The 2020 NBA Draft isn’t filled with clear-cut top prospects like the one in 2021: but there are a lot of players who are a bit more of an unknown beyond the first three draft picks. The trio of Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, and James Wiseman dominate the top spots in most draft boards, but the order in which they go is anyone’s guess. Aside from that, there are a few consensus top ten players, but afterward, the draft boards are all over the place.
This draft is a guard-heavy draft. Guards are available at every stage of the draft, in the lottery, and towards the end. There are a couple of boom or bust prospects who line the draft as well. They range from high school stars who underperformed before the NBA and sleeper international players. This draft may not have the hype that comes with the 2021 draft class, but this draft could have some interesting project picks, and guys who if developed right could be elite role players. Here is our draft board for the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft.
30. Boston Celtics - Leandro Bolmaro
Leandro Bolmaro is a prospect that played for Barcelona, splitting time between their B team and the senior team. Bolmaro is a pest on defense, being able to defend well on the perimeter and get into passing lanes with his hustle and defensive IQ. His biggest weakness is his jumper: he shot 29.3% from 3 across all games and all teams in the 2019-2020 season. The NBA has become a 3PT driven league, and the improvement of his jumper will be paramount to his development as a playmaker. He has a natural knack for passing and ball-handling but needs to be a threat from range to provide value at the NBA level.
The Celtics possibly take Bolmaro with the 30th pick as they are a contending team that needs players who know how to play their role. Bolmaro could get garbage time minutes on the bench in terms of development and could develop into a bench guard in the future. For a contending team, cost-controlled contracts for good players are extremely useful: this pick could perhaps give them a high IQ defender who could do a bit of ball-handling off the bench in the future.
29. Toronto Raptors - Zeke Nnaji
Zeke Nnaji isn’t the most glamorous pick for a center, but he is one of those guys that will always have a place in the league. Averaging 16.1 PPG and 8.6 RPG at Arizona, Nnaji is a capable rebounder on both ends, aided by his height and length. Nnaji is an efficient scorer, averaging 58.1% from 2PT range on the season, mostly through scoring with post moves inside and being set up by his teammates. His shooting needs to improve, which is a trend with a lot of prospects in this draft. He only shot 29.4% from 3PT range, with only 0.5 attempts per game. However, he did shoot 76% from the line which shows the consistent form and bodes well for his development in the future.
The Raptors would draft Nnaji here because they need a big man. Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are both free agents. Even if the veterans re-sign, the Raptors will need someone for the future. With their history of developing late-round draft picks, the Raptors could repeat history and turn Nnaji into a potent NBA player. Nnaji has the athleticism and the tools to succeed at the NBA level, and the Raptors development staff could make him a valuable acquisition this late in the draft.
28. Los Angeles Lakers - Jahmi’us Ramsey
Jahmi’us Ramsey is a solid guard player who is coming out of Texas Tech. On the season, Ramsey averaged 42.1% from 3PT range and 15 PPG. Ramsey is a great shooter off the catch and coming off screens, and could nail down a place in the league with his jumper alone. Standing at 6’4’’, Ramsey also has good size for the guard position, but he showed a lack of defensive ability in college, which his team will have to rectify. He is also a subpar passer, only averaging 2.2 APG.
The Lakers should draft Ramsey here for one reason: shooting ability. As their core roster is getting older, the Lakers will need to get newer players around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. As a shooter, Ramsey presumably would do well with a natural playmaker like James who can set him up off the catch. If Ramsey’s jumper translates to the NBA level (only 64.1% FT), then he could be a solid acquisition for the Lakers at 28.
27. New York Knicks - Jaden McDaniels
Jaden McDaniels is one of the boom or bust prospects that are in the draft. McDaniels is an amazing athlete and solid shooter for his size: at 6’10’’, he has great length, and while not being the best 3PT shooter (33.9%), he can space the floor well for his size. McDaniels projects to be pretty good on the defensive end as his athleticism and mobility at his height allows him to guard multiple positions. McDaniels also showed some ability to protect the rim: he averaged 1.4 BPG while playing the SF at Washington. McDaniels is boom or bust simply because he struggled in college while being highly touted as a high school recruit.
