The 2020 NBA Draft and year will forever be linked with the outbreak of the COVID-19 corona virus. The draft class unfortunately was unable to experience March Madness and there will always be a feeling of unfinished business and a lack of satisfaction for players and fans alike as the outbreak took hold and the health of the US and world population took precedence over college athletics and the sports world. After two months of quarantine, there is hope that the NBA season can conclude and an NBA champion will eventually be crowned. Exactly how the pandemic will affect the 2020 NBA draft remains to be seen, but teams have already done interviews over the internet with numerous draft prospects. The 2020 NBA draft figures to be held remotely, similar to the 2020 NFL draft. The NBA draft combine and even individual workouts are uncertainties at this point in mid-May. The top 4 picks have yet to be determined by the NBA Draft lottery, which has been pushed back, as a decision on the NBA playoffs is still pending.
1. Golden State Warriors
Edwards has been our projected #1 pick since Mid-September of 2019 when we became aware that he intended to reclassify and skip his senior high school season. He’s been compared by some scouts to a 6-foot-6 LeBron, due to his amazing physicality and explosiveness at the guard position. He is one of the most physically dominant guards to play at the NCAA level in years. He reminds of Dwyane Wade with his relentless motor, diverse skill set and elite athleticism. He can legitimately become a point guard at the next level as he shows tremendous creativity, vision and the ability to create offense for teammates. There are still some areas of his game that he needs to work on, but being too critical of him is probably losing perspective considering he’s the clear cut top prospect in this draft and has been so all season. Unlike a number of other top prospects, he actually played the entire season, and benefited by developing with close to a full year of games. Interesting, Edwards two favorite players happen to be the two that he compares most closely to in Wade and Victor Oladipo.
NBA Comparison: Dwyane Wade
2. Cleveland CavaliersObi Toppin
Toppin is the age of a senior and has become a consensus top 5 pick on team’s draft boards. He may be older than your average lottery pick, but he’s a physical specimen, capable of highlight plays on a nightly basis. He brings a level of NBA readiness and maturity that few of the other top prospects can match. He may lack the upside of others but he’s a sure thing to be a contributor, giving him a high floor. Toppin has shown solid improvement in his skill level from his freshman season and exhibits the ability to create offense for himself both on the perimeter and in the paint. He figures to be a modern day 4 with the speed to cause mismatches and get by 4s at the next level. His ability to knock down outside shots makes him a good fit in today’s NBA. While he appears to be somewhat stiff in his shoulders and arms, he should be able to add some flexibility at the next level working with trainers on proper lifting and flexibility exercises. Toppin measured 6-8 in shoes with a 6-10.5 wingspan at The Academy in August 2018, so there is some controversy over his wingspan as it has been published as 7-2 in other places.
NBA Comparison: Kenyon Martin
3. Minnesota TimberwolvesLaMelo Ball
Ball is one of the biggest wildcards and mysteries in this year’s draft. He’s a talent, with one of the highest ceilings of any player available. But the fact that he decided to play in New Zealand and missed a good portion of the season, not to mention the the level of competition, makes him a tough prospect to evaluate. So a team will have to take a bit of a leap of faith with Ball considering he has less of a proven track record than other prospects available. But his ability to facilitate and run an offense as a 6-8 point guard gives him a great deal of intrigue. Unlike his brother Lonzo, LaMelo has a much more conventional shooting form. He’s a more outgoing, vocal player, which should also give him a leg up on Lonzo. Ball figures to find a spot in the 2-5 range, depending on team need, and a GMs willingness to roll the dice and wait on his talent to develop.
NBA Comparison: Shaun Livingston
4. Atlanta HawksJames Wiseman
Wiseman’s season was cut short first by the NCAA and then by Wiseman himself who followed advice that he was a guaranteed top 5 pick, and opted to end his season early. While it would have been nice to see him compete and develop, following the injury to Charles Bassey and the fact that bigmen seem to be the most injury prone of any position, it is difficult to be too critical of the decision. particularly on the heels of the NCAA’s shenanigans. So much for teaching Wiseman a lesson. Wiseman showed surprising skill in the few games that he played, knocking down a few fadeaways and looking competent on the offensive end. But there is still skepticism about just how much offense he’ll bring on a nightly basis at the next level. He developed a bit of a reputation in high school for not having a genuine passion and love for the game. Considering he played so few games at Memphis, that remains a question mark. He’s clearly a specimen type of bigman, drawing comparisons to Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan, and is clearly capable of being a difference maker on the defensive end at the next level.
