2020 NBA mock draft: Sixers select a Villanova product
With the NBA at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are currently more questions than answers concerning the 2020 NBA Draft.
When will the draft take place? How will the draft order be determined with the regular season technically still in progress? What about the pre-draft process for prospects deciding whether to enter the draft or stay in college?
Those questions will be answered over the coming weeks and months. But we do know this — there are plenty of intriguing prospects to choose from throughout the first round.
(All images courtesy of USA Today Images and AP Images.)
1. Golden State Warriors
Obi Toppin - PF - Dayton
If the Warriors end up with the first pick, selecting Toppin makes a ton of sense. Golden State plans to contend for a NBA championship next season with a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back in the lineup. So why not take the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft? Toppin was named the AP national college player of the year after averaging 20 points and 7.5 rebounds for Dayton. He also shot 39 percent from three-point range. At 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, Toppin is an explosive athlete with the versatility to shine in the Warriors' system. He's also 22 years old and capable of playing at a high level right away.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Anthony Edwards - SG - Georgia
Edwards has the highest ceiling of any prospect in this draft. He doesn't turn 19 until August and already showcased his elite scoring potential during his freshman year at Georgia, averaging 19.1 points. Edwards is an athletic playmaker at the guard spot. His outside shooting needs work — he converted on just 29.4 percent of this three-point attempts. But the potential of an Edwards/Collin Sexton backcourt will be too tempting to pass up for the Cavaliers.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
LaMelo Ball - PG - Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
Ball is poised to become a top-five pick three years after his brother Lonzo was the second pick of the 2017 draft. Ball spent part of last season playing professionally in Australia. He has terrific size for a point guard at 6-8 and plenty of time to improve at just 18 years old. Like his brother, LaMelo enters the draft labeled as a poor shooter. But he's considered a better ball handler and pick-and-roll play maker than Lonzo at this stage of their careers. LaMelo is a very good passer but needs to improve significantly on the defensive end. He'd be an intriguing running mate for D'Angelo Russell in the Timberwolves' backcourt.
4. Atlanta Hawks
Deni Avdija - F - Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Avdija is the top international prospect in this year's draft. He more than held his own as a 19-year old playing professionally in Israel. Avdija is a dynamic playmaker at the forward spot, a capable scorer and a very good passer. Avdija made significant strides as an outside shooter over the past year and he would add plenty of firepower to a young and exciting Hawks lineup headlined by Trae Young and John Collins.
5. Detroit Pistons
James Wiseman - C - Memphis
After trading Andre Drummond this past season, the Pistons should jump on the opportunity to add Wiseman to their frontcourt. Wiseman arrived at Memphis as the top-rated freshman in the country, but he ran into eligibility issues and only played in three games. For what it's worth, he averaged just under 20 points and 11 rebounds in those three games. Wiseman's skill set is very enticing. He's 7-1 with a 7-6 wingspan and runs the floor very well. He has the potential to become an elite rim protector at the NBA level.
6. New York Knicks
Cole Anthony - PG - North Carolina
Anthony is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. He missed a good chunk of his freshman season at North Carolina due to a knee injury. But when he was healthy, he was a very good player on a bad Tar Heels team, averaging 18.5 points and 4.0 assists. He's a good scorer and above average passer. The Knicks have some promising pieces in RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, but they need someone to take command of their offense. Anthony fits that description well.
7. Chicago Bulls
Onyeka Okongwu - PF/C - USC
Okongwu is coming off a very productive freshman season at USC. He averaged 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds and was named First Team All-Pac 12. Okongwu is also a versatile defender. In addition to protecting the rim, he's able to defend smaller players on the perimeter. He'd be a nice addition to a young and improving Bulls nucleus.
8. Charlotte Hornets
Tyrese Haliburton - G - Iowa State
Haliburton's sophomore season at Iowa State was cut short by a wrist injury. But it was a pretty impressive season nonetheless. He averaged 15.2 points and 6.5 assists and shot 41.9 percent from three-point range. Haliburton has a terrific feel for the game and is one of the more polished guard prospects in this draft. He made a ton of improvement between his freshman and sophomore seasons in college. That improvement should continue at the pro level.
9. Washington Wizards
Isaac Okoro - SF - Auburn
Okoro is a work in progress on the offensive end of the floor. But at 19 years old, he has plenty of time to improve and his defensive ability and overall athleticism make him a top-10 pick. Okoro was a big part of Auburn's success this season. He constantly competes at a high level and projects as a very good NBA player. He could be a great player if he improves his jump shot. Okoro shot just 29 percent from three-point range as a freshman.
