2020 NBA Mock Draft

September 25th, 2020

By Alan Lu

We held our mock draft online on Google Meet and Zoom yesterday at 5:30 PM PST, as it was done in two parts.

Yesterday, we held our mock draft on September 24th, at 5:30 P.M via the Google Meet app.  Much like how we did in 2017 and 2018, we decided to do our 2020 NBA Mock Draft with our friends, using trades as allowed in the RealGM and tradeNBA trade machines, while using what’s allowed under actual NBA cap rules.  We did our mock draft as inspired by the old Usenet drafts, combined with having made a couple of trades, so our draft won’t be exactly like how it’ll be in real in life. 

These were the picks and trades we made, there were definitely some surprises as teams were definitely willing to take chances and some risks to get the players and picks they wanted, and we will provide you a breakdown of the first thirty picks we made in the first round.  Also, to see the full breakdown of our mock draft trades, see the selection below in the cogent rationale section.  Regardless of your opinion on our trades, all parties agreed to every trade that we made, and all teams were given a window from September 10th to the 22nd to make and withdraw from making these trades.

Round 1PickRound 2Pick
1. Minnesota Timerwolves Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia31. Dallas MavericksDaniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
2.  Atlanta Hawks* Deni Avdija, F, Israel32. Charlotte HornetsTyler Bey, F, Colorado
3. Charlotte Hornets James Wiseman, C, Memphis33. Minnesota Timberwolves Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
4. Chicago BullsLaMelo Bell, G, USA (Chino Hills, CA)34. Los Angeles Clippers* Xavier Tillman, F-C, Michigan State
5. Cleveland CavaliersOnyeka Okongwu, F-C, USC35. Sacramento Kings  Malachi Flynn, G, SDSU
6. Golden State Warriors*Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State36. Philadelphia 76ers Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
7. Atlanta Hawks* Precious Achiuwa, F-C, Memphis37. Washington WizardsMason Jones, G, Arkansas
8. New York KnicksKillian Hayes, G, France38. New York Knicks Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
9. Washington WizardsIsaac Okoro, G-F, Auburn39. New Orleans Pelicans Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
10. Phoenix Suns Devin Vassell, G, Florida State40. Memphis Grizzlies Robert Woodard II, G-F, Mississippi State
11. San Antonio SpursObi Toppin, F-C, Dayton41. San Antonio SpursKillian Tillie, F-C, Gonzaga 
12. Sacramento Kings Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky42. New Orleans PelicansAbdoulaye N’Doye, G-F, France
13. New Orleans Pelicans Aaron Nesmith, G, Vanderbilt43. Sacramento Kings  Tre Jones, G, Duke
14. Boston CelticsSaddiq Bey, F, Vanderbilt 44. Chicago Bulls Desmond Bane, G-F, TCU
15. Orlando Magic R.J. Hampton, G, USA (Little Elm, TX)45. New Orleans Pelicans* Reggie Perry, F-C, Mississippi State
16. Portland Trail Blazers Cassius Stanley, G, Duke46. Portland Trail Blazers Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
17. Minnesota Timerwolves Patrick Williams, F, Florida State47. Boston Celtics Grant Riller, G, College of Charleston
18. Dallas Mavericks Kira Lewis, G, Alabama48. Golden State Warriors Isaiah Stewart, F-C, Washington
19. Los Angeles Clippers*Theo Maledon, G, France49. Philadelphia 76ers  Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
20. Miami HeatJosh Green, G-F, Arizona50. Detroit Pistons* Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
21. New York Knicks* Cole Anthony, G, UNC51. Golden State Warriors Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona
22. Denver Nuggets Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington52. Sacramento Kings  Jarron Cumberland, G, Cincinnati
23. Utah Jazz Paul Reed, F-C, DePaul53. Oklahoma City Thunder Mamadi Diakite, F-C, Virginia
24. Milwaukee BucksNico Mannion, G, Arizona54. Indiana Pacers Kenyon Martin Jr., G-F, USA
25. Oklahoma City Thunder Aleksej Pokusevski, F-C, Russia55. Brooklyn Nets Nick Richards, C, Kentucky
26. Boston Celtics Jahm’ius Ramsey, G, Texas Tech56. Charlotte HornetsYam Madar, G, Israel
27. New York Knicks Jalen Smith, F-C, Maryland57. Los Angeles ClippersBorisa Simanic, F-C, Serbia
28. Los Angeles Lakers  Devin Dotson, G, Kansas58. Philadelphia 76ers Elijah Hughes, G-F, Syracuse
29. Toronto Raptors Leandro Bolmaro, G, Argentina59. Toronto Raptors Trevelin Queen, G-F, New Mexico State
30. Boston Celtics Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke60. New Orleans Pelicans Paul Eboua, F, Cameroon
Here is the 2020 NBA Mock Draft that we made, through the picks and trades we made.
(* – denotes pick was acquired through mock draft trade as listed in the cogent rationale section below)

2020 NBA Mock Draft: 1st Round

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (Ashwin Kamath) – Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia

The Timberwolves are a young, inexperienced team that has a solid core group of players, as they are built around a very skilled center in Karl-Anthony Towns, and they also acquired a former All-Star guard in D’Angelo Russell via midseason trade.  They traded the perennially disappointing Andrew Wiggins away to Golden State to get Russell, and they hope that this new pairing will result in more wins and success overall.  They also will be getting the first overall pick of the 2020 draft, and they will hope that the player they draft will become an integral piece to their future.

Anthony Edwards is a tremendously athletic, combo guard that can really score the basketball and make plays with the ball in his hands.  He has elite physical tools that could enable him to succeed on both ends of the floor, and he boasts having superstar potential.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and focused defender in games, but he could potentially be the best player to come out of this draft.

