2020 NBA Mock Draft and Preview

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BetMGM Jun 16, 2021, 2:20 PM
 James Wiseman takes ball away from Payton Pritchard. Steve Dykes/Getty Images
(Photo by: Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

We waited five months longer than usual, but the 2020 NBA Draft is finally here. LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, and Anthony Edwards lead a polarizing draft class and are expected to go among the first few picks, but it could be wild and crazy from there. NBA teams have had a year and a half to scout this class, and opinions vary wildly from player to player.

When it comes to online sports betting, the new season officially starts on Draft Day. These rookies will make an impact this year and for years to come, and the draft also sees many trades shake up the league. Expect huge NBA betting swings if a star gets traded on the night of the draft or if the right team makes a shock move for one of the draft’s stars.

Today we’ll preview the draft with a complete 2020 NBA mock draft including all 30 picks in the first round. We won’t project any trades, so teams have to stay put and take the best player available. The Minnesota Timberwolves are officially on the clock.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves

PG LaMelo Ball, 6'6, Illawarra Hawks (Australian NBL)

Ball is one of the most polarizing NBA Draft prospects in years. LaMelo is the youngest of LaVar Ball’s three sons, and his older brother Lonzo is already playing in the NBA. LaMelo is the most talented and most hyped of the three. He is a basketball savant, with an incredible understanding of the game.

LaMelo has the best handle in the class and will immediately be one of the best passers in the NBA with his vision and feathery touch. He literally invents new passes on the fly like a freestyle musician making up his tune as he goes. LaMelo is tall and has good defensive potential, but he didn’t play much defense at most of his last stops, and his shot selection needs plenty of work. But the upside is simply too much to pass up at the top of the draft. LaMelo Ball is the best player in the class and will tantalize those in online sports betting for many seasons to come.

2. Golden State Warriors

C James Wiseman, 7'1, Memphis

No player in the 2020 draft is more physically imposing than James Wiseman. Wiseman stands 7-foot-1 with huge, broad shoulders and an imposing 7-foot-6 wingspan. He will walk into an NBA starting lineup and brings Defensive Player of the Year potential. Wiseman is an outstanding rebounder and a mean shot blocker. He will block many shots and impact even more of them.

Wiseman only played three games at Memphis before being ruled ineligible by the NCAA, so the sample size is pretty small, but that’s just about the only thing small with Wiseman. The Warriors have been searching for their center for years, and Wiseman could be the missing piece as Golden State tries to get back to the NBA Finals. You can place NBA betting picks on Wiseman to go in the top two draft picks or specifically at the number two slot.

3. Charlotte Hornets

Anthony Edwards gestures to the audience with arms raised in the air. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
(Photo by: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

SG Anthony Edwards, 6'5, Georgia

The 2020 draft is widely believed to be a three-person draft at the top, and Anthony Edwards is the third player. Charlotte reportedly has their eyes set on James Wiseman and is trying to trade up ahead of Golden State to land him, but with Wiseman off the board, Edwards is the best talent available.

Like Wiseman, Edwards looks the part. He has long arms, a strong physical core, and the body of an Adonis. Edwards can get hot in a hurry and hit a ton of shots. He is a scorer through and through and often gets compared to Victor Oladipo for his strong frame and overall profile. “Ant Man” has big defensive potential and loves to play to the crowd. He’s not afraid to take a heat check shot either. He may be the best scorer in the draft.

4. Chicago Bulls

SF Deni Avdija, 6'9, Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Israel)

Most pundits consider Deni Avdija to be the best international prospect in the draft class. Avdija has already been playing professional ball for years. He played for Israel’s under-20 team, tallying 18 points and five assists a game as the focal point of the offense en route to bringing home the gold medal. This year Avdija played in multiple leagues including the EuroLeague, one of the finest non-NBA leagues on the planet.

