2020 NBA Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions for Most Intriguing ProspectsMay 24, 2020
NBA draft prospects can be intriguing for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps a player is a once-in-a-generation talent who is clearly going to become a star. Or it could be because they have a high ceiling but are still unproven, making it interesting to follow their development.
The 2020 NBA draft, which could end up being postponed past June if the 2019-20 season resumes, has its fair share of intriguing prospects. Sooner or later, these players will begin their NBA journeys, potentially turning into the league's next wave of top-tier talent.
Here's a mock for the first round, followed by a look at several of the most intriguing prospects in this year's draft 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
James Wiseman, C, Memphis
One of the reasons that James Wiseman is an intriguing prospect is because he hasn't been on the court since November. He played in only three games during his time at Memphis, giving fans and scouts alike only a small taste of what he was capable of doing at the college level.
In those outings with the Tigers, Wiseman was impressive. Although two contests came against South Carolina State (28 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks) and UIC (17 points, nine rebounds and five blocks), he also had a strong showing against Oregon, collecting 14 points and 12 rebounds.
If Wiseman, who was one of the top high school recruits in the nation entering college, can play like that at the NBA level, he could turn out to be a top-tier big man in the league. The 7'1" center should continue to improve as he gets more time on the court.
Although the Cavaliers are set with their pair of starting post players (Andre Drummond and Kevin Love), they may lose Tristan Thompson to free agency this offseason. Plus, Drummond and Love may not be long-term fixtures in Cleveland's lineup. So the Cavs could be a fit for Wiseman. They have a good chance to be in position to take him, as they have the second-worst record in the NBA.
Prediction: Wiseman goes to Cavaliers in top five.
Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
After a quiet freshman season at Florida State in 2018-19, Devin Vassell had a breakout showing for the Seminoles this past campaign. In 30 games, he averaged 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest while shooting 49 percent from the field, all of which were improvements from his debut campaign.
"Few players helped themselves more last season than Vassell," The Athletic's Sam Vecenie recently wrote. "He brings an awful lot to the table and his game looks like a pretty simplistic fit in the modern NBA."
Vecenie believes Vassell could be a late lottery pick and should at least be selected within the first 20 picks. And there are quite a few teams that will likely have interest in the 19-year-old wing player.
One fit for Vassell could be the Portland Trail Blazers, who are likely to own a late lottery pick. Trevor Ariza and Carmelo Anthony are both nearing the ends of their careers, so Portland could use a young wing player to develop and join star point guard Damian Lillard as part of its core. Vassell projects to have a smooth transition to the NBA, so it shouldn't take long for him to make an impact, which would greatly help the Trail Blazers in the short and long term.
Prediction: Vassell goes to Trail Blazers near middle of first round.
Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos
Stadium's Jeff Goodman succinctly described what makes Serbian forward Aleksej Pokusevski an intriguing prospect in this draft, although he may be a few years away from reaching his potential in the NBA.
"He's a project, but he's every bit of seven feet and is very skilled," Goodman recently wrote.
Pokusevski was limited to 12 games with Olympiacos this past season because of a knee injury, but he was effective when he was on the court, averaging 9.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest. However, that didn't give NBA scouts much chance to see him, and there's less game film to evaluate, which adds to some of the unknown surrounding Pokusevski. But he has an exciting skill set and will most likely be drafted before the end of the opening round.
The Oklahoma City Thunder could be undergoing some changes over the next few years, with Danilo Gallinari set to hit free agency this offseason, Chris Paul having a player option for 2020-21 and Steven Adams slated to become a free agent after next season.
Although Pokusevski might stay overseas for a few more seasons, not to mention need more time to develop, he would be an intriguing addition to Oklahoma City's roster and could help to ring in a new era in a few years' time.
Prediction: Pokusevski goes to Thunder late in first round.