2. Atlanta Hawks (Alan Lu) – Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)

The Atlanta Hawks are a very young team that is built around a sharpshooting, score-first point guard in Trae Young, as the second-year player made his first NBA All-Star team in 2020, and big man John Collins has emerged as a skilled, versatile scorer that put up strong numbers last season.  The Hawks’ offense has shown promise, as they have rated around the middle of the pack in points and assists per game. 

However, they will still need to significantly improve their shooting and defense.  The Hawks ranked last in three-point percentage and points allowed per game, but they recently are looking to show a commitment to defense by trading for Clint Capela and Dewayne Dedmon in a bid to give their defense a boost for next season.  While we didn’t foresee the mock draft GM trading Capela or Collins, the thought is that they will likely draft a defensive-minded center at either #2 or #7, and then draft the best player available that will fit around Trae Young with the other pick, as this trade also would allow them to have much more cap space to spend on free agents.

Deni Avdija is a smart, skilled playmaker that has a very good feel for the game.  Avdija is a strong facilitator that can operate as the team’s point forward, and he also is a solid position defender that can block some shots on occasion.  There are some questions about his shooting ability, as he’s been inconsistent in knocking down jumpers and has struggled to make free throws, and he’s a good, but not a great athlete.  Still, his high skill level and basketball IQ could allow him to thrive in a complementary role in the NBA.

3. Charlotte Hornets (Kyle Henderson) – James Wiseman, C, Memphis

After having missed the postseason last year, the Hornets struck out in the offseason, as they were unable to re-sign star point guard Kemba Walker, who bolted for Boston, and they decided to use their newfound cap space to trade for Boston’s backup point guard, Terry Rozier in a sign-and-trade, who starred in the 2018 playoffs for the Celtics when Kyrie Irving was out due to injury.

Unfortunately this year, they missed the playoffs once again.  From a development standpoint, they look to have a promising backcourt duo to build around, and one of their second-round picks in a previous draft, Devonte’ Graham has emerged to be arguably the best player on their team, as he led their team in points and assists this year.  Their forwards, P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges could also be building blocks for them, as both of them fit into a 3 and D sort of role.  From a team perspective, they really struggled to score or grab rebounds, but this young, inexperienced team is looking to take further steps to grow collectively.

James Wiseman is a very athletic, high-motor big man that could project to be an elite rim protector in the NBA.  He only played 3 games as a result of a dispute with the NCAA, but he has the skills to be the anchor of a championship defense, and his ability to score in the post and knock down mid-range jumpers could enable him to be a very good player in the association for years to come.

4. Chicago Bulls (Ameer Helmi) – LaMelo Ball, G-F, Illawarra (USA – Chino Hills, CA)

The Chicago Bulls are a young, inexperienced team that is lead by the vastly athletic, star guard, Zach LaVine whose ability to score and play either backcourt position may allow him to have breathtaking potential to succeed in the NBA.  Lauri Markkanen is a talented, sharpshooting big man that can shoot and score the basketball, and they are looking for others such as Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter, and Coby White to step up to become core players for them in the future.

LaMelo Ball is a tall, gifted playmaker that can really rack up assists at the point, and he possesses uncanny court vision.  He is a good athlete and has the ability to make solid plays on both ends of the floor, but he will need to make more shots consistently, improve his shot selection, and be a more focused defender in games.  He boasts having tremendous upside, as he has the potential to develop into a multi-All-Star in the NBA.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers (Kim Dao) – Onyeka Okongwu, F-C, USC

The Cleveland Cavaliers had a rough season this past year.  As they’re a team that has an odd mix of having solid, stable veterans, and young, inexperienced guards in their starting lineup, they lost many games as they started off 14-40 under first-year NBA head coach John Beilein, and then he resigned, as the Cavs won just 19 games overall.  They were neither a good offensive nor defensive team, and they didn’t do many things well overall. 

It’s also uncertain as to who exactly is in their core for the future.  Collin Sexton had a decent sophomore season in the NBA, and the speedy, score-first combo guard could be a building block, and the Cavs also added All-Star center Andre Drummond to their mix around the trade deadline.  Kevin Love has been a reliable starter for them, but he’s an aging veteran on a bloated contract on a team that has largely gone nowhere since LeBron left them for the Lakers.

Onyeka Okongwu is a very athletic, energetic big man that may project to be an elite rim protector in the NBA.  He is a skilled low post scorer that has deft footwork and shooting touch to score in the paint consistently, and he can consistently lock down the paint due to possessing strong defensive skills.  He will need to improve his face-up game and playmaking ability, but he is a solid prospect that could project to be a good starter in the NBA.

6. Golden State Warriors (Richard Lu) – Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State

The Warriors had lost a lot this past season, but the wheels were in motion for a bad season in 2020 when both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson got injured during the 2020 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. Then, Kevin Durant left them and bolted to go to Brooklyn in the offseason, and they made a sign-and-trade move with them to acquire D’Angelo Russell. 

Then, Stephen Curry got hurt early in the season, and the season was lost, as they would only win 15 games this year, and they also traded Russell in the process to acquire the much maligned former top pick, Andrew Wiggins from Minnesota.  The Warriors may be at a crossroads right now, but the tremendous trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have helped them win three NBA championships in the past, and they’re expected to re-tool and go full throttle to try to win the 2021 title, but they will need their players to stay healthy next season.  As for their part in moving down from 2 to the 6 to trade for Capela and Bruce Brown, the Warriors wanted to build up their depth to strengthen their title run for next year.