Avdija is at his best with the ball in his hands. He will hope to be a point forward in the NBA and is terrific creating plays in the pick and roll. He reads the defense well and can make a very impressive array of passes for a player of his size. The Bulls need help on the wing badly and could use Avdija’s all-round game as a secondary playmaker and a useful team defender.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

PF Obi Toppin, 6'9, Dayton

If you watched any college basketball at all this year, you almost certainly saw Obi Toppin. Toppin was the best player in college hoops by a wide margin. He and the Dayton Flyers were one of the stories of the season. Toppin was an insanely efficient scorer. He is a big time athlete who can shoot the three or act as a lob threat attacking the rim.

Toppin’s defense was not as encouraging, but NBA teams are drafting him for his athleticism and scoring potential, not for his defense. The Cavs are rumored to be enamored with Toppin. They have the defense to protect Toppin behind him and could use his dynamism as a pick and roll man to inject some life into the offense.

6. Atlanta Hawks

SF Isaac Okoro, 6'6, Auburn

Okoro is the best American wing in the class. As a freshman at Auburn, Okoro quickly became a lockdown defender on the perimeter. Okoro has a strong core and incredible defensive instincts. He mirrors the opponent well and is terrific at the point of attack and in team defense. On many plays, Okoro manages to defend two or three players all on the same play.

Okoro doesn’t do as much on offense yet, but he shows real potential there. His shot is a work in progress, but there are also some flashes of passing potential. In time, Okoro could become a wing creator. Even if he doesn’t, he should be a terrific 3-and-D wing and would give the Hawks another weapon. Atlanta has plenty of offense with Trae Young and John Collins, so they need great defenders like Okoro to complement their stars now.

7. Detroit Pistons

Patrick Williams dunks against the South Florida Bulls. Michael Reaves/Getty Images
(Photo by: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

PF Patrick Williams, 6'8, Florida State

Williams is the youngest American player in the draft, and he’s also become one of the fastest late risers. Williams never even started a game as a freshman at Florida State, but he was in many closing lineups. His calling card is his defense. Williams has a terrific feel for the game and moves naturally on defense. He has a long, wide frame and can guard on the perimeter while also protecting the rim. He’s an incredible team defender who makes everyone else better.

The offense will be a work in progress, but there’s plenty of potential there. Williams shows some shooting potential, and he is a very impressive passer and dribbler for a player his size, especially one so young. If he’s developed even more over the past eight months since the last time we saw him play, he could be one of the big sleepers at the top of the draft.

8. New York Knicks

PG Tyrese Haliburton, 6'5, Iowa State

Tyrese Haliburton is the sort of player every team wants. At first glance, you’d barely even notice Haliburton on a basketball court. He’s skinny with a very slight frame, isn’t particularly fast or athletic, and doesn’t make any explosive wow plays. But watch a little closer and you’ll see a guy who makes the right decision every time, who makes everyone else on the team better.

Haliburton has a sublime understanding of the game. He is an excellent passer and a quick decision maker, and he’s a strong team defender as well. Haliburton won’t be a traditional point guard, or maybe not a point guard at all. He’s more in the mold of Lonzo Ball, a good all-around guard who will make the right play and help his team win.

9. Washington Wizards

C Onyeka Okongwu, 6'9, USC

The Wizards are hoping to get back into the playoff picture with the long-awaited return of a healthy John Wall, but the team is a disaster on defense and has needed a boost for a long time. Onyeka Okongwu is the perfect solution.

Okongwu is a ready-made modern big man. Though he’s a couple inches small, he is a superb rim protector and a smart team defender, and his lateral quickness will allow him to switch on the perimeter and stay on the court while other bigger men are getting run off the court by faster guards. Remember how good Bam Adabayo was in the playoffs this year? Okongwu plays a very similar style of defense and can help the Wizards immediately.

10. Phoenix Suns

Killian Hayes controls the ball against MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
(Photo by: Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

PG Killian Hayes, 6'5, Ulm (France)

The Suns are looking to win now after a perfect 8–0 bubble start, but this is the sort of move that could set them up long term. Killian Hayes is a lefty French point guard who plays with a herky-jerky style that’s a bit reminiscent of Manu Ginobili. He plays the game at his own pace and shows advanced dribbling, footwork, and passing abilities for one of the youngest players in the draft.

