RJ Hampton took a risk by playing overseas for a season instead of participating in college basketball.
The move to the New Zealand Breakers of Oceania's NBL did not significantly boost his draft stock, and it left him in the middle of a pack of prospects about whom there are lingering concerns regarding their respective skill sets.
Hampton is still projected to be a lottery selection, but he needs to make some improvements to have an immediate impact in the NBA. The same could be said about a handful of other prospects in a draft class chock-full of guards who should land in the mid-to-late lottery.
2020 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
4. Atlanta Hawks: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
5. Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
6. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
7. Chicago Bulls: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn
8. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
9. Washington Wizards: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
10. Phoenix Suns: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
11. San Antonio Spurs: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
12. Sacramento Kings: Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
15. Orlando Magic: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn): Patrick Williams, SF/PF, Florida State
17. Boston Celtics (from Memphis): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B
19. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
20. Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia): Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
21. Denver Nuggets (from Houston): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
22. Philadelphia 76ers (from Oklahoma City): Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
23. Miami Heat: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
24. Utah Jazz: Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Denver): Tre Jones, PG, Duke
26. Boston Celtics: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
27. New York Knicks (from Los Angeles Clippers): Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland
28. Toronto Raptors: Paul Reed, PF, DePaul
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
30. Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee): Leandro Bolmaro, SF, Barcelona B
High-Risk Prospects Who Will Be Taken Early
RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
Most draft experts are in agreement that Hampton's one-season stay in the NBL did not improve his draft stock.
In fact, it may have hurt his chances of landing in the top 10, as the majority of mock drafts have him on the edge of that position. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected Hampton to be the 12th overall pick, while NBC Sports' Rob Dauster listed him at No. 11.
Wasserman broke down what Hampton will bring to the hardwood immediately and what he needs to work on:
"His skills are behind his ability to drive and attack, but Hampton has shown just enough shot-making and ball-screen playmaking to feel confident in his potential to create, score and pass at an adequate level in the half court."
CBS Sports' Matt Norlander has Hampton falling to No. 17, noting the season in the NBL "probably dinged his stock."
The best-case scenario for Hampton would be to end up with an established team that can improve his on-ball ability and shooting. The San Antonio Spurs best fit that category in the region where Hampton is projected to land.
Gregg Popovich could maximize Hampton's strengths in his rookie campaign and develop him to be a larger contributor in years to come. That was the case with Derrick White and Dejounte Murray, who were selected late in the first rounds in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Both players have gone from averaging three points per game in their rookie years to being double-digit scorers this season.
Hampton's development will require patience, which is a quality not many lottery teams possess. But if he lands in San Antonio, he could go from high-risk prospect to key contributor in a few years.
Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
When he was on the court at North Carolina, Cole Anthony proved he could score on a consistent basis.
The freshman point guard averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and four assists per contest.
However the son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony, shot 38 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three-point range while taking plenty of shots for a struggling Tar Heels team. Anthony's scoring ability and competitiveness should not be questioned, but other aspects of his game will be.
Dauster outlined his concerns about Anthony, whom he listed at No. 8 in his latest mock draft:
"The problem with Cole is the way that he plays. He's tough and athletic, but given his average height and length, he's more or less going to have to guard point guards at the next level. I'm not sure he's quite good enough to be the guy in the NBA that he has been throughout his career."
No. 8 appears to be the ceiling for Anthony in the draft, as he has to compete with point guards Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes and LaMelo Ball for the attention of teams in the top half of the lottery.
It makes most sense for Anthony to learn under established guards in his first season. A few Western Conference teams fit that description.
Wasserman projected Anthony at No. 10 to the Phoenix Suns, while Norlander placed him at No. 13 to the Portland Trail Blazers. With the Suns, he could benefit from Ricky Rubio's veteran leadership, and in Portland, he could learn from sitting behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Similar to Hampton, Anthony needs a stable landing spot to further his game, and if he lands with a side that requires too much out of him right away, he may struggle to adapt.