Tyrese Haliburton is a smart, skilled playmaker that tends to consistently take smart shots in games, and he also is a rangy defender that can disrupt other teams’ offenses.  He can knock down shots from all over the floor, and he is a high-floor player that may be a safe bet to succeed in the NBA.  However, he can tend to be too passive on offense at times, and sometimes he doesn’t look to create his shot enough, so he’s probably better suited to a complementary role at the NBA level.

7. Atlanta Hawks (Alan Lu) – Precious Achiuwa, F-C, Memphis

Much of the surprise was when the mock draft GM was willing to trade John Collins, as he is a 20+ point, 10+ rebound per game big man that also can shoot threes, and he was seen as another cornerstone piece along with Trae Young.  However, their mock draft GM was hesitant on the long-term fit of the two, as both players have significant defensive concerns, and both players have not been effective on-ball defenders in the NBA to this point.  Therefore, he wanted to build a more defensive-minded team, but with either the 2nd or 7th overall picks, they could pick a rim-protecting center that could provide a similar value to Capela on a cheaper, rookie contract.  This gives Atlanta more money to spend on free agency to spend on impact free agents such as Brandon Ingram and DeMar DeRozan.

Precious Achiuwa is a very athletic, high-motor player that can play any of the three frontcourt positions in the NBA.  He is an excellent rim runner that thrives at scoring on fast breaks, and he also can score in one-on-one situations.  He also is a top-flight athlete that could project to be a solid defender at the next level.  He will need to improve his jump shot and decision-making skills, but he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

8. New York Knicks (Richard Lu) – Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (France)

The Knicks struck out in free agency in trying to get Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, and they instead signed lots of veterans in a bid to try to get to the playoffs this year.  Unfortunately, they won just 21 games this past season, they fired their coach midseason, and the Knicks struggled to make plays on either side of the ball.

Right now, they look to be a team built around scoring wing player, R.J. Barrett, and defensive-minded center Mitchell Robinson, but it’s unclear if versatile forward Kevin Knox will be an integral piece to their team in the future, as he saw a significant decrease in his playing time.  Most of their young players have not developed as well as hoped, and they will turn to head coach Tom Thibodeau to try to right the ship.

Killian Hayes is an athletic, versatile point guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he is also a solid playmaker that can rack up assists.  Hayes is a crafty scorer that can frequently take the ball to the rim to get buckets, and he also is a fairly solid defender on the court.  He will need to make more jump shots consistently and is a good, but not a great athlete, but Hayes is a very skilled playmaker that could potentially end up being one of the best to come out of this year’s draft class.

9. Washington Wizards (Alan Lu) – Isaac Okoro, G-F, Auburn

The Washington Wizards have been mired in mediocrity for quite awhile, but superstar guard Bradley Beal has really excelled as their shooter and scorer, as he gives their fans hope for things to come.  Meanwhile, John Wall has missed 1 ½ seasons due to an Achilles injury, and it may be tough for him to replicate his past success as a result of that, though the front office brass may need him to succeed in order to justify having giving him such a massive, enormous contract.

The Wizards have missed the playoffs for the second year in a row, and they have a lot of young, inexperienced players who are still trying to figure out their roles in the NBA, and even though they will have Beal and Wall ready for next season, they have their work cut out for them next year, as there’s no guarantee that they may even get to the postseason by then.

Isaac Okoro is a very athletic swingman that can play multiple positions, and he is a high upside prospect that could thrive in today’s modern NBA.  Okoro really excels at attacking the rim to score the basketball, and he is a top-flight athlete that could project into a shutdown defender role.  He will need to improve his jump shot significantly, but if things go as expected, he could develop into becoming a very good player in this league.

10. Phoenix Suns (Kyle Henderson) – Devin Vassell, G-F, Florida State

The Phoenix Suns are a young, talented team that has a solid core group of players in sharpshooting guard, Devin Booker, and in center DeAndre Ayton, as those two can really score the basketball.  The Suns excelled on offense this past year, and they really did a great job of passing the ball, and the acquisition of point guard Ricky Rubio really helped their ball movement this season. 

Ayton had missed some time due to being suspended for substance abuse and the Suns struggled considerably midway through the year, but they played really well in the Orlando bubble to almost make the playoffs.  That may be a good sign of things to come, and head coach Monty Williams was an integral reason for their team’s success recently.

Devin Vassell is an athletic swingman that may have the skills to excel on both ends of the floor at the next level.  Vassell is a solid shooter that can knock down threes, and he is a big-time athlete that thrives at scoring in transition.  He also has the physical tools to develop into being a very good defender.  However, he’s been inconsistent in games and at times will fade into the background too much, but his skill level and upside could make him a solid draft pick, especially if he is still there in the mid first round.

11. San Antonio Spurs (Ashwin Kamath) – Obi Toppin, F-C, Dayton

The Spurs may be in something of a transition period, as this marks the first in a long time that they have missed the playoffs this year.  It’s not for a lack of trying, but they got off to such a sluggish start that it was difficult for them to try to catch up to try to get a postseason bid.

They are a well-coached team that can score and pass the basketball, and they boast having a legendary head coach in Gregg Popovich.  Their two best players, DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are both in their 30s, and the Spurs will have to decide to keep going forward with them as their current core, or to move to a new generation of future stars to lead them in the future.  They have a group of promising guards in Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker.  In the meantime, they will need to improve their three-point shooting and defense for next season.

Obi Toppin is a very skilled, versatile big man that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He is a gifted scorer in the post, he can get scores off the dribble and in transition, and he is a good shooter that can space the floor for his team.  He is a very athletic player that excels at scoring on fast breaks.  He will need to improve his defense, but regardless, he is a high-floor prospect that could be a safe bet to succeed in the NBA.

