Welcome to our final 2020 NBA Mock Draft!
Finally, we’re just days away from what will be the latest draft in NBA history after it was pushed back multiple times due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The draft itself will look different (as everything else in the world has) on Nov. 18 as it will be conducted virtually from ESPN’s studios without fans or prospects in attendance.
There seems to be about as much uncertainty about the actual draft, too. Without a slam dunk No. 1 pick, no one knows who the Minnesota Timberwolves will choose. Usually that top pick sets the expectations for how the lottery will play out, but very few people have any real idea as it currently stands.
So what should you expect on Wednesday night? Here is our final 2020 NBA Mock Draft with projections for both rounds based on the latest intel and insight:
1) Minnesota Timberwolves – LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawara
There are questions, particularly defensively, about how a backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Ball would work together. However, it appears Ball’s talent is too much for Minnesota to pass on as it reportedly favors him over Anthony Edwards. After all, it’s hard to ignore a 6-7 guard with the kind of range and playmaking ability Ball possesses. And, while there is no surefire star in this class, Ball has the best chance to be one.
2) Golden State Warriors – Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
The Warriors would like to trade this pick for a proven veteran but, if that doesn’t work out considering the lack of viable options available, Toppin would make a lot of sense. Golden State has been linked to just about every lottery prospect yet Toppin fills an immediate need in the middle with the offensive skills to fit in perfectly with Steve Kerr’s system
3) Charlotte Hornets – James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Charlotte general manager Mitch Kupchak has said they’re going to take the best player available regardless of position, making this a tough decision between Wiseman and Edwards. That said, it’s impossible to ignore the fact the Hornets need a center badly. I think that’s the tiebreaker.
4) Chicago Bulls – Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
The Bulls need wing depth and will jump at the chance to land Edwards should he somehow slide out of the top three. He’s a dynamic offensive threat with star potential, though questions have been raised about his desire to win and make his teammates better. At this point, though, Chicago will gladly add someone with his upside.
5) Cleveland Cavaliers – Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Cleveland’s wing depth is horrid and, assuming it doesn’t blow up the frontcourt right away, Avdija is a great pick for them. The 19-year-old isn’t a reliable shooter yet, but he has guard skills at 6-9 and the kind of versatility that gives him tremendous upside.
6) Atlanta Hawks – Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
Atlanta really values three-point shooting and needs to upgrade its defense. Vassell checks both of those boxes in one swoop, making him a logical (and likely) pick for the Hawks if Avdija is off the board as Atlanta looks to take the next step forward in 2020-21.
7) Detroit Pistons – Killian Hayes, PG, Ulm
The Pistons have said their top priority this offseason will be to add a starting-caliber point guard for the long term. They may trade up for Ball to get that but if they don’t, Hayes is a nice consolation prize. At 6-5 and 210 pounds, the Frenchman has an extremely polished offensive game who can create for himself and others.
8) New York Knicks – Tyrese Haliburton, PG/SG, Iowa State
New York needs a point guard and Haliburton is the best one available. The 6-5 Iowa State product is a phenomenal facilitator with a well-rounded game on both ends, making him an even more valuable asset as the Knicks continue to try to find an identity.
9) Washington Wizards – Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
While Washington tries to figure out a long-term plan for their backcourt — how much longer are they sticking with John Wall and Bradley Beal? — they are trying to improve their frontcourt as well. Okongwu helps with that by giving them the rim protector they have been lacking. If he’s still on the board, Washington will take him.
10) Phoenix Suns – Desmond Bane, SG, TCU
Phoenix is looking for shooting and general manager James Jones has said he prefers an older, more experienced college player. Those desires have led them to Bane, one of the fastest-rising prospects in this draft due to his size (6-6, 215 lbs) and consistent shooting stroke (43.3 percent from three for college career).
11) San Antonio Spurs – Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
Someone is going to slide out of the top 10 and, in this scenario, that’s Okoro – which works out well for San Antonio. The Spurs are looking for depth on the wing as they move on from DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay sooner or later, and Okoro has tremendous 3-and-D potential.
12) Sacramento Kings – Aaron Nesmith, SG/SF, Vanderbilt
The Kings need to add three-point shooting, especially if they adhere to Buddy Hield’s trade request. Nesmith is the logical choice to fill that need after shooting 52.2 percent from long range last season for the Commodores.
