Part 1 : The Lottery Picks
Normally, I love doing these things. And, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty good at them. Not so much this year though. It is a difficult and tedious job. I honestly feel that if I just put picks 3-30 into a hat and assigned them as they were drawn that it would be equally accurate to the draft I have written. It feels like every player is basically on level footing. Heck, there isn’t even a general consensus on who the number 1 pick will be!
As I start to write this, I haven’t actually finished my mock draft yet. I’ve been working on it very hard the last couple of days (and very casually the last few weeks) but I feel like I’m getting nowhere. So, I’m going to start writing it and fill in the gaps as I go. At the end of part 2, I will summarise with the best picks to bet on, if you are that way inclined. Just be cautious, unless I state otherwise, anything could happen with these picks. Majority of the players have just as many strengths as they do weaknesses and like I said, they are all similar talent wise. A lot of this is going to come down to personal preference.
My final disclaimer before I start, this doesn’t consider any trades that may happen. As it stands, this draft will be done with who currently has the pick and I will be drafting based upon those teams needs and tendencies (if any). I imagine that Boston will provably make a trade or two considering they own 3 first round picks, which is incredible work by their front office. It has been rumoured for a long time that Golden State will try and trade their pick, but I sincerely doubt that. I guess we will see. Without further ado, I present my 2020 mock draft.
#1 Minnesota Timberwolves : Anthony Edwards (SG) Georgia
When I was watching the draft lottery this year, they did an expert analysis on Anthony Edwards. They said something along the lines of this “Edwards is the best player in the draft, he just needs to improve his shot selection, playmaking, offensive efficiency, effort, consistency and defense”. So you know, nothing major. I definitely don’t think Edwards is the best player in the draft, but he possible has the best body. At 6’5″ (with a 6’9″) wingspan, 225 pounds and a broad upper body you would be forgiven for thinking him a running back or linebacker in the NFL. He is incredibly athletic and has a lot of potential. I think Minnesota will select him based upon needs. In no particular order, the top 3 players are considered Edwards, Wiseman (C) and Ball (PG). The Wolves have Russell at PG and KAT at the C, so I can’t see them selecting Wiseman or Ball.
#2 Golden State Warriors : James Wiseman (C) Memphis
Just as often as it has been rumoured that GS will trade this pick, is the rumour that they will select James Wiseman. I believe this is the more likely scenario. Small ball aside, everyone needs at least one good big. The warriors aren’t selecting a guard anyway, they already have a good thing going with Curry and Thompson. Green and Paschall/Wiggins will likely be the starting forwards. The Warriors don’t really have a centre anymore. They’ve had their best success with a decent centre to go along with the guards. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but even Bogut made a difference for them. Enter James Wiseman. His size alone makes him attractive, 7’1″ with a 7’6″ wingspan. The guy should be a walking rebound. That hasn’t necessarily been true though. He can shoot the ball fairly well, which has kept him out of the paint. Remind you of someone? To me, that screams Anthony Davis. Still, I think Wiseman would benefit learning from someone like Green and I think the Warriors would benefit from a player like Wiseman.
#3 Charlotte Hornets : LaMelo Ball (PG), Illawara
A lot of mock drafts have Ball going number 1, but I don’t see it. Like so many others in this draft class, but perhaps more than any others, Ball has some serious potential to either be dominant or be a bust. I’ve heard him compared to Magic Johnson and I’ve heard him compared to Lonzo Ball. See what I mean? His best strength is definitely his playmaking ability. He is also a decent rebounder and a good size at 6’6″. He has excellent handles and is great in transition play. He can move really well. His shooting leaves a bit to be desired, but he doesn’t lack confidence. Shooting can always be improved. The big question mark around Ball is his defensive efforts and decision making. Sometimes, he just pulls up for some really stupid shots. It obviously happened enough for me to write about it. So, Ball has a lot of potential, but needs a lot of work. Charlotte need a new franchise guy to fill the hole left by Kemba, Ball might be the guy.
#4 Chicago Bulls : Killian Hayes (G) Ulm
Finally, the Bulls aren’t selecting 7th. Unfortunately, as some would say, it is a 3 man draft and the Bulls are picking 4th. I would disagree with that. Honestly, the later picks are probably easier because you will get an equal talent and have less to choose from. It has been going around that the Bulls will select Deni Avdija with this pick, but there doesn’t seem to be anything to back this up, other than the fact that Bulls GM, Arturas Karnisovas has a history of selecting international players. I think that will continue, but everyone is looking at the wrong player. Hayes is from France and is coming off playing a season in Germany. At only 18 years old, he has a lot of upside. In my opinion, he is the best player in this draft class. He doesn’t seem to be on a lot of radars though. Hayes reminds a lot of people of James Harden. Excellent handles and always, always side stepping or stepping back. He plays well in the pick and roll and is a fairly solid passer. His defense is solid, but could be better. He needs to improve on his outside shooting and his ability to finish at the rim. Hayes also has a tendency to always go left. At 18 though, none of this concerns me, because he has lots of time to improve. He is an All-Star in 3 or 4 years.
