NBA Mock Draft 2020: 1st-Round Projections and Predictions for Fringe Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 26, 2020

San Diego State guard Malachi Flynn (22) plays during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado State Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
Denis Poroy/Associated Press

In NBA drafts without a can't-miss, clear-cut top prospect, the best player can emerge from almost anywhere on the board.

Given the question marks surrounding even the top prospects in the 2020 class, this is the kind of crop that will require front offices to do a ton of homework. Whenever someone fires up the re-draft machine on this group down the line, it could look dramatically different from its initial order.

After laying out our latest mock first round, we'll highlight three players who just missed the cut but could prove big value picks on draft night.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

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

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks

3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

4. Atlanta Hawks: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

5. Detroit Pistons: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

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

7. Chicago Bulls: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

8. Charlotte Hornets: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

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

10. Phoenix Suns: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

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


Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State

Flynn checks a lot of the usual boxes for a draft theft.

He isn't the tallest (6'1") or most explosive player around. He played three seasons of college ball and sat out a year after transferring to Aztecs from Washington State, so he's already 22 years old. And while San Diego State isn't exactly off the beaten path—thanks in large part to Kawhi Leonard—Flynn won't get bonus points for shredding defenses in the Mountain West Conference.

That said, the floor general produces and wins big. He paced the 30-2 Aztecs in points (17.6), assists (5.1), threes (2.4) and steals (1.8). The advanced analytics painted an even brighter picture of his game.

"Flynn ranked in the 96th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, demonstrating a balanced skill set in terms of passing savvy, dribble creativity and shot-making with pull-ups and runners," B/R's Jonathan Wasserman wrote. "... Flynn led the nation in win shares and finished No. 8 in box plus-minus."

Flynn looks like he could bulk up an NBA bench right now, and he has enough upside to eventually pilot a first-team offense.


Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota

Oturu has the statistical profile of a first-round pick.

The 6'10", 240-pounder torched virtually every defense in his path this past season. By year's end, he had flooded the stat sheet with nightly outputs of 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. He converted 56.3 percent of his field goals and shot 19-of-52 from distance.

Shooting will be the swing skill that determines whether Oturu becomes another rotational reserve big or stands out from that crop. He only took two threes and shot just 61.5 percent from the line as a freshman.

His game starts in the post, which is where NBA teams are attacking less and less. He's not the most mobile defender, and his decision making left plenty to be desired (53 career assists against 141 turnovers).

But at some point, his production is too much to overlook. If a team buys into his potential as a shooter, that point could easily be near the back end of the opening round.


Paul Reed, PF, DePaul

Another 20-something, Reed declared for the draft after averaging a double-double as a junior (15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds).

But Reed's defense is the reason The Athletic's John Hollinger ranked him 12th overall and wondered whether that was even high enough:

"A long-limbed 4 who moves well laterally, flashes tremendous hands, and has great instincts, Reed can guard 1 through 5 and has All-Defense potential. He's a rim protector too, a quick leaper who can block shots, and he's an outstanding rebounder for his size⁠—which may allow him to play 5 as his body fills out. Statistically, Reed had the highest steal rate of any player in my top 60, guards included, and had the highest block rate of any non-center."

To be clear, this is probably the highest you'll find Reed ranked—by a mile. The Athletic's Sam Vecenie slotted Reed 42nd, while Wasserman left him off his 50-player big board entirely. Reed isn't a shot-creator and only made 34 threes—at a 33 percent clip—in 93 college contests, so it's entirely uncertain what kind of offensive impact he can provide.

But if he's the dominant defender some envision, he should add enough offensive value as a cutter, transition finisher and glass-cleaner to hold his own on that end even if his shot never comes around.