The Minnesota Timberwolves are finally on the clock. After a nearly five-month delay because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 NBA Draft is set to be held on Wednesday, Nov. 18. While this isn’t considered the strongest draft class in recent memory, it is still full of young and exciting players who will one day help shape the future of the league.
As the draft approaches, the SB Nation NBA community sites have held a mock draft. One representative from every community made the pick for their team. No trades were allowed this year because of the league’s delayed salary cap announcement.
Click the related link to each SB Nation NBA community for further analysis of the selection, and join the discussion in the comments. In a draft with little consensus at the top, there’s certainly going to be plenty to debate. We begin the draft with Canis Hoopus selecting for the Wolves.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves - Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia
Sans the ability to trade picks in this Blogger Mock Draft, this becomes the most logical move for Gersson Rosas at the top. The Wolves currently have their cornerstone PG/C duo (for better or worse), so selecting either James Wiseman or LaMelo Ball doesn’t appear to make much sense for Minnesota. While Edwards does carry the slight risk of becoming Andrew Wiggins 2.0 in the land of 10,000 lakes, his overall athleticism and offensive potential are too good to pass up for a team desperately in need of talent on the wing.
2. Golden State Warriors - James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Because we can’t trade the pick, I went with the player who is the best available and fills a big need for the Warriors. Wiseman has all of the tools to be a very good center in the league. He is one of the best athletes available and will develop into a solid rim-protector. Although his college sample size is small, Wiseman has apparently been killing it during workouts. General manager Bob Myers can focus on adding a wing via free agency and take a flier on a cheap PF/C to fill out the roster.
3. Charlotte Hornets - LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawara Hawks
The Hornets are in talent acquisition mode, and LaMelo Ball might be the most talented prospect in this draft. Ball is positionally redundant with the Hornets’ current two best players, but his size allows him to share the floor with either Terry Rozier or Devonte’ Graham, and even both for stretches. His ability to create looks for others will open up scoring opportunities for both of the other Hornets guards, who were often overburdened on the offensive end last season. He would also bring a superstar presence to a franchise that’s always struggling to attain media relevance.
4. Chicago Bulls - Killian Hayes, G, Ulm
Like Charlotte, Chicago is also in talent acquisition mode and should be aiming to take the best player on the board. That player is Killian Hayes. He also fits Chicago’s need for a lead guard who can get everyone into the right spots on offense along with creating some scoring of his own, especially with his shooting off the dribble. Hayes has already shown he can play over in Europe and has the tools to be a good player in the NBA. With Coby White viewed more as a two guard, Hayes will easily slot in as Chicago’s point guard of the future. There is a lot of upside with this pick.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers - Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
For the record, Deni Avdija and Isaac Okoro were the other options strongly considered here. But the Cavs desperately need a defensive presence for now and the long-term. Andre Drummond just isn’t that. Okongwu’s ability to cover ground, rotate correctly and play smart defense is needed for a franchise that has been historically bad on defense for the past two seasons. What his offensive game looks like is a mystery and it’s hard to pass up two wings - another position of need. But Okongwu’s upside and ability to fill a need is just too good to pass up.
6. Atlanta Hawks - Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
This is a draft class in which many of the prospects are bunched tightly together, meaning that a lot of the picks in this range come down to personal preference. The Hawks would’ve considered Killian Hayes as an upside swing if he fell to No. 6, but with him off the board, the decision came down to Okoro and Devin Vassell. There isn’t a massive gap between those two players in a vacuum, but Okoro brings an intriguing skill set, with athleticism, strength and defensive upside. Offensively, he can attack close-outs, finish at the rim, make plays as a passer and serve as a secondary creator. His jump shot is a work in progress but, if he can become a league-average perimeter shooter, the sky is the limit. Even if he can’t, his other skills, headlined by his defense, will carry the day.
