NBA Mock Draft 2020: LaMelo Ball to the Knicks and More Top Player-Team Fits

Mandela Namaste@@mandiba13Contributor IApril 19, 2020

Alabama guard Kira Lewis Jr. plays against Vanderbilt in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Alabama won 77-62. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The coronavirus pandemic is leading NBA front offices to push for the annual draft to be postponed until August 1 at the earliest, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Despite the potential that the event is delayed, news continues to come out. Numerous college underclassmen have declared for the draft, which is set for June 25. That includes most of the expected candidates, and with no games to prepare for, various organization members are spending most of their time watching tape of the various prospects.

As the lottery hasn't occurred, the draft order is not set in stone, so there are not many player-team rumors. However, here's a mock, along with three particular combinations that could be of interest to the players and teams involved.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

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

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Killian Hayes, PG, France

4. Atlanta Hawks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

5. Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

6. New York Knicks: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks

7. Chicago Bulls: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC

8. Charlotte Hornets: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

9. Washington Wizards: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

10. Phoenix Suns: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

11. San Antonio Spurs: Deni Avdija, SF, Israel

12. Sacramento Kings: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

14. Portland Trail Blazers: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand

15. Orlando Magic: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via BKN): Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

17. Boston Celtics (via MEM): Josh Green, SG, Arizona

18. Dallas Mavericks: Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via IND): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

20. Brooklyn Nets (via PHI): Romeo Weems, SF, DePaul

21. Denver Nuggets (via HOU): Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

23. Miami Heat: Paul Reed, PF, DePaul

24. Utah Jazz: Tre Jones, PG, Duke

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via DEN): Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke

26. Boston Celtics: Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke

27. New York Knicks (via LAC): Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State

28. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

30. Boston Celtics (via MIL): Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State


LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra

The New York Knicks have been in search of a franchise point guard for the better part of two decades, and LaMelo Ball might be just what they have been searching for.

The 6'7" scion of the Ball family is far from a perfect prospect, but his imperfections will also likely endear him to the Madison Square Garden faithful. On one possession, Ball will show off his preternatural passing gifts with a no-look alley-oop pass; on the next, he will take a contested 35-footer with 15 seconds left on the shot clock.

From a coaching perspective, Ball can sometimes seem either arrogant or bored, but he more than balances out those frustrating decisions with beyond-his-years passing vision.

Ball's mostly earned confidence is intoxicating for players and fans alike. Right now, he's merely tantalizing. With some coaching, Ball could quickly become one of the league's most exciting players, and exciting players on the Knicks become world-famous.


Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

It's not as if the Orlando Magic need any more forwards, but at 25th in the league in three-point shooting, they do need some snipers. Enter Aaron Nesmith.

At 6'6" with a 6'10" wingspan, Nesmith fits perfectly with Orlando's long-wing motif and also immediately addresses the team's shooting concerns. The sophomore made a staggering 52.2 percent of his threes this season while leading the Commodores in scoring with 23 points a night (though he only played in 14 games, less than half of Vanderbilt's total matchups). In time, he would be an easy replacement for Evan Fournier, whose contract expires after next season.

Nesmith isn't the greatest athlete, so he would be an easier target in pick-and-roll situations. But on a team with Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba all protecting the rim on various possessions, getting past a perimeter defender is not supposed to be the hard part for opponents. His weaknesses wouldn't matter as much here thanks to the Magic's oddly effective team-building job.


Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

When the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Markelle Fultz in 2017, his combination of playmaking, secondary shot creation and versatile perimeter defense made him the perfect missing piece to Philly's puzzle. Three years have passed since that fateful pick, and the Sixers still need that type of player.

While not nearly as big as Fultz, Kira Lewis Jr. could get the job done from a bench role. The speedy sophomore is a headache to cover, both in the open floor and the half court, and he can both create space and find open shooters effortlessly.

With Philly's starting lineup fairly entrenched, Lewis is not a candidate for a starting job, but he's also better served becoming a Lou Williams type, as he would be exploited on defense relentlessly in close games. But Williams is a legend because of his ability to score in any way possible. Lewis should try to emulate that as he begins his pro career, with the Sixers or elsewhere.


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