NBA Comparison:: Hassan Whiteside
5. Detroit PistonsKillian Hayes
Florida born, and French raised Killian Hayes really exploded this season playing in the German league and has a good chance to leapfrog Deni Avdija to become the top European “raised” International prospect taken. Hayes has excellent size at 6’5 and tremendous quickness, and plays a mature game for his age. He has a good shooting touch, showing quality decision making with the ability to create scoring opportunities and not over-dribble or neglect to involve teammates. His ability to get everyone involved and then look for his own offense when his team needs a basket is a tribute to his basketball IQ and feel for the game.
NBA Comparison: Kirk Hinrich
6. New York KnicksTyrese Haliburton
Haliburton is a true point guard at 6’5, and has shown a lot of physical development in the past year, becoming a real ball hawk and a difficult match up due to his size and speed. He is one of the draft’s wild cards as he’s got tremendous size at the point guard position and shows solid ability to play the position. What makes him a more difficult prospect to evaluate is projecting whether or not he can improve upon his shooting form, which would greatly enhance his ability to create offense for himself. Similar to New Orleans’ point guard Lonzo Ball, Haliburton shoots well when he’s given space, but has a tediously slow release which makes it nearly impossible for him to get a shot off with a defender in front of him. The Iowa State sophomore measured 6’5 with a 6’7.5 wingspan at The Academy in August 2019, giving him solid length.
NBA Comparison: Lonzo Ball
7. Chicago Bulls
Okongwu was one of the biggest breakout freshmen surprises in 2019-20. He’s intriguing due to his potential to impact the game on both ends of the floor. He’s got a massive wingspan and utilizes it well to block shots as well as grab boards and finish play at the rim. While he doesn’t have the length and height of James Wiseman, there are some that feel that he could challenge to be the first center taken in the 2020 draft. Okongwu proved himself as a legitimate offensive threat through an entire season at the college level and appears to have the higher floor and ceiling as a scorer at the next level. Wiseman is bigger and more of an physical specimen and seen as the player with the greater overall upside, but for today’s NBA, a case can be made that Okongwu is the better prospect due to having a skill set that fits today’s game.
NBA Comparison: John Collins
8. Charlotte HornetsDeni Avdija
Not that he isn’t deserving of the hype, but Avdija clearly benefits from the recent success of Luka Doncic. European players are once again in vogue as Doncic has set the world on fire becoming one of the most productive players ever at his age and making some wonder whether he ultimately will surpass Dirk to become the greatest European NBA player ever. Avdija is not Doncic, though he has some Doncic-like qualities with his feel and versatility. He’s similarly not a pure shooter, but he understands how to play the pick and roll game and is a high level competitor.
NBA Comparison: Hedo Turkoglu
9. Washington WizardsIsaac Okoro
We liken Okoro to a young “Tough Juice”, Caron Butler. He’s not the fastest athlete but has a very physical and bouncy body and really punishes opponents utilizing his powerful frame. He’s a tough nosed competitor and very focused. And never seems to get thrown off his game, maintaining a focus and calmness in all situations. He’s an upside pick as there’s still a lot of development left and he may take a while to realize his talent, especially on the offensive end of the floor. It’s uncertain if he has star ability or will thrive more as a complimentary piece. He figures to find some level of success and not be a complete bust due to his intangibles, but it remains to be seen if he can add the skill level to justify such a high selection.
NBA Comparison: Caron Butler
10. Phoenix Suns
Oturu is a big that essentially came out of nowhere this year. He quickly made a name for himself and within a month of the season starting, Minnesota had a large contingent of scouts showing up to their games. Oturu has a modern game as he’s able to defend in space as well as force bigs to defend him out in space with his ability to knock down shots on the perimeter. He didn’t shoot a high volume of threes but was efficient (36%) and his form looks extremely promising. He’s an agile and mobile big with a huge (7-foot-3 wingspan) frame and appears that he will be able to add strength without sacrificing mobility. His length and ability to block shots give him added intrigue to be a factor on both ends of the floor.
