Last Minute NBA Mock Draft
With only 12 hours left until the 2020 NBA Draft, I present my final mock draft. The draft includes the trades from yesterday in which OKC, Houston and New Orleans gained more draft capital.
Pick 1 – Minnesota Timberwolves
Weight: 185 lb
While there is a chance that LaMelo Ball falls on draft night, I don’t think the Wolves are going to be able to pass on him. While there are an abundance of question marks that swirl around him, I believe his passing, court vision and ballhandling abilities are too unique to ignore. On a team with two exceptional young scorers like KAT and DLo, Ball’s passing should allow him to fit in right away.
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. However Ball is going to need to learn how to play off-ball by improving his spot up shooting and cutting. This will likely take time, and will likely lead to early growing pains.
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 and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Pick 2 – Golden State Warriors
Weight: 240-251 lb
James Wiseman is one of the biggest question marks in the draft. From a physical point of view he is the prototypical centre at 7’+ with a 7’5 wingspan. However there are questions about how valuable a player with his skillset is in the modern NBA.
We unfortunately only got to watch James Wiseman play 3 games in the NCAA. In those games Wiseman looked like a player worthy of the number 1 pick.
Wiseman’s athleticism is reminiscent of JaVale McGee and Mitchell Robinson. He has the ability to become a high quality rim-protector, rebounder and efficient scorer at the rim. What makes Wiseman different to these other centers, is that he appears to have the potential to become a shooter and maybe even a playmaker. Wiseman has a soft touch on his shot and appears to be able to make jumpers in workouts. Wiseman also made 70.4% of his free throws in the NCAA, which while not amazing, is definitely a good starting point. If he is able to incorporate a jumper into his game he could be an extremely valuable player.
With Golden State losing their rim protectors in JaVale McGee and Kevin Durant from their championship team, Wiseman could be an important part of their team. Golden State would be in no rush to give Wiseman big minutes immediately with Kevon Looney already playing big center minutes. In Golden State’s system he would have a lot of room to operate in the paint. With Golden State’s coaching they could ideally be a great place for Wiseman to reach his star potential (assuming they don’t trade the pick of course).
Pick 3 – Charlotte Hornets
Height – 6’3-6’5
Wingspan – 6’9-7’0
Weight – 225 lb
Age – 19
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. Edwards has the potential to be the best player in this draft class, I just think that he is a very long term prospect who will not yield dividends for his team for another 4-6 years. 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 – Chicago Bulls
Weight: 175 lb
Chicago will be very tempted by Deni Avdija, Onyeka Okongwu or Killian Hayes. However I believe that they will have more success with Tyrese Haliburton on their roster. While teams this high in the lottery usually shouldn’t take fit over talent, I am not convinced that there is much of a talent gap between Haliburton and these players, if there is even a gap at all. In fact Tyrese Haliburton is probably more NBA ready, even if he doesn’t appear to have franchise player potential.
Tyrese Haliburton would be a great pickup for almost any team in the lottery. His style of play could fit onto almost any roster. Tyrese Haliburton’s stats are very similar to Lonzo Ball’s at UCLA, with the exception that Haliburton made a high percentage of his free throws. If Haliburton is able to become a better on-ball playmaker and shot creator, he will be the better player.
Haliburton was elite in the NCAA on both sides of the floor. He was able to average 15.2 points per game and 6.5 assists with a usage rate of only 22.4%. This low-ish usage percentage should allow for him to thrive alongside Coby White and Zach LaVine. Billy Donovan could run a very similar lineup to his OKC lineup, with Haliburton at PG, White at SG, LaVine at SF (like how he ran Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the 3), Lauri Markkanen at PF and Wendell Carter Jr at C. Haliburton’s playmaking and passing abilities would lead to him creating a lot of shooting and fastbreak opportunities for this team. While his defense would help stop opposing point guards.
Pick 5 – Cleveland Cavaliers
Weight: 220 lb
Most rumors indicate that the Cavs are stuck in between selecting Obi Toppin and Deni Avdija. I personally would like to see them draft Avdija or Okongwu. Avdija is an interesting selection as he is young, and can be developed into either forward position. If the Cavs decide to build around Sexton and Garland, Avdija could fit in very well as a multi-positional defender and passer. If Sexton and Garland are not the future of the Cavaliers, Avdija would still likely fit into most situations. This versatility makes him a valuable draft pick up for the Cavs.
Many people either overrate or underrate his abilities. Avdija comes into the league as a tall combo forward. He brings great basketball IQ on both sides of the floor and plays with a very high level of effort. He is also a smart cutter and passer. However both his shooting and playmaking abilities can be very overrated. Avdija is a poor free throw shooter and streaky 3 point shooter. Poor free throw shooting often leads to bad perimeter shooting at the next level.
