NBA Mock Draft 2020: Projected Landing Spots for Cole Anthony, Lottery Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 18, 2020

North Carolina guard Cole Anthony (2) reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia Tech at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Try to imagine Stephen Curry on a different club than the Golden State Warriors. Or James Harden with anyone other than the Houston Rockets.

Are they still the same NBA superstars we know them as? It's possible, sure, but the synergy between their skill sets and their team's play styles is undeniable. Credit their clubs for instituting the right systems around them but also recognize what kind of impact having the right culture, coaching and complementary casts can mean in terms of elevating a player to his full potential.

On that note, let's spotlight some of the projected fits for players holding lottery spots in our latest mock first round.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

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

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks

3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

4. Atlanta Hawks: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

5. Detroit Pistons: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

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

7. Chicago Bulls: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

8. Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

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

11. San Antonio Spurs: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

12. Sacramento Kings: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova

18. Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Barcelona

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

21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Robert Woodard II, SF, Mississippi State

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

23. Miami Heat: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

24. Utah Jazz: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

26. Boston Celtics: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos II

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Tyler Bey, SF/PF, Colorado

28. Toronto Raptors: Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington


Projected Landing Spots for Lottery Prospects

Cole Anthony: San Antonio Spurs

While some teams might shy away from the unsavory portions of Cole Anthony's collegiate stats (namely, his 38.0 field-goal percentage and 3.5 turnover average), others could see buying potential.

His talent is undeniable. He can create shots off the dribble and bury them on the move. He's a brilliant isolation finisher, but he's also capable of finding open teammates out of the pick-and-roll.

The Tar Heels asked too much out of him. They were short on other shooting and scoring threats, and while the Spurs aren't exactly swimming with snipers (26th in threes per game), they at least have other point-producers like DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge to ease some of the defensive pressure.

San Antonio skipper Gregg Popovich has a habit of finding how his players can fit the big picture and wrapping his style around them. That means Anthony would not only be utilized properly, but the Spurs could also discover ways to play him alongside other ball-handlers like Dejounte Murray and Derrick White.


RJ Hampton: Sacramento Kings

While LaMelo Ball created the biggest waves in New Zealand basketball, RJ Hampton also benefited from calling the NBL home for a season.

Hampton's jump shot comes and goes—the development of it will be a swing skill for his career—he's an explosive downhill attacker and shifty creator off the dribble. His game needs more polish, but his versatility shined in New Zealand, and the fact he already has some professional basketball under his belt should only accelerate his NBA transition.

"RJ leaves the NBL as a projected top 10 pick in the NBA draft," NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger told reporters. "There is no doubt the time he has spent in a world-class league in the NBL has helped prepare him for the next step in his professional career."

The Kings could be a bit cramped for spacing with Hampton alongside De'Aaron Fox, but they can alleviate some of those concerns by deploying them with some combination of Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica. Sacramento would also look to turn games into track meets, as Hampton and Fox have turbo buttons at the ready.


Aaron Nesmith: New Orleans Pelicans

As the Pelicans continue perfecting their blueprint around Zion Williamson, they'll surely prioritize shooting. Aaron Nesmith has as much of that to offer as any player in this draft.

The first two entries on the strengths portion of The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor's scouting report all revolve around his powerful perimeter punch. Words like "unlimited range" and "skilled shooter off screens" are mentioned, along with Nesmith being "comfortable shooting threes off the dribble."

Early on, Nesmith can throw on a chef's hat and cook off catch-and-shoot jumpers. New Orleans is already tied for the league lead with 10.4 catch-and-fire threes per game, and Nesmith would further power up the attack. Before a foot injury derailed his season, he was net-shredding to the tune of a 52.2 percent connection rate from three—on 8.2 long-range looks per game.

He'd get a master class in spot-up sniping for as long as JJ Redick is around, and if Nesmith expands his off-the-dribble arsenal, he could lay claim to a long-term starting spot in the backcourt. Give this group time to grow, and it could be an absolute force sooner than later.