10. Phoenix Suns
Tyrese Maxey - SG - Kentucky
The Suns select another Kentucky product to complement All-Star Devin Booker in their backcourt. Maxey has a lot of things going for him — namely his athleticism, mid-range game and elite on-ball defensive ability. Like a lot of the young guards in this draft, Maxey needs to become a more consistent shooter. He shot 29.2 percent from three-point territory this past season. With a little more consistency, Maxey could develop into one of the best players in this draft.
11. San Antonio Spurs
Killian Hayes - G - ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
Another promising young lead guard, Hayes doesn't turn 19 until the end of July. He was born in Florida but grew up in France, where his father, DeRon — a former Penn State forward — played professionally. Hayes plays like a guy who has been around basketball since an early age. He's smart, understands the game and is an elite passer. Hayes doesn't have top-tier athleticism but his feel for the game makes him the type of prospect the Spurs typically covet.
12. Sacramento Kings
Precious Achiuwa - PF - Memphis
The Kings have a lot of nice young players, specifically guards De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Taking Achiuwa here would provide a big boost to their frontcourt. Achiuwa averaged a double-double as a freshman at Memphis with just under 16 points and 11 rebounds per game. He plays bigger than his listed height of 6-9 and could excel as a small-ball center as the NBA continues to shift toward smaller lineups. Achiuwa is a great athlete and he plays hard. He would represent very good value here for the Kings.
13. New Orleans Pelicans
Aaron Nesmith - SF - Vanderbilt
Nesmith's sophomore season at Vanderbilt was cut short due to a foot injury. In 14 games before the injury, he averaged 23 points and shot 52.2 percent from three-point range. Nesmith is considered one of the top shooters in this draft and would get plenty of open looks playing with Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday in New Orleans. He'll need to improve other aspects of his game, but good shooters are always in high demand in today's NBA.
14. Portland Trail Blazers
R.J. Hampton - G - New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
Hampton took the road less traveled following his stellar high school career. He was considered one of the top prospects in the country but rather than go to college he opted to play professionally in New Zealand for a year. His numbers in New Zealand weren't great — he averaged under nine points and shot less than 30 percent from three-point territory. But playing against grown men — regardless of skill level — will always present a different set of challenges than the college game. It may take some time for Hampton to contribute at the NBA level, but he projects as a skilled combo guard.
15. Orlando Magic
Devin Vassell - SG/SF - Florida State
Vassell really came into his own as a sophomore for Florida State. The Seminoles were the ACC champions this year and Vassell was a big reason why. He averaged 12.7 points and connected on 41.5 percent of his three-point field goals. He's a strong defender as well, giving him that coveted "3-and-D" skill set for a NBA wing player. Vassell does a lot of things really well and Orlando should be in the market for this type of winning player.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves
Jaden McDaniels - PF - Washington
McDaniels is a classic case of potential vs. production. He has a boatload of ability. He's 6-10 and can handle the ball and shoot from the perimeter. He also has the ability to defend smaller players on the perimeter. But his numbers at Washington left a bit to be desired and he actually lost his starting spot at the end of the season. But his raw talent won't let him slip too far out of the lottery. If McDaniels can harness all of his talent, he could end up being a steal for the Timberwolves.
17. Boston Celtics
Jalen Smith - PF - Maryland
Maryland had its best season in a long time thanks in large part to Smith's efforts. He averaged a double-double for his sophomore season — 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds to go along with 2.4 blocks. Smith also shot 36.8 percent from three-point range. He fits the mold of a floor-spacing big man at the NBA level. Smith doesn't have top-end athleticism but his production for one of the best teams in college basketball should make him a mid-first-round pick.
18. Dallas Mavericks
Patrick Williams - F - Florida State
Williams is an enticing prospect due to what the future could hold. He came into his own late in his freshman season at Florida State and ended up averaging 9.2 points in just 22.5 minutes per game. This pick is based more on potential, and Williams isn't lacking in that department. He's athletic and long and has good instincts on the defensive end of the floor. His offensive skills need some polish. But he doesn't turn 19 until August, so time is on his side.
19. Milwaukee Bucks
Theo Maledon - G - ASVEL (France)
Maledon held his own as a 18-year old playing for a good Euroleague team in France. He's mature for his age and is capable of playing either guard spot. Maledon will take time to adjust to the NBA game but the Bucks can afford to be patient with this pick. The payoff could be big — Maledon is an athletic guard with good size and tons of potential on both ends of the floor.
20. Brooklyn Nets
Isaiah Stewart - PF - Washington
Stewart is another one of my favorite prospects. I think he could end up being one of the best players from this draft class. He averaged 17 points and 8.8 rebounds as a freshman for Washington. He did most of his scoring near the basket, but he does have the ability to knock down the perimeter jump shot. His defensive ability is a bit of a question mark since Washington doesn't play a lot of man-to-man defense. But Stewart is a talented big man with a lot of intangibles working in his favor.
