San Antonio Spurs confirmed at pick 11 in 2020 post-lottery NBA Mock Draft

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: The first round draft board is seen during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: The first round draft board is seen during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 20: The first-round draft board is seen during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019. The San Antonio Spurs will be picking 11th in 2020. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 20: The first-round draft board is seen during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019. The San Antonio Spurs will be picking 11th in 2020. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The San Antonio Spurs know exactly where they’re picking in the 2020 NBA Draft.

After long last, the San Antonio Spurs know where they’ll be picking in the 2020 NBA Draft. After a twenty-two year absence from the lottery, the Spurs will have the 11th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

This shouldn’t be a surprise by any means, San Antonio had a 77.6 percent chance of landing the 11th pick. It wouldn’t take a world-renowned mathematician or a psychic to tell you that that’s where they were probably going to end up. No, the surprises were with how the rest of the lottery shook out.

One of the biggest surprises, the Minnesota Timberwolves lucked out with their 14 percent chance at the top pick by securing the first selection in the draft. They had the same odds as the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers but any Wolves fan would have told you that they were less than optimistic about the team’s chances heading into Thursday night.

Another shocker, the Charlotte Hornets will be able to move up and pick third in the order. Michael Jordan‘s Hornets had just a 6.7 percent chance of landing this pick so the odds were against them. They’ve been drafting well as of late and will have a great opportunity to continue with that trend.

With the exact lottery order sorted out, here is our most recent mock draft for the lottery-bound teams.

Next: Pick #1

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 30: Projected at the top of the NBA Draft, LaMelo Ball of the Hawks during warm up prior to the round 9 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Illawarra Hawks at Spark. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 30: Projected at the top of the NBA Draft, LaMelo Ball of the Hawks during warm up prior to the round 9 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Illawarra Hawks at Spark. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Guard. LaMelo Ball. 1. 86.

This pick really comes down to how the Wolves feel about De’Angelo Russell as a passer and how they want to move forward with their team. They’ve got their pick of the prospects, now they just can’t mess it up.

The easiest way to do that is to do the smart thing and select LaMelo Ball. Anthony Edwards is an equally attractive option but for where the Wolves are now, and what they need going forward, Ball is the right pick.

Overall, Edwards has a stronger chance to become a star. But there is no question about Ball’s ability to step in and make Minnesota’s current stars better. And for a franchise that already has two All-Star’s on the roster that should be enough to be the deciding factor.

With Russell transitioning to his more natural role as a two-guard, LaMelo would be free to run the point and do what he does best – using his height and otherworldly court vision to set his teammates up for easy looks. A lineup featuring Ball, Russell, and Karl-Anthony Towns would be tough for even the most skilled defenses to contain.

The deciding factor in how far the Timberwolves can go will be how much LaMelo can progress as a defender. He’s got the size and athleticism to be an impact player on that end of the floor, and with Russell being a sub-par defender he’ll need to be. But throughout his young career, he’s looked disinterested on the defensive end.

If Ryan Saunders can connect with his young point guard of the future the Wolves will be well on their way to becoming one of the most dangerous up and comers in the Western Conference.

Next: Pick #2

ATHENS, GA – JANUARY 7: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs, a top NBA Draft prospect, controls the ball during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA – JANUARY 7: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs, a top NBA Draft prospect, controls the ball during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Guard. Anthony Edwards. 2. 41.

The Golden State Warriors have options here. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson coming back they’ve already got more than enough firepower to make it back to the NBA Finals. However they decide to use this pick will just result in the rich getting richer.

James Wiseman would make sense here but I think the Warriors will go with the player most likely to end up as a star and that has to be Anthony Edwards. The stunning freshman from the University of Georgia will be a bucket getter for sure, but how he fits with the Warriors will be another question.

So often in the NBA, rookies taken near the top of their draft class are asked to come in and contribute right away. Golden State will be in the rare position to be able to gradually develop their top-three pick.

Edwards already has all the individual shot-making skills you could ask for, but his passing and defense could use some development. With Thompson and Curry carrying the offensive load, he will be able to devote most of his energy and attention during his rookie year to those two areas of his game and not much else.

The Warriors are also the strongest candidate to trade out of the top three. With this pick and Andrew Wiggins, they’ve got the makings of a solid package to go out and acquire a star. Warriors writers and fans will tell you that they could make a run at Giannis but don’t delude yourself, their sights should be set much lower. Still, don’t be surprised if Golden State trades this pick away before the draft.

