The 2020 NBA Draft is a mere days away. Final preparations are being made by teams, prospects are giving their final interviews and workouts, and the dust is starting to settle as the picture of the draft comes into focus. That's our cue to give final projections on how we expect draft night to unfold.
There are innumerable moving pieces to consider here: the possibility of Minnesota trading the No. 1 overall pick, of Atlanta dealing its No. 6 pick for a vet, of Golden State opening up for business and using its No. 2 pick as an asset. But below, my projections don't factor in trades. There will inevitably be movement on draft night and perhaps ahead of draft night as teams position themselves, but this mock is a straight shot of where teams currently stand that gives context to what range prospects may be drafted in and which position groups teams may look to upgrade.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Georgia • Soph • 6'4" / 225 lbs
Minnesota already has a ball-dominant guard and a franchise center, so regardless of what the front office has said publicly, I don't find it likely that LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman are the picks here. That leaves the other big name in Anthony Edwards, a 6-foot-5 wing who can play off D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns, as the potential beneficiary of unique circumstances.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Memphis • Fr • 7'0" / 240 lbs
Maybe this is a bit rich in draft capitol, but the Warriors have been determined to try and bolster their center position, mostly to no avail, over the last few years. James Wiseman gives them a 7-1 center who can anchor their team and give the Warriors another killer defensive punch in the frontcourt next to Draymond Green.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Charlotte has to feel good about discovering Devonte' Graham, but you don't pass on LaMelo Ball if he's available here. 6-7 lead guard who will give the Hornets a foundational piece to build around long-term.
Round 1 - Pick 4
This is one of the few outcomes in the top 10 that I'm expecting takes place on draft night. Chicago's really found something with Coby White and its frontcourt right now is plenty loaded with talent, so I think Deni Avdija is the play here. He's a playmaking wing with nice handles and an improving shot who could fit into this roster as a nice role player.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Obi Toppin PF
Dayton • Soph • 6'9" / 220 lbs
With Cleveland using top-10 picks on guards in consecutive years, they go big here to add weapons around them. Obi Toppin is a freakish athlete and rim-runner who can give Collin Sexton and Darius Garland a can't-miss lob target who can also step out and hit 3-pointers.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Iowa State • Soph • 6'5" / 185 lbs
A long, rangy and versatile guard, Tyrese Haliburton gives Atlanta a defensive playmaker who can fit with Trae Young in the backcourt and also pack a punch as an offensive weapon with or without him on the court. He was the team's lead facilitator at Iowa State while consistently shooting it at a high rate from 3-point range, especially in spot-up situations, making him an appealing off-ball option with Young or even an initiator on the second unit.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Derrick Rose is coming off another productive season in Detroit, but he's entering the final year of his two-year deal and the Pistons, let's face it, could use an injection of youth at the point guard position. The 19-year-old Killian Hayes helps them reset in that regard. He's one of the best lead guards in this draft (No. 2 overall in the CBS Top 100) and has the playmaking talents to grow into a building block for the franchise.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Isaac Okoro SF
Auburn • Soph • 6'5" / 225 lbs
The Knicks need a guard, but one of the worst mistakes they could make is reaching for one at this spot. Instead, they take a 3-and-D wing in Isaac Okoro who can step in and contribute as a defender right away. Okoro has some unrealized potential as an offensive weapon as well, with some underrated passing skills and a willingness to try and take defenders off the bounce.
