It may be coming five months later than normal, but the NBA Draft is finally here! The 2020 NBA Draft is set to take place on Wednesday, November 18th and it’s time to look at where the top prospects could end up for an NBA season slated to start in late December. The top of the draft board is a big mystery without a clear #1 pick and tons of trade rumors swirling around and we could even see some news breaking in the coming days. In this mock draft, we project which players could head to which teams - with some interesting possible trades mixed in. Let’s dive in!
1) Minnesota Timberwolves -- Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
Minnesota could go in a variety of directions with the #1 overall pick - including trading down to acquire more assets from a team trying to move up. If the T-Wolves do stand pat, though, Anthony Edwards is the right pick as he’s an ideal fit alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and DeAngelo Russell. As a freshman at Georgia last year, Edwards was the go-to scorer on a below-average team and was forced to create his own shots (and often take bad ones) just for the team to stay competitive. If he goes to Minnesota, he can slot in as a complementary guard to Russell where the latter doesn’t have to be the main ball-handler.
2) **PROJECTED TRADE** Detroit Pistons (via Golden State) -- LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
We’re projecting the Pistons to trade up from #7 to take the most polarizing player in the draft - with the Warriors gladly picking up Blake Griffin in the deal. For this pick, though, LaMelo Ball might be the biggest wild card of the 1st round but he’s getting a ton of pre-draft hype because of his name brand, unique career path and willingness to shoot the three-pointer. Detroit is desperate for a playmaker to get back into East contention and Ball could eventually be that as a 6-foot-7 point guard who isn’t shy shooting-wise. However, the big risk is the fact that he played in a subpar Australian pro league last season and could take time to acclimate into the NBA.
3) Charlotte Hornets -- James Wiseman, C, Memphis
The Hornets will gladly take a player at #3 who could easily go #1 overall in this draft. James Wiseman has all the physical tools to be a dominant center in the NBA - and it’s admirable how he went toe-to-toe with the NCAA last season and refused to accept his controversial suspension. Even in just three games for Memphis, it was clear how dominant Wiseman can be with his 7-foot-1 build and crazy athleticism on both ends of the court. He has huge two-way potential to develop into a consistent rim-protector with a versatile offensive game that includes perimeter shooting upside.
4) Chicago Bulls -- Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
The Bulls, like the Pistons, are desperate for a playmaker to vault them into East contention and hopefully create an attractive destination for future free agents. One of those home run picks in this very unpredictable draft is Killian Hayes. The French-American guard is already a polished ball handler and flashy passer as he’s been playing pro ball over in Europe since 2017. Still just 18 years old, Hayes has a ton of potential to develop into a good two-way point guard with his 6-foot-5 frame, years of legit competitive experience and flashes of offensive brilliance. He’s a little bit of an unknown commodity - as is any foreign-based player coming over to the NBA - but the ceiling is there for Hayes to be what Chicago needs.
5) Cleveland Cavaliers -- Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
Although the Cavs already have a crowded frontcourt, Obi Toppin is a special offensive talent who will be too good to pass up if he’s available here. There’s been trade rumors that Cleveland is looking to move one or two of Larry Nance , Andre Drummond and Kevin Love - which would open up more playing time for Toppin. The 22-year-old is mature enough and physically ready to contribute right away on offense. The reigning National Player of the Year dominated collegiate competition every game last season for Dayton and he projects to be an offensive-minded power forward in the NBA. He does need to work on his defense more, but honestly so does every prospect.
6) Atlanta Hawks -- Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
The Hawks messed up a couple years ago by drafting and then trading away Luka Doncic - and they won’t make that mistake again by passing on potentially the next great international talent. Avidja is widely regarded as this draft’s best foreign-born prospect as a versatile forward who has playmaking abilities of a guard. The 6-foot-9 Serbian can play both the small and power forward positions and his years of pro ball experience should help him acclimate into the NBA easier than some other first-rounders. Plus, there’s something to be said about Avidja being the defending Israeli League MVP and a three-time champ with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
7) **PROJECTED TRADE** Golden State Warriors (via Detroit) -- Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
After the Warriors trade down from the #2 pick (and acquire Blake Griffin in the process), they draft Tyrese Haliburton to add guard depth. If Golden State wants to compete for the title this season, it needs a solid backup guard who can take some of the workload off Steph Curry and Klay as both return from injuries. Haliburton was an elite floor general point guard at Iowa State and his ball-handling and passing skills are as good as anyone’s in this draft class. Plus, he can move over to the 2-guard role to be a spot-up shooter (42% three-point shooter) and guard taller wings with his 6-foot-5 size and lengthy wingspan. Although he doesn’t receive the same national praise as others above him in this mock, Haliburton could easily end up being the best player in this draft because of his two-way ability and untapped potential on a more-talented team.
