As the NBA Draft approaches, we are seeing some intriguing prospects such as Lamelo Ball, James Wiseman, and Anthony Edwards, but with an extremely competitive league this season, who knows what teams will land a top pick in the lottery? We now take a glimpse at what this year’s draft lottery is currently slated to look like, and what teams may land future superstars.
Rick Rycroft, Associated Press
*Draft order Via NBAdraft.net*
1 | James Wiseman | C | GSW
Arguably the most pro-ready prospect in this draft, James Wiseman fits in perfectly with the Golden State Warriors. Although the Warriors have been nothing but disappointing this season, when fully healthy they have a roster worthy of competing for a western conference finals appearance. Although many would argue Lamelo Ball is the better prospect, the Warriors are stacked at the guard positions next season with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson returning. With the recent addition of forward Andrew Wiggins, the the Warriors aren’t in desperate need of a wing, but could definitely use some help down low. During the Warriors dominant runs throughout the past 5 seasons, they’ve always lacked a star Center to really push them to the next level, and they could do just that with James Wiseman.
After pulling out of the NCAA, no longer playing for Memphis due to a controversial fine, many thought Wiseman’s stock would have dropped, but that hasn’t been the case at all. Wiseman has remained one of the top prospects and for the Golden State Warriors would be a sure fire first overall selection.
2 | Anthony Edwards | G | ATL
The Atlanta Hawks looked to be one of the most improved teams in the league after an unbelievable off-season. They improved their team immensely, drafting Deandre Hunter 4th overall and Cam Reddish 10th overall, as well as some veteran pickups in free agency. The Hawks filled the hole at Center acquiring Clint Capela from the Rockets, but they have another hole in the backcourt. Kevin Huerter looks as if one day he can be a solid player, but Trae Young needs to be paired with someone in the backcourt that can score the ball just as well as he can so that he can afford to have some off games.
Anthony Edwards was regarded in high school as the best overall prospect by many. Edwards already has an NBA body, standing at 6’5 and a whopping 225 pounds. His ability to drive through the paint and make some unbelievable finishes or draw a foul call is unmatched. He is without a doubt the best scorer in the class, and someone the Atlanta Hawks could really use.
3 | Lamelo Ball | PG | NYK
The Knicks need to do something big and quick to save their franchise. They have consistently been one of, if not the worst team in the entire league over the past few seasons, lacking true talent on their roster.
Highly regarded “by far” as the most talented player in the NBA Draft, Lamelo Ball is someone that fits the criteria of a true talent, and someone that could handle playing at Madison Square Garden.
After deciding to forgo college basketball and instead take the professional route in Australia for the NBL instead, many thought that we would see a replay of Ball’s Lithuania play. Turns out, that hasn’t even been remotely the case. Lamelo Ball has thrived for the Illawarra Hawks averaging over 17 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds. Although doing all this on some underwhelming efficiency, Ball has shown nothing but maturity and growth.
Ball may be the most talented player in this class, but with the Warriors having Steph Curry back late this season and all of next season after a three month injury layoff, and the Hawks having their franchise point guard in Trae Young, Ball will likely fall to the New York Knicks.
4 | Obi Toppin | F | CLE
Another intriguing prospect in this draft is Dayton forward, Obi Toppin. Toppin is someone that can stretch the floor, but can also bang down low, grab rebounds, and score in the low post. “He’s a Swiss Army knife.” Although his stats aren’t anything to brag about, they don’t tell the whole story.
Toppin, standing at 6’9 and 220 pounds makes a great fit for any team in need of a Center. Toppin is someone that a team is going to get everything out of. Shooting 35% from three on 2.7 attempts per game, he’s someone you can rely on to serve as a floor spacer but he’s definitely not just that. Also averaging 19.6 points along with 7.8 rebounds, he can also survive in the low post because of his size and strength. He’s a natural scorer in the post, and someone that will get buckets however he can. It doesn’t end on the offensive end, though, he is also someone that teams can rely on as a defensive anchor averaging 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals this year at Dayton. He’s a physical specimen that can effectively guard positions 2 through 5.
The Cavaliers have a young backcourt in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, and have now managed to pick up a franchise Center in Andre Drummond prior to the trade deadline. A big need is a wing, or someone Swing Forward, which is exactly what someone like Obi Toppin could do for the Cavaliers.
5 | Jaden McDaniels | F | MIN
Jaden McDaniels, brother of Charlotte Hornets’ Jalen McDaniels has been somewhat underwhelming in his season at Washington, but still remains a top prospect in this years NBA Draft.
Compared to Brandon Ingram by many, McDaniels is a lengthy scorer that can score from all three levels on the court. He’s someone that can put the ball on the floor and score off the dribble, but he’s also someone who can catch the ball and shoot. Although his offensive game is much more intriguing, he’s not the worst defender either. With a 6’11 wingspan, McDaniels is effectively able to guard positions 2-4 on the court due to length and speed.