#5 Cleveland Cavaliers : Deni Avdija (F) Maccabi Tel Aviv
Avdija goes to the Cavaliers because the front office is pretty high on him. At worst, he is considered average, but most of the Cavaliers organisation seems to be high on him. He seems to be a relatively good fit, especially in the long term. The Cavs still believe they can win now, so look to them to try and make some moves in free agency. Avdija will likely play off of the bench for his first season or two.
#6 Atlanta Hawks : Tyrese Haliburton (G) Iowa
The Hawks will be very happy if Haliburton falls to them. Haliburton has worked out for basically every lottery team and everyone seems to love him. He is considered to be a great culture guy, regardless of where he ends up. Personality aside, he is also a pretty solid player. Pretty consistent shooter, good defensively, great passer, Haliburton has the potential to be excellent. He definitely needs to add some muscle though. He also lacks explosiveness, for lack of a better word. He is quick, but slow to start. More suited for a transition game than in the half court. Still, I think he is an excellent fit in Atlanta.
#7 Detroit Pistons : Patrick Williams (F) Florida State
This pick is all but guaranteed. Word on the street is that Detroit have guaranteed Williams that he will be their selection. This one is pretty simple, he fits the profile perfectly. Young, tall, raw talent. Everything Detroit usually goes for.
#8 New York Knicks : Obi Toppin (PF) Dayton
Even the Knicks won’t mess this up, right? Toppin should be an excellent fit alongside R.J.Barrett. Toppin is an offensive powerhouse with incredible speed and an astonishing vertical. This is highlighted on defense as well, when he shows the ability to close out and block 3 point shots from the opposing guards. The downside is he is already 22, so his golden years of development are behind him. He can’t move very well laterally and isn’t particularly muscly, so there isn’t much flexibility with his positioning. Still, he should work well with Barrett at the 4 and Robinson at the 5.
#9 Washington Wizards : Onyeka Okongwu (C) USC
This is another guaranteed pick. The Wizards need a centre and Okongwu is a pretty good one, especially defensively. At 6’9″, he has the flexibility to play at the 4 if required, but this won’t be necessary in Washington. They need a centre! Easy choice.
#10 Phoenix Suns : Devin Vassell (SG) Florida State
Apparently, the Suns have no interest in targeting a forward. They are looking to get another guard to play alongside of Booker. Vassell seems to be the perfect choice. Vassell is a 3 and D guy, shooting over 40% from deep and playing excellent defense. He isn’t much of a ball handler, but knows when to make the right pass. This should make him an excellent partner for Booker.
#11 San Antonio Spurs : Isaac Okoro (SG/SF) Auburn
Isaac Okoro has a lot offensive question marks surrounding his game. I imagine this is a big turn off for a lot of teams, especially in todays game, but the Spurs have never been one to care about the trends. He is a great frame and seems to be a relatively intelligent player. His key strength is his strength, but he is also a solid defender. He needs a bit of polishing, but I think the Spurs system would suit him well and he will pay dividends in the future for them.
#12 Sacramento Kings : Saddiq Bey (SF) Villanova
There are better players available here, but mainly at the SG position. Sacramento is already loaded with guards, so I imagine they will take a big to help even their roster out a bit. Bey is another 3 and D type of player, with more emphasis on his defense. He shot the 3 ball at 45% this season which is incredibly impressive. Defensively, his statistics don’t jump out at you, but, he is comfortably switching and guarding at any position. Offensively, he gets better the further away from the basket he is. That isn’t always a good thing, it is important to be able to finish inside! Still, he seems an excellent choice for Sacramento.
#13 New Orleans Pelicans : Tyrese Maxey (G) Kentucky
To me, Maxey is a perfect fit alongside of Zion Williamson. Maxey can either start alongside Ball in the backcourt or come off of the bench as the 6th man. Either way, Maxey is an incredibly gifted scorer, especially out in transition. Maxey isn’t much of a passer, but it just feels like he will compliment Zion really well. A perfect 1-2 punch from outside and inside. Maxey has also benefitted from the strong play of Kentucky guys in the NBA bubble : Herro, Murray, Adebayo and Booker are all former Kentucky guys.
#14 Boston Celtics : Kira Lewis (PG) Alabama
This is a matter of best available player at the time. Even if Boston trade this pick, I imagine Lewis will be the selection. He is young, fast, decent defensively and an excellent scorer. He isn’t starting material yet, but he will be if he gets placed in a good system. Walker and Smart would be excellent veterans to help him take his game to the next level.
Ok, I’ve been typing and reading scouting reports/twitter rumours for about 4 hours now. I’m very tired and need a break! You could probably do with one as well. I will either come back later today with the remaining picks or tomorrow. If you have any questions, fire away in the comments. Otherwise, I’ll recap everything at the end of Part 2.