It’s been a wild couple of days leading up to the draft with a ton of big names traded and plenty of draft picks on the move. We won’t get into all the future draft picks that changed hands but instead take a look at the 2020 picks that were traded and what that could mean for the this draft.
The Blazers made the move to acquire Rockets forward Robert Covington (a perfect fit for what they’re building) in exchange for Trevor Ariza and the no.16 pick in the draft. The Rockets are looking at potentially blowing up the roster and this might be just the first domino to fall. If the Rockets enter a full-on rebuild they’ll look to stack draft picks and young talent. And if Harden and Westbrook are traded they’ll need a new ball dominant guard to run the show. Enter Cole Anthony, who has been a bit lower on our mock but moved up to no.16 after this trade was announced. Anthony would give the (potentially) new look Rockets an engine to run the offense and a guy who can handle some of the scoring load.
The Bucks made the most important move of the year by acquiring Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans in exchange for a bucket load of players and draft picks, including the 24th pick this year. This move could be enough to keep Giannis in town, and if so would be worth the high price they paid. With the 24th pick the Pelicans will have a chance to get a real nice piece. This draft is lacking at the top but has plenty of depth and there should be a good player to be had in the late first round. We mocked combo forward/jumbo wing Robert Woodard II at this pick. Woodard is a freakishly long and freakishly strong forward who is just scratching the surface of his potential. Whoever the Pelicans get here could be a nice piece for them moving forward – and of course all the future first round picks they received in the trade are nice as well.
The Lakers made a shrewd move to acquire Dennis Schroder in exchange for the 28th pick, which goes to the Thunder. OKC is stockpiling a monster stash of draft picks, both this year and in the future. The 28th pick in this draft should land them a solid player, and we mocked Aleksej Pokusevski, the young 7-0 Serbian player with this pick. Poku has huge upside but is almost completely unproven and could be a year or two away from making his mark in the NBA. But this seems like the kind of player Sam Presti and company will be looking for, as they swing for the fences and look to the future.
It’s finally draft week!!!! The longest draft season in history is coming to an end in a few short days!
The top of the mock remains the same (and just as uncertain as ever). One thing that’s becoming clear is that all mock drafts will look foolish in a few days, as trades, surprise picks and a general level of chaos will mark the top of the 2020 NBA Draft.
Most players in this class have a wide draft range. LaMelo is no.1 on a lot of boards but not in the top 5 on some. James Wiseman has an even wider range, from no.1 to outside the top 10. The same holds true for almost all of the prospects in this draft class.
International mystery man Aleksej Pokusevski shows up in the lottery in some mocks and in the second round in other mocks. He’ll probably end up somewhere in between – and it takes just one team to fall in love with him to make him a mid first round pick. I’ll be interested to see who gets drafted first between Poku and Jaden McDaniels (another intriguing but unproven high-upside player).
I’ll also be watching for how the mid first round PF/Cs come off the board. Jalen Smith seems to have an edge over Isaiah Stewart, Zeke Nnaji and Paul Reed but that order is far from set.
And same goes for the glut of point guards in the late first to mid second round range. There are about 8+ lead guards who could edge into the late first round but some of them will have to slide down the board on draft day. That list includes Malachi Flynn, Grant Riller, Devon Dotson, Tre Jones, Ty-Shon Alexander, Nico Mannion, Payton Pritchard and more. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we could see some surprises with this group.
It’s been said before but I’ll say it again, this draft is going to be wild, chaotic and unpredictable. And the chaos will start at the top.
At this point there’s an assumption being made that the no.1 overall pick will be one of Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman or LaMelo Ball. But Deni and Obi are in the mix as well and some analysts think Killian Hayes should be the top draft pick. Usually at this point, less than a month until the draft we start to get some clarity. This year promises to be different and the clarity might not come until the commissioner gets up on the virtual stage and announces the picks.
And the chaos will persist throughout the draft. Most players in this draft class have a very wide draft range. For example a guy like Precious Achiuwa has some buzz as a lottery pick, maybe even top 10 but could also slide into the 20’s on draft night. The same could be said for most of the late lottery/mid first round prospects.
But perhaps the most chaotic or unpredictable part of the draft in my opinion is the late first to mid second round. The reason is that there are about 40 players who grade out about the same and could go anywhere in that late first to mid second round range. One example is Tre Jones who currently sits at no.52 in our mock draft but who has some first round buzz as well. There’s so much depth at the point guard position (especially in terms of guys who project as solid back up PGs) that it’s just a matter of preference for teams. And with so many guys grading out about the same there will have to be some players that fall on draft night. Some teams might have Tre Jones ahead of Theo Maledon, Malachi Flynn, Nico Mannion, Ty-Shon Alexander, Devon Dotson etc. while other teams will have those players in a completely different order. Beauty is in the eye of the pick-holder and it’s nearly impossible for us draft analysts to say how the order will actually play out. And that’s going to make it a lot of fun to watch.
It could be that in the week or so leading up to the draft we’ll get some clarity about the top 3 or the top 5 picks. But I wouldn’t count on it. I fully expect the evening of November 18th to be chaotic from start to finish.
In this latest mock there are a few players rising up our draft board. Robert Woodard II is one of the risers, moving up to no.26 to the Celtics. Another player who has been moving up over the last few weeks is Immanuel Quickley who was a bit overlooked this year at Kentucky but who has a legit NBA skill with his 3pt shooting ability and the versatility to play on or off the ball. He’s currently mocked at no.39 to the Pelicans.
