Welcome to ZU Media’s ultimate 2020 NBA mock draft

Tonight, the 2020 NBA Draft will be happening live. With the league’s tentative schedule officially releasing — penciling in the transaction moratorium, draft night, and free agency all in the same week — this will be one of the busiest weeks in NBA offseason history.  And considering everything 2020 has put us through, we deserve this.

Currently, LaMelo Ball and James Weisman appear likely to be the first two players off the board. Beyond that, things become much fuzzier down the big board. Based on where things stand currently, here are ZU Media’s projections for all 60 picks.

1. Timberwolves: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks

Height: 6′ 6″ | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 

As of last week, the word out was that Minnesota was leaning toward Edwards. While the Wolves have shown more interest in marketing their pick for the best trade, currently they seem to be stuck with their pick. After another meeting with LaMelo Ball, including a brief work out, the Wolves appear to have their sights on Ball.

Ball has intangibles that are hard to turn away. His size, natural playmaking instincts and creativity with the ball are traits that don’t come often in talent so young. His lackadaisical style, ball dominance and lack of winning history aren’t overtly appealing, however. Ball’s upside is still the highest of this particular draft class, and once paired with D’Angelo Russell and Karl Anthony Towns, Ball will likely implode into immediate fame, for better or for worse. 

2. Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

Height: 7′ 1″ | Weight: 240 | Age: 19 | Freshman

The Warriors are likely to make a deal revolving around their pick. If the dust settles, and they are still with their pick come Wednesday, it is very clear that the Warriors will select James Wiseman.  

Although there was not extensive film on Wiseman’s game, his immense size, footwork and mobility make him an easy pairing with the Warriors’ superstar Stephen Curry in the pick and roll. He also has an immense defensive ceiling that is almost a perfect puzzle piece to the Steve Kerr motion puzzle. The Warriors do not need a pick that is going to open the season as a star. They have three of those already. Instead, they need a role player who can anchor their defense and make layups. Wisemen checks both of those boxes. 

3. Hornets: Killian Hayes, PG, Ulm (France)

Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 185 | Age: 19

Trade transactions play a big part in the Hornets’ needs ahead of draft night. Charlotte has been in talks with the Houston Rockets about acquiring former MVP, Russell Westbrook. If that trade goes through, the likelihood of the Hornets drafting a point guard is slim. If that trade does not go through, then the Hornets are looking at Killian Hayes as their pick. 

The Terry Rozier project hasn’t proven to be a productive venture, bringing the need for Westbrook. With Devonte Graham developing into a reliable scorer the Hornets will need a playmaking guard to anchor their offense. Hayes, though in need of polishing, is the next best playmaker behind Ball. He has a high skill level and stands at 6’5 as a point guard. 

4. Bulls: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Freshman

The Bulls are in dire need of players to compliment Coby White and Zach LaVine – though there is buzz that LaVine could very well be traded by the draft. Lavine and White easily space out the floor, while Otto Porter fleshes out the perimeter with glimpses of shooting and high-level defense. This leaves the Bulls with an array of holes to fill on their bench. While a forward or even a center would help, a guard off the bench is the most pressing concern when looking at the scope of the league. 

Edwards has a strong case as the best prospect in the draft, possessing size, athleticism and a promising jumpshot. He also is reminiscent of Andrew Wiggins in regards to his consistent interest, which can prove to be a deterrent for franchises needing a starting wing. If LaVine is still in the picture, which is very strong, Edward will be able to play behind a veteran and learn the intangibles it takes to be a pro.

5. Cavaliers: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)

Height: 6′ 8″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 19

The Cavaliers roster will likely look much different on draft night, as they have been in talks with a variety of teams regarding their big men Kevin Love and Andre Drummond. There is consensus that the Cavs will look to find a versatile wing who can play some stretch four, which is similar to Love’s role within their system. These needs make it quite clear that Deni Avdija and Obi Toppin are their top choices. While Toppin had plenty of eyes on him from his time at Dayton, Avdija gets the nod here.

His playmaking potential and comfort playing on the perimeter compliments the Cavs’ young guards, Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, naturally. 

Avdija has the upside to evolve into an oversize playmaker if he is able to develop his promising passing skills. Avdija shoots the ball well enough to stretch defenses, and he’s a quality downhill playmaker who can comfortably get into the lane and make the right pass if help arrives. If his defense proves passable, he can easily develop into a young star similar to that of Kristaps Porzingis.

6. Hawks: Patrick Williams, F, Florida State

Height: 6′ 8″ | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Freshman 

The Hawks are in active trade talks in regard to this pick. If they are still with their pick on Wednesday night, there is a consensus that Patrick Willaims will be their pick.

Williams lacks NBA skill, right now, but has the frame and defensive production to develop into a strong two-way guard. He will be a project for whichever team takes him, which contributes to the Hawks trade ambitions but has the potential to be a strong role player in the coming years.

