Fantasy Basketball

2020 NBA Mock Draft: Pre-Lottery Top-10 Picks


The month of March has come and gone without March Madness. It has been a weird couple of weeks without sports and unfortunately, we are going to be in this drought for the foreseeable future. That’s why we are sharing this 2020 NBA Mock Draft early! We all need a little pick me up these days!

Without the NCAA Tournament to help boost a player’s draft value and make them a household name, playing on national television, you might not know some of the names listed below. That, or they played overseas!

It will be very interesting to see how, if and when the NBA decides to return to action. Will they just jump into the NBA Playoffs based on the standings when things came to a halt? Where will they play these games? Will there be fans in the stands?

Things are about to get weird!

2020 NBA Mock Draft: Pre-Lottery Top-10 Picks

1. Golden State Warriors – Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

The following is brought to you by our resident Warriors fan – Kevin Muo @KevinMHuo

I think the Warriors’ pick here comes down to James Wiseman or Anthony Edwards. While I’d love to see LaMelo Ball – since I think he has the highest upside in this draft by far – alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Steve Kerr would probably quit on the spot if that happened. The Warriors will be looking for two things:

  1. who has the most value in a potential trade
  2. who can develop quickly enough to finish games within their first two years (ideally their first).

They still see themselves as a contender with their title window wide open, so they won’t draft a prospect who may need time to develop. The case for Wiseman is that he’s a potential top-5 defensive center who could pair with Draymond Green to wreak havoc defensively while acting as a souped-up version of JaVale McGee or Marquese Chriss in this Warriors’ offense.

That sounds appealing, but the Warriors have been at their best with a small-ball lineup with shooting, spacing, playmaking, and Green at center. The center position has been devalued in today’s NBA – especially on the Warriors who leaned on guys like Zaza Pachulia, McGee, and Kevon Looney in recent playoff runs.

With all that said, the pick should be Edwards. He’s a dynamic scorer both on and off the ball which we’ve seen with Kevin Durant clearly works in the Warriors offense.

Note: I am NOT comparing Edwards to Kevin Durant. I repeat, I am NOT comparing Edwards to Durant.

He could be a better version of what D’Angelo Russell was supposed to be on this Warriors team, alternating ball-handling duties with Curry and feasting on opportunities and spacing the Splash Brothers open up.

Defensively, he’s strong and has great length which makes him a great fit in the Warriors’ switching scheme.

His shooting numbers weren’t great at Georgia, but the team around him was not talented. He struggled to find space to operate and forced a ton of contested shots. That would change in Golden State.

Perhaps just as important as Edwards’ talent is his role in today’s NBA. An elite lead-guard commands much more in a trade than a center or a questionable wing prospect. So when the Milwaukee Bucks call saying Giannis wants a trade to the Bay, Edwards will be more appealing to them than Wiseman, which is ultimately what matters most with this pick.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers – LaMelo Ball, PG, NBL

The Cavs have drafted Collin Sexton and Darius Garland in back-to-back drafts. That should not stop them from drafting yet another Franchise changing player. He isn’t LeBron James, but he could very well become a better (healthier) Kyrie Irving! There is no reason to believe he won’t have a better NBA career than Andrew Wiggins.

They have also done a nice job adding pieces like Cedi Osman and Kevin Porter on draft-day trades in recent years.

By adding Ball to the mix here, they will be able to rotate Sexton and Garland. That should help them figure out which player can better run the second unit and try to flip the other.

Andre Drummond has a $28 mil player option for next year and he is likely to opt-in. I would imagine the Cavs will try to negotiate a long-term extension this year after trading for him last year.

If they haven’t traded Kevin Love by now, I would imagine he is here through the rebuild with three years left on his contract.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves – Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

The Wolves traded Andrew Wiggins to the Golden State Warriors for D’Angelo Russell and currently have Jarrett Culver (6’6 195 lbs) and Malik Beasley (restricted free agent, 6’4 185 lbs) on their SG depth chart. With Culver and Beasley slightly undersized, there is a real need for Avdija’s 6’8 frame.

Avdija is a much-needed shooter on the wing to spread the floor for the D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns two-man game.

4. Atlanta Hawks – Obi Toppin, SF/PF, Dayton

I am all for the Hawks just going all-in on having the most entertaining offense in the NBA. It won’t translate to wins but it would be something for fans to look forward too! Don’t be fooled though, he did shoot 39% from beyond the arc making 32 of 82 attempts!

