With the draft just a mere day away, the Border Fuel NBA Staff has decided to bring you one last mock. This will likely be a crazy draft including many trades, but for the sake of just knocking out the draft order, we decided to take the easy way out and go no trades. So check it out, Border Fuel’s 2020 Staff NBA Mock Draft.
Contributors: Trenton Corn, Lamarr Fields, Donovan Kazmouski, Michael Walsh, and Shade Piper
1. Minnesota Timberwolves select Anthony Edwards, SG Georgia
In my opinion, Lamelo Ball is the best player in the draft, but I’m making this pick based on fit a little here, and taking Ball takes the ball out of newly acquired D’Angelo Russell’s hands. Anthony Edwards averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists & 1.3 steals a game in his lone season at Georgia.
Coming into the league, he has a strong 6’5 225-pound body that is ready for the NBA and has a frame that shows defensive potential upside as well. My NBA comp for him is Victor Oladipo. He’s going to be able to step in right away and be a scoring machine for Minnesota. Don’t think too much about the shooting percentages at Georgia, as Edwards had to do everything by himself. (Corn)
2. Golden State Warriors Select James Wiseman, C Memphis
Wiseman would be a perfect big man for the Warriors; he is 7 feet with a 7-5 wingspan. Wiseman is athletic for his size and can get up and down the court well. He can shoot the three as well as finish around the rim with a soft touch. In the post, Wiseman has good footwork. Wiseman would be the perfect pick-n-roll big for Steph Curry. Also, on defense, he could be a successful rim protector for the Warriors. (Fields)
3. Charlotte Hornets select LaMelo Ball, PG Illawarra Hawks
This pick would come down to who is left out of the assumed top-3 but this makes sense for Charlotte. Despite no college experience, there’s a reason he’s projected this high, he can play! Also, he will be a noticed player in a small market which may be something Charlotte is lacking right now.
While we all know that his father may be hard to deal with at times, it is widely known that LaMelo may be the most talented out of the three Ball brothers. In this situation, Charlotte does not have that much to lose since they are already a pretty bad team struggling in a small market.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan would love for a big-name player to come. Despite how it may turn out, he will attract people to watch the games both in person and on TV, which is not common at all for this Hornets team. If he is left on the board, this should be a no brainer for Charlotte. (Kazmouski)
4. Chicago Bulls select Deni Avdija, SF Maccabi Tel Aviv
Draft experts all around the country are that predicting Avdija ends up in Chicago and I couldn’t agree more. For one, he brings playmaking and versatility to the very sub-par forward position on Chicago’s depth chart, and two, Chicago’s new VP of Basketball operations just came over from Denver where he played an Instrumental role in their international scouting department and has a history of drafting international prospects. Avdija’s shooting ability and lack of athleticism are big questions but I don’t see that being an issue for long seeing as every big man in the league is developing a shot. Good pick and an even better fit for the Bulls. (Walsh)
5. Cleveland Cavaliers select Obi Toppin, PF Dayton
The Cavs have a log jam at both Point Guard and Center which may prevent them from taking my top two available, Okungwu and Hayes. Instead, they go with Toppin. He has a similar mold to Larry Nance but could be a massive upgrade behind Love at the PF spot.
Toppin has all the physical tools to be an elite PF in today’s NBA. If he can take advantage of his years learning behind Love and develop his outside touch. This could be the right move in the short term as well as being a home run in the long term. (Piper)
6. Atlanta Hawks select Onyeka Okungwu, C USC
Okongwu is a little undersized, but that is more than fine with the trajectory of today’s NBA. He still has a very good shot at being the best big in this draft, yes including Wiseman. Atlanta addressed the center position via trade last season and now has Capela under contract for three more years, but he’s not the answer long term so I’m okay with them taking Okungwu here, who would bring a great defensive presence with a much higher offensive ceiling than Capela.
This selection would give the Hawks a top-20 pick, under the age of 23 at every position on the floor (PG, SG, SFx2, PF, and C) in Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter/Cam Reddish, John Collins, and Okungwu respectively. This should be super exciting for Hawks fans. (Piper)
7. Detroit Pistons select Killian Hayes, PG Germany
The Pistons desperately need a point guard and that’s what they’ll get in Hayes, a big 6-foot-5-inch point guard. Hayes can finish at the rim with the best of them, he’s drawn comparisons to CJ McCollum the way he handles the ball and is able to create his own space. I can see Hayes developing into a lead playmaker and primary ball-handler for this Pistons team, and if he’s able to improve his ability to shoot from three this will be a great pick for the pistons who have been “rebuilding” for close to a decade now. (Walsh)
8. New York Knicks select Tyrese Haliburton, PG Iowa St
The Knicks have had multiple failed point guard experiments over the years and this kid may be something they can work around. He is coming out of the draft with great confidence with 2 years of college under his belt. New York can’t ignore positions of need and this pick may work for them. Although this player doesn’t seem to be an obvious star, he can develop into one if they surround him properly.