8) New York Knicks -- Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
The Knicks need a lot to improve their roster, but Devin Vassell provides a couple things that could help right away with his outside shooting and defense. Vassell is one of the best three-point shooters in this draft - going over 40% from deep in both his Florida State seasons - and he’s coming from a defensive-minded college program that allowed him to develop into a true 3-and-D wing. He’s the type of player who can form a solid young core with R.J. Barrett in New York for years to come.
9) Washington Wizards -- Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
Since the Wizards seem committed to building around Bradley Beal (instead of trading him), they should continue to target players who would benefit from playing next to an offensive talent like Beal. Onyeka Okongwu would definitely fit that mold as he’s a good post scorer with a surprisingly smooth handle and rim-driving skills as a big man. Plus, he’s a fantastic shot-blocker with athleticism to make up for his “smaller” 6-foot-9 size at the center position. Washington can pair Okongwu and Thomas Bryant at the five this season - a situation that would help both grow.
10) Phoenix Suns -- Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
There are rumors the Suns could end up moving this pick to acquire proven, veteran talent (Chris Paul anyone?) - but getting a good winger should be the priority if they stick here. Phoenix already has a core of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton at the guard and center spots, respectively, so grabbing Aaron Nesmith covers their 3-and-D position of need. Despite playing on a below-average college team, Nesmith is extremely talented and is arguably the best three-point shooter in this draft. He shot 52% from the perimeter last season for Vanderbilt - and that was on a team where he was the focal point of opposing defenses. Imagine giving him more open looks next to Booker and Ayton.
11) San Antonio Spurs -- Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
The trade rumors are swirling around San Antonio right now! We could see the Spurs move on from a lot of their older talent before the season begins - and Saddiq Bey could be a huge part of that young rebuild. Bey is one of many ideal 3-and-D wing players in this draft and he has versatility on both ends of the court to play/guard multiple positions. He shot 45% from three-point range last year as the best player on a Villanova team that easily could’ve won the title (if not for COVID). Bey is one of the few high-floor, high-ceiling players in this draft and the Spurs could even give him decent minutes right away if they aren’t in selling mode and look to make it back to the postseason.
12) Sacramento Kings -- Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
There’s a lot of unknowns with the Kings this offseason as they could lose both Alex Len and Harry Giles to free agency and a Buddy Hield trade seeming more likely by the hour. Getting younger, versatile talent on the wing should be a priority to build around De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley - and Isaac Okoro is one of the best wing prospects of this class. At Auburn, Okoro showcased a two-way skillset that can translate well to the modern NBA. He’s an elite defender who can guard multiple positions while also being able to score in traffic as a rim-driver. He needs to work on shooting to complete the 3-and-D description, but that should come in time as there’s no denying his defensive attitude.
13) New Orleans Pelicans -- Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
The Pelicans are reportedly shopping Jrue Holiday so they use this pick to take his replacement by getting younger and cheaper at the guard position. Tyrell Terry can take some ball-handling and shooting pressure off of Lonzo Ball in the Pels’ backcourt - something that would help develop both players. As a freshman at Stanford last year, Terry was a lights-out perimeter shooter (making 40% of his three’s) while showing promise as an off-the-ball playmaker. Plus, he’s a solid passer who can run the point and finish in traffic as well. He’d be a great complement to Ball and Ingram for a young New Orleans core.
14) Boston Celtics -- R.J. Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers
The Celtics already have a playoff-contending roster and have three 1st round picks to either trade around or take some home run swings. One of those high-ceiling options is R.J. Hampton, who can play both the point and shooting guard positions and provide good backcourt depth behind an aging Kemba Walker . Hampton represents a new trend of American high schoolers choosing to go overseas for a year of pro ball instead of attending college as a freshman. In New Zealand this past season, he showed potential as a playmaking passer and scorer with impressive athleticism at a decent 6-foot-5 size for a guard.
15) Orlando Magic -- Patrick Williams, F, Florida State
Patrick Williams is getting a ton or pre-draft buzz and he could easily go 10 picks higher than this. If he’s available for the Magic, though, they shouldn’t think twice and grab one of the most versatile players of the draft class. At Florida State, Williams showcased his gritty defensive ability with size and athleticism to guard multiple positions at the NBA level. His offensive game is still developing, but he flashed moments of playmaking talent as teams are interested in his upside to become the steal of the draft as an elite two-way player.
