/Grading 2019 NBA 1st-Round Draft Picks so Far This Season

Grading 2019 NBA 1st-Round Draft Picks so Far This Season

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

No. 14: Romeo Langford, Boston Celtics

Injuries have limited Langford since college, but he just earned his first start for the Boston Celtics on Wednesday and scored a career-high 16 points Thursday against the Atlanta Hawks. The Celtics are too talented and deep for Langford to have a significant rookie role, but he figures to be in the team’s long-term plans with his three-level scoring potential.

      

No. 16: Chuma Okeke, Orland Magic

Okeke won’t play this year after tearing his ACL last March. With a perceived weak 2020 draft class, he will be one of the more interesting rookies for 2020-21 based on his shooting and defensive versatility.

     

No. 17: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans 

After a strong summer league and preseason, Alexander-Walker struggled early, and then Lonzo Ball got comfortable. There is still plenty to like about his versatility with 6’5″ size, shot-making and passing skills, but he won’t factor into the Pelicans’ plans this season.

       

No. 18: Goga Bitadze, Indiana Pacers

Getting drafted by the Indiana Pacers means starting behind Myles Turner. Bitadze averaged 21.7 points through three G League games, but it seems unlikely he’ll receive many NBA minutes this season. His scoring skills and shot-blocking potential remain promising for the long term.

         

No. 19: Luka Samanic, San Antonio Spurs

Samanic has averaged 15.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 threes in the G League. His scoring versatility for a big is a draw in today’s NBA. He’ll get his crack eventually in San Antonio after turning 20 in January.

          

No. 24: Ty Jerome, Phoenix Suns

Injuries have limited Jerome, but the speed and athleticism of the NBA game have also bothered him. He remains worth tracking for his shot making, passing IQ and defensive peskiness.

       

No. 25: Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers

Little has had encouraging stretches for Portland, and once he becomes a more reliable shooter, he’ll come closer to earning a role. Shooting 43.0 percent, he brings good energy and athleticism to the Blazers’ frontcourt.

       

No. 26: Dylan Windler, Cleveland Cavaliers

A leg stress fracture will knock Windler out for the season. He was a terrific off-ball scorer at Belmont, and Cleveland could use shot-makers, so he should eventually receive a chance once back at full strength.

         

No. 27: Mfiondu Kabengele, Los Angeles Clippers

There isn’t room for rookies in the Clippers’ loaded rotation. In the meantime, the 250-pound Kabengele has been averaging 19.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.0 threes in the G League. He’s an energetic big with a projectable jumper.

           

No. 29: Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs

Johnson is averaging 20.1 points in the G League despite only shooting 22.4 percent from three. His tools, athleticism and attacking style are working, but he could have a tough time finding minutes in San Antonio’s deep backcourt.

          

Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports Reference and Basketball Reference.