The 2020 NBA Draft is now behind us and several picks went as expected and others did not. Here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers of the draft relative to where they drafted. Player fit, availability of other players and risk/reward is factored into these rankings.
Several players were traded briefly after being drafted, that is not factored into these grades.
1st Overall Pick – Minnesota Timberwolves – Anthony Edwards, G – 6’4″, 215 lbs.
Despite the salivation over LaMelo Ball, it is in fact Anthony Edwards who has the most upside. With natural scoring instincts, an NBA ready frame and a shooting touch that implies improvement is likely – Edwards will prove to have been the correct choice for the Timberwolves with the 1st pick.
2nd Overall Pick – Golden State Warriors – James Wiseman, C – 7’1″, 240 lbs.
Though lacking the potential upside of James Wiseman or even LaMelo, Wiseman makes the most sense for the Warriors at number two given his high floor and the specific team needs. Even if the youngest Ball brother fully realizes his potential, this pick is the wisest for the Warriors without the benefit of hindsight. He is still likely closer to Mitchell Robinson than Tyson Chandler.
3rd Overall Pick – Charlotte Hornets – LaMelo Ball, G – 6’7″, 185 lbs.
LaMelo Ball is probably the most confounding player in this draft. His potential upside is tantalizing. At almost 6’8″ with great length and laser accurate passes guarantees that at minimum he will be a solid point guard in the league. However, there are a multitude of question marks surrounding his game. His shot selection is shoddy on a good day, and though better than Lonzo’s, his shot needs to improve. So a lot can go right with LaMelo, but a whole lot can go wrong as well. Either possibility seems plausible.
4th Overall Pick – Chicago Bulls – Patrick Williams, F – 6’7″, 220 lbs.
Though Williams will certainly be a good pick-up for the Chicago Bulls, in a fairly weak draft, most mock boards had him as barely a lottery pick at best. Williams is a great athlete with decent versatility but at his position his shooting his below average and is not the most aggressive player offensively. Too many safer options remain on the board to justify this pick.
5th Overall Pick – Cleveland Cavaliers – Isaac Okoro, G/F – 6’6″, 220 lbs.
A versatile wing that can play both on and off the ball, Okoro brings solid defense, scoring and above average athletic ability. His shooting and defense are a bit concerning but can be largely attributed to youth. A great pick-up here.
6th Overall Pick – Atlanta Hawks – Onyeka Okongwu, C – 6’9″, 240 lbs.
A great finisher in the paint, with classic big man skills [rebounding and blocking]. Not the most versatile player, and will likely not be able to guard multiple positions. This being said, he has plenty of potential and is a steal at this spot.
7th Overall Pick – Detroit Pistons – Killian Hayes, G – 6’5″, 200 lbs.
With the ability to be a decent contributor immediately, Killian is a smart pick-up for the relatively thin Detroit Pistons. Don’t expect the guard to be a major difference maker anytime soon however.
8th Overall Pick – New York Knicks – Obi Toppin, F/C – 6’9″, 220 lbs.
Obi Toppin is a great pick-up at this spot, just not for the Knicks. With several young forwards that are similar or better than Toppin, the move is a bit puzzling unless the Knicks think they will be able to move him.
9th Overall Pick – Washington Wizards – Deni Avdija, F – 6’9″, 210 lbs.
As a smart, versatile player with the potential to grow immensely as a player, the fact that Avdija fell this far is perplexing. An absolute steal for the Wizards who is currently facing an uncertain future.
10th Overall Pick – Phoenix Suns – Jalen Smith, F/C – 6’10”, 220 lbs.
With a lacking low post game, and average defensive effort at best, this is a wasted lottery pick for a team that went all in on a trade that brought Chris Paul in a desperate win now move.
11th Overall Pick – San Antonio Spurs – Devin Vassell, G – 6’5″, 175 lbs.
The Spurs continue their trend of drafting well. Vassell is a good shooter and rebounds well for his size. Though he does not exactly scream star potential, expect Popovich to get the most out of the guard.
12th Overall Pick – Sacramento Kings – Tyrese Haliburton, G – 6’5″, 170lbs.
Versatile and switchable defender that can shoot off the dribble. Would be an interesting fit in the Kings’ crowded backcourt, expect some moves by the Kings.
13th Overall Pick – New Orleans Pelicans –Kira Lewis Jr., G – 6’3″, 165 lbs.
Inconsistent shooter, not the best defender and lacks the play-making skills to be a true point guard. A disappointing pick for the Pelicans who had several other decent options to shore up their depth.
14th Overall Pick – Boston Celtics –Aaron Nesmith, G/F – 6’6″, 215 lbs.
An excellent shooter with above average ball-handling skills, Nesmith is coming into a great position in Boston where he can develop at his own pace and potentially grow into a reliable asset in a few years.
15th Overall Pick – Orlando Magic – Cole Anthony, G – 6’2″, 190 lbs.
A decent athlete with NBA pedigree, Anthony is has a fairly polished game with very limited upside. He can provide quality minutes as a back-up point guard, but expect little else.