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Draft Preview

2020 NBA Mock Draft, Volume One

by Raphielle Johnson
Updated On: September 12, 2020, 2:29 pm ET

16. Portland: PF Precious Achiuwa, Memphis
The Trail Blazers are in good shape on the perimeter, with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum leading the way and young guards Gary Trent Jr. and Anfernee Simons continuing to develop. And there are more names in the mix as well, so it’s highly unlikely that Portland adds another guard/wing to the mix. Achiuwa makes sense here, as he’s a highly active forward that doesn’t lack for athleticism and he also holds his own as a rebounder/defender. Add in the fact that Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside will be unrestricted free agent, and the Blazers will likely go frontcourt with this pick. 

17. Minnesota (from Brooklyn via Atlanta): PF/C Jalen Smith, Maryland
The Timberwolves have two first-round picks this year, and with the second they can add another frontcourt option alongside the aforementioned Towns. Smith was one of the best rim protectors in college basketball last season, averaging 2.4 blocks per contest while also accounting for 10.5 rebounds per. Smith moves his feet well when forced to defend on the perimeter, which is a mush when defending the pick-and-roll. He’d give the Timberwolves additional post depth, which is an area of need this offseason. 

18. Dallas: PG Cole Anthony, North Carolina
With J.J. Barea and Trey Burke both being unrestricted free agents, the Mavericks going point guard here would not come as a surprise. Duke’s Tre Jones is the better defender, but Anthony’s ability to provide instant scoring could come in handy as a second unit guard. Either one would work here, and picking a point guard does not eliminate the possibility of bringing back Barea and/or Burke next season. 

19. Brooklyn (from Philadelphia via LA Clippers): SG Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky 
The Nets aren’t going to look anything like the squad that they took to Orlando, as nearly half of the original roster was out due to either injuries or opt-outs. With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joining the mix next season, Brooklyn’s biggest priority this offseason will be to re-sign Joe Harris. As for this pick, the Nets may look to bolster their depth on the perimeter and Maxey would help in that regard. He’s capable of playing either on or off the ball, and more importantly is a plus defender. With Durant, Irving, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie in the rotation there aren’t going to be a lot of shots available for a rookie, so Maxey’s ability to contribute as a defender could make for a good fit. 

20. Miami: PG Tre Jones, Duke
The Heat have some rotation players who will be free agents this offseason, with point guard Goran Dragic being the most important when it comes to in-game contributions. Of course he could be back in Miami, but it would not come as a surprise if Pat Riley and company added another lead guard to the mix. Jones benefitted from returning to Duke for his sophomore season, earning ACC Player of the Year honors and he was also the conference’s best defender. Jones would fit in well with the “Heat culture” that has been discussed quite often during the restart. 

21. Philadelphia (from Oklahoma City via Orlando): PG/SG RJ Hampton, New Zealand Breakers
In recent years Philadelphia, which is still without a head coach, hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to picking 3-and-D wings. Matisse Thybulle showed signs of promise this season but still has a lot of work to do as a shooter. The bigger issue was the draft night trade in 2018 that sent Mikal Bridges to Phoenix in exchange for Zhaire Smith. Smith has struggled with health issues, and even when healthy he has a long way to go before being a consistent contributor. Of greater need in this draft for the 76ers is a guard who can consistently create for himself and others, especially with Ben Simmons’ position change. Hampton may be a roll of the dice, but he has the size and skill set needed to play either on or off the ball. That would be helpful, but the question is how ready is he to contribute immediately. 

22. Denver (from Houston): PF/C Isaiah Stewart, Washington
The Nuggets could potentially have some major holes to fill in the frontcourt this offseason, as both Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee will be unrestricted free agents. Also falling into that category are Torrey Craig and Noah Vonleh, but the former is more of a wing and the latter hasn’t been a factor in the rotation at all. And even if Denver were to re-sign both Millsap and Plumlee the latter turns 36 in February, so adding a young big wouldn’t be a terrible idea. In his lone season at Washington, Stewart posted averages of 17.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. At 6-foot-9 he doesn’t have the size of a prototypical center, but Stewart still brings quality rebounding and rim protection abilities to the table. 

23. Utah: SG Desmond Bane, TCU
Perimeter players that are capable of both shooting the 3-pointer consistently and playing solid defense will never lack for work in today’s NBA. Bane fits that mold, as he shot better than 44 percent from beyond the arc on 6.5 attempts per game as a senior while also averaging 1.5 steals per. Bane improved throughout his four seasons at TCU, and he’s capable of helping a playoff team immediately. Not having Bojan Bogdanovic’s scoring during the postseason certainly hurt the Jazz, but there remains the need for capable 3-and-D options to counter the West’s best perimeter players. Bane would help in that regard. 

24. Milwaukee (from Indiana): SG Josh Green, Arizona
Kyle Korver and Pat Connaughton will be unrestricted free agents, and Sterling Brown will be a restricted free agent, so there could be some holes for the Bucks to fill on the perimeter. Given Giannis Antetokounmpo’s importance to the franchise, and the fact that next season could be the final year of his deal if the two sides don’t agree to an extension, selecting a player ready to contribute immediately may be the priority here. Green doesn’t exactly fit that description, but he has good size for a wing and has the potential to develop into a reliable perimeter shooter. I think Bane would be an even better fit for Milwaukee, but as you see above he’s not available in this particular mock draft. 

