Our first installment to the 2020 NBA Mock Draft
This is the first installment of our 2020 NBA mock draft. We are taking the standings as-is, rather than running through a simulation to give more consistent results. If you have any feedback, leave a comment or email at email@example.com.
With the NBA season and draft delayed until the Fall, the NBA draft has been put into full focus and teams with no hope of a postseason have started putting their first foot forward in starting analyzing team needs and best players potentially to be left on their big board. Players are continuing to work and with the extended offseason we may have the most ready college to pro players in recent memory.
Below is the start to our series of of creating a mock draft for each team based on a combination of team need and best player available. Using my prior experience as a NCAA division 1 college coach, I will be acting as a scout for each team to give us the most likely outcome.
August TBD: NBA Draft Combine
August 25: NBA Lottery
October 16: NBA Draft
#1 Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards
Team Needs: Polished SF that is game-ready or a Defensive C
Players that fit: Anthony Edwards, Aaron Nesmith
The Warriors ending up with the first pick in the NBA draft is reminiscent of the Spurs in 1997. A team already established with three all-stars getting the first almost sounds unfair, but that's where we find ourselves, so let's look into their biggest needs. With a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the backcourt is secure barring any injuries, but hearing from sources that the Warriors are not interested in LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman it becomes clear with the number one pick they'd be looking to select Anthony Edwards. If the lottery changes their positioning we should see a much more interesting decision. Another way that the Warriors could continue on in their contending run next year is looking at the wing position. While Marquese Chriss has started to find his foothold in their lineup, there biggest area of concern is on the wing, but unfortunately for them there are game franchise level wings. Aaron Nesmith fits the GS mold to a T, but is projected towards the end of the lottery on my big board. My projection would be that if they drop back from one, or Anthony Edwards is unavailable, GS will be looking to see how their pick is valued to trade back for a player like Nesmith.
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija
Team Needs: Wing, but BPA
Players that fit: Anthony Edwards, Devin Vassell, Deni Avdija
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a similar position to the Detroit Pistons in that they don't have the luxury of taking a player in a position they need most, as for the most part they don't have any sure things. Their biggest hope is to either win the lottery, or for the teams that are ahead are set at the SG position. While Darius Garland was their most recent pick, Anthony Edwards carries one of the highest ceilings in this draft and is one guy that the Cavaliers can't pass up due to their roster structure. With the trade for Andre Drummond and his opt-in, and having Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love in their front court there is not a significant need for a big. Luckily there is enough wing draft picks where the top 5 is not set in stone. If not Edwards, I expect the Cavaliers to reach a little bit and try to fill in their wing spot with Deni Avdija. For those not familiar with international ball, Avdija brings a point forward style of offense with strong intangibles. He would be a natural secondary playmaker next to Sexton, and has a scoring punch to make the reach potentially very beneficial for the Cavs.
#3 Minnesota Timberwolves: Obi Toppin
Team Needs: Wing/PF
Players that fit: Anthony Edwards, Josh Green, Obi Toppin
With a new GM in Rosas the Timberwolves find themselves with the same needs that the two teams also have. Unfortunately, with the lack of wings in the top end of this years draft it does not bode well that the Timberwolves could land Anthony Edwards barring a lottery win. With that in mind, I still feel there are options that would fit the Timberwolves well with Obi Toppin falling in the lottery, I see the athleticism possible being a good fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns though that defense may be a big question mark. Another option is Josh Green, though he is more likely a mid to late first round pick. Therein lies the problem, if the Timberwolves fall to No. 5-7 they may be in a place where they have to reach as D'Angelo Russell at the PG will eliminate most of the options in the No. 5-10 range on our big board.
#4 Atlanta Hawks: Isaac Okoro
Team Needs: Defensive wing/Backup PG
Players that fit: Isaac Okoro, Devin Vassell
Atlanta is another interesting spot, as the list of teams that need a wing keeps adding up. The Hawks are in a position to grow at a high rate in the next season, especially if they can land a promising young piece in this draft. With Trae Young coming off an amazing offensive season, and John Collins the ability to play the whole season, they need to ensure that their defense on the perimeter can stand the test of the top East teams. The top players available on the wing for them (Okoro and Vassell) are both high potential defensive wings, though Okoro has a much more NBA ready defensive skills. While Okoro fits very well, he is fairly raw for a top 5 pick, and lands at No. 9 on our big board, while Vassell lands at No. 10. Again, this draft lacks the obvious high potential franchise changers, and thus reaches such as this are not true reaches as much of the 4th -10th picks are interchangable.