Everyone knows the Knicks have not been very good for the past two decades, and if they want the opportunity to get some solid free agents in, they need to show that they can turn and develop young players into solid starters or even more. If they take this young point guard with tremendous upside they may be able to turn him into something promising. He has the college experience as well in order to become a great teammate and most importantly, more open to learning new things about the pro level of basketball. (Kazmouski)
9. Washington Wizards select Devin Vassell, SF Florida St
Vassell is a smooth athlete that has an excellent all-around game. He moves well without the ball and is a capable three-point shooter. Vassell is a versatile defender that can guard multiple defenders with his 7-foot wingspan. Vassell could be the perfect small forward to play with John Wall and Bradley Beal. (Fields)
10. Phoenix Suns select RJ Hampton, SG New Zealand Breakers
Phoenix would’ve loved Killian Hayes here, but Hampton is the best guard available here with the highest upside. My pro comparison for him is one you haven’t probably heard yet and may sound strange, but he’s a taller & lankier Russell Westbrook when he entered the league. He currently stands in at 6’5 175 pounds, while the aforementioned Westbrook was 6’3 190 pounds his rookie season.
The comparison sounds strange, but both are combo guards that use their speed and athleticism to their advantage, and like Hampton, scouts really didn’t know which guard spot Westbrook would play, and like Westbrook, Hampton’s biggest need for improvement in order to the next step, is his shooting ability. If Hampton can learn to play the point guard position, and learn to rely on his shooting ability a little more than his athletic prowess, he’s going to be a problem. (Corn)
11. San Antonio Spurs select Patrick Williams, PF Florida St
Patrick Williams is the FASTEST riser in the draft process, and probably won’t make it to San Antonio here at 11, but they would LOVE him and would run to the podium if he was still available. Williams is one of the youngest prospects in the draft, with a high upside with great tools to work with from his size and frame that will allow him to potentially guard legitimately every position on the court if needed, and shows promise shooting wise on offense to be a deadly small-ball 4 in the league. (Corn)
12. Sacramento Kings select Aaron Nesmith, SG Vanderbilt
Nesmith is an outstanding shooter; he shot 52% from beyond the arc and averaged 23 points per game last year. He moves well without the ball and does not play out of control. Imagine De’Aaron Fox pushing the point with Buddy Hield and Nesmith on the wings, that’s if the Kings don’t trade Hield. If Hield is traded, Nesmith would be an ideal replacement. (Fields)
13. New Orleans Pelicans select Kira Lewis Jr, PG Alabama
Lewis is a good shooter and ball-handler with great upside. He can finish at the rim as well which is the ideal player to put around Zion moving forward. Could be similar to an Avery Bradley type player. By now, it is quite obvious that the Pelicans are planning to build around both Zion and Brandon Ingram, there is also word out that they really like Lonzo ball since his first year of playing for New Orleans. Lewis Jr has a different play style to him but both of the point guards are great at different things.
If Kira can take the time to learn and develop under Lonzo, he can become a great playmaker which will add to his already great scoring ability and ball handling. This pick makes sense for the Pelicans in case the long-term plan with Lonzo falls through as well. He could also take a thing or two away from The defensive aspect of some of these veterans as well which will only help him improve. (Kazmouski)
14. Boston Celtics select Precious Achiuwa, C Kansas
Standing at 6’9, 225lbs he is able to play at either the 4 or the 5 and his athleticism will allow him to fit perfectly within the small ball rotation that Brad Stevens loves to run. He’ll also provide the Celtics frontcourt with interior defense and true rebounding skill, something they struggled with all year and ended up being their kryptonite in the ECF against Bam Adebayo and the Heat.
Achiuwa brings athleticism, defense, and real rebounding skill to the Celtics frontcourt. In his lone year at Memphis, he averaged 10.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, 2 categories in which the Celtics struggled with all year and ended up being their kryptonite in the ECF against the Heat. Very enticing pick for the Celtics provided that he is still on the board. (Walsh)
15. Orlando Magic select Isaac Okoro, SF Auburn
The highest upside player for the Magic here might’ve been Cole Anthony, but they likely ride it out with Markelle Fultz and grab a 3 and D Small forward instead. Okoro has a lot of room for improvement in the “3” aspect of the “3 and D” but is a versatile defender who can finish at the rim. Okoro’s ability to switch off on any position will make him a valuable NBA player and any offensive improvement on top of that would just be a bonus for the Magic. (Piper)
16. Portland Trail Blazers select Saddiq Bey, SF Villanova
Disclaimer: Our picks were submitted before the Trail Blazers-Rockets trade, so this will instead be Houston’s pick.
