2020 NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Teams still on schedule for June
The NBA season may be at a standstill, but that won’t slow NBA teams down from preparing for the upcoming draft that’s currently slated for June 25.
While this draft is short on star power like this year’s NBA rookie class, which includes Zion Williamson of New Orleans, Ja Morant in Memphis and New York’s R.J. Barrett — all of whom turned in strong first seasons in the NBA — there’s still plenty of talent to pick over in the coming weeks.
And the Celtics will get their shot — make that shots, plural — with three first-round picks this year.
Here’s a look at the Celtics’ possible draft plans as well as those of the rest of the NBA in the latest NBC Sports Boston NBA Mock Draft.
1. Golden State Warriors
Anthony Edwards, 6-5, Guard, Georgia
The blueprint for the Warriors’ dominance has been their perimeter play, so adding Edwards — the best perimeter player in this draft — makes a lot of sense.
And while the idea of James Wiseman will appeal to some, remember this: the Warriors have been a center-by-committee team for years. Why go away from that now?
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Deni Avdija, 6-9, Forward, International
The Cavs addressed their big man needs by trading for Andre Drummond. Avdija (pronounced ahv-DEE-yah) is a combo forward who can handle the ball well, finish at the rim and has shown more potential as a scorer than shooter.
Defensively, his lateral quickness isn’t great, but Drummond’s presence at the rim should help Avdija adjust defensively to the NBA.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
LaMelo Ball, 6-7, Guard, International
A year overseas has done wonders for Ball’s play and how he’s perceived by NBA executives. He has always shown the ability to score, but his passing game and basketball IQ overall are highly underrated.
Defensively, he has quick hands and good lateral quickness that should translate well at the next level. But he has to find that balance between being a solid defender and gambling for the steal.
4. Atlanta Hawks
Obi Toppin, 6-9, Forward, Dayton
Adding Clint Capela via trade from Houston took the Hawks out of the market for using this pick on a center.
Toppin, college basketball’s top player this past season, has a nice shooting touch along with being a tremendous leaper who throws down the kind of dunks in games you normally see during NBA All-Star weekend’s Slam Dunk contest.
He has the physical tools to be an above-average defender, but he leans too heavily on his elite athleticism — something he can get away with in college but won’t be able to in the pros.
5. Detroit Pistons
Cole Anthony, 6-3, Guard, North Carolina
It was not a good season -- team-wise or individually -- for Cole Anthony. But that doesn’t take away from the potential he showed in flashes while at UNC. He has an NBA pedigree (his dad is former NBA guard Greg Anthony) which has certainly aided his high basketball IQ.
Anthony has a great feel for the game and an ability to create his own shots off the dribble which you like to see in a lead guard. He also has the potential to be an above-average, on-the-ball defender. Throw in his leadership qualities and you start to see why he’s considered a top-10 lock in this year’s draft class.
6. New York Knicks
Killian Hayes, 6-5, Guard, International
While drafting Hayes probably won’t make the tabloid backpages in New York, the Knicks are getting arguably this draft's best combo guard, a player whose end-to-end-speed can only help a New York squad with lots of roster holes in need of filling.
Hayes also has the size and strength to defend both guard positions along with some small forwards.
7. Chicago Bulls
Onyeka Okongwu, 6-9, Forward/Center, USC
Okongwu’s strengths align well with the Bulls’ needs along the frontcourt. He’s a good offensive rebounder and finishes well with either hand at the rim.
However, he has to showcase more of a face-up game at the next level. Okongwu can defend multiple positions and is particularly strong in defending pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop plays.
8. Charlotte Hornets
Isaac Okoro, 6-6, Wing, Auburn
The Hornets could use a “glue guy’ with lots of upside and Okoro definitely fits the bill. His shooting touch needs work, but he has shown the potential to be a decent catch-and-shoot scorer.
Okoro’s calling card at the next level will be his defense. He’s one of the best you’ll see at cutting off driving lanes to the basket for ball-handlers, and still be a player who is strong enough defensively to hold his own against taller, bulkier players.
9. Washington Wizards
James Wiseman, 7-1, Center, Memphis
The Wizards will be ecstatic to see Wiseman, a big man who at one point was viewed as a potential top overall pick, fall in their lap at this point in the draft.
You love his rim-running potential offensively and his quick first-step defensively as a shot-blocker. But concerns about his motor and basketball IQ make him a bit of a gamble, one that Washington should be willing to take at this point in the draft.
