2020 NBA Mock Draft 6.0: Looking ahead as league reboot nears
With the expected reboot of the NBA season slated for July 30, the runway for the upcoming NBA draft has gotten a little bit longer.
Teams in the lottery and their odds of claiming the top overall pick aren’t expected to change significantly, not with six of the “top” lottery teams being included as part of the 22-team grouping that’ll converge on Disney’s Orlando campus in the coming weeks.
Still, teams are doing their due diligence in preparing for a draft that, while unlike any they have been involved with previously, has a lot of good-but-not-great prospects who in the right situation could blossom into difference-making game-changers.
Here’s a look at NBC Sports Boston’s latest Mock Draft.
1. Golden State Warriors
James Wiseman, 7-1, Center, Memphis
The optics when it comes to James Wiseman are about as good as you’ll find in this year’s draft class. He has the kind of size, length (7-6 wingspan) and overall athleticism that makes him a natural fit in the direction that the NBA is headed.
And while he has shown signs of inconsistency that gives one reason to wonder if he should indeed be the top overall pick, pairing him with an already-established core like the one he’ll be surrounded by in Golden State will take some of the pressure off him to perform from Day One, and allow him to gradually find his way in the league without necessarily the pressure that most top overall picks face.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Anthony Edwards, 6-5, Guard, Georgia
So much time has passed since the end of the college basketball season, picking apart a player’s game is a popular pastime right now. Edwards has a lot to learn about being a great player at the next level. He wasn’t a good free throw shooter at Georgia (58.3 percent) and his movement without the ball leaves a lot to be desired.
But there is no better scorer in this year’s draft than Edwards, who gets to the rim unlike anyone in this year’s draft class. The Cavs have many needs; someone who can get buckets ranks pretty high. Edwards at this spot makes a lot of sense.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
Obi Toppin, 6-9, Forward, Dayton
Few players in college basketball turned games into one-man slam dunk contests the way Obi Toppin did this past season. His ability to run the floor at an above-average level allows him to fit into just about any system.
He’s also a better 3-point shooter than he’s given credit for, connecting on 39 percent of his 3’s last season while averaging 2.6 attempts per game.
4. Atlanta Hawks
Onyeka Okongwu, 6-9, Forward/Center, USC
Okongwu gives the Hawks a versatile, low-post defender with elite shot-blocking potential who not only addresses a weakness of the Hawks, but whose presence will amplify the play of Atlanta’s two best players, Trae Young and John Collins.
5. Detroit Pistons
LaMelo Ball, 6-7, Guard, International
New Pistons GM Troy Weaver will look to make an immediate splash with this pick. And of the players available at this point, there is none with more superstar-potential than Ball.
And remember, Weaver is the same guy who convinced Carmelo Anthony to go to Syracuse and pushed hard for the Oklahoma City Thunder to draft Russell Westbrook much earlier than most expected.
6. New York Knicks
Deni Avdija, 6-9, Forward, International
When this pick is announced, Avdija (pronounced ahv-DEE-yah) will likely get booed by the Knicks fans who would much rather see Cole Anthony, whose dad Greg played for the Knicks.
But the Israeli-born wing has legit NBA playmaking skills which will allow him to see floor time with New York’s other wing players. And he plays with the kind of brash, trash-talking confidence that will serve him well as part of the Knicks’ continued rebuilding process.
7. Chicago Bulls
Isaac Okoro, 6-6, Wing, Auburn
Defensively, he has elite-level potential whether it be pick-and-rolls, man-to-man or switching out on big men or guards.
HIs game at the other end of the floor needs work. He shot just 28.6 percent from 3-point range with most of his baskets coming from point-blank range, shots he’s unlikely to get as consistently in the NBA.
8. Charlotte Hornets
R.J. Hampton, 6-5, Guard, International
The tools you love in a prospect — length, size, athleticism — are all there when it comes to R.J. Hampton. He has his sweet spots on the floor (going to his right, catch-and-shoot; finishing at the rim) and knows how to get there.
For the Hornets, adding another wing scorer has to be a priority in this draft with Hampton being arguably the best on the board at this point.
9. Washington Wizards
Tyrese Haliburton, 6-5, Guard, Iowa State
The Wizards had little choice but to make Bradley Beal more of a facilitator with John Wall out.
But the addition of Haliburton not only provides some much-needed versatility in the backcourt, but also a guard who can play both spots as well as the wing because of his 7-foot wingspan.
10. Phoenix Suns
Killian Hayes, 6-5, Guard, International
It will be awfully tempting for the Suns to take Cole Anthony here, but the versatility and upside that Hayes brings to the floor will be too tempting to pass up.
He has shown himself to be at his best attacking the rim, the kind of player who will benefit from being on the floor with one of the league’s better shooters, Devin Booker, whose presence will create some opportunities for his teammates to make plays at the rim. And his defense shows signs of being solid at the next level.
11. San Antonio Spurs
Cole Anthony, 6-3, Guard, North Carolina
The Spurs strike again! Cole Anthony and Dejounte Murray form an exciting backcourt with promise.
Murray's elite-level defense and scoring is an ideal match when paired with Anthony's heady playmaking and leadership under the always-watchful eye of Gregg Popovich.
12. Sacramento Kings
Precious Achiuwa, 6-9, Forward, Memphis
The Kings have a squad with a number of above-average scorers, but they lack blue-collar, gritty types that all teams that are trying to stay out of the lottery, need at some point.
