2020 NBA Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Biggest Boom-or-Bust Prospects

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIMay 25, 2020

North Carolina's Cole Anthony (2) drives against Virginia during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Chris Seward/Associated Press

Not every NBA draft prospect is a sure thing. For some players who will be available in the 2020 draft, it will be high-risk, high-reward for the teams that draft them. That's because there are some boom-or-bust prospects in this year's class.

These players could turn out to be stars in the future, or people could look back years from now and think that a team wasted its draft pick on that player. Some prospects just don't live up to their potential, despite showcasing plenty of talent at the high school, college and/or international ranks.

Here's a mock for the first round, followed by a look at several boom-or-bust 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

Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press

Because James Wiseman is likely going to be a top-three pick in the draft, he'll be viewed as a bust if he doesn't live up to his huge potential. However, the 7'1" center with a 7'6" wingspan could also develop into one of the NBA's most exciting big men if he continues to improve as he gains experience.

After playing only three games for Memphis, he didn't get much of an opportunity to impress NBA scouts at the college level. It didn't help that the scouting combine was postponed, so he still hasn't been on a court in front of representatives from NBA teams. However, he was a top high school recruit, and it's clear he has talent, which is why he'll likely be an early pick in the draft.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor wrote in his scouting report of Wiseman that the center has "shades of" David Robinson, a mild-mannered Rasheed Wallace and Damian Jones. Those are strong comparisons, and it's clear how he has shown similar traits to those players, but it also underlines the height of the ceiling he may have to live up to.

At 19, Wiseman may need some time in the NBA before it can be judged which end of the boom-or-bust spectrum he'll end up on. Just don't be surprised when a team with a top pick (perhaps the Cavaliers?) uses its selection to take a chance on him and hope they'll reap the benefits later.


Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

Not only did North Carolina struggle this past season, but Cole Anthony also had some issues during his lone season with the Tar Heels. Although the 6'3" point guard averaged 18.5 points per game, he was limited to 22 games due to a knee injury and shot 38 percent from the field.

The 20-year-old didn't have a great final game for North Carolina, either, as he scored only five points on 2-for-10 shooting in an ACC tournament loss to Syracuse. However, he showed glimpses throughout the season of his strengths, the biggest being his ability to score and create shots, as ESPN's Mike Schmitz pointed out in his scouting report of Anthony.

"Aggressive, confident scorer who has been productive at virtually every stop," he wrote. "Good open-court athlete who changes ends quickly. Creates space for himself with crossovers and step-backs going left. Can knock down pull-ups with range, change speeds and directions and initiate contact in the paint."

Because Anthony isn't the best facilitator at this point in his career, perhaps he'll also spend time at shooting guard. But his scoring ability should make him a top-10 pick, perhaps going to a team such as the Bulls, who could draft him based off his pure talent and potential.


Josh Green, SG, Arizona

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

In his lone season at Arizona, Josh Green proved he was a solid wing player who could go on to be a solid presence in the NBA.

Over 30 games, he averaged 12 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest. The 6'6" shooting guard was also an effective scorer, shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from behind the arc.

However, Green was fairly inconsistent for the Wildcats, and there are some areas of his game he'll need to improve in order to reach his full potential at the NBA level.

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie recently noted that he sees the 19-year-old as a "3-and-D guy."

"He also has the athletic tools to be able to translate into playing as a high-level defender," he wrote. "But I’m a little worried about the offensive side of the floor."

Green is talented enough for a team to draft him late in the first round, hoping he'll improve offensively with more experience while continuing to play strong defense. He could be a good fit for an outfit such as the Nuggets, who are already a strong team and could utilize him as a role player as he makes the transition to the pro game.


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