It’s unclear whether the COVID-19 pandemic will delay the 2020 NBA Draft. But regardless, let’s dive into a mock draft.
There remains plenty of uncertainty surrounding the 2020 NBA Draft.
When will the draft happen? What is the draft order? Will the teams currently in the lottery even be lottery teams whenever the annual event occurs?
A ton of possibilities await in regards to mock drafts, and without a timetable for when these mock drafts can maintain continuity with the lottery order, we have to improvise.
Thus, I have used an NBA Draft Lottery simulator to help spice up the order, because why not?
1. Detroit Pistons — Anthony Edwards (G, Georgia)
The Pistons hit the lottery in a time when they absolutely needed to smash the reset button. Georgia standout Anthony Edwards is poised to be the top pick in the draft and while Detroit deals with its identity crisis, it could use a player who can make an immediate impact and give hope to the Motor City.
Edwards is ready for the pro level and will be the top scoring option on the Pistons right away.
2. Golden State Warriors — James Wiseman (C, Memphis)
Conflicting reports in regards to the Warriors eyeing James Wiseman creates some mystery behind what Bob Myers may do with the unfamiliar lottery pick. Some say trading the pick for a proven player would benefit the tandem of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Nonetheless, Wiseman’s athleticism and high upside could pay dividends for Golden State in the near future.
3. San Antonio Spurs — LaMelo Ball (G, USA)
The Spurs haven’t picked in the lottery since Hall of Famer Tim Duncan was selected No. 1 overall in 1997, which was also the last time they missed the playoffs.
LaMelo Ball brings some uncertainty, but his exigent skills give him the potential to become a franchise cornerstone. The Spurs will ultimately take a chance on him considering DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge will likely be departing sooner rather than later.
4. Atlanta Hawks — Isaac Okoro (F, Auburn)
Isaac Okoro is a bit of a wild card and definitely a stretch considering his selection before fellow forwards Deni Avdija and Obi Toppin. His defense complements the Hawks’ rebuilding lineup nicely though.
Imagine Okoro and DeAndre Hunter in the Atlanta rotation. Both players are capable of shooting the three while locking down scoring threats on the opposition. It’s a combo Atlanta might want to take a chance on when considering the future.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers — Deni Avdija (F, Israel)
There’s always concern about whether or not foreign players can translate their style of play to the NBA, but as we’ve seen with Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic, that worry seems to be an overreaction.
Deni Avdija will combine guard skills with his long frame (6-foot-9 with 6-foot-10 wingspan) in order to keep up at the next level on both sides of the court. Cleveland has picked back-to-back guards in the draft, so a stretch forward will be a breath of fresh air for the young lineup.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves — Obi Toppin (F, Dayton)
The Wooden Award recipient burst onto the scene at Dayton, leading the Flyers to a 29-2 record before the sports world paused. This emergence catapulted Toppin up the mock draft boards, landing him in Minnesota where there’s a need for an explosive complement to Karl-Anthony Towns. Inside and out, Toppin carries the ability to become a solid asset for the rebuilding Timberwolves.
7. New York Knicks — Cole Anthony (G, North Carolina)
As the new lottery system has shown us, an abysmal record doesn’t secure a top-five pick. The New York Knicks suffered the same fate as in 2019 in this lottery simulation, falling from their projected spot. Nevertheless, they will still be able to land a much-needed player in Anthony. A fearless, high-level scoring point guard is needed in The Mecca, and despite some flaws in his oft-one dimensional game, Anthony checks all the boxes.
8. Chicago Bulls — Onyeka Okongwu (C, USC)
The Bulls have a plentiful amount of young guards, so a change in direction towards a big man can help the development of a competent rotation. New management must make a splash and Okongwu is about as good of an option at No. 8 the team can land. He is still growing, carries innate athleticism, and can even stretch out from his normal dominance in the paint. A raw prospect no doubt, but a great building block for the future in Chicago.
9. Charlotte Hornets — Precious Achiuwa (F, Memphis)
There may be a need at a defensive-minded guard for Charlotte’s pick, but I believe they go in the direction of adding reinforcements to a young, run-and-gun offense. The Hornets have a young core consisting of athleticism and speed, and Achiuwa’s transition game fits perfectly with fellow forwards Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington.
