2020 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Intriguing Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 8, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks warms up before their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney. LaMelo Ball’s bid to be a club owner in Australia hasn't worked out. The American is expected to be a top pick in the upcoming NBA draft later this year.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

Intrigue carries an interesting definition in the NBA draft world.

On the surface, it communicates appeal, since teams need to be interested in a prospect to be intrigued by him. Dig a little deeper, though, and it's not the most flattering descriptor. Potential is intriguing, but potential doesn't always pan out, and sometimes it flames out in spectacular fashion.

After updating our mock first round, we'll examine the projected landing spots of three of this draft's most intriguing prospects.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

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

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

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

4. Atlanta Hawks: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

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: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

10. Phoenix Suns: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

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

12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova

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

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

16. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

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

18. Dallas Mavericks: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Josh Green, SG, Arizona

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

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

22. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

23. Miami Heat: Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

24. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Grant Riller, PG/SG, Charleston

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Robert Woodard II, SF, Mississippi State

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

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

28. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Xavier Tillman, PF/C, Michigan State


LaMelo Ball To Minnesota

Think of all the interest in quarterback prospects every time the NFL draft rolls around. Part of why it generates so much discussion is because landing spots can have a massive impact on that player's shot at success. It's not just having the talent, it's finding the right schematic fit and walking into a situation where the roster provides proper support.

That analogy feels perfect for Ball, since he's the best on-court quarterback in this class. He has preternatural distributing instincts and every kind of pass in his arsenal. But he needs receivers to make the most out of those passes, and the Timberwolves would give him some great ones in D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.

"The offensive opportunities that would be possible with Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns if the Timberwolves doubled down by selecting LaMelo Ball would immediately make Minnesota among the most feared scoring threats in the NBA," Bryan Kalbrosky wrote for Rookie Wire.

Minnesota might need to win games by consistently scoring in the 120s or above, since this defense could bleed points. But that might be the case with or without Ball. At least if he's around, his vision, handles and deep shooting range can make this attack that much harder to handle.


RJ Hampton To Boston

It's possible the biggest noise Hampton made all year was with his initial decision to bypass college basketball as a five-star recruit and head to Australia.

That doesn't say the nicest thing about his skill set, which feels like it lacks a focal point. He doesn't display the soundest decision-making or possess the purest jumper, so there are questions about the kind of role he'll play at this level.

Saying that, there's a reason everyone took notice when he took his talents overseas. The 19-year-old boasts a wealth of physical tools and is a blazer in the open court. He's also a speedster at 6'5", which hints at the potential he possesses should he ever put it all together.

"Hampton is a project who will benefit from G League time as he figures out what role he'll need to play to succeed moving forward," SI.com's Jeremy Woo wrote. "But there's still enough upside here to take a shot on him, which will be easier for a team with multiple firsts like Boston."


Tyrell Terry To Philadelphia

Watching the Sixers in action can feel a bit claustrophobic.

That's actually not always a bad thing, since Philly's unfair amounts of length and athleticism can swallow the opposition hole at the defensive end. But on the offensive end, the lack of shooting congests the interior and leads to overall clunkiness. The Sixers have two of the best players in basketball in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and this team ranks just 17th in offensive efficiency. That shouldn't be possible.

Terry doesn't have the talent to change that on his own, but his deep range, off-the-dribble shooting and ability to run offense all scratch obvious itches for Philadelphia.

"Terry's combination of elite shooting and secondary playmaking skills would be welcome on the Sixers," Noah Levick wrote for NBC Sports Philadelphia. "The defensive worries would be less of an issue here than on many other teams, since the Sixers have the versatility to minimize Terry's weaknesses on that end."

Terry's offensive tools could be perfect for the modern game. In his absolute-best-case scenario, he's the kind of mobile scoring threat who demands an opponents' attention at all times. But as a 6'1", 160-pounder with limited athleticism and questionable separation skills, his worst-case scenario isn't long for the league. He's worth a gamble at some point, but it will be a gamble when his name is called.