2020 NBA Mock Draft
By Jamar Brown
Let’s be real, there’s no guarantee the NBA will be coming back this season and even if it does, you’d have to think that it’ll be some sort of shortened type of season. That’ll leave little time for a turn around for most of the teams that are currently in the lottery. Heading into this mock draft, it should be known that this isn’t the deepest draft, but what it lacks in depth all around, it makes up for in point guard depth. There won’t be any trades in this mock draft, unlike my NFL one due to the fact that most trades in the NBA draft come during actual draft day. With all that being said, let’s get to it.
#1: Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
After an injury-filled season that saw the Dubs fall from grace, they find themselves with an opportunity to once again become contenders. Their key players that have missed most of the season will be back next year and they found their “replacement” for Kevin Durant in Andrew Wiggins. The only hole in that starting lineup is at center and Wiseman will fill in perfectly with the shooting on this team. He showed flashes of becoming a new age center while also being an above-average shot-blocker and rebounder. He’s also 7’1 and moves very well which will fit the reigning western conference champs’ system perfectly.
#2: Cleveland Cavaliers: Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia
Drafting Darius Garland last season was a head-scratcher to me because of the previous draft where they drafted Collin Sexton. The Cavs need a lot and it’s too early to pick a question mark like Avdija so Edwards is the safest pick. He can play at the three in a small ball rotation or can play his natural shooting guard position with Garland moving to the bench and being the sixth man. It’s also a possibility that Cleveland could be looking to move down with as many needs as they have.
#3: Minnesota Timberwolves: Obi Toppin, F, Dayton
Toppin racked in all the Player of the Year awards this past season after leading Dayton to be one of the best teams in the nation. He now comes into this year’s draft as one of the more interesting prospects. I see a Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin whenever I watch him play, very athletic but still capable of knocking down perimeter shots. He slides in to start next to KAT and fortify the frontcourt for the T-Wolves for years to come.
#4: Atlanta Hawks: Isaac Okoro, G/F, Auburn
The Hawks aren’t going anywhere for at least another year or two, so they can afford to take a chance on Okoro and his potential. He’s super athletic and a lockdown defender, something the Hawks need in the backcourt opposite of Trey Young. Whether or not this pick is a bust will be determined on him developing a reliable offensive game. Cam Reddish’s development will also determine whether or not Okoro will be forced to start year one.
#5: Detroit Pistons: LaMelo Ball, PG, Australia
Detroit needs some flash. Andre Drummond was really good, but he didn’t sell tickets. They got a post- lob city Blake Griffin and their backcourt have been average at best since Chauncy Billups left. LaMelo brings a known name with an exciting game to a city that is looking for a star. He also fits a huge need for the Pistons and his passing will benefit Luke Kennard and Blake Griffin. The Pistons NEED to make a splash this draft.
#6: New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
The Knicks need a point guard. They were so convinced they were getting Kyrie Irving in free agency last summer that when they didn’t, they had no other choice but to rely on guys like Frank Ntilikina to run the offense. Haliburton brings a pass-first mentality with two years’ worth of experience in college. He’s also standing close to 6’6 which gives the Knickerbockers a fairly tall backcourt with him and R.J Barrett.
#7: Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, G/F, Israel
This team is a mess. With the Knicks being in New York, it’s hard to think that there could be any team that is more poorly run, but the Bulls are close. Aside from Zach Lavine and possibly Coby White, every other position on that roster has its issues. Avdija is an unknown, but shows Luka (yes, Doncic) potential and could be a huge splash for a team that hasn’t had one since Derek Rose pre-ACL.
#8: Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/ C, USC
The Hornets have a bunch of players that could be starters, but you really have no idea if they’re really that good. Davonte Graham and P.J. Washington has been relatively good for a bad team, but you can’t help but wonder if they’re only good out of necessity (does that make sense?). Okongwu brings energy and athleticism to a team that is in desperate need of both.
#9: Washington Wizards: Patrick Williams, G/F, Florida State
Let’s assume right now that John Wall returns next year. This pick is really hard to project because there are so many point guards in a league that has a lot of really good point guards. Williams has the potential to be a really good two-way player. He’s a versatile defender and can develop into a good wing scorer.
