2020 NBA Mock Draft 6.0
The schedule is set
The 22-team field for the NBA's Disney World restart is set, and an offseason schedule is in place.
The draft lottery will be held on Aug. 25, and the draft itself on Oct. 16, separated just three days from a possible Game 7 of the NBA Finals (Oct. 13) and two days before the start of free agency (Oct. 18).
So are the rigors of an unprecedented offseason, given the wideranging ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the league's schedule.
Though not much has changed on the prospect evaluation front with the combine still postponed indefinitely and predraft guidelines amended, what's the harm in looking a little bit ahead? For the eight teams currently out of contention — the Bulls are one — it's currently the largest major tentpole to look forward to.
With that said, here is NBC Sports Chicago's latest 2020 NBA Mock Draft (first round only).
1. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
With the Dubs in salary cap hell and looking to win now, it wouldn’t be a shock to see this pick (or wherever it lands) flipped for someone who can immediately contribute.
But if Golden State does end up with the No. 1 selection, Wiseman could prove a prudent addition at a position of need. With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson back in tow, and Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green helping to man the wing, Wiseman could focus his attention on rim-running, shot-blocking and rebounding at the center spot — three areas his size (7-foot-1, 7-foot-6 wingspan) and athleticism make him an absolute terror. As his jumper comes along, so will his value in the NBA.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia
Yes, the Cavs spent their last two high first-rounders forming the lead guard tandem of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. And yet, here we are. Cleveland should be in best prospect mode here, and for their purposes, that’s either Edwards or LaMelo Ball.
Edwards gets the nod for his pure scoring potential, and the size and strength he will instantly add to the Cavaliers’ wing rotation. He’s a bucket-getter through and through, with the tools to be a plus defender if he applies himself. Cut out the mental lapses on the defensive end and bouts of bone-headed shot selection on the offensive end, and he could evolve into a high-end three-level scorer and capable team defender at the next level. Above all, he’s talented, and that will be welcome in Cleveland.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Obi Toppin, F, Dayton
Toppin skyrocketed up draft boards after a sophomore season at Dayton in which he averaged 20 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 63.3% from the field (39% from 3-point range). That earned him a litany of national player of the year awards, and consensus top-five-pick potential.
Teaming up with Karl-Anthony Towns in the Minnesota frontcourt with D’Angelo Russell running point would be an exciting outcome for Toppin, who can jump out of the gym and score from anywhere (and doing most anything) on the court. Seriously, you name it — off-the-dribble creation, low-post offense, passing, exploding out on the break — and he can do it on the offensive end. Two places where reservations lie: his defense, which could be exacerbated by the Towns pairing; and age, Toppin is just one day younger than Jayson Tatum. Still, he’s a safe bet to make an instant impact his rookie year for a rebuilding Timberwolves squad.
4. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, C/F, USC
Okongwu is another top frontcourt prospect with serious momentum behind him. Though a tad undersized for a five at 6-foot-9, he already sports a rock-solid, NBA-ready frame and proved himself as a low-post scorer, forceful rim-runner (16.2 ppg), rebounder (8.6 rpg) and shot-blocker (2.7 bpg) in his lone season at USC. He’s a freak athlete that projects to be able to defend capably in space and at the cup at the NBA level.
The fact that the Hawks are currently slated to pay Clint Capela through 2023 has the potential to create a log-jam. But, Ball aside, there is a chasm between Okongwu and the next-best overall prospect on the board. Playing alongside John Collins and Trae Young, he’d bring a defensive identity Atlanta sorely lacks and dynamism that’s sure to excite.
5. Detroit Pistons: LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks
Detroit is searching for a direction, a face, a star. In Ball, one falls into its lap with the No. 5 pick. Though slight of frame and hardly efficient as a scorer, Ball owns perhaps the highest ceiling of any prospect in this draft because of his innate passing ability and feel for the game. On an even more advanced level than his older brother Lonzo at the same age, LaMelo’s chief skills are simply ones you can’t teach.
He’s the perfect inaugural splash for new Pistons general manager Troy Weaver.
6. New York Knicks: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Ball represents the best fit for a Knicks team that’s priorities align well with the Pistons’ but there can only be one. Deni Avdija would be solid consolation for New York — a playmaking, sharp-shooting forward able to toggle around the frontcourt that has drawn rave reviews as his season with Maccabi Tel Aviv has drawn on.
