Long after the marquee players are taken in the 2019 NBA draft, playoff teams will try to add valuable assets in the back end of the first round.
A year ago, Landry Shamet was the late steal of the first round, as he helped both the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers in his rookie season.
Two years ago, Jarrett Allen, Kyle Kuzma and OG Anunoby turned into key contributors after being taken in the 20s.
This year’s crop of fringe first-round prospects, who could land in the final 10 picks of the opening round, includes college upperclassmen overshadowed by one-and-done stars, international prospects with plenty of buzz and some one-and-done players looking to erase issues on their scouting reports.
2019 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
3. New York Knicks: RJ Barrett, SF, Duke
4. Los Angeles Lakers: De’Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
7. Chicago Bulls: Coby White, PG, North Carolina
8. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish, SG, Duke
9. Washington Wizards: Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina
10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas): Sekou Doumbouya, SF, France
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
12. Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington, SF, Kentucky
13. Miami Heat: Jaxson Hayes, PF/C, Texas
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento): Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
15. Detroit Pistons: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
16. Orlando Magic: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
17. Atlanta Hawks (from Brooklyn): Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Gonzaga
18. Indiana Pacers: Ty Jerome, PG, Virginia
19. San Antonio Spurs: Goga Bitadze, C, Republic of Georgia
20. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers): Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
22. Boston Celtics: Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee
23. Utah Jazz: Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Keldon Johnson, SG, Kentucky
25. Portland Trail Blazers: Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston): Nic Claxton, C, Georgia
27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver): Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia
28. Golden State Warriors: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto): Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Dylan Windler, SG/SF, Belmont
Before the pre-draft process heated up, Sekou Doumbouya and Goga Bitadze were viewed as the only two internationals who could land in the first round.
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That has changed in the last few weeks as teams become more familiar with the skill set of Luka Samanic.
The 19-year-old recently went through an individual workout with the Indiana Pacers, who are set to pick at No. 18.
No. 18 feels a bit high for a player who recently surged up draft boards, but the Pacers could produce an unexpected pick if they liked what they saw out of Samanic.
The more realistic range for the Croatian is the mid-20s, where a handful of contenders are slated to pick.
Philadelphia is bringing in Samanic for a workout Thursday, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Sixers have had success with international draft picks in recent years, with Dario Saric standing out the most before he was shipped to Minnesota in the Jimmy Butler trade.
San Antonio, who picks at No. 19 and No. 29, is another team worth watching because of its success on the international market with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
According to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford has been over to Europe to scout Samanic in person.
One of the more intriguing factors about Samanic is he has already played professionally in Europe for three years, so in theory he would be more mature than the players that spent a year in college basketball.
His ability to post up and take shots from three-point range should intrigue prospective suitors since the current state of the NBA requires big men to be versatile.
As long as he continues to impress in the six days he has before draft night, Samanic should land safely in the 20s with a contender in need of a bit more versatility at forward and center.
Belmont guard Dylan Windler should force his way into the first 30 picks on draft night because of his tremendous shooting ability.
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
In his senior season, the 22-year-old shot 42.9 percent from three-point range while averaging 21.3 points per game.
In three of his four collegiate seasons, Windler shot better than 39 percent from three-point range, which is a trait that immediately stands out to contenders at the back end of the first round.
Once the top 15 or so teams draft on upside to go along with talent, some of the more experienced college players will begin to go off the board.
Windler will not be the first upperclassman taken, but he could be one of the first few off the board if teams in the 20s value his shooting ability.
Golden State feels like a natural fit because of his three-point ability, and he could bring a fresh burst of life into a squad full of veteran shooters.
Boston might be willing to take a risk on Windler at No. 22 because it is in possession of three first-round draft picks, but if trade talks with New Orleans over Anthony Davis escalate before June 20, the No. 22 pick could change hands.
Philadelphia is an intriguing option for him since it needs a cheap, young shooter to replace the three-point volume of J.J. Redick.
Portland and Brooklyn could also go for a young shot-maker to add to their current groups, while Milwaukee is an interesting team to watch at No. 30.
The Bucks built the majority of their roster with shrewd draft picks, and Windler would fall into that category since he comes out of a small school in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Statistics obtained from Sports Reference