Next: Pick #3

MEMPHIS, TN – NOVEMBER 5: James Wiseman #32 of the Memphis Tigers dunks the ball against the South Carolina State Bulldogs during a game on November 5, 2019 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis defeated South Carolina State 97-64. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN – NOVEMBER 5: James Wiseman #32 of the Memphis Tigers dunks the ball against the South Carolina State Bulldogs during a game on November 5, 2019 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis defeated South Carolina State 97-64. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Center. James Wiseman. 3. 170.

This is the easiest pick to make in the top three of this draft. The Charlotte Hornets and James Wiseman are a match made in heaven.

For as long as most of us can remember, the Hornets have struggled to find even an adequate starting center. Their best center over the past ten years was Al Jefferson as he was nearing the twilight of his career. Other than that, Hornets fans have been subjected to watching Dwight Howard and Bismack Biyombo hold down their frontcourt.

With Wiseman, the Hornets will have a potentially game-changing center to pair with their rising stars in Devonte’ Graham, PJ Washington, and Miles Bridges. Wiseman is the final piece for a fanbase that has been craving a return to relevancy.

Thankfully for Wiseman, the Hornets shouldn’t be eyeing a return to the playoffs right away. Their rookie will likely need a year or two to refine the finer points of his game but the raw talent and potential is there. In drafting the most athletically gifted player in this draft class, the Hornets have nailed down their frontcourt for the foreseeable future. Now they just have to wait a year or two until he’s prepared to be a force in the league.

Next: Pick #4

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – FEBRUARY 28: Deni Avdija, #8 of Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv in action during the 2018/2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 24 game between Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv and Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul at Menora Mivtachim Arena on February 28, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Seffi Magriso/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – FEBRUARY 28: Deni Avdija, #8 of Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv in action during the 2018/2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 24 game between Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv and Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul at Menora Mivtachim Arena on February 28, 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Seffi Magriso/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

. Wing. Deni Avdija. 4. 24

Shortly after the draft order was finalized, new Bulls chief exec Arturas Karnisovas made news with a definitive statement.

"I don’t think you address needs at (No.) 4. You get the best talent. That’s what we’re going to be looking for, the highest upside player." — Bulls chief exec Arturas Karnisovas

— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) August 21, 2020

If the Chicago Bulls are going for the best available talent with the highest upside then Deni Avidja is the clear answer. Spurs fans will be sad to see him off the board but given the Bulls positional needs and Avdija’s potential, it’s hard to see them going in another direction.

Chicago already has solid guards in place with Coby White and Zach LaVine as well as a potentially impressive frontcourt duo with Wendell Carter and Lauri Markannen, the final piece to the puzzle is fleshing out their wing. Enter, the best wing prospect in the draft.

Both White and LaVine are more scorers than passers, which plays perfectly with Deni’s skillset as a supersized playmaker. He’s also got the defensive chops to cover up for his teammates, several of whom have struggled on the defensive ends in their early carers.

Next: Pick #5

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 27: Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans acknowledges the crowd after defeating the Arizona Wildcats 57-48 at Galen Center on February 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 27: Onyeka Okongwu #21 of the USC Trojans acknowledges the crowd after defeating the Arizona Wildcats 57-48 at Galen Center on February 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Onyeka Okongwu. 5. 156. . Big

With high ceiling players like Edwards, Ball, Wiseman, and Avdija off the board, the Cleveland Cavaliers should make the right choice and select Onyeka Okongwu from the University of Southern California.

Isaac Okoro and Obi Toppin could also be in play here but the Cavs should make the smart decision and go with Okongwu. Of all the players in the draft, he seems like one of the least likely to end up as a bust.

At his absolute worst, Okongwu looks like he will end up as a solid rim runner and low post offensive threat along with being a solid defender for any team looking to lock down its frontcourt. He’s uniquely skilled enough that he can play alongside either one of Kevin Love or Andre Drummond.

Sure, there are higher upside players on the board. But the Cavs will be hard-pressed to find a player with a more promising and stable future than Okongwu. At the very least he will give them stability in their frontcourt for years to come.

