NBA Mock Draft 2020: Latest Projections and Comparisons for Underrated Prospects

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIMay 31, 2020

Vanderbilt forward Aaron Nesmith (24) moves past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi guard Myles Smith (2) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Nesmith led Vanderbilt with 21 points as they won 71-66. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

It's not always just the first players selected in the NBA draft who turn out to be stars. There are often names who aren't selected until the middle of the opening round (or even later) who develop into top-tier figures in the league.

The underrated prospects in the 2020 NBA draft class have the potential to eventually be standout players at the pro level. And while they may have some areas in which they need to improve, the ability is there for them to be successful in the NBA.

Here's a mock for the first round, followed by pro comparisons for several underrated prospects in this year's class.


NBA Mock Draft, 1st Round

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

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

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 Underrated Prospects

Aleksej Pokusevski: Dirk Nowitzki

This is no guarantee Aleksej Pokusevski is going to end up anywhere near as successful as Dirk Nowitzki, who retired in 2019 after an incredible 21-year stint with the Mavericks, but there are similarities between the two, notably in their styles of play.

Like the German, the 18-year-old is a 7'0" international prospect who should be selected in the first round of the draft. Although Pokusevski is more slender, he's a solid perimeter shooter who should have no trouble popping outside and hitting deep shots consistently.

"He has good footwork and body control, with a compact release coming off screens and off the dribble," The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor wrote of the Olympiacos player. "He can rise and fire even with a hand in his face."

Pokusevski's 200-pound frame could impact how effective he can be in the post. If he can put on muscle in the next few years, he has enough talent and skills to develop into a top-tier player, perhaps even enough to win some of the same accolades Nowitzki did during his illustrious career.


Aaron Nesmith: Klay Thompson

What's Klay Thompson's best skill on the basketball court? Shooting. And that's exactly what makes Vanderbilt small forward Aaron Nesmith a similar player to the Warriors shooting guard.

Like the Golden State star, the 20-year-old is capable of hitting shots from all over the floor, including from 3-point range. He shot 51.2 percent from the field and 52.2 percent from beyond the arc in 14 games for the Commodores this season.

"Arguably the best shooter in the draft," ESPN's Jonathan Givony wrote. "... Can hit jumpers in a variety of ways off movement, screens, pull-ups and difficult spot-ups with a hand in his face."

Nesmith isn't the best defender, and he has some other skills that could be improved, which is why he's a bit under the radar and could fall below a lottery pick. However, once he gets on the court for an NBA team, he's likely to start hitting shots and making a name for himself as a consistent scoring threat.


Kira Lewis Jr.: Dennis Schroder

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Over two seasons at Alabama, Kira Lewis Jr. was a talented point guard who had no trouble scoring and continued to improve his playmaking skills while gaining experience. However, he can still get better in that regard, and how much better he gets could determine how successful he is in the NBA.

In both regards (scoring threat, playmaking), the 19-year-old has a skill set similar to Dennis Schroder, who has been a solid player over his seven-year NBA career.

But the key to whether Lewis can be more successful than the Oklahoma City Thunder star and reach his high ceiling could depend on his size, as noted by The Athletic's Sam Vecenie.

"He’s about 170 pounds and has a very skinny frame that might not necessarily put on a ton of weight long-term," he wrote. "That could hinder him as a finisher, and could hinder his ball-handling ability a bit if guys get physical with him on the perimeter."

Regardless, Lewis is set to be a first-round selection (potentially even a lottery pick) as he has a lot of talent and is likely to be a solid contributor for an NBA team.