NBA Draft 2020: 1st-Round Mock Draft, Landing Spots for Coveted Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

PORTLAND, OREGON - NOVEMBER 12: James Wiseman #32 of the Memphis Tigers is introduced before the game against the Oregon Ducks at Moda Center on November 12, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Oregon won the game 82-74.  (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The 2020 NBA draft is fascinating for myriad reasons.

The potential pairing of prospects and teams is one of them.

Finding the right landing spot can be invaluable to a player and his development. From supporting casts and roles to schematic fits and coaching styles, there's a lot more at stake than just a new home address.

After running through our updated mock first round, we'll examine our projected landing spots for three of this draft's most coveted prospects.


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: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

7. Chicago Bulls: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

8. Charlotte Hornets: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

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

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

11. San Antonio Spurs: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

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

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

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

15. Orlando Magic: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

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

17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

18. Dallas Mavericks: Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Josh Green, SG/SF, Arizona

20. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Tyler Bey, SF/PF, Colorado

21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Robert Woodard, SF, Mississippi State

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

23. Miami Heat: Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

24. Utah Jazz: Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Barcelona

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

26. Boston Celtics: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

28. Toronto Raptors: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland


James Wiseman: Cleveland Cavaliers

James Wiseman offers both drool-worthy physical tools and a potentially game-changing impact on defense. He's also painfully raw on offense, and it's unclear where he'll carve out his scoring niche.

His weaknesses are worrisome enough that some teams will effectively push him off their draft boards (i.e., slot him so slow there's almost no chance he gets to them). But the Cleveland Cavaliers should be more interested in his strengths.

Cleveland has already taken big strides toward building a foundation of shot-creators. Between Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., the Cavs could have at least three self-sufficient scorers all under the age of 22. But that same trio contributed to the club's 29th-placed ranking in defensive efficiency.

Wiseman's length and rim protection alone would help Cleveland find its footing on defense, and if he improves his footwork to the point he can handle perimeter switches, this team could be positioned for a big improvement. Conversely, the franchise's heaviest investment in backcourt creators should allow Wiseman to thrive as a rim-runner and pick-and-roll screener.


Obi Toppin: Atlanta Hawks

If Obi Toppin lands with the Atlanta Hawks, one of two things has happened. Either the franchise has opted to take the best-player-available route or it has already brokered a John Collins trade (or plans to in the near future).

If Collins sticks around, it might be hard for Topping to get major minutes early. That would be hard to stomach since the theoretical sacrifice of upside in drafting a 22-year-old is supposed to be replaced with instant impact. Maybe there's a way to keep everyone happy, but the Hawks would have to find floor time for Toppin, Collins and Clint Capela, and that's before factoring in any time at the 4 for De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.

More likely, then, that Collins departs and Toppin slides into the vacated spot. Atlanta may not miss a beat given the incoming freshman offers a similar blend of explosive finishing around the basket and an improving outside shot.

The Hawks could view this as an opportunity to raise their ceiling; Toppin's handle and distributing both seem more encouraging than Collins'. If Atlanta can create enough spacing to play Toppin and Capela together, they could routinely torch defenders on pick plays with Trae Young.


Deni Avdija: Detroit Pistons

Most rebuilders have some sense about what they are putting together. The Detroit Pistons aren't one of them.

Detroit didn't dive into a youth movement until the trade deadline. Even then, the franchise stopped short of an outright overhaul. Derrick Rose is still on the roster, even though he could have brought back something value at the deadline. Blake Griffin is there, too, though his combination of colossal contract and scary injury outlook might make him functionally untradeable.

The Pistons, then, are working with a blank canvas. So why not target a prospect who brings a little of everything? Even if Avdija never becomes a star, he would fit with whatever Detroit decides to build. He's a 6'9" playmaker who can finish at the basket and defend multiple positions. If his three-ball comes around—his form looks good, but the stat sheet doesn't—he has few discernible weaknesses.

Plus, there's a universe in which he's the best player to come out of this draft. Who doesn't want a 6'9" scorer, shooter, creator and defender? The Pistons need to hit in this draft, and they need a star. Avdija might offer the best combination of floor and ceiling.