NBA Mock Draft 2020: Round 1 Projections, Prospects' Post-Lottery Landing Spots

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 22, 2020

Georgia guard Anthony Edwards plays against Vanderbilt in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Fresh off the NBA draft lottery results, focus has shifted to figuring out where the top prospects in this year's class will end up.

The Minnesota Timberwolves control the board with the first overall pick. This marks the first time since 2015 they own the top choice. That worked out well, with Karl-Anthony Towns developing into one of the league's best offensive players and a two-time All-Star.

There is still a lot of work for all 30 teams to do leading up to the 2020 NBA draft Oct. 16. Here are the latest projections for what to expect from the first round now that the order is set.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis 

3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, PG, NBL Hawks 

4. Chicago Bulls: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC 

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State

6. Atlanta Hawks: Deni Avdija, SF, Israel

7. Detroit Pistons: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

8. New York Knicks: Killian Hayes, PG, France

9. Washington Wizards: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

10. Phoenix Suns: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

11. San Antonio Spurs: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State

12. Sacramento Kings: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton 

13. New Orleans Pelicans: RJ Hampton, PG, New Zealand Breakers

14. Boston Celtics: Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis 

15. Orlando Magic: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Serbia

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn): Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

18. Dallas Mavericks: Saddiq Bey, PF, Villanova 

19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia): Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington 

20. Miami Heat: Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland

21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City): Leandro Bolmaro, SG, Argentina 

22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston): Josh Green, SG, Arizona

23. Utah Jazz: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver): Theo Maledon, PG, France

26. Boston Celtics: Tyler Bey, PF, Colorado 

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State

28. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahmi'us Ramsey, PG, Texas Tech

29. Toronto Raptors: Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee): Robert Woodard II, SF, Mississippi State


What Happens at No. 1?

The Timberwolves are in an interesting position because their two best players—Towns and D'Angelo Russelloccupy the same positions as arguably the top two players in this class.

That would seem to leave general manager Scott Layden with a difficult decision between LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman. One solution could be for him to go against conventional wisdom with someone like Anthony Edwards, who would fill a desperate need for scoring at the wing.

This is what CBS Sports' Kyle Boone wrote about the possibility of Edwards landing with the T-Wolves:

"Fit may be the most important consideration for Minnesota at No. 1, and with D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns in place, Anthony Edwards gives the Timberwolves the most obvious plug-and-play prospect that fits the team's timeline for winning now. He's a 6-foot-5 wing who can create his own shot, has endless athleticism, and holds real potential to be a plus-defender when he's locked in."

There is an argument to be made that the Timberwolves, who are coming off a 19-45 record in 2019-20 and have made just one postseason appearance in the past 16 years, should take someone who might have a higher ceiling, like LaMelo Ball, and let the pieces fall into place.

But the T-Wolves are clearly committed to making the Russell-Towns pairing work. Their trade with the Golden State Warriors for Russell in February was largely built around 2021 first-round pick that is only top-three protected.

Edwards may not be the consensus No. 1 overall player in this year's class, but his position and skill set would be the best fit for Minnesota based on the pieces already in place.


Do the Warriors Stay at No. 2?

As was the case for five years before the 2019-20 season, the Golden State Warriors appear to be in control of the NBA once again.

Even though a 15-50 record wasn't what general manager Bob Myers planned on when Kevin Durant left, it could end up being a blessing in disguise. His maneuvering for the future started last summer when he got a $17.2 million trade exception by sending Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies.

While we still don't know what the Timberwolves will look like next season, the Warriors seem to be in a good position to have another high pick in a 2021 class that appears to be better than this year's group.

Factoring in those future pieces, the Warriors are also built to win right now. They should have a healthy Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green next season. Andrew Wiggins wasn't terrible offensively (19.4 points, 45.7 field goal percentage) after coming over in February. Eric Paschall had a promising rookie season (14 points and 4.6 rebounds per game).

As Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill noted, a lot of Myers' talk recently seems to suggest the Warriors will attempt to make a move:

"All the cues seem to lead to the Warriors trading the pick, especially because the lack of definitive knowledge surrounding these prospects means someone could get cute and swing for the fences, wanting to move as close to the top as possible.

"Myers knows the Warriors have to be pliable to keep up with the Lakers and Clippers, let alone a team like the Nuggets or even the Rockets. It'll take a bold move to leapfrog the contenders, along with good health and so many other factors that are out of Myers' hands."

Myers could combine the No. 2 pick with a player or even Minnesota's 2021 pick to add an established high-end veteran who could help push the Warriors back to the top of the Western Conference next season.


Which Lottery Teams Should Be Optimistic?

Since the Timberwolves and Warriors have already been discussed, let's examine some of the other winners coming out of Thursday's lottery.

It's hard not to be intrigued by the Charlotte Hornets sitting in the No. 3 spot. Assuming the draft plays out as this mock does, principal owner Michael Jordan could end up with the best overall player and get his long-term solution at point guard after Kemba Walker left as a free agent last summer.

B/R's Jonathan Wasserman projects the Hornets to get LaMelo Ball in his most recent mock:

"Despite Devonte' Graham's breakout season, Charlotte will try to make it work with Ball, who brings 6'7" size and elite passing skills to the point guard position. He'll benefit from having a shooter like Graham, and Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington could start seeing better looks with Ball pushing the pace and setting them up."

The Hornets roster without Walker made them look like a shoo-in for the NBA's worst record in 2019-20, but they played well above expectations with a 23-42 record.

Devonte' Graham is more of a shooter than point guard who can run the offense. Ball's best attributes are his vision and passing, so it shouldn't be hard for the Hornets to keep both players on the court if they end up getting the 18-year-old.

The Chicago Bulls were winners simply because they only had an 8.5 percent chance to move into the top four and wound landing the No. 4 pick. Their recent draft history is sketchy, with Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. struggling to make impacts. Coby White started to show promise with 26.1 points and a 43.2 percent success rate from three over his final nine games.

A new regime headed up by executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas, who helped build the current Denver Nuggets roster, is a good sign that the Bulls can find a valuable player at No. 4 overall.