NBA Mock Draft 2020: 1st-Round Projections and Stock Watch for Top ProspectsAugust 14, 2020
It's the eternal question for teams picking in the lottery portion of the NBA draft: Do we take the best player available or the one who fits our biggest need?
The 2020 iteration will be no different, with the teams selecting in the first half of the draft picking through arguably a historically weak draft class. Even for the Golden State Warriors, just two years removed from winning the NBA Finals, whom to spend their draft capital on is no easy question.
With a slew of potential first-rounders deciding to go back to college because of the uncertainty around this year's draft process, teams are left with an even emptier cupboard to choose from. Prospects who typically would be fringe first-rounders will likely get taken in the middle third of the first round, and teams usually picking for potential franchise cornerstones in the Nos. 5-10 range will be hoping they find future starters.
Based on that, we could see wild swings in where we would expect a player to get drafted and where they actually do, both up and down the draft board.
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: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
6. New York Knicks: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
7. Chicago Bulls: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
8. Charlotte Hornets: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
10. Phoenix Suns: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn
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: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
15. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State
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
Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
Cole Anthony is one of the more enigmatic prospects in this year's class.
He came to North Carolina last season as an expected top-three pick. The Tar Heels' season quickly unraveled, in part due to Anthony's injuries, which caused him to miss 11 games. When he returned, he was leaned upon heavily to carry UNC's offense, and to some degree, he did. His shooting percentages weren't particularly impressive, but he still managed impressive numbers: 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
Draft analysts are split on where Anthony will land. Before the season, most saw him as a possibility for the Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons, teams that could use a playmaking point guard. And if Anthony were to blow people away at the combine—if it happens—that's still a possibility.
He will probably land in the Nos. 10-15 range, with a team that is looking to find a solid starter but hoping to find a star who fell out of the top 10.
The San Antonio Spurs desperately need a playmaking guard, and with DeMar DeRozan (31) and LaMarcus Aldridge (35) hitting the latter years of their careers, Anthony could be a great player to build around alongside Dejounte Murray and Derrick White.
Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Deni Avdija is one of the biggest unknowns of this year's draft class, in part because the COVID-19 pandemic essentially shuttered international basketball for months. But there's plenty of intrigue—and hope—around him being one of the most well-rounded prospects in this year's group.
He's not a through-and-through scorer, but for teams like the Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns, another scorer isn't what they need. They need contributors to play around their stars—Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton in Phoenix, and John Wall and Bradley Beal in Washington. It's possible that Avdija might be off the board by the time either of those teams is picking depending on how Thursday's draft lottery goes.
But of the draft-eligible small forwards, Avdija is the most polished skill-wise after playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv since he was 16, making him the youngest player to feature in the club's senior team. This past season, he was the Israeli Basketball Premier League's MVP, and he's intriguing in that he's yet to reach 20 but has played three professional seasons.
A team like Phoenix might be hesitant to use a top-10 pick on him when they already have Dario Saric, but adding another skill player around the combo of Ayton, Booker and Ricky Rubio would give them something to think about. Ultimately, however, Washington seems like an ideal destination. He wouldn't be expected to come in and lead the team in scoring, and a foursome of Avdija, Rui Hachimura, Bradley Beal and a healthy John Wall would be formidable.
Follow Keegan on Twitter, @ByKeeganPope.