2020 NBA Mock Draft: Latest Projections, Best Fits for Obi Toppin and Top StarsJuly 7, 2020
Once the NBA resumes regular season play on July 30, the draft's rescheduled date of October 16 won't seem so far away.
That means that teams around the league, especially those in the lottery, had better start finalizing their assessments of the prospects who have officially declared.
Evaluating talent won't be so easy, though. Scouts, coaches and front offices have had to rely on video conference calls and game footage to decipher the players that will best fit their needs.
And while there's no Zion Williamson on the board this year, names like LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and Obi Toppin still ring out in NBA circles.
Here's the latest mock draft for the top stars-in-the-making.
2020 NBA Mock Draft
1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
4. Atlanta Hawks: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
5. Detroit Pistons: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
6. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
7. Chicago Bulls: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
8. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
9. Washington Wizards: Devin Vassell, SG/SF, Florida State
10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
11. San Antonio Spurs: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
13. New Orleans Pelicans: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
15. Orlando Magic: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
17. Boston Celtics (from Memphis): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
18. Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
19. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
20. Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia): Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
21. Denver Nuggets (from Houston): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
22. Philadelphia 76ers (from Oklahoma City): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
23. Miami Heat: Tre Jones, PG, Duke
24. Utah Jazz: Jalen Smith, PF/C. Maryland
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Denver): Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
26. Boston Celtics: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B
27. New York Knicks (from Los Angeles Clippers): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
28. Toronto Raptors: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas
30. Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee): Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
Why Obi Toppin Can Be Special
It's almost imperceptible, but Obi Toppin has slowly but surely worked his way up most mock drafts.
In the early offing, he was often found in the No. 8 pick range. Now, he's regularly in the top five and this mock is no different.
But why has he been moving up when no college basketballs have bounced since March?
The easy answer is fit.
For all of his athletic gifts as a highlight-reel dunker, Toppin's real talents lie in his ability to step on an NBA court and play right away.
While most of the lottery picks will hear their name called because of their potential, the former Dayton Flyer will come off the board because he can make an immediate impact as a role player.
And it didn't hurt that he collected most of the NCAA's coveted awards in the offseason.
All told, he won the John R. Wooden Award, the Karl Malone Award, the Naismith Trophy, Associated Press Player of the Year Award and the NABC Division I Player of the Year Award.
But Toppin isn't just hype.
At 6'9" and 220 pounds, the versatile forward dunked and shot his way to averages of 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while catapulting Dayton to the No. 3 spot on the AP Top 25.
His numbers were great, but what stood out most was his efficiency. He shot an impressive 63.3 percent from the field, including 39.0 percent from three.
Sure, Toppin could be considered to be a bit of a late bloomer at 22, but that shouldn't work against him. He's shown that he's mature and can be the kind of player that constantly looks to improve his game.
That kind of workaholic sensibility would go over well with a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves. They are in desperate need of a third option to play alongside D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Minny regressed after Jimmy Butler left and has an uphill climb to make it back to contention. Toppin would be able to help right away and give the other rookies a run for their money for ROY honors.
Who's No. 1?
If this draft were simply about talent or upside, LaMelo Ball would be the first overall pick.
But that isn't the case, especially considering that a team like the Golden State Warriors could win the lottery but are a formidable team when healthy. They most likely wouldn't be selecting a player this high had it not been for season-ending injuries to their superstar backcourt of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
So with a healthy Steph and Klay returning and the addition of Andrew Wiggins via trade, the Warriors don't need a player like Ball.
His father LaVar agrees.
"That's the part I don't like about Golden State," LaVar said on the A Big Baller Father's Day episode of the Say Less with Kaz podcast. "They got Klay and the other guys, and now you want to put Melo in that mix to say you got to follow these guys. Melo ain't no follower. He don't need to do what they do; let them do they thing."
With Ball off the radar, Golden State has considered the possibility that they might have to trade down to get a player who better suits their needs like Tyrese Haliburton.
If they can't move down, Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Warriors will likely opt for Anthony Edwards.
While Edwards may not already have the star power that Ball has, he's definitely no one's consolation prize.
Standing 6'4"and weighing a solid 225 pounds, the former Georgia standout is the best scorer in this draft. As a freshman, he averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game and proved that he's not afraid of the big moment.
He's an explosive athlete who can play defense at a high level and with the ability to defend multiple positions on the perimeter.
The rub against him is that he can be inefficient. He only shot 40.2 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three.
But he was also able to score in bunches, including the time he scored 33 points in the second half of the Georgia's 93-85 loss to Michigan State.
If he can live up to his potential, he could compared to a player like Utah's Donovan Mitchell.
Golden State may think that it's covered on the scoring front, but there's always room for talent and it'll need a jolt of it if it want to get back to its championship ways next season.
That said, there's still an outside chance that James Wiseman goes No. 1.
He's certainly got the natural gifts and skills to go first. In just three games with Memphis, he averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks.
Besides the negative outlook he garnered by deciding to quit the college game in December, the 7'1" center will also have to contend with the idea that big men aren't as valuable in the NBA anymore.
For his part, though, Wiseman has shown that he can be versatile and defend on the perimeter. He's also a staunch rim protector and a can run the floor for easy alley-oop dunks and putbacks.
Even if he doesn't go first, he won't slip past the top five.
Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport