Eric Gay/Associated Press
The majority of players selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA draft are far from the finished product.
Even Zion Williamson has parts of his game he can work on to turn him into a dominant NBA player.
However, there are a few other projected lottery picks who come with bigger risks, and because of that, they will be evaluated more closely.
Some of the prospects tagged as risky will scare away a handful of suitors, but there will be teams selecting high in the first round that are willing to gamble on potential turning into results.
2019 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. New York Knicks: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: R.J. Barrett, SF, Duke
3. Phoenix Suns: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
4. Chicago Bulls: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
5. Atlanta Hawks: De’Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
6. Washington Wizards: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
7. New Orleans Pelicans: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
8. Memphis Grizzlies: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
9. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas): Sekou Doumbouya, PF/SF, France
10. Minnesota Timberwolves: Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina
11. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
12. Charlotte Hornets: Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga
13. Miami Heat: Romeo Langford, SF, Indiana
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento): P.J. Washington, PF, Kentucky
15. Detroit Pistons: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
16. Orlando Magic: Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina
17. Brooklyn Nets: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
18. Indiana Pacers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
19. San Antonio Spurs: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
20. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers): Goga Bitadze, C, Republic of Georgia
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
22. Boston Celtics: Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee
23. Utah Jazz: Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State
25. Portland Trailblazers: Cameron Johnson, PF, North Carolina
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston): Ty Jerome, PG/SG, Virginia
27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver): Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington
28. Golden State Warriors: Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue
29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto): Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State
High-Risk Prospects Who Will Be Taken Early
Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
The team that selects Jaxson Hayes will take him with the goal of developing him into a star in two or three years.
NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster noted in his rankings that the 18-year-old is a pick for the long term because he has continued to grow and is going to enter the NBA as a young prospect.
In ESPN.com’s prospect profile, Hayes’ weaknesses are listed as a lack of physicality on the boards and the need to add strength as part of his adaptation to the NBA.
Eric Gay/Associated Press
However, he is an intriguing prospect because of his offensive production during stretches of the Big 12 season.
From January 8 to February 6, Hayes recorded a double-digit point total in eight of his nine Big 12 games.
His scoring consistency dropped during the stretch run of the men’s college basketball season, but the potential is there for coaches to work with.
As a work in progress during his early years in the NBA, the Texas Longhorns starlet may need a specific suitor who can be patient with him.
The New Orleans Pelicans would be an ideal landing spot for Hayes since he would fill a need down low, but the team might opt for a more experienced frontcourt player if Anthony Davis departs in the summer.
Falling down the first round might not hurt Hayes because he would end up working with plenty of experienced players, but he has too much potential to be passed up by every team in the top 10.
Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
Darius Garland will be viewed as a high-risk prospect because he sat out the majority of his freshman season at Vanderbilt with a MCL injury.
ESPN.com has the 19-year-old ranked fourth in the draft class, but its experts believe he still needs to evolve more as a passer.
Dauster noted Garland could be a player similar to C.J. McCollum or Seth Curry—someone who can make three-point shots and create his own shot as a lead guard.
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
While the upside is there with the former Vanderbilt star, there will be plenty of concerns about his health because of the leg injury he suffered in late November.
At his best, Garland could be a player who cuts into the lane with ease and displays terrific range with his jumper.
But there will be some teams who second-guess him compared to other stars who played a full year of college basketball.
Garland could experience a slight fall if teams prefer De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish or Jarrett Culver, but do not expect him to slip too far in the lottery picks given his potential.