2020 NBA Mock Draft
While the NBA season is still suspended with no definitive end in sight, that has not stopped NBA teams from using this time to do some extra homework on the 2020 NBA Draft class. There are some highly intriguing names in the first two tiers of prospects, and there are potential contributors projected to be available well into the second round. While there are only one or two instant stars, this is a top-heavy, but deep draft class. Let’s take a look at how the draft could play out.
1st overall: Golden State Warriors – James Wiseman (C – Memphis)
The debate here will be between Lamelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, and James Wiseman. Ball would be the best system fit, but with the Andrew Wiggins experiment still underway, the Warriors will get to add the all-star level big that has eluded them for years. This is a rare chance for one of the best teams in the league to add a blue-chip big without surrendering any assets.
2nd overall: Cleveland Cavaliers – Deni Avidja (SF – Maccabi Tel Aviv)
By virtue of drafting point guards in the lottery in two straight years, the Cavaliers are out of the Lamelo Ball or Anthony Edwards conversation. Ball will have to play the one or the two, while Edwards does not have the length or defensive acumen to man the three. Deni Avidja is a creative offensive forward who is going to appeal to a lot of teams searching for the next Luka Doncic. 2nd overall may be a tad too high for him, but the Cavs have answers or high draft capital invested at every other position.
3rd overall: Minnesota Timberwolves – Anthony Edwards (SG – Georgia)
Jarret Culver still has significant upside, but with Lamelo Ball a more questionable fit due to the presence of D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards or Obi Toppin make the most sense here. Edwards will be able to replace much of what Minnesota lost with Andrew Wiggins, including the questionable defensive desire, and hot and cold motor.
4th overall: Atlanta Hawks – Lamelo Ball (PG – Illawarra Hawks)
While Lamelo Ball has a higher upside as a point guard, he is 6’7 and could still reach an all-star level as a two. Playing next to Trae Young would give the Atlanta Hawks their own wannabe version of the Splash Brothers. The Hawks are pretty much set at every position but the two, and there are no other prospects on the board with as much upside as Ball.
5th overall: Detroit Pistons – Obi Toppin (PF – Dayton)
Power forward is not the Detroit Pistons’ biggest need, but Toppin will likely prove too good of a value for them to pass up at fifth overall. He will benefit greatly from being able to learn from Blake Griffin for a year before becoming the full time four.
6th overall: New York Knicks – Onyeka Okongwu (PF/C – USC)
Mitch Robinson has been solid to this point of his career, especially defensively, but the New York Knicks are simply not good enough to not forgo the best player available. Okongwu can play the four and could become a star there if he can develop three-point range. He has rare movement skills for a big man and would make Randle someone the Knicks could shop more heavily in trade talks (a player Leon Rose already said is available). The Knicks need to hit a home run with this pick and may have just found themselves an upgrade at the position.
7th overall: Chicago Bulls – Issac Okoro (SF – Auburn)
There is more value at point guard, but Coby White showed enough when he finally got the chance for the Bulls to be bullish on his future. Okoro fits the Bulls desired identity on defense and would fit well next to the team’s two potent backcourt scorers in Zach LaVine and White. He has a lot of work to do on his three-point shot but has shown enough to suggest that he will be able to get there with continuous reps.
8th overall: Charlotte Hornets – Tyrese Haliburton (PG – Iowa State)
This pick should come down to Tyrese Haliburton or RJ Hampton. Hampton playing in New Zealand will hurt him in the eyes of Michael Jordan, who may be more comfortable with the player he has college tape on. A good defender with a well rounded offensive game, Haliburton will take over as the Hornets point guard of the future with Devonte Graham playing the two full time.
9th overall: Washington Wizards – Daniel Oturu (C – Minnesota)
This pick should come down to Daniel Oturu and Jaden McDaniels. Daniel Oturu makes a little more sense here despite the presence of Thomas Bryant. Thomas Bryant has been solid, but he is not talented enough to prevent the Wizards from acquiring a talent like Daniel Oturu. Oturu is a talented big who showed drastic improvement in his sophomore season. He could become a potential star if he can continue to extend his range.
10th overall: Phoenix Suns – Vernon Carey (PF – Duke)
The Phoenix Suns have finally found an answer at small forward with Kelly Oubre Jr., but have a need beside him at the power forward position. Vernon Carey is a high-level prospect with enough passing skills to be an outlet from the paint. He has some motor issues, but should quickly learn that he has to be full-go when playing for the Suns.
