NBA Draft 2020: Mock Predictions for Obi Toppin, Vernon Carey, Top CBB Players

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 26, 2020

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 07: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers reacts after a dunk in the second half of a game against the George Washington Colonials at UD Arena on March 7, 2020 in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton defeated George Washington 76-51. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

If the sports world weren't on an indefinite pause, NBA executives would be fawning over the latest March Madness stars.

Since that's not possible, we will handle the fawning for them by dissecting some of college basketball's top talents after our latest mock draft.

In addition to scouting these stars, we will also predict where they are likely to land.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

3. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks

4. Atlanta Hawks: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

5. Detroit Pistons: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

6. New York Knicks: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

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7. Chicago Bulls: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

8. Charlotte Hornets: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

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

10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

11. San Antonio Spurs: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

12. Sacramento Kings: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF/C, Olympiacos

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

15. Orlando Magic: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

18. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green, SG/SF, Arizona

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova

20. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

23. Miami Heat: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

24. Utah Jazz: Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Barcelona

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Robert Woodard, SF, Mississippi State

26. Boston Celtics: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Tre Jones, PG, Duke

28. Toronto Raptors: Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech


Mock Predictions for Top College Basketball Players

Obi Toppin to Charlotte

This isn't the best-case scenario for Obi Toppin's parents, who would their son went to Golden State if he could choose his landing spot. Once they realize how prevalent his offensive opportunities would be in Buzz City, though, they would warm up to Michael Jordan's club sooner rather than later.

The 6'9", 220-pound Toppin is a scoring force in the frontcourt. Fans might know him best for his aerial acrobatics, but his expanding shooting range (39 percent from deep) and blossoming face-up skills highlight how he could find his fit in the modern game.

Toppin averaged 20 points on a ridiculous 63.3 percent shooting this season. Over his final five outings at Dayton, he bumped his per-game contributions to 23.4 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 67.7 percent from the field and 7-of-13 from distance.

If he landed in Charlotte, he might not need long to claim the primary scoring duties. The Hornets, who ranked 28th in offensive efficiency, didn't have a 20-point scorer, and their only players to average more than 13 were Terry Rozier (a career 39.4 percent shooter) and Devonte' Graham (a 36.6 percent shooter since the start of December).


Kira Lewis Jr. to Miami

Miami Heat should be lethal on defense next season, as they return the ball-stopping trio of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Andre Iguodala. But the offense could use a pick-me-up, especially if Goran Dragic exits and takes his 16.1 points and 5.1 assists elsewhere in unrestricted free agency.

Kira Lewis Jr. could help to replace that production.

The 6'3" speedy point guard improved across the board in his sophomore season with the Crimson Tide. He added five points to his scoring average. His shooting rates improved at all three levels. He nearly doubled his assist output (2.9 to 5.2) and more than doubled his steals (0.8 to 1.8).

His handle needs tightening, but his quick first step and second-level jets usually get him to where he's trying to go. He may not ever be a top-shelf table-setter, but the Heat could live with that since the three aforementioned stoppers are all productive shot-creators.


Vernon Carey Jr. to Toronto

Vernon Carey Jr. arrived at Duke as a 5-star recruit and validated that ranking. He double-doubled in his third career game, had his first 20-10 outing the next time out and followed that with a 31-point, 12-board, 4-block masterpiece.

His stat sheet impressed the entire season. His final tally featured 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He shot 57.7 percent from the field and a good-enough 67.0 percent at the stripe.

But his biggest challenge for improving his draft stock was impossible: finding a time machine and traveling back to when non-stretch centers were more appreciated. Teams will still take his post scoring, but they won't spend an early pick (or probably carve out a major role for him) unless he takes big strides as a shooter and rim protector.

The Toronto Raptors, though, have little to lose by giving him a late-first-round look, and they will likely be in the big-man market, with Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Chris Boucher all entering free agency. Carey won't get as many shots with Toronto as he might elsewhere, but a patient approach with his player development could be his best way to carve out an NBA niche.


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