2020 NBA Mock Draft: Pro Comparisons and Predictions for Elite Guard Prospects

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIMay 30, 2020

ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs controls the ball during the second half of 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

A popular thing to do ahead of the NBA draft is to compare prospects to current NBA players.

What similarities do they share, and could they go on to fare just as well as their counterparts in The Association?

Like every year, the top players in the 2020 NBA draft class boast skills reminiscent of those possessed by players already in the league. After a mock of this year's first round, we'll take a closer look at several of the elite guard prospects in the class and compare their games to those of current NBA players.

                             

NBA Mock Draft, 1st Round

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

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

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3. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks

4. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

5. Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

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

7. Chicago Bulls: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

8. Charlotte Hornets: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv

9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

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

11. San Antonio Spurs: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

15. Orlando Magic: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

18. Dallas Mavericks: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

20. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Josh Green, SG, Arizona

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland

23. Miami Heat: Vernon Carey Jr., PF/C, Duke

24. Utah Jazz: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos

26. Boston Celtics: Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Tre Jones, PG, Duke

28. Toronto Raptors: Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

                      

Pro Comparisons for Elite Guard Prospects

Anthony Edwards: Donovan Mitchell

Like Donovan Mitchell, Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards is a supple wing player who has no trouble getting to the basket and finding ways to score. One advantage that the former Bulldog has over the Utah Jazz shooting guard? His size, as he stands 6'5" compared to the 6'1" Mitchell.

If Edwards can play like Mitchell in the NBA, then the 18-year-old should have plenty of success. Mitchell has averaged at least 20.5 points in each of his first three seasons, and he was named an All-Star for the first time this year.

Edwards could be the first player selected in this year's draft because of his impressive skill set, which ESPN's Mike Schmitz broke down in his scouting report of the top prospect: "Powerful guard with elite length and explosiveness. Tough to contain, especially in transition. Strong first step and bouncy off one or two feet in space. Embraces contact in the paint."

It's possible Edwards could have a higher ceiling in the NBA than Mitchell if he can improve his jump shot, giving him another way to score. He shot 29.4 percent on three-pointers at Georgia this season, so there's room for improvement with his perimeter shooting.

                       

LaMelo Ball: Lonzo Ball

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks drives against Finn Delany of the Breakers during the round 9 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena on November 30, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (P
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Although the youngest Ball brother, LaMelo, has a unique blend of skill and flashiness, there are still shades of his eldest brother Lonzo, a point guard for the Pelicans, in his style of play. And that's because both Ball brothers are playmakers who can do a bit of everything on offense.

Both Lonzo and LaMelo have good handles and rebound well from their position. Lonzo has averaged at least 5.3 rebounds per game in each of his first three NBA seasons, while LaMelo averaged 7.9 rebounds in 13 games for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia this season. Both also do a good job setting up their teammates; Lonzo is averaging 6.6 assists through his first 155 NBA games, and LaMelo averaged 6.8 per game this season.

One key difference between the brothers, though? LaMelo could end up being a better NBA player, which is something Lonzo has acknowledged.

"Melo has a chance to be a better player than me, for sure," Lonzo Ball told The Athletic's Shams Charania last October. "I feel at the same age, he's better than me. In real time, I don't think he's better than me."

With incredible playmaking skills and tremendous size, LaMelo Ball should be one of the most fun rookies to watch during the 2020-21 season—especially when he goes up against his brother for the first time.

                         

Killian Hayes: D'Angelo Russell

ULM, GERMANY - MARCH 08: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Killian Hayes of Ratiopharm Ulm controls the Ball during the EasyCredit Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) match between Ratiopharm Ulm and MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg at ratiopharm Arena on March 8, 2020 in Ulm, Germany. (
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Killian Hayes and D'Angelo Russell are both left-handed point guards, they are both 6'5" and they both have skill sets that can make them effective scorers in the NBA.

Hayes is only 18, so his game is not as developed as that of Russell, who has had five seasons in the NBA. But Hayes has a high ceiling and a ton of potential, which is likely why The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor has the French guard ranked No. 1 on his draft big board.

"Fluid ball-handler with the size to outmuscle smaller guards," O'Connor wrote. "Excellent touch with his left hand finishing difficult floaters and runners, often after initiating contact."

Hayes also possesses a step-back three-pointer that resembles Rockets guard James Harden's. And any time a player has any type of similarity to Harden, who was again leading the NBA in scoring this season before play was suspended, it's usually a positive thing.

A potential top-five pick in the draft, Hayes could be a strong point guard in the league for years to come.

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