The NCAA and NBA came to a sudden halt this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, top NCAA prospects had nearly the whole regular season to showcase their talents to NBA scouts. Let’s take a look at the potential top 10 picks of this upcoming NBA draft.
10. Starting at number ten is Aaron Nesmith, projected to go to the Phoenix Suns. Coming out of Vanderbilt, Nesmith is one of the best sharpshooters in this year’s draft. Nesmith was injured just before the halfway mark of his season, going down with a stress fracture. Prior to his time away from the court, he shot 52 percent from three and had a promising defensive showout. Kyle Korver is a highly comparable NBA player to this 6-foot-6-inch sophomore.
9. The Hornets have pick nine and are predicted to select Deni Avdija from Israel. This all-around utility player is able to play all positions except center, and the Hornets could use any of those spots on their roster. However, Avdija is most effective in either of the forward positions. He is ranked number one out of all forwards. His shooting is questionable, but he is in top physical shape to make an impact in Charlotte.
8. The Washington Wizards are projected to go with Tyrese Haliburton out of Iowa State. Despite Tyrese missing the tail end of the season because of a wrist injury, this 6-foot-5-inch point guard has promising offensive talent. This floor general is an elite passer that had one of the best abilities to survey the floor in the NCAA, shown by his seven assists per game. He can also score the ball consistently from two-point and three-point range. Due to his little turnovers, scouts compare this stud to his fellow ISU alum, Monte Morris.
7. Isaac Okoro is next up to the Chicago Bulls in the 2020 NBA mock draft. Okoro was a key player in Auburn’s March Madness run in 2019. Scouts are locking him in as a guaranteed top ten pick because of his size, athleticism and massive potential given his freshman status. He also missed a few games due to injury and is not a recognizable name prospect coming out of college, but he has been on teams’ radar since December.
6. Big name James Wiseman is projected to bring his talents to the big city as the New York Knicks are becoming desperate for a center. This 7-foot-1-inch big man out of Memphis has probably the most uncertainty from scouts due to his three-game collegiate career. Despite his low reputation after leaving his team to train for the NBA, Wiseman is not short on talent. The center can shoot from midrange effectively. Wiseman has the potential to become a stretch center but will only work under the right coaching staff. Will James feed into New York’s recent troubles or turn them around?
5. The Atlanta Hawks are home to one of the most young and talented point guards in today’s game with Trey Young. However, they are open to Killian Hayes from France to shift him to a two-guard. His pick and roll offense is unstoppable and complements his shot of the dribble spectacularly. Many scouts rank him above top PG prospect LaMelo Ball. The two are similar based off their weird shooting form, yet both are still knockdown shooters. His play improvisation is his strongest trait and possibly the best in this year’s class.
4. Onyeka Okongwu is in the four spot to the Timberwolves. Okongwu, out of Southern California, is bouncing around between the fourth, fifth and sixth spots in the draft. He was unable to be involved in pre-workouts and the normal draft cycle, but if he had been there, there’s no doubt he would be considered for a top three pick. This 6-foot-9-inch center currently does not have an impactful shot from afar, but that does not mean there is no room for development. Okongwu’s shot blocking and rebounding abilities put him in the potential top five, along with his effective shooting percentages from his freshman campaign.
3. We all knew this name was coming: LaMelo Ball. This 6-foot-6-inch sharp-shooting, flashy kid is entering the draft from Australia. He is currently the most highly anticipated first overall, but his expectations are sky high, so third it is. LaMelo is not as polished as his brother Lonzo was when he came out of the draft, but he is not far behind. His defensive skills need work but his offensive talents make up for it. His Australia career gave him time to adapt to a professional opposition, which has only improved, and will prepare his game for the NBA.
2. The number two pick is Obi Toppin from Dayton. Obi led his squad to the potential first seed in the March Madness tournament despite its cancellation. His incredible 2020 season has landed him a spot as the possible second overall pick. Toppin had 20 points and almost eight rebounds a game during his second and last season as a Dayton Flyer. This kid does not have any issue with any part of his game. His wingspan allows him to be an effective ball handler and he has a more-than-OK shot. His well-built body gives him high defensive potential to go up against other bigs in the NBA.
1. Last but certainly not least is NCAA superstar Anthony Edwards from Georgia. All top five mock picks have a chance at going number one. But what is special about Edwards is his capability to make a name for himself despite his bad surrounding team. Edwards shot 50 percent from the two-point field and is seen as a great scorer in the pros. Edward’s ceiling is the number two pick, which is obviously impressive. Many say he did not use his full potential despite controlling basically the whole Georgia basketball organization. CBS Sports noted that “Edwards’ ceiling is probably two notches below James Harden’s, and that’s still plenty high.”. That should be interesting and fun to watch.