10. Phoenix Suns
R.J. Hampton, 6-5, Guard, International
One of the most athletic guards in this year’s draft, Hampton has a number of skills that should fit in well with the Suns’ core group of players.
He’s good at creating shots for others while showing potential to be a solid finisher in the NBA with time and added strength. The biggest concern with him is his defense.
11. San Antonio Spurs
Tyrese Haliburton, 6-5, Guard, Iowa State
Love his catch-and-shoot game, a good 3-point shooter who has the skills to contribute from Day One.
Haliburton is a smart, heady player with a high basketball IQ that will allow him to compete for immediate playing time. He tends to go hot and cold defensively, particularly when it comes to the pick-and-roll.
12. Sacramento Kings
Jaden McDaniels, 6-11, Forward, Washington
Can play both forward positions and has the kind of versatility and upside that the Kings could use plenty of going forward. McDaniels’ lithe frame raises some concerns about his durability in the NBA.
He also needs to show a more consistent effort on the defensive end of the floor.
13. New Orleans Pelicans
Precious Achiuwa, 6-9, Forward, Memphis
With Derrick Favors and Jahlil Okafor impending free agents, the Pelicans will be in the market to add depth in the frontcourt. Achiuwa is a raw talent who still has a lot to learn when it comes to the game of basketball.
But the upside that he presents at both ends of the floor and his game being of the high-energy type, Achiuwa makes for an ideal big reserve coming off the Pelicans’ bench.
14. Portland Trail Blazers
Josh Green, 6-6, Wing, Arizona
One of the more highly regarded prospects coming out of high school a year ago, Green has the potential to be an elite 3-and-D guy in the NBA. His size and strength allows him to play all three wing positions as well as some small-ball power forward if needed.
Considering the scorers Portland already has on its roster that can attack the rim, Green’s strength fits in well with the Blazers’ needs.
15. Orlando Magic
Devin Vassell, 6-7, Guard, Florida State
His 6-7 frame puts him at a size advantage against most guards. And his lateral quickness is good enough to where he won’t hurt you defensively, either.
A lightly regarded 3-star recruit coming out of high school two years ago, Vassell was the leading scorer on a very balanced Florida State team this past season, scoring at an efficiently high level which bodes well for his chances of coming into the league and being a contributor early on.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn)
Saddiq Bey, 6-8, Wing, Villanova
With great size at the wing position, Bey ranks among the better shooters in this year’s draft class. But there are some concerns about his shot selection at the next level as well as whether he’ll play with a high enough motor to compensate for areas of his game that still need developing (decision-making; involving teammates; defense in general).
But for a Minnesota team that ranked in the bottom-10 in offensive rating, Bey would be a nice addition even if his impact won’t be felt immediately.
17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis)
Jahmi’us Ramsey, 6-4, Wing, Texas Tech
Not ready to be a Day One starter, but has instant-offense potential which the Celtics could use going forward. He does a good job of utilizing screens to free himself up with and without the ball.
Like most NBA rookies, his defense at the next level will be a work in progress. But possessing a 6-10 wingspan provides promise that at a minimum, he can be a solid NBA defender in Brad Stevens’ system.
18. Dallas Mavericks
Theo Maledon, 6-5, Wing, International
More than anything else, his court vision makes him a solid first-round pick who has proven himself to be a willing passer who is seemingly at his best when setting up those around him for easy scores. And with a 6-9 wingspan, Maledon has the potential to defend multiple positions.
However, there are concerns about how well he will defend in the NBA due to a limited ceiling when it comes to his overall athleticism. He’s also on the thin side (reportedly weighs 174 pounds) which will likely limit his impact and opportunities to play early on.
19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana)
Aaron Nesmith, 6-6, Wing, Vanderbilt
The Bucks love having Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by scorers, which is the strength of Nesmith’s game. But those points more times than not will come off of down-screens and picks on the wing to free him up for catch-and-shoot opportunities.
Defensively he relies more on his basketball IQ than athleticism, which will enhance his ability to fit in sooner rather than later with whatever team selects him in the first round.
20. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia)
Tyrese Maxey, 6-3, Guard, Kentucky
Maxey’s biggest strength — defense — will at least afford him an opportunity to compete for minutes off the bench quickly. His ability to go under on screens and still stay relatively attached to the man he’s primarily defending is impressive.
And when he does get beat, he’s excellent at quickly recovering. His scoring and play-making need work, so having him on the floor with at least one or two above-average scorers/playmakers would enhance his value and potential impact early on.
