NBA Draft 2020: Latest Mock Draft and Teams with Most to Lose

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 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 NBA draft can turn around a franchise for the better, but a mistake can also set a team back for years.

The Dallas Mavericks took Luka Doncic at No. 3 in 2018 and have a player who could contend for MVP awards throughout his career. The Sacramento Kings picked Marvin Bagley III at No. 2 and are on their 14th straight season without a playoff appearance.

While fanbases around the league are excited about the possibilities going into the 2020 draft, especially those selecting in the lottery, several franchises have a lot to lose if things go wrong in October.

Here is a look at the players each team should pick in the draft along with teams with the most at stake.


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, Illawarra

4. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

6. Atlanta Hawks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, PG, Ulm

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

9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

10. Phoenix Suns: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State

11. San Antonio Spurs: Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis

12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

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

14. Boston Celtics (from Grizzlies): Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland

15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

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

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Nets): Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

18. Dallas Mavericks: Tyrese Maxey, PG, Kentucky

19. Brooklyn Nets (from 76ers): Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington

20. Miami Heat: Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota

21. Philadelphia 76ers (from Thunder): RJ Hampton, PG, New Zealand Breakers

22. Denver Nuggets (from Rockets): Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B

23. Utah Jazz: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

24. Milwaukee Bucks (from Pacers): Leandro Bolmaro, SG, Barcelona 2

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Nuggets): Theo Maledon, PG, Villeurbanne

26. Boston Celtics: Tre Jones, PG, Duke

27. New York Knicks (from Clippers): Josh Green, SG, Arizona

28. Los Angeles Lakers: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

29. Toronto Raptors: Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State

30. Boston Celtics (from Bucks): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech


Teams With Most to Lose

Minnesota Timberwolves

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The No. 1 pick is usually a huge boost to a franchise, but this year is tougher than most seasons. There is no Zion Williamson as the sure-fire top pick, putting pressure on the Timberwolves to make the right decision.

Minnesota chose right the last time it picked first overall in 2015, picking Karl-Anthony Towns over other top options D'Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor.

Towns and Russell are now playing together on the Timberwolves, hoping to turn things around after a miserable 2019-20 season that saw the team finish 19-45. While the record was bleak, these are two players who have been All-Stars in the past and can potentially carry the squad to the playoffs in 2020-21.

It also makes the strategy slightly different going into the draft.

While you want to take the best available at No. 1, it's also important to get someone who can fit into the core. This could remove LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman as options.

Wiseman has questionable range and wouldn't fit alongside Towns, while Ball's defensive liabilities would be a huge problem in a backcourt next to Russell. When it comes to building a contender, these are important considerations.

It leaves Anthony Edwards, who could be the best player in the class on his own merit. The Georgia product averaged 19.1 points per game during his freshman season, showcasing the ability to create his own shot and score from anywhere on the court.

He can be an immediate contributor for Minnesota while becoming a key piece of the core going forward.


Chicago Bulls

Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Bulls have picked at No. 7 in each of the last three years, getting three promising prospects in Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter and Coby White. While each player appears to be a useful part of the future core, the team is hoping to find a game-changer at No. 4.

Chicago jumped three spots in the lottery, giving executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley a chance to make a mark in their first draft with the organization.

Then again, these high picks don't come around often, and a mistake could set the franchise back even more.

With most scouts considering Ball, Edwards and Wiseman the top three players in some order, the No. 4 pick will be a key part of the draft with a lot of uncertainty.

Though Obi Toppin will be a popular pick from college basketball fans, Deni Avdija is the one with more upside and a better option for Chicago.

The Maccabi Tel Aviv guard was named MVP in the Israeli League and projects well to the NBA at 6'8" with a guard skill set. He can run an offense or play off ball at one of the forward spots and contribute on both ends of the court.

Karnisovas, a Lithuanian who spent his playing career in Europe, won't be afraid to go international in the draft for someone who could be a star at the next level.


New York Knicks

Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

The New York Knicks were the biggest loser in the lottery, dropping from No. 6 to No. 8. Fans should be used to the disappointment by now, especially after missing out on Zion Williamson and Ja Morant last year.

Just like last year, the drop could have a major effect in losing a chance at a top target.

The Knicks need a new lead guard who can take over games and at least generate offense, something we haven't seen from 2017 lottery picks Frank Ntilikina or Dennis Smith Jr. This draft has several exciting options, although LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton and Killian Hayes could all be off the board by the time the Knicks are drafting.

Cole Anthony and Tyrese Maxey would generate excitement for New York, but both are inconsistent and have question marks about whether they can do more than just score.

The Knicks have drafted "scorers" in the last two years in R.J. Barrett and Kevin Knox, and so far both have fallen short of expectations.

Onyeka Okongwu is a more well-rounded player who finished last season at USC averaging 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. He can play either the 4 or 5 at the next level, playing alongside Mitchell Robinson or instead of him based on the center's development.

It might not be as exciting of a pick, but the Knicks can salvage a bad draw in the lottery.


Washington Wizards

Nick Wass/Associated Press

This is a make-or-break year for the Washington Wizards.

John Wall is expected to return from injury while Bradley Beal is coming off the best year of his career. If Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant continue to develop, this squad can get back to contending in the East. Otherwise, the organization might have to start looking at new ways to rebuild.

The draft could play a big role in this process. At No. 9, Washington should be able to find someone who can both help the team immediately and develop over the next few years.

Isaac Okoro fits this description perfectly.

The Auburn wing is one of the best defenders in the class with great length, athleticism and quickness. Though he only averaged 12.9 points per game during his lone collegiate season, he made a significant impact in each game with his work on the other end of the court.

He also has the tools that could make him a reliable offensive player, especially if he improves his outside shooting.

Even if he doesn't develop, Washington still adds a potential day-one starter who helps bring the team back to playoff contention, similar to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort.

If the Wizards make the wrong pick, however, they could be looking at a long-term rebuild.