Next: Pick #6

AUBURN, ALABAMA – FEBRUARY 12: Isaac Okoro #23 of the Auburn Tigers reacts in the first half against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Arena on February 12, 2020 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
AUBURN, ALABAMA – FEBRUARY 12: Isaac Okoro #23 of the Auburn Tigers reacts in the first half against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Arena on February 12, 2020 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Isaac Okoro. 6. 125. . Wing

In one of the few picks that didn’t change from our previous mock drafts, the Atlanta Hawks remained at the sixth pick. Consequently, we stand by our recommendation that they use the pick on a player that can help shore up their porous defense.

So long as Trae Young is the centerpiece of the Atlanta Hawks they’re going to have to surround him with a group of strong defenders to make up for his shortcomings on that end of the floor. He’s Steve Nash like with the ball in his hands but there’s no getting around that he’s also one of the worst defenders in the league. Auburn wing Isaac Okoro can help with that.

Atlanta has a strong group of wings with De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Kevin Huerter but adding the defensive-minded Okoro to that core will only help Young in the long run. Okoro is one of the best defenders in this draft class. He’s got the size and speed to stay with guards or larger forwards and the basketball IQ to rotate correctly and shut down the offenses next option before it’s there.

His offensive game is questionable. He doesn’t have to create shots for himself but ideally, he’d be able to knock down an open jumper when it’s given to him. He only hit on 28.6 percent of his 3-point attempts in his lone season at Auburn, that will have to improve if he wants to be a key piece of an NBA rotation.

That said, Young is one of the best in the league at setting up his teammates for easy looks. As long as Okoro is bringing what the Hawks hope he can on the defensive end they shouldn’t let his offensive limitations stop them from making this pick.

Next: Pick #7

ULM, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 14: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) NBA Draft point guard prospect Killian Hayes of Ulm and Trevor Releford of Braunschweig battle for the ball during the EasyCredit Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) match. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
ULM, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 14: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) NBA Draft point guard prospect Killian Hayes of Ulm and Trevor Releford of Braunschweig battle for the ball during the EasyCredit Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) match. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Point Guard. Killian Hayes. 7. 64.

In back to back picks we see our picks from our previous mock draft become validated. The Detroit Pistons have a lot of problems to solve but none as pressing as their massive hole at point guard. They’re fortunate enough to get one of the top guard prospects in the draft at this late in the process.

Killian Hayes is one of the most skilled point guards in this draft. He doesn’t have the name recognition or flashy passing game that gets associated with LaMelo Ball but the crafty left-handed guard has all the makings of a future star.

He’s great in pick and roll situations and when he’s not finding his partner or a shooter on the wing he’s got one of the softest touches you’ve ever seen. He’s also been studying up on some film of one of the greatest lefties in NBA history in preparation for this moment.

He’s only a career 27.4 percent shooter from deep right now but shot 39 percent from behind the arc this last season. That, along with his soft touch and 84 percent career conversion rate from the charity stripe – which has proven to be a solid predictor of future success from behind the arc – would lead you to believe that he will eventually be able to comfortably stretch his range out past the 3-point line without too much trouble.

If the Detroit Pistons are lucky enough to have Killian Hayes still on the board when they’re up they’d be wise to take him.

Next: Pick #8

AMES, IA – JANUARY 29: NBA Draft prospect Tyrese Haliburton #22 of the Iowa State Cyclones takes a shot in a game against Baylor at Hilton Coliseum. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
AMES, IA – JANUARY 29: NBA Draft prospect Tyrese Haliburton #22 of the Iowa State Cyclones takes a shot in a game against Baylor at Hilton Coliseum. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

. Point Guard. Tyrese Haliburton. 8. 27

I didn’t want to start this out by laughing at Knicks fans but I mean….come on. How many times can one franchise talk themselves into believing that great things are going to happen to them, only to fall flat on their faces? First, it was thinking that they’d get a chance to get Zion, then it was believing that Kevin Durant was coming to the Garden, and now, instead of getting a chance at LaMelo Ball, they’ll be picking near the back of the lottery.

Instead, the Knicks will have to settle for Tyrese Haliburton. Saying that they’re settling for Haliburton makes it sound worse than it is but trust that the former Iowa State product has what it takes to be an impact player at the next level.

Haliburton is one of the drafts best shooters. Even with a janky looking stroke, he was able to hit on 42.6 percent of his 3-point attempts during his two years in Ames. If the Knicks are serious about keeping the ball in RJ Barrett‘s hands, and they should be, they need to get more reliable shooting around him. Haliburton would fit well as a spot-up shooter next to the former Duke product.

