With the 2020 NBA draft officially taking place on November 18, I will be releasing my predictions for the entirety of the first round, releasing two articles a week covering 5 picks at a time, from now until the week of the draft. We start with picks 25 through 30 today. Keep in mind that this mock draft is completely excluding potential trades and teams moving up or down on the draft board, and is solely based on what pick every team has as of the end of the 2019-2020 NBA season.
The process of evaluating prospects live in games, hosting combines and individual workouts up the overall ability to see a prospect perform in person has mostly shifted to studying those players on film and interviewing them by video calls which make for a wildly different and difficult draft experience for both players and the front offices of NBA teams. Here are my predictions for this one of a kind draft.
30.) Boston Celtics: Aleksej Pokusevski, Center, Serbia, 7-Foot, 200lbs
The Celtics are slated to have three first-round picks in this upcoming draft, which is huge for this team who is already a legitimate contender coming out of the East. The biggest hole on the Celtics roster is the holes they have down low on the block, however, I look for them to use one of their earlier picks as an immediate solution to that problem.
With the 30th pick, I see the Celtics drafting and stashing the 7 foot center from Serbia. With a 7-foot-3 inch wingspan and a smooth shooting stroke, if he adds 25-30 pounds as he develops overseas he could he has upside to turn into a decent inside/out big man with the ability to defend and rebound down low in the paint. Low risk/ high reward pick here for the Celtics.
29.) Toronto Raptors: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington, 6’9″, 250lbs
With the Raptors most likely losing either Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka this year to free agency they will have to look to a big man to come in and plug the gap down low. Stewart is a hybrid forward/center with an NBA ready frame that can play physical on the offense side and defensive side of the ball in the paint. He will pair along well in the long run with All-Star, Pascal Siakam.
28.) Los Angeles Lakers: Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech, 6’4″, 195lbs
Coming off their utter domination of the league, the Lakers’ only weak spot is their lack of ability to consistently shoot the ball from behind the arc. I look for LA to go out and get a 3-and-D wing to come of the bench and play his role, hitting three’s. Ramsey is a great fit here, he shot 43% from long range this past season with the Red Raiders and showed the ability to lockdown defenders on the perimeter. I do not expect Ramsey to come in and start, but he will come in and provide needed help off the bench.
27.) New York Knicks (via Clippers): Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State, 6’7″, 235lbs
The Knicks have many weaknesses but with the young core of RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and Kevin Knox, and Julius Randle providing depth in the frontcourt, I look for New York to go after Small Forward, Robert Woodard out of Mississippi State. Woodard comes in with the potential to turn into a decent inside-out scorer who also has the strength to match up with big men down low in the post. Woodard gave us small sample sizes of his ability to shoot the three in college, shooting 42% on 70 shots. Look for Woodard to come in and provide good minutes off the bench while he grows his game over the course of his rookie year.
26.) Boston Celtics (Via Milwaukee Bucks): Nico Mannion, Arizona, 6’3″, 190lbs
With Brad Wanamaker looking like he’s on the way out the door, I look for Danny Ainge to look for depth at the guard position and look no further than Nico Mannion. Mannion showed impressive IQ and playmaking ability in his one season at Arizona. He could benefit tremendously from learning the game from Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart. Nico looks to have a very high ceiling and seems to be a perfect replacement and fit for the Celtics to make another run at an NBA championship.
25.) Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Zeke Nnaji, PF, Arizona, 6’11”, 240 lbs
With talk of CP3 being shopped around by OKC, I don’t believe a move will be made. OKC hit the lottery with SGA who looks like a future All-Star and they also have Dennis Schroder providing even more depth at the guard position. I see OKC going after a forward; Danilo Gallinari may leave in free agency and I see a suitable replacement for him being Zeke Nnaji out of Arizona. Nnaji is an athlete who has the ability to run the break with CP3 and SGA; while his 7-foot-1 wingspan will allow him to help clean up on the glass down low, look for him and SGA to be paired up for a long time.
Tune back in on Friday, October 30th for picks 24-20.