Ah, NBA mock drafts taking the internet by storm. That can only mean that it’s mid-June, prime NBA draft season!
Wait a second.
Our Couch Guy Sports fact-checkers are in my ear and telling me that it’s apparently mid-November? And the draft is on November 18th?? What a freaking wild year.
NBA Draft SZN
Despite it being the most bizarrely timed offseason, we’ve got y’all covered with co-written comprehensive 2020 NBA Mock Draft blog. Written by your favorite 2 NBA Draft Analysts, Chris Jones, and yours truly, Mike Gilligan. I had been working on one on my own, but then I saw Jones tweet he wanted to collab with another Couch Guy Sports blogger on a Mock Draft. Perfect fit. Some are calling us the newest Dynamic Duo of NBA Draft Pundits. Couch Guy’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. Not sure who is which of those guys though. We’ll let you decide.
It should be interesting. I had my board before, as did Jones, and I did not peek or change any picks based on his analysis. We honestly don’t have many matching predictions – which is funny, but also telling as to how up in the air this 2020 NBA draft is. Tweet at us with your thoughts – both agreements and disagreements are always welcome! We hope you enjoy, and wish you a very HAPPY NBA DRAFT SZN!!!!
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
Jones: LaMelo Ball (G) (USA):
The Minnesota Timberwolves need a quality scorer to go with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, and Ball fits this void. Having a starting back court of Russell and Ball will be a solid combination for years to come. LaMelo is the best of the three Ball brothers and he will absolutely show it in Minnesota. This selection in my opinion is between either Ball or Edwards. Both would be great fits for Minnesota, but I think they will take Ball to have two solid ball handlers in their back court that can create for others. The Comparison for Ball to me is a mix of Jason Kidd, and Jason Williams. Jason Williams due to the flashiness style that Ball plays with, and Jason Kidd due to the high basketball IQ that he has. Minnesota is on the rise with this selection here, as I see LaMelo fitting in properly.
Gilli: Anthony Edwards (G) (Georgia)
This pick as well as the next one have trade bait written all over it. With KAT and DLo, the TWolves have an interesting duo of stars to build around, but not a ton of obvious options atop the draft board. But, for the sake of this exercise, I’ll assume they hold onto the #1 pick and make a selection for their own roster.
I’m not sold on Jarrett Culver as their 2-guard of the future. After an okay, but mostly unimpressive rookie season, the 2019 6th overall pick hasn’t solidified his spot as the TWolves’ starting shooting guard for the next 5 years. As a result, I LOVE Anthony Edwards here for the Twolves. The D-Wade comps are rampant, but Edwards is the best and most solid prospect of this entire draft. He’s a scorer with great athleticism and a long frame, but probably shouldn’t be expected to shoot above 40% from 3 quite yet. His playmaking is okay but not great compared to other prospects.
Overall he’s a dominant slashing scorer, who will be able to make some SportsCenter Top 10s with his advanced dribbling on the way to the cup. His athleticism can carry hope for his defensive potential for a couple of years, and could defend multiple positions. Edwards is LEGIT, and my #1 overall pick.
2. Golden State Warriors
Gilli: James Wiseman (C) (Memphis)
Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman are virtually LOCKS to go in the first 3 picks of this draft. No imaginable scenario allows for them to slip beyond that, in my opinion. These first two picks by the TWolves and Warriors have a decently high chance of being traded, should the offer be tempting enough. But, in the scenario where the Dubs keep this pick – Wiseman is their best fit.
With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson fixated in the Bay for the foreseeable future, a skilled 7-footer is a nice complementary piece. The potency of Draymond Green’s game has fluctuated over the years, especially recently when Klay and Steph missed a ton of time. As a result, Wiseman is the DeAndre Ayton of this draft. He’s far too big and talented to not be tempting for virtually any team. His ability to hit shots and make decisions is his biggest red flag. Word from many scouts is that he basically thought he was Dirk Nowitzki in HS, and chucked up way too many fadeaway jumpers. Hopefully he’s a little more self-aware now, after a brief stint at Memphis where he looked great.
Jones: Anthony Edwards (G) (Georgia)
Golden State can go a plethora of different ways here. I think the route that they will go is similar to what the Cavaliers did in 2014 when they acquired Kevin Love to go with Kyrie and LeBron. The Warriors will draft the best available prospect on the board and will move him along with Andrew Wiggins to acquire another star to go with the splash brothers. Edwards would fit in their system, but the Warriors want proven talent to go with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and company and this might be their best bet to do it. Edwards has some Victor Oladipo type of player style that will be attractive to teams when the Warriors select him number two overall.
