An early look at the top prospects of the 2019 NBA draft class

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

As the Lakers pick by way of the Sixers failed to convey last June, the Celtics are likely set to own the Kings selection (via Philadelphia) next summer.

The Kings, who finished last season with a 27-55 record (tied for the 6th worst record in the league), are in the midst of a full-on rebuild. With young, inexperienced guys like Marvin Bagley III, De’Aaron Fox and Harry Giles likely to garner substantial playing time, expect the team to be just as bad, or even worse, than the 2017-2018 squad.

Considering this, and being in the doldrums of the NBA offseason, it wouldn’t hurt to look into the some of the top prospects that the upcoming draft has to offer.

R.J. Barrett

Duke | Freshman | Wing | Ht: 6’7" | Wt: 202 | Ws: 6’10"

The Canadian phenom is one of the smoothest shooting guard prospects to come along in years. The incoming Duke freshman has a great feel for the game and really thrives running the pick and roll. Standing 6'7" with a 6'10" wingspan, Barrett has the size and length to dominate opposing guards on both ends of the floor, if he ups his defensive intensity. Although Barrett isn't the most explosive athlete, he is very fluid and crafty. While he does have great movement off the ball, he must improve his streaky three-point shooting to be an elite threat in that aspect of the game.

Barrett would be an immaculate fit on the Celtics, as Stevens could really make him a force of the defensive end like he does so well. At their peak, a young core of Kyrie, Brown, Tatum and Barrett would be something that the league has never seen before, as they'd all be able to create shots and score on every level. The sky would truly be the limit with Barrett on the team.

Play-style comparison: Penny Hardaway

Cameron Reddish

Duke | Freshman | Forward | Ht: 6’8" | Wt: 218 | Ws: 7’1"

One of the most polished scorers in the class, Reddish has the ability to score on all three levels. In addition, the freshman has well-above average athleticism and insane length (6'8" with a 7'1" wingspan), giving him potential to be a huge positive on defense.

Possessing four high-quality wings in Tatum, Hayward, Brown and Reddish would make the Celtics even more intriguing, as they'd have amazing versatility on both ends of the floor.

Play-style comparison: Tracy McGrady

Zion Williamson

Duke | Freshman | Forward | Ht: 6’7" | Wt: 285 | Ws: 6’10"

Williamson, a once in a generation type of athlete, has been on the scene for the past few years due to his super-human dunks. The incoming freshman will punish opposing forwards due to his massive 285 pound frame, great rebounding instincts and solid ball-handling ability.

He would be a great fit on the Celtics as the team could utilize Williamson as a small-ball five or play him alongside Al Horford, which would hide his insufficient three-point shooting. Once Horford starts to hit a decline (or leaves in free-agency) then Williamson would be able to slot into the starting lineup.

Play-style comparison: Charles Barkley

Nassir Little

North Carolina | Freshman | Forward | Ht: 6’6" | Wt: 220 | Ws: 7’1"

An incoming freshman at the University of North Carolina, Little draws a lot of similarities to Jaylen Brown at the same age, most notably his size, standing 6'6" with a plus-5 wingspan. Little's presence and NBA-readiness on the defensive end is unlike any other forward prospect in recent years. Even casual fans will admire Little's motor, which will help him dominate in transition, in college and in the league.

Little is the prototypical prospect that the Celtics seem to covet, due to his defensive instincts, physicality and energy. Although his shot is currently a work in progress, the Celtics would have the luxury of being patient with Little, as they wouldn't need to rely on him to rack up wins.

Play-style comparison: Ron Artest

Bol Bol

Oregon | Freshman | Big-Man | Ht: 7’2" | Wt: 235 | Ws: 7’8"

Son of the late NBA icon Manute Bol has made a name for himself as a top prospect with a diverse skill-set. Bol, while still very raw, projects to be a 3&D center with the ability to put the ball on the floor. The incoming Oregon freshman possesses a lanky 7’2" frame with a whopping 7’8" wingspan.

If the Celtics (or any team for that matter) would be patient with Bol, as he remains extremely raw and thin, he would have the potential to be one of the best players from the entire class. Bol, if drafted by the Celtics, would be their big-man of the future.

Play-style comparison: Kristaps Porzingis

Other prospects to keep in mind: Romeo Langford, a long, talented scoring guard with the potential to become a solid secondary playmaker. Charles Bassey, a solid big-man prospect in the mold of LaMarcus Aldridge. Jontay Porter, a polished offensive-oriented big with the ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot from three and make plays. Daniel Gafford, a freakish athlete set to thrive in a Clint Capela type of role in the NBA. Sekou Doumbouya, a raw, athletic international wing with a great frame and work ethic. Luka Samanic, a modern-day combo-forward euro prospect who projects to shoot the three and pass the rock at high levels.

Of course, even without a top pick in next years draft, the Celtics are nearly perfectly set up for future success. With one, Brad Stevens and co. could have a potential dynasty on their hands. Stay tuned.

Written by Eddie Masciari

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