Welcome to our latest 2020 NBA Mock Draft!
While we’re just over a month away from the real thing on November 18, plenty has changed as we’re in the middle of the modified NBA Draft Combine. Player interviews have ramped up over the last few weeks along with player evaluations, creating movement at both the very top and back third of the draft.
The Minnesota Timberwolves still haven’t determined who they will take with the No. 1 pick, yet they’re reportedly shying away from Georgia’s Anthony Edwards after he was widely assumed to be their selection immediately following the lottery. His stock is dropping slightly, though no one’s stock is dropping faster than North Carolina’s Cole Anthony.
A projected top-five pick at the start of the season, NBA teams have concerns that Anthony is a low-efficiency volume shooter without enough secondary skills to make a significant impact when he’s not scoring. There are teams that like what he brings to the table, chalking up his freshman struggles as a byproduct of playing on a lackluster UNC team. There are also teams that think he will slide to the second round.
The Anthony case study is largely how almost every prospect is viewed in this class. There are so many wild inconsistencies across draft boards that one team might value a certain group of prospects as lottery picks, while another has them all as second rounders. Everybody is so all over the place that there will be no shortage of drama.
But, based on the latest information and intel I have gathered, here are my latest projections for the entire first round:
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 pass on a 6-7 guard with the kind of range and playmaking ability Ball possesses.
2) Golden State Warriors – Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
The Warriors fully intend to trade this pick to acquire veteran talent who can help them win now. There are a few teams searching for a point guard (Pistons, Knicks) that may like to trade up, too. But, if Golden State keeps this pick, it will take Edwards if he’s still available. Edwards is at the top of their board and think his slashing offensive style meshes perfectly with their 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, and that’s Wiseman. The fact the Hornets need a center as well makes this an even easier selection.
4) Chicago Bulls – Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
The Bulls need depth on the wing and already have great scorers in the backcourt in Zach LaVine and Coby White. Vassell is an elite 3-and-D prospect who can serve as a lockdown defender and make an offensive impact without having plays drawn up for him.
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 – Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
Atlanta really values three-point shooting and needs to upgrade its defense. Okoro 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.
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 – Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
The Spurs will be doing cartwheels if Toppin falls out of the top 10. Last season’s National Player of the Year has a versatile offensive game that will translate thanks to his explosiveness and shooting ability. Defense is a question, but San Antonio will gladly take someone with his upside and offensive talent.
12) Sacramento Kings – Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
There’s no other way to sugarcoat it — the Kings really lack depth quality frontcourt depth alongside Marvin Bagley. Achiuwa is raw but showed his upside at Memphis, where he excelled with his elite athleticism and as a rebounder. He would fit in well with the preferred up-tempo attack of De’Aaron Fox.
13) New Orleans Pelicans – Aaron Nesmith, SG/SF, Vanderbilt
The Pelicans plan to surround Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball with shooting, so why not add a guy who shot over 52 percent from deep in 14 games for the Commodores? Nesmith is the best shooter in the class, making this a perfect fit.
14) Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies) – Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
Boston doesn’t have any immediate needs but adding a versatile, high-upside 3-and-D prospect like Bey sounds like a no-brainer for the Celtics. He can play either forward position and shot over 45 percent from three as a sophomore.
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 – Patrick Williams, SF/PF, Florida State
Portland covets Nesmith given its need on the wing — Carmelo Anthony has been good for them but isn’t a long-term solution. With him gone, they go for a high-upside wing in Williams, a quality defender with a blossoming offensive game.
17) Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nets) – Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
With their second first-round pick, Minnesota addresses their 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 – RJ Hampton, PG/SG, New Zealand
The Mavs would like to add an off-ball scorer and shooter alongside Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Hampton is another guy who 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 well worth the pick for Dallas here.
19) Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers) – Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG/PG, Texas Tech
Brooklyn will be making its pick based on who can fit in around its stars (Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving), and Ramsey’s all-around games makes him a good fit. He’s a good shooter at 6-4 and 195 pounds (42.6 percent from three) and a quality defender who can match up with anyone on the perimeter. Plus, he can handle the ball and run an offense in a pinch.
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) – 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 Denver’s front office is known to take risks. Plus, with no obvious holes in their roster, they can be patient while he 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 them 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) – Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
Considering the Thunder have roughly 800 first-round picks over the next decade, they can gamble on a player with Lewis’ upside. He 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.
26) Boston Celtics – Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
I’ll be surprised if Boston ends up keeping all three of their first-round picks, but if they do, Carey makes a lot of sense for them given their need up front. Carey isn’t a perfect prospect due to his inability to defend on the perimeter, but he is a dominant low-post scorer with range extending out to the three-point line.
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 their 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) Los Angeles Lakers – Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
The Lakers don’t have many needs, but depth is always a concern, particularly at point guard (Rondo isn’t the long-term answer). 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 Los Angeles will gladly gamble on his upside here.
29) Toronto Raptors – Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
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 Mannion, who is a great playmaker and reliable shooter. The Raptors have proven to be excellent at developing talent, and Mannion — a former five-star recruit — has a lot of it despite some athletic limitations.
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.
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.