After months of anticipation, the 2019-20 NBA campaign is set to resume this week. Play will begin on July 31st at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. In addition to crowning league champion, the restart will also finalize the order of the 2020 NBA Draft, which is currently scheduled for October 16th. Ahead of this restart, Last Word on Pro Basketball presents a 2020 NBA mock draft, based on the current standings.
2020 NBA Mock Draft – First Round
1.) Golden State Warriors – Anthony Edwards, Guard
Following his SEC Freshman of the Year campaign with the Georgia Bulldogs, Anthony Edwards has been a near consensus number one pick. An explosive athlete and arguably the best scorer in this draft, Edwards averaged 19.1 points per game while shooting close to 40 percent last season.
Edwards has an NBA build and scouts expect this to translate into his ability to defend two or three different positions in the league. Early on, the Golden State Warriors can utilize him as a rotational defender, with his long-term potential a huge upside.
2.) Cleveland Cavaliers – James Wiseman, Center
Despite his short stint with the Memphis Tigers, James Wiseman is easily a top-five pick in this draft. He played three games at Memphis before an eligibility battle that resulted in both a suspension and decision to leave school early.
A 7-footer with a huge wingspan and exceptional athleticism, Wiseman can learn to have success in the NBA. Playing behind Andre Drummond with the Cleveland Cavaliers is a great opportunity for the center, who pairs nicely with the young core of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
3.) Minnesota Timberwolves – Obi Toppin, Forward
The Minnesota Timberwolves are in need of adding defensive pieces to surround the scoring combo of Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Perhaps a surprising pick, but the Timberwolves select Dayton’s Obi Toppin at number three.
In what’s considered a down draft, lottery teams will look for players who can make an immediate impact. Toppin is one of them. Toppin is gifted offensively, as he shot close to 70 percent from the field. He adds three-point range and can rebound, especially when playing alongside a true center.
4.) Atlanta Hawks – LaMelo Ball, Guard
For years, LaMelo Ball has been waiting to step outside the shadow of his older brother, Lonzo Ball. A lottery selection in this year’s draft will accomplish that. Ball is considered a huge risk-reward pick by NBA scouts. Listed at 6-foot-7, Ball’s size and playmaking ability give him a huge ceiling. The downsides are his shooting efficiency and lack of interest in defense.
Luckily for Ball, the Atlanta Hawks are in need of a playmaker to add depth to the point guard position, which is owned by Trae Young. Ball should continue to mature into an NBA body and offers one of the highest ceilings in this draft.
5.) Detroit Pistons – Onyeka Okongwu, Forward/Center
With the 2020 NBA mock draft taking shape, Onyeka Okongwu has separated himself as one of the better bigs in this draft. With size and athleticism, he fits a need for every NBA team. Okongwu projects safely as a rim protector and versatile defender.
In 28 games with USC, he shot 61.6 percent from the field, showing his ability to score easily around the rim. Aside from an aging Blake Griffin, the Detroit Pistons are in need of talent at all positions. Okongwu fits the mold for a modern center and is a safe pick for Detroit.
6.) New York Knicks – Killian Hayes, Guard
Another year, another draft in which the New York Knicks are in search of a franchise point guard. Elfrid Payton has taken over starting at the point with Frank Ntilikina’s lackluster development but isn’t the long term solution. The first overseas player to come in, in the 2020 NBA mock draft is Killian Hayes, a French guard from the Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany) is a potential answer.
Hayes enjoyed a breakout year for Ulm, taking on full-time point guard duties and showcasing a great decision-making ability. His passing is highlighted by a creative ball-handle, which makes up for his lack of athleticism. Hayes is considered a lottery option by scouts. If the Knicks feel comfortable finding another potential franchise point guard overseas, then lock in Hayes at the sixth spot.
7.) Chicago Bulls – Deni Avdija, Forward
The Chicago Bulls are loaded with young talent including six-year veteran scoring machine Zach LaVine. Coby White is the future franchise point guard, and Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter are a bright spot for the future. The one hole of this young core? Small forward.