The Knicks should pick Jaden McDaniels because they’re building for the future. Their window for contention will ideally be a few years from now. When they draft McDaniels he will have all the time he needs to develop, along with plenty of touches on a Knicks team that is rebuilding under a new coach and front office. At best, if the Knicks draft and develop McDaniels right then he could be a similar player to Brandon Ingram; at worst he could struggle more than he did in college, but he has all the athletic gifts to succeed.
26. Boston Celtics - Isaiah Stewart
Isaiah Stewart is a traditional big. Stewart is an inside bruising presence, able to score with an array of post moves. His strength and physicality allow him to be a huge presence on the defensive end; his shot-blocking ability is also promising, as he averaged 2.1 BPG in college. Defensive ability is easier to predict than offensive ability, so it seems reasonable that Stewart would project as a reasonable defender with a limited role on offense if he were to succeed at the NBA level. He has some possible upside with his shooting as he shoots 77% at the free-throw line, though he needs to expand his range.
The Boston Celtics may well trade this pick along with the 30th pick for a win-now player: but at 26, having a future big man could be useful. While Stewart will most likely be a bench player, his defense, post presence, and athleticism will always be valuable to teams: at his best, he could be a similar player to Willie Cauley-Stein with better defense: a traditional big. Stewart could be used by the Celtics as a bench big in the future, or perhaps he could get traded as part of a package with the other players the Celtics pick in the draft.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder - Aleksej Pokusevski
Aleksej Pokusevski is perhaps one of the most intriguing players in this draft. Standing at 7’0” but moving like a mobile wing is something that we’ve heard before. Yes, Pokusevski can be a unicorn, similar to Porzingis, another European big. Pokusevski can shoot off the dribble and handle the ball well at his size; combined with his length he could be able to shoot over anyone. Pokusevski is also capable of protecting the rim (1.8 BPG). His drawbacks are the fact that he’s very skinny for his height (201 lbs.), he will have to bulk up to compete in the NBA. Pokusevski will also take time to grow into his projection; he won’t be a “right away” player.
It is clear that Pokusevski is a project, but it is equally as clear that this pick makes sense for the Thunder. Pokusevski has plenty of potential and talent, and he needs a team where he gets stable playing time and the ability to further hone his scoring and passing skills. Pokusevski can become an all-around unicorn on a team with stability and structure, and the Thunder seems to be the natural fit.
24. Milwaukee Bucks - Malachi Flynn
Malachi Flynn is your prototypical 3 and D point guard (37.3% from 3PT). Flynn can shoot 3s well off the catch and he plays hard defense every possession. He’s higher here than a lot of mocks, but his stock is rising, and this is why he could end up on the draft. Due to his size, he may get hunted by the opposing team on the defensive end, similar to other small guards. While he may play hard on defense, sometimes there’s not much one can do when faced up against a bigger player.
Malachi Flynn goes to the Bucks early here due to his ability to shoot on the perimeters. Similar to any heliocentric offense, shooters are important, and around a presence like Giannis, they gain even more value. Malachi Flynn would provide a solid defensive presence on the bench. With Flynn and Donte DiVincenzo, the Bucks would have a good defensive presence in their backcourt.
23. Utah Jazz - Tyrell Terry
Tyrell Terry hasn’t been highly touted due to his physical measurements: but make no mistake, if his perimeter game translates, then he could be a good creator at the NBA level. He shot 40.9% from beyond the arc and was used to creating for himself at Stanford. Terry is a good point guard who will bring instant value as a floor spacer for a team and could develop into a good shotmaker as he gets used to the NBA game.