When he’s got the ball in his hands, Haliburton is smooth and in control at every moment. He’s not going to blow your mind with his athleticism but he sees plenty of passes before they happen and cleanly moves through pick and roll sets with an eye for setting up his teammates.

Look, whoever the Knicks ended up selecting, unless it was LaMelo Ball with the number one overall pick, they were probably going to be upset with. They booed Kristaps Porzingis and they’ll probably boo the selection of Haliburton. But that won’t stop him from stepping in and making them a better team from day one.

Next: Pick #9

SUNRISE, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 21: Patrick Williams #4 of the Florida State Seminoles, whose NBA Draft stock is rising, reacts against the South Florida Bulls during the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 21: Patrick Williams #4 of the Florida State Seminoles, whose NBA Draft stock is rising, reacts against the South Florida Bulls during the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

142. . Power Forward. Patrick Williams. 9

Along with the Golden State Warriors, the Washington Wizards are a league-leading contender for a bounce-back season. After a stellar season running the ship, Bradley Beal will finally get his running mate John Wall back. The likely re-signing of Davis Bertans should help the Wizards field a top-ten offense once again.

Where the Wizards struggled was on the defensive end. Taking Patrick Williams this high might seem like a bit of a reach but he’s got the upside to make this pick worth it if he pans out.

Williams is an athletic marvel, standing 6’8 with a nearly 7-foot wingspan he’s got the measurables of a prototypical big man in today’s NBA. He’s raw, but if he can pair ball skills and shooting with his athletic gifts, look out.

He will benefit immensely from coming to a team where he will never have to be more than the third option on offense. He struggled to contribute on that end of the floor during his lone year at Florida State but having Beal and Wall set him for easy looks should help. His jumper needs work but he shot 84 percent from the free-throw line so there’s reason to be optimistic that he will figure that part of his game out with time.

If he can reach his ceiling as a skilled ball mover, complimentary scorer, and strong team defender, this debatable reach of a pick will have been well-used investment by the Washington Wizards.

Next: Pick #10

RICHMOND, VA – JANUARY 25: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers dunks in the second half during a game against the Richmond Spiders at Robins Center on January 25, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA – JANUARY 25: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers dunks in the second half during a game against the Richmond Spiders at Robins Center on January 25, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

Obi Toppin. 10. 66. . Power Forward

Given all the comparisons to Amar’e Stoudemire it’s only fitting that Obi Toppin would end up in Phoenix. The Suns could go with Devin Vassell at this point but with Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges already on the roster that could be a bit redundant. Adding a proven offensive power like Toppin to their young core will only help raise the ceiling of a group that was one of the most impressive in the league during the restart.

Toppin can do it all on offense. He’s shown the ability to stretch the floor, take the ball up the court on his own, act as a playmaker from the high post, dominate down low, and delivered numerous rim-rattling dunks during his time with the Dayton Flyers. Put him next to proven facilitators like Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio and watch him go to work.

The questions are around his ability on defense. He was a revolving door in college. He struggles to stay with faster players and can get pushed around by bigger ones. It’s tough to see him holding his own with the Nikola Jokic’s and Jusuf Nurkic’s and he’s going to get cooked if he ever gets matched up with an Anthony Davis type player.

Thankfully, DeAndre Ayton has improved on the defensive end and should be able to cover for some of Toppin’s lapses. The two have versatile offensive games that should be able to coexist so playing them together could be an option for Phoenix.

Next: Pick #11

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 28: NBA Draft prospect Devin Vassell #24 of the Florida State Seminoles shoots the ball against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament West Regional. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 28: NBA Draft prospect Devin Vassell #24 of the Florida State Seminoles shoots the ball against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament West Regional. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

11. 29. . Wing. Devin Vassell

If Devin Vassell slides to the San Antonio Spurs at 11 it’ll be shocking but this mock draft is our way of speaking it into existence. He’d be the perfect addition to a young core that stunned the NBA with their play in the bubble.

After being one of the leagues best defensive teams for much of the past two decades, the San Antonio Spurs were one of the worst defensive teams in the league this year. As one of this classes’ best defenders, Vassell will be able to step in right away and help get them back to where they should be.

