2020 NBA mock draft 10.0: First-round draft pick predictions, analysis
1. Charlotte Hornets: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 225 pounds
Charlotte made a splash last summer in free agency when they spent big bucks on Terry Rozier. He isn’t a frontline starter, but he’ll manage the spot for the next few years. They’ve also added a pair of intriguing forwards in P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges over the last two drafts and guard Devonte’ Graham came out of nowhere to become a player. The Hornets could use depth all over the court, but they have a hole at center moving forward.
Edwards hasn’t locked up the No. 1 overall pick quite yet, but it’s hard not to like the potential. The 6-foot-5 wing has an NBA ready body and projects as the player with the most upside in this year’s draft. Charlotte, like most of the teams at the top of the lottery not named the Golden State Warriors, is looking for a star and a player to build around. They can go a few different directions, but the safest long term bet is probably Edwards.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: LaMelo Ball, PG, Australia
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 190 pounds
Everything. Cleveland doesn’t have a franchise player to build around and it’s likely won’t find one at the top end of this draft. Colin Sexton and Darius Garland have talent, but both have a ceiling. The Cavs also have a stable of bigs, but none of them are long term solutions. Adding the best talent possible should be the only objective for this team.
Cleveland has taken a ball dominant guard in each of the last two drafts, but they need a lot more size in the backcourt. Ball didn’t set the world on fire playing professionally in Australia, but he has a ton of talent, really good size and a great feel for the game. Onyeka Okongwu and James Wiseman could be in play here as well, but Cleveland has a glut of short-term bigs that will hamper playing time in Year 1.
3. Detroit Pistons: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 245 pounds
Detroit hit the reset button at the deadline, dealing away Andre Drummond and waiving Reggie Jackson. These two moves left the team with massive holes at point guard and center, to go with massive holes at the shooting guard and small forward positions.
Who is the better prospect, Okongwu or Wiseman? It’s not an easy answer. Okongwu showed he could impact the game where it matters - in the win/loss column. Wiseman has tremendous upside, but he played a total of three games at Memphis. Both players should be solid pros, but Okongwu is the safer of the two bets.
4. Phoenix Suns: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 220 pounds
On paper, Phoenix looks solid. Devin Booker is their star. Deandre Ayton is developing into a double-double machine in the block and Kelly Oubre is a human highlight reel that can play both forward spots. They have solid veterans off the bench and promising young players to work with. Point guard looks like a future need and they could use a rim protector to help improve their overall defense.
Toppin is a riser in this year’s draft. He could go anywhere from No. 2 all the way to No. 10, but the word on the street is that teams are falling in love with the talented 4-5 combo. He can stretch the floor with his shooting and if you try to play up on him, he has the ability to blow by his defender and put him on a poster. There are major concerns about his defense, but that is what pro coaching is for.
5. Golden State Warriors: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 175 pounds
Outside of the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors base is pretty weak. They could definitely move this pick to grab a more mature player that can help right away, but there is a chance they fall in love with a young prospect that can be part of the next generation of Warriors basketball.
The Warriors have a lot of work to do if they hope to jump back into the race as a contender. They still have the base of Steph, Klay and Draymond, but gone are the likes of Sean Livingston, Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant. One player can’t fill the void, but Haliburton is toolsey and can play multiple positions. He stuffs the stat sheet like very few players in this year’s draft and he has plenty of room to grow.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Measurables: 7-foot-1, 235 pounds
The T-Wolves shook things up at the deadline. Gone are Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, Robert Covington and Gorgui Dieng. Minnesota is prepared to move forward with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell as their tandem. Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez played extremely well after joining the squad via trade in February, but both are restricted free agents. This team has depth issues at multiple positions and a blank canvas to work with.
Wiseman might turn out to be the best player in this draft. He could also struggle due to a lack of experience and play time. Minnesota needs a defensive anchor to put next to KAT. They also need a back up plan in case Towns decides to bolt. Wiseman could go much higher than this, but if he’s available, the T-Wolves would be silly to not select him here.
7. Atlanta Hawks: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 215 pounds
The Hawks can score and their brand of basketball is at least somewhat entertaining. They have a number one option in Trae Young and John Collins is a nice secondary scorer. Adding Clint Capella and Dewayne Dedmon at the deadline added depth to the front line and they have some promising young scorers in Kevin Hueter, Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter. They could use depth at wing and power forward, plus someone who plays defense.
Atlanta might be wise to draft a defensive stopper like Isaac Okorro at this spot, but you don’t want to be a team that missed out on the next big European prospect...again. Avdija is a talent and he makes the game easier for the players around him. The Hawks could definitely use a second play maker, even if he’s not the defensive stopper they need.
