NBA Draft 2020: An Updated Look at Top Prospects Based on Expert Mocks

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2020

LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks brings the ball up during their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

Though the timeline for the 2020 NBA offseason remains unsettled—the league recently postponed the lottery—the draft is expected to happen. At some point, draft prospects like Georgia's Anthony Edwards and Memphis' James Wiseman are going to hear their names called.

However, the schedule for the draft isn't the only big unknown. There doesn't appear to be a consensus top prospect to be the draft lottery's top prize.

"Most evaluators are very quick to note that they believe the first pick will be heavily influenced by who wins the lottery," The Athletic's Sam Vecenie wrote. "This is not like 2019, where whoever got the pick got the right to select Zion Williamson. Rather, NBA team draft boards are all over the place right now."

Someone has to be the first player off the board, of course, and here, we'll examine the top candidates based on recent mock-draft trends. We'll dig into mocks from ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz, CBS Sports' Kyle Boone and from Vecenie. Using their projections as a guideline, we'll examine the prospects most likely to vie for the No. 1 spot on draft night.


Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Edwards was one of only two prospects to crack the top five in all three mock drafts. The 6'5" Bulldogs star was mocked first overall by Vecenie and by Givony and Schmitz. Upside seems to be the biggest selling point for Edwards.

"His name is the one I hear most as being the No. 1 guy, and he's pretty much a consensus top-three guy. I still believe he has the highest upside because of his powerful athleticism and shot creation ability," Vecenie wrote.

Edwards averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists this past season while playing 33 minutes per game.

It's worth noting that while Givony and Schmitz mock Edwards to the Golden State Warriors at No. 1, they list Australian NBL star LaMelo Ball as a better fit.


LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra

Ball is the other prospect to land in the top five on all three mocks. Unlike Edwards, who was mocked No. 1 twice and No. 2 once, there was no consensus spot for Lonzo's younger brother.

While Givony and Schmitz listed Ball as a solid fit for the Warriors at No. 1, they mocked him to the Minnesota Timberwolves at four. Boone mocked Ball at No. 1, while Vecenie mocked him at five—his mock included a lottery simulation and had Golden State at five and the Detroit Pistons at No. 1.

Opinions on Ball also seem to vary. While some view the NBL Rookie of the year as a premier point guard prospect, others have viewed him as a flawed player.

"He's smart and skilled, with incredible vision and passing instincts. Even though one source described his shot as 'broken' and another questioned his care level on defense," Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com wrote.

Some teams are likely to covet Ball, while others wish to avoid him.


James Wiseman, C, Memphis

Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press

Wiseman wasn't a top-five selection in all three mocks—he was projected to go at 12 by Boone—but he was the projected second pick in two of them. Givony and Schmitz called the 7'1" Wiseman a "franchise frontcourt player," while Vecenie said he could be an "elite rim-runner."

However, Vecenie also stated that Wiseman's draft range could be a bit wider than some believe.

That range could include the No. 1 slot, though. Going No. 1 could even be likely if the Warriors—who own the league's worst record at 15-50—win the lottery.

"A league source said the Warriors have Wiseman at the top of their draft board; understandable considering forward Dragan Bender, a late-season addition via two 10-day contracts, is the only 7-footer on the roster and 6'9" Kevon Looney is the only listed center," Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher wrote.

Other prospects to earn top-five predictions from the aforementioned three mocks are Killian Hayes from France, USC center Onyeka Okongwu, Dayton's Obi Toppin and Isaac Okoro of Auburn.