The long, long 2020 NBA draft season is still going on, with about 40 days still to go until draft night. And the story at the top of the draft remains the same, with no clear no.1 player. We’ve moved Deni Avdija to the top of our mock, not out of any deep conviction that he’s the best player in the class but rather that all of the other top guys have significant flaws and/or aren’t a great fit in Minnesota. Deni seems like a safer pick and also fits a need for the Timberwolves.
Tyrell Terry continues his rise up the draft board, landing at no. 12 in the latest mock. The major knock on him has been his lack of size and strength but a robust off-season training program has helped him add a lot of muscle to his frame and alleviated concerns about his ability to hold up on the defensive end. Terry is perhaps the best pure shooter in the draft class with a smooth, easy release, plus he’s got a nice feel for the game. His added muscle could help land him in the lottery on draft night.
Other players who are rising up the draft board are: Elijah Hughes, Killian Tillie, Robert Woodard, Malachi Flynn, Josh Hall, Naji Marshall, Ty-Shon Alexander and Jalen Harris.
It’s been said before and I’ll say it again: This draft is super deep, with tons of NBA talent available through the end of the second round and beyond. Despite the lack of a superstar at the top of the draft, this draft class will go down as a good one, due to the impressive depth of talent.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have won the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery! Congrats to Wolves fans, who now get to dream away for the next few months about adding a top tier talent to the roster. Will it be Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball or some other surprise pick? There are plenty of arguments for Edwards, who would give the team a much needed scoring boost. He’s a guy who can get his own shot and can get streaky-hot from outside. He’s not always the best decision maker and his shot selection could use some improvement but players with his type of offensive talent and shot-making prowess are tough to find. LaMelo seems like a possibility as well but it’s tough to imagine the fit next to DLo.
For more winners and losers from tonight’s lottery check out our latest post here.
This is our final pre-lottery mock draft! It’s been many months of predicting the draft based off of the final regular season standings but by Thursday evening we’ll know which teams have moved up, which teams have dropped in the lottery and we’ll be able to dial-in our predictions based off of the true draft order.
We’ll know if the Warriors are able to hold on to the top pick or (most likely) if another team rises to the top of the draft. With the lottery odds now flattened we’re likely to see a lot of movement. It should be fun!
Some movement has already taken place with the Portland Trailblazers storming into the playoffs, while knocking the Grizzlies into the lottery (there pick is owned by the Celtics, top 6 protected).
We’ll have another update out later this week, shortly after the draft lottery. It feels good to finally be entering the heart of the NBA draft season! Hallelujah!
This mock draft will be our final simulated lottery of the season, since the actual lottery is coming up soon, August 20th! Finally! Once the final draft order is set we’ll focus in even more on team need/fit in the mock.
Meanwhile the NCAA decision deadline has come and gone and there were a few mild surprises of players returning to school.
Jared Butler is returning to Baylor for his junior season, where he’ll look to move into the first rounder conversation for 2021 while also making the Baylor Bears one of the deepest and most loaded teams in the country. He waited until the last minute and it appeared that he might be staying in the 2020 draft but instead chose to return to school.
Isaiah Joe is returning to Arkansas for his junior year and will try to improve his draft stock from fringe second rounder to solid second rounder with some first round consideration. Joe will pair with star freshman Moses Moody to form a lethal 3pth shooting duo.
Ayo Dosunmu is also heading back to school for his junior season at Illinois, making them a really exciting team to track next season. Ayo is joined by Kofi Cockburn, who just announced his return as well, and the addition of star incoming freshman Adam Miller.
Xavier Tillman had been rumored to be returning to Michigan State but instead the big man is staying in the draft and signing with an agent. Xavier is a fringe first rounder and with all of the uncertainty due to Covid and the fact that next year’s draft is really strong, this seems like a good decision for the now former Spartan.
There’s not a ton of movement in the mock this time of year, with so little going on in terms of games or workouts but it gives us a chance to dig deeper into this draft class and question some of the assumptions and projections for these prospects. Despite all the question marks at the top of the draft it is clearly a deep draft class with a lot of potential value from the mid first round through about pick 40. There will be a lot of long NBA careers that come from this draft.
There are a few players that I’m really excited about and can’t get enough of studying and watching their tape. These guys aren’t likely to be top 5 picks but they show mesmerizing flashes of talent. The three at the top of that list for me are Patrick Williams, Aleksej Pokusevski and Tyrell Terry.
Williams has a lot going for him. He’s one of the youngest players in this draft, he’s a perfect fit in today’s NBA as a big, versatile forward and he’s got loads of offensive potential to discover and uncover. I could see him having an average rookie season and then coming on really strong a year or two down the line.
Pokusevski is a major wildcard. The 7-footer from Serbia has been playing against low level competition in Greece and so his stats need to be taken with a grain of salt but the flashes of guard skills (passing, open court ball-handling and perimeter scoring) that he shows are truly special. I can’t remember seeing a 7-footer his age do those things. He really does have special coordination and movements for his size and his passing instincts remind of a young Toni Kukoc.
Tyrell Terry just seems to have that IT factor. He’s cool under pressure, scores the ball with such ease and has a great feel/instincts for the game. There are some questions about his size, strength and athleticism but those were the same questions that caused Steph Curry to fall to no.7 in 2009. I’m not saying Terry is the next Steph but he fits into the same mold with his elite shooting skills and advanced feel for the game.
