NBA Mock Draft: Top three could be the future of the league


photo via Yahoo Sports

This year’s draft will be like no other, as the NBA prospects will have to wait an additional five months to hear their future destination. The NBA draft, which usually takes place in June, is slated for November 18th. In this abnormal year, the draft contains three top players that could easily hear their name first.

Will the Timberwolves go with the third Ball Brother, Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman? Or, trade the first pick?

Either way, here’s the first-round mock draft for the 2020 NBA Draft:

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG

The Timberwolves have a unique situation with the first pick, as they have three options to add to the squad. However, it’s a process of elimination. Although Wiseman and LaMelo Ball are sure-fire prospects, Minnesota already has locks in their positions with D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns. Edwards is a highly athletic guard who averaged 19.1 PPG and 5.2 rebounds-a-game at the University of Georgia this season. The downside to his game is his shooting ability, as he only shot 40.2% from the field during his shortened season. Compared to Dwyane Wade, Edwards has huge potential, as his NBA-ready body and his quickness in transition are rare for a 19-year-old.

2. Golden State Warriors: LaMelo Ball, PG

It’s hard to believe that the Golden State Warriors, who have been a dynasty in recent years, possess the second pick of the draft. Many are unclear if the Warriors will trade or keep their pick. Wiseman would not bide in this lineup, as the small, fast-tempo offense is the perfect fit for LaMelo Ball. Ball has had quite the journey to the NBA. He was taken out of high school and played professional ball in Lithuania, his dad’s own failed attempt at a league and Australia. This 6’7” guard has an advanced court visor, paired with a dead-eye shot from 3PT and is considered to be an one-of-a-kind talent. Adding Ball to a healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson could boost this squad back into contention in a powerful Western Conference.

3. Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman, C

Charlotte has been in rebuild mode since the dawn of time. At this point, they will take any of the top three players in the draft. They will most likely end up with James Wiseman, a 7’0” monster coming out of Memphis University. His elite size will cement him in the league as a top defender and his shot-blocking and rebounding abilities can assist a young Hornets roster. Many front offices are concerned about Wiseman only playing three college basketball games. He withdrew from college after receiving a 12-game suspension, as his family received $11,500 to aid their move from Nashville to Memphis. However, Wiseman’s raw talent will easily play at the next level.

4. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, SF

The Bulls’ have no luck when it comes to drafts in recent years and their misfortune continues as they lose out on the three superstars of this draft; however, with the current success of overseas-players like Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, Chicago could strike gold in Deni Avdija. The stud from Israel is the full package; he is 6’9” and can easily handle and shoot the ball, while playing from any position on the floor. With a young Bulls roster that features talent of Zach LaVine, Colby White, and Lauri Markkanen, a high IQ talent in Avdija could help the rebuild process in Chicago.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF

Oh how badly do I want this to happen. Ever since LeBron left The Land, the Cavaliers have struggled to find an identity for themselves. Toppin would be a perfect addition to a young, gritty Cleveland team. Standing at 6’9”, Toppin has insane athleticism for a big man and a niche for getting the ball in the bucket. The Dayton star averaged 20.0 points in the 2019-20 season and his advanced scoring ability made him a contender for the Naismith College Player of the Year.  In order for this to work out, the Cavs will have to find a trade for Kevin Love, in return for more young prospects.

6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, PF

The Hawks have a bright future with superstar point guard Trae Young and Onyeka Okongwu could help take the Hawks to the next level. Known for being a former teammate of the Ball Brothers on the high-powered Chino Hills offense in 2015-16, the 6’9” power forward out of USC is a threat on both offense and defense.  Okongwu uses his size on both sides of the court, as he averaged 16.2 points and 2.7 blocks a game in his freshman campaign. Pairing him with Young could make a future unstoppable duo.

7. Detroit Pistons: Isaac Okoro, SG/SF

The Pistons have struggled since 2008, as they have not made it out of the first round in three appearances. It also does not help that they landed the seventh pick of the draft this year. A safe pick for the Pistons would be Isaac Okoro, a small forward out of Auburn. Okoro has an NBA ready archetype, standing at 6’6” and weighing a lean 225 lbs. The Tigers star player averaged almost 13 points a game by using his physical stature to get to the basket. While his build may be NBA ready, his game and abilities will have to be developed.