12. Sacramento Kings (Kim Dao) – Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky

They are a rebuilding team that generally struggled on both ends of the floor, but they are an above average shooting team that is built around speedy, scoring point guard, De’Aaron Fox.  He is their playmaker and shot creator, and he holds the key to their future.  They also have some solid role players on their team.  Nemanja Bjelica is a sharpshooting stretch big that can comfortably space the floor, Richaun Holmes is Sacramento’s defensive anchor, and they have various group of veteran role players that can put the ball in the hoop in Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, and Bogdan Bogdanovic.  Still, the Kings underachieved this season by winning fewer games than last year and by missing the playoffs once again, and they’ll have to figure out a way to win with Walton at the helm.

Tyrese Maxey is a speedy, fleet-footed combo guard that can quickly get buckets to help his team on offense.  Maxey can put up points in a hurry, and he is a scorer that can quickly heat up once he gets into a rhythm.  However, he can be too streaky with his jump shot and can tend to play out of control, and he will need to improve his playmaking skills.  He is a player that may possess considerable upside, so he could be a solid pick in the mid first round range of this year’s draft.

13. New Orleans Pelicans (Alan Lu) – Aaron Nesmith, G-F, Vanderbilt

The New Orleans Pelicans had their ups and downs, but they looked like a promising team for stretches when star rookie forward, Zion Williamson was healthy.  Star forward, Brandon Ingram emerged as their team’s go-to scorer as he made his first All-Star team, and New Orleans is a good offensive team that can shoot and pass the basketball.  They will really need to improve their defense, and they may be looking for additional players that can prove to be integral to their team for the long haul.

Aaron Nesmith is an athletic, skilled sharpshooter that can shoot and score the basketball.  Nesmith is a gifted marksman from beyond the arc, and he also does a good job of moving off the ball to knock down shots.  He ended up being out for the season due to a foot injury, and there are concerns about his defensive skills, but Nesmith could project to be a solid role player in the NBA.

14. Boston Celtics (Kyle Henderson) – Saddiq Bey. F, Villanova

The Boston Celtics are a solid, well-rounded and well-coached team that surpassed their season’s expectations, and they have a good core group of players in star point guard Kemba Walker, as well as rising star forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.  The Celtics are a defensively sound team and they are a solid offensive and rebounding team, but they will need to improve their passing ability, as they ranked 25th in assists this year, and they will need to continue to improve their shooting, as they ranked in the middle of the pack in various shooting percentage categories.

Saddiq Bey is a tough, physical combo forward that shoots the ball well, and he could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA.  While he may struggle to consistently create his own shot and can sometimes fade into the background, Bey’s sharpshooting prowess could enable him to be a solid role player in the association.

15. Orlando Magic (Ashwin Kamath) – R.J. Hampton, G, New Zealand (Little Elm, TX)

The Magic are a defensive-minded team that were able to make their way to the playoffs, and they had one magical game against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round due to star center Nikola Vucevic’s hot shooting and their team’s solid defensive play, but they lost the next four games because they didn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with their first-seeded opponent.

They are a young team that is built around a versatile scoring center in Nikola Vucevic, but they will need to improve considerably as a team on the offensive end.  The Magic still struggles to generate half-court offense consistently, and one of their starting forwards, Jonathan Isaac may miss considerable time next season due to a knee injury.  They are at a crossroads, and next season could be a pivotal one for the franchise. 

R.J. Hampton is a very athletic combo guard that may possess one of the highest upsides amongst prospects in this year’s draft.  Hampton is a speedy playmaker that can quickly get to the rim to score, and he has elite physical tools that enable him to rack up steals defensively.  However, he will need to improve his jump shot and shot selection, and he can tend to gamble too much on the defensive end.  He’s been very inconsistent in pro ball this year, but with the right coaching staff, they could unlock Hampton’s true potential and help him succeed in the NBA.

16. Portland Trail Blazers (Richard Lu) – Cassius Stanley, G, Michigan State

Early on this season, they stumbled right out of the gates and struggled for most of the year, and it looked like they were due for a disappointing season.  Then, they signed Carmelo Anthony, who brought new life to Portland, and they ended up playing very well in the NBA restart to earn a trip to both the play-in game and the playoffs.  Damian Lillard played really well down the stretch for them, and he played like an MVP candidate in the Orlando bubble.  However, they ended up losing to the Lakers in 5 games in the first round, and time will tell if Portland can make the necessary moves to become legitimate title contenders next year.  In regards to the mock draft trade they made, Aaron Gordon gives Portland more lineup flexibility because he can play multiple frontcourt positions.  Bamba provides Lillard a lob partner to work with due to his tremendous reach and leaping ability.  Portland also took a flyer on Darius Miller to add another shooter on the wing if he’s healthy.

Cassius Stanley is a tremendously athletic swingman that could project to be a solid role player in the NBA.  He is a good defender that can consistently guard his man, and he is a high-flyer that thrives at scoring in transition.  However, he will need to show that he can consistently knock down shots in the half-court, and he will have to improve his playmaking skills.  Still, he is a very underrated prospect, and he would be a good pickup for an NBA team late in the first round.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (Ashwin Kamath) – Patrick Williams, F, Florida State

Patrick Williams is a very athletic, energetic combo forward that is a high-upside prospect in this year’s draft.  Williams projects to be a solid defender at the next level, and he has elite physical tools to project into a shutdown role.  He also can score the basketball in a variety of ways, but he will need to improve his jump shot and ball handling skills.  If he can continue to improve as an overall player, he could end up being a solid role player in the league.

