2020 NBA Draft Preview

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have the first pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Many favor LaMelo Ball (left) or Anthony Edwards to go first overall, but the question won’t be answered until the draft. (Photo courtesy of www.sportingnews.com)

While the coronavirus is spreading around the country at the moment, the sports world continues to spin on its axis. Next up, the NBA Draft. Fans have been waiting for this moment for a while, and it will finally take place on Wednesday, November 18. 

This draft is going to be different than the others with social distancing, masks on, etc. It will be “a special draft because the players will get the news that they will get paid to do something that they love, but they will learn [about their futures] from [the comfort of] their own home,” said seventh-grader Tommy Errico. The NFL Draft this past year was also virtual, and, according to CNBC, ratings this past year drew 15.6 million viewers, up 37% from the 2019 draft. The NBA is hoping to score the same kind of numbers, but let’s get to the most important aspects for fans: the teams and players.

1. The Minnesota Timberwolves have the first pick this year. There are many players who have the talent to go at number one, but some players stand out: Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Deni Avidja, etc. Minnesota, however, needs guards and forwards. The center position is locked in with Karl Anthony Towns who is on a five-year contract for $158 million. They don’t have to draft a point guard, since they added D’Angelo Russell who likes to play the point and shooting guard, so he can play either. Any good shooting guard or point guard would be perfect for the Timberwolves, such as LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards. Here’s who we see Minnesota drafting first overall:
Jackson Zentner 1st pick: LaMelo Ball, PG, Australia: Lamelo Ball is a good shooter and dominant player, and the Timberwolves need someone who can score.
Reid Waxman 1st pick: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia: Edwards is like a power guard –  he can do anything and everything.

2. One year ago, the Golden State Warriors suffered a tough loss when shooting guard Klay Thompson went down with a torn ACL. In free agency, the Warriors also lost Kevin Durant, who tore his Achilles, and signed a four year, $164 million contract with the Nets. At the beginning of the season, Stephen Curry, their All-Star point guard, broke his hand and was out until March, just when the league closed down. Only a few teams made it to the bubble in Orlando, FL, but the Warriors were not one of them. The Warriors have the #2 pick in the draft. The Warriors are in need of big men – forwards, and centers.“There are definitely guys who are very athletic like James Wiseman. “There are also like 6’8 point guards who can do everything. And 7’ foot Centers who can shoot,” said seventh-grader Tommy Errico. James Wiseman would be a great fit for this team, with all the shooters on the court, he clicks in their offense well and could be one of the league’s stars if he continues to play well. The Warriors have had a tough past year, but are ready to make a comeback and begin their climb back to championship glory.
Jackson Zentner 2nd pick: James Wiseman, C, Memphis; The Warriors need a strong center to add to the Splash Brothers, and James Wiseman is the best center in this class.
Reid Waxman 2nd pick: James Wisman, C, Memphis; Warriors: The Warriors have a diamond in the rough here, with his dunking abilities on the court, he can get the franchise back together.

3. The Charlotte Hornets have had a rough time over the past couple of years. They have not made the second round of the playoffs in two decades, and have only been to the tournament twice during that time. This year, though, they have the third pick. Same as the Timberwolves, they either need a guard, and either if they fall, Anthony Edwards or Lamelo Ball could go here. They almost need every position addressed to help them get to the next level, but here’s how we see it shaking out:
Jackson Zentner 3rd pick: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia: Edwards can do everything. He is only 6’4, but he is a beast at 225 pounds. He can dunk on any guard.
Reid Waxman 3rd pick: LaMelo Ball, PG, Australia: His famous father and brother notwithstanding, Ball is an offensive force and could help this team out of the doldrums.

4. For the Chicago Bulls, their glory days with Michael Jordan seem very far away. They’ve had some good seasons since then, but struggled mightily this year. Last year’s first-round pick (seventh overall), PG Coby White out of UNC, did not have a huge impact, but he still has time to develop and reach his potential. The Bulls hold the fourth pick this year and have some major holes to fill. Forwards are a big need for Chicago, but the team really needs shooters. They have had some of the worst shooting in the league, and are in need of scorers badly.  Deni Avidja would be a great fit for the team, as a shooter that the Bulls need, he will fit perfectly in their scheme of the offense they will be running. The Bulls are not that far from being a top-tier team but they need a boost.
Jackson Zentner 4th pick: Deni Avidja, SF, Israel: He can shoot the lights out.
Reid Waxman 4th pick: Deni Avidja, SF, Israel: Deni Avidja is one of the best shooters I have seen in awhile, and that is exactly what the Bulls need to fit their offense. 

The star power forward from Dayton, Obi Toppin, dunks over a defender. The Bulls really hope that he falls down to #5 in the draft. (Image courtesy of www.registerguard.com)

5. The Cleveland Cavaliers have not been very good since LeBron James and Kyrie Irving left. However, they have a strong point guard core, but they need some big bodies who can rebound, defend, and score. Obi Toppin was a star this year at Dayton, and could really make a flash in Cleveland, looking very good for them, and could really help a lot. Many big men in this draft have a possibility of going high, and the Cavs look like a hot spot for them since that is their biggest need.
Jackson Zentner 5th pick: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton: He can be the next Giannis if he builds up his strength.
Reid Waxman 5th pick: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton: You don’t see people that often with this type of finishing that Toppin has to help the Cavs get back on track.

