2020 NBA Draft: First Round Mock and Explanations

By Max Feldman and Aditya Fuldeore

The 2020 NBA Draft is finally just a few weeks away and trade talks, rumors and workouts are leaking by the daily. Per usual, FOG is going out on a limb in terms of draft selections and potential trades as any and all mock drafts usually go up in flames just a few picks into the actual draft. Scouts and executives have been rising on multiple FOG favorites that previously were slotted down the board; Jalen Smith, Avdija, Ramsey, Malachi Flynn, Woodard II, Pritchard and more in specific, while FOG evaluation largely varies from executives on other prospects like Cole Anthony, Anthony Edwards, Devin Vassell, Jaden McDaniels and RJ Hampton. As the draft approaches, more rumors are set to flare up. The following is a live mock draft with alternating selections, proposed trade offers and current projections of team fit versus best player available.

Selections for teams in bold were made by Max Feldman.

Selections for teams in italics were made by Aditya Fuldeore.

Agreed Upon Trades

The Celtics send #14, #26, #47 and Romeo Langford to the Hawks in exchange for the #6.

The Suns send Kelly Oubre, Frank Kaminsky and #10 to the Warriors for #2 and Jordan Poole.

The Mavs send Delon Wright, #18 and #31 to the Pelicans for #13 and #42.

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves select Anthony Edwards

Minnesota need a scorer to produce behind D’Angelo Russell and Karl Anthony-Towns. Anthony Edwards is one of the best scorers in the draft who could slot in at wing, where Minnesota is shallow.

2. Phoenix Suns select LaMelo Ball

The Suns have long been attached to each of the Ball brothers. While Obi Toppin remained a target after sending Oubre, Kaminsky and the 10th pick to Golden State, the fit for Melo and the Suns was too appealing. Ricky Rubio remains in place and would allow for LaMelo to adjust into the NBA and watch how a proven playmaker elevates his team. Ball would allow Devin Booker to do what he does best and also would make the game a whole lot easier for DeAndre Ayton. Immediate defensive needs are not answered, but Obi Toppin would have been even worse in that aspect. I am a believer in LaMelo’s long term defensive outlook, especially if it is the hinging point of early play time. The Suns organizations keeps the fuel under the fire post-bubble by jumping up for LaMelo Ball. The Suns made their run without the presence of Kelly Oubre, giving them the comfort to put him on the table and swing for the fences. Ball is worth the price and the timing is ideal for both parties.

3. Charlotte Hornets select James Wiseman

The Hornets need young talent in their front court, where they struggled on both sides of the ball. Wiseman is an all-round big who can fit in with the rest of the young and developing talent in Charlotte.

4. Chicago Bulls select Deni Avdija

The Bulls land their guy in Deni Avdija after plenty of conversation regarding a move to the second pick. Avdija slots directly into the roster as a versatile, two-way playmaker that will not require mass volume. While the Bulls roster makeup is a whole different discussion, Deni essentially can fit in any roster situation because of his size, ability to defend and three level scoring flashes. Every roster needs more wings, and Avdija is the cream of the crop in 2020. Whichever direction the Bulls move under Karnisovas, Avdija should be a cornerstone.

5. Cleveland Cavs select Obi Toppin

Cleveland would improve their offensive output from getting a young big to develop in a frontcourt filled with veterans that may leave due to free agency. Toppin is a shooting big who would benefit by learning from another shooting big in Kevin Love.

6. Boston Celtics select Killian Hayes

Danny Ainge has a wealth of options at the sixth spot after letting three 2020 picks loose and tossing in former lottery pick, Romeo Langford to Atlanta. Bench production has to be the top priority for the Celtics after facing an ECF exit largely due to a lack of depth. Killian Hayes is an advanced pick and roll ball handler with plenty of flashes as a self-creator and shot maker. If Ainge is going to let go of Langford and two first round picks, it will be for a ball handler who can take a load off of Kemba while carrying natural facilitating tendencies. If the Celtics stick at 14, their ball handling options could be limited to Kira Lewis, RJ Hampton, Malachi Flynn or Theo Maledon. None of which carry near the level of potential or polished ball handling skills of Killian Hayes.

