Each year, the mock draft can be of heavy importance in sports. It gives you an idea of the needs your team might have, along with telling you where they'll more than likely lean. This is certainly the case with the NBA Mock Draft you see on many different outlets right now. We decided to check out the mock drafts of 6 different sources.
We chose ESPN, Bleacher Report, Yahoo, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, and A1Squad itself.
Our concept was to see where each seemed to lean from picks #1 to #14. There are a few issues that will get in the way for both us and those sources, however. The NBA Draft Lottery has not taken place yet, so the Top 7 and especially the Top 3 picks could differ wildly compared to what we currently have. Therefore, the A1squad mock draft is based around the worst team record-wise picking first, then the second-best, and so on.
Before we begin, another quick note is that the New York Knicks have two first-round picks this year with one in the lottery. Meanwhile, for the first time in quite a while, the Boston Celtics do not have a lottery pick nor top 15-pick. However, they do still have three first-round picks this year. They very well could trade up, as could any team.
Outside of trades and draft lottery changes, we take our shot at who we believe these teams may select. We'll also tell you why.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS - C JAMES WISEMAN (MEMPHIS)
* PPG: 19.7
* RPG: 10.7
* BPG: 3.0
While it is uncertain the Warriors will get the #1 pick, there is no doubt that the best pick for them is James Wiseman. At Memphis, he was an absolute beast. Averaging nearly 20 points per game, he also got it down on the boards with nearly 11 per game on average. Yet the big thing he brings is a defensive skill, proving this with an average of 3 blocks per game.
The Warriors were down a lot last year. Draymond Green was asked to do far more than before, especially without Curry (only played 5 games) and Klay Thompson out of action for the year. Not to mention, they also lost Kevin Durant in the off-season. They tried to fix things through trades but it didn't help much. They'll be back on track next year with everyone healthy.
However, if you give this team a great big man to play alongside the Splash Bros. and Green....we might see the Warriors in the NBA Finals once again.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS - SG ANTHONY EDWARDS (GEORGIA)
* PPG: 19.1
* RPG: 5.2
* SPG: 1.3
Many label Anthony Edwards as the top player in this NBA Draft or NBA Mock Draft for that matter. It's not hard to see why, because at Georgia against stiff competition, he was a huge scoring threat. However, what people seem to forget is that he can get it done on defense too. He averaged just over a steal per game as well as around 5 rebounds per game.
While this may not pop off the screen, it's pretty impressive for a guard. At 6-foot, 5-inches...he has been giving people a lot of connections to other star players. Most relate him to a slightly bigger Dwyane Wade, which is some nice company to be in. It adds up too, as Wade was always a scoring threat who could get it done on defense too. Edwards could be a huge one-two punch with the Cavs and their other young guard, Collin Sexton.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES - PG/SG LAMELO BALL (AUSTRALIA)
* PPG: 17.0
* RPG: 7.6
* APG: 6.8
We know, we know. LaMelo Ball going this high in the NBA Draft? Sure, the kid played internationally for a bit and finally ended up in Australia with the NBL. However, while the competition here may not be as rough as what you might see in Europe or China on the international level, it's still pretty good. Think of all the Australian players that have come out of places like this in recent memory.
LaMelo is just like his brother Lonzo in that he can pass the ball very well. He averaged nearly 7 assists a game to prove that. However, this kid is 6'8 and that is pretty big for a point guard. Lonzo is around 6'5 for comparison. This allowed him to average just under 8 rebounds a game. While he averaged between 17 and 20 points per game, his field goal percentage is not wonderful and will need to improve.
Yet the Timberwolves can work with that. They have D'Angelo Russell at point guard, who is an excellent shooter. He could move to SG while Ball handles the PG position. The two could work well together due to LaMelo's unselfish play and everyone else could benefit too.
ATLANTA HAWKS - PF OBI TOPPIN (DAYTON)
* PPG: 20.0
* RPG: 7.5
* BPG: 1.2
The Hawks have been slowly building a pretty good team the last few years. They seem to be set in many areas but the forward and center spots may not be the best. Many feel John Collins would be better utilized at Center, leaving the Power Forward spot open. A guy like Obi Toppin could slide into that very easily. He was pretty good at Dayton, averaging around 20 points per game.
He could also handle the boards too, with 7 to 8 rebounds per game on average for him. He's 6'9, which is a bit undersized for the PF spot but we've seen people with great athletic ability prove that wrong. Toppin certainly fits that concept. Many feel he's like a young Shawn Marion, which makes a lot of sense. Both could get it done on the inside and play both forward spots. Toppin, like Marion, is also an excellent defender.
The Hawks could utilize a guy like Toppin, big time!
DETROIT PISTONS - PF/C ONYEKA OKONGWU (USC)
* PPG: 16.2
* RPG: 8.6
* BPG: 2.7
The Pistons really need this NBA Draft to go well for them. They have some good players in Detroit, but if they could add one more they might be a playoff team over and over again like they used to be. While Thon Maker plays the Center spot, we feel Onyeka Okongwu would be far better here than Maker ever could be.
