2020 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Where Top Prospects Will Land in 1st Round

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2020

LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks brings the ball up during their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

Georgia guard Anthony Edwards is the early favorite to go to the Minnesota Timberwolves with the first overall pick when the 2020 NBA draft begins Oct. 16, but there's still time for movement atop the class.

This year's group doesn't feature a prospect on the level of 2019's top selection, Zion Williamson, a bona fide superstar in the making from the moment he entered the NBA. There are a lot of players with All-Star upside, however, which is going to make a limited scouting period amid the COVID-19 pandemic tricky to navigate.

Let's check out an updated mock draft for the first round following Thursday's lottery results. That's followed by a closer look at the top prospects available.


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 via the NBA.


Ranking 2020 Class' Top Prospects

1. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv

Too often, prospect evaluations only focus on the upside. In that regard, it's easy to see why Edwards is emerging as the near consensus No. 1 pick. His offensive ability is unmatched in the class and gives him a legitimate chance to win an NBA scoring title during his prime.

It's also important to consider the downside, though. How much bust potential does a player have?

Deni Avdija features a high floor thanks to his athletic 6'9'' frame, all-around skill set and high-pressure pro experience, having helped lead Maccabi Tel Aviv to three straight Israeli Basketball Premier League titles. He was also named the league's Most Valuable Player for the 2019-20 season.

He can't match Edwards' scoring ability and may never become more than a team's second or third option at that end of the floor, but he's more advanced in just about every other category compared to the Georgia product. He's a strong two-way player who will make a significant impact in transition.

The 19-year-old Israeli sensation is the safest bet from the class to become a consistent high-end asset, and that warrants the top spot in a group without a Williamson or a Ja Morant.


2. Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia

Edwards is a special talent at the offensive end. His single season with the Bulldogs allowed him to showcase elite shot-creating ability. He attacks the rim with power and aggression, and he showed a willingness to shoot from seemingly anywhere inside the half-court stripe, a growing a trend in the NBA.

Whether he can harness that scoring potential is the key to his future.

The 19-year-old Atlanta native averaged 19.1 points for Georgia, but he shot just 40.2 percent from the field, including 29.4 percent on threes. There's often a fine line between being an offensive force and a volume scorer whose positive impact is offset by the number of touches it takes to achieve it.

Make no mistake: Edwards is worthy of his top-three distinction in this class and could well be its best player over the long haul. His limited impact as a playmaker, averaging just 2.8 assists at UGA, means his shooting efficiency must improve to maximize his impact.

It does leave a smidgen of bust potential, however, which is why Avdija took the top spot.


3. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks

LaMelo Ball, 19, possesses the length of a frontcourt player, the slashing ability of a wing scorer and the playmaking vision of a point guard, the position he's most often played throughout his development. It's a unique combination of skills that's going to make him a matchup problem with his 6'7" frame.

He was named the NBL Rookie of the Year while playing for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia, and his time overseas in recent years, including a stop in Lithuania with BC Prienai, should help him make a smooth transition to the NBA.

He faces many of the same questions that his brother, New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, did three years ago in regard to his shooting stroke. The elder Ball has made strides, shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc this season, which gives hope LaMelo can do the same in the coming years.

Ball can still score consistently, using his size to get into the center of the defense, where he's capable of finishing at the rim or using his vision to create open looks for teammates.

Finding a team that will allow him a lot of time with the ball in his hands right away and the freedom to use his creativity is his best chance to succeed.