7. Detroit Pistons - R.J. Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers
This was an incredibly tough decision based on how important it is for a franchise desperately in need of top-end playmaking and talent to reach in the draft for a player with the potential to fill that goal. Do you take a player with all-around skills you are confident in or do you evaluate who might have that small chance of being a No. 1 option? That was the great Patrick Williams vs. RJ Hampton debate in the Pistons war room. In the end, we decided first-year GM Troy Weaver should swing for the fences on guard R.J. Hampton who has athleticism and playmaking skills to lead the Pistons offense at the one or the two, whichever he naturally fits best. Williams, meanwhile, would be a great complementary piece, but Detroit really needs that piece he’d be complementing. Other factors in Hampton’s favor are a) his youth, b) that Hampton has been working to remake and transform his shot into something that would work at the next level. If he can become a potent perimeter shooter, he could be an incredibly successful offensive player in the NBA and while he has a lot to work on from a defensive perspective, he has the athletic tools to be successful with dedicated development time.
8. New York Knicks - Devin Vassell, G, Florida State
The Knicks need a little bit of everything, but one thing they need most is outside shooting. Devin Vassell shot over 40% in both of his seasons at Florida State, and is a certified genius in team defense. He rose from outside the top 200 in the high school recruiting rankings to a top-10 pick in two years, so we’re betting there is still some upside to be had.
9. Washington Wizards - Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
The Wizards need defensive help at every position. We were hoping for Okongwu or Okoro to be at No. 9 but both were gone. In addition, Precious Achiuwa was more of a reach with the No. 9 pick and we can’t trade down. While Avdija seemed tantalizing since he fell to No. 9, Washington does need another guard who could play a major role if the team gets into firesale mode in a year. And if the team starts winning many games, he can still be a strong option off the bench. Halliburton is a strong three point shooter and can be a good point guard option for the Wizards in a post Wall/Beal world. But he can also help right away with their playoff hopes which the Wizards want to do in the immediate term.
10. Phoenix Suns - Kira Lewis Jr., G, Alabama
The Suns really need a point guard of the future to take over for Ricky Rubio in 2021 or 2022, and that PG is Kira Lewis Jr. He and Booker can share the ball handling duties, playing off the ball next to each other as well as leading the second unit when the other is resting. Lewis has a bright future as a combo guard who can even get minutes his rookie season playing off ball next to Rubio in Booker-less lineups. The Suns got a steal here, in my opinion. Lewis could be one of the very best players in this draft.
11. San Antonio Spurs - Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Coming into the draft with an appetite for frontcourt talent, the Spurs were surprised to find themselves with a handful of appealing, and contrasting, options at 11. Those included Avdija and Obi Toppin, both guys they expected to be off the board, and the raw Patrick Williams. They went with the Israeli prospect, who exists somewhere in the vast ocean that spans Toppin’s ready-made offensive game and Williams’ two-way potential. Avdija’s playmaking and versatility are welcome complements to a Spurs youth movement that’s heavy on guards and light on shot creation, and his professional experience makes him the rare Spurs rookie that can expect a role early in their career.
12. Sacramento Kings - Patrick Williams, F, Florida State
Williams’ numbers aren’t eye-popping but he provides something the Kings desperately need: toughness. He has plenty of room to develop and with Sacramento still a while away from contending for a playoff spot, the team can be patient with him. The Kings could lose Alex Len and Harry Giles in free agency, so they need to bolster their frontcourt. Williams is a very good team defender who will help strengthen the back line of the team’s defense. He makes up for his lack of athleticism with a high basketball IQ, but he will need to work on his explosiveness in order to have an impact on the offensive end.
13. New Orleans Pelicans - Aaron Nesmith, SG, Vanderbilt
With the futures of Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson in mind, the Pelicans would be happy to score a high end role player in a weak draft devoid of booming potential. Aaron Nesmith fits the bill perfectly as his extraordinary shooting skills (52.2 percent from three-point range on 8.2 3PA) will keep driving lanes open for years to come for the two New Orleans cornerstones. Mentoring under JJ Redick could prove invaluable, and between Van Gundy’s teachings and Aaron Nelson’s training staff, a good chance exists for the 6’10 wingspan of Nesmith to reach his ceiling as an above average defender.
