Since the NBA’s draft lottery is indefinitely postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, we simulated the lottery on Tankathon for this first-round mock draft.
While the lottery won’t impact the Sixers in the draft this year, whether or not the NBA plays any further regular-season games might. The team owns the Thunder’s top-20 protected pick, which would currently be No. 22.
With the logistics out of the way, here’s our mock draft:
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
LaMelo Ball — PG — Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
There isn’t a no-brainer No. 1 pick this year, but we figure Minnesota would be attracted by Ball’s passing gifts, basketball instincts and potential for growth. The 18-year-old averaged 17.0 points and 6.8 assists in 12 NBL games this past season. His effort and attention to detail are issues defensively and his shot selection and form are concerns, but one can see why the Timberwolves would like the idea of building around a young core of Ball, Jarrett Culver, D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.
2. Washington Wizards
Anthony Edwards — SG — Georgia
While the fit with Washington might not be ideal because the team already has an All-Star-level shooting guard in Bradley Beal, the Wizards aren’t in a position to be picky. The 6-foot-5 Edwards, who posted 19.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in his one season at Georgia, is strong, explosive and skilled.
3. Golden State Warriors
James Wiseman — C — Memphis
Despite the NBA continuing to shift away from traditional centers, elite big men still have value. Wiseman is definitely not a perfect prospect and the fact that his college career lasted just three games leaves plenty of lingering questions, but the athletic 7-footer is an intuitive pick for Golden State at this spot.
4. Chicago Bulls
Obi Toppin — PF — Dayton
We have Arturas Karnisovas, Marc Eversley and the Bulls’ revamped front office selecting the Naismith College Player of the Year. The high-flying Toppin recorded 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest this season and has a well-rounded offensive game. If the Bulls find themselves at No. 4 and want to bolster their defense, Isaac Okoro could be an alternative to Toppin. Defense isn’t the 22-year-old’s strong suit.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Deni Avdija — F — Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla compares Avdija to a more athletic, more “offensive-minded” Dario Saric. The 19-year-old is a versatile forward who exudes confidence. Though there’s nothing terribly wrong with his shot mechanics, his poor foul shooting suggests he might never become a decent three-point shooter.
6. Atlanta Hawks
Onyeka Okongwu — PF/C — USC
Okongwu rolls hard to the hoop and can leap well above it. He’d join Clint Capela and John Collins as above-the-rim threats and pick-and-roll partners for Trae Young. His production as a freshman at USC was impressive — 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game — and the Hawks need all the defensive help they can get.
7. Detroit Pistons
Killian Hayes — PG — ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
There’s a ton to like about Hayes, who’s been playing professional basketball since he was 16 years old. His passing and pick-and-roll playmaking especially stand out. The Pistons could immediately give him the ball and the freedom to run a rebuilding team.
8. New York Knicks
Tyrese Haliburton — PG — Iowa State
The Knicks should be pleased if Haliburton is available for them at No. 8. He’s a long, instinctive defender who’s creative in the open floor and averaged 15.2 points, 6.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds as a sophomore.
9. Charlotte Hornets
Isaac Okoro — SF — Auburn
While Okoro’s stats don’t wow you — 12.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks per game — he’s a heck of a defender. His lateral quickness and strength should allow him to defend four positions in the NBA.
10. Phoenix Suns
Devin Vassell — SG/SF — Florida State
Vassell could benefit from gaining some muscle, but he’s a Robert Covington-esque 3-and-D prospect with eye-catching defensive tools both on and off the ball. The Suns would be adding another excellent college three-point shooter (41.7 percent on 168 attempts) after drafting Cameron Johnson with the 11th pick last year.
11. San Antonio Spurs
Cole Anthony — PG — North Carolina
The best player on the worst UNC team of Roy Williams’ tenure, Anthony had low efficiency and high turnover numbers. NBA teams will need to parse how much those issues are attributable to his circumstances (see draft profile). He’s talented offensively, a shifty ball handler with good burst once he gets downhill.
12. Sacramento Kings
Aaron Nesmith — SG — Vanderbilt
Before a foot injury ended his season, Nesmith averaged 23 points and shot 52.2 percent from three-point range on 8.2 attempts per game. Whether or not Buddy Hield sticks around, there’d certainly be nothing wrong with Sacramento bringing in another elite shooter.
13. New Orleans Pelicans
Precious Achiuwa — F — Memphis
The 6-foot-9 Achiuwa is a high-energy, versatile player. It’s unclear what offensive role he’ll be best at in the NBA and whether he’s a good enough shooter to be productive on the wing if a team chooses to give him minutes there. NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes compares Achiuwa to Montrezl Harrell, which would obviously be a great outcome. Achiuwa can guard multiple positions well, is a strong offensive rebounder and could have a lot of fun in transition with Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson.
14. Portland Trail Blazers
Tyrese Maxey — G — Kentucky
The Trail Blazers could use a big man. The problem is, at least in this mock draft, that grabbing one at this spot would be a reach. Instead, we have Portland taking Maxey, a 6-foot-3 guard who might have the ability to handle some difficult defensive assignments and take a little responsibility off Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum’s plate on that end.