25. Oklahoma City (from Denver): SG Elijah Hughes, Syracuse
With Billy Donovan and the franchise making the decision to part ways, it feels like the Thunder are ready to embark on the rebuild that many expected to start this season. Chris Paul and company had other ideas obviously, but the question in the aftermath of Donovan’s exit is whether or not Sam Presti will look to start the rebuild now. One area the Thunder will need to address this offseason is perimeter shooting, as the team has multiple wings that defend well but outside of Danilo Gallinari (who starts at the four) there’s a lack of consistent offensive production. Hughes’ percentages at Syracuse weren’t great, but being able to play off of other offensive threats could change that for the better. 

26. Boston: SF Leandro Bolmaro, Barcelona B
As noted above Boston has three first-round picks, and Danny Ainge won’t lack for options when it comes to determining what to do with them. Bolmaro isn’t ready to contribute immediately, and it has already been determined that he’ll remain with Barcelona for at least another season. Currently six players on the current Celtics roster are due to be free agents after the 2020-21 season, so going with Bolmaro here with an eye towards 2021 would make some sense. 

27. New York (from LA Clippers): PG Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Be it through the draft or through the free agency/trade markets, the Knicks desperately need to address the point guard position this offseason. Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina (who plays more off the ball) and Dennis Smith Jr. are all under contract for the 2020-21 season, but do Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau believe that any of those three are the long-term answer? That’s the question that they’ll need to answer, and to be honest none have shown enough to this point to merit that kind of designation. As for Winston, he was a winner at Michigan State who had an elite understanding of how to lead a team and put his teammates in spots where they can be at their best. And in what projects to be a lengthy rebuild, pairing him with the likes of RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson wouldn’t be a bad idea.

28. LA Lakers: PG/SG Theo Maledon, ASVEL
It goes without saying that the Lakers, who are one win away from the conference finals, will once again be in “win now” mode. And there are some potential holes to fill on the perimeter this offseason. Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Avery Bradley all have player options for next season, while Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith will be unrestricted free agents, so we’ll see who Rob Pelinka and company decide to bring back. As for Maledon, he’s a guard capable of playing either position at the NBA level. He will need to improve as a perimeter shooter while also adding some strength to his thin frame, but this could potentially be a spot in which his development is handled similar to that of Talen Horton-Tucker depending upon how the Lakers fill out the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis

29. Toronto: PF Jaden McDaniels, Washington
With Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka both due to be unrestricted free agents this offseason, going with a traditional big would make some sense here. The slender McDaniels doesn’t fit that mold however, as he’s much closer to being a four/three than a four/five. But he has good athleticism and length, and with the Raptors’ recent history of success in developing players through the use of its G-League affiliate, this would be a good spot for McDaniels to land. 

30. Boston (from Milwaukee via Phoenix): SF/PF Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State
Woodard has the potential to be used at either forward spot, and from a skill set standpoint he’d be a good fit for a roster that seems to place high value on positional versatility. He improved considerably as a perimeter shooter last season, but it is worth noting that this occurred on a low number of 3-point shots (2.3 3-point attempts per game). Given Boston’s depth at the forward spots Woodard may find it tough to earn rotation minutes immediately, but I’d argue that at this point in the draft he’d be the best available player on the board. 

Second Round 

31. Dallas (from Golden State): SG Jahmi'us Ramsey, Texas Tech

32. Charlotte (from Cleveland via LA Clippers): C Daniel Oturu, Minnesota

33. Minnesota: PF/C Xavier Tillman, Michigan State

34. Philadelphia (from Atlanta): PG Tyrell Terry, Stanford

35. Sacramento (from Detroit via Phoenix): C Zeke Nnaji, Arizona

36. Philadelphia (from New York): PG Malachi Flynn, San Diego State

37. Washington (from Chicago): PG Nico Mannion, Arizona

38. New York (from Charlotte): SG Cassius Winston, Duke

39. New Orleans (from Washington via Milwaukee): SF Tyler Bey, Colorado

40. Memphis (from Phoenix): SG Skylar Mays, LSU

41. San Antonio: C Udoka Azubuike, Kansas

42. New Orleans: PG Devon Dotson, Kansas 

43. Sacramento: SF Jordan Nwora, Louisville 

44. Chicago (from Memphis): SG Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky

45. Orlando: PG Payton Pritchard, Oregon 

46. Portland: SG Grant Riller, College of Charleston 

47. Boston (from Brooklyn via Charlotte, Orlando and Philadelphia): SG Isaiah Joe, Arkansas

48. Golden State (from Dallas via Philadelphia): C Vernon Carey Jr., Duke

49. Philadelphia: PF Paul Reed, DePaul 

50. Atlanta (from Miami via Sacramento, Cleveland and and Boston): SG Sam Merrill, Utah State

51. Golden State (from Utah via Dallas, Detroit and Cleveland): PF/C Killian Tillie, Gonzaga

52. Sacramento (from Houston): SG Jay Scrubb (John A. Logan College) 

53. Oklahoma City: C Nick Richards, Kentucky

54. Indiana: SF Abdoulaye N'Doye, Cholet 

55. Brooklyn (from Denver): SF/PF Lamar Stevens, Penn State 

56. Charlotte (from Boston): PF/C Reggie Perry, Mississippi State 

57. LA Clippers: SF Kenyon Martin Jr., IMG Academy 

58. Philadelphia (from LA Lakers via Orlando): PG Ashton Hagans, Kentucky

59. Toronto: SG Ty-Shon Alexander, Creighton 

60. New Orleans (from Milwaukee): SF Paul Eboua, Pesaro

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.