A few players falling on the draft board are Vernon Carey, who is just a tough projection/fit in todays’ NBA and Theo Maledon who is a solid prospect but doesn’t seem to standout in one area and could take a few years to impact at the NBA level.
In the latest mock draft I tried something different, doing a simulated lottery to mix up the draft order (it’s been a long draft season, it was time to shake things up). The Pistons landed the no.1 overall pick in this simulation and go with Anthony Edwards. Edwards is pretty much a lock to go in the top 3 of this draft and is perhaps the overall favorite to go no.1.
James Wiseman has been our top guy in this class for two years but he’s not without question marks and concerns. For me the biggest concern is his lack of lower body strength and the fact that he can be moved around too easily, even by smaller players. It could take a few years for him to develop the strength and technique to hold his own against the best centers in the league. The second reason for Wiseman dropping is the question of how he fits in the modern NBA (as Daniel Kaufman described in this article). Wiseman could well develop into a superstar center but the immediate payoff might not be there in the same way as it would be with Anthony Edwards and perhaps LaMelo and some of the other guards in the class.
The Suns jumped up to nab the 3rd pick in the simulated lottery and, although my heart said Onyeka (which would have made for a powerhouse of a frontcourt next to Ayton), my mind said LaMelo, who would form a scary young backcourt next to Booker. I have my questions about LaMelo (and all the prospects in this draft really) but landing in Phoenix would be a great fit for him and allow him to play to his strengths as a primary ball handler/facilitator.
The other big mover is Patrick Williams, who moved up to no.8 in the mock and no.4 on the big board. The more I watch of Williams the more I see his star upside. He’ll likely start out his career as a role player, bringing versatile defense, underrated court vision and scoring and lots of hustle to whichever franchise drafts him. But I think his trajectory will continue upward and he’ll develop into a really good NBA player, maybe even a perennial All Star player.
The big news is that it looks like the 2020 NBA season is on track to start up again in about a month, with 22 teams playing from July 31 to August 14 to determine who makes the playoffs. A lot can change between now and then but so far it’s looking like basketball is almost back!
Also the 2020 NBA draft has been pushed back one day to October 16 and the draft lottery is scheduled for August 25.
With most of the 2020 NBA draft prospects sidelined and working out privately the spotlight has fallen on Israeli forward Deni Avdija who is back in action with two strong showings, including a 23 point (7/9 FG, 2/3 3FG, 7/8 FT) 7 rebound, 5 assist performance in just 24 minutes of play. I’ve been a believer in his 3pt shot and it seems his hard work this spring is already paying off, as his shot looks a bit smoother and very confident. In these last two games he’s hit 4 out of 8 of his 3pt attempts.
So Deni is in action but mostly the draft season remains on pause with nothing to do but overthink and over analyze the 2020 prospects and take a look ahead at some the 2021 and beyond guys. This has been a strange draft year and an even stranger year overall in life. But basketball is coming back soon, the draft date is on the calendar and so things are looking up.
And some personal/website news: as you might’ve noticed we’ve updated the NBA Draft Room website (for the first time in 11 years!). If you have the site bookmarked please update your bookmarks, as the URL is slightly different. Hope you enjoy the new site and thanks a ton for reading!
We finally have some clarity about when the 2020 NBA Draft will take place! After a long hiatus the NBA will return to action in late July (22 teams will return for a play-in tournament, the bottom 8 teams in the standings are already lottery bound). Speaking of the lottery, it is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25th and the draft itself is scheduled for October 15th. Mark your calendars!
It’s strange to think that we still have over 4 months to go until draft day but at least it’s on the calendar.
Most of the underclassmen who have declared have already made their decision about whether to stay in the draft or return to school. The NCAA has set a date of August 3rd as the new deadline to withdraw from the draft.
The NBA is considering some sort of draft combine to take place in Orlando, in August. Details are still pending.
Draft season is in full swing with players declaring for the draft (or announcing their return to school). So far there’s been no major surprises and the draft board has stayed fairly consistent over the past few months.
The top of this draft is wide open and it could be a case where “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. A player who might be no.1 on one team’s board might not be in the top 5 on another team’s board. I can’t remember a draft were we had so little visibility on the top prospects – which will make the draft hard to predict but very exciting to watch.
This class is generally considered a weak to average draft class but there’s a good amount of depth and plenty of future NBA players to be found in the second round. The star power isn’t there at the top but we could look back a few years from now and see that there are a lot of good NBA players in this class.
But we might have to wait to see how it all plays out. The draft was scheduled for late June, per usual, but with the health crisis going on it will likely be pushed back to later in the summer. Until then, we’ll keep picking apart and over-analyzing the prospects, because what else is there to do when you’re sheltering in place?!
In the wake of the Corona Virus crisis and the postponement of the NBA season and cancellation of March madness we now jump straight into draft season, although a subdued and anxious one.
Before getting into the draft talk I’d first like to say to everyone out there stay safe, be smart, stay home, we’ll get through this together.
Even before this crisis hit we were already flying blind on many of the 2020 NBA draft prospects. Many of the top prospects barely played this season and those who did play had their season cut short. Now we’re just left to wonder which players might’ve stepped up during March madness and jumped up draft boards. Overall, we’ve never had so little visibility on the top prospects as we have this year.
What we do know is that this group of prospects gets mixed reviews. There’s plenty of talent but almost all of it unproven. NBA GM’s will have to lean on their scouts more than ever and the pre-draft workouts will be more important than ever. This crisis might also cause more underclassmen to declare this year than other years, either due to financial hardship of their families or concerns about whether the college season will take place next year (hopefully the virus is long gone by then!).