18. Dallas Mavericks (Ashwin Kamath) – Kira Lewis, G, Alabama

The Dallas Mavericks are a very skilled team that is led by superstar forward Luka Doncic, who put up MVP-like numbers to help lead his team to the playoffs, and he took his team to 6 games against the LA Clippers before they ended up losing in the first round.  Doncic is their franchise player, and Porzingis is another core player, as he is a versatile big man that is a dynamic scorer and also is their defensive anchor.  However, they ranked just in the middle of the pack defensively, and they will need  to improve on that side of the ball in order to be legitimate contenders for the title next year.

Kira Lewis is an agile, fleet-footed combo guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He is a player that may possess considerable upside, and Lewis can play either backcourt position.  However, he can be too inconsistent in games, and he can tend to be turnover prone with the ball in his hands.  Lewis will need to show that he can effectively run the point and improve his decision-making in games, but he is an intriguing prospect that could be worth taking in the late first round range of this draft.

19. Los Angeles Clippers (Richard Lu) – Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (France)

The Los Angeles Clippers raised expectations by adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the offseason, but they ultimately collapsed in a stunning 2nd Round playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets.  They made a mock draft trade with Brooklyn and Philadelphia to get the 19th pick along with the 34th pick and two future 1st round picks to give themselves a chance at a better future. 

After all, Kawhi and Paul George are set to be a free agent after the 2021 season, so they dealt Paul George and others in a multi-player deal for the picks, along with Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, and Josh Richardson.  In being a decidedly less top-heavy team, they hope to build depth and chemistry to keep themselves competitive in the short-term, while adding draft picks to sustain themselves more for the long haul.

Theo Maledon is a reliable, steady game manager that can effectively run a team, and Maledon is a poised playmaker that tends to make sound decisions in games.  He is a cerebral playmaker that will get everyone involved on offense, and he also is a solid team defender.  On the other hand, there are concerns about his scoring ability and he can sometimes be too passive on offense.  He will need to assert himself more and make more shots consistently, but he could project to be a solid role player in the association.

20. Miami Heat (Richard Lu) – Josh Green, G-F, Arizona

The Miami Heat are a well-rounded team that is led by superstar swingman, Jimmy Butler and star center Bam Adebayo, and head coach Erik Spoelstra has done a very good job of coaching them throughout this season.  The Heat has a deep and balanced team, and they are a tough, tenacious team that could make a deep playoff run this year.

Josh Green is a very athletic, tenacious swingman that can space the floor and lock down his man defensively.  Green thrives at scoring in transition, but he also is a fairly good shooter on offense.  He also could project to be a very good defender in the NBA.  There are questions about his shot-creation ability and playmaking skills, but Green could thrive as a 3 and D player for just about any team in this league.

21. New York Knicks (Richard Lu) – Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina

Cole Anthony is an athletic, skilled playmaker that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He can quickly get into the lane to do so, and he can heat up to knock down a barrage of jumpers.  He also is an active defender that can rack up steals.  On the downside, he got off to a slow start this year and missed some time due to a knee injury, and he’s been quite inconsistent at times in games.  He’ll need to be less mistake-prone, but he is a high-upside prospect that could excel in today’s NBA.

22. Denver Nuggets (Ameer Helmi) – Jaden McDaniels, F-C, Washington

The Denver Nuggets are a solid team that won a tough first-round series in 7 games over the Utah Jazz, and they are led by superstar center Nikola Jokic, who is a very skilled big man that is a terrific passer, and star guard Jamal Murray, whom really put on a scoring display to help get them the series win.  They are a talented, young team that has a lot of solid players that can regularly give their team solid minutes.  This year, they have improved their defense, but they will need to improve their three-point shooting, and they may potentially need an extra core piece to their team that can help them become title contenders next year.

Jaden McDaniels is a very athletic combo forward that could be a very interesting pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round.  McDaniels may not be a very polished player right now, but he is a high upside prospect due to his versatility as a scorer, playmaker, and defender.  He will need to make shots more consistently and be less mistake prone in games, but with the right team, he could find a niche and thrive in the association.

23. Utah Jazz (Alan Lu) – Paul Reed, F-C, DePaul

The Utah Jazz are a strong, defensive team that took the Denver Nuggets to a thrilling 7-game series before falling just short of a victory in the first round of the NBA playoffs this year.  Donovan Mitchell is their star lead guard that has a solid set of all-around skills, and Rudy Gobert is their defensive ace that will anchor their paint.  The Jazz did a very good job of shooting the ball and defending this year, but they will need to find players that can consistently score for them down the stretch in the postseason.

Paul Reed is a very athletic, high-motor big man that could project to be a solid role player in the NBA.  Reed thrives at getting out on the break to score in transition, and he also is a good defender that can defend both out on the perimeter as well as in the post.   He will need to improve his jump shot and show that he can consistently make shots in the half court, but he is a talented player that has the skills to thrive in today’s modern NBA.

24. Milwaukee Bucks (Ameer Helmi) – Nico Mannion, G, Arizona

The Milwaukee Bucks breezed through the regular season to win 56 out of the 73 games this season, as they have received tremendous play from former MVP award winner Giannis Antetokounmpo, while also receiving solid years from Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and several others.  They are a very good offensive team that thrives at scoring in transition, but they lost in the second round to Miami, and they have suffered numerous early exits in the playoffs that could lead one to question if this team has what it takes to win a title in the future.

