Where Experts Predict Top 2020 NBA Draft Prospects Are Headed Post-Lottery

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2020

Georgia's Anthony Edwards dribbles 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

The 2019-20 season didn't go according to plan for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but now their front office has the No. 1 pick to supplement a roster centered around D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.

The Timberwolves won Thursday's 2020 NBA draft lottery, which puts them in pole position in the first round.

One question that immediately springs to mind is whether Minnesota would target LaMelo Ball, whom some consider the top player available. Russell's arrival eliminated the need for another ball-dominant scorer and playmaker at guard. 

Stadium's Jeff Goodman had Ball heading to Minneapolis anyway:

ESPN's Jonathan Givony had the same assessment:

"A backcourt of Ball and D'Angelo Russell might be one of the worst defensive pairings in the league, but to speed up their rebuild, the Timberwolves need to continue to stockpile star power. No one in this draft class has more of that than Ball. His size makes him easy to pair with another guard, and teammates will love his tremendous passing creativity and the way he empowers others."

There's something to be said for simply taking the best player available and working things out later.

Ricky O'Donnell of SB Nation, however, projected the Wolves to select Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, who figures to primarily be a scorer. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor was in agreement.

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O'Donnell had Ball off the board one pick later to the Golden State Warriors. O'Connor, meanwhile, gave Memphis center James Wiseman the nod.

Whether Golden State actually makes the pick appears to be up in the air.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (h/t RealGM) reported he had spoken with Warriors general manager Bob Myers, who indicated the franchise is willing to shop the No. 2 pick for players who match more with its short-term priorities.

ESPN's Mike Schmitz referenced a point he had made on the pre-lottery edition of Hoop Streams in which he posited the Chicago Bulls would be a fit for Ball personnel-wise:

O'Connor likes the idea of Ball on the Bulls as well, but Givony and Goodman were aligned in projecting Dayton star Obi Toppin to the Windy City. O'Donnell had the Bulls selecting Killian Hayes, who played for Ulm in Germany.

The Charlotte Hornets will be on the clock with the No. 3 pick. Each of the four mocks had a different choice for Charlotte, with Edwards (Goodman), Wiseman (Givony), USC center Onyeka Okongwu (O'Donnell) and Maccabi Tel Aviv wing Deni Avdija (O'Connor) mentioned as possibilities.

The Cleveland Cavaliers round out the top five. 

O'Connor and Goodman believe Auburn wing Isaac Okoro would look good in wine and gold, with Givony focusing on the same position but targeting Avdija instead. O'Donnell tabbed Toppin to join a crowded frontcourt in Cleveland.

Predicting the draft is always a crapshoot, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic makes this year's installment even tougher to predict. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman wrote Thursday that "opinions are all over the place" regarding some of the best players available.

Mock drafts are bound to undergo plenty of changes between now and Oct. 16.