2020 NBA mock draft 12.0: First-round draft pick predictions, analysis
1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 225 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.
In a normal draft cycle, there might be two or three players that challenge for this top spot, especially in a less than stellar draft. Edwards isn’t the only player with All-Star potential in the top 10, but he is probably the safest bet to walk into the league and find a niche. Golden State could go plenty of different directions if they are lucky enough to land the top spot. Obi Toppin might be a better fit. They need a big like James Wiseman. They also have a window that is starting to close and could package this pick with a player or trade exception to get veteran help. The possibilities are almost endless.
2. Chicago Bulls: LaMelo Ball, PG, Australia
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 190 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.
This might be the perfect spot for Ball to land. Chicago has talent, but they lack that one player who is willing to take ownership of the team. LaMelo looks like the most talented of the three Ball brothers. Would he fit in a backcourt with Zach LaVine? That’s a concern that can be handled down the road. If the Bulls are lucky enough to climb this high in the draft, they can’t make a mistake.
3. New York Knicks: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Measurables: 7-foot-1, 235 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.
The Knicks never get it right, but maybe this time? Wiseman has a ton of potential, but that can be dangerous. New York would probably prefer a player like Ball that they can hand the keys over too, but Tom Thibodeau is going to want a defensive anchor and Wiseman has that type of potential. A safer play would be Onyeka Okongwu, but it’s hard not to draft for potential in the top three.
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.
Amaré Stoudemire 2.0? Maybe. Toppin doesn’t play defense, but looks like a scoring machine at the NBA level. He can stretch the floor, play both the four and the five and he finishes above the rim. Whether he’ll work next to Deandre Ayton is a good question, but you have to like the potential.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 245 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 a crowded front court, but it’s a short term issue. Okongwu is a winner and he can stuff a stat sheet. They should consider Tyrese Haliburton, but they’ve loaded up on guards in the previous two drafts. Isaac Okoro would be a good fit as well, but his limitations as a scorer could be an issue. The Safe bet is to grab a big that can contribute and become part of the young core.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 215 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.
Minnesota is a bad defensive team and adding Avdija isn’t going to help that issue. What he lacks in defensive prowess, he makes up for with a high basketball IQ and a smooth offensive arsenal. This is a player that can create for others and he adds another nuance to a team that has potential to be very good offensively.
7. Atlanta Hawks: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 225 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 has plenty of scoring and they’ve made moves to bolster their depth all over the court. They are primed to take a big step forward next season, but they need a defensive stopper. Okoro is a selfless player that loves to shut down the opponents best player. He would fit perfectly in Atlanta as an Andre Iguodala type enforcer.
8. Detroit Pistons: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 185 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.
Anthony is a player with a wide range in this year’s draft. He was a top prospect coming into the year, but he wasn’t able to cash in on his potential, in part due to a knee injury. Detroit needs a long term fix at the point. Derrick Rose can hold down the fort for another season while Anthony develops, but it’s hard to imagine him holding up long term. This is a bit of a gamble pick, but the reward could be tremendous.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 175 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.
Versatile enough to play multiple positions, the five-tool Haliburton is a nice fit in Charlotte alongside a pair of scoring point guards. Michael Jordan doesn’t have the best track record in the draft, but as a small market with very little appeal in free agency, he needs to mine for talent. Haliburton’s versatility could translate every well to the NBA game.
10. Washington Wizards: Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 194 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.
Vassell is a plus defender that knocked down nearly 42 percent from long range last season at Florida State. He has nice size, although he’ll need to fill out to compete with bigger wings at the NBA level. Washington has a lot to figure out as a franchise, but pairing a player like Vassell with Rui Hachimura at the four at least gives them a nice forward combination and makes them interesting down the road.
11. San Antonio Spurs: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm, Ulm, Germany
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 185 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.
When it’s all said and done, Hayes might be the best point guard prospect in this draft. There is enough tape from his time in the Bundesliga to be intrigued. He has great size and court vision and his offensive game is improving. San Antonio rarely makes mistakes and they have all kinds of needs, but this is a player they should be very interested in.
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.
Sacramento would love for Isaac Okoro or Devin Vassell to fall to this point, but Williams will work just fine. A big combo forward in the mold of Trevor Ariza, Williams is likely much better than his college numbers. It will take him some time to fully develop, but if he can shoulder some of the weight at both the three and the four, the Kings could move Barnes to the power forward spot and adjust their roster accordingly.
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: Aleksej Pokuševski, C, Serbia
Measurables: 7-foot, 200 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.
Portland is still trying to figure out if they are a team that is injured and just needs a solid offseason or if they are a team on the decline. We’ll guess that they think they are still a contender despite the poor 2019-20 season. Pokuševski is a smooth shooting 7-footer with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. He’s probably a year or two away from being NBA ready, but he could turn out to be a steal in this year’s draft and Portland could hide him overseas and use his roster spot on veteran players to get them back in the chase.
15. Orlando Magic: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL (France)
Measurables: 6-foot-4, 175 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.