13) New Orleans Pelicans – Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
The Pelicans plan to surround Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball with shooting, and Bey checks that box (45.1 percent from three) with the size and athleticism to play either forward position. That is even more valuable as New Orleans continues to utilize lineups with Williamson at the five.
14) Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies) – RJ Hampton, PG/SG, New Zealand
Boston doesn’t have any immediate needs but will be looking to add backcourt depth. Hampton was projected to be a top five or top 10 pick before the start of the season, yet he could slide a bit on draft night due to inconsistent play in Australia’s NBL. Still, his talent as a versatile combo guard who can both score and create for others makes him worth the pick.
15) Orlando Magic – Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
Maxey has the size and ball-handling ability to play either guard position, which is important for Orlando given Markelle Fultz’s injury history. That said, Maxey will give them another needed offensive weapon on the perimeter (though inconsistent) and be a reliable defender.
16) Portland Trail Blazers – Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
Another team in need of guard depth, Portland only really has Anfernee Simons behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Lewis is still putting it all together but is fast, has good size (6-3), and was a great all-around player for the Crimson Tide.
17) Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nets) – Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
With its second first-round pick, Minnesota addresses its frontcourt needs with Smith. He will really help the Timberwolves defensively (2.4 blocks per game) and is underrated offensively. Smith excels in the pick-and-roll with range that extends to the three-point line. The 6-10, 225-pounder could develop into a long-term partner for Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt.
18) Dallas Mavericks – Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiakos B
Pokusevski is a seven-footer with true guard skills and a solid three-point jumper. He is also still a bit raw, inconsistent, and needs to add some serious strength. But the 18-year-old has the potential to be a star, and Dallas’ front office is known to take risks on its ability to develop players, particularly international ones with his kind of upside.
19) Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers) – Patrick Williams, SF/PF, Florida State
Brooklyn will be making its pick based on who can fit in around its stars (Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving), and the all-around game of Williams makes him a good fit. He’s a quality defender who can match up with anyone on the perimeter and play either forward position. Plus, he doesn’t need the ball to make an impact.
20) Miami Heat – Tre Jones, PG, Duke
Kendrick Nunn has been a revelation for the Heat, but they have no depth behind him. Jones, who won ACC Player of the Year as a sophomore, is an elite defender and playmaker. Despite not being a good shooter (a poor one, really), Miami loves what he brings to the table.
21) Philadelphia 76ers (via Thunder) – Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
Philly needs shooting and backcourt depth. Terry comes with concerns about his size and durability, but he’s a quality shooter with a really high basketball IQ. That should make him a good fit as a backup for Ben Simmons.
22) Denver Nuggets (via Rockets) – Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
Denver doesn’t have any obvious holes in its roster, so it can look to add a long-term depth option in their frontcourt (especially with the injury histories of Porter and Bol). Achiuwa is an elite athlete and rebounder who was a quality rim protector for Memphis. He’s still raw offensively, but the Nuggets can be patient while that part of his game develops.
23) Utah Jazz – Theo Maledon, PG, Villeurbanne
This pick will provide Utah with insurance in case Mike Conley Jr. doesn’t exercise his $34.5 million player option for next season and provides some long-term depth at the position. A projected lottery pick at the start of the season, Maledon is 6-5 with a 6-9 wingspan and can play both on and off the ball. His shooting needs to improve, but he’s a good passer with tremendous defensive upside.
24) Milwaukee Bucks (via Pacers) – Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
There have been questions about Eric Bledsoe’s long-term future in Milwaukee, which could cause the Wolves to look at selecting a point guard, but they’re also looking to upgrade their frontcourt depth and really like Oturu. He was a double-double machine at Minnesota (20.1 ppg, 11.3 rpg last season) with three-point range. He also proved to be an elite rim protector (2.5 bpg).
25) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Nuggets) – Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Considering the Thunder have roughly 800 first-round picks over the next decade, they can gamble on a player with Anthony’s upside. Anthony is a combo guard with elite scoring ability — He was projected to be a top five pick at the start of the year — but questions about inefficiency and his playmaking ability have caused him to slide down draft boards. His versatility gives him a solid floor and Oklahoma City will gladly gamble on his upside here.
