Like the NFL Draft before it, the 2020 NBA Draft is scheduled to go ahead as planned for June 25 despite the unprecedented circumstances presented by the coronavirus crisis. While the long-term consequences, if any, of conducting an offseason under such unusual terms remains to be seen, in the immediate term the NFL proved offseason activities could go on with relatively minimal interruption.
In addition, teams also have to contend with sifting through something of a thin and unusual class of prospects. There's no Zion Williamson in this class -- or anyone even remotely approaching the consensus surrounding some of the top picks in drafts of recent vintage -- but depending on how you like your drafts, the unpredictability could be fun.
Without further ado, here's our latest mock with picks for all 30 first-round selections.
1. Chicago Bulls - LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks of NBL (Australia)
The Bulls don't necessarily need a point guard with Coby White in the fold, but the lottery gods have a funny sense of humor. Chicago could use a floor general to complement White's scoring, however. Ball's gone first overall in our past several drafts, and we don't see any reason to change now. Edwards would be tempting here, but it could be an awkward fit with Zach LaVine.
2. Atlanta Hawks - Anthony Edwards, G, University of Georgia
We've had Ball going to the Hawks in some of our earlier mocks, and while that still makes sense, he's not available in this scenario. Instead, Atlanta snags the Georgia native and UGA product with the second overall pick. Edwards put up some ugly shooting as a true freshman with the Bulldogs, but his size, athletic gifts and natural feel for the game are apparent to anyone who watches.
3. Golden State Warriors - James Wiseman, C, Memphis
It's difficult to find a sensible pick here for the Warriors, given their current roster and that they will be looking to resume competitive basketball with Klay Thompson and Steph Curry back next season. That might point toward an older, more polished pick with a higher floor and lower ceiling, perhaps someone like Obi Toppin. But even Toppin's biggest fans would probably admit he'd be a reach here, even in a thin class. Wiseman looks like a huge undertaking as a development project right now, but the physical gifts are off the charts. Maybe the Warriors think they can get modest defensive production out of him as a rookie and continue to develop him from there.
4. Detroit Pistons - Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
The Pistons have some interesting pieces, now they need a player who can help fuse this promising nucleus into a cohesive unit. Okoro, a long, heady wing who plays persistent defense and has great instincts, feels like one of those guys. With the Pistons having moved on from Andre Drummond, Okoro could help form an intriguing new-look front court along with Sekou Doumbouya and Christian Wood.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers - Adeni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv of BPL (Israel)
The Cavs, at least on paper, have a much stronger roster than their 2019-20 record would suggest. Perhaps that's why John Beilein is no longer head coach. In any event, the Cavs could go any number of routes here. Players selected from overseas aren't always the splashiest picks for domestic fans, but Avdija has pretty consistently remained in the top 10 in most mock drafts this spring. The Cavs would be getting a versatile combo forward who projects to play some point forward and make plays with the ball in his hands. Not many teams have that.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves - Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
Okongwu doesn't necessarily jump out at you on tape, but the ingredients pointing toward excellence are all there -- high-level production in a strong conference at a young age. The reservation would mostly be in Okongwu's body and athleticism -- he's short for center at 6-foot-9. But he's surprisingly springy and nimble for someone pushing 250 pounds, with decent quickness and footwork to get around slower big men with a handful of still-developing post-up and face-up moves. Rim protection and tough interior defense is the selling point, though, which the Wolves need to account for some of Karl-Anthony Towns' deficiencies.
7. New York Knicks - Tyrese Halliburton, G, Iowa State
Even the lottery generator is rigged against the Knicks -- I don't think it spit out a pick higher than fifth for them since we started our mocks. In any event, the Knicks badly need help in the backcourt, and while Halliburton isn't a traditional point guard by any means, he could still be a useful piece as a combo guard in the right situation. Halliburton's game is unusual and his shot is flat-out ugly to some, but it's very effective -- at least by the percentages -- and his length, touch, and instincts take him a long way.
8. Charlotte Hornets - Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
With Wiseman gone, the Hornets pull a minor surprise here and snag the other Memphis center in this draft. Achiuwa is impressive-looking athlete who terrorized the AAC with his length, high motor, and defensive prowess. His shot is ugly, but that's not why you're drafting him. The Hornets could use a big man to mold as their own with neither Cody Zeller nor Bismack Biyombo looking like long-term solutions.
9. Washington Wizards - RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers of NBL (Australia)
The Wiz cycled through a series of journeymen in the backcourt while dealing with injuries to John Wall and, for a time, Bradley Beal this season. Hampton is pure projection at this point, a project on par with Wiseman after showing some hideous shooting in Australia's NBL. Hopefully for the Wizards, Wall is back healthy next season, and they can bring along Hampton slowly as a combo guard. If not, they might have to start developing him as Wall's replacement. Hampton has a lean frame with lots of athleticism and plenty of speed to burn, his calling card.
