SPOKANE, Wash. — The 2019 NBA Draft is only a matter of hours away. Gonzaga standouts Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke were invited last week.
On June 12, the NBA invited the two players to the NBA Draft Green Room, which is reserved for players who are expected to be drafted high in the first round. It is also the area closest to the podium, where NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announces the draft picks.
Mock drafts by multiple sports outlets have projected Clarke and Hachimura to go high in the first round, including inside the top 10.
The 2019 NBA Draft begins at 4 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York.
Ahead of the draft, KREM sports reporter and anchor Karthik Venkataraman is offering his predictions for which teams will draft Hachimura and Clarke.
Where will Hachimura go?
Hachimura has a sweet slashing type of game but also has a smooth mid-range jumper that he has developed over the years.
His defense can still be questionable at times but he can make up for it with his length. He'll play small forward and power forward in the pros.
Most think Hachimura will be picked between 10 and 14. There are two teams to look at in that range: The Minnesota Timberwolves at pick 11 and the Miami Heat at pick 13.
The Timberwolves have players who can score in a variety of ways, like Hachimura. They do struggle on defense and adding Hachimura wouldn't really bolster them up there.
The Miami Heat could really use someone to pick up slack on the offensive end. They were 26th in the league in points per game and could use a wing player like Hachimura to help there.
It is likely that Hachimura will go in Pick 13 to the Heat.
Where will Clarke go?
Clarke is a little bit harder to predict.
His name is anywhere from pick 6 to pick 26 on different draft boards.
There are two things for certain about him: He is one of the most athletic guys, and one of the best defenders, in the draft.
The issue with Clarke is his size. He will also need to work on his game in taking other players off the dribble.
He will play power forward in the NBA.
Some have him going as high as sixth overall to the Phoenix Suns. That is likely too high and the Suns will probably take a point guard.
Clarke at 10 to the Hawks is a trendy pick but there's a solid chance they pick someone with more size to help their front court.
Clarke will probably go in Pick 11 to the Timberwolves.
Their starting power forward Taj Gibson is also an athletic player and similar in size to Clarke. Clarke would transition in nicely for that reason.
Clarke could also fill in some defensive needs for Minnesota as well.