2020 NBA Mock Draft: Simulating 3 Trades in Historically Unpredictable Lottery

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterOctober 6, 2020

2020 NBA Mock Draft: Simulating 3 Trades in Historically Unpredictable Lottery

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    NBA teams are expecting heavy movement on draft night. Uncertainty about prospects should lead to calls about moving down the board. The question is will there be enough teams interested in moving up?

    As one executive told Bleacher Report earlier in the week, this could be one of the wildest, most unpredictable drafts in over 20 years.

    We executed three fake trades, including a three-way deal with high-profile veterans and top-10 picks.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball (NBL Hawks, PG, 2001)

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    Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

    Word around the league is that the Minnesota Timberwolves will first look to trade No. 1, either for a star or down the board to acquire multiple assets. The problem may be finding a partner, as this year's draft lacks a sure-thing franchise player for teams to target in a trade up.

    Most believe if Minnesota stays put, the Wolves will favor LaMelo Ball over Anthony Edwards, whose shot selection and intangibles have turned some scouts and executives off. 

    With Ball, the Wolves can at least bank on adding a playmaker with standout passing skills, vision and creativity that should translate. In Minnesota, he could play to his strengths, setting up teammates while D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns carry the scoring load. 

3-WAY TRADE at No. 2. Indiana Pacers: Anthony Edwards (Georgia, SG, Fr.)

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Indiana Pacers receive: No. 2

    Golden State Warriors receive: Myles Turner, No. 6

    Atlanta Hawks receive: Andrew Wiggins, 2021 Minnesota Timberwolves first-round pick (top-three-protected)

    This blockbuster deal has the Indiana Pacers acquiring the No. 2 pick and sending Myles Turner to the Golden State Warriors.

    With questions about Victor Oladipo's recovery and ability to reenter his prime, the Pacers could target Anthony Edwards, who'd give Indiana another explosive scoring wing. 

    Indiana could play them together or the Pacers could shop Oladipo before his contract expires now that they have another shot-creator and potential top option in Edwards. 

3. Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman (Memphis, C, Fr.)

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    Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

    Just searching for talent, the Charlotte Hornets will have a tough time resisting James Wiseman, a center who'd also plug a hole.

    They'll primarily value his rim protection behind P.J. Washington. Wiseman's 240-pound frame and 7'6" wingspan could quickly become useful defensively, even if he needs time to develop his skill and awareness.

    But the upside kicks in with Wiseman once his post game and shooting touch start to take off. In the meantime, he'll give Charlotte an enormous finishing target and easy baskets that the No. 28 offense needs. 

TRADE at No. 4. NY Knicks (via Bulls): Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State, PG, Soph.)

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    New York Knicks receive: No. 4

    Chicago Bulls receive: No. 8, No. 38, Kevin Knox

    Unable to move up for LaMelo Ball without including RJ Barrett in a trade, the New York Knicks could set their sights to Tyrese Haliburton. In this deal, they give up on 21-year-old Kevin Knox and an early second-rounder to move ahead of the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons—teams likely to show interest in the Iowa State guard. 

    The Knicks would value his passing, decision-making, character and versatility to play off the ball, and he would allow the front office to stay flexible while building the roster. 

    Haliburton will make his money by setting up teammates for easy looks, but he also shot 49.3 percent on spot-up jumpers as a sophomore, per Synergy Sports, and the Knicks need shooting.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija (Maccabi Tel Aviv, SF/PF, 2001)

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    The New York Knicks trading up and targeting Haliburton at No. 4 could allow Deni Avdija to be there for the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

    Though their roster may look different a year from now, his versatility fits the current lineup. Avdija would give Cleveland an interchangeable forward who can play on and off the ball with his ability to handle in transition or pick-and-rolls, catch-and-shoot and cut. 

    His foot speed doesn't pop on defense, but competitiveness helps Avdija compensate, and the Cavaliers should ultimately value his professionalism, reputable work ethic, effort and low-maintenance presence.

3-WAY TRADE at No. 6. Golden State (via ATL): Isaac Okoro (Auburn, F, Fr.)

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    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    Golden State Warriors: Myles Turner, No. 6

    Atlanta Hawks receive: Andrew Wiggins, 2021 Minnesota Timberwolves first-round pick (top-three-protected)

    Indiana Pacers receive: No. 2

    Sources say the Golden State Warriors aren't in love with Anthony Edwards. They'll be exploring plenty of different trade ideas, and this one has them moving down to No. 6 while acquiring Myles Turner to protect the rim.

    The Warriors would also send Wiggins to the Atlanta Hawks, who can absorb his monster contract and use another scorer. And the Hawks get a first-round pick in a better draft for taking on the Wiggins contract. 

