The NBA Draft is finally here. Five months after it normally happens, but it's here. It's a strange draft, I'll say that much. Teams have had more time than ever to evaluate prospects, but with less tape than ever due to the cancellation of the college basketball season and March Madness tournament last spring. That's especially tough for this draft, which is very low on star power but bursting at the seams with future role players and good secondary options.
All that is to say that this is the most unpredictable draft since perhaps 2013, when Anthony Bennett went first overall. It's going to be a crapshoot in the truest form. Some late first-rounders could go in the lottery. A projected top-10 pick could fall to the back half of the first. Teams will probably be trading up and down willy-nilly. Who knows? I certainly don't, but I'm going to give it a try. Here's our final 2020 NBA mock draft.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
As with many picks in this draft, there's lots of speculation about if the Wolves will trade this selection. If they don't, Edwards is the natural choice. He's a big, athletic wing who can get to the bucket and fits in well next to D'Angelo Russell now, and will only become better as his defense comes along. His shooting is a bit of a question mark, but nobody else fits better with the Wolves' young core.
2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Golden State seems most likely to trade this pick for veteran help, but if nothing materializes, Wiseman will be their man. The Warriors haven't had a consistently good big man since Andrew Bogut and Wiseman is good enough right now to step in, do the bare minimum as a 5 in Golden State's system, and be considered a good pick. His ceiling is sky-high with his physical tools and ability to score from both inside and out. It's the natural choice for a team with a loaded starting five oterwise.
3. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
The first somewhat surprise pick of this mock, the Hornets pass on LaMelo Ball in light of Devonte Graham's emergence (and Terry Rozier's sizable contract) to go with the quickly-rising Okongwu. He's a bit undersized for a center but plays hard and appears to possess every skill necessary to be a rim-running center who can protect the paint, the ideal NBA big man even if he doesn't have a jumper. The Hornets could swing bigger than this, but Okongwu is the reliable selection who will fill a big need for the next five years at least in Charlotte.
4. Chicago Bulls: LaMelo Ball, PG, Australia
The Bulls get lucky and jump on a sliding Ball here. What Chicago needs more than anything is a distributor and someone to set up the offense. For all of Ball's numerous flaws with his defense and jumpshot, he can definitely pass. He's the obvious choice if he's still here for the Bulls. Their defense will be putrid between him, Zach LaVine, and Coby White, but that's a very exciting backcourt and set up to be elite offensively when Ball's passing prowess is added to the mix.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
The Cavaliers don't seem to care all that much about defense (see: back-to-back selections of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland), so they go with the college basketball player of the year in Toppin. He can jump through the roof and at 22-years-old will come in ready to contribute immediately at either power forward or center. His defense will be a big question mark that will be tough to answer as an undersized forward who can't guard the pick-and-roll, but Toppin seems primed to be a double-digit scorer from Day 1, and the Cavs, if anything, simply need talent.
6. Atlanta Hawks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
The Hawks have been rumored to want to package this pick for a lower selection or a vet, but in the interim, I have them taking Haliburton. They didn't have anybody who could effectively handle the ball when Trae Young sat last year, and Haliburton would solve that immediately. He's a high-quality playmaker who can do a little bit of everything and can even play with Young thanks to his size on the defensive end. Keeping the ship steady without Young on the court is the biggest issue the Hawks have to fix this offseason, and Haliburton would be a big step towards that goal.
7. Detroit Pistons: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
Detroit has been heavily linked to Williams, so they'll go with him in this mock draft. Williams was basically unknown before the draft process but has grown extremely popular over the last few months. He has every physical tool a team could want in a modern NBA wing and has shown an ability to do some of everything on offense. He could grow into a quality two-way player with time, but he's still only 19-years-old and is unlikely to be a good starter immediately. Fortunately, Detroit is in it for the long run now with Troy Weaver at the helm, and Williams is a low-risk, high-reward prospect for him to take as his first pick as GM.
8. New York Knicks: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
The Knicks need pretty much everything, so they go with Okoro here. He's a long, athletic wing with the tools to become an elite defender in short order while showing off a good-looking three-point shot. These types of high-end 3-and-D players are invaluable in today's NBA, and R.J. Barrett will need an army of those around him if he's to be the franchise centerpiece. It's an unexciting pick, but it's a smart one, which have been in short supply for the Knicks over the years.
9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, SF, Israel
Avdija could go just about anywhere in the lottery. Here, he ends up with Washington. The Wizards don't need any backcourt assistance with John Wall coming back and Bradley Beal still in uniform, and Avdija can play next to both of them with no problems. He's a talented facilitator as a forward and will be helpful as Wall eases back into basketball while serving as a good building block for a future without him or Beal. Avdija's star potential is low at this juncture, but he has a broad enough skillset to rise to near All-Star level.
10. Phoenix Suns: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
There was an odd video going around last month of Vassell taking jumpshots where he appeared to completely change his form. But he said he was just goofing around, so if that truly is the case, he's a great fit for Phoenix. Another player in the mold of a three-and-D wing, Vassell shot 41.5 percent from deep in college who demonstrated excellent defensive chops for a sophomore in college. The Suns want to win now, and Vassell doesn't seem the type of prospect who will need much of a runway before he can become at least a passable part of the rotation. In the near future, he could fill out quite a defensive wing pairing with Mikail Bridges.
