National Basketball Association
NBA Mock Draft 5.0
National Basketball Association

NBA Mock Draft 5.0

Updated Jul. 9, 2021 10:48 a.m. ET

By Jason McIntyre

The 2020 NBA Draft lottery produced a couple big losers, as the Knicks and Cavaliers fell, but one big winner: the Minnesota Timberwolves, who secured the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, leapfrogging Cleveland and Golden State.

In what is considered to be a below-average draft, here’s how we anticipate the draft shaking out:


1. Minnesota Timberwolves ⁠— Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia (Previous Rank: 4)

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

Physically he can start from Day 1, and he might even average 12 points a game as a rookie. But his indifference defensively and lack of feel as a passer don’t quite put him in the class of 2019 rookie sensation Tyler Herro.

2. Golden State Warriors ⁠— Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC (1)

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

As a freshman, he led the Pac-12 in PER, was a shot-blocking machine, and he plays with a ferocity that nobody else in the lottery has. At 6'9", he has shown the ability to defend forwards on the wing, and my ceiling would be that he wins a Defensive Player of the Year award. Shot 72% on free throws, so there’s hope for his offense.

3. Charlotte Hornets ⁠— LaMelo Ball, G, Illawara Hawks (2)

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

Tantalizing prospect offensively with a lot of holes. Question marks abound about his lack of defense and whether or not he can work in a system, but his potential for star potential is undeniable. Six-foot-six guards who can handle like he does with his shooting range are tough to find.

4. Chicago Bulls ⁠— Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton (3)

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

We were robbed of seeing where his meteoric rise took him in the NCAA Tournament, but he still finished 7th in the country in PER and shot 63% from the field. He’s 22, and probably can’t play on the wing, but would be a perfect power forward alongside a 3-point shooting center. 

5. Cleveland Cavaliers ⁠— Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (6)

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

Opinions vary greatly on this skilled but slender 19-year old who played in the famed Euroleague, like Luka Doncic. With Doncic blossoming quickly, expect a rush from NBA executives to "not miss" on the next European star, but Avdija is at least two years away from being a rotational player in the NBA.

6. Atlanta Hawks — Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn (7)

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

An elite wing defender who reminds me of Villanova’s Mikal Bridges, who emerged in his second year as a very good NBA defender. Okoro is more of an athlete than offensive talent, but his overall profile is strong enough that he could go in the top 5. A defensive trio of Okoro, De’Andre Hunter and John Collins up front has some strong potential.

7. Detroit Pistons ⁠— Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State (5)

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

Extremely solid all-around guard in the mold of Andre Miller, who had an excellent 17-year NBA career, but never made an All-Star team. Haliburton is a safe pick to be an immediate contributor as a passer and defender, but his ceiling isn’t as high as Kira Lewis or Killian Hayes.

8. New York Knicks — James Wiseman, C, Memphis (8)

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

Twenty years ago, Wiseman, with his 7'1" stature and 7'6" wingspan, is going 1st overall. He didn’t get a chance to put on a show in college, playing only three games, so it’s difficult to rate him on DeAndre Ayton’s level.


9. Washington Wizards ⁠— Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt (10)

2019-20 season averages: 23.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals

Unknown to many NBA fans, Nesmith wasn’t even a top 50 recruit and as a sophomore shot 52% on 3-pointers. In a league where shooting is at a premium, Nesmith could come in and have a Terrence Ross-type impact, bombing from the wing.

10. Phoenix Suns ⁠— Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama (15)

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

Feels a bit high, but the youngest sophomore in the country put up 18.5 ppg and there appears to be room for growth. Ricky Rubio turns 30 this offseason, and has two years left on his deal. 

11. San Antonio Spurs — Killian Hayes, PG, France (11)

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

Just turned 19 last month, and while the lefty gets compared to D’Angelo Russell because of that and his size (6'5"), he projects as a much better defender. The Spurs are loaded in the backcourt, but also played their best ball in the bubble with a guard-heavy attack. 

12. Sacramento Kings — Devin Vassell, SG, FSU (12)

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

With Vlade Divac out and a pivotal offseason ahead with two shooters (Kent Bazemore, Bogdan Bogdanovic) potentially being lost to free agency, the Kings will need to add a shooter in the draft, and Vassell not only brings that (41% on threes last year) but he’s a plus defender.

13. New Orleans Pelicans — Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky (23)

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

Maxey had an up-and-down season, but excelled in big games – 26 vs Michigan State, 27 vs Louisville, and 22 vs Auburn. Outside of Kentucky’s system, he may thrive, especially if the Pelicans move on from Lonzo Ball.