We’re now at the point of seeing underclassmen start to declare, with Tre Jones and Anthony Edwards among the notable early entries so far. Over the next few weeks we’ll see many of the top prospects make their announcements. Stay tuned.
As of now the date for the draft lottery and the draft itself are up in the air, as is the ending of the NBA season and playoffs.
It’s a strange time to be alive and a strange time to be a basketball fan, with public health and safety taking precedent over sports.
Once again, stay safe and healthy everybody!
There’s not much movement at the top of the draft, except for Onyeka Okongwu moving up a few spots to no.3 overall. The USC center has continued to show all the skills that NBA teams are looking for in a center with the ability to guard in space, protect the rim and operate in the pick and roll. He’s one of the more explosive leapers and dunkers in this draft class and has shown a great touch around the rim. It might be a while before he develops into a floor spacer but he’s got the makings of a mid-range game and is starting to expand his range.
Killian Hayes continues his strong play in Germany and is solidifying his lottery status. He lands at no.7 in this updated mock. Hayes is a downhill player who’s at his best penetrating and scoring or collapsing the defense and finding the open man. He’s got a strong build, nice athleticism and body control and a smooth game. He’d be getting a lot more attention if he was playing NCAA ball.
Precious Achiuwa has continued to benefit from the absence of James Wiseman, getting lots of touches and proving himself as the best player on the Memphis team. His 3pt shooting isn’t great but he’s got physical gifts that set him apart from other forwards. Achiuwa is big, fast, strong and plays with an edge.
Florida State forward Patrick Williams has jumped into our 2020 mock, landing in the late lottery at no.13. We were predicting that Williams would stay for a second season and enter the 2021 draft but he’s having a strong month and is looking more and more likely to head to the pros this spring. Williams is big and powerful but plays with great balance. His ability to be a lock-down defender gives him a lot of value.
Cole Anthony is back from his knee injury and will have a chance to reclaim his top 10 status in this draft but so far his offensive struggles have continued. In six games since returning (all loses for UNC) Cole has yet to shoot over 44% from the field and has struggled with turnovers. He also has only 4 total steals in those six games. Cole is looking like a possible starter in the NBA but probably not a star player, as we all thought at the start of the season.
Saddiq Bey continues to move up the board, as he shows off his elite 3pt shooting ability and solid defensive play. He’s just what NBA teams are looking for as a floor spacer and versatile defender.
Finally, Ayo Dosunmu is moving back up the board after some strong performances. He started the year mocked in the first round and could regain that ranking if his strong play continues. Ayo can play on or off the ball and is showing an improved 3pt shot. He’s got length, versatility and has shown the ability to hit clutch shots.
This draft class can’t catch a break. First Wiseman gets suspended and opts to leave school. LaMelo gets hurts, Cole Anthony gets hurt, R.J. Hampton misses time with an injury, Theo Maledon misses time and now Obi Toppin is out with a sprained ankle and Vanderbilt’s star forward Aaron Nesmith will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. Hopefully all the bad news is out of the way and this class gets healthy soon.
Speaking of Aaron Nesmith, the 6-6 wing had a monster sophomore season, proving himself as one of the elite shooters in this draft class. While he might not be a first option type of player at the next level he holds a lot of value as a knockdown 3pt shooter who can also handle the ball a bit and get his own shot. He’s done enough in his 14 games to earn a first round selection and could sniff the late lottery, depending on team needs and how the rest of this class shapes up.
Another breakout sophomore is Minnesota big man Daniel Oturu who is rocketing up draft boards
thanks to his dominant play. At first glance he doesn’t fit the mold of a modern NBA big man but he’s started to show flashes of a face-up game and outside shooting ability. He’s a workhorse on the low block who catches the ball well, shows good patience and can finish around the rim. He’s a good pick and dive player who will continue to develop his ability to pick and pop. Oturu is looking the part of a mid to late first round pick.
Anthony Edwards is still mocked at no.2 overall in our latest update but has had some tough outings recently, showing less than stellar defense and shot selection. He’s asked to do a lot for that Georgia team but doesn’t always make the best decisions with the ball and doesn’t always give maximum effort. He’s top 5 material but is now sitting firmly behind James Wiseman in our book.
Nico Mannion has fallen off a bit after a solid start and is raising some questions about whether what value he brings to the next level and whether he’s worth a lottery selection. He’s got uncanny vision and great passing instincts but doesn’t score in the lane and his shooting as been inconsistent, at 42% from the field and 33% from 3pt land. He’s been as high as top 5 in our mock but is looking more like a late lottery to mid first round pick at this point.
On the flip side Payton Pritchard has continued to impress and is moving up from undrafted territory to possibly a mid to high second round pick. He’s always been a baller who competes at a high level but he’s now scoring the ball at a nice clip, showing a fearlessness when driving the ball and stepping up to hit big shots in big moments. He’s probably not a starter in the League but he should have a long career.
Tyrese Haliburton has continued his impressive play. He’s so instinctual and has such a good frame, it’ll be hard for teams to pass on him in the mid lottery. He currently sits at no.6 in our latest mock and he’s right up there with LaMelo as the top lead guard in this draft.
