In one of the strangest NBA calendar years, it might come as a surprise, but the 2020 NBA Draft is rapidly approaching, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 18. This year’s class is overall on the weaker side, with a few polarizing prospects such as LaMelo Ball who will dominate the headlines.
Before we get started, FTNDaily.com and FTNBets.com NBA Early Bird packages are now live. Each package is $174.99 and covers all your daily fantasy or sports betting needs through the NBA Finals. That equates to about $1 per day for the entire season. Be on the lookout for my favorite NBA Draft bets on FTNBets.com in the coming days.
During the regular season I will be doing a daily NBA game-by-game livestream on FTNDaily.com as well as occasionally appearing on our NBA FTNBets.com daily betting livestream. You can find all of my NBA Bets on FTNBets.com as well.
(Check out FTNBets favorite bets for the draft.)
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia
Even after some early monring draft day slander, Anthony Edwards is now at least -200 across books to go 1st overall. As mentioned in my previous mock, Edwards is the better fit for Minnesota to play alongside both D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns. It appears Minnesota is motivated to move this pick though, to a team like the Hornets, who are interested in both LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman.
Previous Pick: LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra
Ball is far and away the most polarizing prospect in the draft, and his popularity certainly helps any team selecting him from a business standpoint. Putting the shenanigans aside, Ball is an extremely gifted passer with an incredible ceiling as a mega-sized 6-foot-8 point guard. Ball’s greatest strengths are his size and his court vision, while his biggest weakness is far and away his defense. While his size gives him the tools to become a good defender, it will likely take disciplined coaching for him to become a capable defender and thus hit his unicorn ceiling. It seems that Ball is most likely to go first overall. However, this is a pick that has a decent chance of being traded as Ball is a risky fit for a T-Wolves team that carries a ton of offensive talent in D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns but is also among the worst defensive teams in the NBA.
Possible trade: Charlotte Hornets
I’d like to see the Hornets trade up to No. 1 for Ball, and there is a decent chance that just might happen. Charlotte is desperate for some buzz (pun intended), and Ball helps accomplish that. A boring Hornets team can also strongly use an exciting playmaker with the highest ceiling in the class. The T-Wolves trading down to No. 3 would likely land them Anthony Edwards, who is a better fit for the current roster while also netting them another asset or two, potentially Devonte’ Graham or Miles Bridges.
2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Wiseman to the Warriors seems to be the most logical fit for a team that doesn’t have a center. While the Warriors best lineups tend to be with Draymond Green playing the 5, Wiseman fills an immediate need while also carrying strong upside.
UPDATE: It appears that Golden Sate is motivated to move this pick, that said, the teams looking to move up are all interested in Wiseman. Regardless of who has this pick, Wiseman seems fairly secure to go second overall. Sportsbooks list him in the -290 range to be picked 2nd.
Possible trade: New York Knicks
This pick is getting the most buzz to get traded in the top three as the Warriors’ style of play doesn’t fully mesh with taking a ball dominant low-post center like Wiseman. The Warriors have said to be looking to trade down while remaining in the top 10 and a team like the Knicks are a nice fit as they can package the eighth pick with Mitchell Robinson to move up to No. 2. Robinson is actually a better fit for the Warriors as a young rim-running rim protector who doesn’t need many offensive touches.
3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, G, Illawara
Although there is a lot of chatter that the Hornets are in love with James Wiseman, they should be thrilled if LaMelo falls into their lap at 3 as is what is being projected across the board. LaMelo brings some much needed starpower and energy to a fairly lifeless organization while also filling a need as a playmaker.
Previous Pick: Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia
Even after his poor showing at his pro day, I view Edwards as about an equal prospect to Ball but with what I would argue a safer floor. Edwards is a super athlete with a strong motor while showing the ability to become a consistent shooter. The biggest question mark is his shooting ability. Once an asset, his jump shot has become inconsistent. Still, Edwards is an explosive wing with All-NBA upside because of his athleticism and ability to attack the basket while showing the ability to shoot. If Charlotte stays at 3, Edwards would bring some much needed excitement to a dull Hornets team.
Possible trade: Minnesota Timberwolves
As mentioned above, I think there is a decent shot the T-Wolves trade down to 3 to take Edwards, who feels like a much better fit than Ball to pair with Russell and Towns. Because of those reasons, I still view Edwards as a dark-horse candidate to go first overall.
