James Wiseman is a potential No. 1 pick for any team in need of a rim-running, shot-blocking big man. The Commercial Appeal-USA TODAY

The long NBA season is winding down. For a lot of teams, that means already focusing on June’s NBA Draft. In preparation, the names and teams are coming together in our 2020 NBA Mock Draft.

Some squads like the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves seem to be in tank mode, with the hope to acquire a high pick being the primary focus from here on out. Other teams are right in the middle of the pack, but need obvious upgrades in a draft that’s not seen as too deep.

It’s in this that we give you our first mock draft of the year with a focus on the teams currently in the lottery.

Note: Lottery simulation via Tankathon.

1. New York Knicks: James Wiseman, center, Memphis 

The luck of New York changes with these downtrodden Knicks “earning” the No. 1 pick in the initial version of our mock draft. It could not come at a better time with the franchise looking to find star power to go with 2019 lottery pick, two-guard R.J. Barrett, and impressive young big Mitchell Robinson.

Just imagine New York trotting out Robinson and Wiseman in the front court. It might run contrary to today’s NBA, but it would also be a mismatch waiting to happen. Adding the consensus No. 1 big in the draft would also potentially enable the Knicks to move Robinson and change for top-end wing help. It just makes too much sense.

2. Phoenix Suns: Lamelo Ball, point guard, United States

We know that Phoenix had interest in adding the older Ball brother to the mix before Lonzo was dealt from Los Angeles to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis blockbuster. This Ball brother is actually a better fit with shooting guard Devin Booker.

Seen by most as a skilled ball distributor with an ability to shoot, Ball might be a bit of a project. But his ceiling has no limits. Teaming Ball up with Booker and fellow youngster Deandre Ayton would set this team up extremely well moving forward.

3. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, shooting guard, Georgia 

A 6-foot-5 guard who likes to put up shots and sees himself as a No. 1 scorer. That’s not exactly the type of player Golden State needs with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins in the mix. But this is not about fit. It’s about going best player available and adding more assets in a trade down the road. We know who Golden State is eyeing.

Edwards is averaging nearly 19 points and 5.3 rebounds as a sophomore for Georgia. He could go as high as No. 1 overall depending on the Wiseman situation. Edwards is a true scorer, and would give the Dubs a young asset moving forward.

4. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, point guard, France  

A native of Florida, Hayes has played internationally in France from a young age because of his father’s basketball career overseas. It’s in this that the teenager is more developed than other underclassmen entering the NBA this year.

It’s a perfect fit for the Pistons, too. Hayes is a combo guard who can play both positions and has been compared to James Harden on offense. That’s an absolutely remarkable comparison for the teenager.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija, small forward, Israel 

The Cavs’ backcourt of the future seems to be set with rising star, sophomore Collin Sexton, and rookie Darius Garland. They now need some front-court help, primarily out on the wing. A forward that can shoot from the outside to replace Kevin Love long-term.

A 6-foot-9 small forward from Israel, Avdija is in the mold of the above-mentioned Hayes. He can play both forward positions and has the ability to develop a decent perimeter game. Equally as important to Cleveland’s success moving forward, he’s already a top-level passer. That would loom large with Sexton and Garland in the backcourt.


R.J. Hampton could an exciting addition to Atlanta's backcourt if paired up with Trae Young. Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

6. Atlanta Hawks: R.J. Hampton, shooting guard, United States

Hampton’s decision to forgo a season of college basketball to play overseas in New Zealand might have impacted his draft stock to an extent. The stage was not as big. An early conclusion to his overseas career due to injury also impacted teams being able to scout the talented guard in person.

Even then, Hampton would be an absolutely tremendous fit with Trae Young in Atlanta’s backcourt. It would be similar in terms of upside to what Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk had with the Splash Brothers in Golden State.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Onyeka Okongwu, power forward, USC 

Now that the Wolves have their two current building blocks in that of point guard D’Angelo Russell and big man Karl-Anthony Towns, they’re going to be looking for a third option. Rookie Jarrett Culver may never turn into that.

It’s in this that a high-upside youngster in Okongwu could make sense. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 16.7 points and 8.9 rebounds on 62% shooting from the field. The Southern California native would be great next to Towns inside.

8. Chicago Bulls: Devin Vassell, shooting guard, Florida State 

The Bulls have been using the 6-foot-6 Zach LaVine more as a traditional wing this season with Tomáš Satoranský getting play at the two-guard. While Satoranský is a decent role player, he does not strike me as a core player moving forward.