3. Charlotte Hornets
Jones: James Wiseman (C) (Memphis)
Charlotte is still trying to figure out who they want to go with moving forward, and with the third pick I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade down to acquire more assets. I do see them making the pick and selecting James Wiseman in this spot. The center position is slowly working its way out of the league, but Wiseman is very athletic for a seven-foot one center. We didn’t get to see a whole season from him in school due to ineligibility. I do think he has some serious talent here as I think he is going to be a better version of DeAndre Jordan. Also, Charlotte already has enough wing players on their team to try and draft anybody else but Wiseman here.
Gilli: Onyeka Okongwu (F/C) (USC)
If Wiseman somehow slips to #3, the Hornets would rightfully be STOKED to take him. However, with LaMelo slipping in my draft, Edwards and Wiseman become locks to go in the top 2. Unfortunately for Charlotte, they’re pretty loaded at guard, having just paid Terry Rozier, and developing breakout star Devonte’ Graham. As a result, a big is the ideal fit, and with Wiseman gone, Okongwu is the next best option. The Bam Adebayo comparisons are rampant, partially due their sharing of a smaller stature (6’9), but enough wingspan to be a next-level shot-blocker. Many Celtics fans are hoping Danny Ainge is aiming for Okongwu, but unless he slips and Ainge lands the 5th pick, it’s doubtful he lands in Boston. Okongwu should be an impact player immediately, with a rare defensive versatility that playoff teams ogle at.
4. Chicago Bulls
Gilli: Deni Avdija (F) (Israel)
The Bulls are at a bit of an impasse here. Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen have shown enough flashes to warrant another year or two as the primary big-men. At point guard, Coby White had some great moments as a rookie. Perhaps enough moments that the Bulls’ front office isn’t likely to feel a need to draft one of the many point guards available. Instead, they could go with another international prospect, Deni Avdija from Israel. A 19-year old regarded as the best Israeli basketball prospect ever.
However, people get crazy with Euro prospects and might assume he’s the next Luka Dončić. No no no – we have to pump the breaks. In terms of comparisons, honestly, I see more shades of Dragan Bender for Avdija than Luka. NBA teams really struggle to properly evaluate top-talent from Europe, and Avdjia is not an exception. Nothing about his game is incredible, but for a 6’9 19-year old, he has some nice playmaking ability. At the end of the day, his upside is probably determined by how good of a shooter he becomes.
Rumors are aflutter that the Bulls love Avdjia, but personally, he seems like quite a risk – for a team with a lot of promise, but no bonafide franchise centerpiece. Really interesting scenario for me is Avdija’s fit with the Warriors, should they trade out of the #2 spot and slide to a pick in the 4 to 7 range. As a 6’9 guy who can play the 3 but also hang at the 4 (or maybe even small-ball 5), Golden State should be intrigued by the idea of him.
Jones: Obi Toppin (F) (Dayton)
This is the best-case scenario for the Chicago Bulls. His NBA size, and shooting ability alone could make him one of the best prospects in this year’s draft class. Toppin can play either the three or the four, and he can easily make Lauri Markkanen expendable. Chicago needs a guy like Toppin to fall to them at the fourth overall pick. Toppin gives me a John Collins type of comparison. I see him being very talented and he is super athletic. Having a young duo of LaVine and Toppin will be exciting to see.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jones: Deni Avdija (F) (Israel)
Deni Avdija is a name that should be talked about more, as I could see him going anywhere from number two overall to right here at number five. He brings not only an offensive creation style to a team, but he also brings some serious value on the defensive end. He can easily become one of the next best wing players in the NBA, hopefully with him going to Cleveland they don’t screw him up. Avdija gives me a point forward type of vibe like a Gordon Hayward type of vibe.
Gilli: Obi Toppin (F) (Dayton)
One pick off from where Jones has Obi going. Admittedly, I LOVE Obi Toppin. The former Atlantic 10 STUD is taking the next step, and could be an intriguing high-flying forward at the next level. His athleticism is a big component of his game, but unfortunately that won’t be as much of an advantage at the next level as it was in the A10. That being said – the Cavs are in an interesting position, without much on their roster other than their imperfect duo of lottery pick guards. Darius Garland and Collin Sexton are far from reaching their potential, but with each of them at age 20 and 21, respectively, it seems foolish to draft another guard here.
