2020 NBA Mock Draft: Early 1st-Round Predictions and Surprises for Top Prospects

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2019

Maryland forward Jalen Smith walks on the court during an NCAA college basketball game against Navy at the Veterans Classic tournament in Annapolis, Md., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

The latest NBA draft is still fresh in the minds of basketball fans, but the scouting process never ends. All 30 franchises have shifted their focus to the 2020 NBA draft.

And we're going to join them.

Every year, under-the-radar players develop into first-round prospects while a handful of heralded players don't match their billing. Much canand willchange, so the earliest draft projections are perhaps better labeled as early "players to watch" lists.

The order is based on Caesars' listings for 2019-20 champion, beginning with the worst odds to win the league title.

            

2020 NBA Mock Draft

1. Washington Wizards: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

2. Miami Heat: Anthony Edwards, PG, Georgia

3. Charlotte Hornets: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

4. Minnesota Timberwolves: R.J. Hampton, G, USA

5. Detroit Pistons: Theo Maledon, G, France

6. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington

7. Phoenix Suns: Deni Avdija, F, Israel

8. Memphis Grizzlies: Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky

9. Chicago Bulls: Scottie Lewis, G, Florida

10. Atlanta Hawks: Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois

11. Sacramento Kings: Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis

12. Orlando Magic: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

13. Indiana Pacers: Kahlil Whitney, SF, Kentucky

14. New Orleans Pelicans: Jalen Smith, F/C, Maryland

15. San Antonio Spurs: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

16. Dallas Mavericks: Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky

17. Portland Trail Blazers: Josh Green, G, Arizona

18. New York Knicks: Tre Jones, PG, Duke

19. Oklahoma City Thunder: Bryan Antoine, SG, Villanova

20. Brooklyn Nets: Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville

21. Utah Jazz: Matthew Hurt, PF, Duke

22. Boston Celtics: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

23. Denver Nuggets: Wendell Moore, SG/SF, Duke

24. Philadelphia 76ers: Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas

25. Golden State Warriors: Johnny Juzang, SF, Kansas

26. Houston Rockets: Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke

27. Toronto Raptors: Aaron Wiggins, SG/SF, Maryland

28. Los Angeles Clippers: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, PF, Villanova

29. Milwaukee Bucks: Killian Tillie, PF/C, Gonzaga

30. Los Angeles Lakers: Kira Lewis, PG, Alabama

            

Top Returning College Players

Sean Rayford/Associated Press

In each of the NBA's last three drafts, freshmen have owned the lottery.

Franchises have selected a combined 29 one-and-done prospects among the 42 possible top-14 selections. That trend is likely to continue in 2020 with high-profile names in James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton.

But a handful of sophomoresbeyond a few scattered upperclassmenare likely to solidify themselves as first-round options.

Next season, Jalen Smith will be the featured player in Maryland's frontcourt following the departure of star center Bruno Fernando. Smith averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds as a complementary piece and is an intriguing small-ball five moving forward.

Smith earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors alongside Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu, who provided 13.8 points and 3.3 assists per game with a 35.2 three-point clip.

Through his freshman year, Dosunmu seems to project better as a secondary ball-handler. Given his decent range, though, he could soar on draft boards if he increases his playmaking contributions while avoiding a major jump in turnovers.

The latter point isn't a problem for Tre Jones.

Last year, the Duke guard notched 5.3 assists with only 1.5 turnovers per game. He showed off great quickness and vision, consistently making the right decision and not trying to force a pass. Jones was also a standout defender, finishing second in ACC Defensive Player of the Year voting.

However, his jump shot needs improvement in a major way. Jones hit just 27 of his 103 long-range attempts, and some opponents didn't even bother guarding him beyond the arc off the ball.

But if Jones progresses offensively, he'll demand attention as a lottery pick in the 2020 draft.

          

Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR

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