#10: Phoenix Suns: Cole Anthony, PG, UNC
After some questions surrounding his durability and a serious issue turning the ball over, Anthony’s stock has dropped. You can’t pin the latter on him though because he had absolutely no help in Chapel Hill and was forced to try and do too much just to keep them in games. The Suns have needed a point guard since Steve Nash and Anthony fits the perfect mold for the modern-day floor general. His upside is Damien Lillard while his floor is current-day Derrick Rose.
#11: San Antonio Spurs: Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
The Spurs should seriously be considering trading up to either get Wiseman or Edwards using DeMar DeRozan (who I believe Cleveland would love) and/or LaMarcus Aldridge. Since there are no trades, Achiuwa seems like the most likely Popovich pick. The New Jersey native provides energy, rebounding and a strong all-around defensive game that Pop loves.
#12: Sacramento Kings: Vernon Carey, C, Duke
Sacramento can be a really scary team next year, it’s just hard to know what they want to do in terms of drafting. Marvin Bagley has been hurt for part of the season so it’s hard to gauge where his potential is and at what position he’d thrive the most in. Their biggest need comes in either the frontcourt or depth all around. Carey fits the bill for both those things even though he might be a reach right here. The Kings are also a serious candidate to move down from this spot for future picks or an experienced bench scorer.
#13: New Orleans Pelicans: Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova
It’s all a matter of time for the Pelicans. The talent they have is undeniable and it’s all just a waiting game to see how/when they’ll finally gel together. Bey gives them a three and D option off the bench that’s experienced and played in a winning program. He’s also a good insurance policy in case David Griffin fails to lock up Brandon Ingram.
#14: Portland Trailblazers: Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
Bey would’ve been a very good fit in Terry Stotts’s system, but Ramsey fits the same mold at a different position. He’s built like a linebacker and has the dog mentality to match. He’s also shown the ability to make some shots although he does get a little too trigger happy. Playing against Dame and C.J every day in practice will help him develop that much quicker. You could be looking at Marcus Smart 2.0.
#15: Orlando Magic: Killian Hayes, PG, France
No one is 100% sold on Fultz, no matter how much you may want him to be the guy. Securing a possible replacement for him in the middle of a deep point guard draft is the right thing to do considering they have all the other pieces on their roster. From the film, you can see that he is a little too reliant with his left hand and isn’t much of a shooter which might be the team’s biggest need. He is however very capable of finishing through contact and is a willing passer. Worst case scenario, they’ll be getting a guy who can get a bucket day one.
#16: Minnesota Timberwolves: Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
Another talented prospect coming out of a disappointing Huskies program, McDaniels has all the potential to be a wing player that GMs salivate at. He’s 6’10 but freakishly skinny and you can’t help but wonder how that’ll hinder him at the next level. The T-Wolves are a team that can risk taking a chance with him with Jarrett Culver on the roster. He can definitely be a Jonathan Isaac type player.
#17: Boston Celtics: Theo Maledon, PG, France
Boston has such a deep roster it’s almost impossible to make a pick that they might actually be able to use. Instead of going the draft-and-stash route that they frequent, why not sure up the backup point guard? Maledon has great size and athleticism and is receiving teachings from the future Hall of Famer Tony Parker. He can go right away next to Marcus Smart coming off the bench.
#18: Dallas Mavericks: R.J Hampton, PG, New Zealand
Up until now, I completely forgot about Hampton because he had such a forgetful season in New Zealand. He has the potential to be a big-time scorer in the league and would be a great compliment next to Luka. He’s got great size and is a legit three-point shooter. This is also a match made in heaven because of he his a native to the Dallas area. He has the potential to be the steal of the draft if he falls this far.
#19: Milwaukee Bucks: Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
Considering this is arguably the best team in the league, there aren’t many needs. One possible one, however, might be depth at either guard position and that’s what Maxey best projects to be. He’s a smooth scoring guard who can light it up in a hurry. He’s also not scared of the big moment and that’s likely where the Bucks will find themselves for the next few years.
#20: Brooklyn Nets: Aaron Nesmith, G, Vanderbilt
Had it not been for a foot injury, Nesmith could’ve been a strong candidate for player of the year honors. He was filling up the scoreboard and grabbing rebounds at a high clip for a guard. Brooklyn was supposed to be one of the top teams in the East, but with injuries to both of their star players, they were nothing more than a fringe playoff team. Nesmith, when healthy, can give them a second scoring option off the bench opposite Spencer Dinwiddie.
