2020 NBA first-round mock draft


Adding to the list of things that only make sense in 2020, this Wednesday, the 2020 NBA Draft will take place, marking the first time in its 74-year history that it will take place in November. 

To get into the spirit of draft season, The Daily Campus sports section held a mock draft this past weekend with trades included. Admittedly, we may have gone a little trade crazy, but that’s part of the fun. The following “draft night” trades were made by members of the section: 

  • The Knicks and Hawks swapped the No. 6 and No. 8 picks in a deal that also sent Dewayne Dedmon to the Knicks and Frank Ntilikina, Bobby Portis and the No. 38 pick to the Hawks. 
  • The Suns, Thunder and Pistons orchestrated a three-team deal, in which the Suns got Chris Paul from the Thunder, the Pistons got the No. 10 pick and a 2022 first-round pick (top-eight protected) from the Suns and the Thunder got the No. 7 pick from the Pistons along with Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Elie Okobo, Frank Kaminsky and a 2023 second-round pick from the Suns. 
  • The Celtics traded the No. 14 pick to the Timberwolves for the No. 17 and No. 33 picks. 
  • The Celtics then traded the No. 17, No. 33 and No. 47 picks to the Pelicans for the No. 13 pick. 
  • Keeping up with the theme, the Celtics traded the No. 26 and No. 30 picks to the Mavericks for the No. 18 pick. 
  • The Heat traded the No. 20 pick to the Nuggets for the No. 22 pick and a 2021 first-round pick (lottery protected). 
  • The Mavericks traded the No. 30 pick, Courtney Lee, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Justin Jackson to the Pacers for Myles Turner and a 2024 second-round pick. 

I know that was a lot and probably hard to follow, but with all that out of the way, here are the selections in the 2020 Daily Campus NBA Mock Draft. 

1. Minnesota Timberwolves 
LaMelo Ball, G, Australia 

Conner Gilson: As much as I personally want a trade to happen here, I ultimately had to go with Ball going first overall. The main concern with this pick is that the Timberwolves already gave up a lot for current All-Star caliber point guard D’Angelo Russell, but they play different enough games where pairing them would be very beneficial to the team. Ball is coming into the draft as one of the best playmakers we have seen in recent years, as his averages of 17 points and seven assists in the Australian League showcase. Ball’s ability to create for others combined with Russell’s knack for creating his own shots would form one of the most dangerous backcourts in the league and makes Ball too good to pass up at No. 1. 

2. Golden State Warriors 
James Wiseman, C, Memphis 

Danny Barletta: The Warriors are in a unique situation for a team with the second overall pick in that they’re expected to compete next year. With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson returning from injury, their only real hole is the center position. Wiseman is easily the best center in the draft and quite possibly the best player in the draft. The Warriors get a guy here who could anchor their front court for years to come. 

3. Charlotte Hornets 
Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia 

Cole Stefan: Anthony Edwards had a standout freshman year at Georgia and will be the next franchise guard after the loss of UConn great Kemba Walker via trade last offseason. His 19.1 PPG is going to be a huge addition as he develops alongside the likes of Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham. When one is being compared to Dwyane Wade, you know he is going to be something big in the NBA, hopefully. 

4. Chicago Bulls 
Obi Toppin, F, Dayton 

Ty Reeves: Obi Toppin had a monster year at Dayton which saw him earn First Team All American and many other prestigious awards. Toppin averaged 20 PPG and 7.5 RPG while shooting almost 64% from the field and is arguably the most versatile stretch four in the draft. Chicago will be looking for someone who can consistently play well and bring a needed spark to the franchise, and Toppin has that in his arsenal.  

5. Cleveland Cavaliers 
Deni Avdija, F, Israel 

Ben Berg: The Cavs are paying a lot of money to lose a lot of games, and there seemingly isn’t a franchise player on the roster. Avdija is a high-upside pick that could develop into the team’s primary ball-handler and shot-creator, allowing them to let Colin Sexton focus on shooting rather than playmaking.  

