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Welcome to OTG's early 2020 NBA Mock Draft! College basketball starts in less than a week, so it’s only fitting to release a mock draft for basketball-hungry fans in need of an NCAA hoops fix.
Before you dive in, let me say this: The order of this mock draft was determined by pre-season odds to win the 2019/2020 NBA championship, and do not reflect current records and injury situations…yet.
1. Charlotte Hornets - G LaMelo Ball (International; 18 years old)
The Hornets need all the help they can get and Ball may very well be the top prospect in the draft. Not only will he bring results and make others better, but Melo will also be sure to increase ticket sales.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers - C James Wiseman (Memphis; Freshman)
Cleveland has spent the past couple drafts addressing their backcourt woes, so this one is a no-brainer. Wiseman will be a monster on both ends of the court, scoring in a plethora of ways and protecting the rim on defense. Don’t look now, but the Cavs are assembling an impressive young core.
3. Washington Wizards - F Deni Avdija (International; 18 years old)
The Wizards turn to Europe for a wing who can impact the game in many ways. Avdija is the best European prospect on my board and will be an effective compliment to John Wall and Bradley Beal. His perimeter shooting directly benefits Rui Hachimura, and he can facilitate efficiently for his size.
4. New York Knicks - G R.J. Hampton (International; 18 years old)
The Knicks have some promising young pieces, but they need to take the best available prospect. Hampton can play the lead guard role or off the ball, which will allow R.J. Barrett some opportunities to handle the rock as well. An all-R.J. backcourt has the potential to shorten New York’s rebuilding timeline.
5. Memphis Grizzlies - G Anthony Edwards (Georgia; Freshman)
I absolutely love this fit; insert Edwards’ nuclear scoring abilities alongside Ja Morant’s electric style of play and facilitating, and the Grizzlies are in a very good position. Not to mention, his selection would relieve some of the pressure on Jaren Jackson Jr. to be a primary scorer.
6. Phoenix Suns - G Cole Anthony (North Carolina; Freshman)
I understand that the Suns picked up Ricky Rubio, but he isn’t the long-term answer in Phoenix. Not only is Anthony an effective distributor, but he adds a needed scoring option alongside Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton.
7. Chicago Bulls - G Theo Maledon (International; 18 years old)
The verdict is still out on whether or not Coby White will be the primary ball handler for the Bulls, but taking Maledon here will allow White to focus on scoring. Maledon’s ball-handling and leadership is just what the doctor ordered in the Windy City, unlocking the Bulls’ offensive potential.
8. Minnesota Timberwolves - G Nico Mannion (Arizona; Freshman)
Mannion is a flashy guard who can score at all three levels, while fulfilling the distributing role of a traditional point guard. Jeff Teague is 31 and the Wolves go ahead and get his eventual replacement.
9. Oklahoma City Thunder - F Jaden McDaniels (Washington; Freshman)
This is a risk for OKC considering that McDaniels is a high-risk, high-potential prospect, but they have a slew of draft picks in the upcoming years, softening the blow if he never finds his way. However, McDaniels is a long, athletic wing who can drive in the lane, score in a multitude of ways, and protect the rim - a tantalizing combination in today's NBA.
10. Atlanta Hawks - F Isaiah Stewart (Washington; Freshman)
It is unknown what exactly Stewart’s role will be in the league, but his talent and strength should land him in the top ten. He projects as a small-ball big man who can score at all three levels and rebound effectively, giving the Hawks another frontcourt option along with John Collins.
11. Detroit Pistons - G Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky; Freshman)
The Pistons are set on maximizing Blake Griffin’s prime, and Maxey is one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the class. Despite being undersized at 6-foot-3, the Kentucky guard is extremely intelligent, athletic, and crafty when it comes to scoring; he also does not turn the ball over much.
12. Orlando Magic - G/F Josh Green (Arizona; Freshman)
Assuming that the Magic don’t select another big man, Green fills a couple holes for the organization. An unselfish wing that can stroke it from deep and move well in transition, Orlando gets a prospect with a ton of potential and an astronomically high ceiling.
13. Sacramento Kings - C Vernon Carey (Duke; Freshman)
Will the Kings select this low? We shall see, considering their rough start. However, Sac-town goes with a big man who can become a force down low and step out and hit the deep ball. I’ll admit I’m higher on Carey than most, but the Kings need a true center of the future.
