NBA Draft 2020: Latest Expert Mocks and Predictions for Top Prospects

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2020

ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs controls the ball during the second half of 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

Unpredictable: If you were forced to use one word to describe the 2020 NBA draft, that would have to be it.

That's not just because the NBA is in hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, though. It's also because the experts can't even agree who the top player in this draft is and where they would be headed if the draft order was set.

Of course, the draft order isn't set. That is also in limbo. The lottery will ultimately determine who will have the No. 1 pick and the next 14 picks thereafter, but the season isn't over and it's unclear when or if it will be.

However, using the current standings for their mocks, the experts are split on where the biggest talents in the class would be headed. For example, let's take a look at who many would consider the top three prospects in this draft: LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards.

Below is a breakdown of where experts such as Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman, The Athletic's Sam Vecenie, CBS Sports' Gary Parrish and ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have the top talents going.


Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

ATHENS, GA - JANUARY 7: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs controls the ball during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Stegeman Coliseum on January 7, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Wasserman: 1st overall (Golden State)

Vecenie: 1st overall (Golden State)

Parrish: 3rd overall (Detroit)

Givony and Schmitz: 1st overall (Golden State)

This is as close to a consensus as you'll get in this class. Edwards comes off the board first in three of the four mock drafts here. Golden State holds the worst record in the league and has the inside track for the No. 1 selection.

The Warriors have already been linked to the guard if they don't elect to trade the selection. The fit makes sense. Edwards is the best off-ball guard in the class, and they clearly don't need a point guard with Steph Curry on the roster.

Edwards wasn't the best facilitator in his time at Georgia (2.8 assists per game), but his ability to get to the rim is unrivaled in this group and his ability to defend multiple positions would fit right in at Golden State.

Schmitz picked the 18-year-old in this spot while actually making the case that Ball would be the best fit. He cites Ball's excellent passing and vision as a fit in Golden State's wide-open attack.

It's an interesting case to be made, but Edwards is still the most logical fit. The Warriors are in the rare position of being a lottery team with a real chance to compete next season. Getting Curry and Klay Thompson back at full strength means they aren't trying to find a new face of the franchise here, just the guy who can help them compete soonest.

Trial runs with Ball at point guard don't fit into that mold.

Prediction: 1st overall to the Warriors


LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks

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 Im
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Wasserman: 3rd overall (Minnesota)

Vecenie: 2nd overall (New York)

Parrish: 1st overall (Golden State)

Givony and Schmitz: 4th overall (Minnesota)

Ball's projections just go to show how important the lottery will be this season to where these prospects are picked. Some experts simulated the lottery and some just went with the way the standings have the picks playing out right now.

Whichever methodology they used played a role in where Ball landed. Both Wasserman and Givony predict the younger Ball brother will wind up in Minnesota. The combination is fun to think about. His excellent play-making and vision in a backcourt with D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt is magic waiting to happen on the offensive end.

Meanwhile Vecenie, who simulated the lottery using Tankathon, has the Knicks selecting at No. 2 and taking Ball before the Timberwolves would ever have a chance.

Ball would finally give the Knicks a legitimate point guard after taking a few swings recently and missing on Frank Ntilikina in the draft and Dennis Smtih Jr. in a trade. As Vecenie noted, this would give the Knicks an exciting trio of potential stars as R.J. Barrett had success as a rookie on the wing and Mitchell Robinson is an athletic big who seems to be just scratching the surface of his potential.

Parrish has the Warriors taking Ball first overall, but he also stressed that his mock is just designed to slot the players where he thinks they should go at this point without thinking too much of team need. It says more about his belief that the 18-year-old is the best player in this class than it does about his pairing with the Warriors.

Ultimately, the draft order is going to be very important for Ball. If a point guard-needy team is picking in the top three, he'll get picked there. However, there are quite a few lottery teams who are set at the position so he could fall a bit.

Prediction: 3rd overall to the Timberwolves


James Wiseman, C, Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 5: James Wiseman #32of the Memphis Tigers against the South Carolina State Bulldogs during a game on November 5, 2019 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis defeated South Carolina State 97-64. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Image
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Wasserman: 5th overall (Detroit)

Vecenie: 4th overall (Detroit)

Parrish: 4th overall (Minnesota)

Givony and Schmitz: 2nd overall (Cleveland)

Wiseman is one of the most fascinating prospects in the draft. He doesn't have a ton of college tape to evaluate. He only played three games at Memphis before he left the team amid a suspension from the NCAA related to money his mother took from Penny Hardaway before he was the coach.

What we do know about the 19-year-old is that he has the physical tools to be a dominant center. At 7'1" and 240 pounds with a 7'6" wingspan, he checks all the dimensions of someone who can anchor a defense. He also has shown the athleticism.

The question about his draft range revolves around team fit and just how valuable a true center is anymore. As Vecenie noted, teams like the Timberwolves, Knicks, Cavs and Hawks already have long-term solutions at center.

Two of the writers here have Wiseman heading to Detroit, but even that is far from a guarantee. With the emergence of Christian Wood, it's fair to wonder if they'd rather keep him at the five and pick up one of the many talented point guards in the class.

Of all the top talents, it feels like Wiseman is the most likely to drop. Many teams already have a solution at center or at least a prospect who needs time to develop on the roster.

It might take a team like Chicago, which has Wendell Carter Jr. and wants to upgrade the role of prospective center, to stop his slide on draft day.

Prediction: 7th overall to the Bulls