2020 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Prospects Whose Stocks are On the Rise

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 10, 2020

Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

Killian Hayes and R.J. Hampton did not have the luxury of playing in front of an abundance of NBA scouts on a regular basis. 

Hayes and Hampton played overseas in two different sets of circumstances. Hayes came up in European basketball, while Hampton went to the NBL to play professionally instead of at the collegiate level. 

As the tape on both first-round NBA draft prospects has been broken down more, their respective stocks have been boosted.

Hayes is in competition to be one of the top-three point guards chosen in the lottery selections, while Hampton is receiving more attention thanks to the work put in with a former NBA player. 

When the draft results become final November 18, Hayes and Hampton could be chosen higher than they were expected to if the draft was held on its regular date in June. 


2020 1st-Round 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 Hawks

4. Chicago Bulls: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

7. Detroit Pistons: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

8. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

9. Washington Wizards: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

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

11. San Antonio Spurs: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

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

14. Boston Celtics (from Memphis): Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

15. Orlando Magic: R.J. Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn): Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland

18. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green, SG, Arizona

19. Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

20. Miami Heat: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

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

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

23. Utah Jazz: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

24. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana): Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Denver): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

26. Boston Celtics: Desmond Bane, SG, TCU 

27. New York Knicks (from Los Angeles Clippers): Tyler Bey, SF, Colorado

28. Los Angeles Lakers: Tre Jones, PG, Duke

29. Toronto Raptors: Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas

30. Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee): Isaiah Stewart, PF, Washington 


Predictions For Players Whose Stocks Are On The Rise

Killian Hayes

Hayes appears to be a lock to land somewhere in the top 10.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ranked Hayes as his No. 2 prospect, The Athletic's Sam Vecenie has the point guard at No. 9 on his big board and CBS Sports' Gary Parrish projected Hayes as the No. 8 overall pick. 

Wasserman noted that Hayes is far from the finished product when it comes to his shooting, but he brings other qualities to the floor that are intriguing to teams in the lottery positions:

"His jump shot remains the big question mark on the scouting report, but for a 19-year-old who made 30 three-pointers and shot a combined 87.6 percent from the free-throw line, his shooting development is worth betting on, particularly given his ball-screen playmaking, mid-range pull-up, floater and finishing effectiveness."

A handful of teams should be in the market for a point guard, but Hayes may have to wait until the New York Knicks at No. 8 to hear his name called since LaMelo Ball and Tyrese Haliburton are expected to be high picks. 

The Knicks are the team to watch for every top point guard, except Ball, who should be a top-three pick. 

New York needs a young floor general to stabilize a roster that has some intriguing young players in RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson.

The Knicks need a star they can develop at the position to distribute the ball out to the shooters they have spread across the floor. 

Since the bottom half of the Eastern Conference is not as competitive as the Western Conference, the Knicks may need one or two major pieces from the draft to help them contend for the No. 8 seed. They were only four wins behind Washington, who went to the Orlando bubble as the No. 9 seed. 

While the Knicks feel like the obvious option for a point guard, the more intriguing landing spot is Phoenix, where Hayes could be a backcourt complement to Devin Booker. 

The Suns have collected some nice pieces in the last few drafts, but they are still lacking a young dynamic point guard, one who could take over for Ricky Rubio. 

If the draft order shakes out in the Suns' favor, they could land Hayes to develop alongside Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and Deandre Ayton. 

Reaching the postseason with an improved core will be tough for the Suns in the West, but they showed in the bubble that they can be competitive with teams above them in the standings. 

Prediction: No. 10 overall to Phoenix. 


R.J. Hampton

Being the third or fourth shooting guard off the board may end up being an ideal move for Hampton, whose improved shooting could help a fringe playoff contender. 

As Wasserman noted, Hampton has spent some of the extra draft preparation time working with longtime NBA veteran Mike Miller: "Hampton has been working with Mike Miller on his shooting, a key swing skill that would complement his athleticism for attacking and secondary playmaking."

Hampton is listed as high as No. 7 on a big board by Vecenie, but it seems more likely he lands in the early teens. 

If NBA franchises are impressed with the development on his shot by mid-November, Hampton could be selected ahead of Kentucky's Tyrese Maxey and Florida State's Devin Vassell.

The Boston Celtics may stand out as the best developmental spot at No. 14, but it may be hard for Hampton to find playing time beneath Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and recent draft picks Romeo Langford and Carsen Edwards.

The better fit for the shooting guard could be the Orlando Magic, who could draft a young shooter to follow up Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross. 

Orlando already has some nice young pieces on its roster in Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Issac and Mo Bamba. Hampton could be the latest addition to the core that will be in position to chase a playoff spot in the East, even with Isaac expected to miss most of the next season.

Prediction: No. 15 overall to Orlando


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