Otto Porter battled with injuries this year, opening up a need for wing depth in Chicago. Deni Avdija possesses unique shooting and playmaking ability for a player standing 6-foot-9. The Israeli forward averaged 12.3 points per game for Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Bulls will bank on improving his jump shot and team defense to round out his game.
8.) Charlotte Hornets – Tyrese Haliburton, Guard
The Charlotte Hornets owned the third-worst offensive rating in the league this season and will look for efficient scoring in the draft. Tyrese Haliburton from Iowa State fits this need. Haliburton stands at 6-foot-5 and plays as a lead guard with terrific transition and shooting from deep.
He averaged 15.2 points and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 41.9 percent from three-point range. Haliburton doesn’t possess a ton of athleticism but is valuable for his ability to find teammates in space. Charlotte is hopeful that Haliburton will help the offensive efficiency of their young core of Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, and P.J. Washington.
9.) Washington Wizards – Isaac Okoro, Forward
Isaac Okoro is considered the best lockdown wing defender in this draft. He has the frame and instinct on defense to make him a long-term starter in the league. While Bradley Beal and John Wall shoulder the Washington Wizards load on offense, Washington ranked dead last in defensive rating this year. Okoro needs work on offense but should provide an immediate impact on defense.
10.) Phoenix Suns – Precious Achiuwa, Forward
The Phoenix Suns will have some decisions to make in the frontcourt with Dario Saric and Aron Baynes as impending free agents this offseason. Deandre Ayton will be in Phoenix for years to come, yet the Suns will need additional defensive depth in the frontcourt.
Following Wiseman’s early departure, Precious Achiuwa saw a ton of action for the Memphis Tigers. In the absence, Achiuwa took advantage of his size to rebound and protect the rim. The 6-foot-9 big man averaged a double-double with 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game at Memphis.
11.) San Antonio Spurs – Cole Anthony, Guard
Cole Anthony was the second-highest rated prospect in the 2019 recruiting class prior to this season. His draft stock cooled following an injury-riddled freshman campaign with North Carolina. However, he has an incredible upside as a scoring machine. Anthony has all the tools of a microwave scorer: athletic, capable of making tough shots, and he put up big numbers scoring 18.5 points per game with the Tar Heels.
The San Antonio Spurs may be the perfect fit. The Spurs have promising young talent with Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker. It’s unclear if DeMar DeRozan will stay long-term with the player option in his contract. Regardless, head coach Gregg Popovich can find spots for Anthony to thrive in his offense.
12.) Sacramento Kings – Devin Vassell, Guard/Forward
The Sacramento Kings are another young team with a talented core. Marvin Bagley, De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Richaun Holmes are the main pieces. Harrison Barnes locks down the starting small forward role, yet the Kings will look to add depth behind him.
Devin Vassell enjoyed a breakout season with Florida State, proving to be a strong team defender who can knock down open shots. He’s a lengthy wing at 6-foot-7 and his size will easily transition into a successful NBA wing defender.
13.) New Orleans Pelicans – Aaron Nesmith, Guard/Forward
The New Orleans Pelicans will have a better feel for team needs if the roster remains healthy in the NBA Disney Bubble. The Pelicans have only played a few games at full strength with Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball. Still, it’s apparent that New Orleans needs help with wing depth and at starting center. The center position is lacking in this draft, so New Orleans will eye a backup wing.
Aaron Nesmith is a pure spot-up shooter, hitting 52 percent from three-point range in his 14 games of action. His shooting ability is an excellent addition to the playmaking abilities of Williamson and Ball.
14.) Portland Trail Blazers – Saddiq Bey, Forward
The Portland Trail Blazers are an aging roster with a ton of talent. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are the offensive stars and the team was promising with the additions of Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza this year. Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins pair nicely together in the front court, but Portland will look for that prototype three-and-D wing.
Saddiq Bey is exactly that. The 6-foot-8 wing from Villanova is a versatile defender who shot 45.1 percent from deep as a sophomore last year. He adds much needed defensive help and is another weapon for the Trail Blazers to score, score, score.