#5 Detroit Pistons: LaMelo Ball
Team Needs: Playmaker/Score first Backcourt
Players that fit: LaMelo Ball, Killian Hayes, Anthony Edwards
Lucky for the Pistons, they are actually in a good place to land someone they can use even if they fall. With Blake Griffin/Luke Kennard/Derrick Rose all having issues with health year in and year out, there is a need that could be filled everywhere. There is also the question of whether they can re-sign unrestricted free agent Christian Wood at the PF spot, as without him, there is a need at almost every position. For me, the Pistons have to take a risk on going for the fences which means going for the boom or bust type guys. The Pistons are another team with a new GM in Troy Weaver who has a very predictable drafting style when he was with the OKC Thunder targeting long athletic and typically raw. There is a high focus on going for high work ethic type guys, and has shown his loyalty by signing Justin Patton who he saw with the Thunders G-League team last year with his first move as GM. With that in mind, Edwards is an obvious choice, but that's the case for most of the top 5 teams, which leaves the PGs that round out the top 10 in Ball, Hayes, Haliburton, and Anthony. Out of these picks fo boom or bust Ball is the most likely pick. He has size and elite vision, but lacks shooting and defense. Hayes another PG with size has better shooting, but is not a master of anything and has a much lower ceiling.
Rest of the Lottery - Full reports coming July 13th
#6 New York Knicks: Killian Hayes
Team Needs: Playmaking PG
Players that fit: LaMelo Ball, Killian Hayes
#7 Chicago Bulls: Oneyeke Okongwu
Team Needs: Two-way Wing
Players that fit: Aaron Nesmith, Oneyeke Okongwu, Isaac Okoro
#8 Charlotte Hornets: Cole Anthony
Team Needs: Player that can score
Players that fit: Cole Anthony, RJ Hampton
#9 Washington Wizards: James Wiseman
Team Needs: Defensive Anchor
Players that fit: Isaac Okoro, Oneyeke Okongwu
#10 Phoenix Suns: Precious Achiuwa
Team Needs: Athletic PF
Players that fit: Obi Toppin, Oneyeke Okongwu, Precious Achiuwa
#11 San Antonio Spurs: Tyrese Haliburton
Team Needs: Scoring Guard
Players that fit: Tyrese Maxey, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes
#12 Sacramento Kings: Saddiq Bey
Team Needs: Defensive Big
Players that fit: Saddiq Bey, Patrick Williams
#13 New Orleans Pelicans: Devin Vassell
Team Needs: Wing/Center
Players that fit: Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, Isaiah Stewart
#14 Portland Trailblazers: Patrick Williams
Team Needs: 3nD wing
Players that fit: Patrick Williams, Devin Vassell, Aaron Nesmith
The Rest of the 1st Round - Full reports coming July 15th
#15 Orlando Magic: Aaron Nesmith
#16 Brooklyn Nets -> Minnesota Timberwolves: RJ Hampton
#17 Memphis Grizzlies -> Boston Celtics: Theo Maledon
#18 Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green
#19 Indiana Pacers -> Milwaukee Bucks: Tyrese Maxey
#20 Philadelphia 76ers -> Brooklyn Nets: Kira Lewis
#21 Houston Rockets -> Denver Nuggets: Reggie Perry
#22 OKC Thunder -> Philadelphia 76ers: Jaden McDaniels
#23 Miami Heat: Devon Dotson
#24 Utah Jazz: Nico Mannion
#25 Denver Nuggets -> OKC Thunder: Jahmi'us Ramsey
#26 Boston Celtics: Jalen Smith
#27 LA Clippers -> NY Knicks: Isaiah Stewart
#28 Toronto Raptors: Cassius Stanley
#29 LA Lakers: Elijah Hughes
#30 Milwaukee Bucks -> Boston Celtics: Tyler Bey
I will be writing up a more indepth look at the back end of the draft, and the biggest sleepers outside of the top-10. Stay tuned!