Avdija is a project, to be sure. And the Knicks’ development of recent top selections leaves much to be desired. But perhaps with Leon Rose running the show, and a new coach on the way, a new era is dawning. Avdija is certainly the highest upside prospect left on the board, and given what’s on the roster, the Knicks would do well to keep swinging.
7. Chicago Bulls: Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
Dating back to the beginning of Mock Draft Szn, Okoro has probably been the most popular guy assigned to the Bulls in the No. 7 slot. But there's good reason for it; the uber-athletic, defensive dynamo out of Auburn represents the perfect blend of ability and need for the Bulls.
Seriously, Okoro is an absolute game-wrecker defensively — perhaps, at 6-6, 225 pounds the best perimeter defender in the draft — and though he says he’s never measured his vertical before, he can jump out of the gym, too. That athleticism serves him splendidly as a slasher and finishing around the basket (he shot 67.8% at the rim in his freshman season), which slightly offsets his lamentable jump shooting when determining his offensive value. Okoro shot 28.6% from 3-point land at Auburn and his free-throw percentage of 67.2% inspires little hope of a swing-back. But a note on the bright side: Popular names he’s drawn comparisons to — Jaylen Brown, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Andre Iguodala — all ironed that issue out over time. Okoro recently told ESPN’s Mike Schmitz he’s studied Brown and Leonard closely.
8. Charlotte Hornets: Tyrese Halburton, G, Iowa State
Haliburton is the glue guy of this draft. Even if he never ascends to superstar status, his extremely advanced basketball IQ (which shows up in every pass he makes) should earn him an NBA role for the next decade-plus. At 6-foot-5, he can see over the top of defenses and is active using that length as a team defender (2.5 steals per game his sophomore season), though he can get outmuscled on-ball at just 175 pounds.
Add shooting splits of 50.4% from the field and 41.9% from long-range (5.9 attempts per!) and it’s easy to get excited about Haliburton’s prospects in the modern NBA. His handle is a little loose and the form on his jumper a tad stilted, but Synergy ranks him in the 99th percentile as a spot up shooter and 98th percentile in catch-and-shoot, so he can still impact the game off the ball; moreover, he’s dead-eye with his feet set, no matter how it looks coming out. A perfect complement to Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier, perhaps even in some nifty three-guard lineups.
9. Washington Wizards: Devin Vassell, G/F, Florida State
Vassell was a late bloomer on draft boards across the interwebs. Long, rangy and a capable shooter (41.5% from 3-point range on 3.5 attempts his sophomore year), he’s a snug fit with the Wizards as a prototypical 3-and-D wing of the future to slot into a lineup getting John Wall back come 2021-22. Imagine Wall leading a fastbreak with Vassell filling the lane and Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans flanking from 3-point range. Hoo boy.
(And because this is NBC Sports Chicago, I’d be remiss not to mention that Vassell would be an awesome fit for the Bulls, as well.)
10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, G, Ulm (Germany)
Talk to some, and No. 10 is a tad low for Hayes. Though a bit left-hand dominant, he’s an advanced decision-maker that enters the league with NBA strength and ability to read defenses. He’d be a spectacular fit in Phoenix, where he can take his time under the tutelage of Ricky Rubio before one day taking over lead guard reins next to Devin Booker.
11. San Antonio Spurs: Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
Falling just outside of the top 10 when all is said and done would represent a dip for Anthony, who was among the top-rated prospects at the beginning of the year. But a disjointed season at North Carolina saw the team sputter to a 14-19 record and Anthony to an underwhelming campaign wherein, despite averaging 18.5 points, he shot just 38% from the floor.
Still, the playmaking chops, three-level scoring ability and rare intensity all leap off the screen upon examination of Anthony. He forced a lot of looks his freshman season at UNC, but perhaps we can chalk that partly up to the motley crew around him. If anyone can extract the potential embedded in there, it’s the Spurs, who are in search of a potential long-term bucket-getter at lead guard.
12. Sacramento Kings: Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova
Another prototypical 3-and-D wing, Bey would slot perfectly onto the Kings’ rotation around Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield and possibly Bogdan Bogdanovic (depending on how his impending free agency shakes out). Bey canned a whopping 45.1% of his 3-point looks in his sophomore campaign at Villanova — you can bet De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley would appreciate that type of spacing.
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
Maxey is a bulldozer type defender and flashed scoring chops around the rim, from floater range and pulling up on 3s in his freshman year at Kentucky. The sum of the campaign was not an efficient one (29.2% from 3-point range), but if his jump shot comes around — and many believe it will — his NBA-ready confidence and willingness to seek out contact (.342 FTr) make him a lottery-level asset. In New Orleans, he steps into a near-ideal situation — there’s almost no more perfect mentor in the league than Jrue Holiday for Maxey, and the assortment of talent the Pelicans already have on the roster would benefit from the gravity the Kentucky product demands.
