After the 2020 NBA Draft lottery this past week, the Minnesota Timberwolves are set to make the first overall selection in this year’s draft. With the draft order finalized, here is my latest update to the Vendetta NBA Mock Draft. Again, for the sake of simplicity, potential draft night trades are not included. If you want to read my NBA Mock Draft 2.0 for comparison, click here. This draft is a little strange. With no clear number one player, teams might make their picks primarily based on need, something I tried to reflect as much as possible in this mock.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves – Anthony Edwards, 6-4 Guard, Georgia
I’m still not 100% sold on Edwards being a future NBA star, but he kind of winds up being the first pick by default here. Ball would be a terrible fit alongside D’Angelo Russell, and the T-Wolves simply don’t need James Wiseman. In terms of fit and potential, Edwards is probably the best option at number one. His offensive game is already solid, and if his defense develops to match it, this will be a fantastic choice for a Minnesota team that gives out points like candy.
2. Golden State Warriors – James Wiseman, 7-1 Center
After playing just three games at Memphis, Wiseman is starting to be underrated. The small sample size shouldn’t deter any team from drafting him. It’s not like he regressed. His per 36 stats were pretty crazy over those three games, as he averaged 30 and 16 with 4 blocks. The Warriors have made it work with undersized centers in the past, but it’s about time they got a real paint presence to take away attention from the Splash Brothers.
3. Charlotte Hornets – LaMelo Ball, 6-7 Guard, Australia
The Hornets jumped up five spots in the lottery, and they need to take Ball if they have the opportunity. Playmaking is something they simply don’t have. Terry Rozier hasn’t panned out at all, and the rest of the roster isn’t so hot either. Super tall point guards are trendy these days, and Ball potentially has the highest ceiling of any prospect in the draft.
4. Chicago Bulls – Deni Avdija, 6-9 Forward, Israel
The Bulls also beat the odds and jumped up three spots in the lottery. Their lack of wing depth is a pressing need, and Avdija projects as an NBA starter. He is a decent shot creator and playmaker, but his game needs clear improvements. He’s probably more of a project than most people realize, but he has a very good foundation for someone his age. Everyone is chasing the next Luka Doncic. That isn’t Avdija, but his game is like a blurry version of Luka’s, which makes him a risky-but-understandable choice at 4. I can definitely see the Bulls throwing caution to the wind and making this pick anyway. That’s a Bulls thing to do.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – Obi Toppin, 6-9 Forward, Dayton
I think Toppin should be on bust watch. I’m not a huge fan of his game, and the hype train doesn’t convince me of anything. That being said, The Cavs should stay away from drafting a guard with Sexton and Garland in the fold. Who knows how much longer Kevin Love will be there? They might need an athletic scorer to fill his spot or at least provide a spark off the bench. This in mind, Toppin could be a good fit.
6. Atlanta Hawks – Isaac Okoro, 6-6 Forward, Auburn
Okoro is an athletic wing who many consider the best pure defender in the draft. The Hawks have plenty of developing offensive firepower, but defense has been a struggle for them as of late. Adding Okoro will give them instant plug-and-play defense at pretty much any position on the floor. His offense is serviceable enough as a slasher, which would fit well in a Hawks inside-out scheme of finishing at the rim or kicking the ball out to open perimeter shooters.
7. Detroit Pistons – Onyeka Okongwu, 6-9 Center, USC
Again, I’m really high on Okongwu, and it feels wrong for me to put him this low. My analysis puts him as a top 3 or 4 player in the draft. He’s a really effective post player and defender. Okongwu has a solid frame and projects to be a great small-ball center or power forward. He also has the work ethic, hustle mentality, and athleticism that would make him a great choice for any team. I’m rooting for him.
8. New York Knicks – Tyrese Haliburton, 6-5 Guard, Iowa State
The Knicks need a reliable lead guard. Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina are both bad. Haliburton is one of the surest prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft, excelling as a facilitator and shooter. New York doesn’t need a risky selection in the lottery. Take the safe pick at a position of need.
9. Washington Wizards – Devin Vassell, 6-6 Guard, Florida State
Devin Vassell is a shooter and defender, pure and simple. The Wizards need any defense they can get, and scouts like Vassell as a low-risk pick with definitive skills but limited upside.
