NBA Mock Draft 2020: Predictions for Jaden McDaniels, Under-the-Radar Prospects

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIJune 23, 2020

FILE - In this March 7, 2020, file photo, Washington forward Jaden McDaniels (0) is shown during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. McDaniels has declared for the NBA draft. McDaniels is the latest one-and-done player for the Huskies and is projected as a middle of the first-round pick. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Whether it be international prospects, college players who didn't quite live up to potential or others who just haven't generated much buzz, there are always prospects who fly a bit under the radar during the buildup to the NBA draft.

This year, there will be more time for teams to scout and analyze prospects as the draft won't happen until after the completion of the 2019-20 season, which has been suspended since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, some of these players haven't been mentioned quite as much in rumors or discussed as potential lottery picks.

Here's a mock for the first round of this year's draft, followed by a closer look at predictions for several under-the-radar prospects.


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


Under-the-Radar Prospect Predictions

Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

There was plenty of hype surrounding Jalen McDaniels, a 5-star recruit in high school, when he decided to stay in-state and attend Washington. However, his lone season with the Huskies may not have quite lived up to expectations.

McDaniels averaged 13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 31 games, shooting 40.5 percent from the field. He was a solid contributor, but he was a bit inconsistent and had some games in which he really struggled. Regardless, the 6'9" forward will be a first-round pick in the draft and has plenty of potential as he's still only 19.

"Not the most consistent shooter. Has his wow moments but still finding his elite skill. Scouts see him as more of a long-term prospect," ESPN's Mike Schmitz wrote in his scouting report of McDaniels.

The Nets are one team that could take the time to develop McDaniels and reap the benefits later. They're poised to be a contender in the Eastern Conference when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are both healthy, and they could get a bit younger in the frontcourt with veterans such as DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler on their roster.

Brooklyn owns Philadelphia's first-round selection, which should have it in position to potentially add McDaniels around the No. 20 pick or perhaps a bit later.


Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Aaron Nesmith spent two seasons playing for Vanderbilt, which has struggled in recent years. This past season, he played only 14 games because of a foot injury. And had it not been for those reasons, Nesmith might be drafted much earlier than he's likely going to be this year.

It may have been a small sample size, but Nesmith was impressive for the Commodores this year. He averaged 23.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 51.2 percent from the field, 52.2 percent from three-point range and 82.5 percent at the free-throw line.

Nesmith is a three-and-D player who could have a smooth transition into an NBA team's rotation and quickly make an impact as an effective wing player.

"Possesses a flame thrower jump shot," The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor wrote. "He projects easily as a high-end role player, though he flashes raw ability off the dribble."

The Jazz could be a perfect fit for Nesmith, as he could potentially be their starter at small forward when it's time to move on from veteran Joe Ingles. In the meantime, Nesmith could be a valuable addition to their rotation and make early contributions for a team that will likely contend in the Western Conference. So, Utah should take him if he's still on the board by the time it's on the clock.

Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

These days, there aren't too many players who spend three or more seasons in college and are taken early in the NBA draft. But Michigan State power forward Xavier Tillman should be one of the exceptions, as he could be selected late in the opening round.

Tillman continually improved over his three seasons with the Spartans, culminating in an impressive junior season. He averaged 13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks over 31 games while shooting 55 percent from the field, and all those averages were career highs.

"Winning player who can easily pair with star shot creators because of his playmaking and versatility," O'Connor wrote.

After playing for a successful college program, Tillman could be a nice fit with the Raptors, one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference after winning their first NBA title in 2019. Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are both set to become free agents after this season, and Toronto may decide not to bring both back.

Tillman could slide nicely into the Raptors lineup if Gasol and/or Ibaka head elsewhere in free agency, and his experience should help Toronto continue to contend and complement its core nicely.