In last year’s mock, we highlighted the Hawks rebuilding effort and this past season they added Clint Capela! With John Collins also in the frontcourt and rotational players that features DeAndre Hunter, Cam Reddish and Kevin Huerter, the Hawks have done a great job pilling up young talented assets.

Let’s see if they can turn all of that talent into some wins next season!

5. Detroit Pistons – Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

After losing Blake Griffin to a season-ending injury, trading Andre Drummond to the Cavs and releasing Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris, the Pistons are officially in full rebuild mode. This disaster of a season did lead to the emergence of Christian Wood and Bruce Brown.

Derrick Rose led this team in scoring at 18 points per game. Luke Kennard was limited to just 25 games.

As of today, Tony Snell‘s $12 mil contract is the second most expensive player on the roster, behind Blake’s $36 mil (good luck clearing that!).

Last year’s first-round pick (15th overall) Sekou Doumbouya just turned 19 this past December and showed flashes in January, scoring in double-digits in seven of the first eight games of 2020.

If I had to guess, the Pistons front office (led by Ed Stefanski) is praying that LaMelo Ball falls to them, and it’s a realistic scenario – just not in this post.

Cole Anthony comes to the Pistons and immediately ignites one of the most lackluster offenses in the NBA.

6. New York Knicks – Killian Hayes, PG, Ulm

New York invested in Julius Randle at the PF position last offseason and unless you believe Elfrid Payton or Frank Ntilikina are the future at PG, this is a draft class full of potential “Franchise” point guards.

With Randle, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson a lock for starters minutes, there is a huge hole at the SF position with Kevin Knox still learning how to play in the NBA. However, with turnover once again in the Front Office (welcome Leon Rose!), who knows what their plan actually is/will be.

Build through the draft or try to sign max contracts after next season.

7. Chicago Bulls – Onyeka Okongwu, PF, USC

I am not sure what has happened in Chicago but this past season was a disaster. With Zach LaVine and Coby White running the backcourt and the expectation of a healthy Otto Porter, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., the Bulls have some flexibility here to take the top player on their board.

Okongwu is an efficient scorer and one of the top rim protectors in the class. Drafting him will allow the Bulls to trade Markkanen who has voiced his displeasure with the Bulls. Assuming they have zero intention on trading LaVine, Markkanen is their most valuable asset.

I can see the Bulls going SF with this pick as well and letting Otto Porter walk when his contract ends after this season and holding onto Markkanen.

8. Charlotte Hornets – James Wiseman, C, Memphis

While the rest of the NBA is going small, the Hornets should focus on the big guys here. I am not sure Wiseman falls this far in real life but the Hornets wouldn’t mind!

Cody Zeller never reached his potential and the Bismack Biyombo experiment is finally over.

P.J. Washington needs a true center next to him in the Hornets frontcourt.

Terry Rozier is here for now (could be flipped to a competitive team at the next deadline) while Malik Monk, Miles Bridges and Devonte Graham develop into skilled NBA players.

The Hornets play at one of the slowest paces in the NBA and that would surely benefit Wiseman.

9. Washington Wizards – Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

The Wizards are stuck with a $40 mil John Wall. But that could be a blessing in disguise. Hear me out!

Wall and Beal, when healthy, are one of the best backcourts in the NBA. The Wizards should focus on which player can have the most immediate impact, not a long term project.

Sure, there are limited role players around Wall/Beal, but Rui Hachimura had a good rookie campaign, Troy Brown took a step forward and Thomas Bryant can play in this league.

What the Wizards could use here is a versatile player on the wing.

10. Phoenix Suns – Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

They did some weird things last year trading the sixth pick (Jarrett Culver) to the Timberwolves for Dario Saric and the 11th pick (Cam Johnson) and then sent T.J. Warren to the Indiana Pacers and acquired Aron Baynes and the 24th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft (Ty Jerome) from Boston for Milwaukee’s 2020 first-round pick.

So what do they have in store for us in 2020?

Ricky Rubio thrived playing alongside Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton (when healthy) while Mikal Bridges and Kelly Oubre continue to develop into solid role players. However, Rubio is not the long-term answer at the point guard position.

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The Suns could also use some depth at the PF/C position behind Ayton, Saric and Frank Kaminsky.

Looking for more Mock Drafts? How about the NFL!

About Keith Lott

We have one goal, to help you win your league. It does not matter if you are a fantasy rookie or a veteran. Everyone has questions, and we have opinions. Lot(t)s of them!

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