Many people also seem to believe that Avidja is going to be an NBA level playmaker. While I do think he will be a good secondary playmaker in the future, at the moment his ballhandling is lagging behind his court vision and passing ability. However the potential is there.
If Avdija can keep up his shooting improvement he displayed after the covid break, he just might become one of the best players in the draft. While I personally would like to see the Cavs draft Onyeka Okongwu, there are no credible reports to link him to the team. Avdija is a hit-or-miss prospect, if the Cavs can get the hit, Avdija can become the steal of the draft.
Pick 6 – Atlanta Hawks
Weight: 225 lb
Okoro is the best available player for the Hawks. He fits both a positional need, and has the ceiling to justify being drafted this high. Okoro is also an underrated passer and ballhandler. I believe that there is a chance Okoro falls on draft night due to his lack of shooting, but if Avdija is off the board, I imagine it wouldn’t take too much to convince Atlanta to draft him.
Okoro brings excellent defense, a high basketball IQ, high motor, work ethic and physical driving ability. Many scouts and writers have described him as a ‘dog’, and with the tenacity he plays with, it is easy to see why.
Atlanta needs a boost on the defensive side of the floor. And with Okoro they would get that. They could potentially have a deadly trio of switch defense wings in Okoro, DeAndre Hunter and Cameron Reddish. Until Okoro is ready to contribute to the starting lineup, there would be plenty of minutes off of the bench for him. Okoro fits both the Hawks current needs, and the potential to be a great long term reward prospect also.
While Okoro was a mediocre free throw shooter and poor three point shooter, he has shown some good improvements on his form in his workout videos. One of the most important improvements to his form has been the added arc to his shot.
Pick 7 – Detroit Pistons
Weight: 216 lb
Hayes has the talent and potential to be a top 4 pick. However due to concerns with his overreliance on his left hand, and lack of a natural fit, I can see him falling to Detroit. Detroit needs to take the best player available with the highest ceiling, and that player is most likely Killian Hayes or Onyeka Okongwu in this mock draft.
Due to Detroit’s complete lack of playmaking, I have selected Killian Hayes for them. Hayes is an excellent passer with very high level court vision. Watching tape of him is like watching a shorter Luka Doncic at times. Hayes thrives in the pick and roll, and is a good shooter. Detroit does not appear capable of winning anytime soon, making a long term prospect like Killian Hayes make a lot of sense.
Hayes is in my top 5 on my big board. For the sake of his development I would like to see him being drafted by Detroit. With next year being a very strong draft, Hayes looks like he could compliment most players next year as well with his passing.
While Hayes is not in my opinion a great on-ball defender, I am a big fan of his defense off the ball. This will allow for him to become a very good playmaking 2 guard. It’s a shame that the Pistons have traded Bruce Brown, as I feel he would be a great fit next to Hayes.
Pick 8 – New York Knicks
Weight: 220 lb
Obi Toppin was the best player in college basketball this year. But that does not necessarily mean he will be the best NBA player. Toppin is a beast on the offensive side of the floor. He makes great decisions, passes and is an extremely effective driver/slasher/roller. Toppin also has displayed solid touch from the 3pt line. However he did only shoot around 70% from the free throw line, leaving questions to be raised about whether his jumper can translate to the next level.
Toppin’s big weakness is his defense. Toppin was a terrible defender at the college level despite his wingspan. Teams would target him to run pick and rolls against as it would often lead to easy baskets. Toppin is also incapable of switching onto quick wings. Toppin’s inability to read defenses is especially frustrating, as he is able to make such quick decisions on offense.
In this mock the Knicks will most likely be selecting between Toppin, Okongwu, Lewis Jr and Devin Vassell. With Okongwu currently lacking a jumper (I do believe in his shooting potential however), the Knicks will likely go for the homegrown player. On Zach Lowe’s podcast, Jonathan Givony said that he believes that the Knicks will be ‘dying to get Toppin’. For those that are unaware, Givony is arguably the best NBA draft analyst, making this a very reliable source. On top of that Toppin is a much better fit offensively next to Mitchell Robinson.
Pick 9 – Washington Wizards
Weight: 245 lb
Age: 19 (turning 20 in December)
Like Killian Hayes, Okongwu is in the top 5 on my big board. However unless Cleveland decides to draft him, or a team like the Celtics manages to trade up, I can see him falling to the Wizards. That being said I think that there is a relatively high chance that the Hawks or Cavs draft Okongwu and trade down for more picks. In this mock I am assuming that no teams trade any picks aside after the 17th November.