Round 1 - Pick 9
USC • Soph • 6'8" / 240 lbs
I've been projecting Onyeka Okongwu to the Wizards for a while now for two reasons. No. 1: the fit next to Bradley Beal and John Wall as a lob-finisher makes a ton of sense, and he'd be an upgrade defensively from Thomas Bryant. And No. 2: It seems like he may be the most likely big man to slip to this range because teams aren't necessarily prioritizing bigs in the 6-10 range. What's one team's pass would be Washington's win.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Villanova • Soph • 6'7" / 215 lbs
Phoenix goes wing again here to nab Saddiq Bey, the 6-8 Villanova product who can guard 1-4. And that's essentially why they take him, too. The Suns were in the bottom half of the league in defensive rating last season. The cherry on top here is that Bey is also a killer 3-point shooter who rated inside the 90th percentile as a spot-up shooter and made 45.1% of his 3-pointers last season.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Florida State • Soph • 6'5" / 200 lbs
The Spurs are a wild card here given so much uncertainty surrounding the franchise and the different directions it could go. But Devin Vassell is both a safe pick and an upside play, as he's one of the most talented 3-and-D wings in the draft but has potential to be much more, particularly as a creator on offense. Still raw, but the Spurs' development staff could do wonders into grooming him to be great.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Vanderbilt • Soph • 6'5" / 215 lbs
Drafting depth on the wing is high on the priority list for Sacramento, and Aaron Nesmith fits what the franchise could add to an intriguing core. Nesmith made 52.2% of his 3-pointers at Vandy last season and has a 6-6 frame that makes him a potentially dynamic two-way force.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Florida State • Soph • 6'7" / 215 lbs
Patrick Williams is one I'd watch as a potential top-10 sleeper, but here I've got him falling to the Pelicans at No. 13. New Orleans needs to continue to add length, size and scoring threats around Zion Williamson, and Williams can play either forward position and really affect the game on both ends, especially as a defensive playmaker.
From Memphis Grizzlies
Round 1 - Pick 14
Boston's been rumored to be interested in trading up in this draft, but they've also been linked to R.J. Hampton as well, so if they stay put this one makes some sense. He's a combo guard with nice handles who can play either guard position and give the Celtics some needed depth in the backcourt.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Alabama • Soph • 6'1" / 170 lbs
Orlando is one of the teams Kira Lewis has worked out for in the lead-up to the draft. The Magic make sense here because, regardless of how the reclamation of Markelle Fultz ultimately goes, they lack quality depth at point guard and desperately need players who can create offense. Lewis averaged 18.5 points and 5.2 assists per game last season at Alabama all as an 18-year-old.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Maryland • Soph • 6'10" / 215 lbs
Portland is one of the most potent 3-point shooting teams in the NBA, so why not double down on what they're successful with? Jalen Smith is a lethal and versatile big who can affect shots around the rim with his length and make 3-pointers at such a high clip that it'll help put further stress on opposing defenses on how to guard them.
From Brooklyn Nets
Round 1 - Pick 17
Memphis • Soph • 6'8" / 225 lbs
After adding Anthony Edwards at No. 1, Minnesota comes back to add Precious Achiuwa here. Achiuwa is one of the best and most versatile defenders in the draft and can act as an eraser next to Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Tyrese Maxey SG
Kentucky • Soph • 6'2" / 200 lbs
With Luka Doncic in the fold, Dallas doesn't really have the need to draft a true point guard. Which is good, because Tyrese Maxey doesn't quite fit in that box. He's best as a secondary playmaker who can create off the bounce. His defensive impact as an on-ball defender would be an immediate jolt of lightning to the Mavs.
From Philadelphia 76ers
Round 1 - Pick 19
Cole Anthony PG
North Carolina • Soph • 6'3" / 185 lbs
Brooklyn will want all the weapons it can get as it fields Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on a star-studded roster this season. Cole Anthony is exactly that, as he can score it in a variety of ways and could come in as a scoring threat off the bench.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Duke • Soph • 6'1" / 185 lbs
Not a splashy prospect, but Tre Jones is a menacing on-ball perimeter defender who can make smart reads and competently quarterback an offense. His decision-making and overall smarts added to a contending Miami team would be a luxury worth splurging on to ensure there's no significant drop-off from first to second units behind Goran Dragic, who the Heat are expected re-up with this offseason.