Blake Griffin also seems to be constantly hurt and just underwent knee surgery in January. Having Okongwu around is useful because he could play the same PF spot. He can get it done in the rebounding sector and proved this with just under 9 rebounds on average per game. He's also pretty good as a scorer with roughly 16 points per game to his credit while at USC.
Finally, he's an offensive player's worst nightmare on the inside. Okongwu averages just under 3 blocks per game. The Pistons would add a huge piece to their team by drafting him. He also fits extremely well here and kind of gives off Ben Wallace-vibes.
NEW YORK KNICKS - SF DENI AVDIJA (ISRAEL)
* PPG: 11.6
* RPG: 6.8
* SPG: 1.0
This might be a bit controversial, and every NBA Draft has one of these. However, we feel it might turn out just as good as the last time the Knicks took a chance on someone. Kristaps Porzingis was booed when chosen years ago by the New York Knicks, yet he turned out to be amazing for them. What if the Knicks picked yet another player that did not have major stats but a huge upside?
We feel Deni Avdiija fits that concept perfectly. He's considered the best pure international player in the NBA Draft by some draft experts. He often comes off to people the same way Luka Doncic did when he came out a couple years back. While he might not be as good as Doncic right off, he's 19 years old and was a huge asset to his team in the Israeli Basketball Premier League, where he led them to 2 championships.
He also has two gold medals that he won for both Germany (2018) and Israel (2019) in the Under 20 European Championships. Deni is well worth picking for the Knicks and slides perfectly into their line-up. Right now, on the Knicks depth chart, they have Maurice Harkless starting at Deni's position of Small Forward. Are we really assuming Deni could not be better?
CHICAGO BULLS - SG/SF ISAAC OKORO (AUBURN)
* PPG: 12.9
* BPG: 1.0
* SPG: 1.0
If there is one thing the Bulls need right now, it's a great athlete at the forward spot. While Isaac Okoro did not have the best Freshman year at Auburn, he still averaged a little over 12 points per game. He also proved himself on defense with an average of one block and steal per game. He reminds a lot of people of Caron Butler, who was a great forward for the Wizards. He even won an NBA Championship with the Mavericks.
Guys like Okoro being related to him is nothing to scoff at. He's 6'6, so he could easily work at the forward spot but still operate as a guard too. The Bulls have a need for both too. It's clear that versatility is needed in the NBA today, so having guys you can switch in and out of a few big positions can be crucial. A guy like Issac fits in two big positions this is extremely useful for.
The Bulls could have him come off the bench or have him start at small forward. Regardless, they are getting a great athlete that can be a huge asset.
CHARLOTTE HORNETS - PG KILLIAN HAYES (FRANCE)
* PPG: 17.2
* APG: 8.3
* SPG: 2.0
When we were putting this NBA Mock Draft together, the real question for us was where we felt Killian Hayes would fall to. His father played at Penn State then all over the European circuit. It's not a mystery why Killian turned out to be such a good player as a result. He has played for quite a while in Europe, mostly for France's Youth International Team. Yet he played professionally in the BBL, where he averaged a little over 17 points per game.
On top of that, he also proved himself as a great assist man with a little over 8 assists per game. If that wasn't enough for you, he's also a proven defensive dynamo. He averages 2 steals per game and is a nightmare for guards at a useful 6'5 frame. The loss of Kemba Walker really hurt the Hornets, so having someone like Killian Hayes come in is terrific.
He can score well but also get his teammates going as a great assist man. Is there really anyone better for this team? We think not.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS - PG TYRESE HALIBURTON (IOWA ST.)
* PPG: 18.5
* RPG: 5.7
* SPG: 1.3
It is hard to know who would fit the best for the Wizards. However, we felt that Tyrese Haliburton might be the best man for the job. It might be controversial, but let us explain. Clearly, with the likes of John Wall and Bradley Beal in the guard spots, inserting another guard into the mix seems crazy. However, it's not insane when you start to think about all the time Wall has missed with injuries.
Wall's style of play is physical, so naturally, we should expect him to be unable to start full seasons. The man has had surgery on both his knees and suffered a ruptured Achilles Tendon this past season. Clearly, there needs to be another guard that can help the Wizards if and when Wall has to miss time. If nothing else, a guy like Haliburton could be great for Wall and even Beal to share time with.
He could come in for 20 to 25 minutes per game, allowing both Wall and Beal to sit off and on. Therefore, keeping everyone healthy while having a great sixth man. It makes sense, as he averaged between 18 and 20 points per game at Iowa State. He's great as a rebounder and even as a defender. Tyrese makes perfect sense for this team.