14. New Orleans Pelicans - G/F Scottie Lewis (Florida; Freshman)
There are a ton of questions regarding the Pelicans’ rotation, and with Zion out for an extended period of time, it seems as if those questions may stick around a while. However, Lewis is the best available prospect and gives the Pelicans a true shooting guard who may just be the best dunker in the class (adding to what may be the most talented stable of jam artists in the league).
15. Miami Heat - G Killian Hayes (International; 18 years old)
Tyler Herro looks to be a homerun selection for the Heat, but the organization needs a player to get him the ball, in addition to Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and others. Cue the arrival of Hayes, a ball handler who sees the floor well and sets up his teammates. His three-point shooting is a concern, but the Heat have an exceptional developmental program.
16. Toronto Raptors - SF Precious Achiuwa (Memphis; Freshman)
Achiuwa is a raw prospect, but his athleticism and explosiveness justify this selection. OG Anunoby is running out of time to step to the plate, so the Raptors may decide to bring in a wing with playmaking ability and defensive potential.
17. Dallas Mavericks - G Isaiah Joe (Arkansas; Sophomore)
Isaiah Joe was one of the most efficient volume three-point shooters in all of college basketball last season; he is a perfect complement to Luka Doncic and would give the franchise star a long-term backcourt mate.
18. San Antonio Spurs - F Jalen Smith (Maryland; Sophomore)
Smith may have been a first round selection last year, but elected to return for his sophomore season. Smith’s motor and crafty offensive arsenal, mixed with San Antonio’s developmental team, will be a match made in heaven.
19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana) - G Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois; Sophomore)
Despite Eric Bledsoe signing a four year extension in the offseason, the Bucks op to go with more backcourt help. Dosunmu is an explosive guard who has prototypical measurables for the NBA game; he is a playmaker who can create off the dribble and get to the rim with exceptional athleticism.
20. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn) - G Tre Jones (Duke; Sophomore)
After getting Stewart, the Hawks take a polished backup point guard; Jones very well could have been a first round pick last year. His defense and court vision are luxuries that many teams would drool over.
21. Portland Trailblazers- F Amar Sylla (International; 18 years old)
Sylla is extremely raw and will need to add significant muscle to be able to play meaningful minutes, but he has an abundance of talent; the Trailblazers need a long-term answer in the frontcourt, so they'll take on a project with a high ceiling.
22. Boston Celtics - C Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky; Sophomore)
Bassey came back to school to improve his overall game and it is expected that he takes a big step forward. A massive center who can rebound, Bassey has shown signs of a developing perimeter game that might be just what Boston needs.
23. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver) - F Kahlil Whitney (Kentucky; Freshman)
Whitney is uber-talented, but there a ton of mouths to feed at Kentucky, which may hinder his production. However, OKC stops the fall and elects to go with a potential three-and-D wing that possesses elite athleticism.
24. Utah Jazz - F Trendon Watford (LSU; Freshman)
Watford is another boom-or-bust type of prospect that will need to develop before taking on a significant role, but the Jazz can afford to invest in a mobile wing with high upside.
25. Brooklyn Nets (via Golden State) - F Wendell Moore (Duke; Freshman)
With Kevin Durant coming back from injury, the Nets do not have many roles to offer. Therefore, Brooklyn goes with a young guard/wing who can jump out of the gym and score in bunches.
26. Houston Rockets - F Matthew Hurt (Duke; Freshman)
A stretch-four is exactly what the Rockets are looking for and Hurt fits the bill. He also brings an honest post-game and savvy offensive arsenal to an organization that is seeking a frontcourt option.
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia) - F Jordan Nwora (Louisville; Junior)
An organization can never have enough shooters, and although Nwora has a lower ceiling than most in this class, he can create his own shot from deep while being active on the boards.
28. Los Angeles Lakers - G Tyrese Hailburton (Iowa State; Sophomore)
Haliburton gives the Lakers another player who can handle and distribute the rock effectively; he also serves as another perimeter shooter to humbly serve alongside the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
29. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee) - G/F Jay Scrubb (JUCO; Sophomore)
If Scrubb isn’t a projected lottery pick, he will probably end up at Louisville next season. However, NBA scouts have fallen in love with his motor, athleticism, and advanced scoring repertoire.
30. Los Angeles Clippers - G A.J. Lawson (South Carolina; Sophomore)
The Clippers elect to go with a shooting guard who can create his own shot and stroke it from deep. The reality is that this is just a selection geared toward adding possible rotation depth.