NBA Mock Draft 2020: March Sadness Edition
There are a ton of moving parts in the NBA draft realm as of right now, and things will only get more interesting as we inch closer to late June - especially with the NCAA tournament having been cancelled. The selection order has not been finalized (yet - pending a possible resumption of the NBA league year), but we have a good idea of where teams will generally land in the draft order.
Here is a look at how things could go down, whenever the draft decides to roll around in 2020.
*Mock drafts and big boards are different. The former takes team needs, rotational fits, and likely selections into account, while the latter reflects personal rankings of prospects.*
1. Golden State Warriors: C James Wiseman - Memphis; Fr.
Let it be known that I am not that high on Wiseman (18th on my big board), unlike many other analysts. However, many believe he will land in the top five, and the Warriors could use an athletic big to execute a rim-running role alongside their incumbent All-Stars. I would be very surprised to see Golden State pass on Wiseman if he's available when it’s their turn to draft.
2. Atlanta Hawks: SG Anthony Edwards - Georgia; Fr.
Atlanta has found their franchise centerpiece in Trae Young, while also possessing a developing young nucleus in Clint Capela, John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Kevin Huerter. Bringing Edwards into the fold would solidify the Hawks’ backcourt of the future, placing a versatile scorer alongside Young. The Georgia phenom will need to mature at the next level, but projects to have a very successful NBA career.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: C Onyeka Okongwu - USC; Fr.
Okongwu is my top center prospect; the USC product is an athletic big with a long frame and high motor that has the ability to affect both ends of the court. In the modern NBA, big men become replaceable due to skillset, but Okongwu’s strengths aren’t possessed by many bigs. His efficiency and high basketball IQ both serve as luxuries for a Cavalier team struggling to find its organizational identity. Not to mention, he is only scratching the surface in terms of his two-way potential.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: PG LaMelo Ball - Intl.
Simply put, the Wolves need a point guard. Getting Ball would not only fit that need, but it supplies the rotation with a projected high-level scorer. Allowing D’Angelo Russell to play off-ball as a combo guard would be the smart decision, and there’s no doubt LaMelo will be able to get both him and Karl-Anthony Towns some good looks. Additionally, Minnesota’s attendance numbers are cringe-worthy; Ball wouldn’t solve that problem overnight, but he’s a good start.
5. Detroit Pistons: SF Deni Avdija - Intl.
Right now, the Pistons need help wherever they can get it, despite having a valuable young guard piece in Luke Kennard. Avdija is a 6-foot-9 wing who can handle the ball and score at all three levels. His high basketball IQ and underrated facilitating abilities compose what may be the best European prospect in the draft. He’s not in the same conversation as Luka Doncic, but is still primed to exhibit All-Star potential.
6. New York Knicks: G Killian Hayes - Intl.
Hayes might not be a sexy pick, but he is an extremely solid choice at this draft position. While many may nitpick his ball-handling and driving ability, he passes the ball exceptionally well and has shown that he can be effective on both ends of the court with solid finishing, court awareness, and BBIQ. The Knicks have a plethora of guards whose futures are all questionable. Therefore, New York has both the ability and directive to address their prominent backcourt needs.
7. Chicago Bulls: F Isaac Okoro - Auburn; Fr.
The Bulls should be in ‘best-player-available’ mode when it comes to draft objectives; Okoro is my third-best prospect in the 2020 class due to his exceptional defense, composure, and extremely-high basketball IQ. His offensive identity is still up in the air, but Chicago does not lack scorers; getting a glue-type player and defender would do wonders for the team’s production on the less glamorous end of the court.
8. Charlotte Hornets: PG Cole Anthony - UNC; Fr.
Despite committing a lot of money to Terry Rozier, the Hornets should elect to pursue a potential franchise cornerstone. Anthony is a solid all-around player with three-level scoring and effective rebounding abilities. Like Chicago, they should opt to take the best player available.
9. Washington Wizards: G Tyrese Maxey - Kentucky; Fr.
The futures of John Wall and Bradley Beal are uncertain in the nation’s capital and thus, the Wizards select a potential replacement for one of them (most likely the former). Concerns over Maxey’s shot selection and consistency are justifiable, but his game is NBA-ready and he’s active on both ends of the court. He will be able to contribute right away for Washington.
10. Phoenix Suns: PG Tyrese Haliburton - Iowa State; So.
Haliburton is one of the best pure point guards in the class and Phoenix needs a distributor who can facilitate. He’ll need to re-tool his jump shot to become a respectable scoring threat on offense, but he excels on pick-and-rolls and is very active on defense. As good as Ricky Rubio is, Phoenix decides to go with youth and a higher ceiling.
11. San Antonio Spurs: F Obi Toppin - Dayton; So.
I could honestly see Toppin going top five in the draft due to his unusually well-developed skillset. He’s a walking matchup nightmare that would have his potential maximized by the Spurs’ renowned developmental team. San Antonio is an odd situation with two stars on the decline, but this selection offers a glimpse of hope for the future.
12. Portland Trailblazers: F Saddiq Bey - Villanova; So.
For the record, Bey is my favorite prospect in the class; he’s an effective on-ball defender that shoots the deep ball at a stunning 45.1% clip. His impact gets somewhat overlooked due to the balanced Villanova rotation, but he has All-Star potential, and would allow Portland to finally stick a solid wing alongside their dynamic backcourt.
13. Sacramento Kings: G RJ Hampton - Intl.
Raise your hand if you are aware of Sacramento’s organizational plans. If you put your hand up, then you’re lying. After signing Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield to long-term contracts, it has been rumored that they’re available, but honestly... who knows? Hampton is a big versatile-scoring guard that can play on or off the ball; his fit with De’Aaron Fox would be questionable, but their respective skillsets probably seem compatible to the Kings' front office.
14. New Orleans Pelicans: G/F Devin Vassell- Florida State; So.
Whether or not the Pelicans extend Brandon Ingram could dictate the organization’s draft direction, but Vassell could be a long-term option in the backcourt. The Florida State product offers needed floor spacing while supplying New Orleans's rotation with effective defense. Chances are he won’t land in the lottery, but it wouldn’t surprise me if someone took a chance on him in this generally lackluster draft class.
15. Orlando Magic: PG Nico Mannion - Arizona; Fr.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn): F Patrick Williams - Florida State; Fr.
17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis): F/C Aleksej Pokusevski - Intl.
18. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia): G/F Aaron Nesmith - Vanderbilt; So.
19. Dallas Mavericks: G/F Josh Green - Arizona; Fr.
20. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana): F Jaden McDaniels - Washington; Fr.
21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston): PG Theo Maledon - Intl.
22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City): SG Isaiah Joe - Arkansas; So.
23. Miami Heat: PG Tre Jones - Duke; So.
24. Utah Jazz: PG Kira Lewis - Alabama; So.
25. Boston Celtics: F Jalen Smith - Maryland; So.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder: F/C Isaiah Stewart - Washington; Fr.
27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers)- F Precious Achiuwa - Memphis; Fr.
28. Toronto Raptors: C Vernon Carey - Duke; Fr.
29. Los Angeles Lakers: G Jahmi’us Ramsey - Texas Tech; Fr.
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee): G Grant Riller - Charlestown; Sr.