The 2020 NBA Draft cannot take place until the lottery order is officially sorted out. And the lottery order cannot officially be sorted out until the NBA season officially comes to a conclusion. And as we sit here, at the end of May, there’s no concrete answer on when (or if) the NBA season will resume — much less when it will conclude.
So consider the entirety of the NBA Draft process right now to be one giant shrug emoji.
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But technically (technically!) the draft process is still ongoing. Though players have not been able to work out for teams in person or interview face-to-face since the season ended, Zoom calls are being conducted between players and teams, front offices are doing homework through film study, and opinions are continuing to take shape about this year’s class as preparation for the draft remains ongoing.
With all that uncertainty in mind as the backdrop, I’m releasing today the seventh iteration of my mock draft to reflect how I anticipate the draft to unfold this year. Despite the lottery order still not set, team need and fit is weighed heavily as opposed to my own personal view on prospects. For my prospect rankings, you can toggle to the CBS Sports Top 100 Big Board.
The draft order has been determined by SportsLine projected records.
NBA MOCK DRAFT
Round 1 – Pick 1
James Wiseman C
MEMPHIS • FR • 7’1″ / 240 LBS
Warriors GM Bob Myers said last week that he would consider trading the team’s first-round pick. But if they get No. 1 and keep it, it’s hard to imagine passing on a 7-footer in James Wiseman who has massive upside and fits a need. The former Memphis standout has a reported 7-6 wingspan and would mesh perfectly into Golden State’s system as a rim-running lob threat who can protect the rim. With the core pieces of a championship contender in place, Wiseman could be a linchpin to keep its title-winning window pried open.
Round 1 – Pick 2
Anthony Edwards SG
GEORGIA • FR • 6’5″ / 225 LBS
Cleveland needs a piece that can help complement first-round assets Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, and Anthony Edwards looks like a viable cog in that respect. He’s a freakish athlete who can play off the ball but also create for himself in space when the shot clock is winding down. His youth, athleticism and shot-making ability combined make him one of the most intriguing high-upside prospects in this class; Cleveland can’t afford to not take a huge swing from this position.
Round 1 – Pick 3
LaMelo Ball PG
AUSTRALIA • 6’6″ / 180 LBS
Detroit’s depleted roster needs a major talent upgrade, and LaMelo Ball, the No. 1 prospect on the CBS Sports Big Board, is an ideal gamble here. The younger brother of Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball is a jumbo playmaker who has grown to 6-6 and has the playmaking chops to develop into a franchise-caliber lead guard in time. Despite some scoring inefficiencies from distance playing in the NBL, his high-level vision and feel for the game match where the NBA’s moving.
Round 1 – Pick 4
Onyeka Okongwu C
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA • FR • 6’9″ / 245 LBS
Okongwu projects to be a monstrous defensive post presence and Minnesota needs exactly that to pair with KAT. The 6-9 forward/center is an elite defender who can step out on the perimeter and slide his feet well and also disrupt shots in the paint. While he doesn’t have much range yet he brings good value as a scorer inside the arc and could fit into what Minnesota needs to improve around its core.
Round 1 – Pick 5
Isaac Okoro SF
AUBURN • FR • 6’6″ / 225 LBS
Atlanta needs to add to its depth at wing and upgrade defensively, and here they can do both with Isaac Okoro. The 6-6 Auburn one-and-done is a Swiss Army knife-defender with a laser-sharp basketball brain who can impact winning without needing the ball. Consider that an ideal trait alongside the talented and ball-dominant Trae Young.
Round 1 – Pick 6
Killian Hayes PG
FRANCE • 6’5″ / 192 LBS
French prodigy Killian Hayes, at 18 years old, has already been a pro for two years and risen steadily in the international ranks among the NBA community. He has good positional size and great playmaking ability as a lead guard that could give the Knicks a foundational piece on which to build around long-term. Hayes doesn’t have top-end athleticism but he’s crafty with the ball in his hands and has a consistent jumper that should make him a safe bet to help New York at a position it so desperately needs to address.
Round 1 – Pick 7
Deni Avdija SF
ISRAEL • 6’9″ / 215 LBS
To help maximize Chicago’s young core, Deni Avdija is the smart bet if the board falls this way. The Israeli star is a point forward with great playmaking skills from his position who could help alleviate the offensive load in Chi-town. He’s also been a winner everywhere he’s been. At just 19 years old, he’s a two-time Israeli League champion and a two-time FIBA European champ.
Round 1 – Pick 8
Obi Toppin PF
DAYTON • SOPH • 6’9″ / 220 LBS
Washington took a below-the-rim forward last year in Rui Hachimura, and here they take an above-the-rim forward in Obi Toppin who can make a winning impact with his athleticism and skill level, as evidenced last season when he led college basketball in dunks for a top-10 Dayton team.
Round 1 – Pick 9
Aaron Nesmith SF
VANDERBILT • SOPH • 6’6″ / 213 LBS
Before a season-ending foot injury in January, Aaron Nesmith, who shot 52.2% from 3-point range through 14 games, was on pace to be one of only three players in the last 20 years to shoot above 50% from deep on 200+ attempts, per college basketball reference. Simply put, he’s the most lethal shooter in this draft. Charlotte needs wing depth and scoring, making Nesmith a perfect remedy for both.
Round 1 – Pick 10
Tyrese Haliburton PG
IOWA STATE • SOPH • 6’5″ / 175 LBS
Scouts I’ve talked with have expressed pessimism about Tyrese Haliburton being the primary initiator for an NBA offense because the lack of athleticism and top-end burst in his game, so I can’t think of a better draft marriage than Haliburton and Phoenix. There he could operate as the co-lead guard sharing the offensive burden with Devin Booker, and eventually taking over for Ricky Rubio when his contract comes up. The playmaking, smarts and sheer feel will eventually win out as he thickens his frame and becomes a bonafide starting point guard in the NBA.
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