Another 3 and D player here and I actually think Portland (Houston) gets the better value here. Bey projects as a much better shooter and at 6’10” can be a great defender who can switch amongst positions. Bey would be the perfect Carmelo Anthony apprentice or replacement for the Blazers. This would be a very high upset pick in the mid-first round. (Piper)
17. Minnesota Timberwolves select Jaden McDaniels, PF Washington
Very risky pick but McDaniels has a very high ceiling and if he’s able to reach that ceiling, expect him to be a great fit alongside D’Angelo and KAT for years to come. I expect this to be more of a “project pick” and not someone who’s going to step in and contribute right away.
McDaniels career goes one of two ways. He gets stronger, develops a true shot, improves defensively, and is a steal at #17, or he does not do any of those things and is out of the league in the blink of an eye. This is a boom or bust pick that I expect Minnesota to jump on and take the risk with. (Walsh)
18. Dallas Mavericks select Josh Green, SG Arizona
Green needs to be more consistent shooting the ball but he still provides great upside. He’s a great defender and can move well in the open court. He could be a great complimentary piece for this young Mavericks roster still building around Luka. The Mavericks offense set record numbers all year long in the 2020 season. They have so many ways of beating you, whether that is at the rim or beyond the three-point line. The obvious improvement that is needed is the defensive aspect of their team, which lost them some pretty important games down the stretch last year.
Green can bring some great defensive upside to a team that is in need of it big time. Even though this player needs to work on his jump shot and find a more consistent way of scoring points, he will bring something that the Mavericks need, and with great offensive minds around him, he should only improve on that end for a great offensive team. (Kazmouski)
19. Brooklyn Nets select Jalen Smith, C Maryland
Brooklyn’s roster is loaded with talent; Jalen Smith would add a big man off the bench that could stretch the floor. Smith shot 36.8% from three-point land last year. Smith can also rebound and block shots along with his shooting capability, but the one thing Smith must do is get a little bit stronger on the NBA level. (Fields)
20. Miami Heat select Cole Anthony, PG North Carolina
After a rough and injury-riddled freshman season at North Carolina, Cole Anthony’s stock dropped big time this past season. I can genuinely see a path where he falls to pick twenty. Now the question is, should Miami take him? My answer is yes, as Miami would take a swing on the former 2nd overall recruit in the nation.
Cole Anthony’s draft comparison for me is probably another unique one, but it’s Lou Williams. He’s not a true point guard but is too small to play two. Instead, he projects to me as a combo scoring guard that could come off the bench and win some 6th man of the year awards. (Corn)
21. Philadelphia 76ers select Tyrell Terry, PG Stanford
This is another prospect that’s been vaulting up mock drafts and big boards, as there are rumors that he could go as high as TEN to the Suns. Terry is like a Great Value Trae Young. He’s a bit undersized but is a very high IQ, elite shooting point guard who shares similar traits that Steph Curry and Trae Young showed heading into the draft, and is one of those prime examples of “what if there was an NCAA tournament?” (Corn)
22. Denver Nuggets select Desmond Bane, SF TCU
Bane is a significant pick-n-roll player for TCU last season, where he improved as a playmaker. The small forward led TCU in scoring and assists. Bane is outstanding as a set shooter and made five three’s in a game seven times this past season. He is not very athletic, so he won’t guard multiple positions, but Bane plays hard and is good at defending the passing lanes. (Fields)
23. Utah Jazz select Theo Maledon, PG France
He’s only 19 years old but already has some experience under his belt. He also has great size for a PG at 6’5. He could learn behind Mitchell and be a great young piece for this Jazz team. It’s not too often that a team has the chance to draft a very big point guard like this kid. He brings size and speed to a team that could use it in every aspect besides Donovan Mitchell.
Rudy Gobert’s future with the team is also very much in question after a drama-filled series of events leading to the bubble. If they do indeed decide to move in from Gubert and his heavy contract, they will need all the size they can get in this lineup. Some might even say they can try to develop this young man into the 2 position with the size he brings, but he has all the skill and upside of an excellent point guard. He’s still only 19 so he can learn so much still about being a professional. (Kazmouski)
24. Milwaukee Bucks select Leandro Balmaro, SG FC Barcelona
With rumors of Giannis expected to sign a super-max deal to stay in Milwaukee swirling around the internet, Balmaro will fit in perfectly in their defensive centric lineup. He struggles in his consistency shooting the ball but makes up for it in his playmaking ability.
