The NBA offseason frequently brings exciting free-agent signings and blockbuster trades. It also features a new wave of talent joining the NBA via the league's annual draft, the starting point for top prospects from the college and international ranks.
While the 2019-20 NBA season is suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, now is a good time to look ahead to the draft, even if there's uncertainty about when it will take place. Sooner or later, this year's group of exciting talent will find out where they will start their professional careers.
After a mock for the first round, we'll take a closer look at three of the top college prospects in this year's class.
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
Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
During March Madness, star players often take over games and power their teams to victory. Unfortunately, fans didn't get the chance to see Obi Toppin have that opportunity this season, with the NCAA men's tournament getting cancelled. Were he to perform anything like he did in the regular season for Dayton, it would have been exciting.
Toppin had an impressive sophomore campaign, averaging 20 points and 7.5 rebounds in 31 games while shooting 63.3 percent from the field. He won the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy while also earning first-team All-America honors.
The 22-year-old power forward is set to take his talents to the NBA level. And because of his incredible final college season, it wouldn't be surprising to see Toppin get selected within the first five picks of this year's draft.
One fit could be the Detroit Pistons, who should own an early selection and could benefit from adding a possible future star such as Toppin. Detroit might lose Christian Wood in free agency this offseason, so Toppin could slide right into a starting spot in his first season with the Pistons.
Wherever Toppin ends up, it should be fun to watch; his game projects well in the NBA.
Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
Another talented college post player in this year's draft is Onyeka Okongwu, who had a strong showing in his lone season at USC. Over 28 games with the Trojans, Okongwu averaged 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest while shooting 61.6 percent from the field.
The Athletic's Ethan Strauss recently wrote that he believes Okongwu will go on to have success in the NBA, with one reason for that being his ability to use both of his hands well: "While post-ups have fallen out of fashion in the pros, I can see Okongwu getting NBA buckets with his. He gets to his shot so quickly and can't be played in either direction."
Okongwu could be a good fit for the Atlanta Hawks, who already have a solid young core. By adding the 6'9" standout to a group of post players that already includes Clint Capela and John Collins, Atlanta could have a dominant inside game to complement All-Star point guard Trae Young.
Like Toppin, Okongwu is a probable top-five pick even if he doesn't go to the Hawks. It would be a surprise if he fell much further down the board.
Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
As The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor wrote in his scouting report of Auburn forward Isaac Okoro, the 19-year-old small forward is a "superb defender with a perfect skill set for the modern positionless game." However, he also pointed out that Okoro may need to improve his jump shot in order to make an offensive impact in the NBA.
Regardless, Okoro is a talented prospect who has the potential to be a top-10 pick in the draft. In his lone season at Auburn, he averaged 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds over 28 games while shooting 51.4 percent from the field.
One team that will likely have a pick in the range in which Okoro will be available and could benefit by adding him is Washington. Okoro would slot nicely in the Wizards lineup, which also features power forward Rui Hachimura, their first-round pick from a year ago.
A core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Hachimura and Okoro might be enough to help Washington turn things around after back-to-back tough seasons.