NBA Comparison: Jermaine O’Neal
11. San Antonio SpursCole Anthony
Anthony suffered a mid-season injury and it likely cost him a few spots in the draft, however teams remain intrigued with his potential as a lead guard. He’s got the size, ball skills and intangibles to be a quality starting point guard at the NBA level. He lacks transcendent speed and athleticism, however he’s fairly explosive and quick. North Carolina had a disappointing season, and his efficiency was inconsistent. Perhaps the lack of talent around him added to his struggles as he was asked to carry the scoring load, and opposing teams were able to focus their defenses to stop him. While he clearly has some maturing left to do, he’s got the bloodlines and high school pedigree, in addition to developing for close to a full freshman season at one of the legendary programs in college basketball.
NBA Comparison: Mo Williams
12. Sacramento KingsPrecious Achiuwa
When James Wiseman decided to shut things down for the remainder of the season following his suspension, Achiuwa was able to step into the limelight in Memphis. He is one of the draft’s premiere run/jump athletes and plays with a lot of energy. He has shown flashes of being able to knock down mid-range shots, though he’s still got work to do to become a legitimate scorer / shooter. He brings a lot of versatility with the ability to defend multiple positions and play as both a three and a four. he shot a respectable 32% from three (13 threes made) and averaged a double-double, 15 and 10 and even blocked 1.9 per game.
NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace
13 New Orleans Pelicans
Carey was extremely steady all year for Duke. He lacks elite speed and athleticism, but has a lot of smoothness to his game with touch to finish and shows a no nonsense approach. He came into college as one of the highest rated recruits, having spent time as the top player in his class according to certain recruiting analysts. He shot very few three pointers and there’s still some question about how well he will be able to extend his shot out to the perimeter and become an effective face up scorer. There are signs that he can improve in this area, as he has good form and solid fundamentals in his shooting stroke. Carey has decent length at 6’10 in shoes with a 7’1 wingspan.
NBA Comparison: Wendell Carter
14. Portland TrailblazersAaron Nesmith
Nesmith emerged as one of the most prolific scorers in the country in his sophomore year. He has a little Buddy Hield to his game with his body type, confidence and pure outside shooting ability. He was absolutely deadly shooting from behind the arch in his sophomore year, knocking down 4 threes per game at a highly efficient 52% clip. granted his 23 ppg average and incredible efficiency was only over 14 games and it’s hard to imagine he could have sustained that for an entire season. But he’s obviously a future weapon in the NBA as a shooting specialist and his 6-10 wingspan gives him added ability to get shots off.
NBA Comparison: Cameron Johnson
15. Orlando MagicTheo Maledon
Maledon is one of the youngest prospects in this year’s draft. He struggled some to advance his skill set this year and is more of a project than player as a lead guard right now. But Maledon shows a lot of upside as an extremely quick and athletic point guard. Like fellow Frenchman, Killian Hayes, he’s a full year younger than American standouts Cole Anthony and Tyrese Haliberton, who figure to be taken in front of him. Maledon is an athletic specimen with long arms and very good foot speed and all-around quickness. He is more of a boom or bust type than the aforementioned point guards, so it figures that a team will want to weigh risk/reward and draft him in a range that makes them comfortable with developing a project that may or may not realize their potential.
NBA Comparison: Dennis Schröder
16. Minnesota TimberwolvesJaden McDaniels
McDaniels oozes upside with his great ability to score from off the dribble as well as knock down shots. He’s got some Durant-like attributes with his amazing length and scoring ability. When he’s on, he looks like the best prospect in the entire draft. Unfortunately, that has been something that he’s struggled to maintain. There are major question marks about his focus and dedication to the game. Body language is not one of his strong suits and he is really in need of the right NBA environment to succeed. If that happens, a team could get him to realize his immense potential and play more consistently. However, a number of scouts are convinced that he will be a player that bounces around the league, showing flashes of talent, but never able to contribute on a consistent basis. He is probably the biggest boom or bust pick in the entire draft.
NBA Comparison: Jonathan Isaac
17. Boston CelticsRJ Hampton
The Texas native is an athletic combo guard that elected to circumvent the NCAA route, and had an unspectacular, though effective season playing in the NBL for the New Zealand Breakers. He averaged 8.8 points per game on 40% FG and 30% 3point, while posting 1.4 assists a game to 1.5 turnovers in 21 minutes per game. His 8.8 points per game represent just 10% of the 89 points the breakers scored per game on the season. Granted, Hampton was one of the youngest players on the team. He’s an above average athlete capable of highlight plays and has a solid skill set, having shown the ability to run the point guard position at the AAU level. RJ missed nearly half of the season playing in 15 of the team’s 28 games when the season ended. Hampton measured 6’4 in shoes, with a 6’7 wingspan and 8’4 standing reach in US competitions, giving him legitimate shooting guard size at the point guard position.