The Utah Jazz would hypothetically take Terry to have a player who can create well on the perimeter into the future alongside Donovan Mitchell. At worst, Terry could be a good shooter in the NBA but his size would limit him on the defensive end. Tyrell Terry could have infinite upside as a great shooter, but plenty of downside due to questions about his size.
22. Denver Nuggets - R.J Hampton
R.J Hampton was highly touted out of high school and went the foreign league route with the Breakers of the NBL. The highly touted recruit had a limited role with the breakers, and as such his season wasn’t as impressive as the expectation. Still, Hampton has upside with his size and athleticism when driving to the rim, and has been working on his shooting mechanics. How well he pans out in the NBA depends on his jumper (29.5% from 3PT): if he manages to fix it then he could be a valuable player in any team’s rotation.
The Nuggets could pick Hampton here because they’re willing to take a chance on unknowns. Hampton has a solid floor but could have an even higher ceiling. For a team that took shots on Bol Bol and Michael Porter Jr., Hampton seems like a tailor-made pick for a risk-taking team like the Nuggets. They have good development and it seems like they can produce good players out of later draft picks.
21. Philadelphia 76ers - Desmond Bane
Desmond Bane is a player that fits the modern NBA like a glove. He is a high IQ gritty defensive wing who can play good man to man defense based on his build. Bane is a perfect fit for contenders: they want smart players who can be good presences in terms of team chemistry and be able to fit a role around their superstar. Bane is not the type of player that you’ll hear tall tales about, but he’s going to come in and do his job. This is higher positioning than a lot of drafts for Desmond Bane: but players who know the game and know their role always find a spot in the league. He notably shot 44.2% from 3PT range; a working jumper is something that will aid him in being a piece that fits on any roster.
Desmond Bane would be a great presence on the 76ers. He would complement Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid by playing his role. Alongside players like Furkan Korkmaz and Josh Richardson, he could be part of the players around the two young stars that space the floor and play hard on the defensive end. His best role to start would be solid minutes off the bench, allowing him to acclimate to the NBA.
20. Miami Heat - Kira Lewis Jr.
Kira Lewis Jr. is a point guard that pushes the pace a lot, being one of the fastest players in this draft. Lewis Jr. is a dynamic threat off of the dribble and can speed by unsuspecting defenders. He is a great player on the offensive end, can shoot (36.6% from 3PT), pull up, and has great perimeter defense. As mentioned before, this class is heavy at the guard section, and the fact that Lewis Jr. falls this far is a testament to the point guards available. His athleticism is based heavily on his speed and he can switch directions very well.
Lewis Jr. would be a good fit on the Miami Heat as a quick-twitch guard for the future. With Goran Dragic aging and perhaps leaving the Heat this year, they might be ready to draft a similar player. Lewis Jr. would be a fine candidate to step into that role after a few years of development. The Heat have a lot of pieces for the future with Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn. Any of them could be packaged along with this year’s pick for a win-now star; but if the Heat keep the pick, then Lewis Jr. would be a good choice for the future.
19. Brooklyn Nets - Josh Green
Josh Green projects as a good player on both ends, and one who can settle into a limited role on offense. He shoots well off the catch, and he can be a modern 3 and D wing if he develops right. Though he is a high IQ player, his upside as a playmaker is capped (2.6 APG). Despite that, he does have great instincts for scoring off the ball, which is of great value to teams that already have a primary ball-handler. Essentially, Josh Green will do well on any team that won’t force him to do too much on the offensive team and let him develop his skills.
A team like the Nets would be perfect for someone like Josh Green. He would be a bench player who would learn behind more experienced veterans. He would be free to play hard defense and shoot 3s off the catch. He needs to get better at driving to the rim and work on his off-hand to be more than a spot-up shooter. On the Nets, he wouldn’t have to worry about creating for himself, so it seems like a pick that the Nets would make to improve their contender.