26) Boston Celtics – Xavier Tillman Sr., C, Michigan State
I’ll be surprised if Boston ends up keeping all three of its first-round picks, but if they do, Tillman makes a lot of sense for given the Celtics’ need up front. He’s an excellent defender inside who can hold his own on the perimeter and has demonstrated some improved shooting chops during the pre-draft process. Tillman will never be a go-to guy offensively, but that’s not what the Celtics need. He’d fit this role perfectly.
27) New York Knicks (via Clippers) – Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
With New York addressing its point guard need earlier in the draft, it can address the frontcourt needs with Stewart. The 6-9, 250-pounder may fall on draft night due to his lack of perimeter versatility, but he’s a phenomenal rebounder and post player on either end. Roles for players like him are diminishing, yet Stewart is productive enough to stick.
28) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Lakers) – Leandro Bolmaro, SG, Barcelona
The Thunder have acquired this pick (and Danny Green) from the Lakers for Dennis Schroder, giving them two picks in the back part of the first round. They may package both to try to move up but, if they keep it, they can take a chance on Bolmaro. The Argentinian has great positional size (6-8) and excellent court vision. He’s certainly more of a playmaker than a scorer, but Oklahoma City values prospects with a high basketball IQ.
29) Toronto Raptors – Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon
Fred VanVleet is ready to take over Toronto’s backcourt whenever the post-Kyle Lowry era hits, but it doesn’t have a ton of depth behind him. Enter Pritchard, who is a great playmaker and reliable shooter who can create for himself off the bounce. The Raptors have proven to be excellent at developing talent and Pritchard has a lot of it despite some athletic limitations. There are rumors the Oregon product has a draft promise at the end of the first round, and my guess is it’s Toronto.
30) Boston Celtics (via Bucks) – Robert Woodard II, SF, Mississippi State
If Boston does keep all three picks, it can gamble on a player with Woodard’s physical profile. The 6-7, 230-pounder shot 42.9 percent from three this past season, was a force on the glass, and showed tremendous defensive upside. Boston will hope it can develop him into a piece of the versatile young group as a 3-and-D player.
31) Dallas Mavericks (via Warriors) – Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG/PG, Texas Tech
32) Charlotte Hornets (via Cavs) – Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke
33) Minnesota Timberwolves – Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
34) Philadelphia 76ers (via Hawks) – Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State
35) Sacramento Kings (via Pistons) – Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
36) Philadelphia 76ers (via Knicks) – Jordan Nwora, SF, Louisville
37) Washington Wizards (via Bulls) – Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
38) New York Knicks (via Hornets) – Zeke Nnaji, PF, Arizona
39) New Orleans Pelicans (via Wizards) – Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
40) Memphis Grizzlies (via Suns) – Tyler Bey, SF, Colorado
41) San Antonio Spurs – Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas
42) New Orleans Pelicans – Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas
43) Sacramento Kings – Ty-Shon Alexander, SG, Creighton
44) Chicago Bulls (via Grizzlies) – Elijah Hughes, SG/SF, Syracuse
45) Orlando Magic – Josh Green, SG, Arizona
46) Portland Trail Blazers – Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
47) Boston Celtics (via Nets) – Killian Tillie, PF, Gonzaga
48) Golden State Warriors (via Mavs) – Jay Scrubb, SG/SF, John A. Logan
49) Philadelphia 76ers – Immanuel Quickley, SG, Kentucky
50) Atlanta Hawks (via Heat) – Grant Riller, PG, College of Charleston
51) Golden State Warriors (via Jazz) – Paul Reed, PF, DePaul
52) Sacramento Kings (via Rockets) – Skylar Mays, SG, LSU
53) Oklahoma City Thunder – Abdoulaye N’Doye, PG, Cholet
54) Indiana Pacers – Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky
55) Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets) – Reggie Perry, PF, Mississippi State
56) Charlotte Hornets (via Celtics) – Josh Hall, SF, Moravian Prep
57) Los Angeles Clippers – Mamadi Diakite, PF, Virginia
58) Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers) – Sam Merrill, SG, Utah State
59) Toronto Raptors – Yam Madar, PG, Tel Aviv
60) New Orleans Pelicans (via Bucks) – Myles Powell, SG, Seton Hall
Brian Rauf is a college basketball writer for HeatCheckCBB.com. His content has been featured by Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, and FanSided, among other publications. Rauf is also a current USBWA member and Rockin’ 25 voter.