Brian Rauf | @brauf33 | 06/02/20
Welcome to our first look at the latest rumors ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft!
While the specifics of the pre-draft process remain up in the air, teams have started virtually meeting with prospects ahead of the potential re-start of the season.
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.
Luka Garza, Corey Kispert leaning towards returning to school
Iowa and Gonzaga both have high expectations ahead of the 2020-21 college basketball season (they’re No. 4 and No. 1, respectively, in my way-too-early top 25) as both are assumed to have key early draft entrants return to school. And it certainly seems like that will be the case.
Iowa’s Luka Garza, who will be the preseason National Player of the Year, told ESPN’s Myron Medcalf that he’s “not leaving for an unknown” because it would be “too risky to leave behind” the potential season awaiting him with the Hawkeyes.
Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, their star 6-7 wing, offered up a similar sentiment to The Spokesman-Review. Though he’s projected to be a second-round pick, Kispert said he needs to feel “secure” in his NBA prospects. If he doesn’t he would “be thrilled to come back” for his senior season with the Bulldogs.
Cavs targeting three prospects
The NBA Draft order isn’t set yet as we await a firm answer on how the season will restart and when the draft lottery will be.
No matter what happens, though, the Cleveland Cavaliers will end up with a favorable pick at the top of the draft. They currently have the second worst record in the NBA (putting them in position for the No. 2 pick) and have three players at the top of their draft board.
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, the Cavs have LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, and James Wiseman in their “first tier” of prospects.
Cleveland has used top 10 picks on point guards each of the last two seasons (Collin Sexton, Darius Garland), but that won’t stop the Cavs from taking either Ball or Edwards if they’re on the board with their selection.
LaMelo Ball wants to end up with Knicks
NBA teams are largely split on Ball – some have concerns about his maturity and discipline, while others believe he’s the best point guard (if not the best player) in the class – making him one of the biggest wild cards on draft night.
But, if Ball has his way, he will end up playing for the New York Knicks. According to SNY.tv’s Ian Begley, both the Ball family and those in Ball’s circle want him to be drafted by the Knicks.
The Knicks would like that, too. They need a long-term answer at point guard and they are one of the teams that has Ball ranked as the top player at the position in the class. However, they may need some lottery luck to land him as they currently have the sixth-worst record in the NBA – and Ball may not be available when the #6 pick rolls around.
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.