As the 2020 NBA Draft grows closer to the Nov. 18 draft date, names begin to shuffle around in mock drafts.
While there wasn't any movement in the lottery of our draft expert Eric Fawcett's Mock Draft 2.0, a handful of names changed places in the remainder of the first round and beyond from the first edition of his Mock Draft.
For a different perspective, check out our other draft expert Kyle Irving's Mock Draft.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves - Anthony Edwards, Georgia
In a No. 1 pick you're looking for a player that brings a premium skill to the table and no single ability is as important in the modern NBA as the ability to create offense individually, something Anthony Edwards does better than anyone in this draft class. At 6-foot-5, 215 lbs. with the skills and speed of a much smaller guard, he was impossible to defend in space at the college level and his creation abilities project beautifully to the NBA game where an immaculately spaced floor will give him every opportunity to cook defenders off the bounce. Edwards will give a lucky team a primary scorer who has the physical tools to develop into an excellent defender as well.
2. Golden State Warriors - Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv (EuroLeague)
Deni Avdija brings offensive creation and scoring touch while also bringing value on the defensive end. Avdija (6-foot-8) was the regular pick and roll ball handler for Maccabi Tel Aviv and looked comfortably seemingly coasting through defenses before making a pinpoint pass or finishing strong at the rim, and then on the other side of the floor he'd take the role of locking down the opposing team's best player. Avdija is probably an average or maybe slightly below-average NBA athlete and hasn't consistently been able to hit the 3 but he offers a level of defensive quality that similar ball handling wings in the NBA don't have.
3. Charlotte Hornets - LaMelo Ball, Illawarra Hawks (NBL)
Nationality: United States
The most recent evolution in NBA basketball is the move from small, traditional point guards handling the rock to bigger wings being the primary initiators, a trend started by LeBron James and Kevin Durant and more recently advanced by Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic. In this draft class it's LaMelo Ball who brings ball handling and offensive creation to the table at 6-foot-7 and his ability to read defenses and make the flashy pass or get into the paint and demonstrate his otherworldly touch around the rim makes him an enticing prospect at the top of the draft. Teams will be hoping his jump shot straightens out and his effort on defence will finally improve under the bright lights of the highest level of hoops but offensive instincts at 6-foot-7 are tough to ignore.
4. Chicago Bulls - Obi Toppin, Dayton
In most drafts teams would be looking for a potential star at the top of the draft and while he might not have a ceiling as sky high as some names on the board, Obi Toppin is as close to a sure thing as there is in this draft as a projectable starter in the NBA. The most outstanding college player in the 2019-20 season he showcased his marksmanship from behind the arc and explosive athleticism time and time again and it's easy to see him as a stretch-frontcourt player in the NBA. He's got NBA size, NBA explosiveness and NBA shooting ability which makes him bust-proof and he easily projects to be a starting caliber player for many years.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers - James Wiseman, Memphis
How high will a true center get picked in this year's draft? It's tough to say as the value in drafting a big man has seriously lost its luster in recent seasons, but James Wiseman has the chance to make a team break the trend and pluck him high in the lottery. The moment Wiseman steps on an NBA floor he's going to be one of the most athletic players in the league and at 7-foot-1 with solid defensive instincts he'll be expected to bring dominance on the defensive end. While he might be considered a defence-first player he's got great touch around the rim and will punish teams that switch ball screens just by being so big and athletic around the rim. It's tough to say what importance teams will place on drafting a true center in the 2020 draft but Wiseman's physical gifts will make him awfully enticing.
6. Atlanta Hawks - Killian Hayes, Ulm (Bundesliga)
The face of the point guard is changing rapidly in basketball and 6-foot-5 Killian Hayes from France looks a lot like what teams want. Not only does he have major length at the point guard position but he's one of the fastest players in the draft which makes him enticing as a transition scorer in the run-and-gun NBA. Hayes is fast but still plays under control and shows a great deal of basketball IQ and there will definitely be coaches that see his size and skill and salivate at the thought of what they could do with him. Like many young players he hasn't developed a consistent 3-point stroke which is a cause for some concern but his jumper isn't broken and he could definitely find his rhythm as a pro.
