Bulls On Tap 2020 NBA Mock Draft Round 1: Picks 1-15
As the real deal approaches on November 18, we’ll be predicting who we think each team will draft at their respective picks.
Welcome to the Bulls On Tap 2020 NBA Mock Draft! As the real deal approaches on November 18th, we’ll be predicting who we think each team will draft at their respective picks. This is the final installment of Bulls On Tap’s 2020 NBA Mock Draft, as our previous releases covered picks 16-30 of the first round and the entire second round.
This installment will encompass for the front end of the first round — picks 1-15. Let’s get right into it.
1. MIN: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
Are we surprised? Even though this draft has no clear-cut number one pick, Anthony Edwards is too obvious of a pick. Assuming the Timberwolves keep this pick, Edwards is the best overall prospect and is the best fit for Minnesota. D’Angelo Russell is an underrated playmaker that will thrive at the point guard position for the Timberwolves. Edwards is a great scorer, however, he can improve his catch-and-shoot game. If he can do that, then Russell will have Edwards and budding superstar Karl Anthony-Towns to dish the ball to.
2. GSW: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Golden State is in need of a big man and rim protector. With the Warriors losing Kevin Durant a year ago, they have roughly the same core as their first championship team in this competitive window. Big men Andrew Bogut and David Lee tore apart Cleveland with the pick-and-roll, and Wiseman could easily outdo both in that same role.
He is a bit of a risk after only playing three college games, however. Wiseman also is a liability on guarding the perimeter. His mid-range potential should make up for this if he reaches the ceiling experts project for him. His boom/bust risk is perfect for the Warriors to roll the dice on. He could be one of the top center picks of all time or average out to be DeAndre Jordan level. Regardless, the Warriors will greatly benefit with Wiseman in the lineup.
3. CHA: LaMelo Ball, PG, Australia
Charlotte needs to take the best player available. LaMelo may be the best facilitator in the draft and he would have his brother Lonzo to lean on if he needs help. At his current age, most scouts see LaMelo being the most talented of the Ball brothers. Contrary to the belief that Lavar Ball’s comments may not affect Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan, he may see himself in LaMelo as he was also very young when he was thrust into the spotlight and used as a marketing tool. An experienced, marketable player like LaMelo could help expand the Charlotte Hornets’ brand.
4. CHI: Deni Avidja, SF, Israel
Chicago’s biggest need is a facilitator. The next best facilitator after LaMelo Ball is Deni Avdija. He will fit in the rotation regardless. Avdija is just 19 years old but already has years of overseas experience with Tel Aviv and won the Israeli BSL MVP last year. Given his age, he may not be overly impactful right away, but most experts believe he will grow into a facilitating stretch 4 with his shooting form. Expect the Bulls to be involved in various trade talks with their new management team of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley. There is still a stigma surrounding foreign players’ ability to transition to the NBA, however, Karnisovas’ international origins may lead him to lean toward an international player in this draft.
5. CLE: Onyeka Okongwu, PF, USC
With Cleveland already having Colin Sexton and Darius Garland situated in the backcourt, they will take the best big available. That would be Onyeka Okongwu. The USC product, in some people’s eyes, is even better than James Wiseman. Okongwu is a lockdown defender while still maintaining offensive efficiency. The trait that makes him potentially better than Wiseman is his ability to guard the perimeter. In the NBA, bigs have become more versatile and can switch to guards without causing as much of a mismatch.
6. ATL: Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
With Trae Young leading the charge in Atlanta, the Hawks will need to draft a player to complement him and pick up some of the offensive load. Florida State’s Devin Vassell fits this mold perfectly. He possesses great size and athleticism, as he touts a near-7-foot wingspan. Vassell plays into contact without getting rattled. He greatly improved from his freshman year to his sophomore year, leading scouts to believe that trend will continue with the leap to the NBA.
