2020 NBA Mock Draft: 1st-Round Picks for Every Team and Players to Watch

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks carries the ball up during their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney.  LaMelo Ball's bone bruise on his left foot is expected to keep him out of the Illawarra Hawks lineup for the remainder of the National Basketball League season in Australia. The 18-year-old American, who joined Illawarra as part of the NBL's Next Stars program, is expected to be a first-round pick in this year's NBA draft.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

The 2020 NBA draft will happen...sometime.

The league's 2020-21 calendar remains in a state of flux because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related financial implications. While the draft is slated for Oct. 16, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the league is likely to move back the draft and free agency as it works out the particulars of next season.

So, anyway, the draft. It's coming. At some undetermined date. That said, at least we know the order between now and when it does so we can speculate.

With that in mind, here's the latest outlook for this year's draft, along with some players to watch.


2020 NBA Mock Draft

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, G, NBL Hawks

2. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia

3. Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman, C, Memphis 

4. Chicago Bulls: Obi Toppin, F, Dayton 

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija, F, Israel

6. Atlanta Hawks: Isaac Okoro, G/F, Auburn

7. Detroit Pistons: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC

8. New York Knicks: Killian Hayes, G, France

9. Washington Wizards: Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Memphis

10. Phoenix Suns: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State

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

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

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

14. Boston Celtics: RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers

15. Orlando Magic: Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina

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

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn): Jalen Smith, F, Maryland

18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, F, Serbia

19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia): Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky

20. Miami Heat: Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington

21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City): Nico Mannion, G, Arizona

22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston): Leandro Bolmaro, G, Argentina 

23. Utah Jazz: Tyler Bey, F, Colorado 

24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana): Josh Green, G, Arizona

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver): Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State

26. Boston Celtics: Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Tre Jones, G, Duke

28. Los Angeles Lakers: Kira Lewis Jr., G, Alabama

29. Toronto Raptors: Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee): Theo Maledon, G, France


Players to Watch

LaMelo Ball

He's the most famous, most interesting and most polarizing player in this class. There may be no more circuitous or circus-like route for a prospect in NBA history, especially when considering it was of his own family's doing.

But LaMelo Ball is here, primed to potentially be the No. 1 overall pick despite trips to Lithuania, a failed startup league and Australia.

The warts in his game are obvious. He still doesn't play a lick of defense, he hit a ghastly 25 percent from three and there's some clear maturation the 19-year-old will need to do before he's trusted with the keys to a franchise.

The upside, however, is equally apparent. Ball's a smooth, quick athlete at 6'7" and has All-Star-caliber vision and passing ability, a fearlessness that makes him liable to pull up from anywhere on the floor or blow past a defender who gets flat-footed for a second and smarts that should translate to him becoming a better all-around player.

In a draft this bereft of top-flight talent, it's hard to pass on a player with his upside.


Killian Hayes

We will have to see how the NBA handles individual workouts, but it's easy to be low on where Killian Hayes will wind up at present.

The 19-year-old is the type of prospect who has the capability to dazzle in the right situation, a fluid lefty guard who will give you shades of Manu Ginobili or James Harden when you see him at his best.

The Harden comparison is lofty and unrealistic, but there's a non-zero chance Hayes winds up as something of a modern Ginobili, a shot-creating wizard whose prime came about 10 years too early.

Hayes exhibits creativity off the dribble, has a mean step-back jumper that all but confirms he watches a lot of Harden tape and he is a sensational passer in the open court.

The strengths of Hayes and Ball are not that dissimilar, and he comes without any of the potential headaches. That said, his slightly worse athletic profile and build means he will probably wind up being the third guard off the board.


Deni Avdija

The draft's best international talent, Deni Avidija may benefit from Luka Mania and wind up going higher than his projected skill level suggests he should. While Avidija has the same type of size and playmaking flash that makes Doncic special, the differences in their games are seismic—starting with the overall polish.

Doncic was a 19-year-old MVP in the world's second-best basketball league. Avidija was the Israeli Basketball Premier League MVP this season but got minimal time in EuroLeague and struggled when he was on the floor. While the fearlessness he plans with flashes a promising confidence, Avidija is a bad shooter with wildly inconsistent mechanics. He also lacks the ability to create for himself in the halfcourt, preferring open runs or getting the ball with a head of steam on the pick-and-roll.

In other words: If you're expecting the best Euro prospect since Luka to step in right away and perform, it's not going to happen. Avidija is probably at least a year away from being capable of making a significant impact at the NBA level, if not two.

If Avidija finds an organization willing to give him time and a capable shooting coach, he could soar. He's a fluid athlete with excellent vision, fully capable of manning a Draymond Green-esque point-forward role in an offense. Also a willing and capable defender, there's a two-way All-Star waiting to happen if he lands in the right spot.

On the other hand, Avidija could easily wind up flaming out if a team gets impatient.