7. Pistons: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC

Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 235 | Age: 19 | Freshman

The Pistons have shown interest in Patrick Williams, but there’s a real chance he’ll be off the board by this stage in the draft. Also, the Pistons have worked out LaMelo Ball recently, sparking talks to trade up. Assuming this doesn’t happen, the Pistons are then left to match a big with their star Blake Griffin. The best big man left is Oneyka Okongwu.

Okongwu’s defensive-minded style and mobility make him a desirable piece in this year’s draft. He allows teams to work with faster lineups without giving up their edge at the rim defensively. His offensive game is a work in progress, but paired with Griffin, he won’t need too much of an offensive arsenal – similar to DeAndre Jordan’s tenure with Griffin in Los Angeles.

8. Knicks: Obi Toppin, F/C, Dayton

Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 220 | Age: 22 | RS Sophomore

While there is a serious chance that the Cavaliers pick Obi Toppin with the No. 5 pick, sources have linked Toppin to the Knicks. Toppin’s guard-like attributes make him an easy fit with the Knicks young core of RJ Barret and Mitchell Robinson. His inside-out scoring ability would make him an immediate Rookie of the Year candidate. On the other hand, his footspeed and lack of size at his position raise questions about his defensive translation into the league. 

9. Wizards: Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State

Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 175 | Age: 20 | Sophomore

Haliburton would be hard to pass up for Washington. With John Wall returning and Bradley Beal coming off of his best season as a pro, Haliburton’s intuitive passing and ability to space the floor are immediate calling cards for this Wizards team. The Wizards have more pressing needs at the center and wing, needing defensive-minded players to take on rim protection and perimeter defense, but will likely look for a vet to fill those imperative roles. Washington is also open to moving back in the draft and could shop this pick accordingly.

10. Suns: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

Height: 6′ 6″ | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Freshman

With the Suns losing defensive guard Kelly Oubre in the Chris Paul trade, they are in need of a defensive guard. Okoro is one of the top on-ball defenders in the draft, with impressive strength and balance that allows him to stay with a variety of players on the perimeter. While his jump shot has posed questions, resulting in his draft stock falling in recent weeks, Okoro has shown to be a solid passer. Paired with Chris Paul and Devin Booker, he will be a very solid role player.

11. Spurs: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

12. Kings: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

13. Pelicans: Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova

14. Celtics (from Grizzlies): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

15. Magic: Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Memphis

16. Trail Blazers: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

17. Timberwolves (from Nets): Aaron Nesmith, G/F, Vanderbilt

18. Mavericks: Killian Tillie, PF, Gonzaga

19. Nets (from 76ers): Aleksej Pokusevski, F, Olympiacos (Serbia)

20. Heat: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

21. 76ers (from Thunder): Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford

22. Nuggets (from Rockets): Jalen Smith, C, Maryland

23. Knicks (from Jazz): Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke

24. Bucks (from Pacers): Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State

25. Thunder (from Nuggets): Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington

26. Celtics: Leandro Bolmaro, G, Barcelona (Argentina)

27. Jazz (from Knicks): Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)

28. Thunder (from Lakers):  Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State

29. Raptors: Desmond Bane, SG, TCU

30. Celtics (from Bucks): Junior Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina


31. Mavericks (from Warriors): Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State

32. Hornets (from Cavaliers): Josh Green, SG, Arizona

33. Timberwolves: Tyler Bey, F, Colorado

34. 76ers (from Hawks): Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas

35. Kings (from Pistons): Tre Jones, PG, Duke

36. 76ers (from Knicks):  Zeke Nnaji, F/C, Arizona

37. Wizards (from Bulls): Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon

38. Jazz (from Knicks): Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky

39. Pelicans (from Wizards): Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona

40. Grizzlies (from Suns): Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville

41. Spurs: Robert Woodard, F, Mississippi State

42. Pelicans: Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota

43. Kings: Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas

44. Bulls (from Grizzlies): Jahmius Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

45. Magic: Paul Reed, F/C, DePaul

46. Blazers: Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas

47. Celtics (from Nets): Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke

48. Warriors (from Mavericks): Skylar Mays, G, LSU

49. 76ers: Sam Merrill, SG, Utah State

50. Hawks (from Heat): Grant Riller, G, Charleston

51. Warriors (from Jazz): Yam Madar, PG, Hapoel Tel Aviv

52. Kings (from Rockets): Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse

53. Thunder: Kaleb Wesson, C, Ohio State

54. Pacers: Reggie Perry, F/C, Mississippi State

55. Nets (from Nuggets): Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky

56. Hornets (from Celtics): Josh Hall, SF, Moravian Prep

57. Clippers: Mason Jones, SG, Arkansas

58. 76ers (from Lakers): Paul Eboua, F, Pesaro

59. Raptors: Marko Simonovic, C, Mega Bemax

60. Pelicans (from Bucks): Nate Hinton, G/F, Houston