4. Chicago Bulls: Patrick Williams, F, Florida State
Williams has the hottest stock in this year's draft class heading into draft night as a versatile 6-8 forward who can guard five positions defensively while also showing playmaking and shooting upside. Williams would fit quite nicely in the frontcourt paired with one of or both of Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. The ability to guard multiple positions on defense is one of the most sought-after traits in the NBA and in a fairly weak draft class I think a team will look to pull the trigger earlier than expected on a guy like Williams. It’s a bit of a reach to project Williams here, but his stock rise reminds me of another former Seminole in Johnathan Isaac. Deni Avdija is the consensus pick at No. 4 but I expect Billy Donovan and the Bulls to target a better athlete and versatile defender to pair with their young core.
UPDATE: Patrick Williams is now +154 to go 4th overall, was +1800 at the time of his mock. The biggest threat to Williams not landing to Chicago is if they trade up to 2 with Golden State to take Wiseman. Still, Patrick Williams would fill a need for the Warriors at 4 as well.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, F, Dayton
I have the National Player of the Year staying in Ohio as Toppin brings some much-needed maturity and security to Cleveland’s young core. Toppin is an explosive forward who brings oodles of energy to a dull Cavs frontcourt. Toppin is a strong three-point shooter and roller but struggles to create his own shot, making him a nice complement to Darius Garland while also giving the Cavs some positional flexibility as a potential small-ball 5.
6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, F/C, USC
There seems to be a lot of momentum in the fact that the Hawks will trade this pick, particularly to Boston. Although it was announced that Okongwu has a broken toe, it is not expected to sideline him for an extended perioid of time. I expect this pick to be dealt to Boston and with it they select their new rim protector.
Previous Pick: Isaac Okoro, G/F, Auburn
This is one of the tougher picks to predict with Deni Avdija still on the board, and if the draft ends up falling this way, Atlanta will be in a bit of a pickle. I’ve mocked Okoro here, as in a fairly weak draft I expect young teams with a developing young core to draft based off of need. Okoro is a long, versatile, athletic defender who pairs quite nicely with Trae Young in the backcourt. The argument for Avdija going sixth would be Atlanta coveting his unique skillset and ceiling as a secondary ball-dominant playmaker to pair with Trae Young. If the Hawks are confident they can to fix Okoro’s shot — and everything about his work ethic says they should be able to — I expect them to add some defensive versatility to their young and talented offensive core.
7. Detroit Pistons: Deni Avdija, G/F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
This is Avdija’s floor in the draft, as I would be shocked to see him slip past a Pistons team that is without any real young talent. He would become the ceiling building block in Detroit to potentially build around with Sekou Doumbouya and Thon Maker (and Christian Wood). Avdija is your stereotypical European point-forward with awesome court vision, the ability to create his own shot, but mediocre athleticism. The biggest red flag is his inconsistent shooting makes him a bit predictable on offense. Coupled with mediocre athleticism, that is why I have him falling to 7.
8. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
The Knicks land one of the more interesting prospects in the class in Haliburton as a 6-5 true PG. In two years at Iowa State, Haliburton showed true playmaking instincts and emerged as a dangerous shooter and scoring threat in the U19 FIBA gold medal winning squad. The Knicks are desperate for a PG, particularly a PG that provides some security, Haliburton provides that. Killian Hayes is another PG with the potential to land here. Hayes would be the ceiling pick here for the Knicks as a younger, more explosive player who projects to be a better scorer than Haliburton.
Possible trade: Golden State Warriots
As mentioned above, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Knicks swap places with the Warriors and move up to 2. If jumping up, but losing Robinson in said fictional trade, I would expect the Knicks to take Wiseman. If the Warriors land at 8, I would expect this pick to be Onyeka Okongwu.
9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, G/F, Auburn
Okoro is an interesting prospect with tremendous defensive upside. Whether it's the Wizards or a team trading up, I believe this is his floor as he's -230 to be picked in the top 10.
Previous Pick: Onyeka Okongwu, F/C, USC
A lot of this pick comes down to how much the Wizards believe in Thomas Bryant. Bryant excelled during the NBA restart to the point of being a potential building block for Washington. That said, I still have Okongwu going here. I view this as Okongwu’s floor as he is viewed as an incredibly versatile defensive big with the ability to switch all screens. He is what you want your center to be defensively in the modern NBA. There is an argument to be made that this pick doesn’t crowd the Washington frontcourt too much as Okongwu is playable with both Bryant and Rui Hachimura because of their ability to space the floor. Okongwu’s biggest strengths are his ability to switch defensively and his production in the pick and roll. I view his ceiling in this draft to be fourth overall. If Chicago goes Okongwu, I’d expect Patrick Williams to go here.
