2019 NBA Mock Draft: Analyzing Riskiest Prospects and 1st-Round Predictions

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 6, 2019

Duke forward Cam Reddish (2) dribbles the ball during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

While every NBA draft pick inherently comes with risk, the degree of it varies wildly from one prospect to the next.

Risk, by the way, doesn't necessarily mean a prospect is bad or not worth the investment. Trae Young was among the riskiest prospects in the 2018 draft. By the end of his rookie year, his ceiling looked arguably as high as any in the class after averaging 24.7 points and 9.2 assists following the All-Star break.

But booming like Young is a best-case scenario. The flip side is busting, which can set back a franchise for years.

After compiling our latest mock draft, we will spotlight the three riskiest prospects among our projected lottery picks.


2019 NBA Mock Draft

1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, PF/C, Duke

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State

3. New York Knicks: RJ Barrett, SG/SF, Duke

4. Los Angeles Lakers: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

6. Phoenix Suns: Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina

7. Chicago Bulls: De'Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Virginia

8. Atlanta Hawks: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

9. Washington Wizards: Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks)Bol Bol, C, Oregon

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, France

12. Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington, PF/C, Kentucky

13. Miami Heat: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings): Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

15. Detroit Pistons: Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina

16. Orlando Magic: Keldon Johnson, SG/SF, Kentucky

17. Brooklyn Nets: Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia

18. Indiana Pacers: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

19. San Antonio Spurs: Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Gonzaga

20. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

22. Boston Celtics: Mfiondu Kabengele, PF/C, Florida State

23. Utah Jazz: Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Iowa State

24. Philadelphia 76ers: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston Rockets): Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech

27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets): Chuma Okeke, PF, Auburn

28. Golden State Warriors: Ty Jerome, PG/SG, Virginia

29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors): KZ Okpala, SF/PF, Stanford

30. Milwaukee Bucks: Isaiah Roby, PF/C, Nebraska


Riskiest Prospects

Cam Reddish, SG/SF, Duke

Before the 2018-19 season started, Cam Reddish was on roughly equal footing with Williamson and Barrett as part of the Blue Devils' Big Three. By year's end, he was clearly the third wheel.

There's no denying Reddish's potential. He's big, long and versatile. He can defend at least four spots, and his shooting mechanics suggest he will eventually be a reliable marksman.

But there's also no getting around his production, or lack thereof. He averaged just 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting an anemic 35.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from distance.

Spending a top-five selection on Reddish requires some questioning of what, exactly, we witnessed. Did he simply struggle with an ill-fitting role in a poorly spaced offense? Is he someone who will be plagued by inconsistency throughout his career? Some lottery squad will soon find out.


Bol Bol, C, Oregon

Bol Bol is sliding down most mock draft boards of late, which makes sense.

The red flags around the 7'2" stretch center are as towering as he is, as CBS Sports' Gary Parrish detailed:

"Bol suffered a foot injury that required season-ending surgery just nine games into his freshman year—and that's obviously an issue, at least to some degree. And even if he's healthy, can Bol effectively guard in space the way bigs are required to do in the modern NBA? And should we be concerned that he only weighed 208 pounds at the combine? That's a little on the frail side, isn't it?"

Bol, though, hasn't fallen outside this top 10 because in a draft as watered down as this appears beyond the top three picks, his combination of size and skill might be tough to overlook.

He has a 9'7" standing reach, handles and a smooth shooting stroke from distance. How often does that package come around?


Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

Romeo Langford's pedigree isn't the problem. He was a 5-star recruit and top-10 player in his class.

Physical tools aren't an issue, either. The shooting guard measured 6'6" with a 6'11" wingspan at the combine.

His red flag sits right on the stat sheet. He rarely looked the part of a lottery pick this past season. He averaged 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 34.1 minutes per game. Those aren't majorly concerning—although the counting categories should have been better for the 16-loss Hoosiers—but his lack of efficiency was glaring. He shot just 44.8 percent from the field and 27.2 percent outside.

It's worth noting he played most of the year with a torn ligament in his thumb that he's since had surgically repaired. So maybe his hand hampered him from showing his true form. But if that were not the issue, he's a shooting guard who struggles to shoot.