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Draft Preview

NBA Mock Draft, Volume Two

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: November 14, 2020, 1:03 pm ET

The 2020 NBA Draft is now 16 days away, and it doesn't feel like anything has been settled. Most importantly the league and its players association have yet to figure out what the salary cap and luxury tax numbers will be for next season. How will those numbers impact the draft? Well, there are some teams that have a surplus of picks but not much in the way of room salary-wise. For all that has been said regarding the lack of elite, "can't miss" prospects at the top of the draft, one could argue that there's a lack of "draft and stash" options in the second round. 

While this class may be perceived as shallow when it comes to those high-level options, it appears to be very deep from a value standpoint. The midsection of the first round projects to be chock full of wing options, while the bigs may take center stage right around the time that Adam Silver prepares to hand off the announcement responsibilities to deputy commissioner Mark Tatum. So without wasting any more time let's get into our second mock draft, beginning with Minnesota.

1. Minnesota: PG LaMelo Ball, Illawara Hawks
Ball to the Timberwolves isn’t the best fit, even though he is capable of playing off the ball, due to the presence of D’Angelo Russell. This is simply a “best available player” selection, and who’s to say that Minnesota keeps this pick? While Anthony Edwards would potentially be a better fit given the current status of Ryan Saunders’ roster, Minnesota doesn’t lack for young wings at present time. With there being no clear-cut top pick in this year’s draft, the chances of this pick changing hands feel higher than in previous editions.

2. Golden State: C James Wiseman, Memphis
Wiseman to the Warriors would be a very good fit for both sides. Golden State can use a big man, especially with Kevon Looney’s struggles to stay healthy the last two seasons. And the rust factor may be an even greater concern for Wiseman, as he hasn’t played in a competitive game since last November thanks to the NCAA. Joining the Warriors would give him the opportunity to not only learn from some of the game’s best, but also slide into a role where he wouldn’t have the pressure of being a franchise player right away.

3. Charlotte: SG Anthony Edwards, Georgia
I’d keep an eye on the Hornets when it comes to possibly making a move on draft night. This is a team that really needs to add a big this offseason, be it through the draft or free agency (or both). The aforementioned Wiseman could be in Mitch Kupchak’s sights, and if it becomes clear to Charlotte that he’s their guy who’s to say they don’t try to leapfrog Golden State in order to draft him? Edwards is the best player on the board here, but Charlotte doesn’t lack for young wings who need to develop.

4. Chicago: SF/PF Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Avdija still has work to do as a perimeter shooter, but his play after the restart in Israel’s top league raised his draft profile. At this point in the process it’s difficult to see Avdija not being selected within the first five picks, and it could be a toss-up here between he and Obi Toppin as far as the Bulls are concerned. Chicago has multiple young big men on its roster, so it may opt for the forward in Avdija who’s capable of initiating things offensively with the ball in his hands.

5. Cleveland: PF/C Obi Toppin, Dayton
With Tristan Thompson set to hit free agency and Andre Drummond still yet to make an official decision regarding his player option (many expect him to opt in for next season), the Cavaliers are in a position where they can use some additional depth in the post. That makes Toppin, the consensus National Player of the Year last season, an attractive option here for GM Koby Altman. A prolific finisher around the basket, Toppin also displayed the ability to play away from the basket on the offensive end of the floor. Defensively he’ll need to improve in pick-and-roll situations, but he was a very good help-side defender at Dayton. Cleveland’s stocked up on young perimeter players in recent drafts, so it’s time to go big.

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6. Atlanta: PG/SG Tyrese Haliburton
Adding a backup to Trae Young this offseason should be a priority for the Hawks, and in Haliburton they’d add a lead guard who also has the size and defensive ability needed to share the floor with Atlanta’s star attraction on occasion. The former Iowa State guard missed a significant portion of last season due to a wrist injury, but that shouldn’t be a concern as Haliburton is back to full strength. What is also appealing here is his ability to knock down perimeter shots, as Haliburton shot 41.9 percent from three with an average of 5.6 attempts per game.

