2020 NBA Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Top Sleeper Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 14, 2020

Alabama guard Kira Lewis Jr. plays against Vanderbilt in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Alabama won 77-62. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The sleepers of the 2020 NBA draft class could be the future stars of the league.

Don't believe me? Just ask Nikola Jokic, the 41st pick of the 2014 draft. Or Draymond Green and Khris Middleton, who were respectively selected 35th and 39th overall in 2012.

You get the idea.

Remember, for all the statistics and film study at our disposal, this process is still (at best) a game of educated guesses. Players can—and almost always do—slip through the cracks and outperform their draft position, sometimes to a comical degree.

Consider this your alarm clock then as we spotlight three of the best sleeper prospects in the 2020 draft 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: 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


Top Sleeper Prospects

Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

Opinions on Kira Lewis Jr. are rising at such a rapid degree that the 6'3" floor general may not qualify as a sleeper for much longer.

For now, though, his combination of speed, scoring and table-setting is still being underappreciated. He's 15th in this mock, and even that might undersell his true potential.

"Over Alabama's final nine games, he averaged 23.2 points and 6.7 assists on 46.3 percent shooting from three," Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman noted. "He's not as impressive physically as the top-10 point guards, but Lewis' skill set is arguably more well-rounded, and he just turned 19 in April."

Lewis carried a massive burden for the Crimson Tide, logging 37.6 minutes per night, leading the team in points, assists and steals and even tying for third in rebounds. That might torpedo some players' efficiency, but Lewis still managed encouraging shooting rates from all three levels and wound up with a 45.9/36.6/80.2 slash line.


Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

Read the following two sentences and decide whether this player sounds interesting: "He can switch screens well and is a great pound-for-pound defender. With 10 more pounds of muscle, he can grow into a nice two-way backup, the kind of energy guy who's capable of scoring off screens or creating with his dribble."

That's how CBS Sports' Matt Norlander described Ramsey, and it's borderline glowing praise for someone Norlander mocked at 30th overall (while ranking Ramsey as the 18th-best prospect).

Only one word in those two sentences feels out of place: backup. If Ramsey becomes a switchable defender who's splashing threes off of screens and finding his own scoring chances, he won't be a bench player for long.

Granted, he won't turn 19 until June, so any scouting report around him is inevitably projecting forward, but that's the exercise with every prospect, right? There aren't many in this draft who have displayed more upside than Ramsey, who impresses with his athleticism, scoring instincts, pull-up shooting and defensive versatility.


Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

Sleeping on Patrick Williams is fine, for now. He wasn't a double-digit scorer during his one-and-done stint with the Seminoles, and he only connected on 16 of his 50 three-point attempts.

But he has the tools and flashes of a two-way standout. Case in point, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor described Williams as having shades of both Danilo Gallinari and PJ Tucker—how's that for a two-way hybrid?

O'Connor's report on Williams includes eight different positives against only three negatives. Among Williams' many selling points are at-rim scoring, off-the-dribble shooting, good decision-making, versatile defense and rim protection, all packaged into a 6'8", 225-pound frame. The negatives are a still-developing spot-up shot, too many turnovers and stiff man-to-man defense—improvement areas for most 18-year-olds.

Williams both entices with his potential and comforts with his floor. If he falls near the end of the first round like he does in this mock, someone could be getting a steal.


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