7. DET: Killian Hayes, PG, Germany
Hayes has been highlighted as one of the potential big steals in the 2020 NBA Draft. He is an incredible playmaker and possesses a good shot, shooting 39% from beyond the arc last season. His basketball IQ and vision are off the charts. The one issue that drops Hayes all the way down to tenth overall is that he is clearly strong with his left hand and weak with his right. Defenses will try to force him to his right until he is equally capable with both hands.
8. NYK: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
Haliburton fits the much-needed role of a facilitator in this draft. His stellar court vision will enable him to be one of the top offensive threats in the 2020 class. He still needs to improve his shooting form despite never shooting below 50% from the field and 40% from three. Haliburton still needs to bulk up to be a solid defender as well. He filled various roles on the perimeter, making him diverse in his capable roles. With the Knicks needing some more time to develop a very competitive roster, The Big Apple would appear to be a good landing spot for Haliburton so he can log a year of development before being thrust into high-leverage situations.
9. WAS: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
With Washington’s current roster, they are in need of some size. Dayton’s Obi Toppin would provide just that. Toppin was a late bloomer in college. With a 6-foot-9, 230 lb frame, he was able to dominate in the paint and still feature sound shooting form from mid-range spots on the floor. Toppin also moves very well off the ball, but an overall lack of quickness appears to be an area of concern for scouts. Additionally, Toppin didn’t truly begin to turn heads across the NBA Draft landscape until this past season. Given the fact that he’s already 22 years old, Toppin’s ability to develop further in the NBA becomes another area of doubt.
10. PHX: Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
Auburn product Isaac Okoro is one of the strongest players available in the 2020 NBA Draft. With a 6-foot-6, 220 lb frame, he would fit right in at small forward. Okoro is smart on the offensive end and finishes with authority. His jumper needs some work but he is a lockdown defender. Most experts project him to be an All-Defensive First Team member multiple times in his career. Some scouts view his already-sound defense and potential to improve on offense comparable to Jimmy Butler. While that may be a stretch in the comparison department, reaching 70% of what Jimmy Butler has panned out to be will make Okoro a certain standout player on any roster.
11. SAS: Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova
Saddiq Bey is a physical player with a lengthy frame. He has improved each year on offense and will look to continue that development in the NBA. Landing in San Antonio would be a perfect fit for both parties. Bey will be taught and maximized as a player and San Antonio will continually need more bodies at the wing position. Bey can turn into a really good player, but he will need to develop his defense more.
12. SAC: Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
Precious Achiuwa is a do-it-all guy who has the potential to become an elite defender and a solid offensive player. If Sacramento loses Bogdan Bogdanovic in free agency, then Precious can be the perfect security blanket to fill that void. If Achiuwa pans out, he will become a great three-and-D weapon for the Kings.
13. NOP: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
Aaron Nesmith is one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the 2020 NBA Draft. He showed significant growth as a shooter, as he improved from converting at a 37% three-point clip during his freshman year to 52% in his sophomore season. The Pelicans currently feature a solid group of players that will help grow their franchise, but they need more weapons that can shoot from long distance. Nesmith fits that billing.
14. BOS: Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
Jalen Smith is an athletic freak who has grown from being an inside scorer to showing perimeter shooting promise. He was one of the best rebounders in the country last year and can use his length to block shots. Smith can add more size to his frame, but that will come with time. He would be a great fit for Boston because they need a stronger big-man presence.
15. ORL: Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
Tyrese Maxey is a scorer who can provide that spark from the bench to start his career. He is also a capable defender but can stand to improve and force more turnovers. Orlando saw Markelle Fultz start to truly display some promise last year, but not enough to pass up another point guard just outside the lottery of this year’s draft. Fultz is a better playmaker, but Maxey is still so young and can develop that aspect of his game more in a reserve role for Orlando.
We have finally reached the conclusion of the Bulls On Tap 2020 NBA Mock Draft series. Be sure to track how accurately we predicted the draft and tweet us your thoughts to Bulls On Tap on Twitter.
For further NBA Draft coverage from a Chicago perspective, tune in to the Bulls On Tap podcast.