Onyeka Okongwu has moved steadily up draft boards over the course of the season but the hype may have gotten a bit out of hand. He’s an impressive prospect with a powerful build and quick twitch athleticism but he’s got a ways to go as far as expanding his offensive game and developing into a modern big. He’s able to overpower defenders at the college level but will have to make some adjustments against NBA size. We’ve long compared him to Tristan Thompson, which is a fine talent level to be drafting late lottery, but given the longer development curve of centers, is it really worth passing on a more NBA-ready guard or wing? Okongwu is a first round lock but talk of him going top 5 is a bit much.
There’s been lots of draft news the past few weeks but none of it is bigger than the recent announcement from James Wiseman that he’s leaving the Memphis program to focus his time and efforts on preparing for the NBA Draft. This makes a lot of sense to me. First, his suspension from the NCAA would have lasted until mid January so he’d have to wait a few more weeks to get any game action. And after sitting out for a while he might be a little rusty and could potentially play his way down from a potential no.1 overall selection. But the main reason it makes sense for Wiseman to leave Memphis is very simply to avoid the risk of injury. Wiseman is a near lock to go in the top 3 and in our view is the favorite to be drafted no.1 overall. Why risk that for two months of NCAA experience? Especially with how the NCAA has treated him. I’m sure he feels a lot of loyalty to Penny and to the Memphis program but at the end of the day he’s got to do what’s in his best interest and preparing for the draft full time will serve him well. Instead of having to go to class, do homework (as much as high level prospects do, at least) and spread his time and attention out, this allows him to lock in 100% on basketball for the next few months as he prepares for perhaps the most important day of his young life. Of course James Wiseman is a really bright young man, well read and academically minded, so the class/homework part might not be a big deal for him but still it seems like a good decision to focus fully on honing his skills for the draft.
The other big draft related news is the partial meniscus tear suffered by Cole Anthony, which will sideline him until approximately February. Cole was having an up and down year, showing some big time shot making ability but also struggling to finish at the rim and turning the ball over at a high clip. If he’s able to make it back to full strength and get back into game action for UNC it could do his draft stock a lot of good, as he’s been slipping on most draft boards. Even if he doesn’t play any more college ball he should still be a lottery selection but probably won’t be a top 5 pick.
Nico Mannion has played really well early in the year but had a really tough shooting night recently vs. Gonzaga. Gonzaga has a lot of length and plays good defense but Nico got good shots, he just couldn’t knock them down. This seems like a case of just having an off night rather than any concern about his ability to finish over length or hold up against pressure D. He has struggled so far to score in the lane but he’s also a guy who knows his strengths and plays to them. He’s not likely to develop into a high level finisher around the rim but he’ll get better in this area over the years and so it shouldn’t have much impact on his draft stock.
N’Faly Dante finally played his first game for the Oregon Ducks (after awaiting NCAA eligibility)
and instantly showed why he’s a potential lottery pick in 2020. He’s got a special combination of size and athleticism and these physical tools alone will make him a first round pick. Big men can take a while to develop and there’s a chance he’ll need a few years in the NBA before making his mark but if you look at the history of players like Clint Capela or Rudy Gobert you see that it can make sense to draft centers early and spend the time developing. The pay off down the road can be well worth it.
Jordan Nwora has continued his strong play and seems like a first round lock with end of lottery potential. The Louisville junior scores the ball from all areas of the court and has developing into a true knock down shooter. He’s not an elite athlete but has good size and knows how to play the game. His scoring ability is reminiscent of T.J. Warren in college, although Nwora has better range.
Tyrese Maxey has fallen down our draft board after a shaky few weeks of play. After that hot start, which vaulted him into the lottery he’s cooled off and has been struggling to hit shots. Known for his scoring ability, the 6-3 guard is hitting just 40% from the field and only 26% from 3pt land. His shooting should pick back up as the season goes on but it might not be enough to bring him back into the lottery. Undersized shooting guards can be a tough sell for NBA teams who prefer to draft for upside potential (read: positional size, length, projected NBA versatility).
Utah shooting guard Both Gach is looking more and more like a future NBA player and could declare for the 2020 draft after this, his sophomore season. He’s a long, wiry and quick player with nice size at 6-6 and really pretty outside shot (although hitting just 31% from 3). He could be a fringe first rounder this year or solidify his first round status by returning for his junior season for the Utes.
Minnesota center Daniel Oturu is in the midst of a breakout season, averaging 17 and 11 boards while shooting over 63% from the field. He’s also blocking 3.4 shots per game, becoming a force on the defensive end. We have him projected in the early second round but if he continues this strong play he’ll be moving up.
One potential sleeper second round pick is Freddie Gillespie of Baylor. The 6-9 senior is the type of player that every team needs, doing all the dirty work; setting screens, rebounding and blocking shots, while not demanding the basketball. He’s a late bloomer who is trending in a good direction and should have a pro career ahead of him, possibly in the NBA.
There have been a lot of develops recently and a lot of movement in the mock draft.
First, LaMelo suffered a minor foot injury in practice, which will keep him out of action for about a month, assuming he comes back at all. The expectations are that he’ll return to finish the season for the Illawarra Hawks but with potential top 5 picks it’s not unheard of for a player to shut it down and focus on draft prep.
R.J. Hampton has also suffered an injury (hip flexor) that will keep him out of NBL action for about a month. R.J. is tracking as a mid to late lottery selection who needs a strong showing the rest of the season to crack the top 8 of the draft, and could fall outside of the lottery if he plays poorly or continues to struggle with injuries. It’s safe to say that both LaMelo and R.J. have had successful but also challenging experiences by opting to go the pro-route and join the NBL.