18. Dallas Mavericks - Theo Maledon
Theo Maledon is the surprise selection here. Despite not being projected to even go in the first round on some draft boards, this seems like a pick that the Mavericks would make. Theo Maledon is a smart point guard who plays the game the right way. Not the best jumper (36.7% from 3PT), but great playmaking (3.1 APG in 17.7 MPG in Euroleague). He is good at defense due to his basketball IQ and can make the right readout of a pick and roll. What holds him back is the lack of explosive athleticism; he may struggle against bigger and more athletic guards on both ends.
The Dallas Mavericks could use a defensive-minded guard who can play alongside Luka Doncic. The Mavericks are known to have connections to international players and Maledon just seems like a smart fit for the Mavericks. Another youngster who can play make and play defense alongside Luka Doncic, and who also grew up playing in the Euroleague. Maledon seems like an obvious piece for the Mavericks’ future: it’s a matter of them picking him.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves - Aaron Nesmith
Aaron Nesmith has a body built for the NBA and a jumper that lit Vanderbilt on fire last season. Aaron Nesmith is 6’6” with a 6’10” wingspan; he also shot 52.2% from 3 at Vanderbilt last season, while averaging a very good 23.0 PPG. At the college level, he was a great scorer: in the NBA he will need to work on his shot creation inside. Nesmith has the length and the build to guard the best wings in the NBA, and he could be the best shooter in the draft. While it is likely he wouldn’t sustain an above 50% 3PT rate, his shooting is the proven part of his game.
The Minnesota Timberwolves need a wing defender for the future. At his peak, Nesmith could be similar to a former Minnesota player, Robert Covington. Nesmith is one of the wings in the draft that can carve out a long career in the NBA with his combination of defense and shooting. If the Timberwolves want their shooter/wing defender of the future then they should look no further than Nesmith; he’s all they want and more.
16. Portland Trail Blazers - Devin Vassell
Devin Vassell has defensive instincts that just come naturally. He has been highly rated on a lot of draft boards, and they’re not necessarily wrong. Vassell has made strides in the scoring department this year (4.5PPG to 12.7 PPG). He shot 41.5% from 3 on the season and is the prototypical 3 and D player. An area where Vassell showed proficiency happens to be rebounding (5.1 RPG); for his size and frame, he’s great. Vassell’s offensive upside comes from his developing off the dribble game. One of his question marks is finishing near the rim and taking contact.
Devin Vassell would be a good project for the Portland Trail Blazers; Vassell could be a wing producer in the future. Vassell would fit well as a long term player with Portland; he has an unselfish game, focuses on defense, and would fit as a bench player. Vassell has good size for a wing and could be one of the lines of defense against the top-tier wing players in the West for the Trail Blazers.
15. Orlando Magic - Tyrese Maxey
Tyrese Maxey is a mid-draft pick for a team where he can build his offensive game in the future. Maxey is a good creator off the dribble but he only shot 29.3% from 3 at Kentucky. However, he fits a secondary playmaking role with a knack for making pull up shots from anywhere on the court. He is one of the best defenders at the PG position in this draft and can finish well around the rim and make winning plays on defense. Maxey could find a fit in the NBA if his jumper gets better at the NBA level; most small guards need it.
Maxey would be a good fit in Orlando. Maxey would serve as part of a good defensive core, with Markelle Fultz, Aaron Gordon, and Jonathan Isaac. Maxey has a knack for shotmaking and could serve as a creator off the bench to start. Evan Fournier could get traded at some point, and then it would be Maxey’s time to shine. Maxey has the potential and the confidence in himself to become a premier perimeter creator if he can score better off the dribble.
14. Boston Celtics - Cole Anthony
Cole Anthony is a well-known name. Anthony is an electric, score-first point guard, whose goal is to heat up quickly and keep scoring. At worst he can have a bench role and be a shotmaker off the bench. Anthony has a good jumper and can score inside. However, his drawbacks are that he is extremely used to having high usage; that high usage didn’t result in efficient scoring (38% FG). To start in the NBA, Cole Anthony should have a role where he develops his ability to score efficiently while not worrying too much about defense.
