2020 NBA Mock Draft 1.0


2020 NBA Mock Draft

Hello, and welcome to my 2020 NBA Mock Draft 1.0.

Yes, it’s that time of year again,  and I couldn’t be more excited to share my thoughts on this upcoming draft. Many analysts have said that this draft is the weakest it’s been in a while, but that still doesn’t mean it’s not filled with potential stars. The last ‘weak’ draft in 2013 had Victor Oladipo, CJ Mccollum, and Giannis Antetokounmpo all go in the first round. This year could be more of the same talk.

I based most of my draft predictions on team fit and potential. I am higher on some prospects than most analysts, and I am lower on others. With more time, research, and dedication, I’ll be able to tweak my mock and make it as accurate as possible. As for right now, this is my projected first round.

#1. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, (PF/C), Memphis

Golden State Warriors
With the first overall pick, the Warriors select…James Wiseman, PF/C from Memphis! Wiseman has length, he’s mobile, and has excellent touch around the basket. Although mostly a back to the basket player right now, Wiseman can step out and knock down the mid-range with consistency. He’s terrific in the pick and roll, and he’s exactly what the Warriors need right now. A big who can run the floor, block shots, set screens, and rebound. I think Wiseman is one of the best prospects in the draft and purely off of positional fits, I have the Warriors taking him at #1.

#2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, (PF/C), Dayton

Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs have taken point guards in back to back years, so I don’t see them grabbing another in this draft. Obi Toppin would be a very nice fit for the Cavs here at pick number two. Toppin excels in the pick and roll, finishes above the rim, and brings you energy night in and night out. The Dayton prospect is a bit undersized but makes up for it with length and athleticism. If he can make his jump shot more consistent, Toppin could be an Amare Stoudemire type of player.

#3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Lamelo Ball, (PG/SG), Intl.

Minnesota Timberwolves
I believe that Lamelo Ball is the best prospect in the draft. At 6 foot 8, he has great size for his position and would be a matchup nightmare. With the ball in his hands, Lamelo is an excellent facilitator. He can create in the half-court and in transition because of his advanced vision. Scoring the ball Lamelo is also the best of the Ball brothers. He can beat you all the way to the rim, get to the free-throw line, or hit the deep-ball. I know the Timberwolves just traded for D’Angelo Russell, but DLo is even better when he plays off the ball at the two. These two guards can co-exist, and I think they would make a great duo.

#4. Atlanta Hawks: Anthony Edwards, (SG/PG), Georgia

Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have an up-and-coming young roster, and they get to add top prospect, Anthony Edwards, to that mix. Edwards is an explosive athlete who can beat you in a plethora of ways. His first step is exceptionally quick, he has a lethal pull up jumper, and can even shoot it from the outside. Defensively, Edwards also holds his own. He is a very well rounded prospect with very little holes in his game. Edwards compliments Trae Young very well in the back-court making this a seemingly perfect fit. Young adds shooting and playmaking but gets targeted on defense because of his smaller frame. Edwards is a strong, fast, athletic scorer who will give you defense and slashing. This pick makes the most sense.

#5. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, (PG/SG), Intl.

Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are in complete rebuild mode with a glaring hole at point guard. You could go with a few guys here, but I think Killian Hayes has the most potential to be a star. Hayes’ IQ for a 19-year-old is already advanced. He has excellent size, body control, and takes care of the ball. He can shoot the deep ball, but he needs to get more consistent with it at the NBA level. Killian excels in the high pick and roll, which would make him a nice fit with the Pistons best player Christian Wood.

#6. New York Knicks: Aaron Nesmith, (SG/SF), Vanderbilt

New York Knicks
I don’t think Knicks fans will boo on draft night if they take Aaron Nesmith with the 6th overall pick. Nesmith is one of my favourite prospects in this draft, and he fits very nicely with the Knicks. Nesmith can score the ball from anywhere on the floor, and he does so with high efficiency. He has good size, can hold is own on the defensive end, and does not need the ball in his hand to make an impact. Nesmith is a knock-down scorer and could be the Knicks #1 scoring option in his rookie season. He is one of the most NBA ready prospects in this draft, and if he lands in New York, he’s my early pick for Rookie of the Year.