Obi Toppin has gone from fringe first rounder at the beginning of the season to possible top 5 pick (he’s currently mocked at no.4 overall). Much of this is due to his strong play, great shooting and mature game. But it also has to do with the talent level at the top of this draft. There are two (some would say three) guys who are clearly at the top in Wiseman, Edwards (and LaMelo) and then there’s a big group of about 10 players who could all fill that no.4 spot. Obi could separate himself from that group thanks to his 3pt shooting ability at 6-9 and his versatile, NBA-ready game. He’s not the most exciting no.4 overall prospect we’ve ever seen but he’ll fit neatly into an NBA offense and should be a safe pick who can contribute day one.
The deep pool of point guards in this class will be a blessing for teams in need of a lead guard but we’re still waiting to see which prospects will separate themselves from the pack and claim those coveted high-lottery spots. Nico Mannion has continued his impressive play and, although he doesn’t have elite measurable or athleticism his impressive play making, shot making and feel for the game could land him in the 4-8 range on draft day.
Fellow freshman point guard Cole Anthony has moved down a few spots in our mock, mainly due to his inconsistent shooting, his struggles to score in the lane and his low assist/turnover ratio. Part of his struggles come from trying to do too much and his supporting cast isn’t helping him out much but still you’d like to see more of his shots falling and some better decisions with the ball. He’s an older freshman (older than some of the sophomores in this class) and so it’s hard to blame the turnovers and shooting woes on his age. Still, he’s got plenty of time to turn it around, with plenty of season left to play.
One of the biggest risers on the board is another point guard Tyrese Haliburton who has moved up to
no.8 in the mock. He’s a unique prospect thanks to his big frame and elite length (7-0 wingspan) along with his heady play and great court vision. He’s an efficient shooter from 3pt land, although his shot is a bit slow and funky, and he’s able to get to the rim and finish over length. Where Tyrese really stands out is with his decision making on offense and his ability to defend three or four positions on D. He projects as a guy who can come in right away and impact the NBA game, while not demanding a lot of shots. As he continues to improve his shooting form and convince the NBA guys that his 3pt shot is real he could potentially rise to the top of this second tier of players in the 2020 draft.
On the injury front UNC freshman Armando Bacot is out with an ankle sprain. He’d been playing well and looking like a guy who could sneak into the first round. Hopefully he’s back out there soon. And Duke freshman Cassius Stanley, who was expected to miss multiple weeks with a hamstring injury is already back on the court for the Blue Devils.
This draft class is getting more and more intriguing by the week. We’ve had a handful of prospects step up and announce themselves as potential lottery picks (Obi, Onyeka, Nwora, Ramsey etc.) and now there appears to be a much deeper pool of talent through the first round and into the second.
We’ve also seen plenty of players that have taken a big hit with their draft stock after a slow start to the season including Kahlil Whitney, who’s probably not a one and done, and Jalen Smith who seemed destined for a breakout season but so far hasn’t hit his stride.
In the latest mock Nico Mannion jumped to no.6 overall. It’s impossible to watch him play and not come away impressed. He puts moves on people that are just unfair and he hits lots of difficult shots. He’s not the biggest name point guard in this class by a long shot but he might be the best.
And finally, one player that doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of buzz but deserves first round consideration is Tar Heel center Armando Bacot. He’s not ever going to be a guy that gets lots of headlines but he’s one tough rebounder and defender who helps his team win. He’s a sleeper who could crash the first round this year.
The battle for the top spot is heating up, with Anthony Edwards putting on a show in the second half
vs. Michigan State and LaMelo Ball balling out down under. But for now we’ve got Wiseman at the top of the board, despite the suspension. Big men take a lot longer to develop than guards but Wiseman is already showing flashes of greatness. In a few years, once his frame is filled out and his skill level develops he’s going to be a serious problem. The Anthony Davis comparison is a lot to live up to but he’s got that type of talent. Who gets picked no.1 overall could come down to team need.
The biggest riser in our mock is super Sophomore Obi Toppin who moves into the mid lottery at no.8 overall. He’s a polished talent who can score the rock in a variety of ways and is showing a ton of confidence in his 3pt shot.
Another forward rising up the board is Mamadi Diakite of Virginia. He’s always been a good athlete but his defensive awareness looks much improved and he’s got a ton of value as a switchable defender who can guard in space. And now that he’s hitting the 3pt shot he’s worthy of a first round selection.
This draft class is showing decent depth early on with a lot of talent at the top of the second round of the mock. There’s a long ways to go and plenty of time for future first rounders to separate themselves from the pack.
The draft order is very fluid at the beginning of the NBA season but it felt pretty cool to type the Phoenix Suns into the 25th spot, after so many years of projecting them as a top 5 pick. It’s early, yes, but that team looks legit. They have a defensive identity, a nice veteran presence with Rubio and Baynes and of course Book gets buckets. Let’s see if they can keep it up and finally get back into the playoffs.
After a great opening night of college basketball we finally have actual games to talk about! Wiseman looked dominate (albeit against S.C State) and he remains our favorite to go no.1 in June. Anthony Edwards also played well, showing off his tremendous power and athleticism to go along with that pretty jumper. Those two seem pretty locked in to the top 2 spots, IMO.
Tyrese Maxey of Kentucky was perhaps the biggest story of opening night. He came off the bench to lead the Wildcats in scoring with 26 points, showing off his deep shooting range and natural scoring ability. He’s moved from no.17 to no.9 in our latest mock. One disappointment from the game was not seeing more of Johnny Juzang but look for his minutes and production to pick up as the season goes along.
