2019 NBA Mock Draft: Full first round as lottery nears

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Virginia Tech Nicheil Alexander-Walker (Hickey/Getty Images)
Virginia Tech Nicheil Alexander-Walker (Hickey/Getty Images) /

player. 20. . SG. Virginia Tech. nickeil Walker-Alexander. 11

Age: 20
Height, Weight: 6-foot-5, 205 pounds
Slash Line: .474/.374/.778
Season Averages: 16.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 1.7 3PM

The Los Angeles Lakers were not expected anywhere close to the draft lottery. LeBron James arrived and eyed yet another playoff and NBA Finals appearance, but the season was marred by injuries, a failed Anthony Davis trade and a late-season letdown that kept them on the outside, looking in.

With open roster spots and no head coach, the Lakers enter draft season with more questions than answers, especially for the player chosen to either fit with LeBron or head elsewhere in a trade for a superstar.

Outside shooting was problematic from the start, and it was a predictable outcome when this roster formed in the 2018 offseason, so Nickeil Walker-Alexander has an easy role to fill on this team.

The Virginia Tech product is an outside shooting backcourt-mate for whoever is the point guard. He can find shots from anywhere on the court and became a reliable player on a good Hokies team.

So Walker-Alexander not only instantly upgrades an area of need, but is a fine defender, with above average wingspan. He added nearly 2.0 steals per game as a sophomore and finished with a 94.6 defensive rating.

Ball handling poses somewhat of an issue, with 2.9 turnovers to 4.0 assists per game. He is not this class’s most athletic player, either, as NBADraft.net noted, with an underwhelming first step.

If the New York Knicks trade into the end of the lottery, Walker-Alexander becomes a possibility and he can upgrade their backcourt, but that seems unlikely at this point of the draft.