This mock draft has been written on the 19th of October 2020.
The 2020 NBA Draft is one of the riskiest drafts in years. Most prospects have the potential to be boom-or-bust players. Not much is guaranteed in this year’s draft and the majority of these players are going to require the right situation in order for them to be able to thrive.
In a draft with a lot of trade speculation, I have decided to make my draft without attempting to guess what trades may occur. Although Minnesota and Golden State are reportedly interested in trading their picks, I have made this mock draft assuming they both keep their picks.
Pick 1 –
PG/SG/ – 6’7 – 181 lb
Even with both Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman available, I believe that the Timberwolves will draft LaMelo Ball (assuming they don’t trade the pick of course). Under Gersson Rosas, the Timberwolves are trying to create a run-and-gun system that takes full advantage of Karl-Anthony-Towns’ ability to score inside and outside. Ball’s playmaking ability should ideally create scoring opportunities for both D’Angelo Russell and KAT. According to stats.nba.com, Russell made 39.1% of his catch and shoot 3 point opportunities, on 3.8 attempts per game. Playing alongside another playmaker like Ball could potentially elevate Russell’s scoring to the next level and take pressure off of his playmaking. Due to his height, I believe that LaMelo Ball can be developed into a positionless playmaker at point guard, shooting guard and small forward. While he will require more strength to defend the small forward in the long term, I believe this will be his ideal position in a team built around D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Pick 2 –
Golden State Warriors
C – 7’1 – 251 lb
The second pick in the draft is just as difficult as the first. There is a very high chance that Golden State trades this pick for an established player that fits into their system. However if they keep the pick, I can very easily see them taking James Wiseman. Wiseman was the number 1 ranked prospect coming out of high school. Unfortunately we only got to see a very small sample of him playing at the College level. Over the last 2 months there have been rumours that the Warriors are not interested in Wiseman, however I am not buying this. Wiseman projects to be a very athletic 7-foot rim runner. He appears to have a good shooting touch which could translate to him developing a quality jump shot in time. With Golden State’s development coaches I would not rule out Wiseman eventually developing a capable jumper. Golden State is lacking a rim protector following Kevin Durant’s departure, James Wiseman could be the answer. With the spacing from the Splash Brothers, and the lob-throwing of Draymond Green, I believe that Wiseman could be the perfect big man for the Golden State Warriors.
Pick 3 –
SG/SF – 6’5 – 225 lb
The Charlotte Hornets are potentially in the best position of the NBA Draft. All three of the top picks of this year’s draft are very risky boom-or-bust prospects. Luckily for the Hornets they would benefit from any three of these young players on their roster, without having to risk looking stupid by taking the wrong one. Charlotte would be absolutely thrilled to draft Anthony Edwards. Edwards has the potential to be an NBA superstar, he just needs time, teaching and patience. The Hornets have plenty of time as their roster is definitely not built to win now. Edwards could slide in at either the shooting guard next to Devonte’ Graham, or the small forward with Graham and Terry Rozier at the guard spots. Edwards has a lot to learn, but in the right situation he could easily be the best player in this draft. If James Wiseman falls to the Hornets they should be very happy too as they are lacking their center of the future. LaMelo Ball would also be a good choice if available, however I don’t know if Michael Jordan is going to want to put up with LaVar Ball.
Pick 4 –
PG/SG – 6’5 – 175 lb
I am split on this pick. While Killian Hayes and Deni Avdija are also very good selections for the Bulls (and the Bulls president of Basketball Operations has done a lot of overseas scouting), I believe that the Bulls are going to fall in love with Tyrese Haliburton’s fit with the team. With Billy Donovan as the new head coach of the Bulls, it’s easy to imagine he is going to want to run a similar system to the one he ran in OKC. The Thunder thrived with a lineup of Chris Paul at PG, Dennis Schroeder at SG, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at SF, Danillo Gallinari at PF and Steven Adams at C. With Haliburton, the Bulls could create a similar lineup with Tyrese Haliburton at PG, Coby White at SG, Zach LaVine at SF (if he played SGA at small forward, you best believe he would play LaVine there as well), Lauri Markkanen at PF and Wendell Carter Jr at C. Haliburton would bring an immediate impact with his on-ball defense and great passing. With this team desperately needing perimeter defense, I believe that Haliburton would be the best choice as their new point guard.
