2019 NBA Draft Rumors: Grizzlies ‘Intend’ To Select Ja Morant With No. 2 Pick, Knicks ‘Will Do Its Due Diligence’ With No. 3 Pick
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

With a new system implemented at the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, there were numerous surprises, highlighted by the Los Angeles Lakers moving up seven spots and landing the No. 4 pick.

As the New York Knicks dropped two spots with the No. 3 pick, the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies both moved up six spots as they landed the No. 1 and No. 2 picks, respectively.

While the Pelicans will select Zion Williamson, it is widely expected Ja Morant and RJ Barrett will not be available when the Lakers are officially on the clock.

With the 2019 NBA Draft Combine underway, the Grizzlies reportedly intend to select Morant on June 20 at the Barclays Center, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN:

The Memphis Grizzlies have told interested parties in Chicago, where the NBA draft combine is underway, that they intend to select Murray State guard Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick next month, provided the New Orleans Pelicans take Duke’s Zion Williamson first overall, sources told ESPN.

As for the Knicks, this means Barrett will be available at No. 3, but they will explore all options at this time, according to Givony:

Should the Grizzlies proceed with drafting Morant as expected, the road will be cleared for Duke’s RJ Barrett — the presumptive No. 1 pick in the draft entering the season — to land in New York with the Knicks, who pick third. Sources said that Barrett would be ecstatic to end up in New York but that the franchise will do its due diligence in exploring trade options, as well as work out other players projected to be selected in the top 10.

Although the 2019 NBA Draft is widely considered as a three-player draft, general manager Rob Pelinka and company will explore all options. Considering the Lakers only had a 9.7% chance of moving into the top-four, this is an unexpected opportunity as they attempt to stabilize themselves.

If the Lakers ultimately want to add to their young core, there are five prospects they should strongly consider including Darius Garland, DeAndre Hunter, Jarrett Culver, Sekou Doumbouya, and Cam Reddish.

However, if the Lakers are looking to trade the No. 4 pick for a second All-Star player, all of the attention will naturally be on Anthony Davis. While Davis’ trade request has not changed despite the opportunity to play with Williamson, the Pelicans reportedly do not want to trade him to Los Angeles.

With a month before the 2019 NBA Draft, the No. 4 pick has given the Lakers more options and it will be interesting to see how they maximize the opportunity.