2020 NBA Mock Draft: Analyzing James Wiseman, Best Defenders in Class

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2020

Southern California forward Onyeka Okongwu in an NCAA college basketball game against Utah Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

With increasingly important decisions to make in the very near future, the NBA is in the throes of a critical time. In addition to how and when to resume play, the league must pinpoint a date for the 2020 draft.

In the meantime, teams still have to plan ahead to make the best possible selections to improve their rosters. Fortunately, there are some great prospects on the board this year, especially at the top.

Players such as LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and Obi Toppin are the marquee names that most teams are clamoring for.

Here's the latest mock draft and a look at the top defenders in the lottery.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

1. Golden State: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

2. Cleveland: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks 

3. Minnesota: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

4. Atlanta: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

5. Detroit: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

6. New York: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv

7. Chicago: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

8. Charlotte: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

9. Washington: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

10. Phoenix: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

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

12. Sacramento: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

13. New Orleans: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

14. Portland: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

15. Orlando: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

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

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

18. Dallas: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

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

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

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

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

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

24. Utah: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

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

26. Boston: Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona

27. New York (via L.A. Clippers): Tre Jones, PG, Duke

28. Toronto: Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State

29. L.A. Lakers: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

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


Best Defenders in the Class

PORTLAND, OREGON - NOVEMBER 12: James Wiseman #32 of the Memphis Tigers and Anthony Mathis #32 of the Oregon Ducks battle for position during the second half of the game at Moda Center on November 12, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Oregon won the game 82-74.
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The three-point revolution is directly responsible for the advent of positionless basketball.

With teams hoisting three-balls with reckless abandon, the big man is almost obsolete. Now, in addition to protecting the rim, centers and power forwards must be able to defend on the perimeter.

Volume shooting guards across the league are using the pick-and-rolls to isolate big men on the perimeter and are taking advantage of the mismatches. So, when teams look at the draft, they're looking for players who can guard multiple positions.

James Wiseman is racking up praise for his offensive versatility and ability to run the floor, but his talents on the defensive end are his biggest strong suit.

At 7'0", 235 pounds, Wiseman has the physicality to be a big at the next level and, most importantly, the tools to make an impact on both ends of the floor.

The former Gatorade National Player of the Year is agile, nimble on his feet and has great hands. 

Although he only played three games in college with the Memphis Tigers, he showed flashes of brilliance, averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and an impressive 3.0 blocks per game.

Not only is Wiseman an excellent shot-blocker, he's also great at altering shots, protecting the lane and offering weak-side help.

Those skills will come in handy if he were drafted by the Golden State Warriors because Stephen Curry can sometimes be a liability on defense. With a formidable wall of Wiseman and Draymond Green protecting the rim, the Warriors could catapult themselves back into the conversation as title contenders.

In addition to his penchant for denying shots, Wiseman is also a great rebounder and outlet passer. Grabbing a defensive rebound and making the outlet pass is crucial for teams looking to get out on the break and control the pace of the game.

Wiseman is also fast and is a great rim runner, so he could conceivably make the outlet pass and run the floor for an easy alley-oop on the other end.

Easy comparisons for the freshman prospect are Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett. Wiseman is a southpaw, so he's compared to Bosh more than any other player and if he's able to come into the league and actually play like the 11-time All Star, he'll be worth a No. 1 pick.

Onyeka Okongwu is another great defensive prospect in this draft.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

At 6'9", 235 pounds, he's a potent rim protector who ranked ninth overall in blocks in all of college basketball at 2.7 per game.

What separates Okongwu from other shot-blockers, though, is his ability to not only alter and block the shot of the man he's guarding, but help beaten teammates out at the basket.

Okongwu is physical and more than makes up for his lack of size with strength and positioning.

With only one year of college basketball under his belt, he's often compared to the Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo, who broke through this season as an All-Star.

Like Adebayo, Okongwu is switchable on defense, rebounds the ball well and can really protect the rim.

It's probably too early to call Okongwu an Adebayo prototype, but with his defensive skills and ability to stay out of foul trouble despite defending smaller, quicker players, he should be able to flourish at the next level—if not as an All-Star, at least as a productive starter.

Another bonus for Okongwu is that he played with the Ball brothers at Chino Hills high school, which shows that he can play with better players and still find his own room to shine.

This year's draft is similar in the fact that there are other bigger name players like LaMelo Ball and Obi Toppin in the lottery, but Okongwu is quickly rising on the boards because of his elite defense and high ceiling.

If he can put it all together and be as productive as he was at USC, he'd be a great pickup for the Charlotte Hornets, who will need some toughness and defense to close the gap on their defensive rating, which was the sixth-worst in the league at 112.8.


Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com