Hayes is also an excellent defensive guard, and he probably needs a little help running the offense and creating looks, so he’s the perfect pairing with Devin Booker as the Suns look toward the future.

11. San Antonio Spurs

PF Aleksej Pokusevski, 7'0, Olympiacos (Greece)

Pokusevski is the international mystery man in this year’s draft. Nobody has seen Poku play much, and he certainly hasn’t played against any real NBA level competition or anything close. Pokusevski is super tall and super skinny. He’s over seven feet tall but plays like a guard or wing. Poku will use his size to grab the rebound, then dribble through and around defenders at a ridiculous rate before suddenly pulling up for a silky smooth three pointer.

If you’re imagining a unicorn-like Kristaps Porzingis, you’re getting the idea. Pokusevski will need to add a ton of strength and refine his game, so he’s a long-term project who may never fit in the NBA, but the upside is huge. The Spurs have a long history of developing international stars. In a draft without a surefire star at the top like in 2013, Pokusevski could be this year’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.

12. Sacramento Kings

SG Devin Vassell, 6'5, Florida State

Devin Vassell is the perfect 3-and-D wing player. He is a terrific shooter, both from behind the arc and on a pull-up mid-range jumper he added this year. Vassell is a long, rangy defender who is probably the best team defender in the entire draft. He is constantly moving his feet with his head on a swivel, cutting off passing lanes and communicating with his teammates.

In short, Vassell is exactly all of the things the Kings never seem to have. He does all of the little complementary things that help a winning team. He will be a huge value if he drops out of the top 10 while other teams hunt for stars with flashier upside.

13. New Orleans Pelicans

SG Tyrese Maxey, 6'3, Kentucky

Maxey was a potential top five pick as a heralded recruit heading into the season and came out of the gates firing but stumbled and fell out of favor with scouts. Most pundits believe Maxey could slip out of the lottery now, but he still has a rounded game with high potential, and Kentucky players tend to outperform their draft slot in recent years. Names like Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, and Tyler Herro come to mind.

Maxey is a super hard worker with a deceptive stride and ability to get to the rim, and he was a much better shooter in high school who may have struggled with Kentucky’s lack of spacing this year. He’s a good defender too and could be another building block for this young Pelicans core.

14. Boston Celtics

Cole Anthony dribbles the ball. Michael Hickey/Getty Images
(Photo by: Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

PG Cole Anthony, 6'3, North Carolina

Cole Anthony was supposed to be one of the names in contention for the number one overall pick. He’s the son of former NBA point guard Greg Anthony and was one of the top high school recruits in the nation, so he comes with a huge pedigree.

Anthony is a scoring guard all the way. He has an explosive first step and a reliable pull-up jumper, and he projects as a three-level scorer who can go get his bucket anytime. Anthony played through a knee injury this year and had a terrible season at North Carolina, and his stock tanked. He should at least be an excellent bench scoring guard and could be a value pick now. NBA odds place Cole Anthony’s draft slot over/under at 20.5, so he could be a value if he ends up in the lottery.

15. Orlando Magic

SG R.J. Hampton, 6'5, New Zealand Breakers (Australian NBL)

The Magic are always right around the fringe of the Eastern playoffs, and they are looking to shake things up with a big move. If they do keep their pick, R.J. Hampton could be a big swing with real upside. Hampton is American but went overseas last season to play in the Australian NBL, the same league where LaMelo Ball played.

Hampton improved a lot as the season progressed. He’s an explosive athletic scoring guard who is still developing his playmaking skills. He plays a lot like Zach LaVine and could be a great fit for a team that’s short on talent on the wing.

