NBA Mock Draft 2020: Expert Predictions for LaMelo Ball and Top Guard Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 28, 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

By the nature of the position, point guards hold the future of NBA franchises in their hands.

While responsibilities might be blurred in this increasingly versatile league, lead guards are still typically the ones who initiate offense, find shots for others and ultimately have the task of elevating the talent around them.

From Stephen Curry to Trae Young and LeBron James to Chris Paul, these players shape the identity of their entire organizations.

So, after running through our most recent 2020 NBA mock first round, we'll examine what the experts are saying about the top floor generals in this class.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

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

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

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

4. Atlanta Hawks: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

5. Detroit Pistons: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

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

7. Chicago Bulls: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

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

9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

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


Expert Predictions for Top Point Guards

LaMelo Ball

The most famous member of this draft class is also arguably its most intriguing. LaMelo Ball has question marks about defensive effort and shot selection but also glowing praise for his approach to playmaking.

That makes him tricky to evaluate, as ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz can attest. While their mock draft officially has the 18-year-old going fourth overall to the Timberwolves, they also identify him as the best fit for the Warriors with the top selection.

"The Warriors want to play fast, and there's no better open-court igniter in this crop than LaMelo," Schmitz wrote. "Ball pushing the break with two of the greatest shooters of all time filling the lanes would make for must-see TV."

It would be a fascinating fit, as Ball is a brilliant passer who shines brightest in the open court. But it may be nothing more than a tantalizing thought, as Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the Warriors "aren't believed to be high" on him.


Tyrese Haliburton

Casual fans might not be too familiar with Tyrese Haliburton, who had his run with a bad Iowa State team cut short by a broken wrist. But talent evaluators are big on the 6'5" table-setter.

In fact, SI.com's Jeremy Woo slotted the 20-year-old fourth overall to the Hawks in his latest mock.

"Haliburton makes for an interesting fit here as someone who can help Trae Young grease the wheels offensively," he wrote. "... His ability to play off the ball makes him an ostensibly better fit than LaMelo Ball."

Haliburton's Swiss Army knife skills should help him adapt to whatever role he's given. He's a willing passer (6.5 assists per game) but also a capable scorer (15.2), a steady shooter (41.9 percent from deep), a complementary rebounder (5.9) and a disruptive defender (2.5 steals).


Cole Anthony

Last summer's second-rated recruit by ESPN, Cole Anthony didn't exactly set the hoops world on fire during his one-and-done stint with the Tar Heels.

The 19-year-old's scoring volume was fine (18.5 points), but it lacked efficiency (38 percent from the field). He also failed to impress as a playmaker (4.0 assists against 3.5 turnovers).

But B/R's Jonathan Wasserman, who mocked Anthony to the Knicks at sixth overall, stressed the importance of looking beyond the stat sheet.

"It was clear he lacked talent around him and spacing," he wrote. "... His passing skills looked better than the numbers suggest."

Anthony's pedigree and point-production could be enough to attract early interest on draft night.


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