10. Phoenix Suns – Killian Hayes, 6-5 Guard, Germany
After going undefeated in the Orlando Bubble, it’s sort of unclear how close the Suns are to actually being good. Killian Hayes is a risky pick purely based on upside. But if he pans out, he can be a playmaker that takes the Suns to the next level alongside Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton. There are obvious holes in his game, including his inefficient jumper and lack of a left hand, but his length and potential put him in the lottery.
11. San Antonio Spurs – Aaron Nesmith, 6-6 Forward, Vanderbilt
I’m high on Nesmith, and I think the’s the type of player that will warrant a top 5 pick in a few years. The NBA is moving more towards athletic knockdown shooters. Aaron Nesmith scored 23 points a game on 52% from three before an injury cut his sophomore season short. San Antonio will welcome a pure scorer to the roster as LaMarcus Aldridge continues to age.
12. Sacramento Kings – Saddiq Bey, 6-8 Forward, Villanova
Saddiq Bey has been rising up a lot of draft boards recently, and most mock drafts have him in the late lottery. He is an excellent shooter and defender, proven by this past season at Villanova. The Kings continue to develop and would do well to add someone with Bey’s skill set. He has good size and would be a solid role player in the Sacramento frontcourt rotation.
13. New Orleans Pelicans – Patrick Williams, 6-8 Forward, Florida State
Williams is probably more of a project than most are willing to admit. He’s a good defender and great athlete that acted as a glue guy for the ACC Champion Florida State Seminoles this past year. Outside of defense, he doesn’t have a ton of bankable skills. The Pelicans need defenders, sure, but I think Williams’ near-consensus status as a lottery pick is questionable.
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies) – Precious Achiuwa, 6-9 Forward, Memphis
The Celtics don’t really need a whole lot other than rebounding. Look for them to make a savvy pick at the end of the lottery that addresses this need. Achiuwa is a very capable rebounder despite being 6-9, averaging 10 rebounds a game in James Wiseman’s absence. He flies under the radar on many draft boards, but the Celtics are smart enough to see the value here and snap him up. Plus, they’re pretty good at getting the most out of fringe prospects or draft reaches.
15. Orlando Magic – Cole Anthony, 6-3 Guard, North Carolina
Watching Orlando in the playoffs made one thing clear: they need a guy to put the ball in the basket. Watching Terrence Ross have to chuck up shots for the Magic just wasn’t that entertaining. Vucevic is cool, but the Magic need a perimeter scorer as well. Enter Cole Anthony. After an injury and terrible UNC season, Cole Anthony’s stock slipped. His projection in the 2020 NBA Draft ranges from pick 8 to pick 20. If he slips as far as I think he will, any team would be fortunate to get him. He’s a walking bucket and would be an electric scoring guard for Orlando.
16. Portland Trail Blazers – Aleksej Pokusevski, 7-0 Center, Greece
The Serbian national is either your favorite prospect in the draft, or you’ve never heard of him. For me, it was the latter. Hassan Whiteside is an unrestricted free agent after this season, so the Blazers might want a big to develop behind Nurkic. Pokusevski presents a unique combination of size and skill, but some rightfully question his slim frame and inefficient offensive play.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets) – Josh Green, 6-6 Forward, Arizona
Again, the Timberwolves need defense and wing depth. Josh Green provides both as an extremely versatile defensive presence. He can guard most positions and could develop into a dependable role player in a couple years. His offensive game is still in the works, but he’s trustworthy enough to deserve a mid-first round selection.
18. Dallas Mavericks – RJ Hampton, 6-5 Guard, New Zealand
I’m standing by this prediction from Mock Draft 2.0. Hampton has a lot of holes in his game. Despite being a good athlete with decent vision, he’s an abysmal defender, inefficient shooter, and inconsistent performer. In his season with the New Zealand Breakers, he wasn’t necessarily impressive. However, the Mavericks are good with developing players and they have the depth now to give Hampton some time to figure things out.
19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers) – Tyrell Terry, 6-1 Guard, Stanford
The Nets are deep, so they can afford to take a guy who might be a little risky. Terry was impressive in his freshman season at Stanford, averaging 14.6 points per game on good efficiency, but his smaller frame draws questions about his long-term viability. With Brooklyn, he would have good players to learn from and wouldn’t have to contribute until he was ready to go.
