Before beginning this article, I would like to thank William from https://wwbhoops.com for coming on the website and working on this article with me. I will be going based on the NBA draft simulator on Tankathon. So with all of that being said let’s begin!!
#1) Golden State Warriors: Onyeka Okongwu (Wens)
- Onyeka Okongwu is arguably the best big man in this year’s draft class and a member of the famous 2016 Chino Hills men’s basketball team. During Okongwu’s tenure at USC last season, Okongwu flashed some of his strengths and some of his weaknesses. Some of Okungwu’s strengths include shot-blocking and elite athleticism, despite these strengths his game isn’t perfect with some of his weaknesses being that he is very discoordinated in the paint.
#2) Atlanta Hawks: Anthony Edwards (William)
- I am leader of the Anthony Edwards slander club. I don’t see how a guard who looks practically the same on paper as Kevin Porter Jr. with much worse handles can fulfill the hype of being drafted second overall. The thing is, this is a weak draft, you are going to have to draft for fit rather than perceived talent much earlier on than you normally would in any other draft, which would start on average at around pick fifteen. Atlanta needs a two/three to co-opt Trae, and Anthony Edwards who has drawn many comps to noted Co-Star Khris Middleton, an absolutely nutty shot maker who can be used as a bail option in almost any situation, could fill this role very well if he ends up panning out, and doubles as a safety net in case of DeAndre Hunter failing to live up to his billing. I almost took Okoro with this pick. I’m not that crazy. I think.
#3) New York Knicks: LaMelo Ball (Wens)
- In this scenario, this pick would be a no brainer for the Knicks. LaMelo and the Knicks have been linked with one another since February with Lavar Ball (LaMelo’s father) going on record saying the best fit for LaMelo is New York. Not only is LaMelo Ball a great prospect (in my opinion the best prospect in this draft) the New York Knicks also have had a dire need for a Point Guard since the departure of Raymond Felton in 2014. LaMelo brings swagger, elite vision and talent which the Knicks have been searching for since Melo left in 2016.
#4) Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija (William)
- Deni is one of the few guys in this draft to have seen his stock rise as the year reached its end, as of February 7th in his last ten games, Deni was hitting 42% of his threes, and really seeming to put his game together and rounding himself out, showing off some surprising feel relative to most European bigs, some defensive versatility, and some sneaky athleticism. Washington is currently running Jerome Robinson at the three, which I don’t see a world where Deni isn’t at least a meager upgrade on that end. In the half court he flashes high level playmaking with enough burst to challenge the defenses pace on the other end of the court. He has plenty of subtle folds to his game which compound to create a guy who generally has a higher end median outcome than most other players in the class, including his European counterpart Pokusevski.
#5) Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin (Wens)
- The Cleveland Cavaliers can go some many different directions with this pick but I have them going with Obi Toppin. I have the cavaliers going with Obi Toppin at #5 overall despite him being a total defensive liability because of his insanely high offensive ceiling. if Toppin can maximize his potential offensively and be at least something more than just a body on defense he can be one of the better scoring BIG men in the league.
#6) Minnesota Timberwolves: Devin Vassell (William)
- Devin Vassell only a year ago was regarded as a cute late first, early second round pick, along with his pals Xavier Tillman and Grant Riller who have also seen massive rise in their stock. Vassell is now a popular top ten pick largely due to his very high floor thanks to his, at very minimum serviceable spot up game, along with some of the best defense in the class, he is like Okoro in many regards on that end of the floor. Through just 18 games in this season Vassell had recorded 30 steals, 21 blocks, and only 14 turnovers. Even the mainstream opinion has really come around on him thanks to his high level of play this season. He has a high median outcome, low floor, and high ceiling, you can’t really ask for much more out of a prospect from this draft. He plugs in perfectly for Minnesota at the three spot, and can come in as a safety blanket for Culver as well after his disappointing first season. Minnesota is a team that desperately needs somebody who can play high level team defense, and guess what Vassell does? A great pick for Minnesota.
#7) Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes (Wens)
- It’s no secret that the pistons are on need of a new franchise floor general and Killian is just that he has solid shooting and he is an incredible passer. While I’m sure the Pistons would love to have LaMelo Ball if we are being realistic he would not sign there and he and his team have expressed that its the Knicks or bust. Killian has flashed his potential as a starting-caliber Point Guard for the last few years while playing in the euro league with Cholet Basket and Ratiopharm ULM putting up some great numbers.