7. Detroit Pistons - Isaac Okoro, Auburn
More and more NBA teams are looking for versatile defensive wings that can switch onto anyone on the floor and in Isaac Okoro, a team is going to get a player considered to be the best defender in the class. At 6-foot-6, 225 lbs. he has a body that's NBA ready and a motor unlike any of his peers and any team in the league could find a place in their rotation for a wing with his defensive excellence. Most of the talk around Okoro will centre around his defence but as a freshman at Auburn his passing ability was tough to ignore and his ability to attack a closeout and finish strong in the paint made him valuable on the offensive end. His jumper could use work and he's not someone who is ever going to be the first, or second, or even third most important offensive player on a floor but his defence and energy level will endear himself to GMs.
8. New York Knicks - Onyeka Okongwu, USC
When projecting a center to the NBA there are two questions of utmost importance that need to be asked to ensure the big man isn't going to be played off the floor in big games. Can he contain the pick and roll and switch out on guards if needed? And can he contribute offensively without ruining the spacing or flow of the offense?
In the case of Onyeka Okongwu that's a yes to both, which makes him a safer pick than most bigs in recent years. Incredibly physically developed at 6-foot-9, 220 lbs. he looks ready to contribute in the NBA immediately and not only is he muscular but he's light on his feet and flexible in his hips, allowing him to stay in front of guards and match their changes of direction. Offensively, he's not a floor spacer yet, but he's comfortable dribbling the ball and can take players off the bounce, something you don't often see in the NBA from players of his size. The question of how valuable it is to draft centres high is going to loom over this draft and every draft in the future but Okongwu checks the boxes of what you need in a modern centre and that could make him sought after.
9. Washington Wizards - Devin Vassell, Florida State
Devin Vassell isn't a name you would have expected to see in the lottery before the season started but consistent production for what was a fantastic Florida State team got eyes on the 6-foot-6 wing and he has steadily risen up draft boards. Vassell is easily projectable to the NBA as a 3-and-D wing. He's a physical point of attack defender who knows how to use angles to plug up dribble penetration and can use his long arms to deter dribble-drives or get into passing lanes when he's guarding away from the ball. Teams are going to fall in love with the maturity of his game that lacks sloppy turnovers or ill-advised gambles on the defensive end and he's someone that you can easily imagine in an NBA rotation. This year's draft lacks some star power and high-end talent and when it gets to this point in the lottery teams might value a safe 3-and-D pick like Vassell over taking a swing at a boom-or-bust guy.
10. Phoenix Suns - Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama
A talented lead guard that plays with tenacity and relentless energy, Kira Lewis Jr. really saw his stock skyrocket during his sophomore year of college. Lewis thrives in space whether it's in the open floor or a spread ball screen and his ability to change pace makes him difficult to guard. He's got good length at 6-foot-3, which coupled with his speed makes him a disruptive defender in a bit of a De'Aaron Fox mold. Something to consider with Lewis as well is the fact that he started college as a young 17-year-old, and even after two seasons of college he is younger than some incoming college freshman in the 2020-21 season. That means he is far from a finished product but already shows tremendous skill and a developed understanding of the game.
11. San Antonio Spurs - Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State
Tyrese Haliburton battled injuries in his final year of college but it didn't slow him down enough to hide his lottery potential. Standing 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, he looks like a wing but he plays the point, and does it extremely well. One of the best passers in college basketball he knows how to use his long arms to hook passes around defenders or see over the top of them to throw a skip. His jumper is one of the stranger releases that you're going to see from a prospect this year but he hits 3s at an incredible clip, finishing his college career at 43% from behind the arc at over four attempts per game. Some teams will see him as a matchup problem at the point and some will see him as a secondary ball handler on the wing but however you slice it, he looks the part of an NBA starter.
