NBA Mock Draft 2020: 1st-Round Projections for Top Prospects' Landing Spots

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIMay 18, 2020

ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs gestures to the crowd in the final minutes of 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

Anthony Edwards played only one college season. James Wiseman appeared in only three games at the college level. And LaMelo Ball never played in the college ranks, instead spending the past year in Australia.

Despite not having much experience, all three of those players are poised to be early selections in the 2020 NBA draft and have the potential to become future stars in the league.

And while it's uncertain when the draft will take place due to the coronavirus pandemic, they have already made positive impressions on NBA teams.

Here's a look at how the first round of this year's draft could unfold.


NBA Mock Draft, 1st Round

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: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

5. Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

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

7. Chicago Bulls: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

8. Charlotte Hornets: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv

9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

10. Phoenix Suns: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

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

12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

15. Orlando Magic: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

18. Dallas Mavericks: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

20. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Josh Green, SG, Arizona

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland

23. Miami Heat: Vernon Carey Jr., PF/C, Duke

24. Utah Jazz: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos

26. Boston Celtics: Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Tre Jones, PG, Duke

28. Toronto Raptors: Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech


Warriors poised to add top player, bounce back next season

After reaching the NBA Finals in five consecutive years, the Warriors have had a disappointing 2019-20 season as they were an NBA-worst 15-50 when the season was suspended. However, a lot have things have gone wrong for Golden State that resulted in this losing campaign.

Klay Thompson has missed the entire season with a torn left ACL he suffered in last year's NBA Finals. Stephen Curry has been limited to five games due to a broken left hand, and it didn't help that Kevin Durant left for the Nets last offseason.

However, Golden State could make 2020-21 a bounce-back season if Curry and Thompson stay healthy, as it will also be adding one of the best players available in the 2020 NBA draft. And it's possible it will have its choice of the top prospects if it secures the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery.

It wouldn't be surprising if the Warriors come away with Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards, who would provide them with a strong wing player who can join Curry and Thompson as scoring threats.

In his lone season with the Bulldogs, the 18-year-old averaged 19.1 points in 32 games while shooting 40.2 percent from the field. And that came while Edwards was playing for one of the lesser programs in the SEC.

If he joins the Warriors, he'll have some top-tier players as teammates and potentially help them return to being title contenders. It's a fit that makes sense for both sides and might come to fruition at the start of this year's draft.


Should Cavaliers add another post player?

PORTLAND, OREGON - NOVEMBER 12: James Wiseman #32 of the Memphis Tigers walks up court during the first half of the game against the Oregon Ducks between the Oregon Ducks and Memphis Grizzlies at Moda Center on November 12, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. (Phot
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Although the Cavaliers already had Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson in the post, they also acquired veteran center Andre Drummond in a trade with the Pistons in February.

And although Thompson may leave during free agency this offseason, Drummond will likely accept his player option for the 2020-21 season.

However, it's possible Cleveland might still have interest in a big man with its first-round pick in the draft, and ESPN's Jonathan Givony predicted the Cavs will select Memphis center James Wiseman.

"They are likely to be in the market for a franchise frontcourt player, which is why a center like Wiseman is attractive," he wrote.

While Drummond and Love might be the starters down low in the short term, it makes sense why the Cavaliers might still draft the 19-year-old. At Memphis, he played only three games in his lone college season, so he could benefit from a bench role at first and learning from a pair of top veterans.

Plus, Love is 31 and Drummond might not be with the Cavs beyond next season, so the 7'1" Wiseman could develop into their franchise center for years to come.


Where will LaMelo Ball begin his NBA career?

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31: LaMelo Ball holds a basketball during warmups before the round 13 NBL match between the Illawarra Hawks and the Sydney Kings at WIN Entertainment Centre on December 31, 2019 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Brent Le
Brent Lewin/Getty Images

Lonzo Ball is currently playing for the Pelicans after spending his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers, while LiAngelo Ball signed a G League contract to play for the Oklahoma City Blue shortly before the season was suspended. And now, the youngest Ball brother, LaMelo, is set to enter the NBA.

Like his oldest brother, LaMelo is likely to be a top selection in the draft. Lonzo Ball was selected No. 2 overall by the Lakers in 2017, and his youngest brother should also come off the board quickly.

It's possible the Knicks will trade up to draft Ball, according to NBA draft expert Chad Ford (h/t Wes Goldberg of the Mercury News). However, they might have to trade with a team that owns a top-three pick, as the 18-year-old might not be available beyond that.

If New York doesn't trade up, one potential landing spot for Ball could be Minnesota. The Timberwolves should have an early pick in the draft, and he would give them another strong offensive player to join D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns as part of their young core.

Ball, who developed into a strong 6'6" point guard with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia, has the potential to be the most successful NBA player among his brothers. It should be fun to watch him play when he enters the league next season.