NBA Mock Draft 2020: 1st-Round Projections Amid Latest Knicks, Hornets Rumors
The 2020 NBA draft rumor mill has gone full circle.
A year ago, it was Memphis star James Wiseman who topped draft boards and gave scouts a clear prospect at No. 1 overall.
When Wiseman's college career ended after three games and an NCAA eligibility investigation, it opened the door for the likes of LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards to assume the mantle of presumptive top pick.
Now just weeks away from the November 18 draft, it seems the former Tigers big man may be the most coveted player on the board once again.
According to The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell, the Charlotte Hornets are considering moving up from the No. 3 pick to ensure they land a franchise center.
Here's a look at how the renewed interest in Wiseman affects the first-round mock draft.
2020 NBA Mock Draft
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks
2. Golden State Warriors: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
3. Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
4. Chicago Bulls: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton
6. Atlanta Hawks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
7. Detroit Pistons: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
8. New York Knicks: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
9. Washington Wizards: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
11. San Antonio Spurs: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn
12. Sacramento Kings: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
15. Orlando Magic: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
16. Portland Trail Blazers: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
18. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green, SG, Arizona
19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
20. Miami Heat: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Barcelona
22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Grant Riller, PG/SG, Charleston
23. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
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: Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
29. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona
Knicks Eyeing Kira Lewis Jr.
The New York Knicks' need for a point guard has become one of the most glaring issues at this stage of the rebuild.
Even with Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul rumors heating up on the trade market, new team president Leon Rose and head coach Tom Thibodeau may look to the draft to fill the role. It would give New York a cost-effective player to build around and develop as it sees fit.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, that point guard could very well be Alabama's Kira Lewis Jr:
"The Knicks are serious about Lewis, the 6-foot-3 speed demon who has climbed up draft boards during the pandemic. Under new NBA guidelines, the Knicks are allowed 10 in-person workouts. Lewis became one of them.
"Whether the Knicks are looking at Lewis with the No. 8 overall pick if Killian Hayes is off the board or—more likely—in a trade back, still is unclear with the draft not until Nov. 18."
Lewis is ranked No. 15 overall on the latest big board from B/R's Jonathan Wasserman, so it would be a stretch for the Knicks to grab him at No. 8 unless the club moves down. After the guard averaged 18.5 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game with the Crimson Tide last year as a sophomore, he may prove worth the gamble.
Trail Blazers May Go Big
B/R's Jonathan Wasserman has officially taken the "sleeper" tag off big man Aleksej Pokusevski.
Though he most recently played in Greece's second-tier pro league, the 18-year-old Serb has quickly become one of the names to watch among international prospects.
Among the teams already doing so are the Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks, each of which owns a pick in the middle of the first round. With Wasserman pegging Pokusevski as the 11th-best player on his October big board, the forward might not even make it that far down.
The Blazers have already found success with one big man from the region with Jusuf Nurkic. Pairing him in the frontcourt with Pokusevski is a high-risk, high-reward move according to Wasserman:
"Pokusevski averaged 1.6 threes, 3.1 assists and 1.8 blocks in HEBA A2, a league Giannis Antetokounmpo once played in. While there are skeptics around the NBA who deem the highlights fluky and question Pokusevski's flashy play/mentality, some are willing to gamble on a 7-footer with such unique shooting fluidity, advanced passing skills and shot-blocking ability."
If he's still on the board when the Blazers pick at No. 16, look for Portland to jump at the opportunity to grab Pokusevski.