- Cole Anthony
Cole Anthony is the best point guard prospect since 2011. He is arguably the best shooter in the class paired with highlight-reel athleticism. In his recent scrimmages and exhibition games, his passing has shined the brightest, where at one point it was his biggest offensive flaw. There is not much to say other than he is a Kyrie-Damian Lillard level prospect and easily my top prospect on my first installment of my 2020 NBA Draft Big Board.
2. LaMelo Ball
Probably the most polarizing prospect in the draft. You either love him or you hate him, LaMelo is without question one of the top talents in this year’s draft. He is a 6’7”, confident, point guard prospect who plays for the Illawarra Hawks NBL team. His allure comes from his advanced passing acumen, great touch, and shooting indicators at a young age for the class. There is a lot to be concerned with when it comes to the youngest Ball including defense, consistent shooting, strength, and inside scoring. However, a player this talented at this young of an age with so many positive indicators is too much to pass up on.
3. Anthony Edwards
Edwards at this point is talent personified. He’s young, has a very mature frame, an outlier athlete, and has the physical tools to one day become a positive defender. At this point, he has relatively low feel and IQ which could put a hard cap on his potential as a primary offensive option at the next level.
4. Tyrese Maxey
By far the best two-way prospect in this class, Maxey can shoot with consistency, has freaky good touch, and is a highly positive both team and point of attack defender . He has the potential to pack on muscle and is the soundest decision-maker of the top guards in this draft. Behind Cole Anthony, Maxey is the player I am most confident will be a high impact player at the next level.
I do not believe that there are any tier II talents in this draft.
5. Matthew Hurt
Matthew Hurt is as talented of an offensive player as you will find. He has great touch from deep, he can pass, and is a great post player with no holes in his offense. He also is an excellent rebounder for his size. Tweener forwards who can play both positions, defend at a decent enough level, and have good perimeter mobility have a place in the NBA and Hurt fits this archetype perfectly.
6. Isaac Okoro
Okoro is one of the best defensive prospects I have ever seen. He is a great rebounder, draws fouls at a high rate, and is a very good and unselfish playmaker. The only way I have been able to rationalize some of the reads he makes on the defensive end is, simply put, time travel. He reads what is going to happen way before they actually do and that puts him in the Matisse Thybulle class of high block, steal, and deflection numbers. Although he is only 6’5” he plays much bigger than that with his rebounding and general size. His height will be seen as a limiter on his defensive ability, but with his Herculean strength, toughness, IQ, and athleticism I have little to no problem with projecting Okoro as a potential small-ball 4 down the road. Okoro’s shooting projection leaves much to be desired considering his low FT% and poor 3-point shooting numbers. However, even despite his shooting woes, he will be a game-breaking defensive player that does enough on offense to outweigh that wart on his otherwise spotless resume.
7. Killian Hayes
I have come back around on Hayes. I had him top 3 at one point then after watching more and more film, the athleticism proved to be more of a weakness than I had anticipated and I moved him down my board to late lottery. Now, he is making a come back. As a big guard with positive shooting indicators and good playmaking, I am positive that Killian will be a solid NBA player at the bare minimum. I have faith that he becomes a relatively versatile shooter who does it at an above-average level although it has not actualized fully yet. He has good size, vision, ball-handling, and leaves much to be desired athletically, sound like anyone?
8. Deni Avidja
Deni is a defense-first prospect with great vision. He is not Luka Doncic. He can not be used as a primary initiator at the NBA level, but I believe he can operate as a third ball handler that serves as more of an in-offense passer rather than a primary initiator. He has a good amount of defensive versatility with his quick feet, defensive feel and IQ, and his ability as a weak-side rim protector. He is a great transition player with most of his questions being about his shot-making.
9. Tre Mann
There is a great chance that Tre Mann is the most underappreciated player in this draft. He can shoot all the way out past NBA range, can function both on and off the ball, with beautiful mechanics paired with advanced ball handling, and an underrated playmaking acumen. He is similar to small guards in recent drafts such as Trae Young and Darius Garland in the way he gets his buckets. However, the main difference is that Tre Mann is clearly 6’4” and has the capability to play above the rim unlike the two aforementioned players who solely rely on crafty below the basket finishes.
He is a player that makes you want to go to war with him and an edge about him that makes you think that he may just have that “it” factor. I am buying Mann as an outlier shooter with above average athleticism and size for a guard that fits that archetype.
10. Theo Maledon
Ok so there’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and even Shai’s younger brother Thomasi Gilgeous-Alexander. But are we SURE they don’t have a long lost cousin overseas?