7. Detroit: PG Killian Hayes, Ulm
The Pistons enter the offseason in need of a point guard that it can build around for the future. While Derrick Rose is still on the roster he has one year remaining on his contract, and with him being 32 years old this may be a time when the Pistons look to cash in by trading him to a contender. Enter Hayes, who with Haliburton off the board in this mock would be a good fit for Detroit. Just 19 years old, the 6-foot-5 lead guard brings size and passing ability to the point guard position, and he was very good in transition for Ulm. Detroit won’t be able to address the point guard spot through the draft alone, but adding Hayes to the mix wouldn’t be a bad idea.

8. New York: SG Isaac Okoro, Auburn
The Knicks also need to address their point guard situation, with there being three players on the current roster (Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina) who didn’t do a great deal under the previous regime to separate themselves from the competition. But at this point in the draft, outside of Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. any other lead guard would be a reach. So the pick here is Okoro, who is considered by many to be the best perimeter defender in this draft class. There’s still work to be done as a perimeter shooter, which initially could be problematic given the Knicks’ lack of players who can consistently knock down shots, but Okoro’s abilities as a defender and driver are too good to overlook.

9. Washington: PF/C Onyeka Okongwu, USC
With John Wall and Bradley Beal both healthy, the Wizards can look to addressing their frontcourt this offseason. Thomas Bryant, Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner are solid young pieces to work with, but this team needs to get better when it comes to post defense. That makes the highly athletic Okongwu a good fit, as he averaged 2.7 blocks and 1.2 steals per game in his lone season at USC. At this stage in his career he’s more effective 15 feet and in offensively, but that shouldn’t be a major concern given the ability of Washington’s other bigs to play away from the basket. And I wouldn’t bet against Okongwu rounding out his offensive skill set over time, either. But in this spot, the defense, rebounding and athleticism are the major selling points.

10. Phoenix: PG Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama
The Suns’ backup point guards played well down in the bubble, with Cameron Payne making the most of his second chance in the league and Jevon Carter being an absolute nuisance on the defensive end. But both will be free agents this offseason, and while Phoenix can certainly bring them back there’s a need for a little more scoring punch in that role. That’s where Lewis can be of assistance, as he’s coming off of a sophomore season in which he averaged 18.5 points and 5.2 assists per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from three. At 6-foot-3 he has good size for a point guard, and his speed can be a problem for opposing defenses when in transition.

11. San Antonio: SF/PF Patrick Williams, Florida State
The Spurs have some questions to answer at the forward spots this offseason, as DeMar DeRozan has a player option and Rudy Gay has just one year remaining on his current contract. For that reason it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a forward capable of being used at both the three and the four, which is why Williams is the choice here. At this stage in his career the 6-foot-8 forward is a bit raw shooting-wise, but that’s to be expected of a prospect with just one year of college experience under his belt. He’s a solid playmaker on the ball, and defensively Williams brings athleticism and positional versatility to the table.

12. Sacramento: SF Devin Vassell, Florida State
The Kings have their point guard of the future in De’Aaron Fox, and the expectation is that he’ll be signed to a long-term deal this offseason. But he’s going to need help in order to drag Sacramento out of the funk that it has seemingly been mired in for well over a decade. Adding Vassell to the mix wouldn’t be a bad idea, as he defends his position well and shot nearly 42 percent from beyond the arc last season. Sacramento has Harrison Barnes at the three, and he was used at the four at times last season, but with Kent Bazemore and DaQuan Jeffries both being free agents there’s a need for additional depth at that spot. Selecting Vassell would help address that need.

13. New Orleans: SG/PG RJ Hampton, New Zealand Breakers
With Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball already on the roster, the Pelicans are in a position where they could potentially address other needs with this pick. But I’d argue that the presence of those two veterans gives David Griffin some room to roll the dice on a young player like Hampton, especially with Frank Jackson being a restricted free agent. It’s been reported that Hampton has improved his shot during the pre-draft process, which will be a necessity if he’s to be an effective guard in the NBA, and he’s proven to be quite adept and breaking down opposing defenses off the dribble. And with it being possible that both Holiday (player option) and Ball hit the open market next offseason, adding a guard here wouldn’t be the worst idea.