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Aaron Nesmith, F, Vanderbilt
Portland misses on the best three 3-and-D wings in the draft in Okoro, Vassell and Bey, but snags a nice consolation prize in Nesmith, who hit a ludicrous 52.2% of his 3-point attempts in his sophomore year at Vanderbilt on 8.2 attempts per contest before a stress fracture in his foot cut his season short after 14 games.
If that shooting translates, it drastically raises his floor at the NBA level. Standing 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, his measurables are that of a capable perimeter defender, but he’ll have to work a bit harder on that end without elite athleticism. He turns 21 on the night of the draft.
15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr., G, Alabama
One of the fastest risers throughout the season, Lewis plays at a breakneck pace, and is a terror both in transition and attacking bigs on switches. His explosion is rare, but he’s a tad turnover-prone (3.5 cough-ups per game) and will need to pack on some muscle to hang around on the defensive end and truly bend defenses in the halfcourt; Basketball Reference currently lists him at 165 pounds.
Still, Lewis is young for a sophomore — he turned 19 in April — and put up big numbers in his sophomore year at Alabama: 18.5 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.8 rpg on 45.9-36.6-80.2 shooting splits. He can run, break down defenses and really shoot it. While his best initial role may be as an understudy while he finds his footing in the league, handing Lewis the keys to an offense where he could run the floor flanked by Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon is intriguing. The Magic need a lead guard of the future.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): R.J. Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers
Minnesota might just not play defense for a couple years. And maybe that’s OK. Nabbing Hampton just outside of the lottery would be good value for a guy that started the year a cream-of-the-crop prospect but has trickled out of the consciousness after a relatively underwhelming year abroad.
The physical tools — he’s 6-foot-5 and long — and promise as a scorer and playmaker are still there. Helming bench units in a free-flowing Timberwolves offense could help him realize that; he’d certainly get enough reps.
17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Memphis
The Celtics get help on the front line in the form of Achiuwa, who blossomed in Wiseman’s absence at Memphis this season. Across 31 games, he averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest. He even stepped out to take 40 3-pointers for the season, making 32.5% of them.
Above all, Achiuwa is a hard-nosed player who plays above his 6-foot-9 height by way of a 7-foot-2 wingspan. A perfect high-energy big to bring off the pine for Boston, who could toggle between the four or five depending on the lineup.
18. Dallas Mavericks: Patrick Williams, F, Florida State
Williams can do a little bit of everything, even if his raw numbers from his freshman season (in which he didn’t start a game) don’t show it. At 6-foot-8, 225 pounds he’s a tough-minded defender on the perimeter and at the rim, and 83.8% free throw shooting offers hope his shooting might come along with reps. Still 18 until Aug. 6, he’s the youngest American-born prospect in the class.
That means there’s plenty of time to grow, and Dallas wouldn’t be the worst place to land. The Mavericks already boast an all-time great offense buoyed by Luka Doncic; Williams need only provide energy and defense to start, and the rest will work itself out.
19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Theo Maledon, G, Asvel Lyon-Villeurbanne
Maledon’s 2019-20 season was hampered by injury, and his stats have never leapt off the page. But he’s a supremely silky ball handler, nifty decision-maker out of the pick-and-roll and a deceptive blur out on the break. He’d be an interesting project for a team like Milwuakee to take on — given the opportunity, he could blossom into a really heady, dependable lead guard. For what it’s worth, Tony Parker is the president of Asvel Lyon-Villeurbanne and he’s reportedly mentored Maledon in the past.
20. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Josh Green, G, Arizona
Another quintessential glue guy, and a possible boon if Joe Harris’ offers grow too rich for the Nets this offseason. Green has the size, strength and smarts at guard to be a capable defender both on and off-ball, and hit 36.6% of his 3-pointers this season. That on its own is worth a bench flier for a team already locked and loaded with starpower.
21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Stewart provides the Nuggets potential Mason Plumlee insurance, and energy that not many in this draft possess. Though undersized at 6-foot-9, the Washington product is notorious for running full-tilt down the floor on most every possession and attacking the glass with gumption.
Most of his offense comes from putbacks and post-ups, but a 77.7% free throw shooting percentage inspires hope of a tad more outside touch in the future, too. At least for now, he’s a high-motor guy that could be employed to take pressure off Nikola Jokic from time to time.
