NBA Mock Draft 2020: 1st-Round Predictions and Top Fringe Prospects to Know

Theo SalaunContributor IIIOctober 12, 2020

Arizona guard Nico Mannion, left, shoots over UCLA guard Tyger Campbell during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. UCLA won 69-64. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

The 2020 NBA draft is scheduled for November 18, and virtual combine workouts will be taking place up until then. And now that LeBron James has secured his fourth championship, all attention can turn to the annual talent grab.

With teams recently unencumbered by their quest for the Larry O'Brien Trophy, we're focusing on the prospects who may be on their radars.

Lottery stars such as Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball won't be dropping to the Miami Heat at No. 20 or the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 28, so there's no better time than now to analyze some of the more tantalizing fringe first-round options.

What follows is a mock draft of the first round, followed by analysis of two intriguing, later prospects: Arizona's Nico Mannion and Leandro Bolmaro of FC Barcelona. Each possesses upside hinged on an intangible sense for the game, making both particularly contentious across rankings as some scouts have them at the back of the first round and others down in the second. 


2020 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft

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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: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

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

6. Atlanta Hawks: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, PG, RatiopharmUlm

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

9. Washington Wizards: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

10. Phoenix Suns: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

11. San Antonio Spurs: Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis

12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

14. Boston Celtics: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC

15. Orlando Magic: Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State

17. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland

18. Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

19. Brooklyn Nets: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

20. Miami Heat: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

21. Philadelphia 76ers: Desmond Bane, SG, TCU

22. Denver Nuggets: Josh Green, SG, Arizona

23. Utah Jazz: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

24. Milwaukee Bucks: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State

26. Boston Celtics: Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

27. New York Knicks: Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke

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

29. Toronto Raptors: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

30. Boston Celtics: Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona


Top Fringe 1st-Round Prospects

Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

Mannion only shot 39.2 percent from the field, on 11.5 attempts per game, as Arizona's trigger-happy starting point guard. Couple that with a 32.7-percent rate from deep (on 5.1 per game), limited explosiveness and defensive uncertainties for an obvious answer as to why some don't rank him very highly. 

But if there's one thing that is obvious from watching the 19-year-old play, it's what has been obvious since his high-school days: Mannion is very comfortable on the basketball court.

The 6'3" guard has a fluid handle, a confident pull-up jumper and the passing breadth to float dimes and zip one-handed entry passes.

Although most of his percentages weren't inspiring, he did shoot 79.7 percent from the free-throw line and that historically bodes well for development.

After averaging 14.0 points, 5.3 assists and plenty of eye-opening plays, Mannion has the playmaking ceiling to warrant a gamble toward the end of the first round.


Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona

Like Mannion, Bolmaro doesn't have great shooting percentages or an unmistakable athletic edge. But he's a versatile playmaker on both sides of the floor and, as a 6'8" 20-year-old, an alluring prospect.

Across 16 games for FC Barcelona, he only played 11.7 minutes per contest and took just 53 total shots. As far as sample sizes go, his is markedly small. And, outside of shooting inefficiency, you can't extrapolate much from his numbers.

However, while Bolmaro only shot 34.0 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from three, he makes good things happen on the court. Instinctive and creative, he has slick dimes, a herky-jerky handle and touch from everywhere on offense. On defense, he's hungry and quick for his length on the perimeter and in the paint.

Playmakers are a proven commodity at any size, but Bolmaro's suggests game-breaking upside available near the turn.