A socially distanced NBA predraft process is not a static one.
Even if the conditions are unique in 2020 (in the NBA draft and seemingly everything else), the annual occurrence of prospects rising and falling ahead of the talent grab is the same as always.
After running through a mock first round, we'll look at three prospects on the move.
2020 Selection Order and Mock Predictions
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks
4. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton
6. Atlanta Hawks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
8. New York Knicks: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn
9. Washington Wizards: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
10. Phoenix Suns: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
11. San Antonio Spurs: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State
12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
16. Portland Trail Blazers: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos II
19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
20. Miami Heat: Josh Green, SG, Arizona
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Grant Riller, PG/SG, Charleston
23. Utah Jazz: Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova
24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Theo Maledon, PG/SG, ASVEL
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona
26. Boston Celtics: Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington
27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
28. Los Angeles Lakers: Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State
29. Toronto Raptors: Desmond Bane, SG, TCU
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Xavier Tillman, PF/C, Michigan State
NBA Draft Prospect Stock Watch
Stock Up: Obi Toppin
NBA readiness isn't always the best selling point for draft prospects, as it's often paired with a lower ceiling. The trade-off is typically instant impact or long-term potential, and since most clubs with early selections are at some stage of the rebuilding process, potential wins out.
But 2020 could be the exception to the rule. There are myriad factors at play—not the least of which is the lack of top-level potential—including the fact that both Minnesota and Golden State could carry win-now intentions into the proceedings.
That's good news for a player like Obi Toppin, who would typically be getting dinged right now for being 22 years old. He might be "the most popular prospect in the 2020 NBA draft," as B/R's Jonathan Wasserman put it, and the draft expert notes Toppin could even be in play at No. 1, though he seems likeliest to land between Nos. 2 and 6.
"The Golden State Warriors are a wild card at No. 2 given the wide range of possibilities: taking Toppin for his NBA readiness, making a trade or filling a need with either [James] Wiseman at center or one of the top-tier wings," Wasserman wrote.
Toppin, who swept the Player of the Year awards in Division I men's basketball, powered Dayton to a 29-2 record with per-game contributions of 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals.
Stock Down: Anthony Edwards
Draft stocks are subjective, so if you're wondering how Edwards can qualify both as our mock No. 1 pick and a player whose stock is sliding, there's your answer.
His skill set seems the easiest to blend with Minnesota's roster, and while team needs shouldn't decide a pick this early in the draft, they can be a helpful tiebreaker if all prospects receive roughly the same grade. That's how we see things from the outside, but those inside the NBA aren't so sure.
"There is a thought that some teams aren't quite as enamored with him as others," The Athletic's Sam Vecenie wrote. "That is definitely an accurate sentiment that teams are a bit more all-over-the-map on him than what you see in the public sphere."
Edwards has NBA athleticism, enough wiggle to free himself off the dribble and the explosiveness to finish plays at the rim. Through optimistic eyes, one can see him becoming an athletic three-level scorer who defends multiple positions and creates for his teammates. That's why he's still in our driver's seat.
But the question marks are real. Vecenie noted how teams are uneasy about the fact that Edwards' teams have never fared particularly well—Georgia went 16-16 and finished 13th in the SEC—and bring up the name of Dion Waiters when discussing Edwards' inefficiency. That's notable, because Wasserman previously detailed hearing the same exact things (including the Waiters comp).
Edwards' sliding stock is relative, because it's still hard to see him lasting beyond the top three picks. But he's by no means a lock for No. 1, and maybe he'll scare off more teams than we think.
Stock Up: Tyrese Haliburton
Remember what we said about this possibly being the Year of NBA Readiness? Well, that's responsible for Haliburton's predraft bump, too.
"He's a great piece on a winning team," an NBA executive told ESPN's Mike Schmitz.
Haliburton's ceiling may not get the credit it should, as a lot of what appeals to winning teams could also prop him up to one of the best careers in this class. He defends multiple positions, gets his teammates involved, hits long-distance shots and aces the intangibles test.
Now, he doesn't have the straight-line burst or yo-yo handles typically associated with a high-level guard prospect, but those toolsy prospects usually don't offer his polish. He'll look best if he has impact scorers around him, but if that isn't true of a top prospect, shouldn't that be more worrisome?
Haliburton doesn't seem to have a shortage of fans in NBA front offices, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him crack the top four.