11th overall: San Antonio Spurs – RJ Hampton (PG – New Zealand Breakers)
The San Antonio Spurs have some young talent at the point guard position, but will likely be looking to add the best player available. Hampton’s stock is lower than it should be since he did not get the exposure playing at a States-side college would have afforded him, but he is an absolute value at 11th overall. Hampton is going to need to add some functional weight but should represent an upgrade on Dejounte Murray.
12th overall: Sacramento Kings – Aleksej Pokusevski (PF – Olympiacos)
Unusually talented for a lottery team, the Sacramento Kings do not have any true holes in their lineup. With that in mind, the Kings opt for the best available player on their board, a player whom with Vlade Divac in the front office will undoubtedly be Aleksej Pokusevski. A true seven-footer with three-point range, Divac may look at his fellow countrymen as someone with the upside of Kristaps Prozingis. While it is unlikely that he ever gets to that level, he should become a unique star at the power forward position.
13th overall: New Orleans Pelicans – Devin Vassel (SG – Florida State)
The New Orleans Pelicans have no true needs after pillaging the Los Angeles Lakers, and the 2019 NBA Draft class. Devin Vassel should intrigue the Pelicans as he fits their desire to surround Zion Williamson with three-point shooting. The Pelicans are expected to retain Brandon Ingram, but if they for some reason cannot, Vassel will be capable of filling in for him at the three. Ideally, Vassel will begin his career backing up Ingram and Jrue Holiday before transitioning to the starting lineup when Holiday moves on.
14th overall: Portland Trailblazers – Jalen Smith (PF – Maryland)
Jalen Smith and Saadiq Bey should be in play for the Portland Trailblazers at 14th overall. They have needs at both small forward and power forward, but the four is more of a true need. Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza are natural threes, making Jalen Smith worthy of a lottery pick. Smith has lottery level upside, and projects as an immediate 3&D contributor for a team that will be looking to right the ship in 2020-21.
15th overall: Orlando Magic – Cole Anthony (PG – North Carolina)
Cole Anthony is a combo guard with an explosive first step who can start his career as a bench scorer for the Magic. Orlando had some callers for Terrence Ross this past trade deadline but decided not to move him due to trying to make the postseason. Adding Anthony would allow the Magic to package Ross off for future assets or cap relief. The Magic are going to need the space during the summer of 2021-22.
16th overall: Minnesota Timberwolves (from BKN) – Saadiq Bey (SF – Villanova)
Saadiq Bey is a lottery level talent who could slide right into the Timberwolves starting lineup. He is ready to contribute as a 3&D option and would be a terrific fit with Karl Anthony-Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards (who was added at third overall).
17th overall: Boston Celtics (from MEM) – Isaiah Stewart (PF/C – Washington)
Washington’s Isaiah Stewart is a little undersized to play the five but has a freakish 7-4 wingspan that should allow him to defend either the four or the five. An athletic big who can block shots and rebound, Stewart will not be asked to do too much on the offensive end. He is the type of player the Celtics will need if they have aspirations of a deep playoff run.
18th overall: Dallas Mavericks – Theo Maledon (PG – ASVEL)
One of the 2020 NBA Draft intriguing point guard prospects from France, Theo Maledon could very well prove to be the answer the Mavericks have been looking for at the point for what seems like years. Explosive with a great first step, Maledon should be NBA ready after playing in the EuroLeague. He is a high upside, low-risk selection at this point of the draft, and has enough off-ball upside to share the floor with Luka Doncic at times.
19th overall: Milwaukee Bucks (from IND) – Precious Achiuwa (PF/SF – Memphis)
If Giannis Antetokounmpo does not sign an extension this summer (or whenever free agency is pushed back to), the Bucks will need to start preparing for a potential departure. Precious Achiuwa has the most upside of the players left on the board, and can also help to fill the potential void left by a Giannis departure. Achiuwa is at his best in transition or attacking the rim. He would be an interesting ‘speller’ for Giannis for as long as they both play for Milwaukee.
20th overall: Brooklyn Nets (from PHI) – Cassius Stanley (SG – Duke)
The Brooklyn Nets are going to look like a much different team next season. Their current top needs are at power forward and shooting guard. Taurean Prince has as much upside as anyone still on the board, so the Nets will look to fill their need for some competition at the two. Caris LeVert has been rock solid once again in 2019-20, but may be priced out of the Nets market in free agency. Cassius Stanley is a gifted athlete with elite hops, who has enough range to make an impact in the starting lineup if given the opportunity. He will not be asked to do much when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are both healthy but could become a focal point when one or both are sidelined or getting some rest.