8. New York Knicks: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 185 pounds
What do you get for the team that needs everything? New York thinks they have a keeper in RJ Barrett and Julius Randle played well in his first season in the big apple. New York also has Mitchell Robinson who is developing quickly at center. They have a major need at point guard, small forward and overall depth.
Coming into the 2019-20 season, Anthony was considered a top three pick in this year’s draft. His stock is down slightly, but there is still a lot to like from the speedy point guard. General manager Scott Perry was hyper focused on De’Aaron Fox in the 2017 NBA Draft when he was part of the Kings organization and Anthony might draw similar intrigue. New York needs a ton of help, but their top priority should be to find a leader in the backcourt that can help establish a team identity.
9. Chicago Bulls: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm, Ulm, Germany
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 185 pounds
Chicago shouldn’t be this high in the lottery. They have high-end young talent at most positions, although they have had issues staying healthy. Point guard is the most glaring weakness for the team. They’ve searched for an answer since Derrick Rose began his decline and left the squad. They could also use depth around the horn, but that isn’t what a top three pick is for.
Hayes looks like he’s solidified himself as a top 10 pick. He’s very young, but has great size for an NBA point guard and his court vision is off the charts. Chicago is in dire need of a true distributor to pair with Zach LaVine. Hayes might need time to adjust to the NBA, but he’s played professionally overseas and shown massive improvement across the board.
10. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 225 pounds
Outside of Bradley Beal, the Wizards have plenty of needs, especially if they lose Davis Bertans in free agency. John Wall is set to return next season, but there are plenty of question marks with the former All-Star point guard. Rui Hachimura was a nice pick last season and Thomas Bryant is somewhat serviceable at the five.
The Wizards went from having a stable of small forwards to none. Okoro is the type of player that slides into the starting lineup on day 1 and is playing 30 minutes or more per game by the mid-way point of the season. He needs to develop as an offensive player, especially with his 3-point shot, but he would make a nice starter alongside Beal, Wall and Rui Hachimura.
11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 194 pounds
A time machine. Half of Spurs roster is on the wrong side of 30 and they need an infusion of talent. The youth of the team; DeJounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker; have yet to take any measurable leap in performance. The Spurs can use help at center, power forward, small forward and both guard positions.
Vassell is the type of player that the Spurs jump all over. He’s a plus defender with an ability to knock down nearly 42 percent from long range. From Bruce Bowen to Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio is always searching for this player type. Vassell might not have Leonard’s upside, but he likely has a higher ceiling than Bowen.
12. Sacramento Kings: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
Measurables: 6-foot-8, 225 pounds
After a rough start to the season, the Kings found their groove in the 20 games leading to the shutdown. They have solid depth across the board, but Harry Giles, Alex Len and Kent Bazemore are all unrestricted free agents and Bogdan Bogdanovic might get a sizable offer on the open market. Sacramento could use a shot blocker if they can’t retain Len. They also need a stretch four for the future with Nemanja Bjelica entering the final year of this deal and some help at the wing in case they lose Bazemore and/or Bogdanovic.
The numbers don’t tell the whole story. At 18-years-old, Patrick Williams is one of those players that only showed a small portion of what he can do at the NCAA level. He’s a modern day combo forward at the NBA that has the size and strength to defend multiple positions. WIlliams also moves well without the ball, can run the floor and has the upside to make him worth the gamble at the back end of the lottery. Can he be a Trevor Ariza type player? That would be the hope.
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 215 pounds
This is a team packed with young talent on the rise. They have solid pieces at the one, three, four and five and a nice veteran holdover in J.J. Redick at the two. They need depth and shooting, like every team in the league, especially with Redick turning 36 in June. They could also use more size at the three.
Nesmith to the Pelicans makes too much sense, so we will continue to leave him here. The Vanderbilt product shot 52.2 percent from long range on 8.2 attempts per game. He is an elite floor spacer that moves without the ball and will find openings in opposing defenses, especially with all eyes on Zion Williamson.
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
Measurables: 6-foot-10, 185 pounds
Long term injuries to both Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic killed the Trail Blazers momentum coming into the 2019-20 season. Those two injuries also exposed the team’s lack of depth in the post. They’ll get both of those players back next season, but they are also in need of youth and more versatility at both forward positions.
McDaniels is all over the board still. He has the size, length and athleticism that teams covet, but there are some question marks surrounding his attitude. Portland struggled when they allowed Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless to get away. McDaniels has more offensive upside than both of those players, although he’ll need to show a different level of commitment at the NBA level.
