2020 NBA Mock Draft, Post-Trade Deadline Edition
Some of the trades made at Thursday's deadline could have direct effects on the 2020 NBA draft.
Andre Drummond going to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Clint Capela moving to the Atlanta Hawks could change each of their new team's prospect targets. The Minnesota Timberwolves adding D'Angelo Russell likely means they won't take a point guard.
Now co-favorites with the Cavaliers to win the draft lottery, the Golden State Warriors have Andrew Wiggins and one fewer star guard on their roster.
This latest mock draft has undergone a major shakeup at the top following a busy Thursday afternoon for a few front offices.
1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards (Georgia, SG, Freshman)
The Golden State Warriors made a big roster move at the deadline, acquiring Andrew Wiggins and future draft compensation for D'Angelo Russell. Will the new lineup affect how they scout for the 2020 draft?
Taking the best player available will presumably still be the approach, and based on conversations with scouts, LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards sound like the favorites.
While Ball was building a case in Australia before injuring his foot and shutting it down, explosive scoring outbursts from Anthony Edwards could give him the edge. He just went for 32 points against Florida on Wednesday after hanging 29 points on Texas A&M over the weekend.
Golden State would be a suitable environment for Edwards' development. He wouldn't have the opportunity to dance with the ball and settle alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, a habit he gets into with the Bulldogs. His shot selection will improve naturally as he should be looking at more rhythm jumpers and open driving lanes.
The Warriors got more athletic with Wiggins, but Edwards would give them a more dangerous three-point shot-maker and threatening secondary playmaker.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija (Maccabi Tel Aviv, SF/PF, 2001)
The Cleveland Cavaliers' acquisition of Andre Drummond at the trade deadline raises questions. Will he opt in for 2020-21? Do the Cavaliers try to re-sign him long-term? The answers could determine their level of interest in a center like James Wiseman.
Cleveland apparently admires Drummond enough to trade for him, so let's assume it intends to make him a part of its future. That could lead it toward a wing or forward like Deni Avdija, who's in the midst of his most productive stretch of the year.
He scored 26 points in the Israeli BSL on Saturday before finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists in Euroleague on Wednesday.
Scouts see a safe pick with upside based on his 6'8" size, skill versatility, comfort level overseas and plentiful room for improvement as a creator and shooter. Avdija has shown the ability to fit in as a role player with Maccabi Tel Aviv or take over games as a No. 1 option for Israel in the U20 European Championship.
There isn't a shortcut to success for the Cavaliers, who shouldn't be turned off by longer-term projects in the draft.
3. Atlanta Hawks: LaMelo Ball (Illawarra Hawks, PG/SG, 2001)
The Atlanta Hawks wanted to fill their need for a defensive center by trading rather than drafting. The acquisition of Clint Capela, who they got by giving up their second first-rounder (via Brooklyn Nets), gives the young lineup a veteran rim protector whose presence may also disincentivize the Hawks from targeting a big in the top five.
LaMelo Ball could come into play based on a best-player-available approach and the idea that he could help take pressure off Trae Young. Head coach Lloyd Pierce may like the idea of having multiple ball-handlers in the backcourt.
Ball is back in the United States rehabbing his injured foot after shutting it down in the NBL, where he finished with averages of 17.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists. Though he shot 37.7 percent, scouts still put more stock into the 18-year-old's production and eye-test results against pros, and there are definitely enough evaluators who view him as one of the draft's top prospects.
4. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State, PG, Sophomore)
Steve Mills is out as president. General manager Scott Perry still has his job. And now reports from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne have power agent Leon Rose taking control of basketball operations, which will presumably include final say in who the Knicks draft.
It's unclear what that means for the team's approach, but it's clear that a spotlight will be shined on the selection as Rose mokes his first big call, Perry needs to prove himself and the franchise is desperate to get the pick right.
After the Knicks overdrafted a teenager from France in 2017 (Frank Ntilikina) and then whiffed on a one-and-done freshman from Kentucky (Kevin Knox), they may prefer to go with a more proven player in 2020. And scouts feel a level of certainty in Tyrese Haliburton's elite playmaking and basketball IQ.