22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Tre Jones, G, Duke
Jones is the perfect fit for Philadelphia. He’s an advanced decision-maker with the ball in his hands, an improved shooter year over year, and a potential game-changer on the defensive end. He’s not going to be a superstar necessarily, but for an already-competitive team, he can be a missing piece commanding bench units without defensive drop-off.
23. Miami Heat: Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
Terry is a bit polarizing depending on whose evaluation you look at. But what can’t be denied is he’s electrifying. Even a 40.8% 3-point percentage in his freshman year at Stanford belied the preposterousness of some of the looks he was able to knock down. Not a prediction or comparison, but his work slinking around screens is Steph Curry-reminiscent and his ability to dart in between all three levels of the defense — and finish craftily around the rim — will open up layers to his game down the line.
In Miami, the hope is there would be enough defensive infrastructure behind him to mask his undersized, underequipped nature. Not many teams run shooters around screens and hand-offs as well as the Heat, so Terry would have a chance to really pop in South Beach.
24. Utah Jazz: Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
Dotson doesn’t project as a plus shooter or scorer at the NBA level, necessarily, but he ran Kansas’ offense more than capably last year, earning consensus second-team All-American honors. He’s a menace on the defensive end, as well, averaging 2.1 steals per game in his final year as a Jayhawk.
In Utah, he’d start as a reserve, with the hope being he could eventually usurp an aging Mike Conley when the time comes. At the very least, he’s an active, energetic perimeter threat off the bench that should be ready to come in and contribute from day one.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
McDaniels remains one of the higher-upside prospects in the 2020 draft, but he’s a project. And a disappointing freshman campaign at Washington that saw him average just 13 points per game on 40.5% shooting, and moved to the bench after 21 starts, makes that project appear all the more daunting for teams looking at him.
At No. 25, though, a team in the Thunder’s position can probably afford taking the flier. OKC is stocked with a treasure trove of picks moving forward, and McDaniels is still a smooth jump shooter and long enough to project as a versatile defender at either forward spot. Moreover, he looks the part of a great two-way scoring wing. Any and all NBA teams are looking for those exact characteristics.
26. Boston Celtics: Xavier Tillman, C, Michigan State
Tillman doesn’t get by on sheer athleticism or innate measurables, but he earned Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019-20, and is an extremely enticing big-man prospect this season for his ability to defend in space, protect the rim and act as a hub on the offensive end.
Even undersized, the Celtics — strapped at the center position with Robert Williams perpetually unavailable and Enes Kanter useful but a defensive sieve — can appreciate that. Tillman’s 13.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 3 apg, 2.1 bpg, 1.2 spg in a conference flush with quality bigs speaks for itself.
27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
Winston won't wow anyone at the NBA level with explosive athleticism, but he's steady as they come — a proven pick-and-roll ball-handler and decision-maker, with extendable range (43.2% on 5.6 attempts per game from 3 his senior year). He's high-floor, low-ceiling, but would make an immediate impact as a creator on a mismatched Knicks roster.
If they declare, lesser-known scorer/shooter options like Desmond Bane or Grant Riller could also be intriguing avenues for the Knicks in this spot. Any semblance of space around R.J. Barrett and their glut of frontcourt players would be welcome.
28. Toronto Raptors: Tyler Bey, G, Colorado
There will likely be a wealth of solid value centers at this spot, and that’s Toronto’s biggest position of need. But a prospect of Bey’s defensive prowess might be too tantalizing to pass up. He’d be an exhilarating match for Nick Nurse’s innovative schemes, and the Raptors are deep enough to bring him along slowly while other facets of his game develop.
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
Ramsey is a tad feast-or-famine, but he’s a worthy swing for the Lakers to potentially take at the end of the first round if still available. When he gets hot, he can fill it up, he’s a great long-range shooter (42.6% from 3 on 5.2 attempts per) and he fights hard on the defensive end. Ramsey’s handle and decision-making can get sloppy and/or rushed at times, but for a team in need of a perimeter bench spark, he could prove a remedy.
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Aleksej Pokusevski, F/C, Olympiacos
One of the greatest enigmas of the draft; Pokusevski, who turned 18 in December, is a lanky, 7-foot forward/center that boasts a fine-looking 3-point shot and a fluid handle to augment it. If Boston hangs onto this pick (doesn’t feel likely, but not impossible) and is seeking draft-and-stash options with a stuffed roster, Pokusevski or Leandro Bolmaro would fit the bill.