11. San Antonio Spurs: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
Bey is a great defensive prospect whose shot comes and goes. The Spurs like to pick guys who can play on defense right away and figure out the offense later. Thus, Bey is a natural pick here. San Antonio has their backcourt of the future, but everything else is in flux. Bey could slot in the starting lineup immediately, and while he won't become a superstar, he'll be a great foundational piece as the Spurs rebuild their talent pool.
12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
The Kings are in an odd middle rebuild spot right now where they have a stud in De'Aaron Fox and a few other good players, but aren't winning basketball games. With Bogdan Bogdanovich now in Milwaukee, Sacramento takes another flamethrower shooter to match with Buddy Hield in Nesmith here. He shot 52 percent (!!!) from deep in college and can hit from just about anywhere. He and Hield on the court together would be a nightmare for defenses. Nesmith is also big enough to be at least fine in a well-designed NBA defense, although he has a long way to go before he won't get picked on in man-to-man schemes. Still, spacing is needed in today's NBA, and Nesmith can provide that as well as anybody in this class.
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Tyrell Terry, SG, Stanford
Terry was another late riser in the draft process who is an absolutely lights-out shooter, which is why he ends up in New Orleans here. He's a slim two-guard who will probably struggle on defense for his entire career, but he fights hard on that end and will do everything he can to prevent an easy bucket. He shot 40 percent from three at Stanford and showed off impressive pick-and-roll chops on top of that. Lonzo Ball can defend bigger shooting guards, so Terry could fit in with the starting unit in time, and come into the league as a producer of points off the bench immediately. A scorer like Terry is much-needed for these Pelicans, especially if he can learn from J.J. Redick.
14. Boston Celtics: Killian Hayes, PG, France
Boston gets real lucky here with a tumbling Hayes and picks him with no hesitation. The Celtics need a ballhandler off the bench who can create points while the starters rest, and Hayes can definitely do that. His athleticism is his biggest question mark, but he showed off a great feel for the game in France and exhibited an impressive ability to create his own shot despite the aforementioned limited physical tools. He's a bit of a high-risk prospect, but the Celtics can afford to take a swing with the first of three picks in this draft and he fills a big depth need behind Kemba Walker.
15. Orlando Magic: R.J. Hampton, SG, New Zealand
The Magic finally stray from their track record of taking physically talented frontcourt players with Hampton here. Hampton was a heralded high school prospect before heading to New Zealand, where he had to figure out his place on a team with championship aspirations. He's a physically talented slasher and scorer who could become a very effective two-way player in time. Shooting might be an issue with both him and Markelle Fultz off the bat, but that's a big backcourt to go up against and the Magic desperately need some kind of star power. At this point in the draft, Hampton is their best bet for that.
16. Houston Rockets: Precious Achiuwa, C, Memphis
The Rockets suddenly have a draft pick after trading Robert Covington and are picking in the top 16 of the draft for the first time since... 2012, when they took Jeremy Lamb and promptly traded him for James Harden. Lord only knows what this team will look like when the season start date rolls around, but one thing is for damn sure: they need a center, and they need one bad. Achiuwa is from the school of smaller centers who play bigger than their size and possesses the athleticism to hang with most other bigs in the league. He's a rim-runner and protector in the most basic of senses and crashes the boards like a madman. Regardless of who will be in the starting lineup for the Rockets come December, Achiuwa would be a good fit.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tyrese Maxey, PG, Kentucky
Now that Minnesota has firmly established their starting backcourt of the future, they need someone to fill minutes when Russell hits the bench. Enter Maxey. He would be a great complement to Russell's game as an excellent defender who can create his own shot when he needs, even if he isn't a great shooter. Maxey is big enough to guard multiple positions and could learn to effectively run an offense in time. He isn't exactly bursting at the seams with star potential, but he has the look of a very solid starter/sixth man that all up-and-coming teams need to be successful.
18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, C, Greece
The Mavs love their international prospects and are looking to manuever their way into a third star at some point to join Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic, so Pokusevski is the pick here. He's a gangly 7-footer from overseas who has shown off a very impressive handle and passing chops for someone his size. He's also thin as a rail and one of the youngest prospects in this draft. He'd be great for Dallas as a draft-and-stash option; either some team talks themselves into his potential and the Mavs can use him as a central trade piece, or he develops over the next few years and can come over and contribute as their championship window fully opens. There's a lot of bust potential here, but it would make sense for what the Mavs are trying to do.
19. Brooklyn Nets: Josh Green, SG, Arizona
The Nets might have James Harden by the end of draft night. Who knows? But no matter who they trot out there next season, Green would fit perfectly. He's a competitive on-ball defender who can shoot and knows how to manipulate spacing with his cutting on offense. He's exactly the kind of player you want on a star-studded team. He can't make plays for others and struggles to finish around the rim, but he can leave that to KD and Kyrie.