Pick 5 –
C/PF – 6’9 – 245 lb
Cleveland’s roster has no clear direction. They don’t have the right players to complement Andre Drummond, and their three best young players (Darius Garland, Colin Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr) have clashing playing styles. In my mock draft I have the Cavs selecting Onyeka Okongwu because I believe he is likely the best player available. Okongwu brings NBA ready defense instantly and he has high offensive upside. Okongwu is quite likely the best paint defender in the draft as he is able to protect the rim, and deflect passes from coming into the post. On offense he shot a ridiculous 61.6% from the field. He also showed a soft shooting touch occasionally, which may indicate he has the potential to extend his range. While Okongwu is incompatible with Drummond and Tristan Thompson’s playing styles, his upside suggests that he could be a great compliment to Garland and Porter Jr in the future.
Pick 6 –
SF/PF – 6’9 – 220 lb
Deni Avdija is one of the riskiest players in the draft. I believe that in the wrong situation he could very easily be a bust. He has largely benefited from the hype that came with Luka Doncic breaking out into an NBA superstar. However Avdija does not possess the same shooting touch that Doncic does. Over the last 4 years Deni Avdija has been a relatively poor free throw shooter. This indicates that he may lack the shooting touch needed to thrive at the next level. However he did show some improvement as the season progressed. What Avdija does bring to the table is defensive versatility, effort on both sides of the floor, good passing, good size and a high work ethic. This work ethic that has been noted by most scouts, will help him improve in the NBA. I believe that the Hawks are the perfect team to help Avdija reach his potential. As a small-ball power forward, he could thrive in their system. His passing would allow for the ball to be swung around the perimeter until the team finds an open shooter. His ability to make smart reads off of the ball could result in him making smart cuts to score at the basket off of Trae Young’s assists. While Avdija could be drafted by the Bulls or the Cavs, I hope he drops to the Hawks where he will likely develop best.
Pick 7 –
PG/SG – 6’5 – 216 lb
Killian Hayes is one of my favourite players in the draft. He could easily go earlier in the draft. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hayes taken by the Bulls at number 4, or by the Cavs at 5. Hayes projects to be a high level playmaker with an accurate jumpshot. While he is turnover prone, he has unteachable courtivison. The Pistons could be the perfect place for Hayes to land, where he can be handed the keys to the offense immediately and be developed into a star. At only 19 years old he has a lot to learn, and a lot of time to develop. The Pistons have no win now players. and would benefit from drafting the player with the highest upside available. In this case it is Killian Hayes.
Pick 8 –
New York Knicks
SG/SF – 6’7 – 194 lb
With all of the top point guards already drafted in this mock, the Knicks have three options. Draft the player with the highest upside, draft the player who best fits with RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson or draft the player with the most trade value. Devin Vassell possibly fills all three categories. New York needs to surround Barrett and Robinson with floor spacing. Vassell projects to be a good shooter at the NBA level. There was a fairly recent video circling social media where we saw Vassell shooting with a strange shot form. At this point I don’t see that affecting his draft stock, but if he has ruined his shooting form, I can see him slipping outside the top 10 of the draft. Vassell brings great length and good defense that will also compliment the players on the Knicks, as they need to establish a defensive identity. Vassell could play either wing position next to Barrett allowing them to be a pretty good combination. While I could also see the Knicks taking Obi Toppin, I believe that Vassell better compliments Barrett and Robinson.
