The 2019 NBA Draft has come and gone, so now is the right time to look toward 2020. There are many names to know as we start our journey to next June, but of course it is nearly impossible to figure out exactly how everything will shake out in the 2020 draft. After all, a year ago RJ Barrett was the odds-on favorite to go No. 1 overall, with Nassir Little likely going No. 2. (Zion Williamson was around a fourth or fifth pick.)
First off, there should be a high amount of one-and-dones available in 2020. While the 2019 high school class isn't regarded as particularly strong, there are a lot of guys who could have solid NBA seasons and would feel comfortable making the jump. Add in the fact that the returning college stars aren't exactly can't-miss prospects, and you have the potential for a lot of freshmen filling up the top half of the first round.
Second off, the 2020 draft looks to have a lot of athletic wings and guards and many solid defensive players. There may not be many superstars in the bunch and certainly not the star power that this draft holds, but it could be filled with solid players who would be contributors for many years.
Remember that the NBA champion Toronto Raptors had zero lottery picks on their team this year.
So let's look at the way-too-early 2020 NBA mock draft.
Wiseman is a fierce, athletic big man who can punish the rim with dunks and protect the rim with his shot blocking ability. He can be an instant contributor with his length and speed up and down the floor. He is a bit raw offensively, but with some work and some time in the weight room he could be the next elite big man in the NBA.
He's an aggressive scorer who can break down his defender and explode to the basket. He is also a good shooter from all three levels. He excels in pick and rolls and ball screens, which is paramount in the NBA. Right now he's better as the primary ball-handler than working off the ball. If it all comes around during his likely one season at Georgia, he could be the No. 1 overall pick in 2020.
Hampton made the unconventional move of skipping college and spending his one-and-done season playing professionally overseas. It will be an interesting case study. He will be well coached there, but will he be impressive in that setting? He's got all the tools: great size for a point guard; speedy ball-handler with a great jumper. He'll also enter the NBA with experience playing against other professionals.
Anthony could be this year's freshman star. He is a great scorer, great passer and has elite athleticism. With Coby White having a breakout season as a freshman for the Tar Heels last year, many expect Anthony to be a difference maker from the jump. Roy Williams' fast-paced offense will allow Anthony to show his scoring, ball-handling and passing abilities. He's the son of former UNLV and NBA player Greg Anthony.
Stewart is a big guy — though not tall — who can bang in the paint with anyone. He's a force inside who works hard to get his shot off as well as vacuuming rebounds. He won't be a shot blocker, but he's a physical player who can knock people off their spots. He has a nice jumper that can be built upon, perfect for a team that wants a banger.
Here's another 6-foot-5 athletic point guard who can create offense for himself and others. Both of his parents played basketball, and Theo has been playing professionally in France since he was 16. He's smooth. He can drive and dish and while he's not the greatest athlete, he is explosive. Most likely he will be the first foreign player drafted.
Achiuwa is a physically gifted wing who attacks the basket and has an array of finishing moves around the rim. He's the kind of guy you think twice about taking a charge on. He needs to develop a three-point shot if he is going to be a star NBA player, but his athleticism and power make scouts drool.
While Cole Anthony has gained most of the publicity of the incoming freshman point guards, Nico Mannion has done well for himself on the All-Star and tournament circuits. He is a tough, smart point guard with great handles who isn't afraid to scrap in the paint. He's a good shooter from deep and works hard defensively...though he may struggle against more physically imposing players.
Green could be a breakout star during his lone year at Arizona. He's originally from Australia, which has had a pretty good record at churning out young players of late. Green is an exciting player with great size (6'-foot-6) for a two-guard who can score from anywhere with good shooting and outstanding athleticism to get to the basket. He's also a solid defensive player already, which shows how coachable he is. He's another guy who could find himself as a top- five pick if he does explode with the Wildcats.
Avdija impressed at the Basketball Without Borders camp in February. He is 6-foot-9 but can play either guard spot as he makes amazing passes and has great vision. With everyone trying to get the next Luka Doncic, he will rise up many draft boards. He isn't the best athlete yet, and he'll need to put up some muscle if he plans to finish at the basket in the NBA. But he's someone whom teams will want to develop.
Lewis could be that Stacy Augmon-type player who is a wing with long arms and can play at a high level on both ends of the floor. He's a great defender already who rebounds well for his position and consistently plays hard. His shooting needs to improve, but his lot in the NBA will be his defense and tenacity.
McDaniels could rise and fall in this draft, depending on what he shows us at Washington. He has tremendous size (6'-foot-10) and feel for the game. He does everything pretty well as a big man but will need to gain some heft to deal with the size and length in the NBA. He has a nice perimeter game and a back-to-the-basket game and can turn a rebound into his own fast break.
Hurt is that stretch four whom NBA teams covet. He is a solid rebounder and a great shooter. He'll try to bring Duke back to the spacing team that punishes opponents with hustle and three-point daggers. Right now he won't have the ability to post up like a Kevin Love, but he certainly has the range and passing ability to make an impact.
Watford is a true small forward, as he can post up and bang around in the paint. He's comfortable on the perimeter and already possesses a solid mid-range game. He isn't the high-rising athletic wing like others in this draft, but he may have the highest floor.
Ball will certainly have one of the most unique roads to the NBA as anyone in this draft has taken. He was a YouTube legend with a star older brother and a father who is trying to forge his own celebrity by micro-managing his sons. Forgetting all of that, Ball is a pure scorer and a deft ball-handler who can put on a show with his offensive play but lacks defensive intensity. Still, he'll have instant star power the moment he steps into the league.