    Golden State would presumably hope to get Deni Avdija by moving down, but in this case, Cleveland grabs him at No. 5. Instead, the Warriors shift their attention to Okoro, a physical wing defender and an unselfish, efficient offensive player. 

    He has a convincing defensive profile with a strong, 6'6" frame, powerful legs, quick feet and discipline. And though not a creator or reliable shooter, Okoro shot 60.7 percent inside the arc, scoring by driving, cutting and capitalizing on his strength and footwork in the post.

7: Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin (Dayton, PF/C, Sophomore)

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Fit and position won't factor into the Detroit Pistons' decision at No. 7. They'll look at their roster as a blank canvas and seek out the best player available, which could lead them to Obi Toppin over Killian Hayes and Onyeka Okongwu.

    Most scouts sound confident in Toppin's offensive game translating based on his explosiveness and skill level for post scoring, passing and spot-up shooting. 

    A Toppin-Blake Griffin duo would create problems for opposing frontcourts, and though they aren't a great fit defensively, the Pistons have to think long-term toward the post-Griffin era. 

TRADE at No. 8. Chicago Bulls (via NY): Killian Hayes (Ratiopharm Ulm, PG, 2001)

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    Chicago Bulls receive: No. 8, No. 38, Kevin Knox

    New York Knicks receive: No. 4

    The Chicago Bulls move down to No. 8 for Killian Hayes, a prospect they'd likely consider at No. 4 anyway. In this deal with the New York Knicks, they’re also able to acquire an early second-rounder and Kevin Knox, who could benefit from a change of scenery.

    While Hayes has an easy case as the best player available to Chicago, his passing also fills a need. As an 18-year-old, he finished third in Eurocup in assists, wowing with ball-screen reads, manipulations and deliveries to roll men and shooters.

    But Hayes (now 19) also made a big jump with his shot-creation for scoring, and though his three-point shooting remained shaky, he still doubled his three-point makes from the previous season while converting 87.6 percent of his free throws.

9. Washington Wizards: Onyeka Okongwu (USC, C, Freshman)

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    After finishing No. 29 in defense, the Washington Wizards should be hoping for Onyeka Okongwu to fall. 

    He'd give them not only an active rim protector behind Rui Hachimura, but also an explosive finisher and another option to feature in the half court. 

    Though skeptics may point out his lack of shooting range and ball-handling ability, Okongwu surprised this season with his footwork for creation and shot-making touch around the key. 

10. Phoenix Suns: Devin Vassell (Florida State, SF, Sophomore)

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    Lee Luther Jr./Associated Press

    The Phoenix Suns can continue adding shooting and defense with Devin Vassell. He just shot over 40 percent from deep in consecutive years while routinely showcasing his athleticism and the instincts to force turnovers, block shots and make standout recoveries and reads. 

    And at 6'6", he should be interchangeable with Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson.

    While Phoenix will be banking on three-and-D from Vassell, there is another level of upside for him to hit if he continues to build on the flashes of pull-up and specialty shot-making.

Late Lottery

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    11. San Antonio Spurs: Patrick Williams (Florida State, SF/PF, Freshman)

    Williams has been trending up with teams enticed by his skill versatility for a 6'8", 225-pound forward. In the short term, the Spurs get a powerful, high-energy 19-year-old to finish, crash the glass and make plays defensively. But flashes of three-point shooting, pull-up jumpers and live-dribble passing point to unique offensive upside in the long term. 


    12. Sacramento Kings: RJ Hampton (New Zealand Breakers, SG, 2001)

    Shooting is a swing skill for Hampton, but the Kings would gamble on it, given what a jump shot could do for an explosive driver and secondary playmaker. A backcourt with De'Aaron Fox and Hampton could put serious pressure on defenses with their ball-handling speed and athleticism.


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

    The Pelicans could target Bey for his shooting and ability to stretch the floor next to Zion Williamson. It's worth questioning what else translates, but his three-ball, IQ and defensive tools have teams feeling comfortable about his role-player potential and outlook in general. 


    14. Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies): Jalen Smith (Maryland, C, Sophomore)

    Smith would give Boston a stretch 5, but teams sound equally drawn to his defensive activity and potential versatility to block shots and switch. Boston would be an ideal landing spot where Smith can focus strictly on spot-up shooting, finishing and defending. 

Nos. 15-20

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr. (Alabama, PG, Sophomore)

    A big jump in production and a monster finish to the season have led to lottery buzz for Lewis, who creates opportunities and possesses three-level shot-making skills. The Magic have been reluctant to fill needs in the draft, but this could be the year with Lewis available. He would add a different element of speed and pace compared to Markelle Fultz. 


    16. Portland Trail Blazers: Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt, SF, Sophomore)

    Some scouts see the draft's top shooter in Nesmith after he hit 52.2 percent of his threes before suffering a season-ending foot injury. The Blazers could add him to join Gary Trent Jr. and give their star backcourt a pair of shot-making specialists to target or use for spacing. 


