Brian Rauf | @brauf33 | 06/12/20
Welcome to another look at the latest rumors ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft!
The league has finally ironed out specifics regarding the draft, setting dates for both the lottery (August 25) and the draft itself (October 15). The NCAA’s deadline for early entrants to withdraw from school will be no later than August 3. These plans assume there are no more delays in re-starting the current NBA season, which has been on hold since March 11 and is set to resume on July 30.
Every Tuesday and Friday, we will be bringing you everything you need to know about whose draft stock is rising, whose is falling, and which prospects teams are targeting.
Here’s all the latest buzz you need to know.
Pistons want a point guard
The Detroit Pistons are currently projected to have the No. 5 overall pick in the NBA Draft and, while that can (and likely will) change following the lottery, their plans for the pick will not.
Earlier this week, head coach Dwane Casey said the team is looking to land a starting point guard in the draft.
Derrick Rose was Detroit’s starter at the position this past season, averaging 18.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He’s also under contract for next season. However, backup Brandon Knight will be a free agent. The thinking will be to have a young player learn under Rose before taking over, or they could potentially trade Rose to an interested team.
I have the Pistons selecting LaMelo Ball in my latest mock draft as the highest-rated point guard in the class, but there are three point PGs (Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, RJ Hampton) projected to go in the top 15 as well.
Warriors looking to trade pick
Over the last week, we’ve discussed two different scenarios regarding Golden State’s draft plans. They plan to take Georgia’s Anthony Edwards if they have the No. 1 pick and hope to take Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton if Edwards is off the board.
But each of those scenarios assumes the Warriors keep their first round pick, which may not be the case. Stadium’s Shams Charania reported on the Load Management podcast that Golden State is really looking to move that pick in order to acquire more veteran talent.
“The Warriors are going to look hard at maybe packaging the pick. You’re looking at a veteran team, and there’s already some veteran free agents that are looking at the Warriors. They’re looking at them gearing up and loading back up.”
Golden State is expected to be a contender again in 2020-21 with both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry returning healthy, and adding a rookie – in a weak draft class – likely won’t increase their chances of winning a title over the next year or two.
Deni Avdija to improve draft stock?
While most prospects likely won’t be seeing any on-court action between now and the NBA Draft (a combine likely won’t include any real on-court play), that won’t be the case for Deni Avdija. The projected top 10 pick is already practicing with his Maccabi Tel Aviv team ahead of the Israeli Basketball Premier League’s return later this month.
Having more competitive game action gives Avdija more time to improve his draft stock, yet it also gives him advantage in another area. As pointed out by ESPN’s Mike Schmitz, he “should arrive at NBA training camp in shape and with almost 100 professional games and 40 FIBA contests under his belt.”
The professional experience is already a bonus but, in a year with a weak draft class and many prospects likely being out of game shape due to the pandemic, Avdija should be ready to contribute far sooner than most. That will make him a more desirable prospect for some.
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.