NBA Draft 2020: Projected Order and Mock Predictions for Sleeper Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 27, 2020

ULM, GERMANY - MARCH 08: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Killian Hayes of Ratiopharm Ulm controls the Ball during the EasyCredit Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) match between Ratiopharm Ulm and MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg at ratiopharm Arena on March 8, 2020 in Ulm, Germany. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

The sports world might be on indefinite pause, but the 2020 NBA draft process keeps moving forward.

It seems every day a new prospect or two has thrown his name into the available player pool.

Where will these players land? We'll make our latest batch of educated mock guesses below, using the league's current standings to set the projected draft order. Then, we'll spotlight three sleeper prospects who could climb up draft boards or outperform their draft positions.


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

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


Top Sleeper Prospects

Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

This draft class isn't highly regarded for its top talent or its depth, which makes it a bit surprising to see Killian Hayes land near the end of the lottery on many mocks.

As Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman detailed, Hayes' NBA comparisons are D'Angelo Russell and a prime Goran Dragic. The former is a 24-year-old who's already made an All-Star Game and averaged 21-plus points each of the last two seasons. The latter has been named an All-Star, an All-NBA third-teamer and 2013-14's Most Improved Player.

Hayes' craftiness and creativity as a playmaker and non-explosive interior finisher show shades of Dragic, and, as Wasserman noted, Hayes can be Russell-like with the ball in his hands:

"Both guards are skilled off the dribble with their ball-handling, footwork and passes. Hayes has to improve around the perimeter to reach Russell's level, but he's become sharper at creating space. He doesn't need bounce to separate, and he dishes out slick assists off ball screens and penetration, showing impressive vision and delivery methods to rollers and shooters. Hayes was averaging 6.2 assists in Eurocup and seems to offer even more playmaking potential than Russell."

Russell's career averages include 17.5 points and 5.3 assists. Dragic twice averaged better than 20 points and five dimes. If Hayes nears those numbers, he'll offer tremendous value as the 10th pick in a weak draft.


Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

The basketball world has known about Jaden McDaniels for some time now. He was a McDonald's All-American and was regarded as a top-five recruit for the majority of the 2018-19 season before finishing No. 8 on 247Sports' ranking.

He looks the part of a budding star. The 6'9" forward sports a near-7-foot wingspan and possesses handles and a soft shooting touch that few players his size provide. He's built in the Kevin Durant mold, and if you catch McDaniels on the right night, he looks like he could be the top scorer in this class.

But his 31-game run with the Huskies let some of the helium out of his balloon. It's tough to paint someone as the next scoring savant when they average 13 points on 40.5/33.9/76.3 shooting. Wiping out his 2.1 assists with 3.2 turnovers a night didn't help.

Maybe those are red flags to some evaluators, but a different set of eyes could see a unique buy-low opportunity. McDaniels wasn't supposed to be available outside of the top 10; a 2018 Draft Express profile video painted him as a "potential top-five pick."

McDaniels has one of the top best-case scenarios in this class. His face-up game and jumper are potentially devastating weapons at his size, and his size-mobility-length combo points to major upside at the defensive end.


Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

Is Devin Vassell poised to become the NBA's next superstar? In a word: no. He's not much of a shot-creator, and players who can't consistently generate their own scoring chances can only climb so high.

But could he carve out a decade-plus career as a reliable role player? Absolutely. He plays a projectable (and coveted) role in today's NBA as a two-way contributor with a silky outside shot and defensive versatility.

"Teams looking for a three-and-D wing will have Vassell highlighted on their board," Wasserman wrote. "The athletic, 6'6" sophomore just finished another season shooting over 41 percent from three while continuing to bolster his reputation as a tough on-ball defender and smart team defender off the ball."

Vassell was the engine of a Florida State squad that went a league-best 16-4 in the ACC. He paced the Seminoles in points (12.7), rebounds (5.1) and three-point percentage (41.5). He also tied for the team lead in blocks (1.0) and held down the second spot in assists (1.6) and steals (1.4).

He may never be the primary reason that an NBA team wins games, but he'll make a number of winning plays in different facets.


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