Averaging 6.6 assists to 2.7 turnovers, he would provide a refreshing change at point guard in New York with a pass-first approach. And between his facilitating and shooting (41.5 three-point percentage), Haliburton stands out as an ideal fit alongside RJ Barrett.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Isaac Okoro (Auburn, SF/PF, Freshman)
Consistently making winning plays at both ends, Isaac Okoro has risen with substance over flash.
He's a fitting target for a Minnesota Timberwolves team that just acquired D'Angelo Russell in a deal that sent Andrew Wiggins to the Golden State Warriors. Valued for defense first, Okoro has been creating a convincing case to NBA scouts using his physical 6'6" frame, quick feet and focus to stay attached around the perimeter and wall up inside.
Though not an advanced scorer, he's shooting 60.3 percent inside the arc while starting to show signs of shooting potential with 10 threes over Auburn's last nine games. He's also given the Tigers secondary playmaking with his ability to attack closeouts and pass on the move.
His offensive efficiency and defensive toughness indicate he has a high floor, but Okoro also just turned 19 in January and still has both room and time to expand his game.
6. Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman (Memphis, C, Freshman)
With Andre Drummond going to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Clint Capela now with the Atlanta Hawks, James Wiseman could slip.
He also gave scouts just three games of film before he left Memphis.
The Charlotte Hornets would buy low on Wiseman as their next anchor to build around given his 7'1", 240-pound size, 7'6" wingspan and bounce for easy finishing and rim protection. He'd give Charlotte's guards a giant target for dump-downs and lobs, and though he'll need to improve his defensive IQ, his shot-blocking potential should be valued alongside PJ Washington.
7. Washington Wizards: Onyeka Okongwu (USC, C, Freshman)
After drafting a versatile offensive-minded forward in Rui Hachimura last year, the Washington Wizards could look to Onyeka Okongwu for defense and rim protection.
He's blocking three shots in fewer than 30 minutes per game while allowing just four made field goals at the rim all season.
Okongwu also ranks in the 94th percentile for post-up offense, the 86th percentile for putbacks and the 81st percentile on rolls. He's developed into a threatening-enough scorer using his footwork, touch, tools and athleticism.
The Wizards should expect a physical presence, easy-basket option and high-energy big. They should hope for his shooting and perimeter defense to improve and raise his ceiling to a star level.
8. Detroit Pistons: Cole Anthony (North Carolina, PG, Freshman)
Reggie Jackson, Derrick Rose and Brandon Knight aren't long-term answers, so the Detroit Pistons will likely be hoping for a point guard to fall in the draft.
The New York Knicks preferring Tyrese Haliburton, D'Angelo Russell moving to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Devonte' Graham breaking out for the Charlotte Hornets and John Wall returning to the Washington Wizards could allow Cole Anthony to drop.
He recently returned from a knee injury, and though he's been inefficient all season, the lack of talent and spacing at North Carolina is widely acknowledged. Anthony needs to improve his decision-making and finishing instincts in traffic, but his scoring potential—fueled by advanced handles and pull-up shooting ability—remains high.
9. Chicago Bulls: RJ Hampton (New Zealand Breakers, SG, 2001)
Scouts seemed mostly satisfied with what they saw from RJ Hampton overseas. He just returned to the United States after a hip injury limited his availability over the past two months with the New Zealand Breakers. But for a 6'5" 18-year-old, Hampton's effectiveness and comfort level against NBL pros were enough.
He's attractive for his ability to put pressure on the defense and rim with athleticism in transition and a quick first step for getting downhill. Though not a primary decision-maker, he's a threatening playmaker and setup man in ball-screen situations.
Shooting will be an obvious swing skill for Hampton. Given his age and shot-making capability, the Chicago Bulls should feel his jump shot is worth betting on late in the lottery.
10. Sacramento Kings: Obi Toppin (Dayton, PF, Sophomore)
The perception of Obi Toppin has changed from an intriguing long-term prospect in 2018-19 to one of the 2020 draft's surest bets.
Scouts see certainty tied to his 6'9" size, explosiveness, post skills, energy and efficient production (19.7 points per game, 62.8 field-goal percentage). And in a class that lacks obvious NBA talent, teams could put extra stock into that certainty.
As an athletic power forward or center, improved shooting and face-up scoring ability have elevated Toppin's theoretical ceiling. He's become a reliable go-to and pick-and-pop option, and the eye test, which shows consistent execution, suggests his offense will translate.
11. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes (Ratiopharm Ulm, PG, 2001)
A monitored prospect since 2017, Killian Hayes has broken out during his first draft-eligible season, making improvements to weaknesses that had previously held the hype in check.
He's taken an important step forward with his shot-creation and shooting, adding a step-back to his repertoire and sinking 28 threes in 29 games. The fact that he's hitting 88.2 percent of his free throws is another encouraging indicator regarding his touch.
But the main draw still stems from his playmaking. The 18-year-old point guard is fourth in Eurocup in assists (6.2 in 26.8 minutes per game).
12. New Orleans Pelicans: Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
Scouts sound split on Tyrese Maxey, who's viewed to some as safe while others question where he'll have an advantage.
He's become a more likely option in the late lottery for a team that values his shot-making versatility, secondary playmaking and defensive toughness, even if he lacks the size (6'3", 198 lbs) and athleticism to dominate in any one area.
Playing in a three-guard lineup with Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley has certainly limited Maxey's creation opportunities and shots. And from Devin Booker to Tyler Herro, there have been recent Kentucky guards who've been able to flash more in NBA space.
13. San Antonio Spurs: Nico Mannion (Arizona, PG, Freshman)
Scouts have started to question whether Nico Mannion can be a star NBA point guard, though most agree he's a surefire pro capable of bringing shooting, passing and competitiveness to a backcourt.
Averaging 14.2 points and 5.7 assists, he ranks in the 80th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler. And he's making 1.7 threes per game and 84.9 percent of his free throws.
While Dejounte Murray gives the San Antonio Spurs athleticism and defense at the point, Mannion is the more skilled, polished point guard with a better jumper and more natural playmaking instincts.
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Devin Vassell (Florida State, SF, Sophomore)
Devin Vassell is starting to shed his sleeper label. He's no longer hiding after making all seven of his three-pointers in Florida State's weekend win over Virginia Tech.
Aside from converting over 41 percent of his threes for the second straight year, Vassell has created a lot of excitement around his defensive outlook. Averaging 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks in 28.7 minutes per game, he has the tools and athleticism to make plays and guard multiple spots. But he's also proved he has terrific instincts making reads and rotations.
Vassell is becoming the draft's three-and-D wing to target, and his improved pull-up scoring ability only acts as a bonus.
No. 15: Orlando Magic: Jaden McDaniels (Washington, SF/PF, Freshman)
McDaniels' slump hit rock bottom Saturday when he missed all four of his shots against Arizona State. Head coach Mike Hopkins has removed him from the starting lineup during Washington's current 2-7 stretch. NBA teams are still looking years ahead, though. His 6'9" size, scoring versatility and fluidity remain enticing long-term. But McDaniels is starting to lose support from scouts as his field-goal percentage has dipped to 39.2, and his impact continues to fluctuate.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nets): Theo Maledon (ASVEL, PG, 2001)
Coming off a productive January for ASVEL, Maledon has applied enough pressure to compete for looks alongside the draft's second-tier point guards from college. Some scouts still see more of an NBA backup due to his lack of speed and athletic limitations. But for a 6'3" point guard, his ball skills, shooting potential, coordination, IQ and effectiveness in Euroleague create a clear enough first-round case.
No. 17: Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies): Tre Jones (Duke, PG, Sophomore)
Jones' passing IQ and defensive toughness have intrigued scouts since his arrival at Duke. He's raised his stock this year by improving his scoring skills and knocking down threes with more consistency. There is still the perception that he's merely a future reserve, but every team will value winning intangibles that help paint him as a safe pick for any squad.
No. 18: Milwaukee Bucks (via Pacers): Vernon Carey Jr. (Duke, C, Freshman)
There are questions about Carey's fit and upside in today's NBA, working mostly as a back-to-the-basket scorer and limited defender. But at some point in the draft, a team is going to buy his inside-scoring finesse for a 6'10", 270-pound big. Deceiving mobility and averages of 17.8 points and 9.0 rebounds should also make it easier to look past the concerns. There are old-school centers like Jusuf Nurkic who still hold value as starting centers.