The Cavs could be a trade-down candidate, should an offer from the Celtics or another team with picks to spare intrigue them enough. Toppin however, is a safe and sturdy pick as a forward or small-ball big to grow with this young Cavs squad. Toppin would be a nice match to develop a pick-and-roll game with each of those young guards.
Also – don’t be surprised when you see an NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk contest title from Toppin. The dude can absolutely SOAR.
6. Atlanta Hawks
Jones: Patrick Williams (F) (Florida St)
The Atlanta Hawks will select Patrick Williams here with the sixth overall selection and here is why. Williams is a prototypical NBA size power forward that can help add some depth for the Hawks. Atlanta is already talented at the guard position and could use some help in the front court. Especially if Clint Capela is still hurt, Williams will be a solid addition for the Hawks. He is a good free throw shooter and shows a future of having a successful jump shot. The comparison for me here is PJ Tucker. Look for the Hawks to add depth here to help them get back into the postseason.
Gilli: Patrick Williams (F) (Florida St)
Patrick Williams is a nice fit for Atlanta at #6, should they keep the pick. Word is they’re shopping it, and have even fielded offers from the Celtics… But, for now assuming they keep it, Williams is an ideal fit and immediate rotation piece for the Hawks. He’s got good length (wingspan of 6’11) for a 6’8 defender, and can block shots. His role could vary depending on what the Hawks do with their glut of talent. A lineup of Young-Huerter-Williams-Collins-Capela could be an intriguing closing group. After a disappointing rookie year by De’Andre Hunter, the window for another defense-first wing prospect such as Williams is wide open.
7. Detroit Pistons
Gilli: LaMelo Ball (G) (USA)
After a big drop, LaMelo falls to the relatively directionless Pistons. Supposedly they love Blake Griffin and how he’s handled himself in Detroit – but really they’re so far away from relevancy. With LaMelo, it’s the ultimate big swing for the fences. Ball’s stats and production in New Zealand are basically meaningless to me. That’s as a result of seeing what type of decision-making and shot selection he’s gotten away with over there. Rumor was that his interviews with NBA teams have not gone well. In all honesty, who knows – maybe that’s GM talk to try to hurt his stock for selfish purposes.
In Detroit, Ball could emerge as the premier ball-handler and floor general should they trade Derrick Rose. With Blake Griffin and potentially Christian Wood returning, Ball could have solid weapons around him to allow Detroit to see what potential he has.
Jones: Killian Hayes (G) (France)
I think the Pistons could go in one of two directions. The first direction is going for a big man to go with Blake Griffin. The second direction is to draft the new style of point guard that the NBA is trending to and that is six-foot five guard Killian Hayes from France. He has very high Basketball IQ and will be a very highly regarded point guard in this draft class. I get a young Goran Dragic type of vibe from Hayes as I see him as a good floor general and is a quality scoring playmaker at the guard position. Look for Detroit to take Hayes here to be their next big-time guard for them.
8. New York Knicks
Jones: Tyrese Haliburton (G) (Iowa St)
The New York Knicks have too many inconsistent guards on their roster. Haliburton will come in here and make an immediate impact. He is six-foot five and can be very good for this horrendous franchise. Tyrese Haliburton is going to create some matchup problems at the point, and I see the Knicks taking a chance with him going forward. He is a good passer and has a solid jump shot. I get a Dejounte Murray type of vibe from Haliburton as he is lengthy, and has good playmaking ability. Hope this is what Knicks fans want, because this is what Knicks fans will get.
Gilli: Killian Hayes (G) (France)
Perhaps I’m drinking too much of the kool-aid, but Killian Hayes is the most fascinating prospect of this entire draft. He’s the best passer, and floor general of the whole board, and very well might have the highest Basketball IQ. His game should translate well, with the main question surrounding his athleticism and explosiveness. Does that question feel familiar? It should – that was what teams were wondering about Luka Doncic as a draft prospect. Granted, Hayes has some questions defensively regarding his ability to switch and defend multiple positions.
Overall, major James Harden vibes – though being a lefty certainly helps create that image. His step-back and off-the-dribble shots look NBA-ready, and his playmaking should give him a solid production floor on any team. I hate him falling to the Knicks here, because they’ll probably screw him up. But with so few teams in need of guards, this is the fit that makes the most sense to me.
9. Washington Wizards
Jones: Onyeka Okongwu (F/C) (USC)
The Washington Wizards need a solid big man to go with their two talented guards. Okongwu has what you want in an NBA center for today’s game. He can take players off the dribble and is light on his feet on the defensive end. He will be an immediate improvement for the Wizards. If he becomes a floor spacer, he has some solid all-star caliber vibes to him. He reminds me of a Bam Adebayo type of player so watch out for him in Washington.