16. Portland Trail Blazers

SF Saddiq Bey, 6'8, Villanova

The Blazers are set at guard and center but need help at forward in a bad way. Saddiq Bey is the sort of 3-and-D wing who could step in and start right away. Bey is a knockdown shooter behind the arc and should get a lot of catch and shoot opportunities with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

Bey also has a nice handle and began to show some real creation abilities this year as he continued to develop at Villanova. The Wildcats have been one of the premier teams in college basketball in recent years, and Villanova draft picks have become very safe investments.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves

SG Josh Green, 6'6, Arizona

Arizona has three 2020 prospects in Josh Green, Nico Mannion, and Zeke Nnaji, but it’s unknown if any of the three will go in the first round. Green looks like the best bet. He’s a long, nasty defender who has the potential to be the best point of attack defender in the draft.

Green is the sort of guy that can guard the opponent’s best perimeter player every night, and boy do the Timberwolves need a player like that. He’s super athletic and lethal in transition, though his offensive game is raw and will need some developing.

18. Dallas Mavericks

PG Kira Lewis Jr., 6'3, Alabama

The name of the game with Kira Lewis is SPEED. Lewis is blazing fast. He can go end to end in the blink of an eye, and if he turns the corner or finds a seam, there’s really no catching him. You can’t teach speed, and Lewis will immediately be one of the quickest players in the NBA.

Lewis played two seasons at Alabama but is still as young as most freshmen. Rick Carlisle has had great success with small speedy guards in the past, and Lewis could be devastating in transition with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis around.

19. Brooklyn Nets

Nico Mannion brings the ball up the court. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
(Photo by: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

PG Nico Mannion, 6'3, Arizona

This pick would certainly be a surprise, since Mannion looks unlikely to go in the first round at this point, but let’s let new Brooklyn coach Steve Nash have some fun. If you squint a little bit, Nico Mannion is a Steve Nash clone. He’s a scrawny, floppy-haired point guard with incredible passing skills and feel for the game.

The problem for Mannion is that he’s so small and unathletic that he could have a very difficult path to starting in the NBA. He was horrid on defense at Arizona and struggled to create separation. Perhaps Nash could teach Mannion from his bag of tricks and turn him into a new and improved version of himself.

20. Miami Heat

PF Precious Achiuwa, 6'9, Memphis

Achiuwa was never meant to be a feature player at Memphis but moved into that role when James Wiseman missed out on most of the season. Achiuwa is a high motor big man who plays with huge energy on both ends. He never takes a play off and is always chasing down rebounds or looking to make a play on defense. Achiuwa would provide a nice alternative for the Heat when Bam Adebayo needs a breather.

21. Philadelphia 76ers

SF Aaron Nesmith, 6'6, Vanderbilt

Nesmith is one of the best shooters in the draft. Although he missed half the season, Nesmith was scorching fire when he did play, shooting over 50% on three pointers for the entire season! You better believe anyone who can shoot like that will have a role in the NBA. Nesmith is a movement shooter with a long wingspan, so he plugs in as an immediate 3-and-D wing for a 76ers team that desperately needs guys like that.

22. Denver Nuggets

SF Tyler Bey, 6'7, Colorado

The Nuggets have one of the deepest and most well-rounded rosters in the NBA, but they could use some help on the wing and with defensive playmakers, and Tyler Bey fits the bill. Bey gets to stay at home in Colorado here. He is an elite shot blocker and excellent on ball defender, but he doesn’t do much on offense. The real problem is that Bey plays like a center but has the body of a small forward, so he’ll be a unique fit in the NBA.

23. Utah Jazz

Theo Maledon dribbles the ball past an opponent. Ivan Korzhenevskiy/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
(Photo by: Ivan Korzhenevskiy/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

PG Theo Maledon, 6'4, ASVEL (France)

Maledon is a talented young guard out of France, and he gets to partner up with fellow Frenchman and Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, in a nice synergy pairing. Maledon is mentored by Tony Parker and plays like him, with his own sense of timing and an ability to keep the play alive at his pace and wait for the right shot. He’s a combo scoring guard with good size and can play with or without the ball, so he gives the Jazz a ton of options here.