8. New York Knicks: Killian Hayes, PG

The Knicks are a failing franchise. With controversy with owner James Dolan during the Black Lives Matter Movement, the Knicks need to get lucky and find a franchise player soon. Drafting an experienced player in Killian Hayes, the Knicks would get a player with 72 professional games played in France under his belt. Hayes, a 6’5” point guard, is a playmaker who can easily handle the ball and has improved his shooting throughout his time in France. Even with such a low pick, Hayes would be a great contender for this struggling franchise.

9. Washington Wizards: Tyrese Haliburton, G

Washington has yet again missed out on the playoffs and John Wall seems to be on the decline while dealing with injuries. Drafting a guard in Tyrese Haliburton could help fill the role of Wall.  A 3-and-D type player, Haliburton paired with a guard like Bradley Beal could be lethal. The Iowa State guard will have to work on his frame, as he was knocked off the ball several times in college. He has promising potential and could develop into a huge role for the Wizards.

10. Phoenix Suns: Devin Vassell, SG

Everyone was shocked with the Suns performance in the bubble, as they went 8-0 and almost claimed the eighth seed in the 2020 playoffs. Drafting another shooter could hopefully carry this momentum into the next season. Devin Vassell, a guard from Florida State, has the potential to make an impact on the Suns in the near future. His advanced shot-creating ability will help him transition into the NBA, as he will eventually develop the speed of the game.

11. San Antonio Spurs: Patrick Williams, SF

Patrick Williams is probably the most physically protectable player in the draft. At 6’8”, 225 pounds, the Florida State forward has the size and the athleticism to compete day one in the NBA. He is a raw talent, so development will be crucial to Williams to become a dominant force. Once he works on his offensive abilities, he can be an effective player on a Spurs roster that features key talent in DeMar DeRozen and Dejounte Murray.

12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF

Time will tell how Sacramento will play in the future. They have all the pieces to be a future dynasty with a roster featuring players De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic. Aaron Nesmith would be a perfect match for the Kings, as his leadership is exactly what they need. Coming out of Vanderbilt, Nesmith can hit just about any jump shot. This could be an easy steal for a team that is looking for their identity.

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Saddiq Bey, PF

Bey’s stock has risen throughout the year and he now jumps to mid first-round on most draft boards. A Villinova product, Saddiq Bey is a great two-way player. He cleans the boards on defense and can score on offense. Many front offices are still concerned with his skillset because of his lack of specialized talent in his game. However, the risk for New Orleans is not high as Zion Williams will continue to play the Power Forward.

14. Boston Celtics (From MEM): Cole Anthony, PG

The major question of this draft is, where will Cole Anthony land? The 6’3” guard from North Carolina was in the conversation for a top pick, but has slipped in many draft boards. Many are worried his relentless scoring ability won’t translate to the NBA, as his height may limit him. Averaging 18.5 points a game, Anthony was a spark plug for the Tar Heels. The Celtics can gamble on this young talent, mainly because they have two other picks later in the draft and are known for success with smaller-set point guards.

15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr, PG

Lewis Jr is most known for his electric speed on the floor and his ability to attack the paint at any given moment. A mid-round pick is considered high for the Alabama prospect, as people are worried if his size will affect his game. Only 165 pounds, Lewis Jr is considered a twig compared to the monsters in the league. His driving skills will greatly improve with gaining muscle and he could be a plus to the Magic’s roster.

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Precious Achiuwa, PF

Damian Lillard went on an absolute tear in the bubble, showing that he can easily be the best point guard in the league. An animal like Precious Achiuwa could add more strength to Portland.  Achiuwa has shown signs of being a threat in the league, but many believe he still lacks the knowledge of the game. Once he learns more, the potential is endless, as he has proven to be a threat from inside and outside, shooting 32.5% from 3. If he pans out, the Trail Blazers can assert their dominance in a tough Western Conference.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (From BRO): Jalen Smith, PF

Minnesota could easily have the best draft if they snag Jalen Smith with the 17th pick. The 6’10” power forward from Maryland is a major threat on both ends of the floor, as he possesses a shot-blocking ability, while shooting 37% from 3 point land.  An all-around player, Smith could easily be a huge steal for the Timberwolves and they would be able to land two solid prospects in the first round.

