2020 NBA Mock Draft: New Lottery Simulation and 1st-Round Predictions
The New York Knicks finally caught some luck, winning this week's simulated lottery with 9.0 percent odds.
As bubble play continues, the odds for late-lottery and playoff teams change by the day. With every win, the Phoenix Suns' projected pick keeps getting worse.
The draft order was simulated after all games on Aug. 9.
1. New York Knicks: LaMelo Ball (Illawarra Hawks, PG, 2001)
With a 9.0 percent chance, the New York Knicks moved up to No. 1. And if it were to happen on Aug. 20, the front office wouldn't likely need another two months to make its decision.
LaMelo Ball's star potential and playmaking should be a huge draw to president Leon Rose, general manager Scott Perry and new head coach Tom Thibodeau. His passing and pace are sorely needed from the point guard spot in New York's lineup.
Even if Ball does end up struggling with shooting consistency and physicality, the Knicks can bank on his vision and setup ability translating. Still, he doesn't turn 19 until Aug. 22, and he's flashed enough touch and range for the team to feel optimistic about his perimeter shot-making getting better.
Ball and RJ Barrett would give the Knicks an exciting offensive backcourt to build around, though filling in the lineup gaps with shooting and defense would become an even bigger priority moving forward.
2. Atlanta Hawks: Anthony Edwards (Georgia, SG, Freshman)
Heavily reliant on Trae Young for creation, the Atlanta Hawks would presumably show interest in Anthony Edwards.
He'd take pressure off Young and give the lineup a needed second guard who excels at getting his own shot. Edwards would need to adjust to playing with a more ball-dominant player, but he'd still receive opportunities to make plays, particularly with how effective Young has become spotting up (98th percentile) and catch-and-shooting (46.7 field-goal percentage).
Atlanta's front office figures to discuss trading down for better fits, including Isaac Okoro for his defense, Deni Avdija for versatility and Tyrese Haliburton for his IQ at both ends. But Edwards, an explosive 225-pounder who just turned 19 last week and averaged 20.3 points during SEC play, could possess too much star potential for the Hawks to resist.
A core of Young, Edwards, John Collins and Cam Reddish would have exciting offensive upside.
3. Golden State Warriors: Obi Toppin (Dayton, PF, Sophomore)
The Golden State Warriors' front office has likely already had plenty of discussions about James Wiseman. President of basketball operations Bob Myers was in attendance for his third and final game against Oregon.
But that was before Obi Toppin really started his National Player of the Year campaign.
Toppin converted scouts into believers this season with improved shooting and passing to complement the explosive finishing. And given Golden State's spread offense, ball movement and win-now roster, the 22-year-old inside-out big man could have a more appealing case than a project whose weaknesses include skill and feel.
Head coach Steve Kerr may like the idea of using Toppin at center, where he could work as both a vertical threat and floor spacer.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Deni Avdija (Maccabi Tel Aviv, SF/PF, 2001)
The Minnesota Timberwolves likely pass on James Wiseman here since he can't play with Karl-Anthony Towns. Isaac Okoro will earn consideration for his defensive toughness. But Deni Avdija may now have the edge after Maccabi Tel Aviv's Israeli League championship run.
Appearing visibly bulkier, the 6'8" combo forward spent time handling the ball in transition, driving through contact, playmaking off ball screens and knocking down threes.
While scouts question how well his creation and scoring will translate, strong physical tools, success in numerous settings overseas and skill versatility hint at Avdija being one of the draft's safest picks. He'd be a fitting, low-maintenance piece between Towns and D'Angelo Russell.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman (Memphis, C, Freshman)
The Cleveland Cavaliers can't be thinking about positional needs. They don't know if Darius Garland is the long-term answer at point guard. Andre Drummond will become a free agent in 2021 after he opts in for the 2020-21 season.
General manager Koby Altman will continue attempting to stockpile talent and worry about sorting it out later. And that could lead to Wiseman in Cleveland.
While there are skeptics around the league, there are also teams who still see too much potential tied to his 7'1", 240-pound frame, 7'6" wingspan, bounce at the rim and possible skill package.
He'd also give Altman an out from having to overpay for Drummond after next season. Wiseman similarly excels as a finisher and rebounder, but he possesses another level of upside fueled by flashes of mid-range touch and shot-blocking.
6. Detroit Pistons: Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State, PG/SG, Sophomore)
The Detroit Pistons need to go with their best player available, and it's possible that's Onyeka Okongwu. But if it's too close to call, it wouldn't be surprising if they favored a guard.
It's easy to picture Detroit being drawn to Tyrese Haiburton's passing, IQ and maturity. Derrick Rose is a quick-fix, short-term answer for the Pistons. Haliburton possesses the type of floor game and poise coaches covet in their lead decision-makers.
