Brian Rauf | @brauf33 | 06/05/20
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 31.
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.
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Warriors targeting Anthony Edwards
We mentioned last week that Golden State was really high on Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton – but only if they didn’t land the top overall pick in draft, which they are currently projected to get. That’s because Georgia guard Anthony Edwards is at the very top of their draft board, according to Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.
There is a chance the Warriors may choose to package their first-round selection with their trade exception in order to pursue a proven player as they are still in win-now mode with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson returning healthy. However, Edwards’ upside makes him the most desirable player in the class in Golden State’s eyes should they elect to keep the pick.
Edwards averaged 19.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game during his freshman season while leading Georgia to a 16-16 record.
Knicks may draft forward to replace Julius Randle
With teams appearing to favor Edwards and other guards at the very top of the draft, there’s a chance Memphis big man James Wiseman could fall a few spots. That would be perfectly fine with the New York Knicks, who might be looking for someone to replace Julius Randle in the frontcourt, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
The Knicks have grown frustrated with Randle’s defensive limitations and his “over-dribbling,” which has taken the ball out of the hands of some of their younger players like R.J. Barrett, and are looking to trade the 6-8, 250-pounder according to Berman.
There will be a market for him as he averaged 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game this season, but it appears his future will not be in New York.
The 2020 draft class is short on elite frontcourt prospects with Wiseman being the only one, and his inability to stretch the floor doesn’t fit what New York is looking for. The only frontcourt players that are consistent perimeter threats projected to go in my top 10 are Dayton’s Obi Toppin and Villanova’s Saddiq Bey (though Bey is more of an inside-out hybrid).
Bey keeping name in draft
Speaking of Bey, he announced that he will be keeping his name in the draft and forgoing his last two years of college eligibility on Tuesday morning.
“I have thought a lot about my decision to enter the NBA Draft and specifically how that would impact my coaching staff, teammates and professors,” Bey said in a statement. “Villanova has the greatest fans in the world and I will miss playing in front of them next year. While I will always be a Wildcat, I have decided to stay in the NBA Draft in pursuit of playing in the NBA.”
Villanova head coach Jay Wright said that Bey is “making the right decision” by entering the draft.
He is projected to be a lottery pick after averaging 16.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last season while shooting 45.1 percent from three-point range. Bey’s ability to shoot it at a high clip while also being a high quality defender is very appealing to NBA scouts, particularly in a weak draft class.
Villanova may have been ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls had Bey opted to return to school, but they are slotted No. 2 in my rankings without him.
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.