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2020 NBA Lottery Mock Draft: Who Will Go Number One?

The NBA draft is finally here, almost five months later than its usual date. There will be some very interesting storylines to monitor during this draft. For one, every team has gotten five months extra to scout prospects, along with the thought that there is not a consensus number one pick like in previous years. There is also a high probability you will see players that were expected to be drafted very early a few months ago slip down in the draft.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves – LaMelo Ball, Illawarra Hawks (NBL)

Ball has moved around a lot so far in his young career. He first gained attention while playing for the elite Chino Hills High School team where he was an offensive machine as a freshman and sophomore. In his junior year he left Chino Hills to play pro-ball with Prienai, a Lithuanian team. In that season, Ball only averaged 6.5 points and 2.4 assists a game. As a senior, Ball went back to high school to play for Spire Institute in Ohio. At Spire, he was named the season MVP and led the team to a championship. Last year, Ball moved off to Australia to play for the Illawarra Hawks from the NBL where he averaged 17 points, 7.4 rebounds, and almost seven assists per game through 12 games played. 

Although it’s not a done deal yet that the 6’ 7” guard goes number one in this year’s NBA Draft, he is trending towards being the top choice come Wednesday night.

2. Golden State Warriors – James Wiseman, Memphis

The 2020 NBA Draft will mark the first time since 2012 that the Warriors have a lottery pick. After a rough season for Golden State headlined by injuries, the Warriors need to get help at the center position. James Wiseman seems like the perfect fit with this pick; the 7’1” center only got to play three games for Memphis last season but in those games, he played outstanding, averaging over 19 points and 10 rebounds. No matter who the Warriors draft, this team will be very scary next year and are definitely playoff contenders. Potentially even finals contenders. 

3. Charlotte Hornets – Anthony Edwards, Georgia

Anthony Edwards is the piece that this Hornets squad needs for their rebuild. In one season playing for the Georgia Bulldogs, the 6’5” shooting guard averaged 19.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. The athletic Edwards has a realistic shot at going number one in the draft, but I don’t see that happening. Charlotte is the perfect landing spot. 

4. Chicago Bulls – Deni Avdija, Israel

Last season, the small forward position for the Bulls saw several different starters. Deni Avdija could be the perfect player to claim the starting position as his own. The multi-talented forward averaged 13.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in the 28 games he played for Maccabi Tel Aviv. 

5. Cleveland Cavaliers – Obi Toppin, Dayton

Amidst a rebuild, the Cavaliers need more talent before they are NBA playoff contenders again. Obi Toppin is one of those players that can help get the Cavs back into the playoffs. The Dayton product averaged 20 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game in his sophomore season and shot nearly 40% from distance. 

6. Atlanta Hawks – Isaac Okoro, Auburn

After landing Trae Young in the 2018 NBA Draft, trading for Clint Capela last season, and John Collins showing that he has elite potential, this Hawks team has a very bright future ahead of them. They are already playoff contenders out East this season. With that being said, Atlanta doesn’t need this draft pick like other teams, which has led to a lot of trade rumors involving the pick. If they do end up using it, Isaac Okoro would provide a lot of depth to the team. The Auburn small forward averaged 12.8 points last season and has shown elite defensive tools.

7. Detroit Pistons – Tyrese Halliburton, Iowa State

Although the Pistons need help at a lot of positions, point guard seems like one of the bigger needs. After Reggie Jackson was released and signed by the Los Angeles Clippers and Bruce Brown was traded in one of the first deals of the offseason, the Pistons are very weak at point guard. Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton could provide the much needed talent at that position. Haliburton averaged 15.2 points and 6.5 assists per game last season as a sophomore. He is an amazing playmaker and could fit well alongside former NBA MVP Derrick Rose.

8. New York Knicks – Onyeka Okongwu, USC

There is a good chance that Okongwu won’t be available this late in the draft, but if he does slip, the Knicks can’t pass on him. A Knicks team that needs help almost everywhere, especially at center, would be the perfect fir for Okongwu. Pairing him up with Mitchell Robinson could work out nicely. Okongwu averaged 16.2 points with 8.6 rebounds per game for the USC Trojans in his lone season.

9. Washington Wizards – Killian Hayes, France

It might be time for the Wizards to move on from injury-prone John Wall at point guard. If the Wizards decide to move on from him, Killian Hayes would be a great replacement. The dynamic guard, who is ranked number one on The Ringer’s big board, averaged over 11 points and five assists per game during his season with the German team Ulm. Originally from France, the left-handed Hayes has ideal NBA size for his position at 6’5” and showed in Germany that he is an elite playmaker.

10. Phoenix Suns – Patrick Williams, Florida State

The Suns were involved with the biggest block-buster trade of the off-season so far in which they acquired Chris Paul from the Thunder in exchange for Kelly Oubre, Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and a 2022 first-round pick. That trade does however leave the Suns with some serious depth issues at small forward. FSU small forward Patrick Williams would fill that roll nicely. The 6’8” 225 pound forward is a versatile offensive threat who averaged 9.2 points per game for the Seminoles. A few teams have been interested in Williams, so it will be interesting to see if the Suns can grab him at 10. 

11. San Antonio Spurs – Saddiq Bey, Villanova

With LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay nearing the end of their careers, it might be time to get some help at power forward. Saddiq Bey fits the bill. With the top centers in the draft class already off the board in Okongwu and Wiseman, Bey is their next best option. Although the 3 and D star put up great stats in college averaging 16 points per game for Villanova, there is a good chance that he will slip down this far in the draft. 

12. Sacramento Kings – Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt 

The rumors have been going around for a while that Kings star shooting guard Buddy Heild will be playing for a new team next season. If that is the case, Aaron Nesmith would be the perfect option for the Kings to replace Hield. The small forward who is often compared to Hield averaged 23 points per game at Vanderbilt last season while shooting over 50% from three. Even if Hield doesn’t leave this offseason, Nesmith is still a viable option and could prove to be a great role player for the Kings.

13. New Orleans Pelicans – Devin Vassell, Florida State

After picking Zion Williamson with the first pick in the 2019 draft, and getting a ton of assets in the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade, the Pelicans are forming a talented team. They projected to be more competitive in the Western Conference this season than they were last season. Devin Vassell, a shooting guard from FSU, who is arguably the best defender in this draft class, would fit in nicely with this young New Orleans roster. For the first few seasons, Vassell might come off the bench, but with JJ Redick getting older, Vassell could prove to be an ideal replacement. 

14. Boston Celtics – Precious Achiuwa, Memphis

The Celtics need someone who can help with rebounding and working paint. That’s where Precious Achiuwa comes in. Achiuwa, who took over as the main big for Memphis after Wiseman missed most of the season, averaged 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Often compared to Montrezl Harrell, Achiuwa is a very energetic player who can also provide the Celtics with some interior scoring from the start. 

Overview

The Draft takes place on Wednesday, 11/18, at 7:00 pm EST on ESPN. It’s sure to be an exciting one. Don’t be surprised to see some trades early with top picks and current NBA players being involved. Also, like most drafts, you will see players rise and fall in the draft order more than expected. Busts are always present, but we may just see a future Hall of Famer drafter on Wednesday night.

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