20. Miami Heat: Jalen Smith, C, Maryland
Smith is an intriguing big-man prospect, one of the few in this draft who can really shoot the rock and still contribute on defense. He has a long way to go to become a fully-rounded player, but the Heat could secure a great backup for Bam Adebayo here and, if the shot develops as planned, Smith could play next to Adebayo in certain matchups without compromising any spacing. Smith is also a monstrous screen-setter, which is a must in Miami's offense. They'll also need depth at center and forward with Meyers Leonard hitting free agency and potentially Kelly Olynyk alongside him.
21. Philadelphia 76ers: Desmond Bane, SG, TCU
The Sixers need shooting. Bane can shoot. May as well end the segment there. Bane has a legit claim to the best pure shooter in this class, hitting 44 percent of his attempts from deep on 6.5 tries per game his last season at TCU. He'll never be a great defender but he competes on that end, which is all the Sixers really need. As an added bonus, he flashed some playmaking skills in the pick-and-roll that could work wonders for a Philly team that desperately needs anybody who can do that. Bane should be Daryl Morey's first pick in charge.
22. Denver Nuggets: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
While Miles Plumlee is great and all, the Nuggets need a better backup center to spell Nikola Jokic. Stewart presents a good opportunity to acquire such a player. He was a great rim-protector at Washington and can run the floor with the quickest bigs in the league. The fit next to Jokic might be tight, but at worst they'll find a good two-way center for bench minutes. At best, he can develop enough of a jumpshot to play next to the franchise player and provide an element that is currently missing from the roster.
23. Utah Jazz; Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona
Like the Nuggets, the Jazz need someone behind Rudy Gobert, and Nnaji provides an interesting skillset as a center that could be of great use to a playoff team. Nnaji is a great athlete who knows how to use those talents inside and finish with both hands along with a good-looking jumper that could become a three-point shot in time. He's an eager, if a bit unskilled, as a defender. He'd bring a different element to the center position and could project as a long-term starter when the post-Gobert era begins in Utah.
24. New Orleans Pelicans: Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
New Orleans pairs a switchable wing with Tyrell Terry as their 2020 draft class in this here mock. McDaniels has the physical skillset of an ideal two-way wing in the NBA, big enough to guard forwards and quick enough to cover most guards. The key, of course, will be capitalizing on that. He desperately needs an NBA weight training program to put on some muscle, but he's a pretty good shooter with playmaking potential. The Pelicans are in the stage of the rebuild where acquiring talent is the key, and McDaniels certainly has that. New Orleans would be a good low-pressure environment to develop in.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Theo Maldeon, PG, Israel
With Chris Paul and Dennis Schroeder both out of the picture, the Thunder pick up Maldeon here to provide more opportunities for the multi-guard offense that drove them to a playoff spot. Maldeon is big for a point guard and uses his height to command the floor very well for someone his age. He's a creative playmaker and a good enough shooter to play both off and on the ball next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. His defense is a big question, but he could be a good long-term fit behind or next to SGA.
26. Boston Celtics: Leandro Bolmaro, SG, Spain
From all reports, this is one of the few surefire picks in the draft if the Celtics keep all their picks. Bolmaro is a big guard at 6-foot-7 and an absolutely genius passer. Everything else needs work. But Boston has enough young players trying to fight their way into the rotation, and Bolmaro is committed to playing in Spain for at least this year and potentially next year. A good draft-and-stash option, with the added benefit of passing the ball in ways few other prospects in any draft can boast.
27. New York Knicks: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
New York decides to take a quickly-sliding Anthony with their second first-round pick. They need a true point guard, and Anthony isn't quite that. He's a scorer at heart, and when he's feeling it, a very exciting one. But they have nobody worth noting at PG right now, and Anthony could help take some of the scoring burden off R.J. Barrett. He can't defend very well and tends to force his shots instead of making the right pass, but his ability to get buckets suggest he could be a quality source of point production off the bench.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Nwora, SF, Louisville
This pick will flip the script for Sam Presti's draft habits. Instead of drafting an elite athlete who can't shoot, how about the Thunder take an average athlete who can definitely shoot? That's Nwora. He scored in spades at Louisville this year as their lead ball-handler, portraying a good shooting stroke and a great ability to score inside. His man-to-man defense may never be better than average, but the Thunder could use someone to score points off the bench, and that's what Nwora will offer early.
29. Toronto Raptors: Paul Reed, C, DePaul
Both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are free agents this offseason, so the Raps pick up a big-man replacement as Chris Boucher presumably takes over the starting role. Reed is a gritty and athletic defender who will quickly become a fan favorite. He doesn't do a lot offensively, but Toronto doesn't really need that from their big men. Reed will fill a specific role as a big off the bench who will crash the boards and protect the paint, and that's all Toronto needs.
30. Boston Celtics: Xavier Tillman, C, Michigan State
With the last of their picks, Boston takes a center to boost their depth there. Tillman seems primed to become a longtime NBA vet because he's consistent, even if he's not great. He's usually in the right position on both ends of the floor and overcomes his relative lack of size with hustle and intelligence. He is also a great passer for a center and has monstrous hands. Not a very exciting player, but a solid one for sure.