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

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

Memphis' James Wiseman (32) shoots a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Illinois-Chicago, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)
Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press

The gap between prospects feels smaller for the 2020 NBA draft class than it has in years.

Maybe that's because so few of the top prospects spent this season in the college basketball spotlight. Some went overseas. Others were injured. James Wiseman, last year's No. 1 recruit, played just three games before being hit with an NCAA suspension and subsequently withdrawing from his school.

Could the lack of exposure be to blame for the draft board's murky hierarchy? It's possible, but the explanation might be simpler—the apparent lack of any surefire, Zion Williamson-level star.

After laying out our latest mock first round, we'll dig into the scouting reports of three top prospects.

              

2020 NBA Mock Draft

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

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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: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

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

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

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

              

James Wiseman, C, Memphis

Wiseman's best selling point might be the eye-test results. He has enviable size (7'1) and length (7'6" wingspan), and while he's not the most agile player around, he has good athleticism for his build.

Those physical gifts alone should easily translate to the next level. Bigs who can run and play above the rim will always have a spot in this league. If Wiseman is blocking shots on one end, crushing lobs on the other and impacting the glass at both, he'll be doing his job as a bouncy rim-runner.

The question for NBA executives, though, is how valuable that skill set is in the modern game—or how likely Wiseman is to expand his arsenal. After seeing the Rockets ditch Clint Capela at the trade deadline and the Pistons salary-dump Andre Drummond, the market rate for interior bigs might be at an all-time low.

That means it all comes down to Wiseman's growth potential, and that will hinge on the eye of the beholder. Some see the foundation for stretch shooting. Others aren't convinced. But the only opinions that matter are those held by front offices, and it seems at least one will value Wiseman as an early first-rounder.

                

Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

Haliburton will likely be more highly regarded for his floor than his ceiling.

As a 6'5" floor general who hits the glass, defends multiple positions and makes open shots, he has glue-guy potential and should be an easy fit almost anywhere. With his vision, selflessness and ability to make rapid reads, he's the kind of player who can elevate everyone around him.

But teams holding top-five picks are often looking for go-to scorers, and Haliburton may not have that kind of juice.

"Lacking blow-by burst, he converted just 23 baskets at the rim (22 games) and averaged 2.2 free-throw attempts per 40 minutes," Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman noted. "With awkward form on his jumper, he shot 28.1 percent on pull-ups, another concern when projecting his scoring potential."

If teams are swinging for the fences, they'll probably go elsewhere for upside. But those hunting for reliability and instant impact could be big Haliburton fans.

                  

Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

Hayes' name may not buzz among casual fans just yet, but he's a favorite of the scouting community. Wasserman slotted Hayes second overall on his latest big board. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor put Hayes at the very top.

"One prospect ... checks more boxes than all of the others," O'Connor wrote. "Who can shoot? Who can generate space off the dribble? Who has a feel for the game? Who makes his teammates better? Who can defend? Who conjures memories of All-Stars? It's the best prospect in the 2020 NBA draft: Killian Hayes."

O'Connor's breakdown of Hayes includes comparisons to James Harden, Manu Ginobili and D'Angelo Russell. Even if those prove optimistic, it gives you a feel for Hayes' craft, creativity, scoring and playmaking upside. He might be the most natural passer of all four, and he could emerge as the best defender. The fact he can also create shots and make them off the dribble just shows how intriguing his best-case scenario is.

It's anyone's guess if Hayes can realize his full potential, but with so many question marks at the top of this draft, it isn't hard to tell why scouts are fawning over the French floor general.

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