The Timberwolves were likely looking at players such as Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, and Nico Mannion, but after acquiring D’Angelo Russell prior to the trade deadline, they are no longer in need of Point Guard, but rather a wing that can provide a scoring presence after giving up former number 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins.
6 | Vernon Carey Jr | C | CHA
Duke Center, Vernon Carey Jr has surprisingly been one of the best freshmen in all of college basketball this season. Duke is currently sitting at the 7th spot in the AP poll with a record of 20-3, Duke’s success should be heavily credited to Carey.
Prior to the 2019-20 college basketball season, Carey was seen as a player that would land in the 16-20 range outside of the lottery, due to his lack of a legitimate three ball, and overall bad shooting tendencies. Although Carey has very clear weaknesses, he has a lot of strengths such as his inside scoring, rebounding, and his defense. Although Carey was regarded as somewhat of a “Raw” prospect in his senior year of high school, he for sure has the talent to be a Top 10 pick this year and is someone who would fit great with the Hornets roster.
After the Hornets signed Terry Rozier to an outlandish contract, and Devonte Graham’s surprise breakout season, the backcourt is the least of Charlotte’s concerns. After the waiving of veteran F/C Marvin Williams, the Hornets are in desperate need of a big, and Carey is someone who can really fill that void.
7 | Cole Anthony | PG | DET
North Carolina Point Guard Cole Anthony has battled with constant injuries this season, and really hasn’t lived up to expectations as a potential Top-3 overall selection. North Carolina has had their most disappointing season in years currently sitting at the third last spot in the ACC with a record of 10-13. Despite the teams struggles, Anthony’s injuries, and his clear inconsistencies, the time he’s played he’s showed glimpses of future stardom.
Cole Anthony is Averaging 19.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists among the 12 games he has appeared in. Although his stats look like he could arguably be the top guard in the draft, they don’t tell the whole story. Anthony has showed maturity, as well as improvement in the scoring department, but has really struggled with efficiency, and playmaking. Anthony averaged a near triple double in his high-school days at Oak Hill, but we’ve seen a significant drop off as he now averages only slightly over 3 assists. As far as efficiency goes he’s been very disappointing, Averaging 35.6% from the field, 33.3% from three, and 72.7% from the stripe.
Despite his weaknesses and struggles, he has one of the largest upsides in the draft without a doubt. The Pistons have done a full 360 and have appeared to go into a rebuilding stage after trading Andre Drummond to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and shopping Derrick Rose prior to the trade deadline. The Pistons could look to shop Rose as well as other veterans such as Reggie Jackson and Blake Griffin this offseason if things don’t go well during the remainder of the season. Cole Anthony could be the future first option of the Pistons, giving him full access to run the team, and eventually reach his full potential.
8 | Onyeka Okongwu | F/C | WAS
Currently attending the University of Southern Carolina, Onyeka Okongwu has proven to be one of the best big men in the class.
Okongwu is someone the Wizards have needed for a long time. With their only current bigs being Thomas Bryant, Davis Bertans, and Mo Wagner, it appears they need a solid inside scorer and defender to hold it down in the middle. With a Top 5 backcourt when healthy, as well as a future superstar in Rui Hachimura, it looks like the 1-3 are covered for the Wizards. As for the 4 through 5, a lot can be improved. Averaging 16.4 points along with 8.9 rebounds, Okongwu has proved himself as a reliable inside scorer, as well as a great offensive rebounder grabbing 3.3 a night. Although Okongwu is by no means weak on the offensive side of the ball, defense is where he has made his mark. Averaging 3.0 blocks per game as a freshman, he has established himself as one of the best shot blockers in all of college basketball. A great interior defender and two-way rebounder is something that could be very useful to the Wizards.
9 | Deni Avdija | SF | CHI
For the most part, the Chicago Bulls roster looks to be pretty complete. Zach Lavine has proved he can be a future superstar, and with the addition of 5th overall pick at the guard spot Coby White, the backcourt looks to be set for the next decade or so. A front court pairing of Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr also has an unbelievable amount of potential. So what do the Bulls need?
Although Otto Porter provides great 3 and D for the Bulls, he’s not someone who fits their timeline, nor is he someone they plan on keeping for more than a couple of years. The Bulls have been looking to upgrade the small forward position for the last couple of years and it looks like it’s their chance. A 19 year old international player named Deni Avdija.
Deni Avdija is one of the multiple international lottery talents in the NBA Draft this year, other names include Theo Maledon and Killian Hayes. Avdija is someone who could perfectly fit the Chicago Bulls system. An oversized player for his position standing at 6’9, allows him to guard both forward spots with ease. Although defense is not his strong suit, it’s bearable. His offense is fantastic. A player with range, a scorer that can eventually ease his way into a 2nd scoring option for the Bulls is something they really need. Avdija would be the right pick for the Bulls that could complete their roster, and ultimately help them make a playoff push next season.