20. Miami Heat – Tyrese Maxey, 6-3 Guard, Kentucky
The Heat need to bring some young guards to South Beach to fill out their rotation. Maxey projects as a fun two-way player who would bring a lot of flair to Miami. He needs to get more efficient at scoring the ball to be a successful player in the NBA, but betting on his development wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Heat to do.
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder) – Leandro Bolmaro, 6-7 Guard, Spain
This is a strategic pick for Philadelphia in the 2020 NBA Draft. The future of the Sixers is uncertain after the firing of Brett Brown, probable firing of Elton Brand, and potential dismantling of the roster. If Ben Simmons is gone within the year, the Sixers might want another tall playmaker for the future. He’s an excellent passer and fairly solid defensively. Bolmaro would be a draft-and-stash, which could be huge for Philadelphia as they figure out what their plan is for the next year.
22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets) – Jalen Smith, 6-10 Forward, Maryland
Smith’s game evolved a lot in his second season at Maryland. He is turning into a new-age stretch big who can protect the paint but also score from the perimeter. The Nuggets could use a versatile big to put behind Jokic. Jalen Smith fits the bill and his continued development seems like a safe bet.
23. Utah Jazz – Desmond Bane, 6-6 Guard, TCU
I’m higher on Desmond Bane than pretty much anyone else I know. He shot 44% from deep last season and is a really efficient scorer and passer. He has a high IQ on both ends of the floor and has the size you look for in a guard. I think Bane is underrated and has a good chance to be a solid player in the league.
24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers) – Kira Lewis Jr., 6-3 Guard, Alabama
With a team that is firmly in title contention and a late first-round pick, the Bucks should just take the best player available. Last season, Lewis averaged 18/5/5 as a consistent offensive performer for Alabama. He needs to fill out more to continue to be good in the NBA, but most analysts like his potential and the Bucks won’t need him to contribute right away.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets) – Theo Maledon, 6-4 Guard, France
Oklahoma City needs another lead guard for the future. SGA is good, but Chris Paul is getting older and Dennis Schroder might leave in free agency. Maledon is a risky pick considering he’s never materialized into the guard many thought he could become after beginning his professional career at 16. He’s also coming off a shoulder injury that limited his production this past season. Overall, definitely a high-risk, high-reward pick for the Thunder to make.
26. Boston Celtics – Isaiah Stewart, 6-9 Center, Washington
The Celtics have the opportunity to double down on their search for a primary rebounder. Stewart is an old-school bruiser down low who is already a great board man. He has an NBA-ready body and is a former five-star prospect who can step up if Robert Williams doesn’t pan out.
27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers) – Tre Jones, 6-3 Guard, Duke
Tre Jones isn’t going to wow you with really anything other than how consistently solid he is. He’s as dependable as they come. He’s a good leader with a high basketball IQ. Jones will get an opportunity to contribute relatively soon given how bad the Knicks are, and his defensive ability and shooting are good assets to have.
28. Los Angeles Lakers – Nico Mannion, 6-3 Guard, Arizona
I hate to have to be that guy again, but I don’t see it working out with Mannion. At his best, he’s a good facilitator with great passing vision and a decent jump shot. At his worst, he’s not anywhere close to an NBA player. His limited size and athleticism will negatively affect the skills he actually does have. The Lakers are looking for guys who can pass and run the offense, so the Arizona product might be the best option for them in the late first round.
29. Toronto Raptors – Vernon Carey Jr., 6-10 Center, Duke
Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are aging free agents. The Raptors need some cheap big men to fill out the rotation down low. Vernon Carey put together a really good freshman season for Duke and is a real post presence. Even though he’s a meh defender, his scoring and rebounding down low give him great upside.
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks) – Jahmi’us Ramsey, 6-4 Guard, Texas Tech
With two earlier first round picks, the Celtics should take a flyer on a high-upside prospect. They don’t have an urgent team need at the moment, so Ramsey would be a good choice for them. His reputation as a pure scorer continued through his freshman season at Texas Tech. If he continues to make strides in his efficiency and overall game, he would be a good investment for Boston.
2020 NBA Draft 1st Round Bubble: Tyler Bey (Colorado), Udoka Azubuike (Kansas), Cassius Winston (Michigan State), Jaden McDaniels (Washington), Cassius Stanley (Duke), Zeke Nnaji (Arizona)