He’s got the length to guard wings and some big men, he will need to add muscle to his wiry frame during his first few years in the league, but when all is said and done he should be able to fill out his 6’7 frame with enough weight to be able to hang with bigger players. He and Keldon Johnson should be a terrifying defensive duo on the wings, a perfect complement to the pairing of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt.

The other huge attraction of Vassell’s game is his outside shooting ability. He hit on 41.7 percent of his 3-point attempts over his two years with Florida State and looks comfortable letting it go from NBA range. The Spurs just saw their perimeter attack improve with White’s emergence as a 3-point threat, adding Vassell to the team will only add to an offense that is gradually shifting away from the mid-range games it had been far to reliant on for too long.

Next: Pick #12

FAYETTEVILLE, AR – FEBRUARY 5: Aaron Nesmith #24 of the Vanderbilt Commodores goes up for shot against Daniel Gafford #10 and Reggie Chaney #35 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on February 5, 2019 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Commodores 69-66. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, AR – FEBRUARY 5: Aaron Nesmith #24 of the Vanderbilt Commodores goes up for shot against Daniel Gafford #10 and Reggie Chaney #35 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on February 5, 2019 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Commodores 69-66. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Wing. Aaron Nesmith. 12. 84.

With the 12th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings can get an absolute flamethrower of a shooter. Aaron Nesmith is the best shooter in this draft and it’s not particularly close.

Nesmith was hitting on 52 percent of his 3-point shots during his sophomore year at Vanderbilt before his season was cut short. That’s absolutely bananas. It’s not sustainable but even when you add in his performance from his freshman year he’s still coming into the NBA after connecting on 41 percent of his shots from deep in college.

Bogdan Bogdanovic could leave the Kings this summer and Sacramento has experimented with running Buddy Hield off the bench. If Bogdanovic leaves and Nesmith comes in the Kings will be in a great position, but they’ll also be well-positinoed to move forward with Nesmith as a bench contributor if Bogdanovic comes back. Either way, it’s a win-win.

Next: Pick #13

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 19: Saddiq Bey #41 of the Villanova Wildcats shoots a three point basket against the DePaul Blue Demons at Wintrust Arena on February 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 19: Saddiq Bey #41 of the Villanova Wildcats shoots a three point basket against the DePaul Blue Demons at Wintrust Arena on February 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

. Wing. Saddiq Bey. 13. 69

Along with Onyeka Okongwu, Saddiq Bey jumps off the page as one of the players in this class who is as close to bust proof as you’ll find. He’s a versatile and talented wing who will be able to help the Pelicans right away.

The New Orleans Pelicans already have most of their roster fleshed out with guys who they’ll carry into the future. With Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball they’ll be well set for the next few years. All that they need to do now is round out a few areas and wait for things to come together.

J.J. Redick can leave next summer and replacing his shooting won’t be easy. Adding a guy who shot 45 percent from deep in his sophomore season would make that a much softer blow to endure if it comes to that.

Bey can play as a small-ball power forward with Zion at center and can add floor spacing on the wings if the Pelicans want to play him with Ingram and Zion. Honestly, his game is so carried and so well rounded that he can do anything they ask of him and do it at above a league-average ability.

He might not ever make an All-Star team but with BI and Zion, the Pelicans don’t need him to. It’s hard to complain about getting a high-quality role player at this stage in the lottery.

Next: Pick #14

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – FEBRUARY 15: Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after a basket in the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Rupp Arena on February 15, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – FEBRUARY 15: Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after a basket in the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Rupp Arena on February 15, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

18. . Guard. Tyrese Maxey. 14

Danny Ainge and the Celtics organization should write Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers a thank you note. When the Memphis Grizzlies didn’t make it into the top-six, their pick conveyed to the Celtics, giving Ainge and his team three first-round picks in this year’s draft.

Don’t be surprised if Boston packages these picks in some sort of mega-deal. They’re an Eastern Conference and they really don’t need to add three more role players at this point. But if they do decide to use the best of their three selections, Tyrese Maxey is a good choice.

Like Kemba Walker, Maxey is a great playmaker and finisher around the rim. He couldn’t ask for a better guy to learn from in his first years in the league. His shooting is a bit questionable but he makes up for it with how easily he gets to the rim.