15. Orlando Magic
Patrick Williams — F — Florida State
The ACC Sixth Man of the Year as a freshman, Williams is a standout athlete who showed promise in a few areas, including shooting (83.8 percent from the foul line) and defensive anticipation. As a rookie, he could help a Magic defense that’s been among the 10 best in the NBA the last two years.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn)
Josh Green — SG — Arizona
This seems like the kind of player Ball would love to play alongside, a speedy, springy wing. Green has 3-and-D potential, with defense being his superior area for the time being. There are a few small quirks with his shot that may need to be addressed.
17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis)
Kira Lewis Jr. — PG — Alabama
Lewis was a popular mock draft pick for the Sixers in April, but, according to The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, his stock has been rising. Listed at a slim 6-foot-3, 165 pounds, Lewis is extremely fast and was highly productive across the board in his sophomore season, with averages of 18.5 points, 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
18. Dallas Mavericks
Saddiq Bey — SF — Villanova
We have Bey joining another Villanova product, Jalen Brunson, in Dallas. A flexible defender and 45.1 percent shooter from three-point range as a sophomore, Bey would fit perfectly with Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavs.
19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana)
RJ Hampton — PG — New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand/Australia)
The Bucks are equipped to invest in Hampton’s development. A top high school recruit, Hampton decided to play in Australia’s NBL instead of going to college. His experience there indicated he needs to improve in several areas before becoming a rotational NBA player, among them strength, outside shooting and on-ball defense (see draft profile).
20. Brooklyn Nets (via Sixers)
Jahmi’us Ramsey — SG — Texas Tech
Brooklyn has made just 34 percent of its three-pointers this season, 26th in the NBA. It’s possible that Ramsey, a 42.6 percent shooter from long distance in his one year at Texas Tech, could help in that department, though he didn’t shoot well from the foul line (64.1 percent) or off the dribble.
21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston)
Theo Maledon — PG — ASVEL (France)
The 18-year-old Maledon is a steady point guard who’s been mentored by Tony Parker. His high-level international experience is encouraging (7.4 points and 3.1 assists in 17.7 minutes per game this season in the EuroLeague) and should ease his adjustment to the NBA.
22. Sixers (via Oklahoma City)
Tyrell Terry — G — Stanford
The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Terry would have been the lightest player in the NBA this year. However, he appears to have the attitude, intelligence and game to work around that. Terry shot 40.8 percent from three-point range as a freshman, 89.1 percent from the foul line, and might have the purest shooting stroke in this draft class. He’s not one-dimensional, with good feel as a passer and craftiness around the rim to make up for his diminutive stature. Since the Sixers own five picks in the draft and could target more experienced players early in the second round, it likely wouldn’t be a massive issue if it turns out Terry’s lack of muscle and youth are problematic early in his career. Terry is a special shooter, a savvy mover off the ball and a player who should appeal to the Sixers if he stays in the draft.
23. Miami Heat
Tre Jones — PG — Duke
While Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are skilled playmakers, the Heat should be targeting a point guard. Jones is a strong on-ball defender and comes across as the kind of selfless, hard-working person who would embrace “Heat Culture.”
24. Utah Jazz
Jalen Smith — PF — Maryland
What’s most attractive about Smith is his obvious potential as a stretch four/stretch five in the NBA. He averaged a double-double as a sophomore (15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds), blocked 2.4 shots per game and hit 36.8 percent of his three-pointers.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver)
Jaden McDaniels — F — Washington
McDaniels’ freshman season at Washington was disappointing, but he’s a rangy, raw talent. Oklahoma City has targeted similar players in recent years in Terrance Ferguson and Darius Bazley.
26. Boston Celtics
Daniel Oturu — C — Minnesota
Though 2018 first-round pick Robert Williams has shown positive flashes and is still only 22 years old, Boston should look to add depth at center. Oturu posted 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks this season, and he’s expanding his shooting range.
27. New York Knicks (via Clippers)
Isaiah Stewart — PF/C — Washington
Let’s continue with this stretch of big men by sending the 6-foot-9, 250-pound Stewart to New York. The main issue with Stewart is he’s on the shorter side for a center and doesn’t currently have the perimeter skill of most NBA power forwards on either end of the floor. Still, he was very productive in his one college season and there’s no question he’s ready for NBA physicality.
28. Toronto Raptors
Xavier Tillman — PF — Michigan State
Tillman was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year this season, finishing in the conference’s top 10 in both steals and blocks. He’s not a great offensive player, but, if he remains in the draft, could be a solid piece for a winning team like Toronto.
29. Los Angeles Lakers
Nico Mannion — PG — Arizona
The Lakers need to find affordable role players to complement LeBron James over the next few years, and Mannion is an interesting option. He didn’t meet expectations in his freshman season at Arizona after drawing a lot of hype in high school, but his passing ability and knack for playing fast could work well in Los Angeles, or at least allow him to become part of the Lakers’ rotation at some point.
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee)
Aleksej Pokusevski — F — Olympiacos B (Greece)
If the Celtics keep all three of their first-round picks, a draft-and-stash player would be a sensible final selection. Pokusevski is an underweight 7-footer who shoots, moves and handles the ball much better than most young players his size.
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