21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston)
Isaiah Stewart, 6-9, Forward, Washington
One of the strongest players in this year’s draft, Stewart has an old-school, bully ball-like game that you don’t see from many of the top prospects in this year’s draft. But that power game is aided by him having elite bounce despite weighing 245 pounds.
Stewart is an above-average shot-blocker for his size who is often at his best cleaning up the offensive glass which is aided by having a 7-4 wingspan. However, there are clear limitations to his game offensively. And those limitations are what keeps Stewart from being a lottery pick in this year’s draft.
22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City)
Nico Mannion, 6-3, Guard, Arizona
Mannion’s ability to play both on and off the ball allows him to fit in well here. Knocking down shots off the dribble is one of the things he does well which will allow him to play off the ball. And as a lead guard, he has good court vision and has shown himself to be a willing passer while keeping defenses off balance with his change-of-pace style of play.
He needs to add strength to his frame to help defensively. But if you surround him with rim-protecting bigs, that’ll help minimize his defensive shortcomings.
23. Miami Heat
Jalen Smith, 6-10, Forward, Maryland
Smith’s ability to score as a face-up big provides great value at this point in the draft. He’s one of the better bigs at finishing at the rim as well, making him a legit pick-and-pop or pick-and-roll threat.
Defensively is where things get … interesting. His pick-and-roll defense leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s not due to a lack of effort, intensity or ability. He has to make better decisions at that end of the floor (i.e., when to close out versus when to give a big he’s defending space to shoot).
24. Utah Jazz
Tre Jones, 6-1, Guard, Duke
A solid late-first round pick, Jones is your prototypical point guard who can score some and set up teammates but doesn’t do anything that stands out or possess what can be considered exceptional athleticism at the next level.
But his leadership, ability to run a team and knack for changing the tempo of a game are the kind of intangibles a team loves to have in a reserve point guard.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver)
Vernon Carey, 6-10, Center, Duke
He is far from a “stretch” center in the NBA, but there’s a lot to like about Carey’s game, especially if he’s still on the board late in the first round, which is expected. He knows his job at the next level will be to rebound and defend. He’ll do well on the boards.
But his limited foot speed will be an issue against bigs who can stretch the floor, players that seemingly every NBA team has plenty of on its roster.
26. Boston Celtics
Aleksej Pokusevski, 7-0, Forward, International
Pokusevski is a 7-footer who can put the ball on the floor and attack off the dribble or knock down catch-and-shoot jumpers if you don’t respect his perimeter game. Pokusevski needs to add strength, but he’s a smart player who knows how to utilize his length defensively to compensate for what he lacks in muscle.
He’ll be just 18 years old on draft night, so there’s a decent chance that this will be a draft-and-stash pick.
27. New York Knicks (via L.A. Clippers)
Patrick Williams, 6-8, Forward, Florida State
Has shown the potential to be a solid player in pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll scenarios. He also shows promise as a catch-and-shoot scorer. Should fit in well with most defensive schemes as far as understanding what he needs to do.
However, he has below-average speed and lateral quickness which will make getting on the floor early in his career a challenge.
28. Toronto Raptors
Tyler Bey, 6-7, Forward, Colorado
High energy talent, Bey’s promise at the next level lies heavily in what he does defensively. Because of his quickness and elite leaping ability, he can be a valuable pick-and-roll defender with his versatility to stick with smaller players.
But much of what he did in college offensively came at the rim, and those opportunities are likely to be fewer and farther between in the NBA due to his lack of strength and so-so ability as a ball-handler. But at this point in the draft, there’s enough upside to make drafting him worth it.
29. Los Angeles Lakers
Kira Lewis Jr., 6-3, Guard, Alabama
Do not be surprised to see Lewis Jr. rise a few spots as we get closer to the draft. He’s one of the quicker guards in this draft, which allows him to keep defenses off balance by knocking down jumpers as well as attacking and finishing at the rim.
However, his size limits his ability to switch defensively and still be impactful. But he’s a smart, savvy defender who does a good job of using his speed to get up into ball-handlers as well as zip around and under potential screen-setters.
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee)
Leandro Bolmaro, 6-7, Wing, International
This would be a likely draft-and-stash pick. In limited minutes, the 19-year-old Bolmaro has shown the ability to play off the ball or run the point.
His inconsistent shooting would likely improve as he sees more action in the Euroleague and Spanish ACB league, two of the more competitive leagues internationally.