In a draft filled with talented guards, Maledon is likely going to get slightly lost. He has good size and has shown some ability overseas, but he probably isn’t ready for the NBA just yet. Orlando has Fultz, but they have to at least be someone concerned about his long term future. Drafting Maledon would hedge that bet and give them another potential option.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Nets): Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
Measurables: 6-foot-8, 215 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.
Minnesota needs depth at the wing and more shooters. Bey brings both in one package. He looks like an NBA role player, but when you have KAT and Russell on your squad and another top 10 pick, you need to find players that can fit into the puzzle. There are higher risk, higher reward players at this spot in the draft, but Bey is solid for a team in need of rotational players.
17. Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies): Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 200 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.
Brad Stevens is a great coach and he loves versatility. Maxey might not have a true position, but he’s a basketball player, in the same way that Marcus Smart is. He’ll need to work on his overall game and his shooting has to improve, but this is a nice get in the middle of the first round.
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.
Achiuwa is an active big body with a huge wingspan and a willingness to give up his body. He sets massive picks, which would really open the court for Doncic to roam. He can score at the rim and plays through contact. It’s a copycat league and Achiuwa looks a lot like a Montrezl Harrell clone. He’d fit well on a few teams, but Dallas has a hole to fill.
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.
Milwaukee is packed with talent, but every team in the league needs a spark plug off the bench. Lewis lacks a conscience on the court, which is perfect for a sixth-man. If he finds the right landing spot, Lewis could really carve out a niche in the league.
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.
Hampton 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, but he’s worth the investment.
21. Denver Nuggets (via Rockets): Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
Measurables: 6-foot-10, 185 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.
Denver is becoming one of those teams where prospects can develop under the watchful eye of Michael Malone and his staff and potentially become something much more. McDaniels needs a coach that will demand more from him. He has the physical tools to be very good and he could flourish in the right situation.
22. Philadelphia 76ers: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 245 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.
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. Philly needs depth in a bad way, especially in the post where Embiid has missed time consistently throughout his career. Bruisers still have value in the league and Stewart should be able to stick.
23. Miami Heat: Zeke Nnaji, PF, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-11, 240 pounds
One of the deeper teams in the Eastern Conference, Miami doesn’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses. They could use a veteran point guard in case Goran Dragic leaves in free agency. Jae Crowder is also an unrestricted free agent that could land elsewhere.
Nnaji is Long and athletic and he has the potential to eventually stretch his range out behind the arc. He’s already an accomplished finisher around the rim and he plays with a big motor. Miami has a budding star in Bam Adebajo at the five. Finding a player that can complement him long term should be a priority.
24. Utah Jazz: Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
Measurables: 6-foot-4, 195 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.
Ramsey is a strong perimeter defender that boasts a 6-foot-6 wingspan and he shot 42.6 percent from long range in his freshman year at Texas Tech. Teams are mining for serviceable players at this point in the draft and Ramsey has nice long term potential. This is also the style of player that coach Quin Snyder seems to collect in Utah.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 205 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.
Finding a Gallinari replacement at this point in the draft is difficult, so the Thunder should look for one of their other needs. Green is going to need time to develop, but he’s a super athlete with a legitimate NBA body. Can he replace Andre Roberson down the road?
26. Boston Celtics (via Bucks): Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 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, a polished NCAA players or some sort of specialist.
Mannion is a high basketball IQ player that creates for others and might be better at the next level than he showed in college. The downside is that he will have to work on his speed and quickness if he hopes to have space to move against NBA defenders. Boston could use backcourt depth and finding a player that brings a specific skill set like Manion might be enticing.
27. New York Knicks (via Clippers): Tre Jones, PG, Duke
Measurables: 6-foot-2, 195 pounds Age: 20
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.
New York needs all kinds of help in the backcourt and adding a solid game manager like Jones makes sense. He isn’t going to be a star, but he has the chance to stick around the league for a while, especially if he can provide sound backcourt play and defend opposing points.
28. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Smith, C, Maryland
Measurables: 6-foot-10, 225 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.
The Raptors need some long term depth in the middle and Smith’s skill set might work perfectly with Pascal Siakam. Smith stayed in school an extra year and extended his range as well as saw spikes in his rebounding and block numbers. If he can continue his upward trend, he might develop into a nice rotational big.
29. Los Angeles Laker: Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas
Measurables: 6-foot-2, 180 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.
LA is going to continue to search for low budget veterans to fill out their roster. That being said, Dotson is lightning quick and a solid creator who could be a nice third point option on a good team early in his career. In his sophomore season at Kansas, he was a catalyst for one of the best teams in the nation. drafting a winner like Dotson makes sense, if the Lakers don’t deem the roster spot more valuable than the pick.
30. Boston: Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Spain
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 180 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.
Bolmaro is a creative playmaker with nice court vision and plenty of range on his jumper. While he isn’t an elite athlete, he’s crafty and plays hard. If Boston holds onto these selections, hiding more than one player overseas makes sense. Bolmaro is intriguing enough to burn a late first round selection on and then keep a close eye on from afar.