2020 NBA Mock Draft: Prospects Facing Major Fall Down Draft Boards

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

Memphis' James Wiseman watches the game from the bench in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Ole Miss Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)
Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press

The volatility of NBA draft stocks continues right through the actual selection process.

Once a prospect starts to slide, there's no telling how far he could fall. When B/R's Jonathan Wasserman created his way-too-early 2019 mock in August 2018, he had Nassir Little second overall and Bol Bol inside the lottery. By the time teams were actually on the clock nearly a year later, Little slipped out of the top 20 and Bol didn't even make the first round.

Questions of skill, health, fit and anything else capable of a red flag can all lead to a draft-night slide. After running through our mock first round, we'll spotlight three prospects who could tumble down the board.


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/SG, Illawarra Hawks

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

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

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

7. Detroit Pistons: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

8. New York Knicks: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

11. San Antonio Spurs: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

12. Sacramento Kings: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova

14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

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

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Josh Green, SG, Arizona

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

18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B

19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

20. Miami Heat: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Grant Riller, PG/SG, Charleston

23. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Barcelona

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota

26. Boston Celtics: Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

28. Los Angeles Lakers: Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State

29. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona


Prospects Who Could Slide on Draft Night

James Wiseman, C, Memphis

Wiseman's selling points speak for themselves. He's massive (7'1"), long (7'6" wingspan) and athletic. He can be a rim-runner right now, and he flashes enough perimeter skill to hint at one day having the ability to stretch out to the three-point line.

That's an interesting player, hence his No. 1 consensus ranking as a 2019 recruit. But there are questions with his feel, instincts and offensive skill, none of which he could answer while suiting up just three times at Memphis. Plus, he is entering a league that devalues his position now more than ever.

"He's such a wild card, man," a scout told Wasserman. "Minimal game film. Poor trend of bigs going early and returning on investment. NBA people are all over the map with him."

Most mocks (including this one) still peg Wiseman as a top-three pick, but an executive told Wasserman the 19-year-old center could be falling into "the Nos. 5-9 range."


Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

Anthony held a top-five spot on those same recruiting rankings, but now he's barely clinging to a lottery spot. That pretty well encapsulates his one-season stay in Chapel Hill.

The 20-year-old struggled to get going, and the team followed his lead. By year's end, he was saddled with a 38.0 field-goal percentage and a forgettable average of 4.0 assists (against 3.5 turnovers), and the team was responsible for the first losing season of coach Roy Williams' career (14-19). Anthony also missed time to knee surgery.

None of this adds up to the most enticing prospect profile.

"Anthony's decision-making left a lot to be desired, particularly while closing games," SI.com's Jeremy Woo noted. "He didn't get to the rim enough, and sometimes struggled to finish against bodies. ... The fact his smaller frame might be maxed out—and that he's about to turn 20—gives a lot of scouts pause."

The days of Anthony garnering top-five consideration are long gone, and he's no longer a lock for the lottery.


Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

When Wasserman did his way-too-early mock for 2020, Mannion made the top 10. The only mention of the 19-year-old in Wasserman's latest mock is a reference to Tyrese Haliburton passing him and other point guard prospects over the course of the campaign.

Maybe that's surprising given Mannion's pedigree, but he struggled both on the stat sheet and through the eye test. His shooting slash failed to impress at any level (39.2/32.7/79.7), and his lack of burst hurt his finishing around the rim (and kept him without a blocked shot for the entire season).

"If Mannion hadn't been in top 10 on draft boards entering the season, there is zero chance he'd be in anyone's top 30 right now," The Athletic's John Hollinger wrote.

With more time to analyze film and stat sheets, Mannion's stock is already slipping. But the red flags are worrying enough that there is still room for him to keep plunging.