NBA Mock Draft 2020: Predictions for James Wiseman, Most Intriguing Prospects

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks warms up before their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney. LaMelo Ball’s bid to be a club owner in Australia hasn't worked out. The American is expected to be a top pick in the upcoming NBA draft later this year.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

This year, the NBA will hold a fall draft as opposed to the summer after an atypical season. Teams that didn't qualify for the bubble or made an early exit from the playoffs have already started to dig into the film.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA could move the draft date back, originally set for October 16, giving front-office executives more time to dissect potential fits for their rosters.

Among the prospects, a few intriguing names stand out above the rest. This year, we could see an even mix of big men and guards within the top 10.

Some of the bigger names such as James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball, who saw limited action on their way to the NBA, should still come off the board in the top five because of their potential. Where do they fit?

Check out the latest first-round mock draft with a breakdown of some well-known prospects below.


1st-Round Mock

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

3. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

4. Chicago Bulls: LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks

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

6. Atlanta Hawks: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

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

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: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

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

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

14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

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

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B

18. Dallas Mavericks: Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

20. Miami Heat: Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland

21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

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

23. Utah Jazz: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky 

24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Barcelona

26. Boston Celtics: Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota 

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State

28. Los Angeles Lakers: Josh Green, SG, Arizona

29. Toronto Raptors: Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State 

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Grant Riller, PG/SG, Charleston


Golden State Warriors Take James Wiseman at No. 2 

Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors go big with James Wiseman out of Memphis.

Wiseman only played three games in college because the NCAA initially ruled him ineligible for accepting payment from head coach Penny Hardaway. He filed a lawsuit but dropped it, which essentially ended his season, per ESPN's Jeff Borzello.

At Memphis, Wiseman averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks in those contests. At 19 years old, with little experience at the collegiate level, he'll need time to develop. Fortunately for him, Golden State doesn't need the youngster to carry a squad that's devoid of talent. 

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins will form a solid core that's prepared to compete for a title next season. Wiseman can step into the 5 spot as the missing piece and a counter to bigger lineups that dominate the boards.

Even if Wiseman doesn't develop a consistent jump shot, he can still carve out a sizeable role. He'll likely battle for rebounds to create second-chance scoring opportunities and defend on the other end. He is an agile 7-footer who can run the floor and flourish in an uptempo offense, which means clear looks at the basket when the Warriors push the pace.


Chicago Bulls Select LaMelo Ball at No. 4

Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

The Chicago Bulls will go in a new direction after they fired head coach Jim Boylen after two seasons. Guard Kris Dunn goes into the offseason as a restricted free agent. He hasn't played up to his draft pedigree as a top-five pick from 2016, averaging 8.3 points through four seasons.

The Bulls can start fresh with LaMelo Ball, a smooth ball-handler who can setup scorers such as Coby White and Zach LaVine on offense. He's a work-in-progress as a shooter, but he just turned 19 years old on August 22. Teams can help him develop a decent shot—enough that defenders respect his ability to knock down an open jumpers.

Ball averaged 17.9 points and 6.8 assists with the Illawarra Hawks in the Australian NBL. He suffered a foot injury that healed but went through a mandatory six-week rehab process and chose to focus on his NBA future.

At Ball's size, he can develop into a decent defender. The 6'7" guard averaged 1.6 steals with the Hawks. Assuming he grows into his frame and adds strength, the Bulls could use him to match up against guards and smaller forwards.

With White's ability to score, Ball seems like an appropriate complementary component in the backcourt.


New York Knicks Take Devin Vassell at No. 8 

Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The New York Knicks need a spark in the backcourt—preferably a player who can handle some of the scoring load. Elfrid Payton can distribute, but he averaged 10 points per game with the team this season. Dennis Smith Jr. has struggled with efficiency, shooting 40 percent from the field for his career.

The Knicks finished the 2019-20 campaign with one of the league's worst three-point shooting percentages, converting on 34 percent of their attempts (ranked 27th). As a shooter, Devin Vassell saw improvement between his freshman and sophomore terms at Florida State, knocking down nearly 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Vassell will challenge the opposition on defense. At 6'5", he can possibly match up against positions 1-3. The former Seminole averaged 1.4 steals and one block in his final collegiate season.

In the best-case scenario, Vassell would translate to a two-way three-and-D player with a high floor and some potential but ready to contribute right away.  


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