming up with Zion Williamson in the process.

    “Williams is another experienced college player who could end up in the 20s, but it’s also possible he falls a bit here just based on the way the second round tends to work, and the overall discrepancy in how teams view the 20-40 range this year,” Woo writes. “He’d be a strong bet by the Pelicans at this spot if he makes it this far. Teams have doubts about his outside shot and perimeter defense translating to the NBA, which has kept his value deflated despite a strong statistical case.”

    All three of Tennessee’s main draft prospects are viewed highly due to their character and intangibles, and Woo points that out when discussing Admiral Schofield. According to Woo, Minnesota values high character players, and Schofield would be a perfect fit in that regard.

    “The Timberwolves are going to place a premium on character, and while this is about the back end of Schofield’s range, he’d be a nice option for them here,” Woo says. “Concerns with him come defensively and attacking the basket against better athletes, but he brings enough to the table from an intangibles perspective to see him sticking on rosters for a while.”

    Woo calls Jordan Bone “probably the most underrated piece of Tennessee’s team” this past season and claims that Bone’s superb testing at the 2019 NBA Draft Combine and his leadership will make him hard to pass up late in the second round.

    “Bone was probably the most underrated piece of Tennessee’s team this season, and he couples elite athleticism with leadership, toughness and passing chops,” Woo writes. “He’d be a strong two-way candidate in this range.”

    For those wondering, a two-way contract is a fairly new addition to the NBA. In the 2017 offseason, NBA rosters were expanded from 15 to 17 players with the addition of two two-way contract spots. These contracts are used on players who will spend the bulk of the season in the NBA G League and not more than 45 days with their respective NBA teams. Only players in their fourth NBA season or earlier are eligible for two-way contracts.

    Tankathon.com

    Grant Williams – No. 24 overall, Philadelphia 76ers
    Admiral Schofield – No. 44 overall, Atlanta Hawks

    Over on Tankathon, Williams is projected as a first-round pick while Schofield goes in the mid-second round.

    This mock draft is the highest Williams is showing up in the updated mock drafts, going No. 24 overall to Philadelphia. As of now, the 76ers have one first-round pick and four second-round picks. There’s a strong chance Philadelphia trades some of those picks, maybe even their first-round one.

    As for Schofield, this is the lowest he’s projected in a full mock draft aside from NBADraft.net, which doesn’t have him listed at all in their two-round mock draft.

    USA Today Sports

    Grant Williams – No. 25 overall, Portland Trail Blazers

    The latest mock draft on USA Today Sports is only a projection of the first round. But this mock draft does have Grant Williams mentioned, and they have him going No. 25 overall to Portland. They’re the third updated mock draft to peg Williams to the Trail Blazers.

    WatchStadium.com

    Grant Williams – No. 27 overall, Brooklyn Nets

    Lastly, Jeff Goodman of WatchStadium.com put out his latest mock draft, and it’s only a projection of the first round as well. He has Williams being taken late in the first round, and the Brooklyn Nets — another common destination for Williams in mock drafts — is the team to select him.

    “He’s not the biggest guy around, but Williams is the type of player that fits in Brooklyn,” Goodman writes. “He just finds a way despite being undersized. Williams will be a great second-unit player for a Nets team that overachieves due largely to chemistry and effort.”



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.