NBA Draft 2020: Mock Predictions and Player Comparisons for Top Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

Georgia's Anthony Edwards brings the ball down the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Every NBA player who has ever been described as the next "insert superstar here" has probably tried to shed the label.

Even if it's flattering, it can put unnecessary pressure on to players. Plus, there's never been a perfect player reproduction throughout the Association's history.

Still, player comparisons are helpful for connecting unfamiliar newcomers with established pros to create a baseline for expectations. So, after going through our latest mock first round, we'll highlight the best comparisons for three of the top prospects in the 2020 draft.


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: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

5. Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

6. New York Knicks: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

7. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

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

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: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

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

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

15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

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

17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Josh Green, SG/SF, Arizona

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

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

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 II

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


Player Comparisons for Top Prospects

Anthony Edwards: Donovan Mitchell

This marks the high end of Edwards' potential, but it also shows why the 6'5", 225-pound swingman has come closest to emerging as this draft's consensus top prospect.

The first thing that catches your eye with Edwards is his explosiveness, just like Mitchell's did when he left Louisville. Edwards has more size, but the athleticism, body control and ability to finish through contact are all reminiscent of Mitchell.

So, too, is Edwards' inconsistent outside shot. He only made 29.4 percent of his threes during his lone season of college ball; Mitchell shot 32.9 percent over two years with the Cardinals. Mitchell showed better ball control (2.2 assists against 1.3 turnovers to Edwards' 2.8 against 2.7), but Mitchell also had a much superior supporting cast.

If Edwards can mimic Mitchell's career, his NBA employer will have zero complaints. Mitchell was an All-Rookie first-teamer in 2017-18, and this season he made his All-Star debut while averaging 24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists.


James Wiseman: DeAndre Jordan

Any athletic 7-footer without a established jump shot gets linked with any of a number of rim-runners, but the blueprint fits for a reason.

If centers aren't spacing the floor in today's NBA, they need to set solid screens, control the glass, finish above the rim and protect the basket. Jordan followed that model to three All-NBA selections, two rebounding titles and an All-Star appearance. Wiseman could take it to similar heights.

Wiseman has shown more offensive skills in the post and as a mid-range shooter, but he also has enough question marks that could keep him from matching Jordan's defensive prime. Wiseman probably fills a similar role as a solid starter who probably won't be the first or second option on a really good team.

There's safety in this skill set, which should keep Wiseman from slipping too far. If you believe in his jumper, you might see him as the best prospect in this draft. Just imagine peak-Jordan crushing lobs, swatting shots and regularly splashing triples—that's an awfully interesting player.


Obi Toppin: Amar'e Stoudemire

This might be an optimistic outlook for Toppin, as Stoudemire made six All-Star trips and had four top-10 finishes in MVP voting. If scouts see that kind of upside in Toppin, he's not lasting until the fifth pick.

But if you watch their games, it's easy to see the resemblance, as Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman explained:

"Visually, the similarities between Toppin and Stoudemire are uncanny. They both have the same broad shoulders and destructive explosiveness when leaping around the basket. Like Stoudemire, Toppin has major scoring potential powered by strength, athleticism, post skills and developing shooting touch. On the flip side, he doesn't dominate the boards or add value on defense, weaknesses that also held Stoudemire back."

The high praise for Toppin's offensive arsenal is warranted. His 20 points per game and 63.3 percent shooting (39 percent from three) were big reasons why he brought home the Naismith Player of the Year award.

That said, the concerns over Toppin's defense and rebounding are legitimate, too. Stoudemire offset his weaknesses by becoming one of the better scorers of his era. Toppin might have to do the same to reach an All-Star level.