He’s a hard-nosed defender who doesn’t back down from anyone. He’s just as good at locking up his man as he is playing within the scheme of his team. Learning even more tricks of the trade from Marcus Smart will only help his development even more.

Maxey shouldn’t go this late in the draft but sliding to the Celtics might end up being the best-case scenario for him. We could still see some trades before draft night so this order isn’t set in stone quite yet. We will have to wait until October 16th to see exactly how all of this shakes out.

Next: Picks #15 & 16

SOUTH BEND, IN – FEBRUARY 17: NBA Draft prospect Cole Anthony #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels brings the ball up court during the game vs. the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purcell Pavilion. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN – FEBRUARY 17: NBA Draft prospect Cole Anthony #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels brings the ball up court during the game vs. the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purcell Pavilion. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

15. 38. . Guard. Cole Anthony

Coming out of high school as the No. 2 ranked recruit in the country, Cole Anthony headed to UNC with expectations of being a lock as a top-3 pick in the draft. Unfortunately, due to a meniscus tear that sidelined him for a portion of the season and a lackluster supporting cast, Anthony’s freshman year failed to live up to the hype.

In addition, many of Anthony’s weaknesses, notably his questionable shot selection, inefficient finishing around the rim and a poor assist-to-turnover ratio, were amplified as the Tar Heels struggled all season. However, Cole is a freak athlete and his score-first mentality could inject some much-needed offense into an Orlando roster that ranked 23rd in offensive rating and 24th in points per game.

. Forward. Precious Achiuwa. 16. 34

With James Wiseman opting out of the rest of his freshman season at Memphis, Achiuwa took over the mantle as the Tigers’ best player on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. With Hassan Whiteside hitting the free-agent market this offseason and Zach Collins’ struggles staying healthy, tapping into the services of the 6’9″ Achiuwa could make a lot of sense for the Blazers.

Although his offense could use some refinement, Precious will earn his minutes as a rookie with his hustle and grit. He didn’t shoot a ton of threes during his lone season with the Tigers, hoisting just 40 attempts through 31 games, but Achiuwa converted at a 32.5 percent rate. Increasing that shooting volume and range could open up another dimension in his game, which is what the Blazers will hope for with this selection.

Next: Picks #17 & 18

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JANUARY 18: NBA Draft prospect Jaden McDaniels #0 of the Washington Huskies reacts in the 2nd half against the Oregon Ducks during a game at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – JANUARY 18: NBA Draft prospect Jaden McDaniels #0 of the Washington Huskies reacts in the 2nd half against the Oregon Ducks during a game at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

. Forward. Jaden McDaniels. 17. 86

After taking LaMelo Ball with the first pick in the draft, the Timberwolves will follow up with Jaden McDaniels, the 6’9″ power forward from Washington. McDaniels is another prospect that came into college with high expectations but was fairly underwhelming, averaging just 13.0 points per game and shooting 40.5 percent from the field.

While his pedestrian percentages will turn away some teams, his potential as a stretch-4, his defensive versatility and his athleticism will be enough to convince Minnesota to give McDaniels a shot.

Leandro Bolmaro. 18. 79. . Guard

The Mavericks already have one of the great passing virtuosos in Luka Doncic and with the 18th pick, Dallas will once again tap into the international talent pool for another exciting playmaker in Leandro Bolmaro. Although he’s only 19 years old, the 6’7″ Argentinian floor general has every assist you can think of in his arsenal and possesses a collection of smooth floaters and runners to round out his exciting style of play.

The two red flags on Bolmaro’s profile are his frame, just 180 lbs, and his shooting stroke; he converted an underwhelming 27.9 percent from three-point range. However, should he join a Mavs squad who ranks 1st in offensive rating and 3rd in points per game, the focus during his rookie campaign can be serving as the lead facilitator on Dallas’ second unit without necessarily being asked to shoulder a huge offensive burden.

Next: Picks #19 & 20

NASHVILLE, TN – FEBRUARY 09: Kira Lewis Jr. #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide plays against the Vanderbilt Commodores Memorial Gym on February 9, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN – FEBRUARY 09: Kira Lewis Jr. #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide plays against the Vanderbilt Commodores Memorial Gym on February 9, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

. Forward. Aleksej Pokusevski. 19. 147

With a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving back in the fold next season, the Nets have their sights set on competing for a championship. Unlikely to find an immediate plug-and-play type player this deep into the first round, Brooklyn will take a swing on Aleksej Pokusevski, the 7’0″ power forward from Serbia.