#7. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, (PF/SF), Intl.

Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have put together a nice young roster over the last few years. Wendell Carter and Markkanen have both been solid, Coby White and Lavine have also been productive, so all they need now is a versatile wing. Deni Avdija is their guy. Avdija can stroke it from outside, he can create from the low-block and the pick and roll, and he is a force in transition. Avdija’s best trait is his ability to be a secondary playmaker. This would give Lavine the opportunity to play off-ball once and a while, which opens up so many more opportunities for the Bulls offensively.

#8. Charlotte Hornets: Precious Achiuwa, (PF/C), Memphis

Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets roster is a complete disaster in my eyes. They have a few bright spots in their back-court and Miles Bridges on the wing, but they lack an interior presence. Precious Achiuwa is the best available big at this point in the draft, and he would give the Hornets precisely what they’re looking for. Precious is mobile, he runs the floor well, he has a nice touch from the outside, and the potential to be a defensive anchor. The Hornets add some size and skill in their frontcourt with Precious Achiuwa.

#9. Washington Wizards: Onyeka Okongwu, (PF/C), USC

Washington Wizards
John Wall is finally slated to return next year to join Bradley Beal in the back-court, so I doubt the Wizards would go with a guard here. Thomas Bryant has been solid in the post, and Rui has the potential to be a star. They would need to add a piece to their frontcourt, and I think Okongwu fits perfectly. Okongwu is a versatile big who is sensational on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively he’ll score from putbacks and shots around the basket, but he will act as a defensive force for the Wizards. I can see him completing their starting lineup and starting immediately.

#10. Phoenix Suns: Cole Anthony, (PG/SG), North Carolina

phoenix suns
Cole Anthony is a quick, skilled guard who can score in any way, from anywhere on the floor. He has playmaking skills but uses them sparingly. He reminds me a lot of Fred Vanvleet with more size and athleticism. I think he would compliment Devin Booker very well, making that back-court elite. He is the point guard of the future the Suns have been looking for.

#11. San Antonio Spurs: Theo Maledon, (PG/SG), Intl.

San Antonio Spurs
I’m not sure where the Spurs are on Dejounte Murray, but I think he’s more of a complementary piece than he is a staple. I would draft a point guard here, and see if Murray can move to the two. Maledon is a skilled international prospect who is very good in the pick and roll. His IQ is outstanding, like most European prospects, and he can score it from anywhere on the floor. Spurs love their international prospects, Maledon makes sense.

#12. Sacramento Kings: Vernon Carey, (C/PF), Duke

Sacramento Kings
The Kings have had injury troubles over the last few years, but I think they are one or two pieces away from a playoff spot. They need to draft a Center to complete their starting lineup, and Vernon Carey is the best one on the board. Carey has excellent touch around the basket, can shoot the deep ball, and crashes the boards effectively. Defensively he’ll need to improve, but he is the most offensively refined big in this class.

#13. New Orleans Pelicans: Daniel Oturu, (C/PF), Minnesota

New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have a pretty deep roster so that they can go a lot of ways here at 13. I think that their weakest position is Center, so I can see them going with defensive anchor Daniel Oturu here. Oturu gives them length, interior defense, and rebounding in their frontcourt. He struggled shooting the ball from the outside last season, but if he refines his offensive game, he’ll have the potential to be a reliable pro.

#14. Portland Trail Blazers: Devin Vassell, (SG/SF), Florida St.

Portland Trail Blazers
Portland addresses their weakness on the wing by taking the dual-threat scorer, Devin Vassell. Vassell is one of my favourite prospects in this class. Vassell shoots the ball very efficiently and rarely forces shots. His length and athleticism also help him finish at the rim over more prominent defenders. Vassell is an elite defender who would most likely be tasked to guard opposing wing scorers. He has exceptional lateral quickness and speed. I really like Vassell, and he is exactly what Portland needs.