    17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nets): Precious Achiuwa (Memphis, PF/C, Freshman)

    After taking Ball, the Wolves would prioritize defense at No. 17 and draft Achiuwa, a 6'9" forward with shot-blocking ability and switchability. Though he's still raw offensively, the Wolves' coaches would hope to unlock more scoring potential tied to his capable shooting, open-floor ball-handling and occasional face-up moves.


    TRADE at 18. Oklahoma City Thunder:  Aleksej Pokusevski (Olympiacos II, PF, 2001)

    OKC Thunder receive: No. 18

    Dallas Mavericks receive: Terrance Ferguson, No. 25 

    Ready to rebuild, the Thunder may want another pick higher than No. 25. Pokusevski's unique skill set and upside should make him a trade-up target this late, where the potential reward is worth the risk that's tied to his skinny frame, lack of experience and questioned professionalism. Some scouts have moved him into their top 20 based on his rare package of shooting and passing skills for a shot-blocking 7-footer.


    19. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): Josh Green (Arizona, SG/SF, Freshman)

    Green is all over the place on boards, but the Nets may value his explosiveness and role-player mentality. They could mask his limited creation ability and allow Green to focus on transition offense, slashing, spot-up shooting and defending the perimeter.  


    20. Miami Heat: Malachi Flynn (San Diego State, PG, Junior)

    If the Heat are interested in adding an immediate contributor, Flynn could be a surprise pick worth considering for his pick-and-roll savvy, shooting skills and pesky defense. He's sharp enough, both offensively and mentally, to overcome limited tools and athleticism. 

Nos. 21-30

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    21. Philadelphia 76ers: Tyrell Terry (Stanford, PG, Freshman)

    The Sixers can add another ball-handler and shooter with Terry, whose range, touch and ball skills make it easy to look past his questionable frame. Meanwhile, his camp is making it known that Terry has added both weight and height since the start of the season. 


    22. Denver Nuggets (via Rockets): Cole Anthony (North Carolina, PG, Freshman)

    The Nuggets have made a habit of buying low on draft-night fallers. Teams have soured on Anthony, but he's still worth gambling on in the 20s, particularly for a winning team that can afford to be patient. His shot-making should translate, even if concerns about his decision-making and finishing are valid. 


    23. Utah Jazz: Zeke Nnaji (Arizona, C, Freshman)

    The Jazz could add frontcourt depth with Nnaji, an efficient finisher and skilled post scorer with shooting touch that seems bound to extend out to the arc. Multiple teams have also praised Nnaji's humble personality during the interview process. 


    24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Pacers): Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

    Hesitation about Maxey's shooting and playmaking could lead to a draft-night slide. For the Bucks, it's worth betting on his jumper being better than the percentages suggest, while his footwork, touch and strength should continue translating to scoring off penetration and floaters.


    TRADE at 25. Dallas Mavericks (via Thunder): Leandro Bolmaro (Barcelona, SF, 2000)

    Dallas Mavericks receive: Terrance Ferguson, No. 25

    Oklahoma City Thunder receive: No. 18 (used to take Aleksej Pokusevski)

    Dallas moves down seven spots and acquires a wing defender in Ferguson from Oklahoma City. At No. 25, the Mavericks could then look to draft-and-stash Bolmaro overseas with Barcelona. His playmaking for a forward and defensive energy are selling points, and he's delivered enough flashes of spot-up shooting to remain hopeful about his jump-shot development.


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

    The Celtics can afford to remain patient with McDaniels, a skilled forward who needs time to sharpen his execution and improve his motor. A best-case outcome shows a 6'9" combo forward with three-point range and the ability create and score off the dribble.


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

    Upside should attract the Knicks, and Ramsey seems to have a decent amount for a pick at No. 27. The 6'4", 195-pound scorer possesses a strong frame and athleticism and confident shot-making ability, along with a 42.6 percent three-ball the Knicks could use. 


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

    The Lakers could view Winston as a plug-and-play point guard capable of running pick-and-rolls and adding shooting off the bench. His maturity and basketball IQ should go over well with the Lakers' veterans. 


    29. Toronto Raptors: Desmond Bane (TCU, SG, Senior)

    Bane's shooting is the draw, but IQ for passing and defense suggest he can be a more complete role player. Playoff teams with enough creators could see an easy fit and immediate contributor in the 22-year-old.


    30. Boston Celtics (via Bucks): Daniel Oturu (Minnesota, C, Sophomore)

    It seems unlikely the Celtics will pick at No. 30 if they've already drafted players at Nos. 14 and 26. Regardless, Oturu has become a first-round name to watch based on his volume production and improved skills for scoring from the post, attacking closeouts and converting spot-up threes.


    Stats via NBA.com and Sports Reference unless otherwise noted.