We are one week away from the 2020 NBA draft. This has been the weirdest year for all of us and it is going to continue, Draft Night being in the middle of November is something I never thought I’d see but you have to roll with the punches. We are well on our way to watching a lot of young guys dreams come true so let’s kick it off.
For this initial mock I’m going to keep it pretty straight forward. There are going to be draft night trades but this is being written under the assumption everyone keeps their own pick as of today, November 10th.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves – LaMelo Ball – Guard – NBL
The Timberwolves, simply put, are underachievers. Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins (for awhile anyway) are good enough players to get this team to more then just one playoff birth. It is the West but the excuses need to stop. I love swapping Wiggins for D. Lo, it makes a lot of sense plus you get KAT a friend which is your only chance of keeping him happy. The NBA is more then ever before an offense over defense league. Will it win you a title giving up 120 points a night? No but if you can score 121 you might sneak your way into the playoffs. Ball is 6’7″ 190 and is one of the better shooters in the draft. Like Lonzo, LaMelo is already a great passer, unlike Lonzo he is a passable shooter at worst. He has question marks with his form and shot selection, including being scared of contact but surround him with offensive players like KAT and Russell, taking the pressure and the ball out of his hands will help with the early shots. He isn’t a great defender but his defense gets overlooked because of his offensive potential. He is too big to be a bad perimeter defender. I expect a rocky start probably for all of the rookies but especially for Ball, a lot of pressure being the number one overall pick especially with very minimal training camps/preseason. T’Wolves take him and really dive head first into a fast pace offense they might be able to steal a playoff spot. I think him having pro experience helps him as well, whether it translates to the NBA who knows but it is a plus no doubt.
2. Golden State Warriors – Anthony Edwards – Guard – Georgia
I actually think Edwards is a better prospect then Ball but I think he is too similar to Wiggins for Minnesota to pull the trigger. The potential of him being Wiggins 2.0 would crush Timberwolves fans and whether we want to admit it or not, a GM on a bad team needs to juggle the fans, ownership and winning more then a GM with a roster of talent. If Edwards is just Wiggins 2.0 and you take him at 1 that is your job. I think Edwards is going to be a good prospect, not Wade good like how he thinks of himself but good enough. I imagine Golden State will move this pick but that goes against the fake rules I already put in place. This kid a bully, 6’5″ 220 and he invites contact. Let me describe what will work with Edwards and you tell me what team this sounds like. Edwards can shoot but he wants to get to the rim, having shooters around him will help open up lanes. He can handle the ball but will work best with multiple ball handlers on the floor. No one would describe him as pass first but he can find open shooters and cutters. Might end up being a lockdown defender when it is all said and done, his past struggles are more of a lack of effort then a lack of skill. Now I don’t know about you but that sounds like a great teammate for Steph/Klay and even Wiggins/Draymond. If the Warriors do draft Edwards and keep him I think they’ll look to move Wiggins, open up cap room plus a roster spot for more shooting or size. End of the day Edwards might be the best player in this draft.
3. Charlotte Hornets – James Wiseman – Center – Memphis
We didn’t get to see much of Wiseman at Memphis for a variety of reasons, none of which were a lack of talent. He is an athletic big who is a legit 7 footer with potential to be a stand out perimeter shooter. The Hornets need a hell of a lot of help but they have at least the ground work for a young core. The league is moving more towards smaller bigs like a Bam in Miami but we just saw the Lakers go against the grain and win a title, yes their immense talent had a lot to do with that but size isn’t bad if used properly. Wiseman is the best big man in this draft and might have the most potential out of anyone on this list. Bridges, Washington, Wiseman front court with a combo of Monk, Graham and Rozier. I mean that lineup isn’t going to win you a title, hell it might not even make the playoffs next year but it is a start. The Hornets need to plan for the next 5 years not for next year, stack assets and talent. Wiseman isn’t a sure thing, no prospect is, but this team needs to take a shot and Wiseman does have the potential to be a solid piece for years to come.
Alright from here on I am going to list my picks for the other 27 picks but unlike the first three not everyone will get a write up. For some teams and some picks I will still give a brief write up. If I don’t do a write up on someone you feel deserves one or if you just want more info/my opinion on a prospect let me know, my Twitter is @EJS_4.