21. Denver Nuggets
Tre Jones - PG - Duke
Jones was one of the best players in college basketball this past season. He averaged 16.2 points and 6.4 assists during his sophomore season at Duke and was named the ACC Player of the Year. Jones was also one of the best defenders in the country, earning conference Defensive Player of the Year honors as well. He's not known as a great shooter, but he did manage shoot 36.1 percent from three-point range, up from 26.2 percent as a freshman. Jones is a winning player who should be able to crack a good team's rotation.
Saddiq Bey - SF - Villanova
This pick would make a lot of sense for the Sixers. But it comes with two caveats. One, Bey needs to declare for the draft. He's yet to decide whether he will leave Villanova early or return for his junior season. And secondly, he would have to be available when the Sixers are on the clock. Bey soared up draft boards during his sophomore season, leading Villanova with 16.1 points per game and shooting 45.1 percent from three-point range.
At 6-8, Bey has very good size for a NBA wing player and his defensive ability might be his best asset. He's a versatile defender capable of guarding multiple positions. Bey is your typical Villanova player in the sense that he's unselfish, always plays hard and is comfortable doing whatever is necessary to win games. He would be a great fit with the Sixers — a very good shooter and defender who is ready to contribute right away and accepting of a complementary role.
23. Miami Heat
Vernon Carey Jr. - C - Duke
Carey was one of the top-ranked freshmen in the country coming into last season and he was very productive at Duke. He averaged 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds, doing most of his damage close to the basket. Carey is a gifted offensive player but there are concerns about his defensive ability. Namely, he struggles to move laterally and defend quicker players. He'll need to improve significantly in order not to become a liability on that end of the floor. But Carey has enough offensive talent to warrant a first-round selection.
24. Utah Jazz
Xavier Tillman - PF - Michigan State
Tillman is a big, rugged forward in that classic Michigan State mold. He is a tremendous defender who is well versed in playing winning basketball. He'd be a great addition for one of the better teams picking toward the end of the first round. Tillman is no slouch offensively — he averaged 13.7 points to go along with 10.3 rebounds during his junior year. He should be a solid NBA player and would fit in well in Utah's frontcourt.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder
Josh Green - SG - Arizona
Green was born and raised in Australia before playing his college ball at Arizona. He has good size for a guard and he does his best work on the defensive end of the floor. His offensive game needs refinement but his raw athleticism is enticing enough for teams to be patient with his overall development. Green is more of a late first-round pick than a mid-first-round pick. A good team will take him and afford him the opportunity to improve.
26. Boston Celtics
Cassius Stanley - SG - Duke
Stanley is one of the best athletes in this draft. His elite leaping ability and defensive versatility make him worthy of a first-round selection. He averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds and shot a respectable 36 percent from long range as a freshman at Duke. He did a little bit of everything for the Blue Devils, a trait that adds to his attractiveness as a NBA prospect.
27. New York Knicks
Kira Lewis Jr. - G - Alabama
Lewis is a dynamic scoring guard, averaging 18.5 points as a sophomore at Alabama. He filled up the box score with regularity, adding 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals and shooting just under 37 percent from three-point territory. There's plenty to like about Lewis, but there are also a few drawbacks. He has a very slight frame at 6-3 and 165 pounds. He also averaged 3.5 turnovers last season and there are questions about his defensive ability. Lewis' scoring ability will overshadow a lot of his flaws and should make him a late first-round pick.
28. Toronto Raptors
Nico Mannion - PG - Arizona
I'm not a big Mannion fan in terms of as an NBA prospect. He arrived at Arizona with a lot of hype and certainly had his moments as a freshman. Mannion averaged 14 points and 5.3 assists per game, showcasing good court vision and a solid feel for the game. But he's a streaky shooter, struggles to get to the basket and has his share of shortcomings defensively. He also tailed off toward the end of Arizona's season. I wouldn't be surprised if he slipped into the second round.
29. Los Angeles Lakers
Daniel Oturu - C - Minnesota
Oturu is coming off an excellent sophomore season at Minnesota, averaging 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. He also flashed the ability to knock down the outside jumper with a 36.5 three-point percentage on 52 attempts. Oturu is a very good offensive player and would be a nice addition to the Lakers' talented rotation.
30. Boston Celtics
Cassius Winston - PG - Michigan State
I tend to value the established college stars more than most when evaluating NBA prospects. Winston was the face of Michigan State basketball for the past two seasons, averaging 18.6 points and 5.9 assists as a senior while shooting 43.2 percent from three-point range. He'll be able to play point guard or off the ball at the pro level. Winston will struggle at times on the defensive end, but he'll be able to contribute quite a bit offensively as a rookie.