NBA Comparison: Dante Exum
18. Milwaukee BucksNico Mannion
Mannion struggled to play up to the level that many expected out of him based on his high school career. He didn’t shoot to his ability and Arizona wasn’t quite as dominant as some had projected them to be. But Mannion is as driven and competitive as anyone in the draft. His father having been a professional basketball player in italy and his Mom having been a professional volleyball player gives him both the genes and the mental predisposition to be successful. He’s got good size and athleticism, but some wonder whether he has the speed to contend with NBA point guards. Perhaps his intangibles and size will help to compensate for his lack of high end speed.
NBA Comparison: Luke Ridnour
19. Brooklyn NetsJosh Green
Green has prototypical size and athleticism at the wing position and also shows a promising shooting stroke. A potential 3-D player for the next level, Green knocked down one three pointer per game on 36% shooting. While his 12 ppg doesn’t jump off the page, he showed a willingness to play within the framework of the team and appears to have a good deal of potential left to develop. Green still needs to improve as an isolation threat as his ball skills don’t stand out but he has shown a willingness to be coached since arriving from Australia and by all accounts is a mature and focused individual. Put in the right situation, Green figures to develop into a weapon from the perimeter with high level ability to run the floor and finish.
NBA Comparison: Gary Trent Jr.
20. Philadelphia 76ersReggie Perry
Perry is a beast with his impressive athleticism , body strength, and ability to play a physical brand of basketball. He’s a powerful athlete capable of making above the rim finishes. While his feel for the game and ability to create offense is still a work in progress, the fact that he has shown nice improvement as a mid-range shooter adds intrigue. He earned MVP in Greece for the Gold Medal winning U19 USA Select team last summer, and it seemed to give him confidence going into this season. Perry should be able to play both power forward and center at the next level, and in the right situation should carve out a solid role for himself.
NBA Comparison: Marcus Morris
21. Denver NuggetsTyrese Maxey
He’s a long, speedy combo guard with an ability to create buckets. Maxey came into Kentucky as one of the headliners, having built up a big name in AAU and competing for USA Select basketball. He started the year off with a bang with a huge 26 point game at Madison Square Garden as Kentucky took down number one Michigan State. But it was all down hill from there, as consistency plagued him throughout the year, and he struggled to live up to the hype that he built in that first game performance. Maxey brings a lot of intrigue with his ability to isolate and create baskets, and shows a lot of enjoyment in playing. Developing his point guard skills will further add value to his game.
NBA Comparison: Cuttino Mobley
22. Memphis GrizzliesDevin Vassell
Vassell didn’t put up huge stats for Florida State, but who does? It seems every year Leonard Hamilton’s team has a balanced and extremely talented group and this year was no different. So perhaps grading on a curve, scoring 12 at FSU is actually like putting up 16-18 for most teams. Vassell is a long, rangy wing with a sweet shooting stroke and the ability to get out on the break and make plays at the rim. he isn’t the strongest athlete, so getting into the weight room and adding core strength will allow him to play more physical and finish plays at the rim. Time is also on Vassell’s side as he will turn 20 in August, showing that his accomplishments in college have come at a young age, and there’s likely a jump in ability left in him.
NBA Comparison: Kent Bazemore
23. Denver NuggetsSaddiq Bey
Bey really made a name for himself in August at The Academy, coming away as one of the players that NBA scouts were most intrigued with. He spring boarded off of that performance with an excellent sophomore season, showing a willingness to compete night in and night out. He’s an over-achiever type that maximizes his abilities utilizing a 6-11 wingspan to defend and rebound and he has also begun to develop some versatility in his offensive repertoire. What he’s lacking is high level athleticism, as he’s somewhat stiff, lacking great fluidity. His ability to knock down shots from the perimeter and defend has him projected in the first round. But he will need to adjust his shot some as his release and shot trajectory are flat, but there’s no denying the results.