Weighing roughly just 200 lbs, Pokusevski needs to focus on his physical maturation and filling out his 7-foot frame before he can expect to be ready for the grueling toll of an NBA season. But, the Serbian forward is surprisingly nimble for someone of his size, he can handle the rock like a guard and he possesses great vision for a big, which are all characteristics that will certainly intrigue Brooklyn’s front office.

110. . Guard. Kira Lewis Jr.. 20

Kira Lewis Jr. is the Coby White of this draft class: a lightning-quick guard who loves to push the pace and oozes excitement with his electric style of play. Goran Dragic has been terrific all season, leading Miami’s bench unit, but he’s a free agent after this season so selecting a guard like Lewis Jr. is a logical choice.

The former Alabama guard excels in the pick-and-roll and uses his speed to attract attention on drives, where he’s adept at finding open perimeter shooters, which bodes well for Miami’s two snipers Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro. Even if the Heat re-sign Dragic in the offseason, it would do Lewis Jr. some good to learn from a seasoned vet as he navigates his rookie year.

Next: Picks #21 & 22

MARIETTA, GA – MARCH 25: NBA Draft prospects and UA basketball players Nico Mannion and Josh Green attend the 2019 Powerade Jam Fest. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images for Powerade)
MARIETTA, GA – MARCH 25: NBA Draft prospects and UA basketball players Nico Mannion and Josh Green attend the 2019 Powerade Jam Fest. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images for Powerade)

21. 93. . Guard. Nico Mannion

Nico Mannion struggled a bit during his one season with the Arizona Wildcats. He averaged just 14 points on 39.2 percent shooting from the floor, but ranked 2nd in the PAC-12 in assists per game (5.3) and is regarded as one of the best facilitators in this year’s draft class.

Mannion would provide the 76ers with another savvy passer, in addition to Ben Simmons, and help push the pace in transition. Physically, Mannion isn’t he most gifted, but his smooth jumper that he can knock down in transition or coming off of screens, his basketball IQ and nature feel for the game will be his biggest selling points.

. Forward. Josh Green. 22. 73

Arizona Wildcats go in back-to-back picks as the Nuggets select Nico Mannion’s teammate, Josh Green. The hyper-athletic and energetic 6’6″ wing projects as a solid 3-and-D prospect with his steady play at both ends of the floor.

Green’s athleticism coupled with his lateral quickness allows him to keep pace with shifty guards and his 6’10” wingspan makes it easy for him to muck up passing lanes and create fastbreak opportunities off of forced turnovers. The Nuggets already have a solid core of wing players in their rotation with Michael Porter Jr., Will Barton and Gary Harris, but Green should be able to carve out some minutes as a rookie as his game continues to develop.

Next: Picks #23 & 24

CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 06: NBA Draft prospect RJ Hampton of the Breakers dribbles looks to get past Scott Machado of the Taipans during the round 10 NBL match. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 06: NBA Draft prospect RJ Hampton of the Breakers dribbles looks to get past Scott Machado of the Taipans during the round 10 NBL match. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

118. . Guard. RJ Hampton. 23

Like LaMelo Ball, RJ Hampton took the non-traditional route and decided to spend a year playing abroad in New Zealand instead of committing to a blue-blood like UNC, Kansas or Duke. Unfortunately, Hampton’s time playing in the NBL was cut short when he suffered a hip injury and opted to return to the US to recover and prepare for the draft.

Buzz surrounding Hampton has dropped off precipitously over the last few months, with scouts and front office execs struggling to find a standout skill or characteristic Hampton can bring to a squad. The 6’5″ combo guard could find his home in Utah, where he could learn and play alongside the likes of Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell while providing a spark to the second unit.

Jalen Smith. 24. 89. . Forward

Jalen Smith took a huge step from his freshman to sophomore season at Maryland, improving in virtually every statistical category and establishing himself as one of the best players in the Big 10 conference. Smith possesses all of the qualities that a team would want from a modern-day big: shot-blocking, rebounding, screening and floor-spacing. Although he’s not an elite athlete, Smith has a motor that doesn’t stop running and his constant energy will be a valued asset on a Bucks team that ranks first in pace of play and defensive rating.

