2020 NBA Draft Preview


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Connor Easterday

After a long wait, the 2020 NBA draft has finally arrived. Unlike most years, there is no consensus in this draft. Just about every team picking in the top 10 seems to have different names at the top of their boards. Its unpredictability will only add to the excitement, as we’re likely to see a number of trades, risers, and fallers. So for the NBA’s first-ever virtual draft, you should be expecting the unexpected.


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Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards (Georgia, SG, Freshman)                                                                      Nobody really knows what the Timberwolves are going to do here. It has been widely reported that the pick is on the trade market for any potential suitors. This makes sense as it seems that they already believe they have their core in Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell and are primed for a run at the playoffs. However, because the rest of the league perceives this draft as weak at the top when compared to years past, there may not be as strong of a market as Minnesota would like. That leaves us with Anthony Edwards, a freshman guard out of Georgia. Edwards is a bruiser who gets to the rim with ease, absorbs contact, and finishes with a soft touch. At 6’5” and 225 pounds, he is an elite physical specimen with rare traits that will bring joy to whichever team he lands on. The concerns lie in his lack of consistent effort and questions about if he truly is committed to growing as a player. In an interview with ESPN, he said, “To be honest, I can’t watch basketball, I’m still not really into it.” This is a major red flag that will scare teams across the league. However, I believe that at number one, if Minnesota can’t find a trade partner, he’ll be the pick because he fits well with Russell and Towns,


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Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman (Memphis, C, Freshman)                                                                              The Warriors are in a golden position right here. After five straight finals appearances, three wins, and the departure of Kevin Durant, they ran into a bit of a bump in the road: Stephen Curry played only five games, Klay Thompson missed the entirety of the season with a torn ACL, and even Draymond Green missed half the season with an injury. The team essentially took a year off. So not only will they be returning all of their players, readying them for another finals run, but they were also rewarded with the number two overall pick. Nobody knows what Golden State is going to do here. It’s been assumed that a trade is on the table, but the General Manager, Bob Myers, isn’t so sure. “It’s very, very fluid…We have thoughts. We have ideas about it, but it has to make sense. It has to make sense for us,” he said in an NBC sports interview. If they keep the pick, James Wiseman is the perfect fit. Golden State is lacking a dominant center, and Wiseman can be just that. He’s an athletic marvel with an incredible upside, and at the very least, he will be a rim-running big who blocks shots and can hit jumpers.


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Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball (Australia, PG)                                                                                                              Reportedly, Michael Jordan is all in on LaMelo Ball. If Wiseman’s off the board at three, I’d expect LaMelo Ball to be the pick. Omitting college to play professionally overseas, Ball is an interesting case study. He’s an ambidextrous passer with wizard-like playmaking ability. He has an elite feel for the game; however, I have a hard time believing that he’ll be ready to contribute right away. Ball is a raw prospect that shows complete lapses on defense and as a decision-maker. Things like poor shot selections and a not-so-great shooting stroke is worrying. However, unlike Minnesota and Golden State, Charlotte isn’t quite ready to compete. A project player like Ball makes a lot of sense for them. They need star power, and for better or for worse, Ball is already a household name.


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Chicago Bulls: Deni Avidja (Israel, SF)                                                                                                                            There is a report that The Bulls could trade up to number two and select James Wiseman. However, if they stay put,  either Deni Avdija or Patrick Williams seem like the most likely choices. Playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv, Adjia was one of the best young players in Israel. He’s extremely versatile and a great playmaker for his size. The only questions that persist are about his shot.


(Photo By: AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin (Dayton, PF, Sophomore)                                                                                          Toppin is a love-him-or-hate-him type of prospect. There are teams that have him ranked as high as second on their boards, while some question if he can ever become a starting-caliber player. His stock crashed through the ceilings in the midst of an extraordinary season at Dayton last year. However, being 22 years old limits his upside, and defensively, he’s lacking. Cleveland is likely to move Kevin Love, and Andre Drummond is on the last year of his contract. After selecting Collin Sexton and Darius Garland in back-to-back years, they may be looking to give those guys a frontcourt mate to initiate in the pick-and-roll.

6. Atlanta Hawks: Patrick Williams (Florida State, SF, Freshman)
The Hawks are eyeing a trade here, but if they can’t find a suitor, Williams could be the pick. He’s risen up boards in the past few months after flying under the radar off the bench for Florida State. He is a long and defensive-minded wing who has the skills to be extremely versatile as a playmaker and three-point shooter. Atlanta is lacking a 3-and-D player like this.

7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes (France, PG)
Hayes is a tantalizing prospect who shows flashes of James Harden and even Luka Doncic in his shooting and playmaking ability. Side dribble threes, double stepback moves, and quick pull-ups–these are translatable skills that young prospects don’t often have. Detroit is lacking young talent, and Hayes has just turned 19 years old. He makes sense as the pick here.

8. New York Knicks: Isaac Okoro (Auburn, SG, Freshman)
It has been widely reported that Knicks head coach, Tom Thibodeau, is in love with Okoro. He’s an elite defender who shows a unique blend of athleticism and playmaking for a wing.

9. Washington Wizards: Onyeka Okongwu (USC, C, Freshman)
There is a wide gap between Okongwu’s ceiling and floor. He could go as high as third, but if Washington passes, he could also go as low as fourteen. The Wizards need a guy like this. They have offensive talent in Bradley Beal, John Wall, Davis Bertans, and rookie Rui Hachimura. What they’re lacking is elite athleticism and defense. Okongwu can bring both of those things. He’s a little raw and may take a few years to come around, but his upside is extraordinary.

10. Phoenix Suns: Devin Vassell (Florida State, SF, Sophomore)
Vassell is a long and defensive three-point specialist. After just trading for Chris Paul, Phoenix no longer needs a backcourt partner for Devin Booker. Rather, they will be looking for a wing defender to guard the LeBron’s and Kawhi’s of the western conference

11. San Antonio Spurs: Saddiq Bey (Villanova, SF, Sophomore)
12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State, PG, Sophomore)
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt, SF, Sophomore)
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis): Tyrell Terry (Stanford, PG, Freshman)
15. Orlando Magic: R.J. Hampton (Australia, PG)
16. Houston Rockets (via Portland): Precious Achiuwa (Memphis, PF, Freshman)
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn): Jalen Smith (Maryland, PF, Sophomore)
18. Dallas Mavericks: Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)
19. Brooklyn Nets: Kira Lewis Jr. (Alabama, PG, Sophomore)
20. Miami Heat: Malachi Flynn (San Diego State, PG, Junior)
21. Philadelphia 76ers: Desmond Bane (TCU, SG, Senior)
22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston): Aleksej Pokusevski (Serbia, PF)
23. New York Knicks (via Utah): Cole Anthony (North Carolina, PG, Freshman)
24. New Orleans Pelicans (via Milwaukee): Theo Maledon (France, PG)
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver): Jaden McDaniels (Washington, PF, Freshman)
26. Boston Celtics: Leandro Bolmaro (Spain, SG)
27. Utah Jazz (via New York): Zeke Nnaji (Arizona, C, Freshman)
28. Oklahoma City Thunder (via LA Lakers): Tyler Bey (Colorado, PF, Junior)
29. Toronto Raptors: Grant Riller (Charleston, PG, Senior)
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee): Xavier Tillman Sr. (Michigan State, C, Junior)