Nico Mannion is a dependable game manager that possesses solid playmaking skills, and Mannion is a reliable, steady point guard that can effectively run a team.  He is a crafty player that has good court vision, and he can knock down shots when he’s called upon to do so.  However, he can struggle to consistently knock down shots and he also may only be an average athlete, which can limit his ability to score or defend in games.  His upside might not be as high as some of the other first-round prospects, but his ability to see the floor and make plays with the ball in his hands could enable him to succeed in the NBA.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (Kim Dao) – Aleksej Pokusevski, F-C, Olympiacos (Russia)

The Thunder are a strong defensive team that can stifle opponents on that side of the ball, but they will need to improve their ability to shoot, pass, and rebound the basketball.  They will need to bolster the depth of their wing players, and they’ve had trouble scoring or generating offense outside of their first four scoring options.  The window for them to contend for the title might be closing though, as Chris Paul is a star point guard in his mid-30s that may soon be approaching decline, and he also doesn’t have many years left on his contract.

Aleksej Pokusevski is an athletic, skilled point center that could be a high-upside prospect in this year’s draft.  Pokusevski is sort of a mystery man, but he is a solid playmaker that can pass and handle the basketball, and he is quite adept at making plays in transition.  He also is a rangy defender that can block shots.  He will need to significantly improve his jump shot and show that he can excel at higher levels, but he is a talented player that could thrive in today’s modern NBA.

26. Boston Celtics (Kyle Henderson) – Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech

He is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He can put up points in a hurry, and he has the potential to develop into a plus-level defender, but he will need to improve his decision-making ability and be a more consistent player in games.  If things go as expected, he could project into a microwave type of scorer off the bench role in the NBA.

27. New York Knicks (Richard Lu) – Jalen Smith, F-C, Maryland

Jalen Smith is an athletic, skilled big man that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He can effectively spot-up to help his team space the floor, and he also can score in the low post.  Smith also is a solid rebounder and shot blocker, and his versatility could allow him to thrive in today’s modern NBA.

28. Los Angeles Lakers (Kim Dao) – Devon Dotson, G, Kansas

After strangely missing the playoffs last season despite having LeBron, the Lakers swung a blockbuster trade to get Anthony Davis, and this season, they are back on top of the West, as they finished with 52 wins and earned the 1st seed in their conference under new head coach, Frank Vogel.  They are a generally well-rounded team that boasts having stellar defense, but they will need to improve their ability to shoot the ball from deep.

Devon Dotson is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can really put the ball in the hoop.  Dotson is a speedy playmaker that can quickly get into the lane to score, and he also can knock down jumpers.  He also is a fairly good position defender that can get steals and stops for his team.  However, he can sometimes be streaky with his outside shot and occasionally play too recklessly on offense, but Dotson is a talented player that could thrive in the NBA.

29. Toronto Raptors (Kim Dao) – Leandro Bolmaro, G-F, FC Barcelona (Argentina)

The Raptors are a stout defensive team that were the league’s best in points prevention, and star forward Pascal Siakam emerged as the team’s driving force on offense, as he made his first All-Star team.  They also boast having a reliable group of point guards in Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, as well as a solid stable of wing players in Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Matt Thomas, and Terence Davis.  They also have a solid group of big men in Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Chris Boucher, and the Raptors have a very deep and talented team that can consistently play well on a nightly basis.

Leandro Bolmaro is an agile, skilled swingman that can shoot and pass the basketball.  Bolmaro didn’t get much playing time in Spain’s top league, the Spanish ACB League this year, but he more than held his own when matched up against older players in one of the toughest leagues in professional basketball.  It’s hard to gauge his true skill set as he played considerably more at a lower level professional league, the LEB Silver, and he didn’t seem to shoot the ball nearly as well at that level.  If he can play as well as he did in the ACB though, Bolmaro could end up thriving as an offensively skilled role player in the NBA.

30. Boston Celtics (Kyle Henderson) – Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke

Vernon Carey Jr. is a strong, mobile center that has solid scoring and rebounding skills.  Carey can consistently score in the post, and he also can capably knock down outside shots to space the floor for his team.  There are concerns about his defensive ability and he can sometimes be too reluctant to take jumpers, but Carey could be a good pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range in this draft.