10. Phoenix Suns - Killian Hayes, G, Ulm of Basketball Bundesliga (Germany)
Hayes is the inverse of Hampton as far as US prospects going abroad. The 6-foot-5 combo guard isn't the most athletically gifted but has good size and feel for the game. Phoenix would do well to pair such a player with the high-usage Devin Booker, to pick up some of the more traditional ball-handling and distribution duties to complement the scoring machine.
11. San Antonio Spurs - Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
The Spurs appear to evaluate players and build their team a little differently than the rest of the league, so I'm not totally convinced Nesmith's 3-and-D profile is something they covet. However, whatever you want to call him, he looked like a darn good player this year. The 6-foot-6 wing has good length and strength, and shot the lights out from downtown on over eight attempts per game.
12. Sacramento Kings - Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
Maxey is a wild card in this draft, a good-looking athlete from an NBA factory. However, his shooting efficiency was sorely lacking at Kentucky, and his tools are above-average but not eye-popping. Some see a prototypical 6-foot-3 combo guard who plays good defense, does a little bit of everything, and plays hard. Once again, it comes down to whether he can find an offensive niche and tighten his game on that side of the ball.
13. New Orleans Pelicans - Obi Toppin, PF, New Orleans Pelicans
It will be fun to see where college basketball's top player in 2019-20 will go on draft night. The Pels need depth in the back court more than anything, but the high-flying dunk artist is too good to pass up here, and with Derrick Favors set to hit free agency, Toppin could compete with Jaxson Hayes for the starting assignment.
14. Portland Trail Blazers - Jaden McDaniels, F, University of Washington
McDaniels flopped in his lone season with the Huskies, but in a weak draft that doesn't stop him from being a first-round pick. He will probably go later than this, but with the Blazers in an awkward position here in the middle of the first round, perhaps they go with a development project. McDaniels is dripping with upside--long, lean and athletic at 6-foot-10, with the ability to handle the ball. Just don't be surprised if he's buried on the bench in his first two seasons.
15. Orlando Magic - Kira Lewis Jr., G, Alabama
The Magic are thin in the backcourt, with a stopgap in DJ Augustin and something of a question mark (still) in Markelle Fultz. The latter appears to be a keeper, but just how good he'll become is anyone's guess. Lewis, who has a surprisingly mature offensive game and is one of the fastest players in this draft, provides a little insurance in case things don't work out with Fultz. There are concerns over his slight build at just 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, though.
Note: Originally I had North Carolina point guard Cole Anthony going in this spot. But somehow I lost track of him in one of my zillion reworks of this mock. Rather than reinstate my initial pick and rewrite the entire back half of the draft, here's my blurb on Anthony. Consider it an extra pick!
Anthony's stock took a hit throughout a down year for the Tar Heels. The former top-10 prep recruit was far from great in his first season in Chapel Hill, shooting just 38 percent with barely any daylight between his assists and turnovers. However, one year is not a very big sample size, and Anthony was as coveted as any player in the nation not too long ago. He still hit a respectable 35 percent from deep and 75 percent from the line, so the shooting stroke is there. Still, there might be a lot more development necessary here than some might have guessed a year ago.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves - Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
After beefing up the interior defense with Okongwu, the Wolves get more defense and add a little extra deep shooting in Vassell, Florida State's breakout star, with their second first-round pick. Most mock drafts have Vassell in the top-12 range, so the Wolves would be getting something of a steal here. NBA teams are said to love Vassell's length, defense, and three-point shooting, which clocked in north of 40 percent with the Seminoles last season.
17. Boston Celtics - Patrick Williams, F, Florida State
Florida State makes it back-to-back picks, with freshman phenom Williams going to the Celtics after the Wolves snagged his college teammate, Vassell. Williams, like Vassell, came on strong late in the season, finding his own as a high-flying lob finisher and defensive sparkplug. He's raw at just 18, but considering his already mature physique, heady style of play, and production at his age, there's a lot of projectability.
18. Dallas Mavericks - Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova
The run on wings continues, this time with Villanova's Saddiq Bey coming off the board. Bey too is something of a wild card in this draft, a well-rounded and fairly polished favorite of analytics types, while traditional scouts are a little more bearish on him due to concerns over his athleticism. Still, the production was there last season, with a Villanova program that is known to produce quality NBA players.