#15. Orlando Magic: RJ Hampton, (PG/SG), Intl.

Orlando Magic
The Magic do something that they never do in the draft: They draft a guard. Crazy to think about, but it’s obvious the Magic are in desperate need of back-court help. Hampton gives them length, speed, and the ability to push the ball in transition. Hampton is also a terrific defender and does a great job creating in the half-court. His shot and decision making need to get more consistent, but other than that, Hampton has all of the physical tools to excel at the NBA level.

#16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Patrick Williams, (SF/PF), Florida St.

Minnesota Timberwolves
With their second pick in the first round, the Wolves take the versatile forward from Florida State. Williams showed so much promise as a freshman and would be exactly what the Wolves need. He is a true 3&D who is versatile enough to guard positions 2 through 4. He would join KAT and Culver in the frontcourt and round out this starting lineup very nicely.

#17. Boston Celtics: Tyrese Haliburton, (PG/SG), Iowa St.

Boston Celtics
It’s evident that the Celtics’ biggest weakness is their interior presence, but I think at this point in the draft, it would be difficult to pass up on Haliburton. Widely regarded as a top 7 prospect, I have Haliburton sliding down to 17. Although he gives you great length, playmaking, and defense, his offensive game is not polished enough to be a top 10 selection in my eyes. At 17, however, this is a steal. Haliburton compliments Kemba Walker very well and adds yet another element to this deep Celtics team.

#18. Milwaukee Bucks: Nico Mannion, (PG/SG), Arizona

Milwaukee Bucks
Eric Bledsoe has been solid for Milwaukee, but I think that an upgrade is due pretty soon. The way the NBA is shifting, you need guards who can shoot the ball. Bledsoe can’t. Mannion gives the Bucks scoring from the guard position and offensive playmaking ability in the half-court and in transition (where the Bucks excel). This pick makes sense.

#19. Brooklyn Nets: Jaden McDaniels (SF/PF), Washington

Brooklyn Nets
The Nets roster is pretty well rounded, so I went with a unique approach here. I have the Nets taking forward Jaden McDaniels because of how similar his frame is to Kevin Durant. They would pick McDaniels in the hopes that McDaniels can fill in for Durant best in case Kevin gets hurt. He wouldn’t be able to score the ball as well, but rebounding, offensive schemes, and defensive matchups would all remain constant for the Nets.

#20. Philadelphia 76ers: Isaac Okoro, (SF/SG), Auburn

Philadelphia 76ers
Widely considered a lottery pick, Okoro falls on my board to pick twenty. The 76ers add depth in the position that they’re weakest at and accomplish precisely what they needed to by taking Okoro. Okoro can create for others; he attacks the basket effectively and can shoot the ball well from the outside. He’s a bit undersized and often forces shots, but he would be a nice rotational piece for the 76ers right away.

#21. Dallas Mavericks: Saddiq Bey, (SF/SG), Villanova

Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have a few holes in their roster, none as gaping as the small forward. Saddiq Bey would fill that hole and exceed expectations. Bey’s offensive game is complete. He can beat you any way, from anywhere on the floor. He has excellent footwork and IQ and is fundamentally sound as any Villanova prospect is. I really like Bey to the Mavs at twenty-one.

#22. Memphis Grizzlies: Josh Green, (SG/SF), Arizona

Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies could use some help on the wing. They lack outside shooting and consistent perimeter defense. Green is a catch and shoot three-point guy who gets after it on the defensive end. Green wouldn’t be looked at as a top scoring option, but he would be able to contribute on both ends, which is all the Grizzlies need.

#23. Denver Nuggets: Reggie Perry, (PF/C), Mississippi St.

Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have the deepest roster in the NBA, and it’s not even a contest. They could go best player available here at 23, but I have them taking Paul Milsapp’s heir apparent, Reggie Perry. Perry is excellent in the pick and roll and pick and pop. He knocks down the mid-range consistently and can even extend to the three. Mike Malone is tough on his rookies, but I could see Perry in the rotation almost immediately.

#24. Miami Heat: Jahmi’us Ramsey (SG/PG), Texas Tech

Miami Heat
Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro were both pleasant surprise s last year, but with the decline of Goran Dragic, I think Miami taking a guard here makes sense. Ramsey was one of the most electric scorers in the Big 12 last season. He is a knock-down shooter who can create his own shot off the dribble, facilitate, and play defense—a good fit for the Heat.

#25. New York Knicks: Kira Lewis, (PG/SG), Alabama

New York Knicks
The Knicks take Nesmith at 6, and at 25, they fill another hole at point guard with Kira Lewis. Lewis is slightly undersized but makes up for it with outside shooting and playmaking the half-court. Lewis is smooth offensively and would add outside shooting to the Knicks back-court, something they desperately need.

#26. Boston Celtics: Jalen Smith, (PF/C), Maryland

Boston Celtics
The Celtics take a point guard at seventeen and still have the big they wanted on the board at 26. Jalen Smith is an athletic, mobile, big who is excellent in the pick and roll. He does a great job crashing the boards and uses his length to be a defensive presence as well. Smith will almost immediately start for the Celtics as the team’s Center.

#27. Oklahoma City: Elijah Hughes, (SG/SF), Syracuse

Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are defensively sound at the two-guard, but they don’t have many scoring options on the wing. Elijah Hughes would be that offensive spark-plug on this team. He can score off the dribble and in the pick and roll. He’s also got one of the purest jump shots in this draft class, and he can really shoot it. I think Hughes is the perfect fit for OKC.

#28. Toronto Raptors: Udoka Azubuike, (C), Kansas

Toronto Raptors
The Raptors will most likely lose at least one of their big men next season, so I think drafting a Center makes the most sense here. Azubuike has the biggest wingspan in this class at 7 foot 7, which he uses to contest and block shots. He would be the Raptors defensive anchor to fill in for Gasol or Ibaka. Azubuike also shot 74% from the field last season at Kansas, which led the entire NCAA. Efficiency and Length. Two things that any GM loves to see.

#29. LA Lakers: Tyrese Maxey, (PG/SG), Kentucky

The Lakers back-court has been the team’s most significant weakness. Danny Green has been inconsistent, Avery Bradley struggles to stay healthy, and Rajon Rondo isn’t the player that he used to be. Maxey is a twitchy combo guard who can bring speed and playmaking to this Lakers offense. He plays very similar to De’Aron Fox, and he’d bring some youth and athleticism to the older, lumbering, Lakers back-court.

#30. Boston Celtics: Zeke Nnaji, (PF/C), Arizona

Boston Celtics
With the last pick of the first round, the Celtics take the mobile big from Arizona, Zeke Nnaji. There are a few bigs at this pick that make sense, but Nnaji got the edge because of his ability to play off the ball. The Celtics play in an offensive system where the ball is continuously moving. The ability to cut to open space and play without the ball is vital, and Nnaji is the best big in the class when it comes to spacing and playing off-ball. Boston rounds out the first round with Zeke Nnaji.

There you have it. The first round is filled with budding stars, and I’m so excited to see where everyone falls. Stay tuned for revisions and second edits once every team’s draft position is confirmed. This could drastically change the outcome of the draft.

October 16, 2020. Mark it on your calendar. The NBA Draft is coming!

I am a 25-year old independent basketball scout who has aspirations to one day work in the NBA. I am located in Toronto, Canada and grew up loving the Raptors. This sparked my interest in basketball and I haven't looked back since. Currently I am working as a Video and Analytics Co-ordinator for the Humber Hawks basketball team, while also scouting overseas for Ambassy International.

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