Whitney is an athletic wing who will be counted on as a scorer and leader for the next crop of young Wildcats. He's an athletic wing who had an up-and-down showing on the All-Star circuit. After scoring just two points in the McDonald's All-American game, he scored 38 in the Allen Iverson Classic where he earned co-MVP honors. If he can develop a consistent shot during his lone season at Kentucky, he could rise up in the draft.
Maxey is the kind of guard John Calipari loves: a big motor who is nearly impossible to keep out of the lane. He's got great handles and is aggressive at putting pressure on defenses. He's a combo guard who may be a bit smallish (6-foot-3) as an off guard, and he needs to show he can run a team as a true point guard. Even so, there is certainly a demand for players like Maxey, who can create his own offense and make defenses pay for mistakes.
After Duke's great 2019 draft, it is odd to see the first Blue Devil off the board coming so late in this draft. Carey is the best of the new crop of freshmen in Durham and the next in the line of solid big men in Mike Krzyzewski's program. Carey is a big, physical post player who possesses finesse and skill around the basket. He already has a portfolio of post moves and has been working on extending his range.
Hayes is yet another combo guard with athleticism. He's got a big body for a guard, which allows him to absorb contact at the rim and still make his play. He is also a good defender at both guard spots and smaller wings, making him versatile in defensive rotations. His father, DeRon, played nearly two decades in Europe.
Dosunmu is one of the best players to come through Illinois in over a decade. He's a workaholic who gives it his all in the gym and in practice. He has a drive that is rarely seen in college athletes. As far as skill set, he's quick and tough to stay in front of and is also a stout defender. His high motor will serve him well at the next level, and he works on his consistency with his outside shooting.
Some were surprised that Smith returned to Maryland for his sophomore season. Despite playing alongside 2019 draft pick Bruno Fernando on the Terps' frontcourt, Smith held his own as a scorer and a rebounder. He averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in his freshman season and especially looked good in Maryland's NCAA Tournament win over Belmont (10 pts, 12 rbs). He's primarily a paint guy, as he shoots a woeful 27 percent from three but he's shown the ability to grow and develop.
Bassey entered the 2019 NBA Draft before ultimately pulling his name out, which makes his sophomore season at WKU interesting. Usually, players who stay in the draft until the deadline get a lot of feedback about where their game is and what they need to improve on. Bassey is a big man who does big man things (14.6 pts, 10 rbs, 62.7 percent shooting) but also has a shot that extends to the three-point line (45 percent), and he hits free throws (77 percent). He needs to be more aggressive offensively and while he shoots well from three, he doesn't shoot it often.
Robinson-Earl is a smooth operator around the basket who should be a great combo forward in the NBA. He has such a soft touch in the paint and a developed mid-range game. His long-distance shooting is a work in progress, but if he continues to show improvement he could be a solid stretch four for many years. Villanova isn't known for its one-and-dones, but Robinson-Earl could break the mold.
Hagans is a floor leader and an outstanding defensive player. In a league with so many dynamic guards, Hagans has the ability to stay in front of guys and can disrupt offenses. He isn't an elite offensive player by any means, but he has great vision and can run a team. He will be going into his second season in Lexington and could blossom the way a Tyler Ulis did. If he develops a consistent shot, he could shoot up this draft.
Jones got a little lost among the fabulous freshman who stormed through Duke last year and was the one who decided to stay in school for at least another season. Like Kentucky's Hagans, Jones is an elite defensive player who disrupts opponents' offenses. He fills passing lanes, can stay in front of quick guards and is a great floor leader in his own right. The problem is his shot. He shot just 26 percent from behind the arc last year, and teams would leave him open to help on Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish. If he works on his shot and can become a threat, then he can be a solid contributor at the next level.
Here is your sharpshooter. The NBA loves guys like this now, and Juzang can really fill it up. At best, he could be the next Devin Booker...another former Kentucky Wildcat. At worst he could be another Wildcat — Malik Monk. He has a great feel for the game and is already a deadly shooter.
Teams looking for the next Pascal Siakam may look to draft Senegal's Sylla. He has the same sort of build as Siakam and is already a solid defender and a guy willing to do whatever to win. He is still developing as an offensive player but continues to show improvement. If the right team with the right system drafts him, he could be a real find.
Agbaji came from nowhere (he was ranked in the 300s in recruiting circles) to become a breakout player for the Jayhawks last season. He took off his redshirt in January and became an impact player during the middle of the Big 12 season. His scoring tailed off a bit entering March, but he has a nice looking jumper and the ability to defend at the guard and wing positions. He's a physical guy who possesses a toughness that NBA scouts like.
Teams that generally are selecting late in the draft are title-contending teams looking for glue guys who can contribute right away or are teams with extra draft picks looking to add a more prepared rookie into the fold. Nwora checks those boxes as a player who can fill a role by doing a little bit of everything (17.6 pts, 7.7 rbs from a wing player) and can get on a roll from behind the arc. If he continues his improvement next year for a Louisville team that should be really good, he could see his stock rise.
Williamson is another wing player who can break down his defender and get to the rim. The difference between him and other wings whocould be in this draft is Williamson already is a good shooter and a good rebounder for his size and position. His game isn't demonstrative, so he could get lost in the national shuffle of college freshman. But he may be one of the more solid picks in this draft.