Possible trade: If the Wizards want their frontcourt to be built around Bryant and Hachimura, we can expect a lot of teams to look to trade up for Okongwu. If the draft falls in this direction, this would become the easiest pick to trade.
10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, G, ULM
Hayes is a bit of a polarizing prospect in my eyes as every scouting reports says the same thing: “Fluid athlete with great size for a combo guard with the strong ability to shoot off the dribble and make plays.” That to me sounds like a modern-day combo guard teams would covet and yet the majority of mocks have him in the 12-15 range. The Suns are said to be looking for guard help and Hayes projects to have a nice ceiling. In weak drafts, the further down the lottery you get, the more teams look to acquire upside, Hayes fits that bill.
Possible trade: There are reports that the Suns are looking to acquire Chris Paul, if that happens, I would expect this pick to move to OKC in that trade. Devin Vassell, Killian Hayes and Jalen Smith are all decent fits for OKC.
11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, G/F, Florida State
The Spurs need help in a lot of areas, and I’d expect them to take a player with a defined skill set. In this case, Vassell is the premiere 3-and-D prototype player in this draft that we’ve seen the Spurs fall in love with before. Vassell becomes a nice fit in San Antonio. Aaron Nesmith, the best shooter in the class, also has the potential to land here.
12. Sacramento Kings: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
Bey is a long slashing SF or small-ball PF who is arguably the second-best shooter in this draft behind Nesmith. His biggest weakness is his athleticism. Bey complements De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley quite well as a floor spacing wing with positional flexibility.
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith, G/F, Vanderbilt
I view Nesmith as the best pure shooter in this draft and the Pelicans should be thrilled if they were to land him at 13. I have Nesmith’s draft ceiling to be as high as 6 with his floor at 15. The Pelicans need floor spacers around Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson and we know from previous years new coach Stan Van Gundy loves to draft shooters. If this falls into place, this would be one of my favorite fits in the entire draft.
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Kira Lewis Jr., G, Alabama
Kira Lewis Jr.'s draft stock is sky high as teams look to covet the speedy guards athleticism. If the Celtics hold this pick, I expect them to draft a ball handler that they can develope while also giving them quality minutes off the bench. The Celtics need playmakers off the bench and Lewis fits that need.
Previous Pick: Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
Anthony was one of the more polarizing prospects in this draft class coming into the year as a ball-dominant score-first PG carrying uber confidence. His one year at North Carolina did not go so well as he was sidelined for an extended period and was only able to shoot 38% in his 22 games. That said, the talent is clearly there for Anthony and the Celtics bench is desperate for some playmaking and excitement. It’s arguably a slight reach but I like this fit for both Cole and the Celtics.
15. Orlando Magic: Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
Maxey is an undersized SG but his skill-set compliments Markelle Fultz very well as a skilled shooter. RJ Hampton is a contender to go at 15 as well, as the Magic will likely look to replace Evan Fournier and find a backcourt mate for Markelle Fultz. That mate will need to be able to space the floor and Maxey showcases that skill. His coachability as a player is also something Steve Clifford has coveted in the past.
16. Portland Trail Blazers: RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers
Because of their lack of backcourt depth, the Blazers were forced to play Damian Lillard nearly every minute of every game during the NBA restart before and after the playoffs started. Hampton has the ability to play next to both Dame and CJ McCollum and is a nice project to eventually replace McCollum.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
If the T-Wolves stay at No. 1 and select LaMelo Ball, I would expect them to take a frontcourt player here. Jalen Smith is another big with a wide range of outcomes of where he would land as a raw, but, extremely versatile big who can shoot and protect the rim. It would not shock me to see Smith land in the 10-12 range because of his skillset. Smith would bring some much-needed defensive intensity to a T-Wolves frontcourt while being able to space the floor for D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.
18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokuseviski, F/C, Olympiacos
I have Pokuseviski moving up one spot from my previous mock as it was reported yesterday that Kristaps Porzingis won't be ready for the start of the NBA season. While I don't think Pokuseviski fills that role from the start, he has projectable traits as someone who is viewed as a unicorn prospect. We know the Mavericks aren't scared off by taking risks with not yet developed European talent. If you have never heard of him, I highly suggest checking out some highlight tape. Aleksej is a seven-footer who plays all 5 positions and actually projects better as a floor spacing guard with playmaking upside than a "center".
Previous Pick: Kira Lewis Jr., G, Alabama
The Mavericks should look to bring in another ball-handler to help take some pressure off of Luka Doncic. Lewis is someone who can both score and distribute while carrying elite speed.