NBA Mock Draft: 2nd Round

31. Dallas Mavericks (Ashwin Kamath) – Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota

32. Charlotte Hornets (Kyle Henderson) – Tyler Bey, F, Colorado

33. Minnesota Timberwolves (Ashwin Kamath) – Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon

34. Los Angeles Clippers (Richard Lu) – Xavier Tillman, F-C, Michigan State

35. Sacramento Kings (Kim Dao) – Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State

36. Philadelphia 76ers (Ameer Helmi)– Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State

37. Washington Wizards (Alan Lu) –  Mason Jones, G, Arkansas

38. New York Knicks (Richard Lu) – Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville

39. New Orleans Pelicans (Alan Lu) – Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford

40. Memphis Grizzlies (Ashwin Kamath) – Robert Woodard II, G-F, Mississippi State

41. San Antonio Spurs (Ashwin Kamath) – Killian Tillie, F-C, Gonzaga

42. New Orleans Pelicans (Alan Lu) – Abdoulaye N’Doye, G-F, Cholet Basket (France)

43. Sacramento Kings (Kim Dao) – Tre Jones, G, Duke

44. Chicago Bulls (Ameer Helmi) – Desmond Bane, G-F, TCU

45. New Orleans Pelicans (Alan Lu) – Reggie Perry, F-C, Mississippi State

46. Portland Trail Blazers (Richard Lu) – Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky

47. Boston Celtics (Kyle Henderson) – Grant Riller, G, College of Charleston

48. Golden State Warriors (Richard Lu) – Isaiah Stewart, F-C, Washington

49. Philadelphia 76ers (Ameer Helmi) – Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas

50. Detroit Pistons (Ameer Helmi) – Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton

51. Golden State Warriors (Richard Lu) – Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona

52. Sacramento Kings (Kim Dao) – Jarron Cumberland, G, Cincinnati

53. Oklahoma City Thunder (Kim Dao) – Mamadi Diakite, F-C, Virginia

54. Indiana Pacers (Kyle Henderson) – Kenyon Martin Jr., G-F, IMG Academy (USA – Chatsworth, CA)

55. Brooklyn Nets (Alan Lu) – Nick Richards, C, Kentucky

56. Charlotte Hornets (Kyle Henderson) – Yam Madar, G, Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel)

57. Los Angeles Clippers (Richard Lu) – Borisa Simanic, F-C, Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)

58. Philadelphia 76ers (Ameer Helmi) – Elijah Hughes, G-F, Syracuse

59. Toronto Raptors (Kim Dao) – Trevelin Queen, G-F, New Mexico State

60. New Orleans Pelicans (Alan Lu) – Paul Eboua, F, Consultinvest VL Pesaro (Cameroon)

Mock Draft-Day Trades via Cogent Rationale, for the 2020 NBA Mock Draft:

Four mock draft trades were made prior to the start of the 2020 NBA Mock Draft event.  Here are the trades, and the explanations that go along with them.

Mock Draft Trade #1:

Mock Draft Trade #1 via RealGM between Detroit, Atlanta, and Golden State.

3-Team Trade between Detroit, Atlanta, and Golden State:

DET gets:
John Collins & the 50th overall pick (the rights to Ty-Shon Alexander) from ATL via MIA

ATL gets:
2nd OVR pick (the rights to Deni Avdija) from Golden State, 7th OVR pick from DET (the rights to Precious Achiuwa), Ky Bowman, Jordan Poole, Khyri Thomas, and a MIN 2021 2nd Round Pick via (GSW)

GSW gets:
6th overall pick from ATL (the rights to Tyrese Haliburton), Clint Capela, and Bruce Brown

GSW uses the Andre Iguodala trade exception to acquire Capela, also used the Willie Cauley-Stein trade exception to acquire Brown

Word is Atlanta liked the talents of John Collins and Clint Capela, but they were concerned about both Trae Young and John Collins’ fit due to significant defensive concerns, as the Hawks ranked last in points allowed per game, and ranked poorly in a lot of defensive metrics this past season.  John Collins is also due for an extension after next season, and will likely command a significant raise.   Therefore, Atlanta had reached out first to Detroit, and then Golden State approached the Hawks’ mock draft GM later on.

Atlanta’s mock draft GM is looking to build a more defensive-minded team with more versatility, and was reluctant to part with Capela, but decided to make the deal with Golden State. So with the 2nd and 7th picks, they can add to a core that could better complement Trae Young for the long-term, and now they have more than $70 million to spend on veterans to supplement the roster.  If the cap space stays the same as it was this past season, the Hawks would be well-positioned to pursue Brandon Ingram with a max-offer sheet (though the Pelicans can still match), and they also can make a run at players such as DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, and/or Montrezl Harrell, with Jae Crowder and Jordan Clarkson also being a free-agent targets as well.

With the 6th pick, Atlanta had been setting their sights on Deni Avdija and Isaac Okoro as pieces to fit around Trae, but now that they have 2 and 7, the 7th pick was made depending on how the 2020 NBA Draft would shape out.  Though the new GM wanted Capela to play with Trae Young, he feels a player with a similar skill set can be found in this draft at a much cheaper price. 

In addition, the Hawks would add Ky Bowman and Jordan Poole as young, backup guards that would compete for a spot in the rotation.  Khyri Thomas was thrown into the deal as basically cap filler to help make the deal work.  He may not be expected to make the team’s 2020-21 regular season roster, but he will be given a chance to compete for a roster spot.  Otherwise, if Atlanta were to later waive Thomas, that would free up additional cap space and a roster spot for another player.

This looks to be a very good deal for Detroit, as they get a core piece in acquiring the versatile, skilled John Collins.  He’s a big man who has very good scoring and rebounding skills, and he gives the Pistons an All-Star caliber, cornerstone player for them to build around for the future.  Also, as deal sweetener, the Pistons also received the 50th pick in the 2020 draft here.

For Golden State, they build out their depth as they get to rebuild their bench depth.  Clint Capela fills their rim protector role that was once held by Andrew Bogut, Bruce Brown gives them a defensive specialist to take on tough assignments to keep Klay Thompson fresh.  This would strengthen the depth and rotation for the Warriors, and they also didn’t drop down too far in the draft.

Mock Draft Trade #2:

Mock Draft Trade #2 between New Orleans, Portland, and Orlando, via tradeNBA.com

3-team trade between Portland, Orlando, and New Orleans:

POR gets:
Aaron Gordon, Mo Bamba, and Darius Miller

ORL gets:
Anfernee Simons, Gary Trent Jr., Zach Collins, Trevor Ariza, and a 2021 lottery-protected first round pick from Portland

NOP gets:
The 45th OVR pick from ORL (the rights to Reggie Perry)

Portland wanted to add another big piece to stay be more competitive in the Western Conference, and Aaron Gordon provides flexibility because he is a very athletic forward that can not only play the 4, but also can slide down to serve as a small-ball center.  More specifically, as a roll man, Gordon can also make plays, because he can handle the basketball, which will better complement Damian Lillard’s deep shooting range.  Zach Collins is due for an extension after this season, so he was swapped for Mo Bamba, who also provides the Blazers with a vertical lob threat and some rim protection. 