No. 19: Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): Saddiq Bey (Villanova, SF/PF, Sophomore)
Bey's physical profile (6'8", 220 lbs), 46.5 three-point percentage and secondary playmaking have caught the attention of NBA scouts. Even if there are questions about his quickness and creation, his projected fit at the next level, plus Villanova's recent track record of producing pros, figures to be enough for one first-round team that sees a shot-making role player.
No. 20: Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski (Olympiacos junior team, C, 2001)
Teams view Pokusevski as a sleeper, but enough seem to be tracking him for a first-round projection. Despite playing in Greece's second division, his unique blend of shooting, passing and shot-blocking skills made a lasting impression during FIBA play and the Adidas Next Generation Tournament.
21. Philadelphia 76es (via Thunder): Josh Green (Arizona, SG/SF, Freshman)
Green's offensive limitations have been exposed lately as he fights through a shooting slump and struggles to create his own scoring chances in the half court. He's becoming more of a Nos. 15-30 option, but there should still be enough interest in his athleticism for transition and defense, plus the flashes of set shooting, floaters and passing.
22. Utah Jazz: Precious Achiuwa (Memphis, PF/C, Freshman)
Achiuwa has been productive since James Wiseman left the program, using his 6'9" size and motor to collect easy baskets, rebound and defend. Limited creation skills, shooting range and passing IQ still raise questions about how valuable he can be to an NBA offense.
23. Denver Nuggets (via Rockets): Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt, SF, Sophomore)
Nesmith may have set shooting records if a foot injury hadn't cut his season short. A sample size of 115 three-point attempts should have been enough for scouts to feel good about his 52.2 percent clip. He isn't a creator, but his mix of 6'6" size, shot-making versatility and astounding accuracy through two months remains appealing.
24. Miami Heat: Patrick Williams (Florida State, PF, Freshman)
Williams' potential has been evident based on his 6'8", 225-pound frame, flashes of shot-making and defensive versatility. He's clearly a few years away from being an impact NBA player. But more games like his 14-point, nine-rebound effort against North Carolina on Monday should help persuade teams to bet on his development.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Nuggets): Isaiah Stewart (Washington, C, Freshman)
Nothing about Stewart's game screams upside. But in the 20s, one team will value a floor propped up by his chiseled 250-pound frame, as well as his live motor and 17.7 points per game with a 57.0 field-goal percentage. His three made triples over Washington's last five games have been an encouraging development.
26. Boston Celtics: Robert Woodard II (Mississippi State, SF/PF, Sophomore)
Woodard pops for his 6'7", 230-pound frame and explosiveness, though his shooting consistency (48.0 three-point percentage), flashes of pull-up scoring and tremendous defensive quickness and versatility are leading to first-round buzz. He's trending toward becoming an option for teams in the teens or 20s, though his draft ceiling is limited by his lack of creation ability.
27. New York Knicks (via Clippers): Cassius Stanley (Duke, SF, Freshman)
The explosive leaping ability creates highlights, but scouts are starting to take Stanley seriously as an NBA prospect. He's drawing intrigue by complementing the athleticism with flashes of shooting potential and defensive energy and activity. However, his 22 assists through 21 games could indicate a limited off-the-dribble game for a wing. Interest should continue to build if Stanley can make enough open shots and pull-ups through February and March.
28. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Smith (Maryland, PF/C, Sophomore)
Smith is playing his way into the first-round discussion, shooting 51.2 percent from three over his last 14 games. He's also averaged 16.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks during that stretch. Even if teams don't detect a ton of upside, it's becoming easier to buy his NBA potential based on his physical traits (6'10", 215 lbs) and shooting development.
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Jordan Nwora (Louisville, SF, Junior)
Shooting 43.7 percent from three, Nwora is improving a draft case that's now built around a sound mix of 6'7" size and shot-making. Poor performances in heavily scouted matchups against Duke (3-of-12 from the field) and Kentucky (2-of-10) will work against him, however, as teams try to decide how effective he'll be in the NBA with suspect athleticism for a wing.
30. Boston Celtics (via Bucks): Paul Reed (DePaul, C, Junior)
Reed's lack of shooting development has been disappointing, but flashes of ball-handling, scoring on the move and defensive playmaking should still draw first-round interest. He's averaging a double-double while leading the nation in defensive win shares.