The Wizards should be absolutely ecstatic if this actually happens. Okongwu is another player who both fits the teams current needs, while being a great piece for their future. Okongwu is an incredibly smart defender who has exceptional defensive positioning. He is also capable of switching onto smaller players on defense in a similar vein to Bam Adebayo. Okongwu is also a very good rebounder.
One of the more exciting parts of Okongwu’s game is that he has shooting potential. With great touch around the rim, and a 72% free throw percentage, Okongwu looks like he could become a solid mid range shooter in the near future, and eventually even a 3 point shooter. While he is lacking Adebayo playmaking, this shooting touch and shot form should make up for it.
Pick 10 – Phoenix Suns
Weight: 213 lb
With the Suns trading for Chris Paul, they will need to put a larger focus on winning now. While I previously had the Suns drafting Tyrell Terry, they now need a more NBA ready player. They also need a wing who can take some of the minutes left behind by Kelly Oubre following the trade.
Suns GM James Jones is a big fan of shooting and floor spacing. Nesmith made 52.2% of his 3’s at Vanderbilt, and to back that up he made 82.5% of his free throws. While his ceiling is not as high as some prospects, I believe that his skills should translate almost immediately to the NBA. A wing who has the IQ and shooting of Nesmith is going to be needed in this (slightly) new look Suns.
Pick 11 – San Antonio Spurs
Weight: 225 lb
Patrick Williams is a perfect basketball blank canvas. He brings great size, defense, athleticism, intelligence and shooting touch. While he is not quite up to the skill level of some of the other players in the draft, he has very few, if any red flags. He is one of the youngest players in the draft, and has a ridiculously high ceiling. The perfect player for a Spurs rebuild.
Williams was a key contributor alongside Devin Vassell for Florida State’s defense. Williams’ versatility on defense is crucial as he can switch onto both the 2 and 4 from the 3. With the Spurs being known for their player development, Williams would be a perfect pick for them. Unfortunately for the Spurs there is still the chance that a team higher in the lottery reaches on him and buys into his sky high potential. However if the Spurs manage to select Williams, this would be his ideal landing spot for the sake of his development.
Pick 12 – Sacramento Kings
Weight: 194 lb
Vassell is a long, skinny defender. He was a key part of Florida State’s success this season. Many people have Vassell in their top 10, however in this mock I have him just slipping out. The big question about Devin Vassell is whether his jumpshot will translate to the NBA. Vassell shot over 41% from deep in both of his seasons in college. However he was only a 73.8% free throw shooter this season. While his jumpshot did look awkward at times, he was still an effective shot maker. Unfortunately there was a recent video that emerged online showing Vassell shooting with an even more awkward shot form. This has led to many fans becoming concerned over Vassell’s shot and given some PTSD-like flashbacks to Markelle Fultz’s shot form changes. Hopefully Vassell’s shot is looking better by the time he debuts in the NBA.
Following the trade of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield’s frustration with the team, the Kings are going to need a wing. Vassell is capable of playing shooting guard immediately, but will need to add strength to play the small forward more. If he can gain this strength, a future lineup of Fox, DiVincenzo and Vassell could be very promising.
*Note: This mock draft was written before the DiVincenzo trade fell apart.
Pick 13 – New Orleans Pelicans
Weight: 216 lb
Saddiq Bey is a prototypical 3+D wing capable of playing both forwards and switching onto shooting guards in certain situations. This defensive versatility is very important in the modern NBA.
The Pelicans need depth at both forward positions. With two blooming young stars in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans don’t need to draft a risky prospect. With the Pelicans picking up Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, their guard depth is secure for now also. Bey fits the role the Pelicans need filled and has the potential to be a 3+D sniper.
Pick 14 – Boston Celtics
Weight: 225 lb
Jalen Smith is one of my favourite players in the draft. He has the potential to be a rim protector who can stretch the floor and rebound. The combination of all three of these attributes are rare. Previously Myles Turner looked like he could become this type of player, but he has never been able to improve his rebounding.
In the series against Miami, it became evident that Boston needed to improve their rebounding. Jalen Smith would allow for them to do this without having to give up the floor spacing they enjoy playing with.
Pick 15 – Orlando Magic
Weight: 185 lb
Hampton has the potential of a top 5 pick, however he has the basement of a G League player. He has the tools to possibly be an all star one day, but he is a very long term project. Hampton’s speed and height is unteachable at the guard position.