14. Boston Celtics - Obi Toppin, F, Dayton
The Celtics have three first-round selections, and must thread the needle between taking best player available and filling the need for immediate impact. An unforeseen slide of Obi Toppin makes him a high-value draft pick, both in trade markets elsewhere and in how he can make an immediate impact in Boston. Toppin is a freak athlete, shot above 39% from 3 and has the inside-outside offensive game needed in a hybrid big man. While there are legitimate defensive concerns, the talent and impact was too much to pass on at 14, and Boston provides him the opportunity to play the 5, likely his best NBA position
15. Orlando Magic - Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
It’s no secret that the point guard position has been a hot topic for the Orlando Magic over the last few years. While Markelle Fultz showed some positive signs last season, the Magic still need some depth at the position, especially with both D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams hitting the free agent market. Taking Cole Anthony gives the Magic a guard that can create his own shot, and can shoot the ball from beyond the arc some as well. Anthony will give the Magic the needed depth, and the ability to run out some two point guard lineups as well.
16. Portland Trail Blazers - Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova
The late-lottery, boom-or-bust prospects were off the board when this pick arrived, forcing this selection in the direction of the safe route. In a draft class filled with uncertainty, Saddiq Bey is on a short list of safe bets. Depending on how the offseason rolls out in Portland, it is possible that Bey could push for minutes as a rookie. There is always room for tertiary scoring alongside the Blazers’ star-studded backcourt. Again, this isn’t a flashy pick, but it is one that falls inside Damian Lillard’s prime.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves - Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
One of the core competencies at Canis Hoopus is simple: Pick Kentucky Players (shoutout John Meyer). Maxey’s speed, athleticism, and ability to finish around the rim would instantly be a huge boost to Minnesota’s second unit, and if his stroke from deep can (consistently) develop, he would immediately become the next Wildcat alum to take a sizable leap from college into the pros.
18. Dallas Mavericks - Aleksej Pokuševski, F, Serbia
With the 18th pick the Dallas Mavericks select perhaps the most polarizing player in the 2020 draft. The Mavericks won’t have a pick this high (or a pick, period) for years, so this is their last chance to add raw and young talent to their roster. Does he make sense for the short term? No. But if Poku can add weight and perform against better quality talent, he might just be ready for Dallas right when Luka Dončić’s rookie extension kicks in and it gets more difficult financially to add pieces to the Mavericks. His skill set and size it just too much to ignore at this point in the draft.
19. Brooklyn Nets - Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Memphis
This pick is all about size and athleticism. Having a big like Achiuwa who is super athletic, quick, can defend and rebound the basketball slip to No. 19 is a nice get here. For his size, to be able to keep pace with the likes of Durant and Irving, plus being able to provide an extra body on the growing list of athletic fours in the game; you can see where Achiuwa and his 7’2” wingspan can come in and make an impact right away.
20. Miami Heat - Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
At No. 20, the Heat are looking for a contributor to their core. Jalen Smith provides the length, defensive versatility, and shooting they lacked to pair with or behind Bam Adebayo in the playoffs. Smith’s 7’2” wingspan paired with some Culture will make him someone with immediate impact.
21. Philadelphia 76ers - Desmond Bane, G, TCU
In their never-ending search for perimeter scoring, the Sixers go with TCU product Desmond Bane. Bane was a four-year player at the NCAA level which may scare some other teams off, but Philly is pretty smitten with how things turned out with Matisse Thybulle (also a four-year player). Bane has the size and athleticism to hold his own defensively, and if his career 43.3 percent mark from three-point range translates to the next level, he’ll contribute out of the gate. Longer term, he could be a perfect complement to Ben Simmons as a secondary ball-handler.
