2020 NBA Mock Draft: Rounding Up Expert Picks Heading into Final Day of Season

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2020

Georgia's Anthony Edwards jogs down the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

With the NBA's restart bubble nearing the end of the seeding portion, we should soon know which 16 teams will participate in the postseason—the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers will begin their play-in series on Saturday.

This means that we'll also know which teams aren't in the playoffs and can officially start focusing on the 2020 draft. Of course, the eight teams that didn't qualify for the restart have been focused on October's draft for some time. Yet, there's no clear picture on how the first few picks might unfold.

There isn't a Zion Williamson in this draft class, looming over it as a consensus top prospect. Instead, the early pick order may depend on this month's draft lottery and specific team needs.

This doesn't mean we can't take an educated guess on how things will unfold, though, which is exactly what we'll do here. We'll also dive into recent mock drafts from CBS Sports' Colin Ward-Henninger, NBC Sports' James Ham and a collection of beat writers from The Athletic.


2020 NBA Mock Draft, Round 1

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1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

2. Chicago Bulls: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks (projected trade)

3. New Orleans Pelicans: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton 

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

5. Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

6. Golden State Warriors: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

7. Detroit Pistons: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

8. New York Knicks: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

9.  Atlanta Hawks: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (projected trade)

10. Washington Wizards: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

11. Phoenix Suns: Onyeka Okongwu, PF, USC 

12. San Antonio Spurs: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

13. Sacramento Kings: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

14. Portland Trail Blazers:  RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

15. Orlando Magic: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona 

16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

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

18. Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

19. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana): Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

20. Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

21. Denver Nuggets (from Houston: Vernon Carey Jr., PF/C, Duke

22. Philadelphia 76rs (from OKC): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

23. Miami Heat: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos

24. Utah Jazz: Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Denver): Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

26. Boston Celtics: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

27. New York Knicks (from LAC): Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland

28. Toronto Raptors: Tre Jones, PG, Duke

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

30. Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee): Grant Riller, PG, Charleston

*Records and a spin of Tankathon's Lottery Simulator used to determine draft order.


Edwards Trending as a Top Pick

In this mock, we have Georgia's Anthony Edwards going to the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 1 overall. This is based largely on his upside and scoring potential, and the experts seem to feel the same way.

All three of the mocks we've examined have the 19-year-old as the first pick—regardless of draft order. Ward-Henninger has him going to the Golden State Warriors, while Ham and The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov have him landing with the New York Knicks.

"Edwards is a super athlete with tremendous potential, but he's not a clear No. 1 overall pick in a normal year, he just has the highest upside out of a stack of players," Ham wrote. "New York needs a floor general, but they need a star more."

While Edwards is not what one would consider a "safe" draft prospect, he does have the potential to be a star at the next level.


Ball Likely to be a Lottery Pick

Like Edwards, point guard prospect LaMelo Ball isn't a sure thing. He has a high upside and appears to have the intangibles needed to be a quality NBA player. However, he does carry legitimate question marks.

"One source described his shot as 'broken' and another questioned his care level on defense," Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor wrote.

Upside is likely to win out with Ball, though, and all three mocks we've examined have him going within the first four selections.

As in the above mock, Ward-Henninger has Ball going second overall, but Ham and The Athletic's James L. Edwards III have him going in the No. 4 slot.


Toppin Could Be a Wild Card

Dayton's Obi Toppin might be the only potential lottery prospect one might consider "safe." The 22-year-old has more polish to his game than any of the other potential top picks. However, there appears to be a wide range in which he might be selected.

The Athletic's group of beat writers only mocked the first five selections, and the 22-year-old isn't among them. Ward-Henninger has him going sixth overall to the Knicks, but Ham mocks him to the Warriors at No. 2.

"Toppin doesn't play defense, but he might fit perfectly into the Warriors offensive scheme. He can hit from the outside, take his man off the dribble and he might be a dream player for a Steph Curry two-man game," Ham wrote.

It wouldn't be a shock to see Toppin go second overall. It also wouldn't be a surprise to see him fall out of lottery range entirely. Much could depend on how teams weigh upside versus NBA-readiness.


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