6. The Atlanta Hawks may have the most potential out of all the teams in the NBA due to their large crop of stellar young players, which is really important to the future of the league. Also, chemistry within a team is very important, and the Hawks have that locked in with each other. They are set at point guard with Trae Young playing the role of a star already. Shooting guard and small forwards may need some help, and thats where this draft could really take effect to their lineup, with Killian Hayes and Tyreese Halliburton, who are the people who have feel, and could make the Hawks even better than they are, and their young lineup that they have, could get even better. This is where the Hawks can study in this year’s draft.
Jackson Zentner 6th pick: Killian Hayes, SG, Germany: He plays like a point guard, but he can play shooting guard also.
Reid Waxman 6th pick: Killian Hayes, SG, Germany: The star from France could show some potential in Atlanta, especially in the backcourt with Trae Young.

7. The Detroit Pistons have been on a swing throughout the past couple of decades. Many trades, signings, and releases have made their organization one of the most in the NBA. After they traded away their All-Star big man Andre Drummond, they still have Blake Griffin, but they are looking like a mess. A 31-year-old power forward/center is not the best for a team that is looking to make great moves. Since they have only Blake Griffin as their star, guards and small forwards are a big need.  There is one person that the Pistons are looking forward to for him to drop all the way down to him, his name is Onyeka Okongwu. He will make

Onyeka Okungwu celebrating after a shot. The Pistons are looking forward to him at 7 if he falls. (Photo courtesy of abc7.com)

this team better in all ways possible. In the paint, he is one of the best big men I have seen in a long time. The Pistons want to be a playoff team in the next couple of years, but salary, age, and free agency may make it difficult. They can at least begin to build through this year’s draft.
Reid Waxman 7th pick: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC: This kid is one of the best prospects I have seen in a long time in terms of big men, and he could really help out the Pistons.
Jackson Zentner 7th pick: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC: He plays like a power forward, but can also dominate in the paint.

8. The Knicks franchise has been in a free fall for the past couple of decades. They can’t expect R.J Barrett, the young star of their team, to lead them to the playoffs. Last year it seemed as if they were trying to tank, but they ended up with the third pick instead of the first, getting Barrett instead of number 1 overall pick Zion Williamson who went to the New Orleans Pelicans. In free agency, they lost out on PG  Kyrie Irving and PF Kevin Durant, both of whom went to the Nets, their rival team. This past year, the Knicks missed the playoffs and could have used one or both of those stars to not only make a playoff push, but attract other high-profile players to New York. Many players in this draft have the talent to go high, but with injuries, he has dropped a little bit, but injuries don’t affect him, with R.J. Hampton. Him on this team would be scary, with his abilities to shoot, dunk, and defense is crazy, and could help this team out a lot.  Having the eighth pick really could help them and they are in need of guards, and a power forward, since R.J Barrett and Mitchell Robinson are the only real offensive weapons they have at this point.
Reid Waxman 8th pick: R.J. Hampton, PG, Australia: His skill is very rare for a point guard as he plays like a small forward. This is the prospect the Knicks want.
Jackson Zentner 8th pick: R.J. Hampton, PG, Australia: He has amazing handles and can also play forward and guard.

9. The Washington Wizards are on the downswing as John Wall, PG,  has regressed and Bradley Beal, SG, is looking to get traded. They are also way over the salary cap, and need to get that fixed. Washington has too many players on its bench that are overpaid on cap, such as Ian Mahinmi with 23.1 million, Davis Bertans with 14.3 million, and many other people who are just way over what they are supposed to be paid comparing the money to their skill on the basketball court. Also, signing is very hard for them, they don’t have the best free agency destinations as a place in Washington D.C, and their cap room is way over the limit, Before getting players on their team, they need to work on that. Defense is big for this team, but a small forward is a good fit for them, and Patrick Williams is those two traits. His defense is lockdown and can really make this team finally a playoff team. This team is in need of a very good forward and/or center and this year’s draft class has plenty of them, so the Wizards should be able to find a solid pick in the eight spots.
Reid Waxman 9th pick: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State: He has great defensive instincts and plays hard.
Jackson Zentner 9th pick: Tyreese Halliburton, PG, Iowa State: He is a beast if he gets a 1-on-1 play.

10. The Suns ended this past season on a hot streak (pun intended) by going 8-0 in the bubble, but it still wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs. On November 16, the Suns orchestrated a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder to land 10-time all-star Chris Paul, adding him to the scary backcourt next year along with Devin Booker. Since Booker can play shooting guard, Paul will be the point guard, which allowed the Suns to trade away Ricky Rubio, their backup point guard, and Kelly Oubre, their starting small forward. They really need help in the front court, and if they make the right pick, they could be a playoff team next year.
Reid Waxman 10th pick: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn: The Suns would have to draft their most needed position, small forward, and Isaac Okoro would be the right pick if he’s still available.
Jackson Zentner 10th pick: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State: He is one of the best defenders in this draft class.

The future of the NBA is close at hand, and the fortune of so many teams will be determined. We will see how it all goes down on November 18 during the 2020 NBA Draft. Tune in to watch beginning at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN or the Watch ESPN app.