The NBA draft will be held next Wednesday, Nov. 18. It will be the first time the draft is held in November. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the NBA had to push back the continuation of the 2019-2020 season to July. The draft later ended up being moved back from June to November. With the 2020 season coming up, teams are looking to improve their depth for a title run in 2021. What follows is a mock draft of the first round.
Lottery (Picks #1-14)
- Minnesota Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, guard (Illawarra)
The Wolves are seeking more backcourt help, especially to accompany D’Angelo Russell. The Wolves are looking to make their first playoff appearance since 2004.
2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, center (Memphis)
It’s clear as day that the Warriors have been lacking a center for years now, but that may not stop them from maybe shocking everyone with a different player at number two.
3. Charlotte Hornets: Anthony Edwards, guard (Georgia)
The Hornets are looking to add star potential from the draft for the first time since Kemba Walker in 2011. Maybe Edwards is their guy.
4. Chicago Bulls: Tyrese Haliburton, guard (Iowa State)
After the Bulls took guard Coby White last year, they may look to build a young backcourt with Haliburton and White.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, forward (Dayton)
After the Cavs took back-to-back guards in back-to-back drafts, they are looking to turn the tide with hopefully a forward and high flying Obi Toppin from Dayton, Ohio. This pick may be their best chance to find early success.
6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, forward/center (USC)
The Hawks are lacking quality bigs, and Okongwu could help stabilize the middle for this squad.
7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, guard (France)
Detroit needs guards, so Hayes may be their guy at 7.
8. New York Knicks: Issac Okoro, forward (Auburn)
Okoro is a scrappy defender and a high energy player, which is just what the Knicks need after a few horrible years.
9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, forward (Israel)
Avdija is a high potential European player looking to hit Luka Doncic’s level, and the Wizards will be willing to take the risk.
10. Phoenix Suns: Cole Anthony, guard (North Carolina)
Anthony missed a lot of 2019 due to injury, but was regarded as a top-5 player before the injury. Do the Suns grab Anthony?
11. San Antonio Spurs: Theo Maledon, guard (France)
We all know how much coach Popovich loves his foreign players, and I can see Maledon selected here.
12. Sacramento Kings: Saddiq Bey, forward (Villanova)
Bey is a hustler and a big time defender, which Sacramento needs.
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Tyrese Maxey, guard (Kentucky)
The Pelicans need shooters around Zion Williamson, which was something they lacked very much of, and Maxey can shoot the lights out.
14. Boston Celtics: Devin Vassell, forward (Florida State)
To wrap up the lottery, Boston will pick a scrappy wing defender with a ton of potential in Vassell.
15. Orlando Magic: Aaron Nesmith, forward (Vanderbilt)
16. Portland Trail Blazers: Precious Achiuwa, forward (Memphis)
17. Minnesota Timberwolves: Patrick Williams, forward (FSU)
18. Dallas Mavericks: Tre Jones, guard (Duke)
19. Brooklyn Nets: Kira Lewis Jr., guard (Alabama)
20. Miami Heat: Grant Riller, guard (Charleston)
21. Philadelphia 76ers: Aleksej Pokusevski, center (Serbia)
22. Denver Nuggets: Xavier Tillman, forward (MSU)
23. Utah Jazz: R.J. Hampton, guard (USA)
24. Milwaukee Bucks: Vernon Carey, center (Duke)
25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Nico Mannion, guard (Arizona)
26. Boston Celtics: Tyler Bey, forward (Colorado)
27. New York Knicks: Malachi Flynn, guard (San Diego St.)
28. L.A. Lakers: Isaiah Stewart, forward/center (Washington)
29. Toronto Raptors: Jaden McDaniels, forward (Washington)
30. Boston Celtics: Josh Green, guard/forward (Arizona)
The talent level in this year’s draft isn’t as deep as last year’s draft, but fans will see more guys go under the radar due to NCAA Men’s Basketball postponing March Madness last March. Players usually make a name for themselves during the tournament, but this year teams might find some second round hidden gems.
“This year’s NBA Draft is a very talented one and one of the amazing things is how good the players are for how young the prospects are,” said senior Phil Pedano.