10. Washington Wizards — Killian Hayes (G, France)
It’s time to look past John Wall and start looking towards a point guard for the future. Wall hasn’t played in well over a year, and the French floor general can be a welcoming addition to a Wizards team that doesn’t lack offensive firepower. Perennial All-Star Bradley Beal leads one of the top-scoring offenses in the league and situating a creative playmaker like Hayes who can also play solid defense seems like a match made in heaven for Washington.
11. Phoenix Suns — Tyrese Haliburton (G, Iowa State)
Haliburton fits the mold of the evolving NBA point guard. A long and athletic playmaker who plays tenacious defense, the former Cyclone would’ve been drafted higher if his offensive game was a little more polished. In Phoenix, Haliburton can slot behind Ricky Rubio for the remainder of the Spaniard’s contract before receiving the keys to facilitating the offense.
12. Sacramento Kings — RJ Hampton (G, USA)
Questions remain about Hampton’s physicality and defense, but after spending a year in New Zealand, his scoring prowess gives the Kings an easy selection at No. 12. Hampton’s deadeye three-point shot gives Sacramento a dream pairing with Buddy Hield. Coupled with the fact that impending free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic should be on the move, Hampton can slot immediately into the rotation and be an impactful offensive piece.
13. New Orleans Pelicans — Saddiq Bey (F, Villanova)
A stretch four to pair with budding stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram should be the path the Pelicans take. Bey spaces the floor superbly and shoots the three at a high clip. After a breakout sophomore season at Villanova, he also showcased his defensive potential, proving to be a solid option for a lottery team in need of addressing defense.
14. Portland Trail Blazers — Devin Vassell (G, Florida State)
Vassell could be the steal of the draft and I see the Trail Blazers adding the lanky Florida State product. Portland employs two dynamic scorers in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum at the guard spots, but adding Vassell adds a defensive presence to the guard rotation. His three-point shooting also speaks volumes to his NBA potential, and placing him as a backup shooting guard or even a starting small forward could catapult the Blazers back into the playoffs.
15. Orlando Magic — Tyrese Maxey (G, Kentucky)
Maxey had moments in college where his shot looked iffy and lacked consistency, but his natural scoring ability could be a scary asset of his in the NBA. The Magic are a team that has a young core of defensive-minded players, so adding a player like Maxey with such an enticing ability to light up the scoreboard should land the Kentucky product just outside the lottery.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves via Brooklyn Nets — Theo Maledon (G, France)
The Timberwolves come away with two first-round picks this year. The first was used on impact player Obi Toppin and the second can be used on the second French player of the draft. Maledon sports tremendous length and strength for use as a combo guard. He and D’Angelo Russell could form a nice guard tandem together to usher in a new era in Minnesota.
17. Boston Celtics via Memphis Grizzles — Zeke Nnaji (F, Arizona)
This pick might be a bit of a reach, but I think Nnaji fits the mold for what the Celtics lack. Nnaji has the athleticism to be able to switch between guarding a post player and stretch forward, much like former Celtic Al Horford did very well. His offensive game is a bit raw, but given the Celtics’ three first-round picks, they can take a chance at addressing a need here.
18. Dallas Mavericks — Patrick Williams (F, Florida State)
Williams is a freak. Cut from the Leonard Hamilton crop of explosive wing players, he possesses a raw athleticism that could mesh very well with the emerging Mavericks. With Porzingis often struggling to stay healthy, Williams could be a serviceable forward to bring in and provide a spark on offense with his evolving perimeter game as well as his fearless defense.
19. Milwaukee Bucks via Indiana Pacers — Nico Mannion (G, Arizona)
Due to a slight decline in his production toward the end of his freshman campaign at Arizona, Mannion slides to the back end of the draft and into the laps of the Bucks. He possesses great game sense and has tremendous skills on the offensive side. It may take some time for Mannion to crack the rotation, but his upside gives Milwaukee a great value selection at No. 19.
20. Brooklyn Nets via Philadelphia 76ers — Aaron Nesmith (F, Vanderbilt)
Nesmith may be the best shooter in the pool after nailing 52% of his deep balls for Vanderbilt this past season. In this mock draft, he slips a little bit, but he fits an absolute need for the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn’s goal in the draft is to find players that complement stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant and Nesmith’s incredible shooting ability in any situation can help alleviate opponent double teams on the two All-Stars.