Pick 9 –
SG/SF/PF – 6’5 – 225 lb
Isaac Okoro is a tough defender who makes smart decisions on offense. The Wizards are going to be an interesting team to watch this year. With John Wall returning from injury, it’s hard to predict how well he will play. Brad Beal is a star, but he needs help. Okoro would be an impact bench player for this team with his relentless energy. Okoro does not bring much to the table in terms of shooting, but his game is largely complete in most other areas. He would benefit from the playmakers on the Wizards roster, with John Wall and Ish Smith.
Pick 10 –
PF/C – 6’9 – 220 lb
The Suns have quite a few good options with the 10th pick in the draft. I have them taking Obi Toppin because he would be a steal with this pick. Toppin brings great finishing abilities and solid rebounding. At times Toppin has shown he has the potential to become a high quality shooter, but we are going to need to see if he can keep this up from NBA range. Toppin could thrive as a backup power forward on the Suns. The Suns thrived in the NBA Bubble with their lineup when they moved Dario Saric to backup centre. Potentially adding Toppin to the lineup as the backup power forward could work well on this team. Toppin could also play well as a small ball 5 for short stints of time. Patrick Williams could also be a good fit for the Suns if they are looking for a backup small forward. However, If Toppin is available for the tenth pick, I don’t think the Suns will be able to resist drafting him.
Pick 11 –
San Antonio Spurs
SG/SF/PF – 6’8 – 225 lb
It’s becoming quite common to see the Spurs taking Patrick Williams with the eleventh pick in NBA mock drafts, and it is easy to see why. Williams has shown a tonne of potential in his freshman year at Florida State. While he only averaged 9.2 points per game in 22.5 minutes per game, he showed flashes of defense, shot making and athleticism. Williams made 83.8% of his free throws with a beautiful shooting stroke. There is no doubt that Williams is a long term prospect. The Spurs are a patient team, who are very good at developing their young players. With no future small forward set in stone on their roster (I view Keldon Johnson as a shooting guard), I believe that this could be an ideal match for both team and player.
Pick 12 –
SG/SF – 6’6 – 213 lb
Aaron Nesmith is definitely one of the best shooters in the draft. He was able to connect on 52.2% of his 3s in a 12 game sample this season. His shot selection looked much improved from last year. With Buddy Hield wanting out of Sacramento and Bogdan Bogdanovic being a restricted free agent, the Kings could do with another shooting guard. Nesmith is also able to slide over to the small forward allowing him to be able to play next to Bogdanovic if he returns. De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley are going to want to be surrounded by three point shooters, and that is exactly what Aaron Nesmith is.
Pick 13 –
New Orleans Pelicans
PG/SG – 6’3 – 190 lb
Cole Anthony had a very inefficient year. While he put up impressive stats, he did it on low shooting percentages. This will scare some teams away as he did struggle, and will likely give teams flashbacks to Dennis Smith Jr, another athletic point guard who hasn’t done much at the NBA level (yet). However others believe that Anthony’s lack of success was due to playing in a system that didn’t match his playing style. Anthony is at his best with the ball in his hands, but the North Carolina system is designed to share the ball around. I have the Pelicans taking Cole Anthony as I feel that they have a good enough core of young players that they could take a gamble on Anthony. There have been rumours that the Pelicans aren’t convinced Lonzo Ball is their point guard of the future. If this is true they could try and develop Anthony as their PG off of the bench. Fortunately Lonzo has the size to play the shooting guard as well, which means if both players turn out good, they could play alongside each other.