I had the opportunity to watch him play in person several times for the NZ Breakers. In the games where he was locked in and feeling confident, he looked like a future NBA player. However there were other games where he looked lost and unsure of what to do. Part of this was due to the Breakers trying to run him as a pass-first point guard, when he is at his best as a scoring 2-guard and secondary playmaker.
The Magic’s roster is very strange. Some of their players are veterans who are trying to win now (like Vucevic and Fournier), while other players are young long term projects like Mo Bamba, Markelle Fultz and Melvin Frazier. Hampton would be another player who could be added to this promising young core that develops off of the bench while the starters keep competing for the playoffs.
Pick 16 – Houston Rockets
Kira Lewis Jr
Height: 6’1.5 – barefoot
Weight: 180 lb
Lewis is quite possibly the fastest player in the draft. He plays with lightning quick pace, but with pretty good control. Kira Lewis has been impressing teams with his workouts. Lewis appears to be a capable shooter (36.6%from deep) and playmaker (5.2 per game). However he is going to need to cut down his high turnover rate (3.5 per game).
With it looking likely that the Rockets are going to have to trade James Harden and Russell Westbrook, it would make sense for the team to draft a lead playmaker. Lewis is quite a raw point guard, but he has the potential to become a solid starter in the future.
Pick 17 – Minnesota Timberwolves
Weight: 216 lb
Tyler Bey is a little bit older than the other players drafted so for in this mock. However I believe this works in his favour. Bey will be expected to bring his patented high-energy defense and rebounding immediately. Bey plays defense like a veteran and is capable of defending the 4-3-2. His draft combine measurements seem suspiciously good, but I am not surprised by his great length. In his junior year at Colorado he averaged 9 rebounds per game. This likely reflects his length, athleticism, motor and great timing.
The Timberwolves will be looking for a small forward or power forward who can bolster their bench and potentially earn a starting role. Bey looks capable of playing both of these positions in the NBA. Bey shot over 40% from deep and is the reigning Pac-12 defensive player of the year (the previous player to win this award was Matisse Thybulle). What makes Bey stand out from other 3+D players is that he is an excellent rebounder. Bey has averaged 9 or more rebounds per game over the last two seasons.
Pick 18 – Dallas Mavericks
Weight: 198 lb
Age: 19 (turning 20 November 4th)
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. However with recent workouts he appears to have been quite impressive.
Pick 19 – Brooklyn Nets
Weight: 174 lb
Terry put up a quietly good season at Stanford. He shot 41% from deep and 89% from the free throw line. He appears to be a point guard who is capable of playing both on and off the ball. Terry would be a good point guard in limited minutes immediately, but has the potential to become a key contributor to a playoff team in the future.
It appears that Brooklyn is going to have to give up a lot of assets to obtain James Harden. If this trade goes through, and this is one of the picks used, it would make sense to take a player with upside and trade value. If the trade does not go through, Terry would still be a good backup PG for Brooklyn.
Pick 20 – Miami Heat
Weight: 210 lb
Josh Green is one of the best defenders in the 2020 NBA draft. While I am not convinced his shooting will translate immediately, he brings great IQ on both sides of the ball. The Miami Heat love smart rookies that they can play immediately. Green has the defensive ability to take on both guard positions and the small forward. This defensive versatility will be very valuable on the Heat.
Green appears to be one of the more mature rookies in the draft. This also bodes well for the Heat. A veteran locker room like Miami should help him thrive and grow as a player. Green has also flashed playmaking abilities at times. And while his handle is going to need to get a lot tighter, Erik Spoelstra’s system thrives with multiple ballhandlers.
Pick 21 – Philadelphia 76ers
Weight: 215 lb
Desmond Bane projects to be an NBA ready shooter, defender and passer. While he doesn’t appear to have too much upside, he would fit like a glove into Philadelphia’s system. Philly needs to surround their two centrepieces of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid with shooting and defense. Bane is not only a 3+D player though, he averaged 3.9 assists per game at TCU. This passing would be huge for the 76ers bench. Since Philadelphia let JJ Redick go, they have been missing an unselfish shot creator. Bane would be able to create for himself and others for this team.
Even if one of the Simmons/Embiid tandem is traded by next season, Bane’s all around game should still make him a great fit.
Pick 22 – Denver Nuggets
Weight: 174 lb
Theo Maledon is an interesting player. He does not appear to be overly athletic (but not bad either), or excel in any one area. Rather he appears to be a jack-of-all-trades type of player. He is a tall point guard who can also play at the 2. He does however possess a very high basketball IQ, and have a well rounded game. 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 projects.
