Hobby Outposts From the North: 2020 NBA Draft Report – Last night, the NBA held its annual graduation day as 60 college, high school and international players were selected by pro franchises.
This year’s Draft class is, in a way, more unknown without the exposure of the NCAA Final Four due to Covid-19, so we’ve mapped out the first round picks for you, which will help you as you holiday shop for next year’s big rookies.
1. Anthony Edwards, G, Selected by: Minnesota Timberwolves, Height: 6’5″ Weight: 225 lbs. (Georgia) – Many compare Edwards to James Harden. He has a strong full-court game, tremendous size and all the tools to succeed and be a true superstar.
2. James Wiseman, C, Selected by: Golden State Warriors, Height: 7’1″ Weight: 240 lbs. (Memphis) – The 12-game NCAA suspension leads many to question his dedication, but Wiseman has all the skills to make a lasting impact. Discipline is key though.
3. LaMelo Ball, PG, Selected by: Charlotte Hornets, Height: 6’7″ Weight: 190 lbs. (Illawarra Hawks (NBL) – The latest member of his family to enter the NBA, Ball is an exceedingly strong passer a la Steve Nash. His portfolio includes an array of pro experience outside North America.
4. Patrick Williams, PF, Selected by: Chicago Bulls, Height: 6’8″ Weight: 225 lbs. (Florida State) – Though his three-point game isn’t at the level of others in the Draft, Williams has a lot of other qualities that make him very attractive as a rookie for 2020-21.
5. Isaac Okoro, SG, Selected by: Atlanta Hawks, Height: 6’6″ Weight: 225 lbs. (Auburn) – Okoro may be the best defensive player in the draft. His offense needs work, but there’s nothing wrong with being a backcourt specialist.
6. Onyeka Okongwu, PF, Selected by: Atlanta Hawks, Height: 6’9″ Weight: 245 lbs. (USC) – Okongwu played in high school with the Ball boys and now looks to beat his former teammates on the court. That could be very easy with his impressive frame and penchant for scoring.
7. Killian Hayes, PG, Selected by: Detroit Pistons, Height: 6’5″ Weight: 192 lbs. (Ulm (Bundesliga) ) – Hayes has a plethora of international experience, which will help him land an NBA job right away. Watch his assist numbers skyrocket!
8. Obi Toppin, PF, Selected by: New York Knicks, Height: 6’9″ Weight: 220 lbs. (Dayton) – At age 22, Toppin is ready to jump head first into NBA action. Great three-point ability and a serious competitive streak only start to tell the story of this exciting superstar in wait.
9. Deni Advija, SF, Selected by: Washington Wizards, Height: 6’9″ Weight: 215 lbs. (Maccabi Tel Aviv (Euro)) – Advija has been compared to Luka Doncic and there’s no question that he can play when given the proper amount of time. Look for him to alternate between forward positions.
10. Jalen Smith, PF, Selected by: Phoenix Suns, Height: 6’10” Weight: 225 lbs. (Maryland) – Smith has a tremendous upside from beyond the arc which make him highly coveted by scouts who look for more than power from a near seven footer.
11. Devin Vassell, SG, Selected by: San Antonio Spurs, Height: 6’6″ Weight: 180 lbs. (Florida State) – Vassell was tabbed by Sporting News as the most complete shooting guard in the Draft. His limited minutes in college will make the transition to the pros a bit rocky at first.
12. Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Selected by: Sacremento Kings, Height: 6’5″ Weight: 175 lbs. (Iowa State) – Haliburton has insane shooting accuracy. Combine this with a deadly 3-point-line penchant and you’ve got a huge scoring threat on your roster.
13. Kira Lewis, PG, Selected by: New Orleans Pelicans, Height: 6’3″ Weight: 165 lbs. (Alabama) – The big strength for Lewis, unquestionably, is his backcourt game, but he’s got incredible speed and a great sense of direction as he dishes out assists by the bucket.
14. Aaron Nesmith, SF, Selected by: Boston Celtics, Height: 6’6″ Weight: 213 lbs. (Vanderbilt) – Nesmith seems to have recovered very nicely from foot surgery. He’s over 50 percent accurate from the 3 arc, something any player aspires for.
15. Cole Anthony, PG, Selected by: Orlando Magic, Height: 6’3″ Weight: 190 lbs. (North Carolina) – The read on Anthony is that with some patience, he has the potential to build his strong base line of tools into some spectacular action.
16. Isaiah Stewart, C, Selected by: Portland Trailblazers, Height: 6’9″ Weight: 250 lbs. (Washington) – Stewart is a throwback center – solid and able to muscle his way to the ball. There will be plenty of rebound balls falling into his possession on both sides of the court.
17. Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Selected by: Oklahoma City Thunder (via the Minnesotat Timberwolves, Height: 7’0″ Weight: 195 lbs. (Olympiacos (Greece)) – High basketball IQ has been Pokusevski’s calling card and that’s going to be invaluable in the NBA. His rebounding skills are prime but he will need to add muscle to push the big boys in the big league aside.
18. Josh Green, SG, Selected by: Dallas Mavericks, Height: 6’6″ Weight: 210 lbs. (Arizona) – Scouts tout Green’s explosivity as being a key ingredient to his success. His flash is going to only get better as he matures, but for now his defence and overall presence will carry him far.
19. Saddiq Bey, SF, Selected by: Detroit Pistons (via Brooklyn Nets), Height: 6’8″ Weight: 216 lbs. (Villanova) – Bey has every offensive advantage you could ask for in a player, but his ball-handling has been questionable. Once he reins in his turnovers, Bey will be unstoppable.
20. Precious Achiuwa, PF, Selected by: Miami Heat, Height: 6’9″ Weight: 225 lbs. (Memphis) – There are some doubters who want to look past Achiuwa, due to his free-throw woes. Shaq was never a great shot from the charity strip, and he was a big presence too. Just saying.
21. Tyrese Maxey, PG, Selected by: Philadelphia 76’ers, Height: 6’3″ Weight: 198 lbs. (Kentucky) – This pick is not for now – it’s for the future. There is great hope that Maxey can develop into a starting point guard, so picking him has a bit of a wait-and-see risk.
22. Zeki Nnaji, C, Selected by: Denver Nuggets, Height: 6’11” Weight: 240 lbs. (Arizona) – This musically-inclined hero of the court has incredible agility for a man of his size. He’s still growing, which is the really scary thing! Nnaji was the All-PAC 12 Freshman of the Year.
23. Leandro Bomaro, SF, Selected by: Minnesota Timberwolves (via New York Knicks), Height: 6’7″ Weight: 185 lbs. (Argentina) – A second-division standout, Bomaro has some maturing to do but he’s got some definite natural ability. His size needs some weight behind it, or he will be the next Shawn Bradley.
24. RJ Hampton, PG, Selected by: Denver Nuggets (via Milwaukee Bucks), Height: 6’5″ Weight: 188 lbs. (NZ Breakers (NBL)) – Hampton’s play in Australian pro will either be a help on hindrance. It’s too early to tell. His point guard status may convert if his assist game doesn’t improve greatly.
25. Immanuel Quickley, SG, Selected by: Oklahoma City Thunder, Height: 6’3″ Weight: 190 lbs. (Kentucky) – Speed in movement is a big facet of Quickley’s game (fittingly). He doesn’t explode like others but there is time for that to develop. His defensive play is absolutely sharp and NBA-ready.
26. Payton Pritchard, PG, Selected by: Boston Celtics, Height: 6’2″ Weight: 206 lbs. (Oregon) – Pritchard averaged over 20 points per game in NCAA action last year. He likely won’t get the minutes off the hop to attain such lofty numbers this year, so patience for this young hotshot will be very key in his development.
27. Udoka Azubuike, C, Selected by: Utah Jazz, Height: 7’0″ Weight: 270 lbs. (Kansas) – A linebacker on the floor? Sure, why not? This Nigerian has the size to immediately make his presence felt on the NBA hardcourt. Azubuike has had injury troubles, but he seems to have recovered well.
28. Jaden McDaniels, SF, Selected by: Minnesota Timberwolves (via Los Angeles Lakers), Height: 6’10” Weight: 201 lbs. (Washington) – Jaden looks to join brother Jalen (2019 pick) in the big league quickly. He’s lean, which for a defensive specialist is not a good recipe for success. Having said that, there’s time to mature and build up mass so he can be even more effective with his impressive wingspan.
29. Malachi Flynn, PG, Selected by: Toronto Raptors, Height: 6’2″ Weight: 185 lbs. (San Diego State) – The Raps look to have got a late round steal here. Flynn was the Mountain West Player of the Year with 17.6 points per game. Flynn could easily play in either guard position which will help him secure a roster spot.
30. Desmond Bane, SG, Selected by: Memphis Grizzlies (via Boston Celtics), Height: 6’6″ Weight: 215 lbs. (TCU) – Bane was monstrous on the court last year with a 16.5 points per game average. Offensive intelligence is a big plus for this outgoing senior, which is coupled with exceedingly strong defensive play.
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