2020 NBA Mock Draft: Top Prospects and 1st-Round Predictions Following Lottery

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2020

Georgia's Anthony Edwards brings the ball down the court 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 Minnesota Timberwolves won the draft lottery Thursday and now have the opportunity to select whichever one of the 2020 NBA draft's prized prospects takes their fancy when the event takes place Oct. 16.

Although this year's class doesn't feature an absolute can't-miss sensation in the mold of Zion Williamson, who went first overall to the New Orleans Pelicans last year, there are a handful of players with ample upside who should make instant impacts in the NBA.

Let's check out an updated mock draft for the opening round based on the lottery results. That's followed by a closer look at the decisions awaiting the teams at the top of the draft.


1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia

2. Golden State Warriors: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv

3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks

4. Chicago Bulls: Obi Toppin, F, Dayton

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Killian Hayes, G, Ulm

6. Atlanta Hawks: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

7. Detroit Pistons: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State

8. New York Knicks: Onyeka Okongwu, F, USC

9. Washington Wizards: Aaron Nesmith, F, Vanderbilt

10. Phoenix Suns: Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis

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

12. Sacramento Kings: Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Devin Vassell, G, Florida State

14. Boston Celtics (via MEM): Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky

15. Orlando Magic: Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via BKN): Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina

18. Dallas Mavericks: Jahmius Ramsey, G, Texas Tech

19. Brooklyn Nets (via PHI): Josh Green, G, Arizona

20. Miami Heat: Devon Dotson, G, Kansas

21. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC): RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers

22. Denver Nuggets (via HOU): Tyler Bey, F, Colorado

23. Utah Jazz: Nico Mannion, G, Arizona

24. Milwaukee Bucks (via IND): Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via DEN): Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky

26. Boston Celtics: Vernon Carey, C, Duke

27. New York Knicks (via LAC): Isaiah Stewart, F, Washington

28. Los Angeles Lakers: Theo Maledon, G, Villeurbanne

29. Toronto Raptors: Leandro Bolmaro, G, Barcelona

30. Boston Celtics (via MIL): Filip Petrusev, C, Gonzaga

Draft order based on the latest projections from Tankathon


Analyzing Top Picks After Lottery

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia

Most of the early conversation coming out of the lottery surrounds whether the T-Wolves should grab Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball, but don't discount Deni Avdija. He would be a more direct fit alongside the backcourt tandem of D'Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley as the front office continues to build around Karl-Anthony Towns.

That said, in terms of players with the best chance to shine right out of the gate for a team with an already solid foundation, Edwards is the choice. He averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.3 threes across 32 appearances for the Bulldogs during his only college season.

"Nobody is better than me in the draft," Edwards, 19, told Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks.

He's not without flaws. He shot just 29.4 percent from beyond the arc with Georgia and he averaged 2.7 turnovers, nearly matching his assist total. He would need to improve his efficiency in Minnesota with so many players battling for touches, but his ability to create offense is elite.

The T-Wolves have more talent than most teams that occupy the first overall draft slot, so whichever prospect they choose may not put up monster numbers as a rookie, but their development will still be crucial as the team looks to quickly get back in the mix in a loaded Western Conference.


2. Golden State Warriors: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv

Avdija is already building a terrific resume, with three Israeli Basketball Premier League championships and the 2020 MVP Award with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Now he's ready to take the NBA by storm with a skill set that's an outside jump shot away from being the complete package.

The 19-year-old Israeli sensation combines his 6'9'' forward frame with the ball-handling ability of a guard. He's not an already polished scorer like Edwards, but he wouldn't need to be if he lands with a Warriors squad led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green.

It's the perfect environment for him to develop in. His creativity and basketball IQ would allow him to make an impact without needing 20 shots per night, and playing with the Splash Brothers would create plenty of space as he continues to work on his own perimeter jumper.

Ball is the other option here, but he's most effective with the ball in his hands, and that's unlikely to happen consistently enough with Curry leading the backcourt.


3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks

Ball arrives to the NBA draft facing many of the same questions his brother, the New Orleans Pelicans' Lonzo Ball, did three years ago when the Los Angeles Lakers made him the second pick. His shooting stroke must be refined and his defense is questionable at best, but the total package is still intriguing.

Most notably, he's agile, 6'7" and has a legit point guard skill set. That alone has the potential to create major matchup problems in the NBA, especially as he showed improvement in Australia in terms of taking advantage of that size by attacking the basket in iso situations.

The Charlotte Hornets would have loved to have landed the top pick and the right to take Edwards, who could have represented a better fit alongside point guard Terry Rozier in the backcourt. The duo of Ball and Rozier could still work, with the latter shifting more off the ball as he did in four seasons with the Boston Celtics.

While passing up Ball at No. 3 would be tough, the Hornets do have a frontcourt void to fill, which could bring James Wiseman and Obi Toppin into the mix as other options.