NBA Mock Draft 7.0: The Final Big Board
By Jason McIntyre
After five extra months of preparation, the 2020 NBA Draft is finally here.
For the first time, you can look closely at the gambling markets on FOX Bet to see how the top of the draft is likely to shake out, and our No. 1 pick, Anthony Edwards, looks to have a firm grasp on the top spot.
Now, who is ready for a half dozen trades tonight? Here's my final mock of the 2020 Draft, with the actual picks added after the fact for good measure.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves – Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia (Previous Rank: 1)
2019-20 season averages: 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists
Actual pick: Edwards
If you follow the gambling markets, the odds of Edwards going first have increased greatly in the last 24 hours. This is a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004, and doesn’t have a first round pick in 2021 (trade with the Warriors). Edwards is a plug-and-play rookie who can score 15 points a game on a team chasing a playoff berth.
2. Golden State Warriors – James Wiseman, C, Memphis (3)
2019-20 season averages: 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 blocks
Actual pick: Wiseman
Wiseman is plus-money to go first overall as we publish this, but it seems like the Warriors have zeroed in on the 7-footer here. An alternative idea is to secure Wiseman, and use him as a trade chip. He’s more unknown than any American big in the draft given he played just three college games.
3. Charlotte Hornets – LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (4)
2019-20 season averages: 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists
Actual pick: Ball
If he falls past here, it could be a tumble down the board. It’s not clear if Ball will even crack the starting lineup of guards Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier. But between those three and Miles Bridges, there’s optimism in Charlotte that some pieces are in place for the future.
4. Chicago Bulls – Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (5)
2019-20 season averages: 4.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Actual pick: Patrick Williams
The most hyped Israeli player of all-time is only 19, and it wouldn’t surprise me in four years if he were the best player to come out of this draft. A new front office and new coach in Chicago could mean a roster shakeup in the next calendar year.
5 Cleveland Cavaliers – Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC (2)
2019-20 season averages: 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks
Actual pick: Isaac Okoro
A newspaper report claims Okongwu has a foot injury that could cause him to slide down the board on draft night, but it’s not even clear how serious the injury is. He may miss the start of the season. For me, he’s the best big man in the draft, and in the discussion for the best overall player.
6. Atlanta Hawks – Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn (6)
2019-20 season averages: 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists
Actual pick: Onyeka Okongwu
Perhaps the best wing defender in the draft, Okoro isn’t one of these heralded AAU offensive stars who was a scoring machine; he’s a winning player who is a superb defender. An All-SEC defender as a freshman, he’s crushed interviews during the draft process and my best case scenario for him is Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics.
7. Detroit Pistons – Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State (10)
2019-20 season averages: 9.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Actual pick: Killian Hayes
Last week we called him the mystery man of the lottery and it’s becoming clear the Pistons have targeted Williams in this spot. He’s the second-youngest player in this draft, and extremely raw. Didn’t start a game in his one season at FSU, but has all the tools to be a prolific wing in the NBA.
8. New York Knicks – Obi Toppin, F, Dayton (4)
2019-20 season averages: 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists
Actual pick: Toppin
In four years, he’s gone from zero scholarship offers to lottery pick. Skilled offensively, there are major defensive questions. The recent history of Top 10 picks who are 22 years old is not promising, but Toppin is from New York, and he’s known Knicks President Leon Rose for years. Toppin’s ceiling is Amar'e Stoudemire; a more likely scenario is closer to Atlanta’s John Collins.
9. Washington Wizards – Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova (16)
2019-20 season averages: 16.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Actual pick: Deni Avdija
Bey’s 3-and-D style (45 percent on three-pointers) would be a terrific fit in Washington alongside the duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards lost Davis Bertans in free agency, and Bey will battle third-year player Troy Brown for minutes on the wing.
10. Phoenix Suns – Devin Vassell, G/F, Florida State (9)
2019-20 season averages: 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists
Actual pick: Jalen Smith
The Suns continue to stockpile backcourt talent behind Chris Paul and Devin Booker. Vassell shot 41 percent on 3s last year and is one of the best on-ball defenders in the draft.
11. San Antonio Spurs – Tyrese Haliburton, PG Iowa State (7)
2019-20 season averages: 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists
Actual pick: Devin Vassell
Consummate Spurs player who can do everything well and contribute immediately at three positions. A high IQ player that could go as high as fifth in the draft. Only 20 years old, Haliburton has an extremely high floor, and his polished skillset projects along the lines of longtime NBA point guard Andre Miller.
12. Sacramento Kings – Killian Hayes, PG, France (7)
2019-20 season averages: 12.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists
Actual pick: Tyrese Haliburton
The Kings need to make the playoffs after an NBA-high 14-year absence. There isn’t a player here who can help immediately, but Sacramento should know whom to build around after this season. Hayes is probably a year away from landing on an NBA roster.
13. New Orleans Pelicans – Kira Lewis Jr, PG, Alabama (10)
2019-20 season averages: 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists
Actual pick: Lewis
The Pelicans need to do two things simultaneously - build a contender to make sure Zion Williamson is happy, and decide what to do with Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball, the two primary point guards on the roster. Lewis is one of the youngest players in the draft and we haven’t seen nearly gifs best, but is he ready to be a rotational player on a playoff team?
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis) – Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky (14)
2019-20 season averages: 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists
Actual pick: Aaron Nesmith
Given Kemba Walker’s injury history and Brad Wanamaker’s free-agent status, finding a lead guard who can play minutes immediately is a need. Maxey is a scoring guard in the mold of Walker and Carson Edwards, but stronger and bigger (6-foot-3).