14. Boston (from Memphis): C Aleksej Pokusevski, Olympiacos B
The Celtics have three first-round picks, and not much in the way of cap room to pay them all right away. Danny Ainge and company could look to make a deal, possibly moving up to select a player that they believe is capable of helping the team take that next step in the East. Or they could go the “draft and stash” route, a strategy that in most years we see being executed in the second round. Pokusevski is a bona fide first-round talent, but there are strides to be made especially strength-wise. But he’s one of the youngest players in this draft class, so one would assume that he’ll get stronger over time. Pokusevski is a player that Boston can leave in Europe to continue to develop and receive quality minutes, with an eye towards bringing him over in the near future.

15. Orlando: SG Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt
The Magic could potentially have a lot of holes to fill on the perimeter this offseason, as Evan Fournier has a player option and backup point guards D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams are both free agents. And with Terrence Ross being one of the NBA’s streakier shooters, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add one of this draft’s most consistent in that regard. Nesmith, who was limited to 14 games due to injury, fits the mold as he made 52.2 percent of his 8.2 3-point attempts per game. The 6-foot-6 wing is a capable scorer at all three levels, and he also averaged 1.4 steals per contest as a sophomore.

16. Portland: SF Saddiq Bey, Villanova
With Rodney Hood and Mario Hezonja both having player options and Trevor Ariza entering the final season of his deal, the Trail Blazers may look to add another wing to the mix. The 6-foot-8 Bey would make for a very good choice here, as he has the size that teams look for in a wing with a good offensive skill set to match. He had the freedom to make plays with the ball in his hands at Villanova, something that Bey may not need to do a whole lot of in Portland due to the presence of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but he was also good when it came to knocking down shots off the catch. Portland has taken chances on raw prospects in the past, so it would not be a surprise of Neil Olshey went that route. Bey doesn’t exactly fit that mold, which may actually be a good thing for a franchise that is looking to establish itself among the West’s elite.

17. Minnesota (from Brooklyn via Atlanta): PF Precious Achiuwa, Memphis
James Johnson has a player option for next season and Juancho Hernangomez won’t lack for attention as a restricted free agent, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Minnesota to grab a power forward at some point in this draft. Achiuwa, who played alongside the aforementioned Wiseman at Memphis, took full advantage of his former teammate’s decision to give up the fight against the NCAA and prepare for the NBA Draft. The 6-foot-9 Achiuwa was a high-level finisher and rebounder last season, and he also accounted for 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. He’s both athletic and aggressive, which could make Achiuwa an effective option next to a pivot in Towns who hasn’t been much of a stalwart defensively.

18. Dallas: PF/C Jalen Smith, Maryland
Will Kristaps Porzingis be ready when the season begins? That’s tough to say, especially when we don’t know exactly when next season will begin. But even if he were, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add some insurance given his medical history. For that reason Smith could be an option for the Mavericks here, as he’s coming off of a sophomore season in which he averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 0.7 steals per game. The 6-foot-10 Smith also shot 36.8 percent from three on 2.8 attempts per game, with his percentage jumping a full ten points from the season prior. He’s athletic and works hard on both ends of the floor, and he’d be a good fit for a team that’s looking to grab a seat at the table with the West’s best. This all being said, it would not be a surprise if the Mavericks used this pick in order to add a third star to their roster.

19. Brooklyn (from Philadelphia via LA Clippers): PG Cole Anthony, North Carolina
The Nets won’t lack for attention next season, as both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will be good to go after missing either all or much of the 2019-20 campaign due to injury. Add in a new head coach in Steve Nash and a loaded coaching staff, and it’s obvious that Brooklyn has no desire to take the long road to title contention. So what will they do with this draft pick? The Nets will likely be a luxury tax team next season, and shelling out first-round money for a player who may not even crack your rotation may be deemed suboptimal by GM Sean Marks. Anthony, who put up good individual numbers during his lone season at North Carolina but has a lot of work to do from an efficiency standpoint, is the choice here but this feels like a spot in which Brooklyn would be willing to part ways with the pick unless there’s a “must-have” prospect on the board.

20. Miami: PG Tre Jones, Duke
Returning to school for one’s sophomore season isn’t always guaranteed to work out for a draft prospect, regardless of what many assume. But the decision paid off in a big way for Jones, who earned ACC Player and Defensive Player of the Year honors and managed to improve his 3-point shooting percentage by nearly ten points (26.2 percent as a freshman, 36.1 percent as a sophomore). He’s always been good as a distributor and defender, and the strides made as a shooter should increase his value in the eyes of decision-makers. Some may deem this spot to be a bit high for Jones, but he could be a good, low-cost fit for the Heat even if they re-sign Goran Dragic in free agency.