Round 1 - Pick 21
TCU • Soph • 6'5" / 215 lbs
First-rounders aren't often spent on 22-year-old wings, but Desmond Bane should be a rare exception to that rule. He shot 43.3% from 3-point range on 575 attempts in college and rated in the 91st percentile, according to Synergy, as a spot-up scorer last season. With Philly in need of a reliable off-ball shooter who can drill deep bombs with regularity, he fits the bill of someone who, despite his age, should be worth buying into.
From Houston Rockets
Round 1 - Pick 22
Washington • Soph • 6'8" / 250 lbs
More traditional bigs don't quite have the same value they once did, but next to Nikola Jokic, Isaiah Stewart could still be plenty useful. He's a rebounding machine who swats shots with regularity and has a smooth shooting touch that, in time, should be able to extend beyond the 3-point line with consistency.
Round 1 - Pick 23
An intriguing draft-and-stash candidate from Barcelona's B team, Leandro Bolmaro has excellent positional size and playmaking ability off the bounce to boot. The Jazz tend to value jumbo playmakers who fit Bolmaro's archetype -- big wings who can pass and shoot -- and so this would be a relatively low-risk, high-reward selection that seemingly falls in line with the franchise's draft preferences.
From Indiana Pacers
Round 1 - Pick 24
Milwaukee is reportedly considering moving on from Eric Bledsoe, potentially opening up a hole in the backcourt as the team looks to reload around Giannis. Theo Maledon could fill a role right away after his experience overseas playing professionally. He can handle the ball and play off it, too, the type of combo guard who could be a real asset in Milwaukee's system given his scoring ability.
From Denver Nuggets
Round 1 - Pick 25
The Thunder seem destined to undertake a rebuild, so Aleksej Pokusevski fits what Sam Presti tends to favor: talented athletes with length and size. He's a 7-footer who can dribble, handle and shoot like a wing, the type of long-term developmental bet that could pay dividends for a team looking to add foundational assets.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Mississippi State • Soph • 6'6" / 235 lbs
Boston comes back here after taking a combo guard with its lottery pick to add big, strong wing prospect Robert Woodard to the fold. Raw but physically gifted, Woodard's got a recorded wingspan longer than 7-foot and he really made strides as a 3-point shooter as a sophomore. 3-and-D type of prospect with some upside.
From Los Angeles Clippers
Round 1 - Pick 27
Stanford • Soph • 6'2" / 170 lbs
New York misses on the top-tier of point guards with its first pick, but makes a bet here with Tyrell Terry, an undersized-but-brilliant lead guard who is among the draft's best pure shooters at the position. Terry needs time to physically mature, and he's fighting an uphill battle because of his 6-1 frame. But this is a low-risk, high-reward gamble the Knicks could afford to bet on at a position they need to upgrade.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Michigan State • Soph • 6'1" / 185 lbs
The Lakers were in the bottom five among playoff teams this season in 3-point shooting, an inexcusable deficiency for a team built around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the reliance of floor spacing. In Cassius Winston, the Lakers would add a career 43% 3-point shooter and a four-year college floor general who can step in to make smart decisions and drill open 3-pointers at a high rate.
Round 1 - Pick 29
San Diego State • Soph • 6'1" / 175 lbs
Malachi Flynn is a killer two-way player who can lock in defensively and has just about every tool you want for a lead guard offensively. He led all of college basketball in win shares last season. The Raptors have shown they don't shy away from guards who may lack picturesque measurables so with Kyle Lowry nearing free agency and Fred VanVleet already there, might be smart to hedge against potential outgoing players in the near future with someone of his ilk.
From Milwaukee Bucks
Round 1 - Pick 30
Michigan State • Soph • 6'8" / 245 lbs
A well-rounded big man who sets hard screens, rebounds like he's 7-foot and acts as an interior anchor with an imposing physical presence, Xavier Tillman is a steal in this range for a team like Boston that could use frontcourt depth. He's a bit undersized for his position but does all the little things at a high level to affect winning.