The Boston Celtics would select Anthony here for the possibility of him being a usable bench scorer in the Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown contention timeline. He could handle the ball when Kemba Walker is on the bench and provide valuable minutes off the bench. With him being a household name who underwhelmed in college to drop to 14, this seems like a classic Celtics pick.
13. New Orleans Pelicans - Jalen Smith
Jalen Smith is the best shooting center in this draft. Smith shot 36.8% from 3PT range while being a great rim running big and rebounder. His jumper will most likely translate to the NBA level as well; he shot 75% from the FT line, which is fairly good for a big man. Smith also shot 60.4% from inside the arc, which shows a good level of efficiency inside as well. His big deficiency is the defense: he needs to improve his lateral quickness and fill out his frame to be able to be a defensive anchor.
Jalen Smith would be a perfect fit for the Pelicans; we’ve seen how Brook Lopez unlocked Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game. Jalen Smith could be that piece for Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. Having a lineup with everyone being able to shoot would open up the floor for Zion Williamson: Jaxson Hayes and Derrick Favors are good centers but subpar shooters. Jalen Smith could give the Pelicans a different look if drafted by them.
12. Sacramento Kings - Saddiq Bey
Saddiq Bey is the best pure 3 and D player in the draft. Bey has the best floor in the draft and will be a great role player regardless of what happens. His game from beyond the arc is very good (45% from 3PT) and he plays well enough on the defensive side of the ball. The question is whether Bey can become anything more. He has the safest floor in the draft, but not that high of a ceiling. The further development of his game beyond his strengths will be key to how good he can become.
The Sacramento Kings would make this pick because they need somebody to play the SF position in the future. Harrison Barnes is merely a stop-gap solution, and the Kings need someone who can play off Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox. Saddiq Bey could be that player with a limited upside of growing beyond the confines of his role.
11. San Antonio Spurs - Precious Achiuwa
Precious Achiuwa is ranked higher here than a lot of draft boards. But Achiuwa is a great big man designed for the modern game. He can switch onto perimeter players but also protect the rim (1.9 BPG). Achiuwa is also a great rebounder (10.8 RPG) and hustles for plays on every possession. Achiuwa’s potential can be realized if he keeps developing the skill aspects of the game. Achiuwa needs to get better at shooting: though his stats don’t bode well for that. Achiuwa shot 60% from the FT and 32.5% from 3PT range on the season. The lack of a jumper could be his demise in the NBA but his combination of athleticism and speed is tantalizing.
Precious Achiuwa would go to the Spurs in this scenario because the franchise would bet that they could develop him as a prospect. Achiuwa’s blend of mobility and defensive awareness on the perimeter could make him a 5 position defender. The Spurs would be the perfect franchise to develop Achiuwa as a player. Jakob Poeltl is good but is not much more than a backup big man. Achiuwa, if developed, could be something special.
10. Phoenix Suns - Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams's blend of size and athleticism offers a lot of upside on defense. He could improve as a floor spacer (32.0% from 3PT), but he makes up for it by finishing at the rim with his length and athleticism. Williams only played 22.5 MPG, so perhaps he didn’t get to showcase all of his abilities at the college level. At the NBA level, he would be used as a combo forward who can play the 3 or 4 and switch onto the perimeter. Williams’ defense of guards on the perimeter could improve, but his athleticism offers hope that it could get better.
Williams would be a good fit on the Suns as a defensive wing player. The Suns already have Mikal Bridges, but the bench role is up for grabs. Williams is coming in with an NBA ready body and can play spot minutes. This pick offers a safe option for the Suns, but with potential upside as Williams develops as a shooter and off ballplayer.
