2020 NBA mock draft 13.0: First-round draft pick predictions, analysis
1. New York Knicks: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 225 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.
New York has so many needs that they should probably consider dealing this pick for a handful of assets. Edwards is a super athlete with tremendous potential, but he’s not a clear No. 1 overall pick in a normal year, he just has the highest upside out of a stack of players. New York needs a floor general, but they need a star more. The Knicks have hit a reset button on their organization, but they can’t get this one wrong.
2. Golden State Warriors: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 220 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.
Amaré Stoudemire 2.0? Maybe. Toppin doesn’t play defense, but he might fit perfectly into the Warriors offensive scheme. He can hit from the outside, take his man off the dribble and he might be a dream player for a Steph Curry two-man game. Versatile enough to play the four or the five, Toppin could potentially start in a lineup with Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Green.
3. Washington Wizards: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Measurables: 7-foot-1, 235 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 Knicks never get it right, but maybe this time? Wiseman has a ton of potential, but that can be dangerous. Tom Thibodeau is going to want a defensive anchor and Wiseman has that type of potential. A safer play would be Okongwu or even Ball, but you have to draft for star potential in the top three. This isn’t the next Patrick Ewing, but there is a lot to like about Wiseman.
4. 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 needs to keep drafting guards in the top 10 until they find one that’s a star. Ball has some flaws and dealing with his father is no piece of cake, but this is a crafty player that might be a game changer. In a draft with no guarantees, Ball has as good a chance as anyone to become a star.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 245 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.
The league is getting smaller, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for a twin tower situation in Minnesota. Drafting Okongwu would give Karl-Anthony Towns a chance to step out on the perimeter even more. KAT needs a defensive player next to him and Okongwu is not only that, but he showed an ability to backpack a team at the NCAA level. The T-Wolves could use a winner like this.
6. 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 player with tremendous athleticism.
7. Detroit Pistons: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 175 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.
Detroit is on the cusp of a complete rebuild. They need to find players with star potential, although this isn’t the best draft for that. Haliburton is toolsey and there is a chance that his incredible skill set translates into something special at the next level. At worst, he’s likely a long term rotational player with starter potential in the league.
8. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 215 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.
Otto Porter isn’t likely to opt out of his $28 million due this season, but Chicago needs to start planning for the future at the three. Avdija isn’t great on the defensive end, but his incredibly high basketball IQ might be the missing ingredient that ties it all together for a struggling Bulls squad. It’s possible that Avdija is off the board earlier than this, but don’t expect him to drop much lower than this.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 194 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.
Vassell is a plus defender that knocked down nearly 42 percent from long range last season at Florida State. He has nice length for an NBA two and there is potential for him to take a huge step in production at the NBA level. Okoro is probably the best wing defender in this year’s draft, but Vassell isn’t far behind and his offensive game is further along, despite the similar numbers.
10. Phoenix Suns: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 185 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.
Anthony 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. Phoenix needs a long term backcourt partner for Booker, especially one with a slightly different skill set. This is an exciting player with top 5 talent.
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: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 200 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.
After completely falling apart in the Orlando bubble, changes are likely coming in Sacramento. The Kings are set with De’Aaron Fox starring at the point, but they may be in the market for a major move in the backcourt. Maxey is versatile enough to play both guard positions. He also plays defense and the Kings need a physical player on the perimeter.
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: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
Measurables: 6-foot-8, 225 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.
The Blazers season almost flamed out early because of injuries to their bigs, but also the loss of Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless last summer. Like Aminu and Harkless, Williams is a versatile defender that can switch and cover both forward positions. There is a lot to like from the Florida State product and he’s likely to be a better pro than what he showed in his lone season in the NCAA.
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): Aleksej Pokuševski, C, Serbia
Measurables: 7-foot, 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.
This is one of those European players that has teams staying up late to watch game footage. Pokuševski is a smooth shooting 7-footer with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. Boston has three first round selections and there is a good chance they’ll use at least one of them to draft and stash. 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.
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): Zeke Nnaji, PF, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-11, 240 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.
Nnaji is long and athletic and he has the potential to eventually stretch his range out behind the arc. Milwaukee values bigs that can space the floor. Nnaji will need time to get stronger and refine his game, but he has a shot to become an intriguing rotational player down the road.
20. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 165 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.
Brooklyn is about to venture into an entirely different universe next season and they need to find assets that can perform. Lewis has the look of a young Jamal Crawford or Lou Williams. He can fill up the basket in a hurry and should find a spot in the league as a super-sub.
21. Denver Nuggets (via Rockets): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers, Australia
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 190 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 a team on the rise. They have talent all over their roster and rookie Michael Porter Jr. has gone from NBA mystery to top tier prospect in the bubble restart. Hampton, like Porter, has the talent to go much higher than he probably will on draft night. The Nuggets have shown that they aren’t afraid to gamble and this speedster could really pay off in the long run.
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: Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
Measurables: 6-foot-10, 185 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.
McDaniels is a bit of an enigma. He has a big time NBA body and all kinds of potential, but the concerns about his motor will likely cost him on draft night. If Erik Spoelstra found a way to get the most out of Hassan Whiteside and James Johnson, he’ll figure out a way to reach McDaniels. The talent is there, but McDaniels needs a no-nonsense coach that will demand excellence.
24. Utah Jazz: Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Spain
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 180 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.
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. You don’t have to jump out of the gym to fit into the Jazz’s system, they already have a few of those guys. Utah values savvy shooters that can fill a role and Bolmaro would be a solid investment for a two or three years down the road.
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 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. He’s versatile enough to fill in at the two or three and could make a nice long term replacement for Andre Roberson.
26. Boston Celtics (via Bucks): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-6, 205 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.
Boston knows how to develop talent. Green is raw, but in the right system he can begin his career as a defender off the bench and there is a possibility his offensive game eventually catches up. This kid has an NBA body, he just needs time to really learn the game. The Celtics would be a perfect landing spot.
27. New York Knicks (via Clippers): Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 180 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.
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. New York needs so much help in the backcourt and despite Mannion’s deficiencies, he might be able to step in and take charge of a team early in his career.
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.
The Raptors are one of the most creative teams in the league at finding undervalued assets and turning them into integral role players. Jones isn’t VanVleet or Lowry, but he would be an incredible insurance policy for the two veterans. This isn’t a home run, but it’s a solid base knock in the late first round.
29. Los Angeles Laker: Daniel Oturu, center, Minnesota
Measurables: 6-foot-10, 240 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 excelled this season with a tandem of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard at center. That doesn’t seem sustainable. Drafting a young big like Oturu makes sense, but again, roster spots are going to be extremely valuable for a club with championship aspirations. This is a young player that can score, rebound and block shots. He’s also extended his range, shooting 36.5 percent from 3-point range.
30. Boston: Jalen Smith, C, Maryland
Measurables: 6-foot-10, 225 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.
There are a lot of players vying for one of the last picks in the first round. Smith should be on that list. The Maryland product has worked hard to improve his game. He’s added 3-point shooting, improved his rebounding and block numbers and made himself into a prospect. Boston could use a big that can knock down a perimeter shot, especially on a budget contract.