Brian Rauf | @brauf33 | 09/01/20
Welcome to another look at the latest 2020 NBA Draft rumors!
August 20th’s lottery finally completed the draft order, allowing teams to go all-in on evaluating prospects based on who may be available at their respective selection. Minnesota landed the coveted top pick (thought that prize may not be as great this year as some others) while Charlotte and Chicago made big leaps into the top five.
That said, there is still an air of uncertainty with this draft as the league is exploring pushing the event – currently scheduled for October 16th – back once again. The league is also trying to hold a virtual combine at regional sites this month, but no firm plans have been made for that, either.
Still, there are plenty of new rumors leaking out about which prospects teams are targeting, who they may want to avoid, and which teams may be looking to deal once draft night finally comes. Here’s all the latest buzz you need to know:
Warriors don’t like Wiseman
When the Golden State Warriors fell to the No. 2 overall pick during the NBA Draft lottery, there was an immediately thought/assumption they would look heavily at Memphis center James Wiseman if they kept the pick. However, it appears they’re going in another direction.
According to Wes Goldberg of the Locked On Warriors Podcast, Golden State doesn’t like Wiseman and are more likely to add a player on the perimeter if they don’t trade the selection.
“Every mock draft seems to have the Warriors taking him at No. 2, but my intel from people I talk to is that the Warriors aren’t high on Wiseman,” Goldberg said. “I reported last week that the Warriors are much higher on this class’ guards and wings than they are on this class’ centers, and I still think they’re going to go in that direction.”
Wiseman averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in three games for Memphis last season before sitting out the remainder of the year to prepare for the draft. Some scouts love his rebounding and athleticism, while others don’t like his lack of shooting range and inconsistent motor.
Golden State has shown an interest in Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, but the Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to take him with the top overall pick. The Warriors are also known to be high on Florida State’s Devin Vassell and Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton.
Knicks trading up for LaMelo Ball?
LaMelo Ball is another potential option for the Warriors, but mutual interest does exist between him and the New York Knicks. The Knicks have the 6-8 guard at the top of their draft board and Ball has expressed his desire to play in New York.
So, given the Knicks fell to No. 8 following the draft lottery, they will likely have to trade up to get him – especially with the Pistons also showing interest in him at No. 7 overall. They are exploring those options, and Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley writes they could trade Mitchell Robinson, along with Reggie Bullock and that No. 8 pick, to the Charlotte Hornets for the No. 3 pick (they would also receive Malik Monk in return).
Charlotte has a need for a center and is interested in trading back, where they could also get a needed wing defender. Any Knicks deal would be dependent on Ball being available, so it likely wouldn’t happen until draft night, but be on the look out for New York making a deal to land the talented 19-year-old.
Cavs targeting three prospects
Cleveland probably has the biggest need for a wing player in the draft and, with the No. 5 overall pick, are in a really good position to get one.
Israel’s Deni Avdija, Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, and Vassell are all expected to be top 10 picks and all may be available when the Cavs make their selection (unless Golden State takes Vassell). Cleveland is really high on all three players but the front office is split on which one they should take, according to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
“All three of them are really close,” a source told Vardon. “They’re all winners and intangibles guys.”
The biggest question mark surrounding Avdija was his inconsistent outside shot, but his improved percentage since the Israeli Premier League restarted play has quelled some of those concerns. Because of that, I have Cleveland taking him at No. 5 in my latest mock draft.
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.