NBA Mock Draft 2020: Latest Projections for Marquee 1st-Round Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 07: Professional basketball player LaMelo Ball, right, attends the game between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins at Galen Center on March 7, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The 2020 NBA draft class lacks a surefire star in the way recent iterations had the likes of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and Luka Doncic.

But it's not accurate to say the class is without star power. If the top three prospects on our mock draft board pan out, they would give the Association a three-level scorer with versatile defense, a do-it-all big man with elite defensive upside and a 6'7" playmaker who could be one of the league's 10 best passers as soon as he debuts.

We'll dig deeper into those prospects after laying out our latest mock first round.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

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

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

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

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

5. Detroit Pistons: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

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

7. Chicago Bulls: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

8. Charlotte Hornets: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

9. Washington Wizards: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

10. Phoenix Suns: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

11. San Antonio Spurs: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

12. Sacramento Kings: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

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

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

17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

18. Dallas Mavericks: Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Barcelona

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

21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Robert Woodard, SF, Mississippi State

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

23. Miami Heat: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

24. Utah Jazz: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

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): Tyler Bey, SF/PF, Colorado

28. Toronto Raptors: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Josh Green, SG/SF, Arizona

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland


Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

Of all the players in this draft, Anthony Edwards is the easiest to envision becoming an NBA star, which is probably why he's become the most popular prospect mocked at No. 1.

His 6'5", 225-pound frame looks ready for Association action, even though he won't turn 19 until August. His skill set lends itself to stardom too. He's a dynamic scorer off the dribble, a good enough passer to serve as a secondary playmaker and a potentially uber-versatile stopper given his length, strength, speed and quickness combo.

He's not that kind of weapon now, but teams aren't only thinking about today. He needs to improve his decision-making and shot selection. That said, getting into an NBA system with NBA talent around him might fast-track his development. It's hard to put his 40.2/29.4/77.2 shooting slash all on him, when Georgia only had one other double-digit scorer on the roster.

If he finds the right fit, he has the tools to make a major two-way impact.


Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

Perhaps once best known as LaMelo Ball's high school teammate, Onyeka Okongwu is now a surging NBA prospect making major strides up big boards and mock drafts.

No. 2 overall is an aggressive placement, but it's nothing outlandish. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor ranked Okongwu fifth overall on his big board. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman put Okongwu fourth overall. Both consider him the best big man in this class.

"While the immediate draw to USC's anchor stems from his power, athleticism and quickness for easy baskets and shot-blocking, Okongwu can shake in the post, both with his back to the basket and facing up," Wasserman wrote. "And though he didn't take many jump shots, he did make 15 of 35 attempts as well as 72.0 percent of his free throws."

Okongwu should be a good-to-great rim-runner with impressive defensive versatility early in his career, and the development of his offensive skill could launch his ceiling several stories higher. If he keeps improving his handles and passing, he might not have a discernible weakness at either end of the floor.


LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks

LaMelo Ball's older brother, Lonzo, has become a key cog for the New Orleans Pelicans with his vision, selflessness, defense and improved shooting. The younger Ball could have an even higher ceiling if he sharpens his strengths and irons out his weaknesses.

While both Ball brothers show advanced vision and instincts, LaMelo combines those upgraded handles and the ability to break down defenders. Lonzo will probably always fill a more complementary role; LaMelo could become someone's centerpiece.

B/R's Alex Ballentine set LaMelo's ceiling as 2016-17 James Harden. For a refresher, that version of The Beard was a nightly supplier of 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds. He was also the lone All-Star on a team that won 55 games.

The best version of Ball could have a similarly massive impact. He's not near Harden's level as a shooter or finisher yet, though, and there's no guarantee he ever will be.

Betting big on Ball is both an investment in his potential but also a sign of tremendous confidence in your development program. He needs a lot of work, but if he pans out, he will make it all worthwhile.