18. Dallas Mavericks: R.J. Hampton, PG

The future is bright in Dallas. With a star-loaded lineup that made a statement in the playoffs this year, they only need a little piece to get them over the hump. This piece could be R.J. Hampton. Instead of playing in college, the highly-recruited Hampton decided to play overseas. Once considered to go #1, he has now slipped to as low as 23 on some draft boards. Hampton has shown to be an elite scorer and it could easily transfer to the next level. If the Mavs land Hampton, they can become a serious threat to the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers in the West.

19. Brooklyn Nets (From PHI): Tyrese Maxey, SG

The 2019 offseason was a huge success for the Nets, as they acquired star players in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. However, we weren’t able to see this incredible duo in action this year, with Durant’s achilles injury during the 2019 Finals. Maxey’s versatility allows him to fit any team, able to compete on each side of the court. His transition game will help the high powered offense and Maxey could eventually play a key role for Brooklyn in the future.

20. Miami Heat: Tre Jones, PG

Coming off a stellar championship run, the Miami Heat demonstrates their gritty style of play can compete against the strongest teams. Brother of Tyus, his play style reflected his brother’s in college and scrappy play would benefit the Heat. Acquiring more players of this caliber could win it all.

21. Philadelphia 76ers (From OKC): Theo Maledon

“Trusting the process” has resulted in many early playoff exits in a LeBron-less Eastern Conference. An efficient player such as Theo Maledon could be a solid late-round pick. The French guard is an offensive threat from 3, shooting 36% from downtown. A shooter could help the 76ers during the fourth quarter, as they are currently lacking a sufficient closer.

22. Denver Nuggets (From HOU): Josh Green, SG

Averaging 1.5 steals per game, the guard from Arizona is a lockdown defender. His body helps him on defense, as Green is 6’5” 200 pounds with a 6’10” wing span. Green needs to improve his offensive and mental game to compete in the NBA, but he could make an impact on the Nuggets when fully developed.

23. Utah Jazz: Isaiah Steward, PF

Steward has the physical ability to dominate on offense, averaging 17.0 points for Washington last year. He also is a catalyst on the other end, averaging 2.0 blocks per game; however, his lack of athleticism disables him to finish at the rim. He is also on the smaller side, standing at only 6’9”, but is still well built. Once he develops more athleticism, he can become a bigger threat in the paint.

24. Milwaukee Bucks (From IND): Nico Mannion, PG

Another prospect from the University of Arizona, Mannion is an all-around threat at the point guard position. He has a good combination of playmaking and scoring, as he averaged 14.0 points and 5.3 assist in his freshman season. The Bucks will be grateful to land a solid prospect with the #24 pick, as he can prove to be a steal in the coming years.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (From DEN): Jalen McDaniels, PF

The Thunder could be landing a big-time prospect in Jalen McDaniels. The 6’10” power forward from Washington can be considered a “positionless” player, as his athleticism and footwork allows him to put the ball on the floor. McDaniels has also shown signs of a strong shooting ability, knocking down many 15-20 footers last year. He could be higher, but many front offices are concerned with his very weak freshman campaign. He will be a big hit or a miss if the Thunder decide to take him.

26. Boston Celtics: Leandro Balmaro, SG

With three picks and a filled roster, the Boston Celtics will most likely trade one of three picks they possess; however, Leandro Balmaro could be a great option for the Celtics, as he committed to play overseas next season. A draft-and-stash prospect could be a great use of a late first round pick.

27. New York Knicks (From LAC): Vernon Carey Jr., PF/C

The big from Duke was one of the most consistent players in college last season, as he averaged about 18 points and 9 rebounds a game. Not a franchise player, but Carey Jr. could play a key role in the future for the New York Knicks, who are in the middle of a rebuild.

28. Los Angeles Lakers: Cassius Winston, PG

With an aging Rajon Rondo, the Lakers could use help at the point guard position for the future. The electric guard from Michigan State had an outstanding season, as his 19 points and 6 assists a game led the Spartans to a 22-9 record. At 6’1”, Winston is undersized, but has proven to compete at a high level.

29. Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn, PG

With the high price tag on Fred VanVleet going into free agency, the Raptors may need to fill the point guard hole. Flynn, finishing his junior season at San Diego State, would be the next best option at the point guard position.

30. Boston Celtics (From MIL): Zeke Nnaji, C

Standing at 6’11”, Nnaji’s size allows him to fight for rebounds and finish down in the paint. The question still remains what the Celtics will do with their pick, but the Arizona big man will be a valuable addition to any squad that drafts him.