One of our favorite prospects (and one that gets far too little attention) is Onyeka Okongwu of USC.
He started his college career with a huge game against an over-matched Florida A&M squad, putting up 20pts, 13rebs and 8blks. Teammate Isaiah Mobley had a solid game as well scoring 17 points on just 7 shots. Both could be one and done’s but Mobley might stay to play with his brother Evan next season.
The Duke vs. Kansas game featured a lot of late first to mid second round prospects but one player who stood out was Cassius Stanley. He not only displayed his other-worldly athleticism with a couple of ferocious dunks but hit is lone 3pt attempt and also played with great energy and effort. Along with Tre Jones he seems to be the heart and soul of this Duke team. Teammate Wendell Moore had a tough night on the offensive end (going 1-6 with 4 turnovers) but he clearly has an NBA frame and a chance to develop into a good NBA wing. He’s probably a 2 or 3 year guy for Duke. Vernon Carey is slimmed down and moving well. He didn’t have a huge opening game but watch for him to put up some big numbers this season on his way to possibly being a one and done. Hurt displayed his nice shooting stroke and floor spacing ability but he projects as more of an NBA back up, in our book. Ochai Agbaji looks like Kansas’ best pro prospect with late first to early second round potential. He’s got the frame, the shooting stroke and really brings it on the defensive end. As he cleans up his ball handling and play making he’ll be problem.
We have our first major shake up of the projected draft order with one notable team, the Warriors,
falling into the lottery after the Steph Curry hand injury. This is looking like a full-fledged rebuilding year for the Dubs, hoping to come back next season with a healthy Steph, Klay, a big free agent and a high draft pick. Stay tuned for the Draymond trade rumors.
For now the Sacramento Kings rise (fall) to the no.1 overall pick after a flat start to the season. We’ll have a better idea of the lottery-bound teams in a month or two.
JUCO star Jay Scrubb moves up a few spots into the back end of the first round. His commitment to play at Louisville next season might just be a mirage as he’ll probably test the NBA Draft waters this spring.
The more tape I watch the more I like what I see from Reggie Perry. He’s going to have a really big second season at Mississippi State and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him rise into the lottery.
The NCAA season kicks off in only four days! Let the fun begin.
The games that count are about to begin and we’ll get a closer look at the NCAA prospects soon. In
NBL play both LaMelo and R.J. have had some ups and downs, both showing big time flashes and some growing pains as well.
Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey has been moved up a few spots in the 2020 mock to number 17. He should have the ball in his hands a lot this year, which will allow him to show off his one on one scoring ability and his growth as a facilitator.
Duke jumping jack Cassius Stanley re-enters the first round of the mock. His perimeter game is a work in progress but you can’t teach the ability to fly. Cassius is an older prospect for his class but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of upside left. This season at Duke will do him well – and he’ll provide us with a lot of big time dunks along the way.
Finally, Killian Hayes falls out of the first round after a few shaky games overseas.
Basketball season is in the air, with NBA teams getting ready for training camp later this week and
with NBL preseason games already underway down-under, highlighting the play of LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton.
LaMelo has been on a great trajectory over the past two years, with his physical growth to about 6-7 and with his endless creativity with the ball. After his fast start for the Illawarra Hawks he moves from late lottery up to no.5 in our latest mock draft. His shooting and play-making have both translated so far to the higher level of play and he’s got a unique ability to score the ball, showing off an extra deep floater and his usual step-back deep range.
R.J. Hampton also got off to a solid start to his pro career, showing off his high-end athleticism and wiry 6-5 frame. He’s led his team in scoring twice so far while impacting both ends. The NZ Breakers will play preseason games against the Memphis Grizzlies on October 9 and the Thunder on October 11. Be sure to tune in for those. R.J. has been a lock in our top 5 since he reclassified last year and we don’t expect that to change.
Finally, Tyler Bey rebounds into the first round. He’s the type of wing athlete/defender that has a lot of value in the NBA game. If he shows improved ball handling and shooting this season he could be a sneaky pick to crash the lottery.
There’s not much movement this time of year but with basketball season on the near horizon you know that’ll change soon 🙂
Key Upcoming Dates
- Training Camps Open – 9/28-10/1
- Preseason Opens – 9/30
- Preseason Ends – 10/18
- Regular Season Begins – 10/22
Tyrese Haliburton has moved into the 2020 round 1. He’s been a hot name this summer with his play at FIBA u19 raising his draft stock. Expect a big year for Haliburton at Iowa State and an early entry into the 2020 draft.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is another hot name. We’ve had him mocked in the mid first round for many months but he’s now up to no.10 overall in the 2020 mock. He’s an ideal modern day big, with a nice scoring package, good mobility and high BBIQ.
Vernon Carey Jr. is an interesting prospect. He could have a dominant year for Duke but there are questions about how his game fits today’s NBA. 10 years ago he’d be a lottery pick. In 2020 he might fall to the late first round.
Trade Update: The Nets now own the Sixers 2020 first round pick (lottery protected), getting the pick from the Clippers on draft night for the rights to Kabengele. The Clippers had previously gotten the pick from Philly in the Tobias Harris deal.
LaMelo has announced his destination for the coming season, choosing to play in Australia with the Illawarra Hawks of the NBL. This will be a good opportunity for him to grow his game against grown men.
Trendon Watford moves up to no.9 in the mock and should be in for a big season for LSU.
Neemias Queta jumps into the first round, from early second. He has a chance to dominate in his second at Utah State.