#8) Chicago Bulls: Isaac Okoro (William)
- Chicago is definitely a more difficult pick. At face value they seem to have most positions locked up for the near future, given you may want to draft a four for if Markkanen ends up leaving the team. The only immediate player in their starting lineup who I don’t see as a long term piece for them, or maybe even short term, is Otto Porter Jr. a guy who struggled with injuries for most of this last season and very well have may already reached the apex of his career. Okoro plays this role well. Given Okoro has a pretty low floor due to his inability to shoot, and could end up being an absolute disaster on the offensive end of the floor. Though his defense is impeccable and he has very high end outcomes if he can develop a spot up jumper. He isn’t a starting solution right away and will probably ride the bench for a while to begin his career, but unlocks plenty of potential in Chicago’s game if he reaches those high end outcomes.
#9) Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman (Wens)
- I have the hornets selecting James Wiseman who many consider the best player in the draft ( he’s not even the best BIG in the draft) because of his athleticism and his shot-blocking potential. For years leading into this draft, James Wiseman has essentially been the must-have player, however, with the emergence of Onyeka Okongwu, Obi Toppin, and leaving Memphis early he has fallen down my board quite a bit. Wiseman would be able to replace an aging Cody Zeller from day one while also giving Michael Jordan another young talent to build his franchise around.
#10) Phoenix Suns: Tyrese Haliburton (William)
- So for Iowa State this year, Tyrese Haliburton did most of the scoring, playmaking, rebounding, pick pocketing, play time, uhhh, what didn’t Haliburton do for Iowa State? I really like Haliburton. If the Iowa State 2019-2020 basketball season was a movie, Haliburton produced, directed, acted, edited, and wrote it. He shot above 40% from three on almost six attempts a game, and took it to the rim at about a 74% clip. There are questions about his defensive effort, something I’ve always believed to be a bit overrated as far as concerns go, but they are legitimate concerns. He is a solid playmaker, and in a system where he gets plenty of touches is very much a James Harden LITE LITE. There is a bit of recency bias going against him given that we haven’t seen him since he fractured his left wrist against Kansas State in a 73-63 win. An injury like this shouldn’t affect his NBA outlook at all, and being this late in the lottery, this is a great pickup for this Phoenix team, Haliburton can play a plethora of roles for them, in all likelihood replacing Rubio for most of his outcomes.
#11) San Antonio Spurs: Aaron Nesmith (Wens)
- At this point in the draft, you are not looking for total franchise-altering players, you’re looking for someone with the potential to develop into a solid starter or a player that can get you good minutes off the bench and that is exactly what San Antonio is getting in Aaron Nesmith. At 6’6 215 LBS out of Vanderbilt Nesmith is a solid scorer with a good first step and an ability to get open without the ball. If he can maximize his potential as a 3&D wing he can potentially become the best player in this draft considering how weak it is.
#12) Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Maxey (William)
- With Bogdan potentially leaving in free agency, this pick makes a ton of sense for Sac Town. His median outcome is probably a very high level rotation piece/sixth man which he can play in Bogdan’s stead as Buddy Hield moves back into the starting rotation. I buy his shot, he has some funky mechanics, but you have to realize that with Kentucky he was playing with some of the worst spacing out of any team in the power conferences. The combo of Nick Richards and IQ kind of pigeon holed into his third wheel role as he receded in prominence over the course of Kentucky’s season. He is an amazing pick and roll ball handler and flashes high level playmaking in the transition game, and is one of the best finishers in the class, able to absorb contact from almost any direct and still be able to create angles to score.
#13) New Orleans Pelicans: Cole Anthony (Wens)
- Coming into the year Cole Anthony was the 1 Point Guard in the country and the number 2 ranked player in the country. However, due to a lack of success at the University of North Carolina, he has fallen in many draft boards. Despite leading North Carolina to a losing record Anthony flashed his potential Averaging 18.5 PPG, 5.7 REB, and 4.0 AST. If the Pelicans can help him reach his full potential that young core in New Orleans would be the best young core in the league (if they aren’t already).
#14) Portland Trail Blazers: Patrick Williams (William)
- This last spot in the lottery is extremely contentious, in the middle of the draft you have an enigma of guys with high end potential, like Grant Riller, Pokusevski, or Desmond Bane. Williams is one of the youngest guys in the class and has put on shows against guys much older than him. He is a tenacious defender and has a solid range to his shot, with good mechanics to boot. Many have spoken well of his knack for becoming the leader of a locker room. He has improved his ball handling quite a bit over the past year and has potential to boot up his playmaking game, which he has struggled with so far, averaging almost a 1:1 assist turnover, given he only dishes out about 2 assists a game. He has a great frame at such a young age, and could end up exploding as a slasher as he gets older. He shows a solid IQ and all around understanding of the game, and could slide right in with almost any team in the league.