16) Portland Trail Blazers -- Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
The Blazers are right on the verge of being a legit contender in the West (some would argue they are already) - but they need guard depth behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to reduce the workload of their stars. There are some interesting guards in this draft and Tyrese Maxey is one who can play both the point and shooting guard spots to spell Lillard and McCollum at times. Maxey is yet another one-and-done from Kentucky who was one of the best rim finishers in a tough SEC conference last year. He could improve as a perimeter shooter, but Maxey has the playmaking talent to make opposing defenses stay honest if he’s on the court alongside Lillard/McCollum. Plus, his guarding abilities showed promise as an off-ball or on-ball defender against both guard spots.
17) Minnesota Timberwolves -- Precious Achiuwa, C, Memphis
Precious Achiuwa’s NBA prospects took a massive leap this past season at Memphis due to fellow big man James Wiseman’s extended absence and eventual departure. It allowed Achiuwa to showcase his dominant post scoring and versatile offensive game as the main threat for Memphis sans Wiseman. We’re projecting the Timberwolves to draft Anthony Edwards at #1 overall, so they can address a different position of need here. They would be smart to take a big man to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns and allow their star to play power forward with Achiuwa mostly playing center.
18) Dallas Mavericks -- Aleksej Pokusevski, F/C, Olympiacos B (Greece)
The future for Kristaps Porzingis in Dallas is an uncertain one right now and it makes sense that the Mavs would take a player who projects even better than Porzingis. The Serbian 7-footer obviously has the size to play center, but he plays more like a wing scorer and owns a ceiling as high as anyone in the draft. Poku, as he’s affectionately known, can pass and ball handle like a guard but can also shoot and score like a playmaking winger. He’s lanky for his size and will need to build muscle to fit his large frame - but we said the same thing about Anthony Davis when he came out of Kentucky, right?
19) Brooklyn Nets -- Jalen Smith, C, Maryland
There’s a decent chance the Nets use this pick to trade for a veteran piece to slot in next to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving . If they stand pat, though, Brooklyn needs a versatile big man who can stretch the floor and leave the paint open for Durant/Irving to drive and score. Jalen Smith really improved his offensive game in his sophomore Maryland season, fine-tuning his post moves and developing a legit three-point shot (he made 37% from deep in 2019-20). He was a double-double machine for the Terps and was a great rim-protector too - averaging 2.4 blocks per game. His three-point shooting makes him an ideal modern-day NBA big man and could make him a steal this late in the draft.
20) Miami Heat -- Tre Jones, PG, Duke
You could make the argument that the Heat would’ve had a legit chance at upsetting the Lakers in the NBA Finals if only Goran Dragic stayed healthy. The aging point guard’s injury proved detrimental and Miami likely needs a solid backup to Dragic for the short and long term. Insert Tre Jones, who is the epitome of the Heat culture centered around tough, gritty defense. Jones is an elite perimeter defender who frustrated opposing guards in his two seasons at Duke. His offensive game needs some work, but he won’t be asked to score or create shots as much with Miami as he would on other NBA teams.
21) Philadelphia 76ers -- Josh Green, SF, Arizona
The Sixers are the big mystery heading into this draft. Many are expecting their new front office/coach duo of Darryl Morey and Doc Rivers to make some roster moves and it remains to be seen whether or not Ben Simmons , Joel Embiid , Josh Richardson , Tobias Harris and Al Horford are all on the team once the season tips off in December. One clear position of need, though, is a wing scorer to add solid outside shooting and provide perimeter defense. Josh Green is the ideal fit as a 3-and-D player who showed promise as a spot-up shooter and on-ball defender in his freshman year at Arizona.
22) Denver Nuggets -- Desmond Bane, SF, TCU
The Nuggets may have a clear position of need if Jerami Grant leaves in free agency, and Desmond Bane would fill that spot nicely as a 3-and-D player. Bane can become a rotation piece immediately after four years experience at TCU, shooting 43% from three-point range in his collegiate career and showing defensive intensity with a strong frame. Denver needs players who can contribute right away as they look to advance further in the playoffs and Bane represents exactly the type of wing they need to add to their core in place.