It’s in this that the Bulls add another guard to go with youngster Coby White. Vassell is shooting 49% from the field for the Seminoles this season and has expanded his game to beyond the three-point line (43%). He’d be a perfect fit in Chicago.

9. Charlotte Hornets: Vernon Carey, center, Duke 

Despite their horrible 19-38 record, the Hornets have a few nice young pieces. That includes a backcourt of Terry Rozier and rising star Devonte’ Graham. Youngsters P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges in the frontcourt look pretty darn good, too.

The one missing component is a center. That’s where the 6-foot-10 Carey comes into play. He’s averaging 17.6 points and 8.8 rebounds on 58% shooting from the field this season. He would be a match made in heaven.


With uncertainty over John Wall's injury history, the Wizards could use a young point guard like UNC's Cole Anthony. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

10. Washington Wizards: Cole Anthony, point guard, North Carolina 

John Wall is not the face of the Washington Wizards. That title belongs to Bradley Beal. Even if Washington were to retain the injured Wall over the long term, it needs a young point guard moving forward.

This is where Anthony comes into play. The dude is averaging nearly 20 points to go with 6.2 rebounds as a freshman for a bad Tar Heels squad. He might be inconsistent shooting the ball, but the Wizards can make up for that with the presence of Beal.

11. Sacramento Kings: Aleksej Pokusevski, center, Serbia 

We know Kings general manager Vlade Divac fancies himself foreign-born players. Adding a 7-foot center in Pokusevski who is already playing in the EuroLeague would be so on brand for him.

Pokusevski, 18, is a bit of a project. But he fits into the modern NBA game. That is to say, the Serbian can shoot from the perimeter. He’s an ideal fit here.

12. New Orleans Pelicans: Tyrese Haliburton, point guard, Iowa State 

Is Lonzo Ball the long-term solution to team up with Zion Williamson in New Orleans? We’re not too sure. What we do know is that the Pelicans did entertain trade offers for fellow guard Jrue Holiday ahead of February’s deadline.

This is a clear indication that the rising Pelicans need some young blood in the backcourt. Averaging 15.2 points while shooting 42% from distance for the Cyclones this season, Haliburton would provide that.

13. San Antonio Spurs: Obi Toppin, power froward, Dayton 

It would not be a shock if San Antonio looked to move current starting power forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the summer. If that’s the case, general manager R.C. Buford and Co. need to find a long-term replacement.

Not really flying under the radar anymore due to Dayton’s shocking success this season, Toppin makes a ton of sense here. The dude is averaging nearly 20 points to go with 7.7 rebounds while shooting 62% from the field this season. He makes perfect sense for San Antonio.

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Jahmi’us Ramsey, shooting guard, Texas Tech 

Is C.J. McCollum on his way out of the Pacific Northwest? It’s a real possibility. The backcourt combo of McCollumn and star Damian Lillard has not lifted the Blazers into championship contention. It might be time to break this duo up.

That’s where Ramsey could make sense in the middle of the first round come June. The Red Raiders star is a traditional two-guard in that he stands at 6-foot-4 and is shooting a robust 44% from distance this season. He’d be a perfect fit with Lillard.

15. Orlando Magic: Josh Green, shooting guard, Arizona

16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tyrese Maxey, shooting guard, Kentucky (from Brooklyn)

17. Boston Celtics: Saddiq Bey, small forward, Villanova (from Memphis)

18. Milwaukee Bucks: Nico Mannion, point guard, Arizona (from Indiana)

19. Dallas Mavericks: Precious Achiuwa, power forward, Memphis

20. Oklahoma City Thunder: Isaac Okoro, small forward, Auburn

21. Brooklyn Nets: Jalen Smith, power forward, Maryland (from Philadelphia)

22. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, point guard, France

23. Miami Heat: Reggie Perry, power forward, Mississippi State 

24. Denver Nuggets: Cassius Stanley, shooting guard, Duke (from Houston) 

25. New York Knicks: Kira Lewis, point guard, Alabama (from Los Angeles Clippers) 

26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tre Jones, point guard, Duke (from Denver) 

27. Boston Celtics: Paul Reed, power forward, DePaul 

28. Toronto Raptors: Killian Tittle, power forward, Gonzaga 

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Devon Dotson, point guard, Kansas 

30. Boston Celtics: Jordan Nwora, small forward, Louisville (from Milwaukee) 

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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