#21: Denver Nuggets: Devin Vassell, G, Florida State
After trading Malik Beasley to Minnesota, the Nuggets easily find his replacement here. What Vassell might lack in athleticism, he makes up for in shooting and above-average defense. He fits in right away with a team that is ready to make a championship push.
#22: Philadelphia 76ers: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
The Sixers’ two biggest needs are depth and shooting and while Mannion may have some inconsistencies with his game, shooting and playmaking are not one of them. Once regarded as a lottery pick, he’s now in danger of falling out of the first round. Potential to be a good shooter and solid contributor ala T.J. McConnell will help him tremendously in this league.
#23: Miami Heat: Amar Sylla, PF, Senegal
The upside here is ridiculous. Watching the film, he’s raw but there is so much potential, it’s mouth-watering. He isn’t scared to push the ball and initiate the offense. He feels comfortable enough to shoot the three-ball even though it might be a work in progress. He also has a 7’2 wingspan which makes his potential as a shot-blocker hard to ignore. He gets by in Spain by being more athletic than everybody else so he’ll have to learn how to adjust to the NBA.
#24: Utah Jazz: Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona#
After a crazy few months for the Jazz, some hope for the future is what they should be looking for. Nnaji brings a decent, yet still growing offensive game to the team who could use some scoring at the center. He fits the bill of the modern-day big man showing the ability to shoot 3s. He isn’t much of a shot-blocker but can be useful in defending the pick and roll.
#25: Oklahoma City Thunder: Aleksej Pokusevski, F/C, Serbia
The first two things that I notice about this kid is the fact that he is ridiculously skinny, and he can shoot the lights out, whether it be off the dribble or catch and shoot. He shouldn’t be expected to grab too many rebounds and his potential as a shot-blocker is questionable. He’ll provide a good outside presence coming off the bench behind Steven Adams.
#26: Boston Celtics: Mamadi Diakite, F/C, Virginia
Diakite is a proven winner with loads of experience. He can come in right away and either play some decent minutes or develop in the G-League. He also blocks shots at a decent rate and played plenty of defense for Tony Bennet’s team.
#27: New York Knicks: Leandro Bolmaro, G/F, Argentina
A 3 and D player to come off the bench behind Kevin Knox seems like the right thing to do. Bolmaro is extremely raw outside of shooting and hustling, so he’ll need plenty of time to develop. He reminds me of that guy at the park who tries to be too flashy and ends up hurting his team in the process. He does bring a lot of potential and Knick fans can’t be too picky with how their team has been this century.
#28: Toronto Raptors: Josh Green, SG, Arizona
After a disappointing freshmen season, Green falls to Toronto, a team with a coach that can actually help him develop as a player. Green could go down as one of the biggest steals in this draft because he can actually score on the wing. He needs to develop his handle a little more and his long ball leaves much to be desired, but his offense is tailor-made for the NBA. Nick Nurse could have his starting 2-guard if he plays his cards right.
#29: Los Angeles Lakers: Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke
This seems like a match made in heaven. Stanley is an exceptional athlete who can shoot the ball. He also has ties to the NBA already as his mother is dating Cleveland Cavalier, Alfonzo McKinnie. Stanley was raised in L.A and went to Sierra Canyon which is the school LeBron’s son goes to. His game fits Showtime so well and he’ll get the chance to learn from one of the greats as he develops.
#30: Boston Celtics: Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
Stewart is another big who fits the current-day big man really well. He grabs rebounds at a high clip and also shoots the ball well. What he lacks in athleticism he backs up with plenty of effort. He’s also built like a mountain so he’s very unlikely to get pushed around. He more than likely won’t see much playing time as a rookie, but with Robert Williams being a ticking time bomb, he could see time in that role.
Just a quick side note before I sign off, I got this draft order from some website called NBA Draft Room so if it’s not the most reliable, I do apologize for that. It’s extremely hard to see what the draft order is considering it won’t be concrete until after the lottery. I hope y’all enjoyed it!
Just a quick side note before I sign off, I got this draft order from some website called NBA Draft Room so if it’s not the most reliable, I do apologize for that. It’s extremely hard to see what the draft order is considering it won’t be concrete until after the lottery. I hope y’all enjoyed