21. Denver Nuggets via Houston Rockets — Aleksej Pokusevski (F, Serbia)
With Paul Millsap’s contract expiring, Denver can look towards the Serbian to accommodate for the void left at the power forward spot. Pokusevski has great upside given his skill set for his size. He can step out and be a true stretch four, but can also use guard-like skills to penetrate from the outside and draw in double teams to capable shooters in the Nuggets rotation.
22. Philadelphia 76ers via Oklahoma City Thunder — Desmond Bane (G, TCU)
The Sixers need to try and salvage the “Trust the Process” movement after rumored uneasiness in the locker room. While a late first-round pick won’t automatically change that, drafting someone with a deadly three-point shot like Bane could help replicate the peak of “The Process” when JJ Redick was in town. Redick enjoyed his best seasons in Philly and adding a player like Bane who mirrors Redick’s shooting ability in some ways could be a worthwhile addition.
23. Miami Heat — Isaiah Stewart (C, Washington)
Sticking with the theme of replicating players of the past, adding Stewart in the draft could give the Heat a Hassan Whiteside-like presence once again. Stewart’s build is unmatched in this draft, allowing the Washington big man to attack the glass with ease and block shots into oblivion. He can fill in at the center position and move Bam Adebayo back to his original spot at the four.
24. Utah Jazz — Daniel Oturu (C, Minnesota)
With Stewart gone, the Jazz will take the next best thing in Oturu. The Minnesota big man is a bit of a project but has a great scoring ability to match his ferocious defensive presence. This pick comes at a time where the relationship between current big man Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell is in shambles, according to reports. It would be in Utah’s best interest to have a backup plan if the duo doesn’t mend their chemistry.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder via Denver Nuggets — Jalen Smith (F, Maryland)
The Thunder had some revelations this season, with young pieces contributing much more than the team bargained for originally. A ton of future draft picks await for the Thunder, but this first one in the new era could be a building block down the line. Smith developed very nicely this past season at Maryland, proving his capabilities as a stretch forward and putting on some much-needed muscle in preparation for the NBA. Oklahoma City could benefit from adding a player like Smith, who carries all the tools to become a valuable role player.
26. Boston Celtics — Kira Lewis Jr. (G, Alabama)
Lewis may have the highest basketball IQ in the draft this year and Danny Ainge should pounce on the chance to take the Alabama product this far down the line. Lewis plays exceptionally well in all facets of the game and uses his speed and length to get to the cup. This is a great value pick for the Celtics’ second pick at No. 26.
27. New York Knicks via Los Angeles Clippers — Cassius Stanley (G, Duke)
As previously mentioned, the Knicks need some excitement in the Garden. Enter Stanley, who’s pure athleticism and highlight dunks make him a captivating prospect to acquire via the draft. He utilizes a solid offensive game that through a few years of development could become a vital piece for the Knicks as they hope to emerge from their long-lasting rebuilding phase.
28. Toronto Raptors — Josh Green (G, Arizona)
Green’s slide ends at No. 28, where he and the Raptors are a match made in heaven. A defensive juggernaut with a great motor, Green fits Nick Nurse’s scheme exquisitely. He has a raw offensive game, but his open court speed makes up for his inconsistent shooting at times. Toronto may land one of the top steals of the draft, as Green could ultimately break the rotation early on and provide more firepower to the defending champions.
29. Los Angeles Lakers — Jahmi’us Ramsey (G, Texas Tech)
If we’re talking about motors, there is no one in the draft with a more tenacious drive than Ramsey out of Texas Tech. He can play any guard position and sports the length to contribute as an attacking forward for the bench unit in Los Angeles. Comparisons to Marcus Smart makes Ramsey even more enticing for such a late pick in the first round.
30. Boston Celtics via Milwaukee Bucks — Vernon Carey Jr. (C, Duke)
To conclude the first round is Boston’s third pick of the draft, and they should be quick to pounce on the availability of the brute force out of Duke. Carey Jr., like many late picks in the draft, needs some time to develop, but with a body built for the NBA and agility unlike any prospect of his build, he isn’t that far off from the ultimate opportunity to contribute quite nicely for the Celtics.