6. New York Knicks (from Atlanta) 
Killian Hayes, G, Germany 

Jorge Eckardt: This trade just seems like the most Knicks thing ever. Not only do they give up Ntilikina and Portis and take on a bad contract in Dedmond, but they do this all for a player they probably could have gotten at eight anyway without trading up. And, to keep it Knicks, they go with another French-born point guard! Hayes should be a lot more competent on the offensive end than Ntilikina and there’s a ton of upside here, but also a lot of question marks. Fits right into the Knicks brand. 

7. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Detroit) 
Patrick Williams, F, Florida State 

Ben Berg: With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, newly-acquired Ricky Rubio, Andre Roberson and Lu Dort holding down OKC’s guard spots, the Thunder are probably looking for forward help. Enter Patrick Williams, who is one of, if not the most well-rounded player in the draft. The Thunder grab a legitimate building block with the seventh pick.  

8. Atlanta Hawks (from New York) 
Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn 

Jorge Eckardt: Despite finishing 20-47 and No. 14 in the East, I don’t think the Hawks are that far off from competing. In this simulated trade, Atlanta trades back just two spots and picks up Frank Ntilkina, Bobby Portis and a second rounder in this draft. Ntilikina is a defense-first point guard, a position they desperately need some defense from, and Portis adds some depth to their power forward spot behind John Collins. Then they pick up Okoro, a 6-foot-6 forward who can play the three. Adding him would give the Hawks some much needed help on the defensive end.  

9. Washington Wizards 
Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC 

Conner Gilson: Heading into next season, the Washington Wizards will (hopefully) have John Wall, Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura running the show. And while Thomas Bryant did an admiral job filling in at center last season, it’s time the Wiz use some of that knowledge and take their potential big man of the future in 6-foot-9 Onyeka Okongwu. In his one season at USC, Okongwu put up 16 points, eight rebounds and almost three blocks per game. Those solid offensive numbers and great defensive potential would fill out Washington’s roster perfectly as they attempt to drag themselves out of the depths of the NBA standings. 

10. Detroit Pistons (from Phoenix) 
Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State 

Mike Mavredakis: Haliburton is considered one of the best all-around guards in this draft, so if the Pistons — who are in a complete rebuild — have the chance to take him, they’d be stupid not to. They badly need some young talent on their roster, and the point guard position is a great place to start. Haliburton had a great sophomore year at Iowa State and seems like he could help an NBA roster right away. That’s exactly what Detroit needs. 

Trade note: I made this Chris Paul trade a few days before it happened, and I gave up this pick in order to keep Kelly Oubre. I didn’t want to see the Suns waste their window so I felt a Chris Paul-type was the perfect player to match up with Devin Booker and their young roster. Paul could teach them how to win out in Phoenix. 

11. San Antonio Spurs 
Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis 

Danny Barletta: Achiuwa already has the build of an NBA forward at 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, and his lone season at Memphis was exceptional. He averaged a double-double and was his conference’s player of the year. He would be going to a great situation in San Antonio, where he could learn from one of the best forwards of this era, LaMarcus Aldridge, and be coached by future hall of famer Gregg Popovich. This seems like a great fit for both sides. 

12. Sacramento Kings 
Aleksej Pokusevski, C, Serbia 

Cole Stefan: The Kings love Europeans. Look at their core from 2001-02. Pokusevski fits the young mold and fills a necessary hole in the rotation. His shot release is going to be a great skill to work alongside De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley in that young core and his anticipation is his best defensive aspect. Pokusevski could be a defensive player of the year contender if he improves most of his defensive game. 

13. Boston Celtics (from New Orleans) 
Devin Vassell, G, Florida St. 

Mike Mavredakis: It took me a pair of deals to get to this pick. I sacrificed a second-rounder in the end but if Vassell is on the board in the late lottery, any team no matter their needs should move up to get him. He is the perfect Danny Ainge player, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard-wing who can shoot, grab some rebounds, doesn’t need the ball all the time and can make a defensive impact. He also doesn’t really turn the ball over, with just 0.6 per game in his sophomore season. This is a value over need kind of pick. 

14. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Boston) 
Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova 

Conner Gilson: While it may not be entirely likely to happen come draft night, I think the Wolves trading up to get a player like Saddiq Bey would be a huge move for their franchise. With D’Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns and newly drafted LaMelo Ball, the Wolves needed a wing player that could spot up on the offensive end and lock down on the defensive end, which is exactly what Bey provides. Standing at 6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Bey can guard multiple positions effectively, and his 45% 3-point shooting his sophomore year at Villanova makes him the prototypical 3-and-D player everyone wants on their team. This draft could go down as one of the most important in Timberwolves history, and Bey would be a key part of that. 

15. Orlando Magic 
RJ Hampton, G, USA 

Ben Berg: The Magic love their big boys, but I seriously doubt they expect to take the next step with Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross and Markelle Fultz as their ball-handlers. In a very uncertain draft, Orlando uses their pick to take a swing on a potential offensive difference-maker.  

16. Portland Trail Blazers 
Aaron Nesmith, G, Vanderbilt 

Jorge Eckardt: The Trail Blazers have too much talent to not go all in. I know, it’s the West, so it’s not going to be easy, but you don’t tear down when you have Dame Lillard. Portland should be looking to fill a need, and that need is someone who can run the three now that Melo is likely out the door. Nesmith is that guy. An absolutely lethal shooter and very solid defender, he’s exactly what the Blazers need. He’ll be a 3-and-D wing who Dame can kick it to for the easy bucket and play good transition defense. 

17. New Orleans Pelicans (from Minnesota via Boston) 
Cole Anthony, G, UNC 

Ty Reeves: Adding Anthony to an already talented young Pelicans team will bring an extra ball handler and an explosive guard with a ton of potential. Even though Anthony’s season at UNC didn’t go as expected with injuries and whatnot, he was still able to average 18.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 4.0 APG. Anthony definitely has something to prove going forward. 

18. Boston Celtics (from Dallas) 
Jalen Smith, C, Maryland 

Mike Mavredakis: This is the player I was going to take with the No. 14 pick before I traded it to the Timberwolves. After I moved up for Vassell, though, I figured I could still move up again since I had the No. 26 and 30 picks. There is no way Ainge makes three picks in this draft so I knew I had to make one more deal. Overall I traded a future second-rounder and the No. 30 pick to move up a total of nine spots. I’ll take that easily. 

This is not a super deep draft, but I liked Smith’s rebounding potential. He’s a versatile power forward that can score from the outside, run the floor and contribute on the defensive end. He doesn’t have a ton of size for his position but he has a good frame to add more. I feel like Smith would fit well in Brad Stevens’ small lineups. I don’t think he’s going to be a star, but a very solid role player for a contender. This could be a post-lottery steal.  

19. Brooklyn Nets 
Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky 

Ben Berg: The Nets have a ton of talent up and down their roster, so it’s a no-brainer for them to take the best player available. Enter Tyrese Maxey, a big and speedy guard who could offer the team depth or potential trade opportunities coming out of one of college’s most successful programs.  

20. Denver Nuggets (from Miami) 
Tre Jones, G, Duke 

Cole Stefan: So this pick goes to the Nuggets here, and Tre Jones is a risky pick who would make a great addition to an already stacked backcourt. Working alongside Jamal Murray, Jones could improve off of his 16.2 PPG with Duke last year and improve his shooting abilities in the process. Again, a risk pick/steal here who has the defensive skills to be one of the best defensive guards in the game. 

21. Philadelphia 76ers  
Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford 

Jorge Eckardt: The 76ers are in a tough spot. They’ve been at full power for a couple of years now and it just doesn’t seem to be working. They could tear it down, but I think they’re going to give Embiid and Simmons one more year to figure it out. So, what do they need? A ball handler when Simmons isn’t on the court, because as of right now the next-best option is Shake Milton. A good passer and an excellent shooter, Terry could be just the player Philly needs. 

22. Miami Heat (from Denver) 
Tyrique Jones, F, Xavier 

Ty Reeves: This pick gets traded to South Beach, and this is a sleeper. Tyrique Jones out of Xavier has all the tools to be a modern day big man. In his senior season at X he averaged 14 PPG and 11.1 RPG shooting 55% from the field. He’s athletic, plays with great strength and intensity and is an elite shot blocker. He has the potential to be another Bam Adebayo if coached and guided correctly.   