NBA Comparison: Sam Dekker
24. Miami HeatJahmius Ramsey
Ramsey is a a tough nosed competitor who has shown the ability to score and play both guard spots. His passing ability is solid and he excels in catch and shoot situations on the perimeter. His jump shot is a little unorthodox as he sort of brings the ball up from his left hip, but he makes shots and the ball ends up in the same spot on his release every time. He’s a solid defender and instantly impacted the Red Raiders team as a freshman. While it’s likely he will spend most of his time at the shooting guard position, his ability to play some point, sporadically, gives him added intrigue.
NBA Comparison: Delonte West
25. New York KnicksPatrick Williams
Williams is a freakishly explosive athlete with great strength. He is just a freshman and intriguing due to his overall versatility with potential as an outside shooter and ability to play multiple positions. He’s either a big small forward, or a small power forward as he appears to be in the 6’7 range with a 6’11 wingspan. What Williams is missing is consistency and maturity. He needs to convince teams that he dedicated and going to work hard to fulfill his potential. He has the potential to be the type of player that a team drafts only to watch him struggle before finally finding himself and seeing his best years come with another team.
NBA Comparison: Eric Paschell
26. Boston CelticsIsaiah Stewart
Stewart is a hulk of a 19 year old basketball player who runs the floor well and plays the game with a youthful enthusiasm. He was one of the most prolific scorers and rebounders in the Pac-12 and shows a high level of motivation and desire, giving consistent effort each night out. What Stewart is lacking is great ability to move in space. He has slow feet and due to his great strength is somewhat anchored to the floor. He can make plays on the break, but isn’t the bounciest of athletes and struggles to explode off of one foot with great lift. Stewart has a massive 7-3 wingspan and is very young, so there’s a lot of intrigue about what he can be molded into, placed in the right system.
NBA Comparison: Bobby Portis
27. Oklahoma City ThunderZeke Nnaji
Nnaji was the breakout star of the entire Pac-12 Conference, having come into Arizona as their third ranked recruit behind Mannion and Green. Nnaji is a solid athlete with mobility and plays with great energy and passion. What he’s lacking is great range on his shot and above average athleticism. Despite showing great improvement in his freshman year, the concern is that his lack of explosiveness limits his overall potential. With a 7’1 wingspan, he has good size, but his height and length has not translated into shot blocking as he averaged less than one per game. He is a steady rebounder and gives effort on both ends of the floor and figures to stick in the league as a solid role player, willing to do the dirty work.
NBA Comparison: Jordan Hill
28. Toronto RaptorsUdoka Azubuike
Azubuike is a freak athlete for his size and in another era would potentially be a top 10 pick, like DeSagana Diop in 2001. However, today’s NBA puts little value into a huge, athletic bigs lacking modern skills. But…. Azubuike really has proven to be a difference maker at the NCAA level. Kansas was potentially on their way to winning this year’s title (sure that’s easy to say now) but there was a good chance of it, and nobody had more to gain if it had happened. Azubuike has battled through asthma and gotten to the paint where he can play significant minutes, more so than JaVale McGee, to impact games. He doesn’t fit today’s NBA center with the ability to spread the floor, however his ability to protect the rim and be a rim runner should allow him to contribute in the right system.
NBA Comparison: Bismack Biyombo
29. LA LakersDevon Dotson
Dotson is an extremely competitive point guard who thrives at pushing the ball in transition. He has above average speed and quickness making him difficult to stay in front of defensively. It’s players like Dawson that really missed out with this year’s NCAA tourney being cancelled, as winning a title would have enhanced his draft stock. Dotson has also improved in his ability to dissect the defense in the half court and is a cerebral player. While he lacks ideal size at 6’1 with a 6’3 wingspan, he’s got elite speed and solid athleticism to make up for it.
NBA Comparison: Travis Best
30. Boston CelticsTre Jones
Jones older brother Tyus was taken in the late first and while his NBA reviews are still mixed, he has had some effective minutes playing as a backup for Minnesota. Tre has slightly better size and athleticism and is a top-notch defender. He was not able to lead Duke to a national championship in his two seasons the way Tyus did in his one season playing there, however Tre proved to be an exceptional floor general and mature leader of the team. Tre’s upside appears limited to an extent by his lack of shooting ability and size/athleticism, but he is very solid all around.
NBA Comparison: Jalen Brunson