19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
This is one of the trickier picks in the draft that may end up getting dealt if the Nets are able to land James Harden. Anthony is an offensive highlight tape that is able to score and create his own shot at will. That is a coveted trait in the modern NBA and something that can be developed. At worst, Anthony feels like a Jordan Clarkson like scorer off the bench. I think the Nets view Anthony as someone who helps solidify a James Harden trade package or someone they can play 10-14 minutes off the bench, quite often in isolation scenario's to give their stars an offensive breather.
Previous Pick: Aleksej Pokuseviski, F/C, Olympiacos
If you have yet to see Pokuseviski’s highlights, please go do so now. Aleksej is another unicorn big coming over from Europe who is nowhere near ready to compete in the NBA but carries an immense amount of potential. His positions range from SG to C. This is a bit of a reach, but Sean Marks has routinely targeted players with upside with later first-round picks and on a team without a ton of holes the Nets can afford to take this gamble. In a weak draft class, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a team take a flier on him in the late lottery hoping to strike gold like the Milwaukee Bucks did with Giannis.
20. Miami Heat: Malachi Flynn, G, SDSU
Teams will try to replicate the Raptors success of Fred VanVleet with Malachi Flynn. Flynn came out of nowhere but projects to be an incredibly stable pick and roll ball-handler while possessing deep shooting range. Although he was named to the All-Rookie First Team, I’m not sure how sold Pat Riley is on Kendrick Nunn. That said, Flynn is also a nice complement to Nunn in the Miami backcourt and a potential Dragic replacement.
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
With a new regime in charge, we can expect the Sixers to look to take either versatile wing defenders who project to shoot well or pure floor spacers. Terry fits two needs, a backup PG to Ben Simmons (if Simmons stays) and the ability to space the floor. Terry will need to gain strength to reach any sort of ceiling in the NBA.
22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Memphis
I have Achiuwa falling a bit mocking him at 22 but I believe this is his floor. Though undersized for a center with mediocre athleticism, Achiuwa is skilled and has NBA ready tools to build on. Achiuwa provides some frontcourt depth to Denver to spell Nikola Jokic and fits Denver's draft philosophy to take the highest rated player over need.
23. New York Knicks: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
The Knicks moved up to 23 for picks 27 and 35. Sticking with the fact I have the Knicks going guard with their first pick, I believe they get some frontcourt help here. I have Achiuwa falling a bit mocking him at 23 but I believe this is his floor. Though undersized for a center with mediocre athleticism, Achiuwa is skilled and has NBA ready tools to build on.
24. New Orleans Pelicans: Josh Green, G/F Arizona
The Pelicans land this pick from Milwaukee after the Jrue Holiday trade. Although I had mocked Green to Milwaukee, I still have him mocked going to New Orleans as he fits the 3 and D culture that Stan Van Gundy brings there.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
Most places are projecting McDaniels to go 25th to OKC or even climb into the late lottery, and I tend to agree. McDaniels is incredibly raw but carries one of the higher ceilings in this draft class as a super long, athletic, skilled wing who can handle the ball and defend. McDaniels flashes a lot of projectable traits, something Sam Presti has been known to covet during this mini OKC rebuild.
26. Boston Celtics: Desmond Bane, G, TCU
Bane does one thing really well: Shoot. He shot over 43% from 3 last year and possesses deep shooting range. Being able to acquire a player with one elite trait this late in the first round is always coveted. Bane helps the Celtics retool their weak bench.
27. Utah Jazz: Zeke Nnajli, PF/C, Arizona
The Jazz get this pick by trading down with the Knicks and feel a major need that people may not expect, frontcourt depth. Nnajli instantly comes a potential Rudy Gobert successor while bringing an NBA ready body at center off the bench with the ability to score and stretch the floor. Nnajli is long and carries defensive traits that Utah covets to develope.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL
The Thunder land this pick from the Lakers after trading Dennis Schroder. Maledon is a potential Shcroder replacement with tools to develope in OKC's patient rebuild. Theo's stock has fallen leading up to the draft after a poor season in Europe.
29. Toronto Raptors: Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
While I think there is a chance the Raptors look to move up to trade a potentical Gasol replacement, I could also see them staying put to draft another high IQ developement guard to insure themselves they have a Fred VanVleet replacement (if he leaves) and a Kyle Lowry long term replacement. Pritchard is a senior guard with strong outside scoring ability and playmaking instincts.
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Leandro Bolmaro, G, Barcelona
The Celtics have three first-round picks, I would expect at least one of those picks to be used on someone they can stash or be traded. Bolmaro is the most likely stash choice.