15. Orlando Magic – Cole Anthony, PG, UNC (15)
2019-20 season averages: 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists
Actual pick: Anthony
If DJ Augustin leaves in free agency (Lakers?), the Orlando point guard situation falls squarely upon the shoulders of Markelle Fultz. Anthony was a top-five prospect heading into the season, but didn’t make the leap that many other point guards did.
16. Houston Rockets (via Portland) – Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt (9)
2019-20 season averages: 23.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals
Actual pick: Isaiah Stewart
Given the ugly Buddy Hield situation unfolding, and the Kings' potential need for more shooting, Nesmith’s 52 percent from deep makes him a top target for the Kings.
Wing depth will be an issue with Robert Covington shipped to Portland and the uncertainty about whether or not they keep Trevor Ariza. Only played 14 games, but made 50 percent of his three-pointers.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves – Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis (22)
2019-20 season averages: 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks
Actual pick: Aleksej Pokusevski
If KAT is pulling the “I don’t want to play center” card like Anthony Davis, then grabbing Achiuwa is a smart idea. Achiuwa’s best case scenario projects him as Montrezl Harrell.
18. Dallas Mavericks – Aleksej Pokusevski, F/C, Serbia (18)
2019-20 season averages: 9.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks
Actual pick: Josh Green
No change here stretching all the way back to August's mock draft.
19. Brooklyn Nets – Jalen Smith, F, Maryland (19)
2019-20 season averages: 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.4 blocks
Actual pick: Saddiq Bey
Perhaps I’ve been too low on Smith during the draft process. Smith’s length and three-point shooting potential (36 percent, but on just 87 attempts) give him an edge over the bevy of other rail-thin bigs in this draft. Would the Nets try him at the four one night with Kevin Durant at the five? They’ll have 72 games to tinker.
20. Miami Heat – Theo Maledon, PG, France (20)
2019-20 season averages: 7.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists
Actual pick: Precious Achiuwa
Keeping Maledon here because it seems apparent that Goran Dragic is going to be returning to the Heat, perhaps on another one-year deal. This would enable the 19-year-old Maledon to stay overseas for a year or two until he’s ready for the NBA.
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC) – Desmond Bane, G, TCU (21)
2019-20 season averages: 16.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists
Actual pick: Tyrese Maxey
A slight uptick here for Bane because the 76ers have a new GM in Daryl Morey, who the world knows, loves three-pointers. Bane made 92 three-pointers last season and shot 43 percent from deep over the course of four years.
22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston) – Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford (22)
2019-20 season averages: 14.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists
Actual pick: Zeke Nnaji
Surprised many by entering the draft after a solid first year at Stanford. His three-point shooting (40 percent) is attractive in a draft where the guards mostly aren’t great shooters. Just turned 20 years old.
23. Utah Jazz – Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego St (23)
2019-20 season averages: 17.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists
Actual pick: Leandro Bolmaro
The Knicks point guard situation has been dreadful for years, and the new regime is going to have to figure out what to do with the Elfrid Payton/Frank Ntilikina state of affairs. Dennis Smith isn’t the answer. Flynn’s toughness and high IQ could have him starting by the All-Star break.
24. New Orleans Pelicans (via Milwaukee) – RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (24)
2019-20 season averages: 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Actual pick: Hampton
Pelicans have some decisions to make on Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe, and George Hill won’t be long for New Orleans. They drafted Nickeil Alexander-Walker last year and he’s more of a combo guard. Hampton is in that mold and gives the team options as it builds around Zion Williamson.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver) – Paul Reed, F, DePaul (17)
2019-20 season averages: 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.6 blocks
Actual pick: Immanuel Quickley
OKC’s teardown isn’t complete, so having two first round picks (No. 28 was acquired this week) lets them take a chance on a young player with big upside.
26. Boston Celtics – Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State (26)
2019-20 season averages: 13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists
Actual pick: Payton Pritchard
Led college basketball in defensive BPM (box score plus-minus), and though very raw offensively, he’s similar to what they have in Robert Williams, with a winning pedigree and less foul prone. The Celtics struggled badly against big men last year, and there’s a need for some more size up front in the playoffs.
27. Utah Jazz (via New York) – Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville (NR)
2019-20 season averages: 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Actual pick: Udoka Azubuike
The West is so loaded that a perennial playoff team like the Jazz need to add contributors who can help them remain in the playoffs. Nwora would provide depth behind Bogdanovic and Ingles.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Lakers) – Grant Riller, PG, Charleston (29)
2019-20 season averages: 21.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists
Actual pick: Jaden McDaniels
It’s unclear if the Thunder plan to keep Ricky Rubio for two more years after the Chris Paul trade. It still makes sense to draft a backup PG. Riller is a candidate to go late first/early second, a 23-year old player who can come in and contribute immediately without a steep learning curve.
29. Toronto Raptors — Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon (NR)
2019-20 season averages: 20.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists
Actual pick: Malachi Flynn
The Raptors will fight to keep Fred Van Vleet in free agency, and Kyle Lowry has one year left on his deal. Pritchard was a four-year starter who was the Pac-12 Player of the Year as a senior.
30. Boston Celtics – Leandro Bolmaro, SG, Argentina (NR)
2019-20 season averages: 3.1 points, .95 rebounds, 3 assists (11.1 minutes per game in Liga ACB and EuroLeague)
Actual pick: Desmond Bane
With three first round picks, it’d be a stunner if Boston didn’t A. Make a trade or B. Draft a player they could stash overseas. Bolmaro just turned 20 in September, but has been playing professionally since 16.