2020 NBA Draft: 1st-Round Order and Prospects Who Could Slide on Draft Day

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 29, 2020

North Carolina guard Cole Anthony (2) dribbles against Syracuse during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
Ben McKeown/Associated Press

A slide at the NBA draft is, by its very nature, surprising.

That said, they usually don't come from nowhere. Follow the pre-draft process closely enough, and you'll pick up on worries that could have a player tumbling down the board. Injuries are the most obvious culprit—think, Michael Porter Jr. or Bol Bol in recent drafts—but style of play, age or off-court concerns can all lead to a tumble.

After laying out the first-round order as it stands, per Tankathon.com, we'll identify three prospects who could have a longer-than-expected wait on draft night.


2020 NBA Draft First-Round Order

1. Golden State Warriors

2. Cleveland Cavaliers

3. Minnesota Timberwolves

4. Atlanta Hawks

5. Detroit Pistons

6. New York Knicks

7. Chicago Bulls

8. Charlotte Hornets

9. Washington Wizards

10. Phoenix Suns

11. San Antonio Spurs

12. Sacramento Kings

13. New Orleans Pelicans

14. Portland Trail Blazers

15. Orlando Magic

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets)

17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies)

18. Dallas Mavericks

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers)

20. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers)

21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets)

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder)

23. Miami Heat

24. Utah Jazz

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets)

26. Boston Celtics

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers)

28. Toronto Raptors

29. Los Angeles Lakers

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks)


Prospects Who Could Slide on Draft Day

James Wiseman, C, Memphis

The case for spending an early pick on Wiseman is easy—just look at him.

He stands 7'1" and sports a 7'6" wingspan. He may not be the fleetest of foot, but he moves well enough to picture a plug-and-play transition as a good-to-great rim-runner. He flashes intriguing shooting touch every now and then, too, so for teams who believe in his potential there, they might see a star-in-waiting.

But his skills and awareness are far less appealing than his physical tools. His size and athleticism should always help to some degree, but if he's the next Hassan Whiteside, why would teams spend a top-five pick on him? Well, some wouldn't.

"I've spoken with NBA executives who have Wiseman first, and others who have him ranked outside of the top 10," The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor wrote.

The obvious question here is where those executives are actually selecting. If Wiseman's doubters are huddled near the top, he might not go nearly as early as some expect.


Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

The athleticism and scoring punch that pushed Anthony to last summer's No. 2 recruiting rank are still present. Considering the spacing challenges and knee injury he worked around during his lone season with the Tar Heels, the fact he still found his way to 18.5 points per game is impressive.

But the way he reached those numbers wasn't super encouraging. He had poor touch around the basket and not much of an in-between game, contributing to his 38.0 field-goal percentage and 40.2 percent success rate on two-pointers. His shoot-first mentality manifested in averages of 4.0 assists, 3.5 turnovers and 15.7 field-goal attempts—not exactly floor general stuff.

"Given Anthony's preferred shot selection and questionable facilitating feel for a lead guard, it's worth asking whether he's suited to run an NBA franchise, and how a poor game from him can affect the team's offense," Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman wrote. "Plus, between his high school and college roles, he's had limited experience playing off the ball."

The basic question is whether Anthony can help an NBA team, and if enough people are answering with anything other than the affirmative, it could be a long night for the scoring guard.


Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos II

The potential for Pokusevski to slide all depends on his initial placement. For those viewing him as a fringe first-rounder, it's hard to see him slipping much beyond that.

But some put him safely above that tier. Wasserman, for instance, slotted him 18th in his May 7 mock draft. The Athletic's John Hollinger put Pokusevski 13th on his big board while labeling him "the biggest boom-bust guy in the draft."

Pokusevski is a rail-thin 7-footer with the mobility, shooting, handles and passing of a wing. But he gets mashed anywhere near the basket, and he might never have NBA strength.

Hollinger—remember, one of the highest on Pokusevski—admits "there's a decent chance he'll suck."

Will teams take that kind of risk in the mid-to-late teens? Knowing how far this league sometimes looks into the future, the answer is probably yes, but Pokusevski is so raw it wouldn't be shocking to see him fall out of the first round entirely.