10 | Isaiah Stewart | F/C | SAC
The Sacramento Kings have made huge jumps last season as well as the 2019-20 season. Although they look to have a future Top 3 backcourt, they really need someone to push them over the top to finally get them that 8th seed. The Kings have lacked a big ever since the departure of Demarcus Cousins. Isaiah Stewart from Washington university is someone who can pair with Marvin Bagley, and help the Kings make a playoff push.
Although only 6’9, Stewart is an excellent defender, who can also run the 4 if needed. In the Kings case, somewhat of a “Position-less Front-court” would be ideal. Despite being undersized, he’s currently racking up 2.0 blocks a night. Stewart is not a reliable three point shooter, shooting only 26.7% on 0.6 attempts per game. Although not much of a floor spacer, his inside scoring is unmatched, scoring 17.4 points per game on 61.5% TS.
11 | Daniel Oturu | C | NOP
Sophomore Daniel Oturu has been arguably the best big in college basketball this season averaging 20.1 points, and 11.5 rebounds on some superb efficiency.
Daniel Oturu is everything you could ask for in a big man. He’s someone that can dominate the low post due to his advanced inside scoring, he’s someone that can easily get in double digit rebounds every night, and he’s also someone who’s going to hold it down on the defensive end averaging 2.7 blocks this season.
Although the Pelicans drafted a defensive anchor Jaxson Hayes with the 8th overall pick in the draft last season, he’s not quite ready to be a starter due to his offensive weaknesses and overall rawness. With Zion Williamson as the Pelicans future along with first time all-star Brandon Ingram, Oturu is someone who could really take some of the weight off their shoulders on the defensive end.
12 | Nico Mannion | G | PHX
This summer, the Phoenix Suns signed Guard Ricky Rubio to a 3 year, $51 million dollar contract. Although they have him for the next two seasons, he’s not someone that they plan to build with for the future, and definitely not someone that fits their timeline.
Nico Mannion, Italian born guard currently attending the University of Arizona, is one of the best point guards in this stacked class of guards. Mannion would be the perfect piece to pair with Devin Booker in the backcourt for the future of the Suns. Currently averaging 14.0 points and 5.5 assists, Mannion is someone who can play on and off the ball. This is perfect for the Phoenix Suns. Not only can Mannion run the suns offense, but in late game and times in need of a bucket can allow Devin Booker to run the floor while still being effective. Averaging over a steal per game, as well as a 6’3, 200 pound frame, Mannion is someone who can hold his own on the defensive end and even slightly make up for Devin Booker’s weak defensive tendencies.
13 | RJ Hampton | G | SAS
The San Antonio Spurs are still competing every single year for a playoff spot, but this long lasting dynasty is bound to soon come to an end once Greg Popovich retires.
Becky Hammon is set to take over as the Spurs once coach Pop leaves, and may want to take a step in another direction, possibly a rebuild. RJ Hampton currently playing for the New Zealand Breakers of the NBL in Australia fits that criteria perfectly. Hampton is a 6’5 combo guard, that can play defense, and can score from all three levels on the floor. He’s someone that can put the ball on the floor and run an offense, but he’s good enough a scorer, and has big enough size and length to where he can play the 2.
Hampton was originally regarded as a Top 5 talent in the draft, but has dropped due to limited production in NZ. Despite the drop in production, RJ is still one of the most talented guards in the class and could be a crucial piece if San Antonio decides to rebuild.
14 | Josh Green | G/F | POR
The Portland Trail Blazers are definitely not a team that needs to be drafting in the lottery to improve their roster. A team that reached the western conference finals last season is now in the hunt, and could very well miss out on this years playoffs. Although they are not going to rebuild if they miss the playoffs, they could definitely look to add talent to their roster.
Although the Blazers roster is pretty filled out, with an arguable Top 3 backcourt within the entire league, along with recently acquired Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside, Trevor Ariza, and Anfernee Simons. Although their roster is filled out￼￼, someone like Josh Green could really help out their roster. Josh Green is a high flying guard out of the university of Arizona. Although not the best scorer, Green is crafty and can score in a variety of ways especially around the rim. A decent shooter from the three and the mid-range, Josh can really mix it up offensively and always have the defense guessing. Josh has natural leaping ability, allowing him to catch lobs, get up high for acrobatic finishes, along with some above average rebounding for a guard. He’s not by any means the best defender in the class, but he’s someone that can easily disrupt passing lanes due to his speed and athletic ability, and due to his length and 6’6, 210 pound frame can easily guard players his position and possibly even the 3 at times.
Josh is not someone who would get significant playing time for the Blazers, but could really help out with bench scoring, as well as learn from a veteran roster for when the Blazers decide to rebuild and let him take over. I doubt Josh Green would make a big impact on the Blazers roster but would rather provide a tone setter for the second unit.