15. Orlando Magic: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
Measurables: 6-foot-8, 215 pounds
Orlando is surprisingly well stocked with talent, although the mix of players needs some tweaking. So far they are ahead on the Markelle Fultz gamble, which might take care of the point guard spot long term. They have Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Nikola Vucevic filling out the remainder of the starting five. They could use an offensive spark plug and someone to help fill backcourt minutes in the future.
One of the worst offensive teams in the NBA, Orlando needs to find someone who can shoot the ball to space the floor. Bey isn’t an elite athlete, but he can defend multiple positions and knock down a 3-pointer. In the middle of the first round, teams would be looking for solid rotational players and Bey fits that description well.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nets): Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 200 pounds
Minnesota has plenty of gaps to fill. They should land a high level player in the top 10, but they need another strong selection here at No. 16. Point guard, center and small forward are all a priority.
If the T-Wolves can come out this year’s draft with a pair of versatile players that don’t mind playing defense, it’s a huge win. Maxey is a hustle player that can physically get into his opponent. He’s versatile enough to play both backcourt positions and might work as a long term fit with D’Angelo Russell. There is a wide range in this year’s draft for Maxey, but you have to like his potential as a two-way player.
17. Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies): Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL (France)
Measurables: 6-foot-4, 175 pounds
Boston is in a good place at most positions. They have plenty of young high-end performers and two very good veterans in Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward. They have a glaring hole at center, but finding a player that can go from the draft to the rotation on a top tier team isn’t easy.
Boston has three first round selections and they are in a prime position to draft and stash. Maledon has yet to fully establish a true range in this year’s draft. He could break the top ten or tumble into the mid-twenties. The Celtics have the picks to gamble and although he might need some seasoning, Maledon looks like a nice prospect for a year or two from now.
18. Dallas Mavericks: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C Memphis
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 225 pounds
It’s pretty basic. The Dallas Mavericks need players that can play alongside Luka Doncic. They have a few players on the roster that make sense, but they need to surround the budding superstar with shooters at every position and let him go to work.
An active big body with a huge wingspan and a willingness to give up his body, Achiuwa could be a perfect fit with Doncic. He sets massive picks, can score at the rim and plays through contact. He’s also a nice position defender that can extend out and disrupt in the pick-and-roll. Dallas has a few bigs that can get out and run, but Precious would quickly earn minutes with his motor and intensity.
19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Pacers): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 165 pounds
The loss of Malcolm Brogdan didn’t impact the Bucks all that much in the regular season, but we’ll have to wait to see if it hurts the NBA’s No. 1 team if the postseason ever starts. Milwaukee could use a replacement, as well as someone not named Lopez in the post.
What doesn’t need a spark plug off the bench? With elite speed and quickness, Lewis has the potential to be a Lou Williams-type sixth man in the NBA. He needs to add weight and get stronger and his turnover numbers are an issue, but there is a lot to like from the Alabama product.
20. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers, Australia
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 190 pounds
The 2019-20 Nets have completely different needs than the 2020-21 Nets. With Kevin Durant joining the squad, as well as a hopefully healthy Kyrie Irving, this should be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. They have point guard, small forward and center well stocked and this may become a destination location for free agents. Brooklyn could use some help at the power spot and like most teams, they could use more shooting.
A year in Australia didn’t go as planned for Hampton, but there is still a lot to love about his game. He has an elite ability to change speed and direction and he should be able to step in and at least be a sixth man early in his career. The danger with getting drafted in the last third of the first round is that you usually go to an accomplished team and playing time is difficult to come by. Hampton will need to tighten up his game if he’s going to earn minutes.
21. Denver Nuggets (via Rockets): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 245 pounds
Denver has done a solid job of stocking up on talent. They are set at most positions, although they could use a change of pace point guard or a long term replacement for Paul Millsap at the four.
Stewart has a big-time NBA ready body and should be able to help a team early in his career. He lives in the paint, outworks his opponents and plays a physical style. Denver has the center position covered with Nikola Jokic, but with Millsap getting long in the tooth, there might be minutes for a hustle player like Stewart.
22. Philadelphia 76ers: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 180 pounds
Philly has one of the best starting fives in the NBA. They also have one of the worst second units. They can go in a lot of different directions at this point in the draft. They need a big to fill in when Joel Embiid goes down. They could also use a point guard that can eat minutes and allow Ben Simmons to play at one of the other four spots on the floor.
The views on Manion are all over the board. He has an incredibly high basketball IQ and he can really set his teammates. On the down side, he isn’t an elite athlete and he isn’t going to blow by anyone with his first step. Philly has plenty of super athletes to surround him with and there is a shot that he develops into a really nice floor general at the next level.