Though not an exciting athlete or scorer, he'll be valued most for his ability to run the offense and get teammates open looks. He averaged 6.5 assists at Iowa State, and that was despite spot-up shooters converting just 22.3 percent of his pick-and-roll passes. He'd have Luke Kennard, Svi Mykhailiuk and Tony Snell around the arc in Detroit.
Haliburton also shot 41.9 percent from three himself, so his shooting and facilitating would complement Rose's aggressive attack game right away.
7. Chicago Bulls: Isaac Okoro (Auburn, SF/PF, Freshman)
Injuries have limited Otto Porter Jr., and it wouldn't be surprising if this upcoming season is his last in Chicago. The Bulls could prepare for his departure by adding Isaac Okoro, whose offensive efficiency and defensive toughness would fit well between Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
He's developed a reputation for being an impact-over-stats player, leaving his mark on games with timely plays, unselfishness, effort and intensity. Okoro's production wasn't flashy at Auburn, and he's somewhat limited as a creator and shooter. But he still shot 60.7 percent inside the arc, flying in transition, driving through contact, cutting off the ball and scoring from the post.
While his skills will take time to develop, Okoro would play off LaVine, Markkanen and Coby White in Chicago, taking what the defense gives and rarely making any mistakes. Head coach Jim Boylen may ultimately value him most for his potential to guard both big and small opponents with physicality and discipline.
8. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu (USC, C, Freshman)
After selecting forwards (P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges) in consecutive drafts and watching Devonte' Graham break out, the Charlotte Hornets should have their sights set on Onyeka Okongwu to anchor the paint.
They could use his finishing for easy baskets and athleticism and tools for shot-blocking. But Okongwu also ranked in the 94th percentile on spot-ups and shot 15-of-35 on half-court jump shots. He's become highly skilled with his shot-creation and touch inside 15 feet.
With the Hornets offense running through Graham (38.2 field-goal percentage) and Terry Rozier (42.3 field-goal percentage), Okongwu would give it a higher-percentage option to feature, either in the pick-and-roll game or isolated from the elbows and short corners.
9. Washington Wizards: Killian Hayes (Ratiopharm Ulm, PG, 2001)
The Washington Wizards can't let John Wall keep them from drafting the best player available. Killian Hayes has a case for that title after he finished third in Eurocup in assists and made considerable improvement to his shot-creation skills and shot-making.
At 6'5", he's an excellent ball-screen passer with a 41.8 pull-up percentage and soft touch on his floater and finishes.
As well-rounded as any guard in the class, Hayes also just turned 19 on July 27, so the Wizards could take it slow and allow him to develop behind Wall early on.
10. Sacramento Kings: Devin Vassell (Florida State, SF, Sophomore)
Eliminated from the playoffs in the bubble, the Sacramento Kings can now focus on drafting the next key piece for their core. Devin Vassell jumps out as a strong candidate with his shooting and defense.
Consecutive seasons over 40 percent from three, plus routine standout defensive plays that highlight his athleticism and IQ, paint Vassell as a high-floor lottery pick.
But he also improved his pull-up game, and there seems to be more untapped shot-making potential for Sacramento to unlock.
11. New Orleans Pelicans: Cole Anthony (North Carolina, PG, Freshman)
New Orleans would be a suitable landing spot for Anthony, who could play to his strengths as a scorer and let Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday make most of the passes and decisions. Frank Jackson remains unproven, and JJ Redick isn't likely to be a Pelican long-term, so Anthony could also fill a need with his ball-handling and shot-making.
12. Phoenix Suns: Patrick Williams (Florida State, SF/PF, Freshman)
Williams would plug into the 4 spot for the rising Suns and add inside-out versatility next to Deandre Ayton. Phoenix wouldn't see results right away from the draft's youngest NCAA prospect, but the combination of power, pick-and-roll passing and shot-making touch creates a unique potential trajectory.
13. San Antonio Spurs: Josh Green (Arizona, SG/SF, Freshman)
While scouts sound split on Green, the Spurs should covet his athleticism for transition and defense. He also flashed encouraging touch, and though not an advanced creator or shooter, he should be able to score in the half court with his spot-up three-ball and floater off line drives.
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Saddiq Bey (Villanova, SF/PF, Sophomore)
The Blazers could target Bey for his shooting from the 4 spot next to Jusuf Nurkic. After ranking in the 98th percentile as a spot-up player at Villanova, he could give Portland another off-ball shot-maker (along with breakout guard Gary Trent Jr.) to place around Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Nurkic.
15. Orlando Magic: Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
Orlando never considers needs in the draft, but Maxey could fill one while also meeting the best-player-available criteria. Evan Fournier's time with the Magic could be running its course, and Maxey could give the team another three-level scoring guard, assuming his shooting is sharper than his 29.2 three-point percentage suggests.
16. Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies): Precious Achiuwa (Memphis, PF/C, Freshman)
The Celtics could see a versatile defender in Achiuwa, who averaged 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals with a convincing mix of size, length and foot speed. They'll have to show patience with his offensive development, though he did tease scouts with flashes of face-up scoring moves and spot-up threes.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nets): Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt, SF, Sophomore)
Looking for shooting, the Wolves could have Nesmith highlighted predraft as a target with their second first-round pick. The 6'6" wing buried 60 threes in 14 games at a 52.2 percent clip, and though he doesn't offer any on-ball creation, he wouldn't need to in a specific role supporting D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.
18. Dallas Mavericks: RJ Hampton (New Zealand, PG/SG, 2001)
Dallas could see Hampton as the best player available for his explosiveness, versatility and age (19). He's going to create highlights in the open floor and off drives, though the Mavericks would be betting that the flashes of shooting fluidity and playmaking become more routine.
19. Brooklyn Nets (via Sixers): Aleksej Pokusevski (Olympiacos II, PF/C, 2001)
The Nets could go after a more NBA-ready player, but they likely aren't finding anyone this late who could move the needle during their 2020-21 season. They're better off just thinking about long-term potential, and Pokusevski's jumps out. He possesses unique shooting fluidity and passing skill for a shot-blocking 7-footer.
20. Miami Heat: Kira Lewis Jr. (Alabama, PG, Sophomore)
The Heat could add a different element of speed to their backcourt with Lewis, arguably the draft's fastest end-to-end guard with the ball. His decision-making and execution aren't always the sharpest, but he'd have plenty of veterans to defer to early while he focuses on pressuring defenses with transition attacks and penetration.
21. Utah Jazz: Tyrell Terry (Stanford, PG/SG, Freshman)
Terry's shooting versatility, touch and playmaking IQ will help teams look past his physical limitations. The Jazz should feel it's worth betting that his high skill level will help him overcome his 6'1", 160-pound size and lack of explosion.
22. Milwaukee Bucks (via Pacers): Jalen Smith (Maryland, C, Sophomore)
The Bucks could plug-and-play Smith next season after he improved his body and shooting. Finishing, rebounding, stretching the floor and playing physical defense would be all he needs to focus on for a playoff team like Milwaukee.
23. Philadelphia 76ers (via Thunder): Jaden McDaniels (Washington, SF/PF, Freshman)
The Sixers could see McDaniels as a stretch 4 and matchup problem with his ability to handle around the perimeter and shoot off the dribble. It just may take time to expect any consistency based on his mixed freshman year in terms of execution and impact.
24. Denver Nuggets (via Rockets): Leandro Bolmaro (Barcelona, SG/SF, 2000)
Bolmaro's ball-handling and passing set him apart from other 6'7" wings. It's worth questioning his ability to create for himself and score, but he shows enough spot-up shooting potential when paired with his passing and driving.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Nuggets): Daniel Oturu (Minnesota, C, Sophomore)
Oturu's 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game caught NBA scouts' attention. Whether his methods for producing will translate is the big question as he leaned on post-ups and strength at Minnesota. But he still delivered an impressive array of mid-range scoring moves, drives past closeouts, three-point shots and defensive denials at the rim.
26. New York Knicks (via Clippers): Jahmi'us Ramsey (Texas Tech, SG, Freshman)
At No. 26, the Knicks should be more interested in gambling on upside than settling for seniors or backup point guard prospects. Ramsey was mistake-prone at Texas Tech, but he also turned 19 in June and possesses a persuasive mix of shooting (42.6 three-point percentage) and confident scoring instincts (88th percentile in isolation).
27. Boston Celtics: Zeke Nnaji (Arizona, C, Freshman)
Nnaji earned NBA fans this year with how he used his 6'11" size, touch and nose for the ball to score efficiently around the basket, clean the offensive glass and convert short-range jumpers. The Celtics would just have to look past his limited ceiling for his high floor.
28. Toronto Raptors: Grant Riller (Charleston, PG, Senior)
At this stage of the draft, the Raptors would put more stock in the eye test and Riller's effectiveness than his age (23) or strength of schedule. He just put together consecutive seasons averaging 21.9 points on better than 60 percent true shooting. At 6'3" with his sharp skills and serious quickness, it's worth using a pick in the 20s to see how his game will translate.
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Nico Mannion (Arizona, PG, Freshman)
Mannion's stock has slipped, but he stills offers an appealing balance of passing and shot-making skills. At No. 29, the Lakers could take their chances on his inefficiency being the result of a few fluky slumps rather than underwhelming tools that make it too tough to execute.
30. Boston Celtics (via Bucks): Xavier Tillman (Michigan State, PF/C, Junior)
Tillman has earned the ultimate-role-player label based on his passing skills, defensive IQ and effort. The Celtics would accept his scoring limitations at No. 30 and value his ancillary skills and ability to make winning/impact plays.