15.) Orlando Magic – Tyrese Maxey, Guard
Tyrese Maxey showed flashes of brilliance while at Kentucky and he comes in at the midway point of the 2020 NBA mock draft. He averaged 14.0 points per game but scored 25 or more points three times last season. Maxey was scouted as a big-time scorer out of high school. While his three-point percentage fell to 29 percent in college, he is a good free-throw shooter and has touch around the rim.
16.) Minnesota Timberwolves via Brooklyn Nets – Josh Green, Guard/Forward
This pick is Minnesota’s second in the first round. The Timberwolves will pick in the Brooklyn Nets spot following the four-team trade with the Hawks and Denver Nuggets that featured Clint Capela and Robert Covington.
Minnesota will fill their biggest need with the selection of Toppin at number three. After that, it’s time to add depth at wing. Josh Green has a well-rounded game especially with his size at 6-foot-6 and explosive vertical. If Green is able to find a more consistent jumper, there’s no question he can be a valuable role player for years to come.
17.) Boston Celtics via Memphis Grizzlies – Patrick Williams, Forward
Based on the current standings, the Memphis Grizzlies will send this 2020 first-round pick to the Boston Celtics since it lands outside the top six. Boston will happily draft Patrick Williams in this spot.
The youngest college player in this draft, Williams is a big and versatile forward who can guard three positions. Standing at 6-foot-8, Williams put up average numbers, which is expected in a Leonard Hamilton program at Florida State. His size and raw skills leave a big upside for Williams. Boston, who isn’t in need of immediate impact with this pick, selects Williams for his potential.
18.) Dallas Mavericks – RJ Hampton, Guard
RJ Hampton’s decision to play overseas instead of college raised more questions to his draft stock. But, teams that pick in the back half of the first round are more comfortable drafting on potential alone.
A 6-foot-5 guard, Hampton has the length, quickness, and athleticism to shine in the NBA. His raw skills need some work, especially his jumper, and that will take some time. Fortunately, Dallas Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic should be one of the faces of the league for the next decade or so. If Hampton reaches his potential, the Mavericks may have the most-feared backcourt in the league.
19.) Milwaukee Bucks via Indiana Pacers – Tyrell Terry, Guard
While the Milwaukee Bucks may hoist the NBA championship trophy at the end of the year, the Bucks will pick at 19 in the 2020 NBA mock draft after sending Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers. One of the most well-rounded teams in the league, Milwaukee isn’t in need of much in the draft. One area to improve is adding another three-point shooter to the roster.
Tyrell Terry may be the best pure shooter in the draft. He made 40.8 percent of his three-pointers while at Stanford and shot close to 90 percent from the stripe. Terry could improve at his own shot-creating but in Milwaukee’s system, there’s no doubt Giannis Antetokounmpo can find him in open spaces.
20.) Brooklyn Nets via Philadelphia 76ers – Jaden McDaniels, Forward
Jaden McDaniels should fall later in the first round, making this selection a gift for Brooklyn. Taurean Prince has found a nice home in Brooklyn as the starting power forward. The Nets will look for depth here with McDaniels, a player who may need some developmental time in the G League. McDaniels has a long frame and ball skills. If he develops a jump shot, that’s a huge addition to his skill set.
21.) Denver Nuggets via Houston Rockets – Isaiah Stewart, Forward/Center
Earlier this year the Nuggets sent Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez to the Minnesota Timberwolves. In exchange, they received the Houston Rockets first-round pick as part of this four-team trade. Paul Millsap hits free agency after this year, which provides a potential lack of frontcourt depth.
Isaiah Stewart is a prototypical throwback center with length and size at 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds. He provides a ton of energy rebounding the ball and is praised for his work ethic and leadership.
22.) Philadelphia 76ers via Oklahoma City Thunder – Leandro Bolmaro, Guard
Philadelphia owns this pick thanks to their trade of Markelle Fultz to the Orlando Magic. They first landed this pick when they traded Jerami Grant to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Ersan Ilyasova. Then Philadelphia traded it in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Magic to get the draft rights to Anzejs Pasecniks. It was sent back to them with the Fultz trade.
