National Basketball Association

Edwards Tops Katz's NBA Mock Draft

November 18

By Andy Katz
FOX Sports college basketball reporter

The 2020 NBA Draft was moved multiple times, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be impactful.

The players taken in this draft will get possibly more NBA opportunity due to expanded rosters and/or the need for more players due to COVID-19, as well as the unknown of whether the G League will occur.

But there is talent. Plenty. And the deeper the draft goes there is still hope for players who can contribute.

We'll also want to be very patient in evaluating this draft class, as this group will not have a summer-league season to prepare.

Here's my first-round forecast:

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

2019-20 season averages: 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists

If the Timberwolves keep this pick, then going with the most talented wing makes the most sense. Edwards is one of the few likely stars in this draft. 

2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

2019-20 season averages: 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 blocks

The Warriors of this era aren't used to picking this high. This is an anomaly and landing the best big man will be a major coup for Steve Kerr's squad. 

3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks

2019-20 season averages: 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists

Ball is probably the most polarizing pick in the top five. However, this feels like a Michael Jordan pick if the talented point guard, who is a skilled passer, falls to No. 3. 

4. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

2019-20 season averages: 4.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists

This would be a historic pick for Israel. Avdija is the most ready of any Israeli prospect to head to the NBA. 

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton

2019-20 season averages: 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists

Toppin will be a steal for Cleveland if he falls to No. 5. He's a rising star. Moving from Dayton to Cleveland, Dayton could give the Cavs their next local star. 

6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, F, USC

2019-20 season averages: 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks

Okongwu is going to flourish in the NBA. He can score in a variety of ways and will fit in perfectly with what the Hawks are building behind Trae Young. 

7. Detroit Pistons: Patrick Williams, F, Florida State

2019-20 season averages: 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists

The Pistons need talent. They will get it, plus rim protection with Patrick Williams. A product of Leonard Hamilton's system, Williams also will be strong on the defensive end.

8. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

2019-20 season averages: 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists

The Knicks need a lead guard. Haliburton might have an unorthodox shot, but he can be the playmaker the Knicks need to complement RJ Barrett. 

9. Washington Wizards: Devin Vassell, SG Florida State

2019-20 season averages: 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists

Vassell is one of the hardest workers in this draft. He earned this spot and became a lottery player. The Wizards will relish his work ethic. 

10. Phoenix Suns: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

2019-20 season averages: 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists

Lewis is a stat stuffer, and the young playmaker will now get the chance to learn under Chris Paul in Phoenix.

11. San Antonio Spurs: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

2019-20 season averages: 16.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists

The Spurs have done well with polished players from high-level programs. Bey answers that call after his brief stint with Jay Wright's Wildcats.

12. Sacramento Kings: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm (Basketball Bundesliga)

2019-20 season averages: 12.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists

The dazzling French point guard can make an immediate impact with the Kings. His passing is a lost art.

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn

2019-20 season averages: 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists

A 6-foot-6 small forward, Okoro will bring his athleticism to a front court that already features Zion Williamson.

14. Boston Celtics: Isaiah Stewart, PF, Washington

2019-20 season averages: 17.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.1 blocks

The Celtics could use another big, and Stewart might be undervalued in this draft. He can be a space-eater on the defensive end, and his confidence around the basket continues to grow. 

15. Orlando Magic: RJ Hampton, PG, New Zealand Breakers

2019-20 season averages: 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists

Hampton's shooting and overall playmaking could be welcomed in Orlando. 

16. Houston Rockets (from Portland): Josh Green, SG, Arizona

2019-20 season averages: 12.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists

A player like Green is extremely versatile for a Houston roster that is in flux. The Australia product did a little bit of everything for Sean Miller at Arizona.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jalen Smith, F, Maryland

2019-20 season averages: 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.4 blocks

The Timberwolves don't need a big at No. 1, but getting another backup in someone like Smith later in the first round would benefit them. Smith has barely scratched the surface of his potential. 

18. Dallas Mavericks: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

2019-20 season averages: 23.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 52.2 percent 3-point FG

The Mavs would be getting one of the steals of the draft if Nesmith falls this far. He's considered the best shooter in the draft and would enhance a playoff team. 

19. Brooklyn Nets: Aleksej Pokusevksi, F/C, Olympiacos B

2019-20 season averages: 9.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks

The Nets don't need talent for now. So, getting an international big makes sense to build for the future.

20. Miami Heat: Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona

2019-20 season averages: 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 57 percent FG

Nnaji is like another Bam Adebayo. He's a hard worker, a high-character player who would fit in perfectly in the Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra system. 

21. Philadelphia 76ers: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

2019-20 season averages: 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists

The Sixers probably wouldn't pass on Anthony if he falls this far. The point guard thrives on the fast break. 

22. Denver Nuggets: Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis

2019-20 season averages: 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks

Achiuwa might not drop this far. He could easily go in the late lottery. He picked up the slack for Memphis when James Wiseman was out. He's an NBA-ready scorer. 

23. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL (France)*
[Ed. note: Wednesday morning, the Jazz and Knicks swapped the 23rd and 27th picks, with New York also sending the 38th pick to Utah.]

2019-20 season averages: 7.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists

The Jazz never shy away from an international lead guard. Maledon doesn't need to come in and contribute immediately. 

24. New Orleans Pelicans (from Milwaukee): Cassius Stanley, G, Duke

2019-20 season averages: 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists

This will be one of my favorite picks if he falls this far. Stanely is one of the top athletes in this draft and would flourish with the Pelicans. 

25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon

2019-20 season averages: 20.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists

This is one of my sleeper picks. Pritchard is a first-round talent. He's a heady point guard who has already played with a slew of players at Oregon. He has been in a professional-like environment with the Ducks. 

26. Boston Celtics: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

2019-20 season averages: 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists

Maxey played big in Kentucky's big games last season. He thrives in those moments. The Celtics will go for the best player at this point who fits their needs. 

27. New York Knicks: Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington*
[Ed. note: Wednesday morning, the Jazz and Knicks swapped the 23rd and 27th picks, with New York also sending the 38th pick to Utah.]

2019-20 season averages: 13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists

McDaniels oozes talent but never was able to fully flourish with the Huskies. He has first-round talent, but might slip down. 

28. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Los Angeles Lakers): Leandro Bolmaro, SG, Barcelona

2019-20 season averages: 3.1 points, .95 rebounds, 3.0 assists (11.1 minutes per game in Liga ACB and EuroLeague)

This pick is reportedly being sent from LA to OKC in the trade for Dennis Schroder. The Thunder like to stash players. Bolmaro is perfect to fit that criteria since he doesn't have to be ready yet. 

29. Toronto Raptors: Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville

2019-20 season averages: 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists

The Raptors have done well with experienced college players. Nwora fits that role for the 2019 champs. 

30. Boston Celtics: Elijah Hughes, F, Syracuse

2019-20 season averages: 19.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists

Hughes is another scorer who could help the Celtics if he were to make the squad. The 6-foot-6 forward has made himself into a first-round talent after transferring from East Carolina to Syracuse. 


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