7. Detroit Pistons select Tyrese Haliburton

Haliburton would be a top playmaking point guard to develop long-term for Detroit behind former MVP Derrick Rose. His passing skills would open up scoring opportunities for Blake Griffin and Luke Kennard.

8. New York Knicks select Patrick Williams

This one will catch some people off guard. I will preach it again, throwing another highly touted prospect who requires the ball in his hands in order to make his presence felt will only damage what the Knicks have in place. Williams is my top rated defender in the class and would be a strong fit in between Barrett, Knox and Robinson. The Knicks have longed lacked an identity or organizational direction, therefore, instilling more hard-nosed, athletic pieces could go a long way towards building direction. Williams is the second youngest prospect in the 2020 field and while I am not overly confident the Knicks would make this move, I love the direction this would take the organization.

9. Washington Wizards select Onyeka Okongwu

Washington’s defense needs improvement, and the frontcourt could use another piece. Okongwu is a good defender in the paint and will add a threat on the inside with Bradley Beal on the outside.

10. Golden State Warriors select Isaac Okoro

Okoro to the Warriors makes all too much sense. A defensive, athletic wing with playmaking flashes and the ability to guard multiple positions ranging from the 1-4. I am not the highest on Okoro overall, but I do love this fit as he can slot right in and play to his strengths. In a wing oriented league, Bob Myers would love to walk into the 2021 season with Kelly Oubre, Andrew Wiggins and Isaac Okoro next to Klay and Steph.

11. San Antonio Spurs select Devin Vassell

A team that struggled on defense and 3-point shooting, the Spurs could use a two-way player to round out their lineup. Devin Vassell is a great 3 point shooter and defender who can immediately help the lineup.

12. Sacramento Kings select Aaron Nesmith

The Kings go a multitude of directions with this one, but an influx of shooting and scoring is necessary on the wing. With Marvin Bagley back in the fold and De’Aaron Fox continuing to evolve into a star, filling the wings with shooting and versatile scorers should be a priority. Nesmith is the premier shooter in this class and will provide a high upside replacement as Buddy Hield is likely to be moved.

13. Dallas Mavericks select Tyrese Maxey

The Mavericks trade up to add Maxey, a crafty scorer on multiple levels and versatile defender. Maxey will reinforce scoring outside of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, while adding a needed defensive skillset.

14. Atlanta Hawks select Jalen Smith

The Hawks bring in Langford, #26 and #47 to slide down from the 6th pick to the 14th. Jalen Smith brings the Hawks more two way production than Capela and can be another space floorer next to Trae, Huerter, Reddish, Hunter and Collins. Smith has been one of the largest risers for me throughout the process because of his unique ability to defend the rim and hit 3’s with efficiency. His development in two years at Maryland was rapid and I expect him to become a very valuable core piece.

15. Orlando Magic select Cole Anthony

The Magic could use a young guard while they continue to determine their core pieces. Anthony possesses a vast skillset as a creator and scorer and can develop as a lead guard to create for Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic.

16. Portland Trail Blazers select Precious Achiuwa

The Blazers snag Achiuwa over a few other options, namely Saddiq Bey, because of his switch-ability and defensive fit in the NBA. There is a clear need for more front court defensive in Portland and while Bey could slot in nicely, I am more sold on Jay Wright and Villanova’s defense than Bey’s individual defense. Achiuwa gives Terry Stotts the freedom to play Nurkic and Carmelo Anthony with less of a worry defensively.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves select Jaden McDaniels

The Timberwolves add a high-ceiling prospect in McDaniels, whose length and athleticism will allow him to defend multiple positions and score from all over the court next to 1st overall pick (and weaker defender) Anthony Edwards on the wing.

18. New Orleans Pelicans select Tyrell Terry

This fit is extremely exciting for both parties. The Pelicans have a strong core in place, but nothing quite to the creative degree of Tyrell Terry. Ball and Holiday are a very strong defensive backcourt but Terry brings an unprecedented ability to stretch the floor off the dribble. Terry’s handle and ability to put pressure on a defense would continue to solidify the Pels deep core and adds an intriguing backcourt creator.

