Hird It Here First: 2020 NBA Mock Draft Version 2.0

RkPlayer NamePosCurrent TeamHtWtAge
1Anthony EdwardsSGGeorgia Bulldogs6’522518.3
2Cole AnthonoyPGUNC Tarheels6’318519.5
3LaMelo BallPGIllawara Hawks (NBL)6’718018.2
4Jaden McDanielsPFWashington Huskies6’1119519.1
5James WisemanCMemphis Tigers (?)7’124518.6

Seeing Wiseman all the way down at #5 is likely to surprise some readers. However, I imagine at this point there is a significant subset of the community who agrees with my prediction. I take no joy in this, and was as disappointed as anyone when the news came out that Wiseman would ultimately be suspended going forward, but I am concerned that his draft stock will fall somewhat during his suspension. I am not concerned that teams will view this as red flag, or will take the time to reconsider their evaluations of Wiseman; unfortunately though, we humans are prisoners of the moment, and it is simply difficult not to value the production and flashes that are happening right before your eyes. I predict that both LaMelo Ball and Jaden McDaniels will jump Wiseman, as both are incredibly electric players who will demonstrate the flashes of what could become an illustrious NBA career. Wiseman is too physically talented and all-around enticing to fall out of the top-8, but don’t be stunned if his draft stock continues to slowly creep down into the lower-half of top-10’s.

I do want to take a moment to praise these players in the top 5, however. Both Cole Anthony and Anthony Edwards came out of the gates making strong cases for the #1 pick, and all three of Wiseman, Ball and McDaniels have already put together strong games as well as put together some electric highlight reel material. At this juncture, I am fairly confident that the two Anthony’s and LaMelo Ball will comprise my top 3 in some order at the end of the year; Wiseman and McDaniels are certainly the clearest threats to foil that. Deni Avdija and Tyrese Maxey should also be mentioned as players that have gone as high as #4 or #5 in several reputable mock drafts.

6Tyrese MaxeyPGKentucky Wildcats6’418519.1
7Killian HayesPGRatiopharm ULM (France)6’521618.3
8Théo  MaleonPGASVEL Basket (France)6’417418.5
9Josh GreenSGArizona Wildcats6’620519.0
10Isaac OkoroSFAuburn Tigers6’622518.8
11Deni AvdijaSFMaccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)6’921018.9
12R.J. HamptonSGNew Zealand Breakers6’518518.8
13Nico MannionPGArizona Wildcats6’318018.7
14Onyeka OkongwuCUSC Trojans6’824519.0

This class truly bears itself as guard-heavy in the remainder of the lottery. Here we see one center, two forwards (and both Okoro and Avdija ought to be listed as guards, if I’m being realistic) and six guards. Tyrese Maxey, the shifty scoring guard with a knack for point-of-attack defense, leads off the group at #6, followed up by the two French point guards, Killian Hayes and Théo Maledon, who play on different professional teams, but are often teammates for France’s youth national team. Hayes was an early favorite to go as high as #5, but has since fallen off as skeptical scouts have dampened the hype on the young guard; Maledon on the other hand has remained a consistent bottom-half of the top-10 projected pick. I am personally more of a fan of Killian Hayes, both because of his game and his story. David Gardner of Bleacher Report had a fantastic article back in August about Hayes coming to “Claim His Basketball Birthright,” as the title of Gardner’s piece proclaims. Hayes was an American-born player who moved at a very young age to France as his father chased his own dreams of making a living as a professional basketball player; his own father had a metaphorical “cup of coffee” in the NBA, but was not long for the league – he had no connections of his own, and nobody had prepared him for the idea of going pro. Killian, however, has been raised in France, raised in the pro system. How that translates to his ability to come overseas and adapt his game, we will see, but I am personally very excited to see what he shows this season – he has been a huge part of this Ratiopharm club thus far, which is rare for young players on European clubs.