22. Denver Nuggets - Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
The Nuggets take the local kid, grabbing a forward who reportedly registered a 43.5” vertical jump in his combine measurements. Bey is an athletic defender whose skills as a rebounder help strengthen one of the Nuggets strengths. He doesn’t have to come in as a shooting threat, and his ability to score around the rim plays well next to Nikola Jokić, Michael Porter Jr., and potentially Jerami Grant. If Grant leaves, Bey can slot in as the forward defender the team needs. He could have a lot of highlight reel plays finishing lobs on a loaded Nuggets team.
23. Utah Jazz - Josh Green, G, Arizona
After their disappointing finish in the playoffs, Dennis Lindsey said Utah’s goal in the offseason would be to improve their defense while not sacrificing spacing. Josh Green should help with both those things. Green has great size at the wing standing 6’6” with a 6’10” wingspan and uses it well on the defensive end filling lanes and playing good on-ball defense. Green also shot 36 percent from three and has a nice looking shot that should only improve with time.
24. Milwaukee Bucks - Theo Maledon, G, AVSEL
Milwaukee is searching for more dynamism in their backcourt after yet another playoff flameout and Maledon offers the upside and playmaking potential that could fit the bill. While his iffy shooting figures provide some pause, the hope is that Bud’s staff can give him a salvageable deep ball to accompany his nifty passing skills to ease Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton’s playmaking burden. With 6’9” length, if he improves his body he could follow in George Hill’s footsteps as a solid guard capable of scoring capably on several levels offensively.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder - Leandro Bolmaro, G, Barcelona
He can give the Thunder a point forward off the bench so Dennis Schroder doesn’t have to be fully responsible for creating all the plays for the bench unit. He’s versatile and he’d be a solid addition to the team.
26. Boston Celtics - Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
Another guy with lottery rumors falling to our pick, Terry has the potential to be the long-term point guard of choice next to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. A sharpshooter with a brilliantly quick release and deep range, Terry would add a Curry-esque dynamic to this offense. While his point guard skills and on-ball defense are in need of seasoning, the Celtics have proven capable of blanketing a smaller point guard in the past. Expect a few minutes off the bench early in his career while he’s groomed to be a floor spacer around Boston’s core in the future.
27. New York Knicks - Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
The Knicks haven’t had a legitimate point guard since...well, it’s been awhile. Malachi Flynn was one of the best players in college basketball last season, a pick-and-roll maestro who can shoot it from anywhere. He might start for this Knicks team.
28. Los Angeles Lakers - Grant Riller, G, Charleston
Riller is a three-level scorer for a team that could benefit significantly from an on-ball creator, as outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis to an extent, no other player on the team was a dependable source of perimeter creation in the halfcourt (Playoff Rondo notwithstanding). Riller’s push skills are whether his passing can catch up to his shotmaking, and whether his defense looks better when not asked to take on such a large offensive load — Riller showed flashes of the latter, albeit inconsistently this past season. Would still handicap the pick as likely to be traded on draft night, but Riller would be a solid addition who could likely have a fair shot of contributing in the short term at a spot of need for a defending title team.
29. Toronto Raptors - Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
It’s a bit of a surprise to see McDaniels still on the board, and since the Raptors promised to be aggressive in their mission to add talent to their young core, he’s their guy at no. 29. Listed at 6’10” and 200 lbs, 20-year-old McDaniels has the talent and two-way potential to propel his way into the conversation as one of the better players in this year’s draft class. He also presents the Raptors with another multi-dimensional option on the wing, giving coach Nurse even more lineup flexibility with which to tinker. In all, it’s not hard to bet on Toronto’s ability to develop McDaniels with the right mindset and along the best path to unlock his full potential.
30. Boston Celtics - Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
The Celtics didn’t enter this draft expecting to take three domestic players, but we can finagle things to make room for the right three. If there’s one theme in our picks, it’s that shooting rules the roost. We have a superstar scorer, some great slashers and enough defensive versatility and firepower to remain a threat. Isaiah Joe could easily end up the best shooter in this class, and bringing he and Terry to Boston, as well as a pick & pop threat in Toppin, should open up the floor plenty for Tatum and company.