NBA Mock Draft 2020: Projections and Predictions for Top Point Guard Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 25, 2020

Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton drives up court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

This is debatable, but the 2020 NBA draft class arguably looks strongest in the backcourt.

More specifically, it seems capable of filling several starting spots and key reserve roles at lead guard if enough of its prospects pan out.

After running through our mock first round, we'll spotlight three of the best point guard prospects and examine the fit with their projected teams.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

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

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


LaMelo Ball: Minnesota Timberwolves

Those long familiar with LaMelo Ball's name might hear it mentioned and conjure up images of deep, unorthodox threes, no-defense cherry-picking and absurd point totals. But in NBA circles, he excites most for his playmaking promise.

Now 6'7", the floor general flourishes on the basketball. He can operate at different speeds in the same possession and make any pass with either hand. He processes the game at a rapid rate (really, a ridiculous one for an 18-year-old), so he's always one step ahead (at least) with hit-ahead outlets, clever touch passes or anything that puts the ball in the hands of a scoring threat.

That makes him a fascinating option for the Timberwolves, even with the upfront acknowledgement that any defense that includes Ball, D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns could be a disaster. But the offense should be brilliant.

A great passer can't thrive without great scorers, and both Russell and Towns went into the season's suspension with top-25 scoring averages. Moreover, Russell can play on or off the ball (as can Ball) and Towns is one of the league's best pick-and-roll (or pick-and-pop) screeners.

If Ball proves a quick learner, the Timberwolves could have a top-five offense already next season.


Tyrese Haliburton: Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have an elite shot-creator in Trae Young. He's on pace to become just the fifth player ever to average 29 points and nine assists.

But he could use more help, both when he's on the floor and, perhaps more importantly, when he needs a breather. Right now, he's saddling the fourth-highest usage percentage and seeing this offense fail to function without him (111.2 points per 100 possessions with him, 95.7 without).

Tyrese Haliburton could help the Hawks scratch both itches. He has the vision, selflishness and passing touch to run an uptempo offense. He's not the speediest player around, but he'll use subtle changes in pace and direction to keep defenders off-balance. If his teammates are open, he'll find them with an on-time, on-target delivery.

As for playing co-pilot with Young, the 20-year-old is a good enough spot-up shooter (42.6 from three in college) to play long stretches off the ball. His lanky, 6'5" frame might also allow him to handle the toughest backcourt assignment and help hide Young on defense.

Haliburton might not become an NBA star, but if helps Young shine brighter, that might mean just as much to the Hawks.             


Killian Hayes: New York Knicks

If NBA front offices regard Killian Hayes the way some draft experts do, he won't be around for the 'Bockers at No. 6. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor ranked him first overall on his big board, and B/R's Jonathan Wasserman put him second.

"Hayes has built a strong case in a draft loaded with uncertainty, averaging 11.6 points and 5.4 assists on 59.1 percent true shooting between the EuroCup, the German BBL and the German Cup," Wasserman wrote. "Only six NCAA freshmen since 1992-93 have matched those numbers, among them Chris Paul, Lonzo Ball, Jameer Nelson and Jason Williams."

The best version of Hayes features elite passing, pick-and-roll creating and off-the-dribble shooting. All three would be godsends for a Knicks team that has needed a floor general for years.

Put the 18-year-old on the basketball, and he could bring the best out of New York's other youngsters. Granted, there aren't many, but his arrival could lead to a more efficient RJ Barrett and a better utilized Mitchell Robinson.

If Hayes becomes the dynamic scorer some think he can be, the Knicks suddenly have a very interesting trio to build around.