12. Sacramento Kings - Patrick Williams, Florida State
Possibly the most explosive athlete in the draft, it's a scary sight when Patrick Williams loads up for a dunk attempt. Williams isn't the quickest-twitch athlete we've seen come through the draft but when it comes to raw power in vertical leap scenarios he's near the top. At 6-foot-8 and 225 lbs. he's the perfect size for a modern power forward and he has also shown a bit of stretch ability. He only hit 32% of his 3s in his lone year of college but his form looks nice and he hit 84% of his free throws which could be an indication of future jump shot success. Williams may not be a future star but at this point of the draft, nabbing one of the best athletes with prototypical NBA size could be a wise pick.
13. New Orleans Pelicans - Aleksej Pokusevski, Olympiacos (EuroLeague)
He's 7-feet tall, he can rip it from 3 and he has ball handling skills that are so good it almost looks comical from a man of his size. There aren't a lot of players like Aleksej Pokusevski in the league so there isn't a natural archetype for how a player like this fits, but at this point of the draft teams might start thinking about gambling and Pokusevski definitely has a high-ceiling but low-floor look to him. He is probably a year or two away from being able to play on an NBA bench but the shooting and ball skills for a 7-footer are unique and worth a long look from front offices.
14. Boston Celtics - Cole Anthony, North Carolina
Cole Anthony had a rough year in college that saw his North Carolina team struggle mightily, while also suffering a season-ending a knee injury. Unfortunately, even when healthy, his individual tape isn't glowing. Once in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick, he's now into the second half of the lottery on most boards and a lot of it is due to the fact that he's not the athlete and finisher than many people thought he was, struggling to convert in the paint even against college bigs, something that will be a concern looking towards the NBA game. While he had trouble getting buckets at the rim, he still adds value as a shot maker on the perimeter and is someone that can make the tough jumper at the end of a shot clock against heavy defensive pressure. Hitting tough jumpers off the bounce is a premium skill in today's NBA and some teams are going to see that ability and know they can work with it and there is a chance he offers some great value near the bottom of the lottery.
15. Orlando Magic - Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova
16. Portland Trail Blazers - Leandro Balmaro, G/F, FC Barcelona
17. Minnesota Timberwolves - RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers
18. Dallas Mavericks - Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL
19. Brooklyn Nets - Desmond Bane, G/F, TCU
20. Miami Heat - Aaron Nesmith, F, Vanderbilt
21. Philadelphia 76ers - Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
22. Denver Nuggets - Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
23. Utah Jazz - Grant Riller, G, College of Charleston
24. Milwaukee Bucks - Josh Green, G, Arizona
25. Oklahoma City Thunder - Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
26. Boston Celtics - Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
27. New York Knicks - Vernon Carey Jr., F/C, Duke
28. Los Angeles Lakers - Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
29. Toronto Raptors - Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
30. Boston Celtics - Xavier Tillman, C/F, Michigan State
31. Dallas Mavericks - Jahmi'us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
32. Charlotte Hornets - Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
33. Minnesota Timberwolves - Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
34. Philadelphia 76ers - Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
35. Sacramento Kings - Elijah Hughes, F, Syracuse
36. Philadelphia 76ers - Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
37. Washington Wizards - Paul Reed, F, DePaul
38. New York Knicks - Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Memphis
39. New Orleans Pelicans - Tre Jones, G, Duke
40. Memphis Grizzlies - Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
41. San Antonio Spurs - Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
42. New Orleans Pelicans - Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
43. Sacramento Kings - Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
44. Chicago Bulls - Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro
45. Orlando Magic - Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
46. Portland Trail Blazers - Skylar Mays, G, LSU
47. Boston Celtics - Aboulaye N'Doye, F, Cholet
48. Golden State Warriors - Robert Woodard, F, Mississippi State
49. Philadelphia 76ers - CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
50. Atlanta Hawks - Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
51. Golden State Warriors - Lamine Diane, F, Cal State Northridge
52. Sacramento Kings - Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
53. Oklahoma City Thunder - Malik Fitts, F, St. Mary's
54. Indiana Pacers - Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
55. Brooklyn Nets - Freddie Gillespie, F, Baylor
56. Charlotte Hornets - Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
57. LA Clippers - Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
58. Philadelphia 76ers - Nate Hinton, G, Houston
59. Toronto Raptors - Markus Howard, G, Marquette
60. New Orleans Pelicans - Borisa Simanic, F, KK Crvena Zvezda
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