21. Philadelphia (from Oklahoma City via Orlando and Philadelphia): PG/SG Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky
The first pick of the Daryl Morey era in Philadelphia, and the 76ers are taking a combo guard who made just 29.2 percent of his 3-point attempts last season? Yes. While Maxey’s perimeter shooting during his lone season at Kentucky left a lot to be desired, one could argue that the low percentage was more a product of shot selection than of mechanics (83.3 percent foul shooter). And it’s also worth noting that Maxey made 65.1 percent of his attempts at the rim according to Hoop-Math, and those shots have value in analytics-driven systems as well. He’s a high-level competitor who can be used either on or off the ball, which is another positive for a team that needs to address the point guard position this offseason.

22. Denver (from Houston): PF/C Isaiah Stewart, Washington
With Jerami Grant expected to opt out of the final year of his contract (this hasn’t been made official just yet) and Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee both being unrestricted free agents, Denver enters the offseason in a spot where it will need to address the post. Grant is expected by many to be back with the team, and that will be big given his defensive versatility and improved perimeter shooting ability. But what happens with Millsap and Plumlee? Even if one (or both) were to return it would be wise for Denver to add a young big to the equation, as Millsap will turn 36 in February. Adding Stewart, a tough big who averaged 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game during his lone season at Washington, would really help this team given the lack of interior muscle.

23. Utah: SG Desmond Bane, TCU
The Jazz have some good wing defenders, as Royce O’Neale is capable of defending multiple positions and Joe Ingles is also an asset in that regard. But neither was particularly adept at knocking down shots on a consistent basis, and during their playoff series against the Nuggets it became clear that Utah needed more from that position. Bane, who shot 44.2 percent from three as a senior while averaging 16.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.9 3-pointers per game, fits the mold. He has good size at 6-foot-6, and the shooting ability would work well playing off of Donovan Mitchell. And given Utah’s roster, the Jazz are in the place where they should look to go with a more polished prospect over one perceived to have “upside.”

24. Milwaukee (from Indiana): PG Theo Maledon, ASVEL
With all due respect to Eric Bledsoe, there’s no question that the Bucks need to address the point guard position as it prepares for one of the biggest seasons in the history of the franchise. Maledon isn’t likely to help Milwaukee immediately as it looks to win a title in what could be the last season before Giannis Antetokounmpo hits free agency, but he has the tools needed to be a key contributor down the line. Maledon has good size for a point guard at 6-foot-4, and he brings a good basketball IQ to the table as well. That being said, this could wind up being a pick that the Bucks use as a trade “carrot” in order to improve the roster now as opposed to waiting on a young player to develop.

25. Oklahoma City (from Denver): SG Josh Green, Arizona
In recent years the Thunder have seemingly stocked up on lengthy wings who have the potential to be disruptive defensively. But many of those players have also failed to show that they can consistently make perimeter shots, which has bogged things down offensively at times. Green shot a respectable 36.1 percent from three during his lone season at Arizona, and he also made 63.5 percent of his shot attempts in the paint. But he can be a bit streaky when it comes to that perimeter shot, which is a bit of a concern with an eye towards the next level. However, the increased spacing of the pro game could serve Green well regardless of where he lands.

26. Boston: SF Leandro Bolmaro, Barcelona B
As noted above the Celtics aren’t going to have much room to pay a first-round pick, much less three, next season. So unless they make a trade look for at least one draft-and-stash. I’m giving them two, with Bolmaro having already committed to playing this season with Barcelona. He’s good as a secondary playmaker, and continues to develop with the basketball in his hands. Another season playing in Spain would benefit both he and the Celtics if this is their pick.

27. New York (from LA Clippers): PG Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Thanks to the Marcus Morris trade the Knicks have two first-round picks in this draft, and it would be wise to use at least one on a point guard. Winston was one of college basketball’s best leaders while at Michigan State, displaying the ability to not only put his teammates in spots where they can be at their best but also a willingness to take the big shot himself. He may not be a “jump out of the gym” athlete, but Winston is a high-level floor general who knows how to win. And given the Knicks’ run of futility, that mindset should be of high value to their decision-makers.