Maledon is not only similarly built to the Canadian family, but he shows the same ability to contort his body in tight spots with some insane displays of flexibility. He is not the most athletic player in the world but uses his craftiness, and changes of speed, to create space from defenders. Although the decision making comes and goes, Maledon has shown enough of an ability to be a playmaker for me to have some mild optimism there. He has shown enough shooting and hits on all the shooting indicators including touch (man this class has some truly great touch prospects) for me to project that he will shoot at least at an average level, although it will likely just be catch and shoot opportunities. Defensively Maledon is an irritant at the point of attack and when paired with his length and size at the point guard position, it makes him just as much of a defensive prospect as an offensive one.
11. Wendell Moore
Moore is another defense-first wing prospect. He is a smart defensive player who has a knack for getting steals. With a mature frame and great athleticism, I see him being a guard/wing that has no problem switching onto bigger players. Many others are pessimistic about his handle, but I think he has shown enough for me to believe he can play shooting guard without issue. He is another guy that plays bigger than he is, and does a lot of the little winning plays that go unnoticed in the box score. His vision is nothing to write home about, but he makes smart plays and passes within the offense. Unlike Weems and Okoro, Moore already shoots at a solid enough level. It also helps that Moore is one of the youngest players in the draft having just turned 18 in September.
12. Oscar Tshwiebwe
Oscar is a monster of a man. Although a little undersized (have you seen the updated player heights? Who isn’t undersized?) standing at 6’9”, he weighs 250 lbs. And that is pure muscle at 20 years old right now. His sheer massiveness does not limit his mobility or explosiveness because he is by far the best big man athlete in this class, paired with a 7’5” wingspan and a motor that always runs hot making Oscar a productive rebounder and defensive playmaker. He has great defensive instincts to pair with his physical traits and will be a high-level defensive player with potential as a switch big when his name is called. Offensively, Tshwiebwe flashes a jumper and handle which I will definitely have to monitor throughout the season because they aren’t too pretty right now. Currently, he seems to be better suited as a roll man.
13. Nico Mannion
Mannion likely has the lowest ceiling of the top guards, but has one of the higher floors. He is very obviously a solid NBA starter level prospect, but may end up better suited off the bench. Mannion is a terrific passer that makes the right play most of the time, combined with good athleticism, a high defensive IQ, and a great jumper. Mannion is a sure-fire NBA top of rotation talent.
14. Romeo Weems
One word. Instincts. Weems just naturally understands how to play the defensive end and makes a couple of amazing reads a game. Romeo has a great ability as a weak-side rim protector and as a player who can cut off passing lanes extremely well. There are few defenders that are as versatile as Weems in this draft, and the ones that are (Okoro) do not show the offensive promise that Weems does. Although his jumper is far from perfect, he has shown enough from a shot-making, mechanical, and FT% perspective for me to project that he will eventually shoot. When you pair that fact with his chops as a ball-handler, it makes Romeo Weems a valuable player at the NBA level.
15. RJ Hampton
16. Josh Green
17. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
18. Onyeka Okongwu
19. James Wiseman
Although I was just going to describe the lottery players in this installment I felt like I had to justify having Wiseman (a consensus top 5 guy in many circles) this low. Wiseman does just enough and flashes enough to leave people intrigued by his potential. Before I tear him down I must build him up. He is mobile in straight lines, has great size and length, can finish well above the rim, and has a truly amazing first and second jump.
Now, time for the weaknesses. James has truly horrible feel and IQ on both sides of the ball. How does a player with such tremendous natural talent (length, height, athleticism) have such abysmal block and steal numbers at the high school level? He is a borderline black hole on offense and it is evident when he makes up his mind to score he is going to try often times shrugging off teammates. Like many young players, Wiseman thinks he is more than he is which leads to him doing more than he is currently (or likely ever will be) capable of doing. He thinks he is a KD/Giannis kind of player and it is evident in the way he plays. The only difference between them is ball-handling, shooting, perimeter skills, defensive versatility, IQ, motor, and pretty much everything but being tall athletes.
People have labeled him as a shooter, but I just don’t see it. He shoots horribly from both the free throw and three-point line and the flash plays are few and far between. He also plays soft and he is as low of a motor top big as I have ever seen. This being said, if he buys into what he is and not what he thinks he is, I think Wiseman can be a solid player that deserves to be a lottery talent. However, he is fighting an uphill battle as steep as Mount Everest to reach that point.
20. Tre Jones
21. Isaiah Stewart
22. Tyrese Haliburton
23. Jalen Smith
24. Jaden McDaniels
25. Anton Watson
26. Isaiah Mobley
27. Amar Sylla
28. Dru Smith