Gilli: Isaac Okoro (F) (Auburn)
Call me crazy, but I don’t think the Wizards are giving up on the John Wall / Bradley Beal duo. They’re too committed financially, and no team is willing to take on Wall’s albatross contract. Isaac Okoro might be the ideal match at #9 to contribute to the Wiz immediately. I see Okoro as a rock solid wing option to solidify their starting lineup defensively, without much pressure to produce on offense.
It’s a little overplayed, but think about Kawhi Leonard in those early Spurs years. He was a lock-down defender, who’s role grew slowly over time, as his shooting and scoring abilities developed. Not saying Okoro is the next Kawhi, but the Wizards could be a nice spot for him to develop. Alongside Wall, Beal, and Hachimura, that’s a rock solid 1-4. If the Wizards stick with Thomas Bryant at the 5, he’s an okay but not great big man to steady the ship.
10. Phoenix Suns
Jones: RJ Hampton (G) (USA)
The Phoenix Suns need a quality backup point guard, and RJ Hampton fits that build for them. Hampton is a solid point guard, that if he gets his jump shot to consistently be there, he has a ceiling of a Jamal Murray type of guard. Hampton and Booker would be a solid starting back court and the Suns can use Hampton to build off the success that they had in the bubble.
Gilli: Tyrell Terry (G) (Stanford)
Another shoot-first point guard with range for DAYS. Tyrell Terry is a classic example of a young prospect with a heavy influence of Steph Curry’s game. At 6’2 and 175 lbs, he’s very much undersized – not unlike Trae Young, and almost certainly will get picked on defensively. In a switch-happy league, Terry will be exposed on defense – but the question is, will his limitless range and ability to score make it worth enduring?
The Suns are in a weird spot, and probably have to be careful with the selection here. The Devin Booker wants out rumors are rampant, and so this pick can either serve to double-down on their commitment to Booker long-term, or serve as a hedge to his future in Phoenix. With the Tyrell Terry pick, it’d basically serve as a hedge, and perhaps even push Booker further into seeking a new home. There’s some level of chance that on draft night the Suns trade Booker for the #1 overall pick, which could open the possibility of taking Anthony Edwards #1, and Tyrell Terry here.
11. San Antonio Spurs
Jones: Isaac Okoro (F) (Auburn)
This pick right here is a San Antonio Spurs dream. A versatile defensive minded wing that can switch to anybody on the floor and is arguably the best defender in this year’s class. Only bad thing about Okoro is that his jumper needs some work. He has an Andre Iguodala comparison type of vibe that he is giving me. If that is the case that is a steal for the Spurs at 11.
Gilli: Devin Vassell (G/F) (Florida State)
Vassell might be the best pure shooter taken thus far in the draft, and the definition of prototype 3-and-D prospect. His defensive ability is near the top of the entire class, and he very well could be the next Khris Middleton. His frame is a little thinner than you’d like, but with a height of 6’7 and a wingspan of 6’10, he’s got the size and some room to beef up. Vassell might be the steal of the draft, and could have an instant impact on whatever team he lands on. It would be classic Spurs for them to get a great value pick on a prospect that slips, and develop him slowly, but surely.
With LaMarcus Aldridge rumored to be on the trade block, nothing is off the table for the Spurs. I imagine them to draft the best player available, regardless of immediate fit.
12. Sacramento Kings
Jones: Saddiq Bey (F) (Villanova)
The six-foot eight forward is a solid wing prospect that the Sacramento Kings could very much use. He will be a much cheaper option than Harrison Barnes, and he is a solid three-point shooter. I think Bey has huge upside, and he can have a ceiling of a Jaylen Brown style of player. Look for him to be a huge upgrade for the Kings and he will fit right in on the wing with Fox creating for him.
Gilli: Tyrese Haliburton (G) (Iowa St)
I’m not 100% sold on Haliburton falling this far – but I love his fit with De’Aaron Fox in Sacramento. Haliburton’s playmaking and court vision is a major strength, as is his size for a guard. At 6’5, and with a 6’8 wingspan, that could be a mighty helpful dynamic to add to the Kings’ backcourt – especially if they move on from Buddy Hield. His shooting is a concern, but his form looks good enough to be an average shooter as a guard. He’s a stat-padder, in the best way possible, and is my pick to be the first of this rookie class to log a triple-double.