14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis) ⁠— Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova (16)

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

Arguably the best 3-and-D wing in the draft, he shot 45% last season for the Wildcats, but it’s his defense that teams love. Bey can defend 1-5, and putting him alongside Jaylen Brown makes the Celtics formidable defensively on the wing.

15. Orlando Magic – Cole Anthony, PG, UNC (9)

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

Entering his freshman year, I had Anthony pegged as a top 5 candidate, maybe someone who could go 1st overall. He had a good-not-great season, but it’s tough to see him falling past the Magic, who will lose DJ Augustin in free agency, and they’ll need a backup for Markelle Fultz.

16. Portland Trail Blazers – Patrick Williams, F, FSU (14)

2019-20 season averages: 9.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists

Has a chance to crack the top 10 as a GM reaches for the youngest college player in the draft who has potential, albeit unfulfilled. The Blazers have the highest payroll in the NBA, and are going to need to build cheaply around that backcourt.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn) ⁠— Paul Reed, F, DePaul (24)

2019-20 season averages: 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.6 blocks

Buzzy, relatively unknown player who the advanced stats group is falling in love with because of his impressive steal and block rate numbers.

18. Dallas Mavericks ⁠— Aleksej Pokusevski, F/C, Serbia (NR)

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

Makes his debut on the mock draft for three reasons: 1. He’s a few years away from the NBA; 2. At 7'0", inevitable Dirk comparisons will happen because Pokusevski is a 3-point shooter; 3. The Mavs want to make a run at Giannis in 2021, and stashing Pokusevski in Europe saves them money and keeps their salary cap clean. 

19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia) ⁠— RJ Hampton, SG, Australia (13)

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

Gifted athletically, and at 19 needs to put on some weight and improve his jumper. Projects in a few years as a rotational wing, maybe like Will Barton of the Nuggets. 

20. Miami Heat — Theo Maledon, PG, France (19)

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

If the Heat aren’t looking to add salary so they can keep their cap open for a run at Giannis, they’ll find a draft-and-stash. Maledon just turned 19 and is probably a couple years away from becoming a rotational player. 

21. Philadelphia 79ers (via Oklahoma City) — Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech (22)

2019-20 season averages: 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists

Shot 42% on threes as a freshman, and if the 76ers build around Joel Embiid, you want as many athletic, switchable shooters as possible.

22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston) — Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis (21)

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

Would probably have gone top 10 in this draft 15 years ago. Now teams want their bigs to be able to shoot, and Achiuwa is strictly defense, rebounding, and rim-running.

23. Utah Jazz — Desmond Bane, SG, TCU (20)

2019-20 season averages: 16.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists

On a team with Jordan Clarkson as your only reliable bench scorer, Bane could immediately help the Jazz. He had 12 games last year with 20-plus points for the Horned Frogs.

24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana) ⁠— Elijah Hughes, F, Syracuse (29)

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

A great isolation player at Syracuse, the 22-year old projects as an energy bench guy who can come on and provide offense, like Jordan Clarkson or Bogdan Bogdanovic.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver)  ⁠— Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas (NR)

2019-20 season averages: 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4 assists

Contenders need an experienced backup point guard to come in and win at both ends for 10-15 minutes a night the way Monte Morris does in Denver. Dotson’s 3-point shooting dipped to 30% last season, but his aggressiveness on defense (2.1 steals per game) makes up for it.

26. Boston Celtics — Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State (17)

2019-20 season averages: 13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists

What he lacks offensively and in shooting range, he makes up for as a high IQ player. With the right shot doctor, can he become Draymond Green? It’s an obvious comparison because of the Spartans connection, but Tillman could go this high or fall to the 2nd round, where Green was drafted.

27. New York Knicks (via LAC) — Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon

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

The defensive concerns are there, but everything about his decorated college career screams "get this talented player on my roster, we’ll figure the rest out later."

28. Los Angeles Lakers — Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas (NR)

2019-20 season averages: 16.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists

Shot 41% on 3-pointers as a freshman, but then only 34% as a sophomore. As a 3-and-D guard, NBA teams like his 1.4 steals per game and his 18 charges taken, which were tops on the Razorbacks.

29. Toronto Raptors ⁠— Grant Riller, PG, Charleston (30)

2019-20 season averages: 21.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists

Explosive 23-year old point guard with one of the best handles in the draft. Kyle Lowry has one year left on his deal, and then does Riller back up Fred VanVleet?

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee) ⁠— Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State (NR)

2019-20 season averages: 17.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists

Undersized (6'0") but a solid defender and a predatory scorer who gave Iowa 28 points and dropped 36 on Nevada. Falls into the "maybe he’s Fred VanVleet in a couple years" bucket.

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