2019 NBA Mock Draft: Full first round as lottery nears

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
3 of 30
new york knicks
Duke RJ Barrett (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

G/F. Duke. RJ Barrett. 3. player. 156.

Age: 19
Height, Weight: 6-foot-7, 208 pounds
Slash Line: .454/.308/.665
Season Averages: 22.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 4.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 1.9 3PM

The Cleveland Cavaliers have years to travel in their post-LeBron James rebuild. They went from four straight NBA Finals appearances to the third-worst record in 12 months. A reversal of fortunes like that is rare, but losing the League’s best player and not having Kevin Love for most of the season pushes this forward.

That leaves a top pick ahead for the Cavaliers, whether they stay third or land as low as seventh. Talent is all around to add to Collin Sexton, and a former Duke star makes sense here.

RJ Barrett had a good, but not a great year. His 22.6 points were a positive, but streakiness from behind the arc, free throw problems and ball dominance overwhelmed his game at times. Sliding off the draft boards this high is somewhat representative of this class, but that does not mean the 19-year-old Canadian is a downside player.

Barrett can drive and finish with his left hand like few others, and when his game has momentum, he is a difficult matchup for any defense, especially at 6-foot-7.

In Cleveland, Barrett can dominate the ball and have few questions asked, while the team rebuilds over the next three-to-four years. He might become an instant candidate for NBA Rookie of the Year, as well, with how many scoring opportunities that will exist.

This is a backup option for the New York Knicks if they land the second pick or lower. Barrett can slide into the middle of the lineup and add a unique scoring threat to Knox and free agent signings like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.