23. Utah Jazz 
Kira Lewis Jr., G, Alabama 

Danny Barletta: As one of the youngest players in the draft, Lewis has so much untapped potential, but even from what he put up in his second year at Alabama (18.5 points, 5.2 assists per game), he could definitely be a lottery-caliber talent. So if he falls all the way to 23, the Jazz should jump on the opportunity. Mike Conley will not be in Utah much longer, as the Jazz need to pay their budding superstar Donovan Mitchell after this season. So having a quality point guard alongside him on a rookie contract would be huge, especially one with as much upside as Lewis. 

24. Milwaukee Bucks 
Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego St. 

Conner Gilson: It’s about time we start treating Giannis Antetokounmpo like LeBron James; and by that I mean put the ball in his hands and surround him with shooters and stingy defenders, boxes Malachi Flynn checks. He is a bit undersized at 6-foot-1 but makes up for it with incredible effort on both ends of the floor. Flynn shot 37% on his 3-pointers last season, is great off the pick-and-roll and will put even more pressure on current starting PG Eric Bledsoe, who continues to underperform in the playoffs. Milwaukee could go with a big here to take some pressure off an aging Brook Lopez, but I would love to see them finally try and right the ship they put off course after trading away Malcolm Brogdon starting with this pick. 

25. Oklahoma City Thunder  
Isaiah Stewart, F, Washington 

Ben Berg: Sticking with the plan to add forwards to a team that needs them, the Thunder take the best player available in Isaiah Stewart. The Washington product projects to be a solid defender and rebounder with plenty of offensive potential to work with.  

26. Dallas Mavericks (from Boston) 
Leandro Bolmaro, F, Argentina 

Cole Stefan: The Mavericks are adding to their international mix with this steal that will fill two interchangeable positions in the starting rotation. Bolmaro can switch between shooting guard and small forward with Luka Doncic while he tries to improve his game from his field goals to rebounding skills. If he can develop his game under Doncic, Bolmaro could be a part of a deadly big three in Dallas. 

27. New York Knicks  
Theo Maledon, G, France 

Jorge Eckardt: I know I just took a French point guard for the Knicks earlier in the draft, but hear me out. The current Knicks are basically made up entirely of power forwards and centers — at least for the semi-competent players on the team. After trading away Ntilikina, Hayes is going to need a backup. However, Maledon can also play the two if the Knicks want to get both of them on the floor at the same time. I’m not saying it’s the smartest pick, but I think it’s a very Knicks pick. 

28. Los Angeles Lakers 
Desmond Bane, G, TCU 

Conner Gilson: We now know that this pick is going to the Thunder in a deal that sent Danny Green to OKC and Dennis Schroder to LA, but I still see Bane going around here. One of the oldest players in the draft, Bane will provide immediate help as a spot-up shooter and pesky defender that can play the two or three position. This late in the draft, teams want someone they know will be able to contribute right away and Bane should have no problem doing that for OKC. 

29. Toronto Raptors 
Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall 

Ty Reeves: Toronto doesn’t have a set number one scorer on their roster and by adding Myles Powell, they will get an elite scorer who is a game-changing player. Big East Player of the Year, Jerry West Award winner and First Team All-American are just three of the achievements on Powell’s exclusive resume. For an undersized guard, Powell averaged 21 PPG his senior year and was arguably the most dominant guard in college basketball. Not only are the Raptors getting a scorer, they’re getting a competitor and a proven winner.   

30. Indiana Pacers (from Boston via Dallas) 
Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas 

Cole Stefan: In with the new and out with the old. After trading away Myles Turner in a big trade (before you ask, this trade did not happen in real life), the Pacers can replace Turner for free with Udoka Azubuike. Azubuike was a college standout that I was surprised fell this low and his defense was one of the strongest in the nation last year. His strong defense can not only lock down elite scorers, but his physical presence can help give the Pacers more opportunities to earn points from Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, keeping them in contention for a few more years. 

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