24. Milwaukee Bucks

SG Desmond Bane, 6'5, Texas Christian

Desmond Bane is rising up draft boards. He was once a sleeper but now appears to be a likely late first round pick and could rise even further by draft day. Bane is an excellent shooter who made over 40% of his threes in four years at TCU. He also added a dribble pull-up this season and can pass and defend a bit too, making Bane a very strong all-around addition to any team. Bane will remind the Bucks of Malcolm Brogdon, a player they probably wish they hadn’t let go a year go.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder

PF Jaden McDaniels, 6'10, Washington

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a type. Sam Presti loves to draft long, raw, talented players and hope the upside hits down the road, and Jaden McDaniels is a perfect sort of gamble for the Thunder. McDaniels is long and wiry and has huge defensive potential. He was really inconsistent on offense, with occasional flashes of shooting and creation, and he was one of the top recruits out of high school before a poor freshman year dropped him in the draft. He could be a steal near the end of the first if he finds his way.

26. Boston Celtics

C Xavier Tillman, 6'9, Michigan State

Tillman was the consummate professional for the Spartans. He partnered with Cassius Winston to form a devastating pair that won a whole lot of big games at Michigan State. Tillman is a perfect team player. He plays excellent defense both on and off the ball, sets mean screens, and is a superb passer on the short roll. He’s a bit small and probably won’t be a starter, but Tillman is the sort of player who can stay on the court in the playoffs and play closing minutes. He’s a perfect fit for a Boston team that needs exactly that.

27. New York Knicks

C Jalen Smith, 6'10, Maryland

Smith is nicknamed “Sticks” because he’s got the body of Groot, super long and super thin. Smith has a huge vertical and can block shots in a hurry when he loads up. And unlike many big men, Smith can already shoot the three comfortably. That makes him a unicorn type prospect who can protect the rim on defense but space the offense out on the other end. He could end up being more valuable in the NBA than he was in college.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder via Los Angeles Lakers

PG Tyrell Terry, 6'2, Stanford

This pick is reportedly heading from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Dennis Schroder going to the champs. That gives OKC two picks near the end of the first round and makes them a prime target to trade up, perhaps for someone like Aleksej Pokusevski or Kira Lewis. Since we’re not projecting trades in this NBA mock draft, the Thunder stay put and take Tyrell Terry.

Terry came out a year earlier than expected, and many think he might have been a lottery pick with another year of seasoning. He’s small but super smart and one of the best shooters in the entire draft. For Oklahoma City, this is an investment in the future and a replacement point guard with Schroder and likely Chris Paul heading out the door. It’s sort of like trading this late first for a future lottery pick.

29. Toronto Raptors

Grant Riller drives against Davion Mitchell. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
(Photo by: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

PG Grant Riller, 6'3, College of Charleston

Riller was a relative unknown in college since he played for Charleston and only ever played one NCAA tournament game in four seasons, but we’ve seen big success from small school players before. Riller is a small guard with elite burst and an incredible ability to attack the rim and finish there. That skill alone should make him at least a valuable bench scorer at the next level, and his game could develop further in Toronto, much like Fred VanVleet.

30. Boston Celtics

SF Leandro Bolmaro, 6'8, Barcelona (Spain)

The Celtics have three first-round picks and are unlikely to keep them all. If they do make all three picks, expect at least one of them to be an international draft-and-stash player. Leandro Bolmaro would be an outstanding pickup to complete the first round. Bolmaro has already said he plans to play overseas this season. He’s very comfortable dribbling and creating in the wing and has some really surprising passing ability, so he could turn into a wing creator with some more development down the line.

Place your draft bets at BetMGM

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the draft as all the picks unfold and each roster is transformed before our eyes. With NBA free agency opening two days after the draft, the changes will come fast and furious. Don’t be afraid to get those early futures bets placed on a 2020 NBA champion or MVP.

You can bet on the NBA Draft too! BetMGM is the best online sportsbook on Draft Day because you can bet on the draft position for many of the top prospects along with conference props and long odds for sleepers and specific picks at each draft slot.

You can do all your online betting at BetMGM on draft night. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.