23. Miami Heat: Tyrell Terry, Guard, Stanford
Measurables: 6-foot-1, 160 pounds
One of the deeper teams in the Eastern Conference, Miami doesn’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses. They could use a verteran point guard in case Goran Dragic leaves in free agency. Jae Crowder is also an unrestricted free agent that could land elsewhere.
Miami has a knack for mining talent, be it in the draft or off the free agent scrap heap. Slight of frame, Terry is one of those players that seems to be rising in the draft process. He has unlimited range, but there are a lot of question marks about where he would play at the NBA level and whether teams could hide him on the defensive end of the court. That being said, he has a quick release and can hit from deep, so there might be a spot for him in the league.
24. Utah Jazz: Josh Green, SG, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 205 pounds
Utah is one of the most complete teams in the NBA. They have depth at almost every position, although they could use a little more size up front and a few more wing players, since they play multiple unconventional small lineups.
We’ve left Green here at No. 24 because Utah is a spot that searches out underutilized talents and develops them. Green needs to improve his mechanics from long range, but the Jazz values defense and physicality. They also have enough depth on their roster to bring Green along slowly, which he is going to need.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver): Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
Measurables: 6-foot-4, 195 pounds
OKC hit the jackpot with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and he’s learning from one the best in Chris Paul. They also have a nice third guard in Dennis Schroder. The Thunder could use more depth at the wing and they could be in trouble if Danilo Gallinari leaves in free agency.
Ramsey boasts a 6-foot-6 wingspan and he shot 42.6 percent from long range in his freshman year at Texas Tech. With Andre Roberson completely falling apart physically, this is a player that could find court time as a 3-and-D stopper.
26. Boston Celtics (via Bucks): Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas
Measurables: 6-foot-2, 180 pounds
This is the second of Boston’s three first rounders. They’ll likely look to move up or move out of one or two of these spots, but if they stick around, expect them to look for draft and stash candidates or polished older NCAA players.
Despite having a solid depth, the Celtics could use a change of pace point guard to mix things up. Dotson is lightning quick and a solid creator. In his sophomore season at Kansas, he was a catalyst for one of the best teams in the nation. Boston should be active in this draft, so they might not stick around to see this pick, but if they do, drafting a winner like Dotson makes sense.
27. New York Knicks (via Clippers): Zeke Nnaji, PF, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-11, 240 pounds
This is the Knicks’ second pick, including one in the top 10 of the draft. They have way too many holes to fill, including point guard, small forward and center. At this point in the draft, you are looking for someone with enough talent to compete and possibly steal some minutes later in the season, although pick No. 27 has produced some nice players.
Long and athletic, Nnaji made an impact in his freshman season at Arizona. He has the potential to eventually stretch his range out behind the arc and he’s already an accomplished finisher around the rim. If you like big motor players that have already begun to produce, this is a nice late first round find.
28. Toronto Raptors: Tre Jones, PG, Duke
Measurables: 6-foot-2, 195 pounds
Toronto is one of those rare teams that just keeps plugging away and winning despite a massive free agent departure and injuries throughout the year. They are entering another summer of potential change with Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet all hitting the open market.
A solid game manager and above average defender, Jones might be able to earn minutes right away as a reserve point guard. With Van Vleet entering free agency and Kyle Lowry turning 34-years-old, the Raptors might need a plan B. It’s possible that Jones goes higher than this, but if he’s available, this is a pick that makes a lot of sense.
29. Los Angeles Laker: Jalen Smith, C, Maryland
Measurables: 6-foot-10, 225 pounds
LA is one of the better teams in the league. They have star power and an ability to draw veteran players at below market value in free agency due to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They could use a few additional shooters, but this is a prime pick to be traded.
Los Angeles needs shooters and versatility at every position and this could be a nice fit. Smith stayed in school an extra year and took advantage of the opportunity. He extended his range and saw spikes in his rebounding and block numbers.
30. Boston: Aleksej Pokuševski, C, Serbia
Measurables: 7-foot, 200 pounds
By the time Boston selects here, they might not have any more team needs. As it stands, they could use an upgrade at center and some overall depth. Coach Brad Stevens likes to mix and match his rotations, so versatility is usually a focus.
A mobile 7-footer with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and advanced shooting mechanics, Pokuševski is a major draft and stash candidate.Boston could use a big that could play now, but there is value in the late first round that has the potential to become a very good player down the road. This might be a little late for the Serbian center, but if he lasts this long, teams might be willing to move up to grab him.