19. Milwaukee Bucks - Aleksej Pokusevski, PF/C, Olympiacos (Greece)
The Bucks and coach Mike Budenholzer have laid the blueprint for fives who can shoot from downtown. Brook Lopez has been reborn in that role and is under contract for three more years, but given his age and injury history, why not snag his potential replacement? Pokusevski could be the next Bro-Lo.
20. Brooklyn Nets - Robert Woodard, F, Mississippi State
The Nets could use some depth in their front court, and given their apparent taste for smaller lineups, go for a "fit" guy and arguably reach for Woodard here. Woodard has climbed some mock draft boards on the strength of a strong season that, if you squint, looks like the "3-and-D" profile NBA teams seem to love these days. There might be safer and higher-upside picks here, but I suspect the Nets will look to snag a specific type of role player to support Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
21. Denver Nuggets - Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL of Pro A League (France)
The Nugs will be looking to compete in the Western Conference again whenever play resumes, so certainly a more developed player makes sense here. Maledon is one of those foreign players whose name seems to have been whispered about forever. Most importantly, he's a playmaking combo guard with good length that should make him a strong perimeter defender, something the Nuggets appear to covet in their back court.
22. Philadelphia 76ers - Tre Jones, G, Duke
The Sixers' glaring need for a more traditional point guard to run their offense sometimes is no secret. They started to look like a more balanced team with Shake Milton at the helm, but even he is more of a sixth man or second-unit scoring guard. Jones isn't the splashiest pick, but he brings the kind of length the Sixers appear to love, plus a much more traditional offensive profile at the point.
23. Miami Heat - Jahmi'us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
The Heat are always fun to watch in drafts, and this pick would be no different. Ramsey has lots of athleticism and consistently knocked down the three in his lone year in Lubbock, albeit mostly on catch-and-shoots. There is a certain stiffness to his game despite his obvious athleticism and very mature physique, and he needs to clean up his wonky looking shot. But there are tools here you can't teach.
24. Utah Jazz - Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
A run on guards continues with the Jazz snagging a potential replacement for Mike Conley, whose first season in Utah was marred by injury and ineffectiveness. Dotson is a speedy scorer, averaging 18 points on 47 percent shooting -- despite just 30 percent from deep -- this season. The free-throw shooting is there, though, so if he can tighten up the deep shot, there's hope for a dynamic offensive player. He plays longer than he is at 6-foot-2, averaging 2.0 steals per game this season, and takes pretty good care of the ball, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.0-to-2.4.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland
Smith is one of the more intriguing prospects in this class. Stat heads love him because of his rare production in defense, rebounding, and shooting the three. Scouts are iffy on his stiff, top-heavy frame, and wonder if the solid deep shooting (37 percent) is for real on fewer than three attempts per game.
26. Boston Celtics - Cassius Winston, PG, Duke
Marcus Smart appeared to step up his offensive game a bit this season, but the Celts could still use a guard behind him and Kemba Walker. Winston is a fairly polished combo guard who can shoot and pass, and might be able to plug and play right away.
27. New York Knicks - Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
Mannion's stock has tumbled a bit due to pedestrian production in his lone year at Arizona. His feel for the game is obvious and there are some above-average tools, but nothing really stands out in his game, and he might have benefited from another year in college. However, he's 6-foot-3 and just turned 19 in March, so there is hope he could still fill out and improve his overall athleticism as he gets pro coaching and catches up in age with better competition. His three-point shot wasn't terribly effective at Arizona, but it looks pretty nice on tape.The Knicks give him a shot here after taking the combo guard Halliburton with their first pick.
28. Toronto Raptors - Cassius Stanley, SG/SF, Duke
The second Cassius taken in our draft, Stanley is creeping up mock boards on the strength of an impressive freshman season at Duke. Though on the older side as a 20-year-old freshman, Stanley stood out for his impressive defense and high-flying athleticism. There's a sense that the defense will translate -- it's just a matter of how much Stanley will develop offensively. The Raptors have a pretty good record with development projects in recent years.
29. Los Angeles Lakers - Jared Butler, G, Baylor
The Lakers will presumably be back pursuing an NBA title when play resumes, whenever that is. To that end, it only makes sense to find someone who might contribute early on. Butler might not jump out as an obvious candidate since he doesn't turn 20 until August, but he too is climbing mock draft boards, on the strength of his impressive handle and silky smooth three-point shooting. The Lakers could be getting an underrated prospect here.
30. Boston Celtics - Josh Green, SG/SF, Arizona
Having already bagged a combo forward and a combo guard, the Celtics get one more bite at the apple in the first round, taking an upside play here in Green. The Arizona product fell a bit short of the lofty expectations for him at Arizona, but he still played good defense and flashed some of the all-around contributions that made him a top prep recruit. He probably won't slide this far back in the draft.