4. Chicago Bulls – Isaac Okoro – Guard – Auburn
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – Deni Avdija – Forward – EuroLeague
6. Atlanta Hawks – Killian Hayes – Guard – Bundesliga
7. Detroit Pistons – Tyrese Haliburton – Guard – Iowa State
Haliburton feels like the perfect San Antonio Spurs player, Pistons fans should be very happy to hear that and this pick. The team needs a lot of work but he is a nice pickup that could be an immediate help to the team.
8. New York Knicks – Devin Vassell – Forward – Florida State
I think the Knicks are going to take Obi Toppin here but Vassell is exactly what they need. Toppin is the big name, Vassell will help put numbers in the win column.
9. Washington Wizards – Obi Toppin – Forward – Dayton
10. Phoenix Suns – Onyeka Okongwu – Center – USC
I love this kids potential and the Suns would be lucky if he falls to them at 10. Think Bam with this pick, he’ll take a year or two to fully develop into what the Suns want, just like Bam did but Aytons backup and future running mate in the front court is Okongwu.
11. San Antonio Spurs – Patrick Williams – Forward – Florida State
12. Sacramento Kings – Aleksej Pokusevski – Center – EuroLeague
This is my biggest reach of the draft. The Bagley expiriement hasn’t gone great for the Kings so far and it might be time to look in another direction. Pokusevski is very raw but might be able to develop into a much skinnier poor mans Jokic.
13. New Orleans Pelicans – Saddiq Bey – Forward – Villanova
14. Boston Celtics – Aaron Nesmith – Guard – Vanderbilt
If the Celtics can’t trade up and stay put at 14 they have been linked to RJ Hampton and Precious Achiuwa, two players that might be good in the league and on this team. Nesmith is one of the best spot up shooters in the draft and has the body type to develop into a decent defender.
15. Orlando Magic – Kira Lewis Jr. – Guard – Alabama
16. Portland Trail Blazers – Jalen Smith – Center – Maryland
17. Minnesota Timberwolves – Precious Achiuwa – Forward – Memphis
18. Dallas Mavericks – RJ Hampton – Guard – NBL
19. Brooklyn Nets – Tyrell Terry – Guard – Stanford
20. Miami Heat – Jaden McDaniels – Forward – Washington
If you asked me to name a coach not named Pop to develop a raw young talent it would be Eric Spoelstra. McDaniels is going to need time to develop and who better to give him that time then the team with a top 3 coach that just lost in the Finals.
21. Philadelphia 76ers – Desmond Bane – Guard – TCU
Bane might be the perfect 76er. He was a great three point shooter at TCU, something Philly desperately needs, and is a big strong body for his position. I could see Philly looking at Josh Green instead but his shoulder injury scares me off (especially with this team).
22. Denver Nuggets – Zeke Nnaji – Center – Arizona
23. Utah Jazz – Josh Green – Guard – Arizona
24. Milauwakee Bucks – Tyrese Maxey – Guard – Kentucky
As a Kentucky fan I am a bit bias but I am trying to put that to the side. I think Maxey is going to end up dropping in the draft, most mocks have him in the mid teens, but he might end up being the steal of the draft. A very solid backup guard for the reigning MVP to play alongside.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder – Killian Tillie – Forward – Gonzaga
26. Boston Celtics – Tre Jones – Guard – Duke
I don’t expect the Celtics to make this pick but I do like Jones here. There are a few players who I actually like in this spot, this is a down the road pick. Smart can play pretty much any position but I think him at the 2 is the best spot for him. Jones and Smart would give teams nightmares but also if Smart remains in the starting lineup, Tre will be an ideal backup for Kemba. The potential of Jones and Nesmith (my projected 14th pick by Boston) is intriguing as well.
27. New York Knicks – Cole Anthony – Guard – UNC
28. Los Angeles Lakers – Malachi Flynn – Guard – San Diego State
29. Toronto Raptors – Theo Maledon – Guard – Asvel
30. Boston Celtics – Nick Richards – Center – Kentucky
This is nothing but a homer pick. I am Celtics fan, I am a Kentucky fan and I think most mocks have Richards way too low. I’ve seen him floating from mid to late second round and I think he is talented enough to justify being taken in the first. Celtics have tried multiple people but they need their franchise Center. At 30, if they even make this pick, why not take a flyer on Richards.
There it is my full NBA first round mock draft. I plan on having at least one more updated mock once we get closer to draft day. Branded as a whole will also be streaming the draft on our Twitter, Facebook and Twitch. Make sure you stop by on Wednesday to get our live reactions to the picks!