23) Utah Jazz -- Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona
All COVID and NBA-shutdown jokes aside, the Jazz are rumored to a possible Rudy Gobert trade this offseason and they should look for a more versatile offensive talent to play center. Gobert’s limitations as a scorer were evident in the playoffs with defenses keying on Donovan Mitchell without much help elsewhere. Zeke Nnaji provides a different skill set at the big position as he showed good shooting potential in his freshman Arizona season. Apparently he’s improved his three-point shooting this summer, and that would add to his active rebounding and rim-protecting skills in the frontcourt.
24) Milwaukee Bucks -- Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Trade rumors have the Bucks moving on from Eric Bledsoe this offseason, and it’s no secret the team needs more scoring from the perimeter to keep defenses honest off Giannis Antetokounmpo . Cole Anthony is one of the best score-first point guards in this draft who was North Carolina’s entire offense when healthy last year. He’s a dynamic ball-handler, crafty finisher at the rim and a talented jump shooter who can score off the dribble with the best of them. Mock drafts a year ago had Anthony being a top-five pick, so this would be a steal for any team late in the first round.
25) Oklahoma City Thunder -- Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL (France)
With the news that OKC is trading Dennis Shroder away and potentially moving on from Chris Paul as well, guard is an immediate position of need. The Thunder should add a true point guard to take some ball-handling duties away from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - and Theo Maledon could be a huge steal this late in the draft. The French youngster is a strong floor general with promising shooting skills and he provides unique size and length at the PG position. He needs to improve on defense, but it’s worth noting Maledon is mentored by French/Spurs legend Tony Parker . Tons of upside with this pick and the Thunder have multiple 1st round picks to take some home run swings.
26) **PROJECTED TRADE** Indiana Pacers (via Boston) -- Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
The Pacers entered this draft without a 1st round pick but they get into the mix with a big trade that sends Myles Turner to Boston. In turn, Indiana grabs Turner’s replacement at center with an interesting one-and-done prospect. Isaiah Stewart was one of the lone bright spots on an underperforming Washington team last year but he was not overlooked by NBA scouts. As a freshman, Stewart was a very effective and creative post scorer who showed flashes of perimeter shooting when given the chance. He’s a big body in the paint as a dominant rebounder and shot-blocker in college and would be a nice 1-2 punch alongside Domantas Sabonis in Indiana.
27) New York Knicks -- Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
With their second 1st round pick, the Knicks should address another position of need: point guard. New York could really use another ball-handler to take pressure off R.J. Barrett in the backcourt and Kira Lewis is one of the best point guards in this class. Lewis is a speedy, score-first PG who can drive to the rim and create shots for himself with ease. Plus, he’s an aggressive defender on the perimeter who plays bigger than his 6-foot-3 size. There’s a decent chance Lewis is long gone by now, and NY should be happy to snag him.
28) Oklahoma City Thunder (via LA Lakers) -- Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
The Thunder will be on the clock here once their trade with the Lakers is completed officially. Since this will be their second 1st round selection, OKC can afford to take a high-upside player who could emerge as a late-pick steal. Although he underwhelmed as a freshman for Washington last year, Jaden McDaniels has tons of potential with unique scoring and defensive versatility from the wing at 6-foot-9. For his size, McDaniels is a great ball-handler who can create his own shots and drain from the perimeter if becomes more consistent from three-point range. He was inconsistent at Washington, but the potential is there for one of the best athletes of the draft.
29) Toronto Raptors -- Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
The Raptors have an uncertain future at guard with an aging Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet entering free agency. Grabbing an NBA-ready guard who can play both the point and shooting guard spots should be the target here and there are plenty to choose from. Oregon’s Payton Pritchard is a name to watch as well, but Cassius Winston is just a little better. Winston was a proven winner and dynamic scorer at Michigan State and can step in to contribute immediately for a playoff-contending team like Toronto. If VanVleet does end up leaving, Winston can fill the three-point scoring role as he shot 43% from deep over his four collegiate seasons.
30) Boston Celtics -- Leandro Bolmaro, G/F, Barcelona (Spain)
The Celtics are in a weird predicament with three 1st round picks and minimal cap space with a solid roster ready to compete in the East yet again. We projected Boston to trade one of those picks earlier, but many reports have the franchise using this pick for a draft-and-stash. The most likely candidate in that scenario would be Leandro Bolmaro, who’s already committed to playing at Barcelona next season. The Argentinian is a crafty passer, smooth ball-handler and already a good defender at just 19 years old. He needs work on shooting - but Boston can have him work on that in the year he’s overseas still playing on the pro level.