9. Washington Wizards - Onyeka Okongwu
Onyeka Okongwu is a big man whose blend of athleticism and intangibles makes him an intriguing pick in the draft. Okongwu possesses athleticism and hustle that allows him to block shots at the rim and get second opportunities inside. Okongwu is a good post scorer with a varied skill set, and his athleticism allows him to make the most of it. The concern with Okongwu is his shooting: he shot 25% from 3PT range on barely any attempts. Okongwu is also undersized for a big at 6’9’’, so he may struggle to defend traditional bigs.
Okongwu could go to the Wizards as their future big. Okongwu could be a modern athletic big man, but he’ll have to work on creating his shot outside of the paint or passing to his teammates. Okongwu would add some defensive stability to the Wizards, making him a safe big for the future, one who hustles and has a knack for making good basketball plays.
8. New York Knicks - Tyrese Haliburton
Tyrese Haliburton is an otherworldly playmaker who is a patient orchestrator of an offense. He can dribble and pass with both hands while toying with the opposing defense. What keeps him out of being a top 5 pick is his lack of elite athletic ability. Haliburton’s jumper is unconventional but it works: he shot over 40% from 3PT range in both his college seasons. Haliburton projects to be a floor general who will focus on setting up his teammates and score sparingly. Haliburton’s ability to create off the dribble at a higher level will determine how much better he will become.
Haliburton is a perfect fit for the Knicks. There have been rumors that the Knicks are going to target a playmaker in this draft. Haliburton would provide that, and provide a solid, high IQ foundation to their upcoming rebuild. Along with future draft prospects and new leadership, Haliburton could provide stability at the PG position. Haliburton may not be the best player on a contender, but you need players like him to succeed.
7. Detroit Pistons - Killian Hayes
Killian Hayes is a natural playmaker who favors his left hand. Lots of analysts have compared him to Manu Ginobili. Though that is an unfair comparison, he can finish contested shots around the rim with his left; but conversely, that hurts him due to his offhand being way worse. Hayes' appeal is his smooth play style and size for a guard: he’s a bigger guard (6’5’’) who mostly relies on IQ and not athleticism. Hayes isn’t necessarily going to be Ginobili, but he’s going to be a creator who makes the right decisions and dazzles at times. Hayes can pass the ball well and distribute it (5.4 APG).
Hayes has been a highly touted prospect, so he goes to Detroit in this scenario. The Pistons’ best guard right now is Derrick Rose, and their future at the guard position is non-existent besides Luke Kennard. This pick seems like a sensible one, where the Pistons draft one of the highly touted playmakers of the class to pair with their future core of Sekou Doumbouya and Luke Kennard who have limited playmaking for others. It’s a perfect fit.
6. Atlanta Hawks - Isaac Okoro
Isaac Okoro is the most NBA ready defender in this draft. He doesn’t stop moving on a possession and can heavily impact plays in passing lanes. Okoro is a naturally built wing defender for the modern game, but to stay in the NBA you need a workable shot. Okoro only shot 28.6% from beyond the arc, and needless to say, that needs improvement. But in his natural affinity for defense and unworkable jumper, there is a diamond in the rough. Okoro will need to develop his jumper, but even if that doesn’t work out he’ll have some value as a defensive stopper.
The Atlanta Hawks have two young stars in Trae Young and John Collins. They need to build a team around them, and that team needs to be able to be defensive-minded and guard anyone. They’ve added a good rebounder and rim protector in Clint Capela; now they need a defensive wing who can guard the opposing team’s best player; Isaac Okoro could be that guy.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers - Obi Toppin
Obi Toppin is an explosive athlete who can finish in the pick and roll after being set up. He is also a capable shooter (39% from 3PT range). On the offensive end, Obi Toppin is a complete player after two years at Dayton, but there are questions in a few areas. First of all, there’s the question of Toppin’s potential: while older players typically are more NBA ready, they sometimes fall short due to their inability to get better at the NBA level. Toppin is 22 already; he might not have more room to improve. Obi Toppin is also not necessarily the best defender: he will have smaller players switch onto him and feast on the perimeter.