PHOENIX SUNS - PG COLE ANTHONY (NORTH CAROLINA)
* PPG: 15.2
* APG: 6.5
* SPG: 2.5
Everyone feels that the Phoenix Suns are just "one player away." The last time they had this much potential, Steve Nash was the point guard and they were considered title contenders. The Suns certainly have talent with the likes of Devin Booker, Deandre Dayton, Dario Saric, and Mikal Bridges in the starting line-up. However, they are missing something that could help them put it all together.....a good point guard.
Killian Hayes would be the best fit for this team, but Cole Anthony is a terrific option too. He can score pretty well, averaging 15 to 17 points per game at North Carolina in a tough ACC sector. However, he's also a great assist man, averaging 6 to 7 assists per game. If this did not excite you enough about Anthony, his defense will. He averages around 2 to 3 steals per game!
If we have to wonder what pick will be the most significant in the 2020 NBA Draft, it very well could be Anthony to the Suns.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS - SG DEVIN VASSELL (FLORIDA ST.)
* PPG: 12.7
* RPG: 5.1
* SPG: 1.4
The Spurs had a rare down year, but they'll bounce back pretty well with the right people on this team. Devin Vassell has been a bit of a wildcard in many NBA Mock Draft pools. However, it's clear that he can learn and apply knowledge. He's coming out as a Sophomore from Florida State. He went from averaging just over 4 points a game to over 12 points per game. On top of this, he was given more minutes due to his improvement.
He is also a three-point threat, with a 0.417 three-point percentage. If he can make the necessary adjustment to the NBA three-point line this puts him among the NBA's best, from long distance. The Spurs could use another great shooter like this. He could come off the bench or even start for this team. At 6'7, he could be either a shooting guard or small forward.
Right now, the Spurs need great athletes that can shoot. Vassall could be the perfect fit.
SACRAMENTO KINGS - PF PRECIOUS ACHIUWA (MEMPHIS)
* PPG: 15.8
* RPG: 10.8
* BPG: 1.9
We're big fans of Precious Achiuwa. In fact, we feel he could have gone higher in our NBA Mock Draft. What kept us from having him land on another team was their needs. This is why we feel the Kings are the place he ends up. First off, he's an athletic 6'9 which makes him good for two different forward spots. We've also seen guys at this exact size do well at Center in this era.
He averaged nearly 16 points per game at Memphis and even got it done as a rebounder. He pulled down 10 to 11 rebounder per game, in fact. If you were wondering about his defensive skills, worry no longer. He's great in the paint as well as the perimeter as a defender, with an average of just under 2 blocks per game as well as at least 1 steal per game.
The Kings could use a guy like this for sure!
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS - SG/SF AARON NESMITH (VANDERBILT)
* PPG: 23.0
* RPG: 5.3
* SPG: 1.4
It is pretty clear that the Pelicans have a lot of great players. In fact, they did not even have the worst season compared to others with more experienced players. This is a young, developing team with a lot of potential. Zion Williamson proved himself last year, and barring injury, he could be a huge deal for years to come. However, other players like Jrue Holiday & Lonzo Ball have also been great for the team.
However, there is a need for another great scorer to come into play. We feel Vanderbilt's own Aaron Nesmith could be a great addition. He's 6'6, yet he's athletic enough to play both small forward and shooting guard. He also averaged around 23 points per game, not just from being a good inside player but also his outside game. Within a small sample size of 14 games, Nesmith was efficient. He boasted a 0.522 three-point percentage last season and was even 0.500 inside the three point line.
Oh yeah, and he's a career 0.825 free throw shooter. A guy like this who can be a great spot-up shooter that can also create his own shot would be a massive asset to this young Pelicans team. Basketball Gods would rejoice if he ended up in New Orleans!
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS - PG/SG RJ HAMPTON (NEW ZEALAND)
* PPG: 15.4
* RPG: 6.8
* SPG: 1.9
While it may not seem like RJ Hampton is the best fit for the Trail Blazers, it's a similar situation to the Wizards. When considering people for our NBA Mock Draft and their fit for teams, RJ always seemed better for the Suns or Kings. However, we then saw the potential in others and realized that if he was here for Portland to pick, they may take him. Here's why.
Sure, the team has Damian Lilliard and CJ McCollum at their two main guard spots. Yet they are being run into the ground. Lilliard led the league in minutes per game last year. In fact, he averages around 36 per game each season. CJ isn't far off, with roughly the exact same average per game. Do not even get us started on their playing time in the playoffs.
In this NBA, you need someone who can come in for these guys to give them a break. However, they have to be good too. Otherwise, you cannot sub the great guards out for sucky play. RJ is perfect for both PG & SG too. He's 6'5 and offers a great skill set defensively. In the NBL, he averaged around 2 steals per game. On top of this, he showed solid instincts on the boards with just under 7 rebounds per game.
Yet he also put up 15 to 16 points per game too. If RJ is here, some feel Portland would be crazy to pass him up. Hampton could be a huge asset, allowing Lilliard and McCollum to play longer. Fewer miles being put on them allows both to be good for the playoffs, which can be a huge deal in the Western Conference.