NBA Mock Draft 2020: Projections for Prospects with Most Star Potential

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2020

LaMelo Ball
LaMelo BallAnthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

The NBA draft is an inherently risky proposition. No matter whether a player is viewed as close to his ceiling or considered a "raw" prospect, every team is betting on his potential.

In the 2020 class, LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards are widely considered the highest-upside talents.

Others, such as North Carolina guard Cole Anthony have enormous potential and could develop into a star at the next level. However, Anthony isn't necessarily deemed a safe prospect following his inefficient year as a shooter in Chapel Hill. Ball and Edwards have lingering questions about their inefficiency too.

The danger is a prospect may "bust" in the NBA, and there's any number of references there. Still, big risks occasionally lead to major rewards with a star player.


2020 NBA Mock Draft Round 1

1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
4. Atlanta Hawks: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
5. Detroit Pistons: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
6. New York Knicks: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
7. Chicago Bulls: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
8. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
9. Washington Wizards: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
10. Phoenix Suns: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
14. Portland Trail Blazers: R.J. Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from BKN): Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
17. Boston Celtics (from MEM): Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State
18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos
19. Milwaukee Bucks (from IND): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
20. Brooklyn Nets (from PHI): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
21. Denver Nuggets (from HOU): Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
22. Philadelphia 76ers (from OKC): Vernon Carey Jr., PF/C, Duke
23. Miami Heat: Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
24. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from DEN): Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington
26. Boston Celtics: Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona
27. New York Knicks (from LAC): Tre Jones, PG, Duke
28. Toronto Raptors: Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
30. Boston Celtics (from MIL): Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State


LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks (USA)

The biggest contributor to saying a player has potential for stardom is whether he boasts an elite skill. And in the 2020 cycle, you won't find a better passer than Ball.

While playing in Australia, the crafty guard showcased his outstanding vision and averaged 6.8 assists. All expectations are that level of creativity will translate to the NBA. His willingness as a rebounder (7.6 per game) is a plus too. For Ball to reach his perceived upside, though, he needs to improve as a shooter.

B/R's Jonathan Wasserman laid out the situation.

"Most questions about Ball focus on his jump shot and form. He made just 25.0 percent of his threes during the regular season, using a pushing motion with his elbows flaring out. He hit 11-of-43 pull-ups and 11-of-29 catch-and-shoot attempts in the half court."

But if the right situation finds him, Ball could be an all-around nightmare to follow on the offensive end.


Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

Every sport has its own dictionary. For basketball, one unique term is calling someone a "microwave scorer" for his ability to score points rapidlyyou know, heat up in a hurry.

Edwards is the definition of microwave scorer in this class.

During the Maui Invitational opposite national power Michigan State, Edwards almost single-handedly brought Georgia back from a 28-point deficit. He scored 33 points in the second half alone, helping Georgia claw as close as four points.

"No one else has shown anything like that," an NBA assistant general manager told Jeff Goodman of Stadium about Edwards' performance. "He couldn't be stopped."

That performance alone can describe Edwards' upside and best-case label of All-Star talent.


Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

North Carolina is a traditional power, but the 2019-20 season brought the worst iteration of the Tar Heels in 18 years. That relative dearth of surrounding talent complicates Anthony's evaluation.

On one hand, he's a creative guard with superb playmaking ability. Anthony carried a UNC roster that lacked a reliable three-point shooter beyond Brandon Robinson. No other rotational player finished with a three-point rate better than 32 percent, so Anthonywho ended the season at 38 percent overall and 34.8 beyond the arcforced some bad shots out of necessity.

Conversely, it could be labeled poor decision-making. Plus, he connected on just 33.3 percent of his two-point jumpers, per Hoop-Math.com, while committing 3.5 turnovers per game.

While those negatives are clear, the optimistic view suggests Anthony will be more effective with improved spacing at the next level. He's already a dangerous player in isolation; if he develops as a shooter, Anthony could become a star.

But if he doesn't, it'll be easy to say the warning signs were there.