28. Los Angeles Lakers: PF/C Zeke Nnaji, Arizona
While JaVale McGee has a player option that more than a few experts expect him to pick up, Dwight Howard will be an unrestricted free agent and he won’t lack for attention given his renaissance in Los Angeles. But even if the Lakers were to bring back their veteran centers, and they have the option of using Anthony Davis at the center spot depending upon the matchup, why not add a young big to the mix? Nnaji was very good around the basket during his lone season at Arizona, making 66.1 percent of his attempts at the rim per Hoop-Math, and a 76.0 percent mark from the foul line may mean that in time he’ll be able to expand his range. The Lakers could also go with a wing, but there’s good value to be found in the post at this point in the draft.

29. Toronto: PF Xavier Tillman, Michigan State
Marc Gasol may be finishing out his career in his native Spain, and Serge Ibaka will be an unrestricted free agent, so the Raptors may take on the approach of selecting an interior player capable of contributing immediately. A team could do a lot worse than grabbing Tillman, who was arguably the best defender in college basketball last season. Strong enough to defend in the post, the 6-foot-8 power forward also looked comfortable when asked to switch onto perimeter players in pick-and-roll situations. Tillman is a frontcourt player who can contribute to a title contender immediately, making him a good fit for the Raptors.

30. Boston (from Milwaukee via Phoenix): SF Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State

Throughout the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals, it was obvious how important positional versatility was to that team. Woodard, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward who can be effective at either forward spot, would fit in well. As a sophomore he shot 42.9 percent from three on 2.3 attempts per game, finishing the season with averages of 11.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers per game. Given the spot in the draft, the Celtics could potentially land a rotation player at a really good price point if Woodard is the pick.

Second Round

31. Dallas (from Golden State): PG Tyrell Terry, Stanford

32. Charlotte (from Cleveland via LA Clippers and Orlando): C Daniel Oturu, Minnesota

33. Minnesota: SG Elijah Hughes, Syracuse

34. Philadelphia (from Atlanta): SG Isaiah Joe, Arkansas

35. Sacramento (from Detroit via Phoenix): PF Jaden McDaniels, Washington

36. Philadelphia (from New York): PG Nico Mannion, Arizona

37. Washington (from Chicago): C Udoka Azubuike, Kansas

38. New York (from Charlotte): SG/SF Cassius Stanley, Duke

39. New Orleans (from Washington via Milwaukee): SF Tyler Bey, Colorado

40. Memphis (from Phoenix): SG Sam Merrill, Utah State

41. San Antonio: PF/C Killian Tillie, Gonzaga

42. New Orleans: SF Jordan Nwora, Louisville

43. Sacramento: PG Payton Pritchard, Oregon

44. Chicago (from Memphis): SG Jahmi'us Ramsey, Texas Tech

45. Orlando: PG Devon Dotson, Kansas

46. Portland: C Vernon Carey Jr., Duke

47. Boston (from Brooklyn via Charlotte, Orlando and Philadelphia): PF Paul Reed, DePaul

48. Golden State (from Dallas via Philadelphia): SG Skylar Mays, LSU

49. Philadelphia: SF Mason Jones, Arkansas

50. Atlanta (from Miami via Sacramento, Cleveland and Boston): SG/SF Jay Scrubb, John A. Logan College

51. Golden State (from Utah via Dallas, Detroit and Cleveland): C Nick Richards, Kentucky

52. Sacramento (from Houston): PF Yoeli Childs, BYU

53. Oklahoma City: PG Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky

54. Indiana: PG/SG Grant Riller, College of Charleston

55. Brooklyn (from Denver): SF Abdoulaye N'Doye, Monaco

56. Charlotte (from Boston): SF Paul Eboua, Pesaro

57. LA Clippers: PG/SG Myles Powell, Seton Hall

58. Philadelphia (from Los Angeles Lakers via Orlando): SG Justinian Jessup, Boise State (will play with Illawara Hawks in 2020-21)

59. Toronto: SF Naji Marshall, Xavier

60. New Orleans (from Milwaukee): PG/SG Markus Howard, Marquette

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.