2020 NBA Mock Draft: Predicting Landing Spots for LaMelo Ball, Top Prospects

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2020

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks looks on during the round 9 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena on November 30, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

With the NBA temporarily stopped and the college basketball season over because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 draft will likely command a few more headlines than normal in March.

Everyone needs to look forward to something, right?

Although the class doesn't have an undisputed No. 1 prospect, some of the likeliest players to be taken at the top of the draft include LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman. We will highlight Ball, along with a couple of other likely first-round choices.

The order of the following mock draft is based on the NBA standings rather than a projection of how the season may end.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
4. Atlanta Hawks: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
5. Detroit Pistons: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
6. New York Knicks: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
7. Chicago Bulls: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
8. Charlotte Hornets: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
9. Washington Wizards: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
10. Phoenix Suns: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
11. San Antonio Spurs: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
15. Orlando Magic: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from BKN): Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
17. Boston Celtics (from MEM): Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State
18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos
19. Milwaukee Bucks (from IND): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
20. Brooklyn Nets (from PHI): Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington
21. Denver Nuggets (from HOU): Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
22. Philadelphia 76ers (from OKC): Vernon Carey Jr., PF/C, Duke
23. Miami Heat: Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
24. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from DEN): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
26. Boston Celtics: Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona
27. New York Knicks (from LAC): Tre Jones, PG, Duke
28. Toronto Raptors: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
30. Boston Celtics (from MIL): Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State


LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks

This winding journey is reaching a transition point.

Over the past few years, Ball's on-court career has included stops in high school, Lithuania and Australia. The NBA draft will be next. Ball is recovering from a bone bruise in his foot, an injury that ended his 2019-20 season prematurely.

He could participate in the 2020 combine, but Pat Benson of Forbes noted Ball's father, LaVar, said that's no guarantee:

"I don't know if he's going to do the draft combine because I think he's done enough. He's proved enough on the court already. Now it's just finding a good team, actually, a good coach who's going to believe in him. That's the main thing."

That wouldn't be a surprise given top prospects often decline to participate. In 2019, for example, neither Zion Williamson nor Ja Morant took part in drills or measurements.

Ball averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists in his 12 appearances, winning NBL Rookie of the Year.


Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

The cancellation of the NCAA tournament prevented Obi Toppin from taking a deserved place in the national spotlight.

Last season, he averaged 14.4 points and 5.6 rebounds for a Dayton squad that missed the Big Dance. As a redshirt sophomore, however, Toppin racked up 20 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 blocks while guiding Dayton to a likely No. 1 seed. He also buried 39 percent of his 2.6 three-point attempts per game.

Toppin could have used March Madness as a way to solidify his billing as a top-10 pick. Now it won't happen.

Since he recently turned 22, Toppin will probably be flagged for his age. His defense isn't a strength, either, so a slide into the late lottery is foreseeable.

Nevertheless, his inherent gifts, offensive efficiency and shooting range will demand plenty of attention.


Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

The simple truth is Nico Mannion didn't perform extremely well as a freshman. Still, the point guard's appeal is clear.

Mannion showed exceptional vision and awareness, averaging 5.3 assists this season. His feel for the positionand the game overallis an indisputable positive.

So what's his ceiling?

Mannion is still improving as a creator, needs to become a more consistent shooter and isn't a great defender. He shot just 32.7 percent from three and 39.2 overall for Arizona. But if he develops any of those skills into a reliable part of his contributions, he will be a valuable backup at worst.

And the best-case scenario, then, is a dynamic player who's incredibly smart. Mannion is worth the mid-first-round risk.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.