NBA Mock Draft 2020: Landing Spots for Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, More Stars

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2020

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks in action 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 on hiatus and uncertainty about when or if the season will resume, the draft remains one of the few constants on the NBA calendar that can still be discussed.

The 2020 class hasn't received nearly as much hype as prior seasons. There was no Zion Williamson in college basketball this season, and many of the top prospects don't come from traditional college powerhouses or even from college basketball at all.

LaMelo Ball played in Australia. James Wiseman was suspended and left Memphis after just three appearances with the team and Anthony Edwards played at Georgia. The Bulldogs aren't exactly known as a basketball powerhouse.

While the draft class has been downplayed, it's interesting to wonder what the perception would be if Edwards, Ball and Wiseman had played full seasons at Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky in a typical season.

Regardless, here's a look at predictions for the entire first round based on the current standings. Then there's a closer look at the three biggest names in the class and their potential landing spots.


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: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

5. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

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

7. Chicago Bulls: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

8. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

9. Washington Wizards: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

10. Phoenix Suns: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

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

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

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

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

15. Orlando Magic: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Josh Green, SG/SF, Arizona

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

18. Dallas Mavericks: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

20. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

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

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Kira Lewis, PG, Alabama

23. Miami Heat: Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova

24. Utah Jazz: Tre Jones, PG, Duke

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Tyler Bey, F, Colorado

26. Boston Celtics: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF/C, Olympiacos 

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

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

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Leandro Bolmaro, SF, Barcelona


Anthony Edwards to Golden State

ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs gestures during a game against the Auburn Tigers at Stegeman Coliseum on February 19, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

This draft, more than others, is going to depend largely on the lottery. With a lot of talent being ranked similarly, team need and scouting preferences are going to play a major role in the order of selection.

If Golden State gets the first pick, that favors Edwards. Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle has already linked the Warriors to the guard. If they don't trade the pick, Edwards would be their selection.

It makes sense. The Warriors have pretty much been a center-by-committee throughout the Steph Curry era, so Wiseman would be a departure from the team's roster-building strategy. There's no need for a point guard with Curry on the roster, so selecting one of the numerous point guards in this class wouldn't make sense.

Edwards already has an NBA body at 6'5" and 225 pounds. He's a versatile scoring wing who has shown flashes of being an elite slasher and the ability to be a secondary playmaker. Edwards doesn't have the typical elite shooting the Warriors have in their other guards (29 percent), but that could be helped by the open looks he will get alongside Klay Thompson and Curry.

Edwards is one of the few players in this draft with the potential to be a star. His defensive ability and athleticism give him the opportunity to contribute right away with an organization that can unlock his potential.


LaMelo Ball to Minnesota 

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks drives against Finn Delany of the Breakers 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. (P
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

LaMelo Ball's journey to the draft has been far from typical. He's one of the biggest names in this class because of his big brother Lonzo, father LaVar and his winding career, which has included stops at two high schools and three professional teams in three continents.

Ball was last seen in Australia, where he played for the Illawarra Hawks. He and his agent are now working on purchasing the NBL team, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Teams will be much more interested in his unique on-court skill set. At 6'8", Ball has the height of a forward, but he boasts the ball-handling and passing of a point guard. Much like Lonzo, his shooting mechanics are unorthodox.

Still, scouts rave about his vision and playmaking.

"You're expecting something magical to happen every time he has the ball," an NBA scout told Givony. He sees everything. He can make every pass with either hand off a live dribble. His style of play is tailor-made for the NBA game, especially if you surround him with shooting and better finishers."

In this mock, he takes that talent to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cleveland Cavaliers drafting Ball would be waving the white flag on the pairing of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, which seems premature. Thus the point guard falls into Minnesota's hands.

Ball throwing lobs to Karl-Anthony Towns and playing off D'Angelo Russell, who is capable of playing off-ball and sharing the point guard duties, would inject some life into the Timberwolves franchise.


James Wiseman to Chicago

PORTLAND, OREGON - NOVEMBER 12: James Wiseman #32 of the Memphis Tigers walks up court during the first half of the game against the Oregon Ducks between the Oregon Ducks and Memphis Grizzlies at Moda Center on November 12, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. (Phot
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Gauging the value of a center in the NBA draft is difficult. DeAndre Ayton has been successful as the 2018 No. 1 pick, but would the Phoenix Suns take him over Luka Doncic and/or Trae Young if they could do it again?

The 2019 draft didn't see a center go until pick No. 8, when the New Orleans Pelicans took Jaxson Hayes. Obviously, Hayes wasn't the prospect that Ayton was. Wiseman finds himself somewhere between the two.

Wiseman—like many bigs entering the draft—doesn't have a polished offensive game. His 7'1" frame and athleticism obviously make him a strong candidate to be a rim-protector, but whether he can show up and play every night was something he could have proved in college.

Unfortunately, he didn't take advantage of that opportunity, leaving Memphis in the middle of a 12-game suspension for accepting money from head coach Penny Hardaway.

The uncertainty surrounding Wiseman could see him fall come draft night. If the lottery order holds true to the current standings, he isn't a great fit with some of the top teams. The Cavs just acquired Andre Drummond, the Timberwolves have Towns at the 5 and the Atlanta Hawks just brought on Clint Capela.

The Detroit Pistons are another potential fit but could also use a point guard of the future. The Knicks should like what they have in the possibility of Mitchell Robinson becoming a defensive anchor.

The Chicago Bulls stand out as a team that could use Wiseman. Wendell Carter has struggled to stay in the lineup with ankle issues. Wiseman would give them an opportunity to either push Carter or allow them to start over at the position and get what they can out of Carter while he still has some value as a former lottery pick.