In his rookie year on the Nuggets, Maledon would likely play minutes in the G-League. This would be a great way to develop him. Maledon would not likely be in the rotation immediately. Maledon has the potential to be a starter in the future, but most likely will be a very good backup. If any team is going to tap into his potential, it is Denver.
Pick 23 – Utah Jazz
Height: 6’8 – 6’10
Weight: 201 lb
Jaden McDaniels is a very raw prospect. However he has shown glimpses of great switch defense. He has also shown flashes of a strong perimeter game. However he is going to need to improve his strength and keep working on his jumper.
The Jazz are lacking in size at the small forward position, and have practically no power forwards on their roster. McDaniels could provide aid at both positions off the bench. The defense orientated coaching staff with Quin Snyder and co would hopefully be able to get the most out of his defensive talents immediately.
Pick 24 – New Orleans Pelicans
Height: 6’10 – 7’0
Weight: 195 – 205 lb
Age: 18 (turning 19 in December)
Poku is a very unique prospect. He does not play at a very high level, however he is a 7 footer with a beautiful shooting stroke and passing that is rare for a player of his size. Physically he desperately needs to put on weight. However if he can gain strength and become a stronger finisher, he has the potential to be the steal of the draft.
With the Pelicans previously taking Saddiq Bey in my mock draft, I have them taking a raw prospect in the form of Poku later in the first round. If Poku is able to gain strength, he could be a great rim protector next to Zion Williamson. His ability to stretch the floor would make him even more valuable. Poku is a high-risk-high-reward type player, but with the 24th pick he would be worth it.
Pick 25 – OKC Thunder
Height: 6’1 – 6’3
Wingspan: 6’3-6’4 ½
Weight: 175 lb
While Cole Anthony was one of the top players in high school, he struggled in the NCAA. He shot poor percentages and did not live up to the high expectations put in place for him. However this may partially be due to North Carolina’s system that does not benefit ball-dominant players.
Anthony is still an athletic point guard with good court vision and a streaky jumpshot. There is a chance that all the teams that pass on him will regret it in the near future. With the 25th pick in the draft, Anthony is a worthy gamble for the Thunder. While his basement is low, his ceiling is as high as most lottery picks in the draft, if not higher. With Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder both being shipped out, Cole Anthony would have plenty of minutes to develop in Oklahoma City.
Pick 26 – Boston Celtics
Weight: 185 lb
Malachi Flynn appears to be one of the most NBA ready point guards in the draft. He is a sharpshooting playmaker with a high basketball IQ. With the 26th pick the Celtics will either be looking for a player with relatively good trade value, or a player that could boost their depth at PG. In my opinion Flynn fits both of these billings. If the Celtics keep this pick, Flynn could be an upgrade over Tremont Waters and Carsen Edwards.
Pick 27 – New York Knicks
Height: 6’0 – 6’2
Weight: 206 lb
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Payton Pritchard has fans in the New York front office. While I don’t know much about this source, I honestly would not be surprised if the Knicks took Pritchard at 27. Pritchard was the star player for a very strong Oregon team. He is a capable shooter, and surprisingly strong finisher.
While he does lack speed, he has rare strength and shooting ability at point guard. In some ways he even reminds me of Fred VanVleet.
Pick 28 – OKC Thunder
Weight: 225 lb
I am personally a big fan of Precious Achiuwa’s game, but as a 6’7.5 PF/C who can’t shoot, I can easily see him falling in the draft. Achiuwa could potentially fill a similar role to Montrezl Harrell. However Achiuwa is a much better rebounder than Harrell at the same age. If a team is willing to run Achiuwa as a small ball centre, I believe he can find success in the NBA. And if he ever develops a jump shot, he could be another steal in the draft.
With OKC looking to enter rebuilding, Achiuwa would be a worthy gamble of the 28th pick.
Pick 29 – Toronto Raptors
Weight: 200 lb
Winston is a high IQ, high skill point guard. While he is not overly athletic, he brings an almost veteran level of toughness and skill immediately. With Fred VanVleet possibly leaving in free agency, The Raptors would do well to draft another backup point guard. Winston is a similar player to VanVleet in the sense where he is a very skilled player being overlooked due to his lack of size and athleticism.
Pick 30 – Boston Celtics
Weight: 185 lb
Bolmaro is an interesting player. At Barcelona he has shown flashes of a high skill level. He looks to be a playmaking wing with a pretty well rounded game. While he does not have great length, he does play with intensity.
While I have personally not seen much of him playing, he is part of a very good development squad in Barcelona.
Boston is likely to try and trade their picks. If they are unable to trade up, Bolmaro makes a lot of sense as a player who can be stashed overseas, while having relatively high potential. He could have good trade value or be a future piece for the Celtics.