LaMelo Ball has always had the talent. Now his frame is catching up to his game. We don’t have official measurements but LaMelo looks to be a legit 6-7 and more importantly he’s developing the strength and burst that he lacked earlier in his HS career. In our 2020 mock LaMelo is up to no.15 and could move up into the lottery through the course of the next year.
Also moving up is Johnny Juzang who classed-up and committed to Kentucky. He’s a great fit in Coach Cal’s system, where he’ll get to show off his shooting and creative scoring ability without needing to shoulder too much of the load. He’s got a pair of great point guards to play with and a ton of depth around him on the wing.
Charles Bassey opted to return for a second season at Western Kentucky and it’ll be interesting to see if he adds more to his game before the 2020 draft. He’s got the physical tools and definitely has a role in the League but can he develop his shooting to provide the spacing that’s so important in today’s NBA? He could go as high as lotto or mid to late first round, depending on how he develops.
Big news from R.J. Hampton this morning, announcing that he’s skipping college and going to play in the NBL for the New Zealand Breakers. Kansas and Memphis were on him hard but in the end the chance to play pro ball (develop against grown men and earn a paycheck) was the decision that felt best for him. We’ll miss the chance to see him play NCAA ball but he’ll be back in a year – a likely top 5 pick next June.
P.S. It’s time for the NBA to change the age limit rule!
LSU fans got some big news this week with the commitment of potential 2020 lottery pick Trendon Watford. Watford should have the ball in his hands a lot next season and is a likely one-and-done player.
More big news that came this week is Jaden McDaniels announcing his commitment to Washington. The Huskies now have one of the most heralded recruiting classes in the country and are poised for a big year in 2019/20.
R.J. Hampton will announce his college decision on Tuesday, May 28th. Kansas appears to be in the lead, with Memphis and Texas Tech still in the running.
Israeli SF Deni Avdija moves up to no.6 overall with his continued strong play. He’s got a really high skill level, a big frame and great understanding of the game. An underrated passer.
For the Kentucky Wildcats, could the addition of Johnny Juzang hurt Kahlil Whitney’s draft stock? If Juzang proves to be the better shooter and shows a more polished offensive game he could outshine the higher ranked Whitney.
We still have Nicolas Claxton in the 2020 mock but he could move up to 2019. We’ll know his decision in the next week or two.
Still waiting for Jaden, Trendon and R.J. Hampton to make their college decisions.
After a very strong week at the Nike Hoops Summit James Wiseman rises up to the no.1 overall spot. Wiseman has uncanny agility for a 7-1 player. Once he fills out his frame and improves his ball skills he’ll be a major problem.
Cole Anthony moves down a few spots and Nico Mannion moves into the 2020 first round. The two point guards got after it during the Hoops Summit game, with both showing flashes of top 10 talent. Mannion was especially impressive, playing aggressive defense while also looking to score the ball. The Mannion/Green tandom will be really good next year for Arizona.
We’ve moved R.J. Hampton to the 2020 mock, projecting that he will reclassify and play college ball next season. He lands at no.3 in our mock but has no.1 overall type of talent.
With the High School all star games underway there’s been a lot of movement in the 2020 mock draft, and the change starts at the top. We have a new no.1 overall in Anthony Edwards who rises up one spot after a strong week at the McDonald’s All American Game. Edwards is built like a linebacker but with a silky smooth game. He can power his way to the rim, score from mid range or pull-up from deep. He excels at getting his own shot and can score on anyone.
James Wiseman also moves up a spot to no.2 overall. His agility at his size is truly impressive and his skill level is developing rapidly. He looks the part of an elite level center prospect. To put it in perspective, he’d be the top big man in the 2019 draft, if he was allowed to declare.
- Anthony Edwards (overpowering and dripping with talent)
- James Wiseman (easily the best center prospect in the class)
- Isaiah Stewart (consistent, powerful, a man among boys)
- Cole Anthony (no big surprise but Anthony is as polished a PG prospect as we’ve seen)
- Scottie Lewis (a speed demon who brings it every possession)
- Sammuel Williamson (long, athletic, with a smooth jumper. Underrated)
- Tyrese Maxey (a strong guard, can score at will, has a deadly 3pt shot)
- Precious Achiuwa (a load to handle at 6-9, can take his man off the bounce)
- Jaden McDaniels (has no.1 overall type of talent but gets pushed around, doesn’t assert himself)
- Bryan Antoine (thin lower body, lacks polish on offense, could be a 2 or 3 year guy at Nova)
- Matthew Hurt (lacks strength and isn’t the quickest player. Projects as a role player)
- Josiah James (has upside but probably not a one and done type of guy)
We also have a few current college Freshman who we project will return for their Sophomore season. Leading the way is Jalen Smith (Maryland), Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State) and Louis King (Oregon). These guys could enter the 2019 draft but if they return they’ve got lottery potential.
And Kenny Wooten, a Sophomore, could rise into the lottery with one more year in school.
The International flavor is mostly French in 2020 with big PG Theo Maledon leading the way. Physically he reminds of Shea Gilgeous-Alexander but with a bit more offensive talent.
French raised Killian Hayes will get a look as well. He’s another big combo guard type who fits the mold of a primary initiator, scorer and facilitator at the next level.
And Jaylen Hoard of Wake Forest could stay in school and make it three Frenchmen in next year’s first round.
Deni Avdija (Israel), Precious Achiuwa (Mali), Josh Green (Australia) all have lottery potential.