21st overall: Denver Nuggets (from HOU) – Zeke Nnaji (PF/C – Arizona)
The Denver Nuggets are going to need a replacement for Paul Millsap, and Zeke Nnaji fits the bill as a high-level rebounder who could provide starters minutes. He could become a tremendous asset if he can develop his range, something the Nuggets will be sure to work with him on. Nnaji should be given strong consideration at 21st overall.
22nd overall: Philadelphia 76ers (from OKC) – Aaron Nesmith (SG – Vanderbilt)
The Philadelphia 76ers need to add some wing talent. Josh Richardson has not worked out as expected, and Matisse Thybulle, while talented, has not shown enough to pass on Aaron Nesmith at 22nd overall. Nesmith is an accomplished bomber from deep and will fit in terrifically with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
23rd overall: Miami Heat – Killian Hayes (PG – France)
The rich get richer. Team needs trump upside in this mock draft and the Miami Heat luck into a choice of two intriguing point guards in Killian Hayes and Tyrese Maxey. Maxey may have more upside, but Hayes appears to be more ready to be an immediate contributor. Hayes has the upside to eventually take over as the Heat’s starting point guard.
24th overall: Utah Jazz – Tyrese Maxey (PG – Kentucky)
Tyrese Maxey is a good fit for the Utah Jazz, as the Jazz, unlike with most other teams who may be interested in him, will not ask him to be a primary ball-handler. A streaky combo guard who could become an impact player if he develops his shot, Maxey will make for a potent backcourt mate for Donovan Mitchell when he gets going. The Jazz may consider a big man here due to the fractured relationship Rudy Gobert has with some of his teammates, but the Jazz have Maxey high on their board and are thrilled to land him here.
25th overall: Oklahoma City Thunder (from DEN) – Josh Green (SG – Arizona)
An elite defender who has a developing offensive game, Josh Green would be a welcomed addition for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He will not be able to start immediately due to the Thunder’s backcourt talent but could prove to be an excellent fit next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the future.
26th overall: Boston Celtics – Amar Sylla (PF – BC Oostende)
Amar Sylla is an intriguing talent that the Boston Celtics will likely consider if available at 28th overall. He is raw offensively, and may join Tacko Fall in the G-League to start his career, but has enough upside to be remembered as one of the steals of the first round five years from now. He has a little Pascal Siakam to his game as a raw big with elite defensive upside, and an emerging offensive skill set. The Celtics, well versed in how well Siakam has developed, will take a gamble on the Senegalese big.
27th overall: New York Knicks (from LAC) – Nico Mannion (PG – Arizona)
While Nico Mannion may not represent the long term answer at the point for the New York Knicks, he has enough playmaking talent to highly intrigue teams picking outside of the lottery. A pure point guard with upper echelon passing ability, Mannion has enough upside to emerge as a starter down the line.
28th overall: Toronto Raptors – Udoka Azubuike (C – Kansas)
A 6-11 center with a 7-7 wingspan, Udoka Azubuike will be highly intriguing to Toronto Raptors general manager, and fellow Nigerian Masai Ujiri. Udoka would have been a better fit in the NBA of the late 90s but improved enough in his for years of college to suggest that he still has some room to grow. With Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol set to hit free agency, the Raptors are going to have a need at the five, and Udoka is an explosive shot-blocker who could earn some minutes immediately.
29th overall: Los Angeles Lakers – Jay Scrubb (SG – John A. Logan)
A big 6-6, 220 lbs wing with first-round upside, Scrubb will be the first JUCO player drafted in the last 15 years. He shoots well enough from deep to eventually emerge as a bench option for the Lakers and has the tools and scoring punch to be more down the line. The Lakers may also look to trade this pick, or draft and stash someone like Leandro Bolmora.
30th overall: Boston Celtics (from MIL) – Jahmius Ramsey (SG/PG – Texas Tech)
Boston went with a big at 26th overall and will opt to select the best player available on their board in Jahmius Ramsey from Texas Tech. This is a pure luxury pick as Ramsey projects very similarly to current Boston Celtic Marcus Smart. Ramsey can play either on or off the ball, and while he may not get much playing time to start his career, he will be a valuable depth piece at both guard positions.