19. Brooklyn Nets select Jahmi’us Ramsey

Brooklyn could use depth and scoring on the wing behind Caris LeVert, as Joe Harris is a free agent. Ramsey’s 3 point shooting, physicality, and length would reinforce scoring and defense in the Nets’ star – studded lineup.

20. Miami Heat select Josh Green

Josh Green has that Miami Heat identity to him. A hard nosed, athletic wing that is physically ready to compete in the NBA. Green would provide Spoelstra is a nice piece in contrast from Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson who struggled defensively at times. Green is a strong fit here because I am not overly high on his ceiling, but the Heat were just in the NBA Finals and have the pieces in place to compete now. Jimmy Butler would certainly help as a mentor to Josh Green with similar measurements and a base skillset.

21. Philadelphia 76er’s select Desmond Bane

Philadelphia needs to add more shooting, an area in which they did not perform as well as other playoff teams did. Bane is a great 3 point shooter and his presence will stretch defenses by adding an outside threat.

22. Denver Nuggets select Saddiq Bey

Making a draft pick as the Denver Nuggets is always difficult because Malone’s hesitance to give rookies valuable play time. Saddiq Bey is a different story. His skillset is pretty set in stone as a versatile, floor stretching wing with high level fundamentals. His defense is a swing point for me, but I do think he can put it together over time. With Jerami Grant and Plumlee potentially on their way out, look for the Nuggets to fill some holes with a guy like Bey or even Daniel Oturu for more of a interior presence.

23. Utah Jazz select Kira Lewis Jr.

With 33 year-old Mike Conley’s massive contract, the Jazz could use a point guard to develop as the team’s future floor general. Lewis is a consistent, talented scorer and effective passer who the Jazz could develop next to Donovan Mitchell.

24. Milwaukee Bucks select Malachi Flynn

Malachi Flynn would be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Milwaukee Bucks. A polished ball handler who excels attacking the PnR and knocking down shots from the perimeter. Floor spacers at every spot only makes Giannis more dangerous and Flynn is ready to produce day one. George Hill would prove to be a fantastic mentor for Flynn.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder select Leandro Bolmaro

As the Thunder enter a big offseason, their most glaring lack of depth is on the wing. Bolmaro would add intriguing scoring ability and solid defense to sandwich between Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the backcourt and Steven Adams in the front court.

26. Atlanta Hawks select RJ Hampton

The Hawks use this pick from the Celtics trade to take a late first round shot on RJ Hampton. I have never been increasingly high on Hampton, but I do like this move because of his defensive upside and slashing ability. I question how he fits into an NBA offense because of his shot making shortcomings, but the Hawks would allow him the time to figure things out.

27. New York Knicks select Nico Mannion

The Knicks took forward Patrick Williams earlier, and could use a young guard here to develop and create opportunities for RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. Mannion is a creative passer and sound shooter who could lead the pack of Knicks’ point guards.

28. Los Angeles Lakers select Payton Pritchard

Payton Pritchard should be a hot commodity in this range because of his ability to find his own shot with ease and stretch a defense. The Lakers will be in the market for a ball handler as Rajon Rondo enters free agency and backcourt depth became an issue at times for the reigning NBA Champions.

29. Toronto Raptors select Zeke Nnaji

Nnaji is a skilled rebounder who can stretch the floor with his outside-the-paint shooting threat. He would add a piece for the Raptors’ interior with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka entering free agency.

30. Boston Celtics select Tyler Bey

After jumping up for Killian Hayes at the sixth pick, Danny Ainge grabs a high motor, athletic forward who should continue to improve. Bey’s floor stretching flashes could be the reason he goes higher than this, but his ability to defend multiple positions and contest shots at the rim are well worth a first round grade. The Robert Williams role proved to be key in the Playoffs, and while Bey is smaller, he has many of the same strengths and more promise as a floor stretcher.

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