Cleveland has set up meetings with Toppin, and it could be that he is the Cavaliers’ future center. He could be a great understudy behind Kevin Love and develop a similar outside game while having an athletic inside game. Toppin seems like a good pick for the Cavs, but they need more playmaking around him to maximize his ferocity at the rim.
4. Chicago Bulls - Deni Avdija
Deni Avdija is a boom or bust prospect. He is 6’9’’ forward who played for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. Avdija is a multi-position player who can do a little bit of everything. His large frame allows him to be a 1-4 defender, and he can be a playmaker from inside out. Avdija is a good passer, and can create for open shooters when doubled inside: that shows good habits. He is a solid shooter but inconsistent when creating his shot outside. However, Avdija provides versatility and could glue an offense together.
The Bulls take Avdija because they need someone at the wing position; they’re also rebuilding, which means plenty of playing time. Coby White and Zach Lavine will most likely handle the scoring at the guard position, and Avdija could be their future wing prospect. Deni Avdija is a player that could develop into a great offensive wing, similar to Tobias Harris or Danilo Gallinari; a place where he can flash his playmaking abilities by setting up scorers like the Bulls could be the best fit.
3. Charlotte Hornets - Anthony Edwards
Some would argue that Anthony Edwards is the best player in the draft. Edwards will be coming into the NBA with a bruising athletic game and is used to creating his shot off the dribble. Out of all the prospects in the draft, Edwards is the one who has elite scoring potential. Edwards’ drawbacks come from his shot selection and tunnel vision. He’s not an amazing passer but perhaps that could be taught to him as he develops. In the 2020 draft, he is probably the best pure bucket getter.
Edwards goes to the Hornets in this projection; the Hornets need a new franchise pillar after Kemba Walker’s departure. Anthony Edwards would provide an immediate scoring contribution and be able to score any difficult shot that comes his way. While he may not be an efficient player to start the season, the Hornets selecting Edwards would mean giving him free rein.
2. Golden State Warriors - James Wiseman
James Wiseman is the most athletic center in this draft. Wiseman stands at 7’1’’ but moves as gracefully as a smaller center. He showed that he can still rise to block shots with authority (3.0 BPG), and rebound the ball well (10.7 RPG) in his limited college playing time. Wiseman is essentially your typical rim running, inside bruising center but dialed up to 150%. Wiseman will plug into any roster as a rim-running big man, but has the potential to develop into something further. His drawbacks come with the questions surrounding his short college career and basketball IQ.
This is the most straightforward pick for the Golden State Warriors. They need a good center. They already have young players at both forward positions with Andrew Wiggins and Eric Paschall, so Wiseman would be the logical choice for them to try and develop. He could be a good center with immense upside, and Golden State gives him the structure and the help he needs to develop fully as a player.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves - LaMelo Ball
LaMelo Ball at No. 1 is not necessarily a popular choice, but he’s got the highest potential in the draft. Ball is a big point guard similar to players like Penny Hardaway or Shaun Livingston from the past. He has a defensive upside due to his size and being able to guard 1-3. His playmaking and vision are otherworldly and flashy passing is a consistent part of his repertoire. Ball has confidence in his shooting, despite subpar percentages from beyond the arc (25.0%) and overall (37.5%). Ball’s size and playmaking combination could make him a legendary playmaker in the mold of a taller Jason Kidd, but there are heavy questions about his jumper and his level of competition in New Zealand.
Ball makes sense for the Timberwolves: he is the most famous prospect of the year. Ball could be a great presence next to D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns as the two focus on scoring and he on playmaking. Ball could also take the more difficult assignment on the defensive end, taking attention away from Russell. If the Timberwolves don’t trade the #1 pick away for a win-now player, then LaMelo Ball is the clear cut candidate that they should take; he could be a legendary player with the right guidance.