Pick 14 –
PG/SG – 6’5 – 185 lb
The Celtics had two things that they struggled with in the playoffs. One was their lack in size at the guard positions, and the other was their inability to protect the rim when Daniel Theis was off the floor. I have them drafting Hampton as he can be developed as either a point guard or shooting guard with the ability to switch on defense. Hampton is quite raw at this point, but Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Brad Wanamaker are still going to be getting the majority of the guard minutes for the time being. If Hampton can develop into a tall point guard, he could have a bright future alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Pick 15 –
PG/SG – 6’3 – 174 lb
Tyrell Terry is one of my favourite players in the 2020 NBA Draft. The dude can straight up shoot. Terry shot 40.8% from the 3pt line with an 89.1% free throw percentage. He is currently listed at 6’1, but the rumour is that he has grown to around 6’3. If he can measure at 6’2 or taller barefoot, I can easily see him being drafted in the top 20. Perhaps he could rise even higher if a team is impressed with his workouts (or if he has grown to 6’3¾ as also rumoured). In Orlando, Terry can develop as a combo guard behind DJ Augustin, and could potentially become a deadly backcourt duo with Markelle Fultz. Terry’s playing style is perfect for the modern NBA, he just needs to prove he is big enough, and able to get his shot off over NBA level defenders.
Pick 16 –
Portland Trail Blazers
C/PF – 6’10 – 225 lb
The Trail Blazers like playing two bigs. They made the strange decision to run Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside on the court at the same time in the playoffs. This created serious floor spacing issues. With Whiteside’s contract expiring, I can see the Blazers letting him go. Zach Collins has at times actually played surprisingly well at PF for Portland when healthy. I have them drafting Jalen Smith with the 16th pick to be their back up centre of the future. Smith projects to be a good rebounder and shooter at the next level. Good stretch 5’s are rare, those that can rebound too are even more so. Jalen Smith could provide both the necessary floorspacing and rebounding that Portland needs.
Pick 17 –
SF/PF – 6’8 – 216 lb
Saddiq Bey projects to be a good role player at the NBA level. He is able to play good defense and shoot the ball capably. On the Wolves, Bey would be a small forward and stretch 4 who could play valuable minutes off of the bench. Bey is one of those players who could fit onto almost any team in the NBA. He passes well and makes winning plays in general. For a Timberwolves team that is looking to answer questions about their depth, this would be an excellent pick up with the 17th pick.
Pick 18 –
SG/PG – 6’3 – 198 lb
Maxey could go almost anywhere in the draft. He is oozing with potential, but lacking in size. While he did not put up great stats this year, he showed off his athleticism and high-energy motor. In my opinion Maxey would be at his best playing as an off-ball point guard. Next to a tall playmaker like Doncic, Maxey could thrive as a slasher on offense, and as an on-ball defender on defense. I also believe that Maxey could develop into a good shooter in the long term. This is because of his 83.3% free throw percentage. Maxey could be potentially drafted higher or lower, he is one of the bigger question marks of the draft.
Pick 19 –
SG/SF – 6’5 – 210 lb
Brooklyn already has a solid rotation. By adding Josh Green, they would be selecting a player who can develop over time into their ideal backup shooting guard. Green is a very raw player who shows flashes of defense and playmaking, but has so far been an inefficient and inconsistent player. A veteran team like Brooklyn could be the perfect place to develop his skillset and teach him to play winning basketball.
Pick 20 –
Kira Lewis Jr
PG – 6’3 – 165 lb
Watching the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, it looked like they needed another playmaker. While Lewis is not a pure playmaker, he is unselfish and makes smart decisions. Lewis plays with incredible speed and could be an important slasher for the Heat’s bench. When Goran Dragic went down with injury the Heat largely played Tyler Herro at point guard, which just doesn’t work. Herro has the handles to play point but he lacks the court vision. Kira Lewis Jr would provide the Heat with depth at PG, while being capable of making plays for both himself and others.
Pick 21 –
SG/SF – 6’6 – 215 lb
Desmond Bane has said that he has received interest from the Philadelphia 76ers previously. And why not? They desperately need to continue to add floorspacing to their roster to best compliment Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Bane comes into the league as a high quality shooter who is good at swinging the ball around the perimeter. He would be a great fit, and from the sounds of his interview with SixersWire, he would want to play there.