Balmaro is a very skilled swingman that can make plays and play defense. Given the fact that he should be able to develop his shot at the NBA level, he will be a great fit in this bucks lineup. Perhaps the biggest question of them all is whether or not the bucks will be willing to wait for his contract with Barcelona to expire in 2023 or if they’ll pay the $900,000 and buy him out of it, but either way, I don’t expect him to be a Buck immediately, expect a draft and stash project to help the Bucks in the long run. (Walsh)
25. Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevki, PF Serbia
The OKC Thunder take the unicorniest, highest ceiling player left on the board here with Aleksej Pokusevki. Pokusevki is way too thin right now but with a good strength and conditioning program, he has the potential to be a Kristaps Porzingis with Nikola Jokic-type playmaking. With all the future draft capital OKC has moving forward, taking a huge swing at a boom or bust player like Pokusevki makes a lot of sense. This pick may end up being all hype, no reward but it’s a risk Sam Presti should be willing to take. (Piper)
26. Boston Celtics select Tyrese Maxey, SG Kentucky
The Celtics went with versatile big man, Precious Achiuwa, with their first pick and add another versatile defender at the guard position with their second pick. The Celtics take the best player on the board here and it is a great fit for Maxey as well. I can’t think of a better mentor for Maxey than Marcus Smart. Developing his defensive prowess under Smart while refining his offensive game should pay off nicely for Boston. (Piper)
27. New York Knicks select Isaiah Stewart, PF Washington
With our Donovan Kazmouski having New York selecting Haliburton at 8, I think they go big here and take the 6’9 250lbs forward out of Washington. He’s been compared to a smaller version of Bam Adebayo and with his 17 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game in college he has the numbers to back it up. His head coach at Washington summed it up perfectly, saying; “If the Knicks are lucky enough to get him that late, they’re getting a guy that they’re stealing, thievery 101. He’s got an ability to impact the game and impact winning right away.”
The Knicks have obvious issues in the frontcourt, and by adding Stewart and pairing him with Mitchell Robinson as well as the other prospect we have them drafting, Tyrese Haliburton, being paired alongside RJ Barrett, I see this team turning it around and making the playoffs within the next 2 years. (Walsh)
28. Los Angeles Lakers (Edit: Oklahoma City Thunder) select Tre Jones, PG Duke
Disclaimer: Pick was made prior to the OKC-LAL trade
Looking into the future for the Lakers, they need a young point guard since both James and Rondo are aging. He was named ACC player of the year and defensive player of the year as well. If his name is still there on the board, expect the Lakers to be interested. LeBron has currently two years left on his deal with the Lakers and maybe some after that, but it is very clear that they are one of the few teams in the league that is looking at the “now” instead of the future.
This draft pick however still makes a lot of sense for the Lakers based on positional needs. He is a young emerging star who went to the most star-studded possible school in the NCAA for basketball which is Duke. Some would say that the Lakers are the Duke University in the NBA. A very great way to develop at the PG position is to learn from arguably the greatest passer of all time in LeBron James. (Kazmouski)
29. Toronto Raptors select Malachi Flynn, PG San Diego State
With Fred VanVleet, a free agent, and Kyle Lowry entering free agency next season, Flynn would be an excellent pick for the Raptors. Flynn is an outstanding pick-n-roll player with a high basketball IQ. He can shoot it from deep range and is crafty enough to get to the basket. Flynn has a fantastic pull-up jumper and is active on defense. He would be a perfect fit in Toronto. (Fields)
30. Boston Celtics select Xavier Tillman, C Michigan St
With his lack of elite athleticism and age, he isn’t viewed as a first-round prospect but deserves to be. Tillman averaged 13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 1.2 steals per contest last season at Michigan State and does most of his damage in the pick and roll game. After setting a screen for the primary ball-handler, Tillman uses his light feet to roll to the basket. He is very effective catching the ball after rolling off the screen, as he shot 68.1% around the basket down low on the season and 79.4% on rolls to the basket.
He is also very underrated with the ball in his hands, as he can put the ball on the floor for a few dribbles and get to the basket. He also uses the dribble to set up his best attribute to his game, in my opinion, his passing. He can put the ball on the floor and score, another underrated aspect of his game, and uses that ability to attract the defense to make a pass to his open teammate.
With his offensive skill set that is similar to one of Al Horford and to an extent, Bam Adebayo, he can also hold his own with guard and wing players on defense with his good lateral speed. He’s a smart, high IQ player, with a very high character that will give maximum effort each time he steps on the floor. For a guy that could be taken in the second round, Tillman can be a starter in this league, and be a glue guy for 10 plus years for an NBA team. (Corn)
I know the crazy last couple of days of trades kinda threw off a couple of picks, and I’m sure there will be even more by the time you’re reading this, but what do you think of the picks?
Comment below and let us know and show our Border Fuel NBA staff some love by following us on Twitter and giving us a RT. Hope everyone has a great draft night tomorrow!