2020 NBA Mock Draft: Rounding Up Experts' 1st-Round Predictions After Lottery

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 21, 2020

Georgia guard Anthony Edwards (5) scores in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

The Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to add a backcourt partner for D'Angelo Russell with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. 

The NBA draft lottery winner will likely select either LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards in the eyes of most experts. 

Since Minnesota already has Karl-Anthony Towns down low, it probably will not consider James Wiseman, which allows Golden State and Charlotte to focus in on the Memphis big man and the guard who does not go No. 1. 

Although NBA draft experts are split on where Ball, Edwards and Wiseman will be chosen, the one thing for certain is they will be the top three selections in October.


Expert Prediction Roundup

LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards Projected As Top Pick

Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press

The one thing experts can agree on is Minnesota will be drafting a guard with the top pick.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman and The Athletic's Sam Vecenie have the Wolves selecting Edwards, while ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony predicts Ball will go first. 

Wasserman pointed out how Edwards' overall package appeals to teams over Ball, Wiseman and other top prospects. 

"Between Anthony Edwards' age (19), physical profile, explosiveness, advanced shot-creation and three-level shot-making, he possesses the draft's most favorable mix of talent, upside and skill," he wrote. 

Edwards averaged 19.1 points per game in his lone season at Georgia, and he could turn into a third consistent scorer behind Russell and Towns if he lands in Minnesota. 

The one-and-done shooting guard will have to improve on his three-point shooting to become one of the game's top all-around scorers. He shot 29.7 percent from deep with the Bulldogs. 

The advantage to selecting Edwards is that he doesn't need to be on the ball as much as Ball, who is a natural point guard. 

Combining Ball and Russell would give the Wolves more star power, but as Givony noted, it could come with some downfalls. 

"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," he said. 

If the Wolves opt for the best-player-available strategy over fit, it could go after Ball, who has NBA pedigree and played professionally in Australia instead of participating in men's college basketball. 

But if they choose to find a better backcourt fit for Russell, the Wolves could land Edwards to keep the 24-year-old as the team's top ball-handler. 

In that scenario, there is a chance Ball drops to Charlotte at No. 3 because of Golden State's need for a paint presence.


James Wiseman Could Be Perfect Fit For Golden State

Golden State could solve its one positional weakness by selecting Wiseman with the No. 2 pick.

The 19-year-old could give the Warriors a stronger inside-outside game and use his size to create second-chance opportunities for the shooters on the perimeter, such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Wasserman and Vecenie are in agreement that Wiseman will land with Steve Kerr's team since his size should be beneficial to its style of play. 

"Offensively, Wiseman is best when he keeps things simple," Vecenie wrote. "He has a chance to be one of the league’s elite rim runners due to his hands, his catch radius and his ability to high point the ball once he gets downhill. I also think he’s going to be able to shoot it from distance long-term." 

One of the drawbacks to taking Wiseman is that he hasn't played in a competitive game since November. He was suspended for 12 games and then decided to focus on NBA draft preparations instead of returning to Memphis. 

Of course, most prospects will be dealing with a longer layoff between their last college game and professional debut in 2020, but Wiseman may not be on the floor for over a year. 

However, that specific concern could be put to the side based off Darius Garland's rookie production in Cleveland. After missing most of his freshman season at Vanderbilt due to injury, he averaged 12.3 points per game.

If Wiseman adapts fine to the next level, he could be a great fit for the Warriors in their quest to return to championship form.

If Golden State decides to go with a guard at No. 2, he likely won't fall further than No. 3 since Charlotte could use a dominant big man.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com