In amongst the NBA Playoffs’ unique conditions, the Draft Lottery presented the starting point of the 2020 offseason. This year’s lottery offered the drastic changes that we should become accustomed to with the new odds. The Timberwolves jumped from the third-best odds to the first pick, while the Warriors will pick at two. The two significant risers were Charlotte from eight to three and Chicago from seven to four. As for the losers, the New York Knicks were piled with even more misery, dropping to the eighth pick. With the lottery wrapped up, it is now appropriate to do a Mock Draft, with team selections now chosen. Here is a post lottery 2020 mock draft.
#1: Minnesota Timberwolves – Anthony Edwards: Georgia, SG
Minnesota has been one of the unluckiest teams in the history of the Draft Lottery. The Timberwolves moved up in the lottery for the first time to receive the top selection this year. In a draft with no clear top selection, the Wolves could go several different ways with this pick. However, the safest choice is probably Anthony Edwards.
The former Georgia Bulldog is a freak of nature, weighing 225 pounds at just 6’5. He also can jump out of the gym. There are concerns about his 40% from the field and 29% from deep efficiency splits. However, considering opposition defenses were focused entirely on Edwards at Georgia, this should be an area that he eventually improves upon. He could slot right next to D’Angelo Russell in Minnesota, or maybe even in a three-guard lineup alongside Malik Beasley.
#2: Golden State Warriors – James Wiseman: Memphis, C
There is still so much speculation around the Warriors here. The second overall pick is a precious asset and one they could look to flip, given their win-now mindset. If they are to keep it, however, James Wiseman makes the most sense. He fills a positional need at center and could contribute heavily in the interior on both ends.
Offensively, he is excellent when rolling to the rim off a screen, with a mix of athleticism and soft touch. On defense, despite his superb rim protection, he lacks quick lateral movement. In the NBA, he would initially be a liability on switches. His potential on both ends is undeniable, though, and is the logical selection for Golden State.
#3: Charlotte Hornets – LaMelo Ball: Illawarra Hawks, PG
In a team with little talent or direction, the Hornets must pick the best player available in the draft. LaMelo Ball displayed just how good he could become during his lone season in Australia, taking home NBL Rookie of the Year honors. His stat line of 17 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7 assists per contest was a huge reason why he shot up draft boards.
Shooting is something he must improve on, with a highly unorthodox form and low efficiency. His defense was better than what we have seen in the past, but he still needs to be more focused. Overall, his combination of size and skill at such a young age makes him the draftee with the most potential.
#4: Chicago Bulls – Deni Avdija: Maccabi Tel Aviv, SF/PF
The Chicago Bulls lucked out with the fourth pick, jumping up from the seventh-best odds. After firing Jim Boylen, the next step in their offseason should be drafting Deni Avdija. Chicago gets an elite talent who rounds out a starting five with White, LaVine, Markkanen, and Carter Jr.
Avdija can play either forward position and is a terrific playmaker. He will always make the right reads and can control the tempo of a game. The Israeli is also a good ball-handler and very gifted in finishing around the rim. Despite his limited athleticism, he is an excellent defender due to his IQ. The only big problem with Avdija is his jumper. He shot 33% from downtown, and his free throw percentage at just 59% is hugely concerning. He must improve in this area when he gets into the league.
#5: Cleveland Cavaliers – Isaac Okoro: Auburn, SF/SG
Isaac Okoro is the best defensive player in this draft class. His speed, strength, and positioning allow him to guard four positions despite being 6’6”. On the Cavs, this superb defense will be beneficial next to Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. He does also possess value offensively. At Auburn this past season, he shot 60.6% inside the arc, using his athleticism and soft touch to finish around the rim.
Okoro will always make the right play and find open shooters rather than taking a bad shot. His only real limitation is his shooting ability. The Auburn Tiger made just 28.5% of his 70 three-point attempts and only 67% of free throws. Improving his shooting efficiency is vital to unlocking his offensive potential. With Okoro at the three next to Sexton, Garland, Kevin Love, and Andre Drummond, the Cavs could make a surprise push for the playoffs next year.
#6: Atlanta Hawks – Tyrese Haliburton: Iowa State, PG/SG
No one fits the Atlanta Hawks in this year’s draft better than Tyrese Haliburton. His ability to handle and distribute at 6’5″ makes him the perfect secondary playmaker to Trae Young. Haliburton is also an extremely efficient scorer, shooting 50% from the field and 42% from three. His 6’8” wingspan makes up for his limited athleticism when attacking the rim, and his decision making makes him a helpful off-ball defender.
The former Iowa State guard does need to improve his one-on-one defense, as he is often beaten off the dribble. Despite his excellent catch and shoot percentages, his unorthodox form limits his ability to score off the dribble. This will be less of a problem on a team where he will serve as a secondary playmaker, like the Hawks.
#7: Detroit Pistons – Onyeka Okongwu: USC, C/PF
Since starting on the iconic Chino Hills team with the Ball brothers, Onyeka Okongwu has gone on to make a name for himself. At USC this past season, he averaged 16 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He also displayed his defensive prowess, averaging 2.7 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. While Okongwu chases blocks too much, he is a superb, switchable defender with great positional awareness. He spaces the floor vertically as an athletic lob threat while handling and passing the ball like a smaller player. Despite the lack of a jumper, his post game is quite strong.
