Wednesday’s 2020 NBA Draft could be the most intriguing in the league’s history. Not only is this draft being conducted virtually, but for the majority of the Draft-eligible players, they did not have a chance to finish their college basketball season.
Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA ended their season before the NCAA tournament started. That left players without a chance to make one final impression before the normal pre-draft process.
Also, prospects did not have the pre-draft combine in Chicago and had limited individual workouts with teams due to precautions. So with all of those challenges, the 30 general managers have their work cut out for them.
In a draft that has no clear-cut number one overall pick, the NBA Draft could be one of the most fun to watch in recent memory. So here are some things to watch for on Wednesday.
With free agency starting on Friday and with a short window of time before the start of training camp, teams will have to make moves quickly. The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers started the potential trade avalanche by acquiring Oklahoma City sixth-man extraordinaire Dennis Schroder in a trade for Danny Green and the 28th overall pick.
The Boston Celtics are looking to package their their three first-round draft picks to either move up in the draft or use them add another key piece to their roster. Meanwhile, teams like the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns are looking to potentially package their first-round pick and a current player on the roster in the attempt to move up.
There were 14 trades during the 2017 NBA Draft. On Wednesday night there could be even more.
Who Is Going To Slide?
Two names that were on top of many experts draft boards, University of Dayton forward Obi Toppin and Maccabi Tei-Aviv’s Deni Avdija, were expected to hear their names called in the first five picks. But like any draft in any sport, there is expected to be at least one name to slide down.
Toppin, who was the national player of the year in college last season, has a game similar to former Phoenix Sun and New York Knick All-Star Amare’ Stoudamire and current Philadelphia 76er Al Horford. But with his age (23) and less of an upside than other players, he could be selected as high as Charlotte at three and as low as San Antonio at 11.
Avdija played for one of the best teams overseas last season and came on strong as his team won the Israeli championship. With a game that does not have one elite skill, he has become the man of mystery.
Already being a great passer and a willing defender, he fits the Golden State Warriors who are picking second. Teams like the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers could take him with their picks in the top five. But if he doesn’t get selected at those spots, he could fall as low as the Sacramento Kings at the 12th overall selection.
A Superstar On The Move?
In the last week around the league, three current all-stars and two former all-stars have been involved in trade talks and rumors. Houston’s Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul have been talked about the most and its already coming to fruition with Paul being traded to Phoenix about an hour ago. We’ll have to see if Westbrook’s their supermax contract and age become obstacles in potential trade talks. New York, Charlotte, and Phoenix have been the most talked-about potential destinations, though with the Paul trade, Phoenix is likely out of the running for Westbrook.
San Antonio swingman DeMar DeRozan and New Orleans combo guard Jrue Holiday have had their names floated around. But with them becoming free agents at the end of the season, their teams might not get enough value for them. But either player could change the right team in a trade. Atlanta, Brooklyn, and Denver have been the teams with the most potential interest in a trade.
Other names that have been discussed have been Indiana’s Miles Turner, Sacramento’s Buddy Hield, Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, Phoenix’s Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre Jr., and Philadelphia’s Al Horford. Houston’s James Harden is the biggest name to be talked about but the Houston Rockets have told teams that he will not be traded.
The league has seen Jimmy Butler, D’Angelo Russell, Victor Oladipo, and Zach LaVine change teams over the last few seasons on draft night. Could we see more shakeups on Wednesday?
With all the being said, how will it all shake out? Here is my first and only Mock Draft:
- Minnesota Timberwolves- LaMelo Ball- PG- International (Illawarra Hawks- NBL Australia)
- Golden State Warriors- James Wiseman-C- Memphis
- Charlotte Hornets- Anthony Edwards- SG- Georgia
- Chicago Bulls- Deni Avdija- SF- International (Maccabi Tel Aviv)
- Cleveland Cavaliers- Issac Okoro- SF- Auburn
- Atlanta Hawks- Devin Vassell- SG/SF- Florida State
- Detroit Pistons- Tyrese Hailiburton- PG/SG- Iowa State
- New York Knicks- Kira Lewis Jr.- PG- Alabama
- Washington Wizards- Onyeka Okongwu- PF/C- USC
- Phoenix Suns- Killian Hayes- PG- International (Ratiopharm Ulm/ France)
- San Antonio Spurs- Obi Toppin- PF- Dayton
- Sacramento Kings- Aaron Nesmith- SF- Vanderbilt
- New Orleans Pelicans- Tyrese Maxey- SG- Kentucky
- Boston Celtics (From Memphis)- Saddiq Bey- SF- Villanova
- Orlando Magic- R.J. Hampton- PG/SG- International (New Zealand Breakers/ NBL Australia)
- Portland Trailblazers- Patrick Williams- PF- Florida State
- Minnesota Timberwolves (From Brooklyn)- Jalen Smith- PF- Maryland
- Dallas Mavericks- Aleksej Pokusevski- PF- International (Olympicoas B/ Isreal)
- Brooklyn Nets (From Philadelphia)- Precious Achiuwa- PF- Memphis
- Miami Heat- Tyrell Terry- PG- Stanford
- Philadelphia 76ers (From Oklahoma City)- Cole Anthony- PG- North Carolina
- Denver Nuggets (From Houston)- Theo Maledon- PG- International (ASVEL- France)
- Utah Jazz- Tre Jones- PG- Duke
- Milwaukee Bucks (From Indiana)- Jahmi’us Ramsey- PG/SG- Texas Tech
- Oklahoma City Thunder (From Denver)- Jaden McDaniels- SF- Washington
- Boston Celtics- Vernon Carey- PF/C- Duke
- New York Knicks (From L.A Clippers)- Tyler Bey- SF- Colorado
- Oklahoma City Thunder (From L.A Lakers)- Malachi Flynn- PG- San Diego State
- Toronto Raptors- Isaiah Stewart- PF- Washington
- Boston Celtics (From Milwaukee)- Leandro Bolmaro- SG- International (FC Barcelona- Spain)