Next: Picks #25 & 26

France’s Theo Maledon, an NBA Draft prospect, on his way to scoring a point during an All-Star Game basketball match of the French Ligue Nationale de Basket (LNB) (LUCAS BARIOULET/AFP via Getty Images)
France’s Theo Maledon, an NBA Draft prospect, on his way to scoring a point during an All-Star Game basketball match of the French Ligue Nationale de Basket (LNB) (LUCAS BARIOULET/AFP via Getty Images)

Guard. Theo Maledon. 25. 149.

Mentored by Spurs legend Tony Parker, french point guard Theo Maledon could find himself heading to Oklahoma City to play alongside another future Hall of Fame guard in Chris Paul. A 6’4″ guard with a long frame, Maledon is a crafty finisher who can attack a defense in a myriad of ways.

Much like his French contemporary, Maledon’s bread and butter is his passing, but he also has a reliable jump shot that will keep defenses honest. With Dennis Schroder entering the last year of his contract next season, it would behoove OKC to plan ahead and select Maledon to shore up their backup point guard position. Sam Presti will draft Maledon with the hope that he can make strong strides in his development the same way Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has under CP3’s tutelage.

Tyler Bey. 26. 18. . Forward

The Boston Celtics have an affinity for drafting jack-of-all-trade wings and in this year’s draft, they’ll find another one in Colorado’s Tyler Bey. The 6’7″ forward is a versatile defender who averaged 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game last year. Bey only attempted 31 three-pointers as a junior but converted at a nearly 42 percent clip. Boston will draft Bey for what they know he can provide on the defensive end of the floor, but if they can help him build confidence in his shooting he could start looking like a steal this late in the draft.

Next: Picks #27 & 28

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 22: NBA Draft prospect Cassius Stanley #2 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts during the first half against the Hokies at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 22: NBA Draft prospect Cassius Stanley #2 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts during the first half against the Hokies at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Forward. Cassius Stanley. 27. 27.

Duke’s Cassius Stanley was no stranger to SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Night, which frequently highlighted his gravity-defying and jaw-dropping dunks. After taking Tyrese Haliburton with their first pick, the Knicks will build on a solid draft by selecting Stanley to join a young cohort in New York that consists of RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. Stanley showed flashes at Duke, but things just never seemed to click offensively for him on a consistent basis. While the upside is clear for Stanley, he needs to focus on polishing his game and executing the small details that lead to winning plays.

Jahmi’us Ramsey. 28. 20. . Guard

Although the Lakers have arguably the best duo in the NBA with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, LA’s offense tapers off significantly after those two. Texas Tech’s Jahmi’us Ramsey would provide the Lakers with an excellent scorer who has the confidence to pull up as soon as he crosses half-court. At 6’4″, Ramsey already has the build of an NBA player and his fearless offensive mentality will allow him to make an immediate contribution at the next level. Ramsey’s playmaking skills need some work, but playing alongside a passing guru like LeBron will allow him to focus on being the natural-born scorer he is.

Next: Picks #29 & 30

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – MARCH 08: NBA Draft prospect Cassius Winston #5 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates a second half three pointer. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – MARCH 08: NBA Draft prospect Cassius Winston #5 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates a second half three pointer. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

81. . Guard. Cassius Winston. 29

It’s hard to think of a better match than Cassius Winston and the Raptors. Winston is a born-leader who did nothing but win big game after big game at Michigan State. A consensus second-team All-American as a junior and senior, Winston plays an unselfish style of basketball, which will fit in nicely with a Toronto offense that harps on making the next pass.

Despite the departure of Kawhi Leonard, who helped deliver Toronto their first NBA title in franchise history, the Raptors came back this season and have actually been better. Instead of drafting a young prospect who needs time to develop, Masai Ujiri will opt for a mature player who’s ready to contribute from day one and Winston is that guy.

. Center. Zeke Nnaji. 30. 18

Boston’s lack of reliable production at the center position should be on their mind as they enter this draft and with their third selection of the first round the Celtics will roll the dice on Zona’s Zeke Nnaji. During his lone season with the Wildcats Nnaji displayed his solid post play and ability to finish around the rim with a combination of power and finesse. Nnaji is still pretty raw overall, but he has the capabilities to be an effective two-way player if he’s willing to make a more concerted effort on the defensive end.

Three stars who could request a trade in 2020. Next

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