The Pistons have Blake Griffin and Christian Wood in the frontcourt already. However, this selection is because they will probably be bad next season. They should be able to get an elite guard or wing in the much stronger 2021 draft.
#8: New York Knicks – Obidah Toppin: Dayton, PF
Obi Toppin has been another big riser this past season. In his second year at Dayton, he took home the John R. Wooden for best college player. Toppin is an incredible athlete, recording 107 dunks in just 31 games. When he’s not dunking, he has a soft touch around the basket, shooting 70% on two-pointers. Toppin can hit the open man consistently and is a solid ball-handler. Most notably, in the modern game, he can stretch the floor. Toppin shoots 39% from downtown, albeit with limited attempts.
A significant concern is that at 22 years of age, he might not improve that much in the league. Defensively, he is also quite poor, particularly in the pick and roll. Toppin would be a safe pick for New York.
#9: Washington Wizards – Devin Vassell: Florida State, SG/SF
For a team that ranked 29th in defense last season, adding a stopper should be the number one priority. Devin Vassell is a terrific defender with the size and quickness to defend both guards and forwards. He can get stops one-on-one while also helping out his team with his defensive positioning and rotations.
The former Seminole is most known for his incredible hustle, often diving on the floor or making up ground quickly. Next to John Wall and Bradley Beal, he would offer the Wizards a much improved offensive option. Vassell hit 41.5% of his threes last season, while also improving his free throw percentage. His solid ball-handling ability has allowed him to shoot jumpers off the dribble with confidence. The only concern with Vassell is that he is quite wiry and may struggle against stronger NBA opponents.
#10: Phoenix Suns – Killian Hayes: Ratiopharm Ulm, PG/SG
The Phoenix Suns will be extremely encouraged after going 8-0 in Orlando. However, they still have a real need for a point guard besides Ricky Rubio. Killian Hayes would be a great fit next to Devin Booker in the backcourt. The Frenchman is a superb playmaker, which would allow Booker to focus more on scoring. Given his mastery in the pick and roll, he could also form a great partnership with DeAndre Ayton.
Hayes’ mid-level scoring ability is exceptional. 29.5% from three is concerning, but 87.5% on free throws and silky form are indicators that he will improve. Hayes is usually reliable on defense but sometimes makes careless errors. His handle also needs some work for him to develop more scoring ability off the bounce. With much to improve upon at a young age, Hayes has one of the best ceilings in the draft.
#11: San Antonio Spurs – Patrick Williams: Florida State, SF/PF
After their playoff streak finally came to an end, the Spurs will pick 11th this year. They could use a promising young forward like Patrick Williams to develop over time. While 9 points and 4 rebounds per game certainly don’t jump off the page, this selection is based on potential.
At 6’8” and 225 pounds, he can defend all five positions. He shot 32% from three but will improve this based on his 84% from the free-throw line. Williams does a little bit of everything on the court, and with improvement, could become a superb all-around player. His development will need to be similar to what Kawhi Leonard got. His shot still needs some work, as does his handle. Overall, his upside on both ends of the ball makes him a better prospect than competitors for this spot.
#12: Sacramento Kings – Saddiq Bey: Villanova, SF/PF
Saddiq Bey is another name on the list of solid three and D players in this year’s draft class. He plays with high energy, and his quickness allows him to defend against smaller guards. Off the ball, he communicates well and can switch onto anyone beyond the arc.
The former Villanova Wildcat has an excellent jumper, shooting 45% from three on over 5.5 attempts per game. Bey is not the most explosive athlete, nor is he much of a shot-creator, but the two-way ability will be a welcome addition to Sacramento’s frontcourt. The fit with De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield should work nicely, especially given Bey’s impressive catch and shoot ability.
#13: New Orleans Pelicans – Kira Lewis Jr: Alabama, PG/SG
With Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick getting older, the Pelicans could use a microwave scorer on their roster. Kira Lewis Jr was a high volume and efficient scorer at Alabama, and would immediately contribute to the Pelicans offense.
The former Crimson Tide shot 36.5% on the deep ball and over 80% from the line. He uses his exceptional speed to create good looks for himself off the dribble and flourishes in the pick and roll. Lewis is solid defensively but needs to add weight to improve his one-on-one. If he develops his playmaking and touch around the rim, he could become a terrific NBA scorer.
#14: Boston Celtics – Jalen Smith: Maryland, C
Jalen Smith could develop into a Daniel Thies upgrade for the Boston Celtics. He is extremely skilled for a big, with the ability to handle the ball at all times. 37% from beyond the arc is extremely impressive, and he gets to the line quite a lot.
Smith is a smart defender who anticipates blocks and boards to perfection. His athleticism is below average, limiting his ability in the pick and roll on both ends of the floor. More importantly though, Smith needs to improve his passing. If he is to contribute on a perimeter-oriented team like the Celtics, being able to hit the open man at the right time is vital.