Achiuwa is that kind of player and despite being 6-9, can play much bigger than that courtesy of a 7-2 wingspan.
13. New Orleans Pelicans
Saddiq Bey, 6-8, Wing, Villanova
The building around Zion Williamson begins in earnest with Bey, one of the best shooters in this draft whose presence can help create even more opportunities for Williamson to do what he does best — get buckets.
14. Portland Trail Blazers
Devin Vassell, 6-7, Guard, Florida State
Much of the offensive load in Portland falls upon the shoulders of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who both excel at scoring from the perimeter.
Vassell’s long arms give them a wing who could get easy buckets in transition, as well as a player with the potential to be an above-average NBA defender with an offensive game that shows the promise that he will evolve into a solid two-way performer.
15. Orlando Magic
Patrick Williams, 6-8, Forward, Florida State
Excellent team defender who will likely spend most of his time early on in his career defending 4’s (power forwards) and small-ball 5s (centers).
Shows potential to be a solid catch-and-shoot scorer whose pick-and-roll potential either scoring the ball or passing out of it bodes well for whatever team selects him.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn)
Jaden McDaniels, 6-11, Forward, Washington
He will certainly need to add strength in the coming years, but the shooting touch and length as a perimeter player makes him a low-risk, high-reward pick at this point in the draft.
17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis)
Theo Maledon, 6-5, Wing, International
One of the top International prospects in this year’s draft, this could very much be a draft-and-stash pick for the Celtics even though Maledon has a skill set that appears to be NBA-ready.
His willingness to get his teammates involved would mesh well with Brad Stevens’ system, providing some added depth and versatility at the wing position.
18. Dallas Mavericks
Josh Green, 6-6, Wing, Arizona
Green projects to be an above average 3-and-D guy in the NBA. He has the size and strength to play all three wing positions which would give the Mavericks another valuable role player as they continue to build their roster around Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic.
19. Milwaukee Bucks (from 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)
Jahmi’us Ramsey, 6-4, Wing, Texas Tech
He can be ice-cold or jacuzzi-hot when it comes to shooting the ball, for sure. With so much attention being paid to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant next season, having another body with instant-offense capability can only benefit the Nets in both the short and long-term.
21. Denver Nuggets (from Houston)
Kira Lewis Jr., 6-3, Guard, Alabama
Good size for a point guard, but doesn’t offer much in terms of positional versatility. Excellent catch-and-shoot scorer in half-court sets, ranking among the 93rd percentile last season.
Solid pick-and-roll defender, but struggles when having to guard physical playmakers. Solid addition at this point in the draft.
22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City)
Nico Mannion, 6-3, Guard, Arizona
At his best as an off-the-dribble scorer, Mannion has above-average court vision. Concerns about his defense are legit, but having a rim-protector like Joel Embiid behind him would mitigate some of those defensive concerns.
23. Miami Heat
Trey Jones, 6-1, Guard, Duke
Jones is not going to wow you with his shooting, passing or athleticism. But he’s talented enough in all those areas to help any team.
And being available this late in the draft makes him a high-reward, low-risk pick. Jones has tremendous leadership skills which enable him to run a team and — maybe most important at the next level — he has momentum-swinging ability.
24. Utah Jazz
Vernon Carey, 6-10, Center, Duke
Even before the fallout between Jazz star Donovan Mitcell and center Rudy Gobert, Utah was going to head into this draft looking to add to a defense that took a step back overall this season.
The Jazz ranked 11th in the league in defensive rating prior to the season being suspended indefinitely. That would be their first time outside of the top 10 in that category since 2015 if they don’t move up during the season reboot next month.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver)
Daniel Oturu, 6-10, Center, Minnesota
This is very much a low-risk, high-reward pick when you consider his greatest strengths — interior defense and rebounding — translate well at the next level.
He’s also maturing as a scorer when you look at the fact that he dropped 20 or more points in five of his last six games for the Gophers.
26. Boston Celtics
Jalen Smith, 6-10, Forward, Maryland
Boston would ideally like to use this for a stash-and-dash player, but passing on Smith at this point in the draft will be just too tempting for the Celtics.
He can score as a face-up big and is one of the draft’s better rim-runners, providing Boston with another potential source of offense coming off the bench.
2020 NBA Draft Highlights: Jalen Smith
27. New York Knicks (via L.A. Clippers)
Xavier Tillman, 6-8, Forward, Michigan State
High basketball I.Q., rim-protecting big man who has the physical strength to hold his own against most bigs. The Knicks add another big with high-level defensive potential as they continue to reshape a roster that continues to try and add toughness at the rim to their roster.
28. Toronto Raptors
Tyler Bey, 6-7, Forward, Colorado
He comes with a lot of the promise that the Raptors saw in All-Star Pascal Siakam, who was also a late first-round pick. Bey has above-average leaping ability and the kind of quickness that you just can’t coach or develop.
How he evolves as a perimeter shooter and ball-handler will go far in determining his future in the NBA.
29. Los Angeles Lakers
Tyrese Maxey, 6-3, Guard, Kentucky
There won’t be much if anything expected from Maxey early on, so he’ll have time to improve on his biggest strength — defense — while expanding his playmaking and shooting.
30. 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.