NBA Mock Draft 2020: Latest Pre-Lottery Projections for 1st-Round ActionAugust 20, 2020
The Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves enter Thursday with equal 14 percent odds of landing the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA draft. By the end of the night, one team will finally be the owner of that top selection.
Will it be one of those three? Or could one of the other 11 teams with a lower chance to land the first pick get fortunate and have their pingpong ball pulled out last?
After getting pushed back from June because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA draft lottery is set to take place 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday on ESPN, ending months of uncertainty for teams trying to plan ahead for the draft. Once the order is set, it will be easier for teams to know which prospects they have a realistic chance of selecting in this year's draft.
Before the lottery takes place, here's a final mock draft based off teams' regular-season records. (The Nos. 15-30 picks are already locked in for those teams, as only the top 14 selections are determined by the lottery.)
1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
4. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
5. Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
6. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
7. Chicago Bulls: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
8. Charlotte Hornets: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
9. Washington Wizards: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
10. Phoenix Suns: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
12. Sacramento Kings: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
13. New Orleans Pelicans: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
15. Orlando Magic: Tyrese Maxey, PG, Kentucky
16. Portland Trail Blazers: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
18. Dallas Mavericks: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
20. Miami Heat: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Leandro Bolmaro, SG, FC Barcelona
23. Utah Jazz: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B
24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Tyler Bey, SF, Colorado
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Dallas Mavericks): Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
26. Boston Celtics: Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington
28. Los Angeles Lakers: Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
29. Toronto Raptors: Tre Jones, PG, Duke
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Can Warriors quickly get back to contention?
With a guaranteed top-five pick, the Warriors could have a bounce-back season in 2020-21. Their struggles mostly stemmed from injuries, as Klay Thompson missed all of 2019-20 and Stephen Curry was limited to five games. When both are back in the rotation, Golden State could be back to contending.
Plus, the Warriors can add one of the top prospects in this year's draft class to that core, which may not only help them in the short term but also in the long term. Or Golden State could consider trading its pick and getting a proven player in return who can be plugged into its already talented rotation.
However, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said earlier this week that he isn't hearing from his core players that they want the team to move the pick as a win-now move.
"They want to win, we want to win," Myers told reporters. "I don't feel any pressure from any of them to a certain thing. I know it's been written that we need to win now and they need to get a proven player. They've not said that to me."
There's no consensus top prospect in this year's class, but many have projected Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards to be taken with the first pick, and he could be a nice fit on the wing for the Warriors if they're in position to draft him. But it also wouldn't be a huge surprise if Golden State decides to deal its pick by the time the draft is over on October 16.
What's next for Cavs during rebuild?
Since LeBron James left Cleveland for Los Angeles following the 2017-18 season, the Cavaliers have been constructing what they hope will be their core for years to come. That's meant drafting guards early the past two years, taking Collin Sexton with the No. 8 pick in 2018 and Darius Garland at No. 5 last year.
While neither Sexton nor Garland has emerged as a star yet, it's also early in their careers, and they could continue to improve as they gain NBA experience. So, it's possible Cleveland could address another area of its roster with its top pick this year, which is guaranteed to be a top-six selection.
The Cavaliers traded for Andre Drummond earlier this year, but he's not signed beyond next season (he holds a player option for 2020-21 that he'll likely accept). And Kevin Love is now 31, so it's possible Cleveland could draft a post player with its top pick.
James Wiseman is only 19 and played just three college games, so it's possible he'll need some time to develop before reaching his potential. With Drummond and Love starting for now, the Cavs could be a great spot for Wiseman to go, if they land an early enough pick to draft him.
Where does LaMelo land?
After growing up in the spotlight alongside his older brothers and playing in Australia last year, LaMelo Ball is now nearing the start of his NBA career. The talented point guard, who is set to turn 19 on Saturday, has a lot of potential and exciting skills that should lead to him getting drafted early.
But the lottery will have a big impact on where Ball begins his NBA career. A team like the Timberwolves could draft him if they land an early pick and he's the best player on the board. Or a team with a clear need at point guard, such as the Knicks, could find a way to draft him.
In fact, there's been a lot of buzz about Ball going to New York. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Ball would like to play for the Knicks and "his handlers are not averse to steering him there." But if they're not lucky in the lottery, they might not be able to make that happen without a trade, and it's not clear whether they'd want to do that.
It's going to be fun to watch Ball continue to develop and flash his potential wherever he ends up. And while he won't know for about two more months, Thursday could shed some light on potential landing spots.