Pick 22 –
PG/SG – 6’5 – 176 lb
Theo Maledon is an interesting player. He does not appear to be overly athletic, or excel in any one area. He is a tall point guard who can also play at the 2. He does however possess a very high basketball IQ. I have the Nuggets selecting him to develop as their 3rd string point guard who could ideally develop into their backup shooting guard over time. The Nuggets have proven to be quite good at developing players and their front office is not afraid to draft overseas players.
Pick 23 –
PG – 6’3 – 190 lb
Nico Mannion ended up having a relatively disappointing freshman year. However he did show that he has good court vision and a high basketball IQ. Mannion struggled with the strength and speed of point guards at the College level, and will likely struggle even more at the NBA level. However he still has the potential to be a solid shooter and backup point guard. The Jazz value high IQ players, and ideally they will be able to develop Mannion over time.
Pick 24 –
SF/PF – 6’7 – 216 lb
Tyler Bey has the chance to be a special type of player. If he impresses enough in his workouts hopefully he can rise much higher on draft night. Bey is the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. In Bey’s game I see a young PJ Tucker type player, I believe that he will thrive as a small-ball power forward at the NBA level. While I believe he will need to put on strength to play the 4, he already has the defensive skills and IQ to do so. Bey is an exceptional rebounder at small forward which also gives me confidence that he can become a very good 4. Each year he has also managed to improve his range, making 41.9% from deep this year. On the Milwaukee Bucks I can see Bey taking on Marvin Williams’ former role over time.
Pick 25 –
PF/C – 6’8 – 225 lb
I truly believe that Achiuwa will fall on draft night. This is because of his poor jump shooting and free throw shooting. However Achiuwa has an excellent work ethic and high energy motor. If OKC is looking to rebuild, Achiuwa would be a very solid pick up with the 25th pick. He can be developed as a power forward or a small ball center. Knowing Sam Presti, they will draft the player with the highest upside, which in my opinion would be Achiuwa.
Pick 26 –
C/PF – 7’0.5 – 208 lb
If the Celtics don’t trade some of their picks, I would not be surprised to see them take a player that they could stash overseas for a year or two. Pokusevski has very high upside, but is very raw and lacks the strength to currently play at the NBA level. Boston might need a new big man in a few years time, and that is exactly who Pokusevski could be.
Pick 27 –
New York Knicks
PF/SF – 6’9 – 200 lb
Jaden McDaniels is another player who could go anywhere in the draft. He could be a lottery pick, or he could fall to the second round. McDaniels isn’t ready to be a part of a winning team. Fortunately the Knicks are not a winning team at all. McDaniels will ideally be developed as a stretch 4, assuming he can improve his jump shot. In time McDaniels could be a great starting power forward, but he is still at least 4 years away.
Pick 28 –
Los Angeles Lakers
SG/PG – 6’4 – 195 lb
If the Lakers find themselves losing KCP in free agency, Jahmi’us Ramsey could be a quality young replacement. Ramsey brings with him shot creating and energy. There is a chance that he gets drafted higher. On the Lakers they would be able to develop off the bench and largely play him down in the G-League. The Lakers don’t have any obvious holes other than they may want another playmaker. Ramsey could also become a playmaker in time, as he does have a decent handle.
Pick 29 –
PG – 6’1 – 185 lb
Cassius Winston is a very intelligent and skilled player. With Fred VanVleet becoming an unrestricted free agent this offseason, the Raptors may want to draft some point guard insurance. While Winston is not the most athletic point guard, he does bring Michigan State grittiness and intelligence. The Raptors have possibly the best player development team in the NBA right now, and a player of Winston’s caliber would love the chance to learn from them.
Pick 30 –
C/PF – 6’11 – 240 lb
Nnaji brings size and athleticism to a team. At 6’11 he is the size of a centre with the speed of a power forward. If Nnaji can prove he can shoot at the NBA level he will be well worth the 30th pick. Nnaji’s speed would allow him to be effective in the switch defense that the Boston Celtics run.
Anthony Edwards Photo by Katie Dugan from GameCockCentral.com