NBA Mock Draft 2020: Rounding Up Experts' Latest Picks and Predictions

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2020

ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs gestures during a game against the Auburn Tigers at Stegeman Coliseum on February 19, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

While the 2020 NBA draft doesn't have a definitive date or schedule just yet, it is looming on the not-too-distant horizon. This also means we're entering peak mock-draft season, when experts around the media world argue about the best fits and likely selections in the draft. 

This year's edition of mock-draft season should be particularly interesting, as there isn't even a consensus No. 1 selection. While Zion Williamson sat atop virtually every mock draft last year, the current first pick can vary greatly.

Of course, this is partially due to the fact that the draft lottery has not yet assigned an early pick order. With no certainty on who will select No. 1, it's impossible to know who the pick there could be. Teams' opinions of the top prospect vary.

"I’ve heard the names Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Deni Avdija and Obi Toppin," Sam Vecenie of The Athletic wrote. "And then most teams don’t have that as a consensus top five either. Some teams think of Isaac Okoro as a top-five prospect. Others have Onyeka Okongwu there. Killian Hayes comes up. Quickly, the list expands."

Here, we'll dig into Vecenie's mock draft—along with those from Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press and Kevin O'Connor of The Ringerto see what sort of trends and predictions emerge.


Anthony Edwards the Consensus No. 1

While teams may not agree on who the top pick in the draft should be, our three mock-draft experts apparently do. All three selected Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards to go No. 1 overall—but to three different teams.

O'Connor paired Edwards with the Golden State Warriors, who earned the top pick in his mock due to owning the league's worst record. His mock was slotted based on record, worst-to-first.

Sankofa—who mocked the top 10 with the aid of Tankathon's lottery simulator—has Edwards landing with the Washington Wizards.

"Edwards makes sense as a high-upside shooting guard who would fit Washington’s growing core of young talent," he wrote. "He doesn’t necessarily fit well next to [Bradley] Beal or [John] Wall, but the franchise isn’t in a position where it can afford to draft for fit."

Vecenie, meanwhile, has Edwards going to the Detroit Pistons. His draft order is also based on one Tankathon lottery simulation.


LaMelo Ball a Likely Top-Three Selection?

Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

While Edwards may ultimately be the No. 1 pick and possibly the best player to emerge from this draft class, NBL standout LaMelo Ball is unquestionably its biggest personality.

The younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans star Lonzo Ball, LaMelo is a playmaking point guard who should boost an offense early in his career.

Both Sankofa and O'Connor have Ball going second overall—to the Pistons and the Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively. Vecenie, meanwhile, has him paired with the Chicago Bulls at No. 3. He has the Charlotte Hornets taking Memphis' James Wiseman at two.

It's probably worth noting here that the New York Knicks didn't land in the top five of any of these mocks—not too surprising since they own the league's sixth-worst record.

However, Ball's camp—and presumably his father, LaVar Ball—is reportedly interested in placing him in the Big Apple.

"Some league sources believe the Ball camp will try to steer the 18-year-old point guard to the Knicks," Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote.

While New York might not be within striking range of Ball right now, they could conceivably trade up for him before or during the draft. 


Center Makes Sense for the Warriors

While O'Connor seemingly went with the best player available when pairing Edwards with the Warriors, both Sankofa and Vecenie have Golden State taking a center at the top of Round 1. Vecenie has the Dubs snagging Dayton star Obi Toppin, while Sanfoka has UCS's Onyeka Okongwu.

While adding a big man to the mix would make a lot of sense for Golden State, Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle believes the presence of Marquese Chriss may cause the Warriors to go in a different direction.

"A league source told The Chronicle that they are unlikely to use a top-5 pick on Okongwu—especially when they’re not sure he’d be ahead of Chriss on the depth chart," he wrote.

If the Warriors really are comfortable with Chriss as a long-term starting option, then it would make sense to simply go with the best player available or trade down to acquire additional draft capital or veteran talent.

Golden State should have some flexibility in the draft because its projected 2020 core of Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins can be built around in a variety of ways.