Here is a link to David’s article – https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2847971-killian-hayes-is-coming-to-claim-his-basketball-birthright

15Matthew HurtPFDuke Blue Devils6’921519.6
16Tre JonesPGDuke Blue Devils6’318519.9
17Jeremiah Robinson-EarlPFVillanova Wildcats6’923519.0
18Kahlil WhitneySFKentucky Wildcats6’720018.9
19Isaiah StewartCWashington Huskies6’924518.5
20Isaiah JoeSGArkansas Razorbacks6’518020.4
21Precious AchiuwaPFMemphis Tigers6’921520.2
22Makur MakerCPacific Academy (HS)6’1120021.9
23Jordan NworaSFLouisville Cardinals6’722521.2
24Tyrese HaliburtonPGIowa State Cyclones6’517519.7
25Obi ToppinPFDayton Flyers6’922021.7
26Trevelin QueenSFNew Mexico State Aggies6’6190?
27Bryan AntoinePGVillanova Wildcats6’518019.6
28Jah’mius RamseySGTexas Tech University6’419518.4
29Amar SyllaCB.C. Oostende (Belgium)6’919018.3
30Tre MannPGFlorida Gators6’418018.8

Another glaring trend of this draft is its youth. Even though I didn’t put “Class” as a data point, it is clear from the ages listed that the vast majority of players mocked in the first round are freshmen. However, we do see a few upperclassmen come off the board here – Jordan Nwora was a guy who tested the NBA waters last year, but decided to return to school, and thus far the returns have been positive. Scouts know Nwora can shoot, but what they really want to see is whether he can hold up on defense. At 6’7, 225lbs, one would hope that Nwora could carve out a niche on defense, but as of now he seems to be caught between being too slow for guards and too small for wings/forwards. However, Nwora’s shooting has been so enticing that I am bullish on his projection going forward, even if his defense appears only mediocre. I believe NBA teams will have the belief in their developmental staffs to draft Nwora and attempt to salvage his defense at the next level.

Makur Maker is another name that jumps off the page, for two reasons. First many likely recognize his last name – his older brother is Thon Maker, drafted with the #10 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. (he has since been traded to the Detroit Pistons) Thon has not panned out like scouts hoped, (and to be fair, most had Thon mocked as a late 1st/early 2nd round pick – #10 seemed an incredible reach to most even casual fans, like myself at the time) but that hasn’t dampened the hype for Makur, who is currently petitioning the NBA to be eligible for the upcoming 2020 NBA draft. Makur is attending his fifth year of high school, as he was two credits short of graduating last semester; he has now transferred to Pacific Academy, which will have a newly founded basketball program. For Maker to be eligible, he will need to complete those two credits and graduate after this Fall semester, at which point his case will be reviewed by the NBA, who barring any unforeseen complication should allow Maker to enter his name into the 2020 draft.

31Ayo DosunmoPGIllinois Fighting Illini
32Anton WatsonPFGonzaga Bulldogs
33Oscar TshiebweCWest Virginia Mountaineers
34Trendon WatfordSFLSU Tigers
35Wendell MooreSFDuke Blue Devils
36Cassius StanleySFDuke Blue Devils
37Aaron NesmithSFVanderbilt Commodores
38Xavier TillmanSFMichigan State Spartans
39Aaron HenrySFMichigan State Spartans
40Zeke NnajiPFArizona Wildcats
41Jalen SmithCMaryland Terrapins
42Kira LewisPGAlabama Crimson Tide
43D.J. CartonPGOhio State Buckeyes
45Landers Nolley IISGVirginia Tech Hokies
46Devon DotsonPGKansas Jayhawks
47A.J. LawsonPGUSC Gamecocks
48Scottie LewisSGFlorida Gators
49Armando BacotCUNC Tarheels
50Romeo WeemsSGDePaul Blue Demons
51Samuell WilliamsonSFLouisville Cardinals
52Jon TeskeCMichigan Wolverines
53Drew TimmeCGonzaga Bulldogs
54Cassius WinstonPGMichigan State Spartans
55Malcolm CazalonSGLeuven Bears
56Vernon CareyCDuke Blue Devils
57Grant RillerPGCollege of Charleston
58Jalen PickettPGSiena Saints
59Keion BrooksSFKentucky Wildcats
60Quentin GrimesSGHouston Cougars

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