13. New Orleans Pelicans
Jones: Devin Vassell (G/F) (Florida State)
Devin Vassell is a very talented defender that can space the floor out on the offensive side of the football as well. He has great length and can be a nightmare for teams that have to go up against him. Vassell is also a good three-point shooter and can be effective on the offensive end as well. I see a lot of Trevor Ariza in his style of play, and I see the Pelicans being ecstatic that he is available here.
Gilli: Saddiq Bey (F) (Villanova)
The Pelicans are lowkey loaded, with a ton of intriguing young pieces expected to be in the 2020-21 rotation. Saddiq Bey is a solid 3-and-D prospect that can make an impact behind the scenes. Not a sexy pick here – but for a team that already has Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, they need some role players. The Pellies might be trading Jrue Holiday, which could land them another draft pick or young player. Should that happen, maybe an RJ Hampton, Tyrese Maxey, or Kira Lewis Jr. is taken here instead.
14. Boston Celtics
Jones: Precious Achiuwa (F) (Memphis)
He has some serious talent and is what the Celtics could use in their front court. Achiuwa has untapped potential, and with a little help he can easily be a factor for the Celtics. Very versatile on defense and has a big impact on the glass. The Celtics need all the help when it comes to the glass that they can get and Achiuwa is that guy for them. I see a lot of Kenneth Faried in him as of right now, but he could be much better if he taps into his potential. This is a good get for the Celtics in this spot.
Gilli: Precious Achiuwa (F) (Memphis)
If Danny Ainge holds onto this #14 pick – they might be forced into taking a big here. Achiuwa is likely the best left of the bunch, with a raw game, but high-motor that Celtics fans would enjoy. He’s another undersized 5 from the Bam Adebayo mold, standing 6’9, but with a massive 7’2 wingspan. His ability to score is a massive question mark, but if he lands on the Celtics, scoring won’t really be asked of him right away. If he can develop a consistent jumper, he could be one of the biggest steals of the entire draft.
Rest of the 1st Round:
15. Orlando Magic
Gilli: Aaron Nesmith (G/F) (Vanderbilt)
Jones: Cole Anthony (G) (UNC)
16. Portland Trailblazers
Jones: Aaron Nesmith (G/F) (Vanderbilt)
Gilli: Vernon Carey (F/C) (Duke)
17. Minnesota Timberwolves
Gilli: Kira Lewis Jr (G) (Alabama)
Jones: Theo Maledon (G) (France)
18. Dallas Mavericks
Jones: Tyrese Maxey (G) (Kentucky)
Gilli: Josh Green (G/F) (Arizona)
19. Brooklyn Nets
Gilli: Jaden McDaniels (F) (Washington)
Jones: Jalen Smith (F/C) (Maryland)
20. Miami Heat
Jones: Vernon Carey (F/C) (Duke)
Gilli: Tyrese Maxey (G) (Kentucky)
21. Philadelphia 76ers
Gilli: RJ Hampton (G) (USA)
Jones: Aleksej Pokusevski (C) (Serbia)
22. Denver Nuggets
Jones: Jaden McDaniels (F) (Washington)
Gilli: Jalen Smith (F/C) (Maryland)
23. Utah Jazz
Gilli: Nico Mannion (G) (Arizona)
Jones: Nico Mannion (G) (Arizona)
24. Milwaukee Bucks
Jones: Josh Green (G) (Arizona)
Gilli: Killian Tillie (C) (Gonzaga)
25. Oklahoma City Thunder
Gilli: Aleksej Pokusevski (C) (Serbia)
Jones: Jahmius Ramsey (G) (Texas Tech)
26. Boston Celtics
Jones: Kira Lewis Jr (G) (Alabama)
Gilli: Theo Maledon (G) (France)
27. New York Knicks
Gilli: Isaiah Joe (G) (Arkansas)
Jones: Desmond Bane (F) (TCU)
28. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jones: Malachi Flynn (G) (San Diego State)
Gilli: Jahmius Ramsey (G) (Texas Tech)
29. Toronto Raptors
Gilli: Desmond Bane (F) (TCU)
Jones: Xavier Tillman (F) (Michigan State)
30. Boston Celtics
Jones: Udoka Azubuike (C) (Kansas)
Gilli: Zeke Nnaji (F/C) (Arizona)
-Mike Gilligan (@BigGilli, @VerbalCommitPod and @SmallStateTakes Podcast)
-Chris Jones (@cjoneswho1212)
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