2020 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Isaac Okoro, Top Lottery Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 11, 2020

Auburn forward Isaac Okoro against Arkansas during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Michael Woods/Associated Press

For the third straight NBA draft, the first player selected out of the SEC will likely not come from Kentucky.

Auburn's Isaac Okoro and Georgia's Anthony Edwards are projected to be chosen before the first Kentucky player in the 2020 NBA draft.

Okoro could be viewed as a better prospect in comparison to other college freshmen because of his defensive prowess on the wing.

Edwards' scoring ability could put him at the top of the selection process, and if so, he would give the SEC five No. 1 overall picks from three different schools since 2010.


2020 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft

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

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

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

4. Atlanta Hawks: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

5. Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

6. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

7. Chicago Bulls: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

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

9. Washington Wizards: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

10. Phoenix Suns: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

11. San Antonio Spurs: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

12. Sacramento Kings: Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

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

15. Orlando Magic: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn): Patrick Williams, SF/PF, Florida State

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

18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B

19. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana): Josh Green, SG, Arizona

20. Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia): Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington

21. Denver Nuggets (from Houston): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

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

23. Miami Heat: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

24. Utah Jazz: Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Denver): Tre Jones, PG, Duke

26. Boston Celtics: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

27. New York Knicks (from Los Angeles Clippers): Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland

28. Toronto Raptors: Paul Reed, PF, DePaul

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

30. Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee): Leandro Bolmaro, SF, Barcelona B


Predictions for Lottery Prospects

Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

AUBURN, AL - FEBRUARY 01: Isaac Okoro #23 reacts with Samir Doughty #10 of the Auburn Tigers during the second half of the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Auburn Arena on February 1, 2020 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Okoro is in line to be the second consecutive first-round pick out of Auburn after Chuma Okeke was selected at No. 16 in 2019.

The freshman forward's defensive ability gives him an advantage over other prospects, and he has an offensive skill set that can be worked on.

He averaged 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 51.4 from the field and 29.0 percent from three-point range at Auburn.

Although some teams may balk at his current shooting prowess, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl told The Athletic's Chris Kirschner that his professional future should not depend solely on his shot:

"I wouldn't make too much of an issue with his shooting — I just wouldn't. He's going to win. He's going to start. He's going to work. He's going to train. He's going to be disciplined. I don't think his whole pendulum of whether or not he's good depends on his shot."

In addition to his defensive play, Okoro could have an advantage over other prospects because of his position.

Wing players will be in demand for teams, like the Chicago Bulls, that do not need to fill a void at point guard, with Cole Anthony, Killian Hayes and others still expected to be on the board.

If the Bulls feel comfortable with Coby White at the point, they could slot Okoro alongside the 2019 first-round pick, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen in the starting lineup at some point.

Okoro would need to work on his shooting to carve out a consistent starting role, and if he does that, he could be a valuable addition to a team trying to turn the corner in the Eastern Conference.

Prediction: No. 7 overall to Chicago.


Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs looks on during 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

Edwards resided at the bottom of the SEC regular-season standings with Georgia, but on an individual level, he impressed NBA evaluators.

The potential No. 1 overall pick averaged 19.1 points per game and shot 40.2 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three-point range.

Edwards is not a finished product, but his scoring ability should intrigue the Golden State Warriors, if they win the NBA draft lottery.

The Georgia freshman would enter a unique situation for a No. 1 overall pick if he goes to Golden State.

Instead of being the primary star, like Zion Williamson, Ben Simmons and other recent top picks, Edwards would be considered as scoring depth behind Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins.

In terms of development, that would help Edwards progress his game and make him more of a complete player in the coming years.

He could progress as a primary scorer with the Cleveland Cavaliers or Minnesota Timberwolves, both of whom have similar No. 1 pick odds as the Warriors right now, but he would not receive the depth of advice he would in Golden State.

If the Cavs or Wolves earn the top pick, they could be drawn to Edwards over Memphis center James Wiseman because they both do not have glaring frontcourt needs and could use another backcourt scorer.

Prediction: No. 1 overall to Golden State.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.