For 17 of the NBA's teams, the 2020 season is still in progress. But it's the offseason for the rest of the league's teams and fans, and eyes are set on the draft.
The Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers are battling for the West's eighth playoff spot this weekend and, subsequently, the postseason will officially get underway Monday. With regular-season standings set, the draft lottery will take place three days later.
The rankings are volatile for this year's draft and will continue to be as we pass the playoffs and eventually near the October 16 drafting date. For now, we've put together a mock draft of the first round based on current lottery odds, followed by analyzing two of the more intriguing situations to monitor.
2020 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
4. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
5. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, PG, RatiopharmUlm
6. New York Knicks: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
7. Chicago Bulls: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
8. Charlotte Hornets: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
10. Phoenix Suns: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
12. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
13. Sacramento Kings: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
14. Boston Celtics: Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
15. Orlando Magic: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
16. Portland Trailblazers: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
17. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
18. Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
19. Brooklyn Nets: Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
20. Miami Heat: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
21. Denver Nuggets: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
22. Philadelphia 76ers: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
23. Utah Jazz: Josh Green, SG, Arizona
24. Milwaukee Bucks: Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State
25. Oklahoma City: Desmond Bane, SG, TCU
26. Boston Celtics: Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
27. New York Knicks: Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke
28. Los Angeles Lakers: Tre Jones, PG, Duke
29. Toronto Raptors: Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona
30. Boston Celtics: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Warriors Wager on Wiseman
A 15-50 record is not something the Golden State Warriors' current era is accustomed to. The Warriors want to get back to contending as soon as possible, and James Wiseman's upside is the strongest fit to help them do so.
Anthony Edwards would be the safer pick here, as demonstrated by the community consensus—with most drafts having him go No. 1 overall. But the Warriors are likely to have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green next year. Among players who are 6'9" and over, they have the 6'9" Kevon Looney, 6'9" Marquese Chriss and 6'10" Alen Smailagic.
Edwards is fantastic and a likely Day 1 contributor, but he's 6'5", an inconsistent shooter and fills depth needs. Wiseman is 7'1", has incredible potential and fills a legitimate roster void. He only played three games for Memphis but averaged 19.7 points per game (on 76.9 percent shooting), 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks.
As an added bonus, his shooting form is intriguing and his 70.4 percent clip from the charity stripe suggests the spacing potential is there. Edwards and LaMelo Ball are tremendous prospects, but the Warriors are at their best when they have someone who can protect the rim on one end and attack it on the other. That's why Andrew Bogut helped pave the way toward contention and why Wiseman could too.
Ball and Smith Transform Timberwolves
If Wiseman goes to Golden State, then the Cleveland Cavaliers should select Edwards, as he is a tremendous prospect and a better fit alongside their backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland experiment. That leaves Minnesota in the position they just helped the Warriors out of: pairing D'Angelo Russell with another ball-handler.
The fit may feel weird, but the upside should be too tempting for Minnesota to ignore. At the moment, Russell is Minnesota's playmaker and Karl-Anthony Towns is the cornerstone big while intriguing wings such as Malik Beasley, Jarrett Culver and Josh Okogie round out the roster. A defensively talented big like Onyeka Okongwu or versatile forward like Deni Avdija may be appealing as better fits here, but Ball's upside is irresistible.
LaMelo shot horribly and defended poorly in the NBL, but he still earned Rookie of the Year honors. Despite standing around 6'8", his handle, dimes and general feel for the game are outrageous. He averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game comfortably.
If the Timberwolves can snag Jalen Smith later, the team may just get back to a high level. Smith is 6'10", ferocious above the rim (on both ends) and surprisingly smooth from outside. He averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks this season on 53.8 percent shooting from the field.
While he only took 2.8 threes per game, he knocked down 36.8 percent of them. When combined with his 75.0 percent success rate from the free-throw line (the same as UNC's Cole Anthony), it becomes clear how high his ceiling is.
Ball and Smith have standalone value and the potential to fit snugly alongside Russell, Towns and the rest of Minnesota's intriguing players.