Leandro Bolmaro is an intriguing guard from Spain and perhaps the first draft-and-stash player of the 2020 NBA mock draft. He combines positional size with creative playmaking. Standing at 6-foot-6, Bolmaro is a potential rare find as such a lengthy playmaker. He will need some time to develop but could be a nice piece for Philadelphia moving forward.
23.) Miami Heat – Théo Maledon, Guard
With Goran Dragic scheduled to hit free agency, this selection is a worst-case scenario for the Miami Heat. The point guard position is promising with Kendrick Nunn, however, Miami will look for his backup.
Theo Maledon, a French guard, had an up-and-down injury-riddled year with ASVEL Basket. He’s played professionally since he was 16 and is a bigger combo guard who can play on or off the ball. His scouted work ethic works perfectly with Jimmy Butler and Pat Riley in Miami.
24.) Utah Jazz – Kira Lewis, Guard
Kira Lewis, a point guard from Alabama, upped his draft stock in the last half of his sophomore campaign. He scored a lot in Alabama’s fast-paced system, averaging 16.7 points per game, and has shot at least 35 percent from deep in two consecutive years. Lewis is thin and an NBA workout routine should improve on this flaw.
25.) Oklahoma City Thunder via Denver Nuggets – Jahmi’us Ramsey, Guard
The Thunder received this pick from Denver following the 2019 trade of Jerami Grant. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Terrance Ferguson, and Hamidou Diallo prove the Thunder have a lot of young depth on the wing.
Jahmi’us Ramsey is a good shooter and his size are pluses for a physical guard. He scored 15.0 points per game last year with Texas Tech, however, needs to build his confidence at the rim. He often settled for tough jumpers but has the tools to be a successful wing in the NBA.
26.) Boston Celtics – Aleksej Pokusevski, Forward/Center
Boston has a lot of options in this draft thanks to their three first-round picks. Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward have player options following the season but are expected to stick around on this talented roster. This leaves the Celtics with the flexibility to draft for the future.
Aleksej Pokusevski is the youngest player on this board and displays an unusual combination of ball skills, shooting touch, and movement for a 7-footer. He’s thin, weighing only 200 pounds, but has the potential to become a successful European stretch-bigs in the NBA.
27.) New York Knicks via Los Angeles Clippers – Nico Mannion, Guard
Mannion’s stock fell after an inconsistent year at Arizona, but he’s considered one of the better passers in this draft. Mannion plays with a high basketball IQ and projects, at worst, as a potential long-term backup point guard for New York.
28.) Toronto Raptors – Xavier Tillman, Center
The Toronto Raptors are another deep roster in win-now mode. There are some questions for the team’s front court with bigs Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka aging and set for free agency this upcoming offseason. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris Boucher, younger-depth up front, are also impending free agents.
Xavier Tillman, from Michigan State, has the perfect build for a modern-day NBA big. Tillman stands at 6-foot-8 and weighs 245 pounds, rebounds with energy, and sets great screens for his scorers. He’s added to his basketball IQ after spending three years playing for Tom Izzo and is a great option for Toronto late in the first round.
29.) Los Angeles Lakers – Cassius Winston, Guard
It’s all win-now mode for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team is eager to capitalize on its championship window with LeBron James. There have been questions at point guard after Rajon Rondo’s enigmatic play this season. He’s held consistent time in the rotation, yet the Lakers have a minus-6.8 net rating with Rondo on the court. The Lakers point guard corps is rounded out by Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, and Dion Waiters, all role players at their best.
Cassius Winston is another Tom Izzo-Michigan State product with a great basketball IQ. He’s a great decision-maker who adds to a winning culture. The Lakers have a great opportunity to draft a solid, winning backup point guard for this win-now mode.
30.) Boston Celtics via Milwaukee Bucks – Jalen Smith, Forward
Boston also owns the last pick of the first round, their third pick this round. To reiterate, this is a deeply talented team that should stock these picks for future success. Jalen Smith is an athletic freak at the center position with the ability to run in today’s NBA.
The final pick of the 2020 NBA mock draft earned a selection based on his impact at Maryland, who looked like one of the best teams in college basketball in the last half of the season. Smith stands 6-foot-10 and weighs 225 pounds. His size will continue to round out in the league.
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