They also took a flyer on Darius Miller to add another shooter.  The cost was a bit steep, but they felt Simons and Trent were not on the same timeline as Lillard and McCollum.  Also, Trent would be due for an extension and will hit restricted free agency after this season.  Portland retains their first round pick and Nassir Little, and they will target a replacement at some point in the draft for either Trent or Simons. 

Orlando is kind of overloaded with size and doesn’t have enough guards, so this gives them some scoring punch off the bench, and more versatility in general.  They have been stuck in the 8th spot, so this gives them the potential and the depth to move upwards in the East.  Simons and Trent will provide Orlando with some scoring punch off the bench, Ariza gives them a wing defender that can provide veteran leadership, and Zach Collins can be a stretch big with some rim protection abilities. 

Meanwhile, the Pelicans would then decrease the logjam of wing players in their rotation, and also add another asset in acquiring the 45th pick.  Darius Miller is coming off an Achilles’ injury, and it was uncertain as to how he would have fit with their current roster.

Mock Draft Trade #3:

Mock Draft Trade #3 between LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, and the Philadelphia 76ers, made via tradenba.com

In a shocking twist, the Los Angeles Clippers decided to trade Paul George, Pat Beverley, and Lou Williams, while still planning to compete for the 2021 title in a bid to improve their team chemistry.  Here is the trade:

BRK gets:
Paul George, Shake Milton, Mike Scott, and Zhaire Smith

PHI gets:
Lou Williams, Pat Beverley, and Rodions Kurucs

LAC gets:
Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Josh Richardson, the 19th OVR pick from BRK (the rights to Theo Maledon), the 34th OVR pick from PHI (the rights to Xavier Tillman), and top 5-protected 1st Round picks in 2024 and 2026 from BRK

After the Clippers’ stunning collapse against the Denver Nuggets in the 2nd Round of the 2020 NBA playoffs, the Clippers are stuck in a very precarious situation, because the Western Conference is going to get stronger, because the younger teams such as the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks could gain some experience to move up, and the Golden State Warriors will return to full strength.  Therefore, the Clippers’ best shot to win the title was this past season because Paul George and Kawhi Leonard can become free agents after the 2021 season, and they have no control of their own draft picks until 2026.  Essentially, they traded a bunch of draft picks to get Paul George, so they’re limited in the moves they can make.

Combine this with their lack of chemistry, the Clippers needed to make a change to give themselves a chance at a better future while creating a more cohesive unit in the present.  This required the tough decision of trading an impact player like Paul George to the Nets to coup back young players and valuable draft picks.   With the players they received from Brooklyn and Philadelphia, this will build up their depth so that they can remain competitive.

Brooklyn is building their team around superstars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and they wanted to add another big piece by trading for Paul George to create a big 3 of their own.  They feel confident that George would be a valuable 3rd scoring option on their team, as he is a very talented player, but this time, he would not have to lead, and given that they have two superstars that are playing on a big market team, they feel confident in their chances to re-sign George for the long haul.  This meant making the tough decision to part with younger players that helped them make it to the playoffs, as well as draft picks.  By trading for George, the Nets plan on trying to win the 2021 title. 

Also in this trade, the Nets also acquired Shake Milton, who is a young, sharpshooting combo guard with some playmaking skills, and he has skills that could help them offset the loss of Spencer Dinwiddie, and Mike Scott is a combo forward that could give them some shooting and versatility defensively off the bench.  Zhaire Smith is an athletic, young wing player who struggled to make an impact in Philadelphia, but he would be a reclamation project that the Nets would be taking a flyer on.  However, in order to get Milton and Smith, they also had to part ways with Rodions Kurucs in order to get the deal done.  The Nets wanted to put Dzanan Musa in the deal instead, but Philly was insistent in having Kurucs in the deal, and they were not interested in acquiring Musa.

For the Philadelphia 76ers, their team is too big, and they don’t have enough shooting, so Lou Williams and Pat Beverley add shooting and balance out their lineup.  After all, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are not floor spacers and both need the paint, so the 76ers really need guards who can spread out defenses.  Williams and Beverley are guards that can do that.

Mock Draft Trade #4:

Mock Draft Trade #4 between Philadelphia and the New York Knicks, made via tradenba.com

NY Knicks get:
Al Horford, and the 21st OVR pick from PHI (the rights to Cole Anthony), and a 2025 2nd Round Pick

PHI gets:
Kevin Knox and Wayne Ellington

Philadelphia had been stuck with the large contracts of Al Horford and Tobias Harris, who are making upwards of $25+ million per year on multi-year deals.  This trade enables Philadelphia to unload Horford’s contract by attaching a first round pick and a future 2nd.  In return, they get a veteran sharpshooter in Wayne Ellington, and they take on a flyer on the athletic, but inconsistent Kevin Knox, who was once regarded as a high-end talent by draft analysts.

The Knicks have been perpetually rebuilding.  This deal gives them extra assets in acquiring the draft picks.  Horford can have use on a young team as a veteran leader and mentor to change the current Knicks’ culture into a more positive one that is better for the development of their young players.

Side Note:

The Wizards and Knicks’ mock draft GMs had been ardently discussing a framework for a John Wall trade, but could not come to an agreement on which draft picks would be swapped, and so that trade was not made.  Word is that the Knicks had been targeting the 9th overall pick, but the Wizards’ mock draft GM was unwilling to part with that pick or multiple first round picks, despite still having John Wall’s hefty contract.  Soon after, the New York Knicks lost interest in participating in the trade discussions with the Wizards or in the idea of acquiring Wall altogether, and talks were broken off.

Who Made Picks and Trades For Which Teams:

2020 Mock Draft Participants and Teams

Ashwin Kamath


Richard Lu


Kyle Henderson


Ameer Helmi


Kim Dao


Alan Lu


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