Anthony Edwards. James Wiseman. LaMelo Ball.
Three players in this class that are going to continue to hear their names as a potential number one overall selection for the 2020 NBA Draft. They are all worthy contenders for the top spot. Some out there might think other names should be included in the discussion, but I truly believe that one of the three will set the tone for the entire draft night.
As it stands right now, the order in which you read the names above is our top 3. Now things could change as time progresses. The amazing part of the draft process is that you continue to come back and dive deeper into film study. I can tell you, with confidence, that this is personally one of the most chaotic assortments of lottery prospects that I have witnessed in my entire life. But this draft class isn't as ugly as some might think. While the star power is lacking, I am starting to slowly fall in love with the depth of this class. There are players that offer specific skill sets that NBA teams will covet. There are also players I have projected towards the end of the first and early second round that I believe can become a serious asset to a team's rotation.
But when it comes to Edwards, Wiseman, and Ball...they are the swing players of this draft. Anyone of those three can change everything. A big factor still is in a requirement for the draft...the lottery. It will tell us everything we need to know and the stars will start to align for our glorious mock draft party. The elephant in the room is the Golden State Warriors and will they secure the number one overall selection on draft night. The Warriors find themselves in a fascinating position, as they will have a healthy roster featuring one of the best backcourts in the NBA, as well as a talented defensive anchor in Draymond Green. While some might think that the Warriors will look to add one of these pieces, my money is on the Dubs trying to find a trade partner in order to add another piece to their roster and acquire a lower selection in this year's draft.
So who has the edge when it comes to three names we have mentioned? Well, let's take a deeper look at the projected lottery. As it stands right now if the order were to remain the same...Golden State, Cleveland, Minnesota, Atlanta, and Detroit would round out the top 5.
Currently sitting number one overall on our 2020 Draft Board, Anthony Edwards finds himself as the top wing prospect in this year's class. Edwards is a young, physical, athletic off guard that has a wide range of offensive firepower in his arsenal. But the question moving forward is where does Edwards fit in the projected top 5? At first, I was a big enforcer into the idea of adding Anthony Edwards to the Golden State Warriors roster. I think there's an argument that the Warriors could let the raw wing develop slowly and make him lock-in as a serious contributor on the defensive side of the ball. But as this process has continued...I'm not sure if that's the route that Bob Myers and company will prefer. Cleveland is in dire need of help on the wings and the organization finds itself in talent-acquisition mode. So if Edwards is high on their board, they could go with the best player available and figure out what to do with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland down the road.
Minnesota is an intriguing fit in my opinion. The team acquired Malik Beasley at the trade deadline and the team's President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rossas has stated that the team hopes to lock up Beasley to a long-term deal this offseason. Personally I'm a big believer in Beasley, but I don't think he'd steer the Timberwolves away from adding a young talent like Edwards if given the opportunity. Atlanta seems to be a perfect fit for Edwards, as they can continue to add impressive young talent. That would give the Hawks a young foundation of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, De'Andre Hunter, Josh Collins, Clint Capela, and Edwards. Which sounds like a nice core to develop with a serious amount of talent on the wings. Finally comes Detroit who would gladly love the opportunity to add Edwards to their roster as they find themselves looking to add some firepower to their roster as well. Detroit was looking to move Luke Kennard at the deadline last year, so they could be desiring the idea of adding a talent like Edwards to their starting lineup.
Number two on our board as of now is Memphis big man James Wiseman. Now I get the criticism and doubt about Wiseman as a prospect. Sure, only three games of collegiate film, including two against lower competition, leave some question marks and doubts about his potential at the next level. NBA Front Offices will have to dive into Wiseman's film before his Memphis stint at this point and rely on the scouting of Wiseman during his high school days. The more and more I watch Wiseman the more I believe that NBA personnel will still be drooling over his skill set. Wiseman is a freak at 7'1" 245 pounds with a reported 7'6" wingspan. He also has extreme athleticism and explodes off of the floor. This is a similar argument to the 2018 NBA Draft which saw DeAndre Ayton go first. Teams will always covet the big man that can be a game-changing presence on both sides of the floor.
I'm still a believer that Golden State could look to add Wiseman to the puzzle. If you remember your offseason history, Bob Myers has coveted a player with Wiseman's skill set on a number of occasions. First, he signed DeAndre Jordan to an offer sheet before the Clippers decided to match. Later, the Warriors were close to signing Dwight Howard before deciding to sign Andre Iguodala in free agency. This could be Myers opportunity to add a player that could have a similar impact on both sides of the ball. Can you imagine a better situation for a talent like Wiseman to go into? Cleveland could also look to add Wiseman but with Andre Drummond opting in for his player option this year, I don't love the idea of drafting Wiseman to sit behind Drummond for this argument. As said before, if the Cavaliers front office goes the best player available route, then Wiseman makes sense. Minnesota is intriguing but are you making your franchise player in Karl-Anthony Towns a permanent 4? Sure Wiseman's defensive anchor potential could do wonders in that system and he'd become another lob threat off of P&R opportunities for D'Angelo Russell...but there are some questions there. Atlanta just made a big deadline trade for Clint Capela, so they could be satisfied with a proven commodity and look another route. Finally, we have Detroit, who could absolutely take the opportunity to add Wiseman and have a younger version of Andre Drummond who they just moved in a trade this year.
Rounding out our top three is the ever so popular LaMelo Ball. Now almost everyone should be familiar with the path that Ball has taken to get to this point. Ball spent the last year playing in the NBL of Australia for the Illawarra Hawks. There's no denying that Ball had his number of impressive performances throughout the year, while playing on a team that struggled with overall talent. LaMelo is a fantastic prospect, especially in the eyes of NBA organizations that are in desperate help at the point guard position. Ball has great size for a floor general at 6'7", and has playmaking and overall vision that you simply cannot teach. The question moving forward is his outside shooting. After finishing with a 25.0 3P% this year, teams are going to need to be convinced that Ball's outside shot can come around, much like his brother Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans who faced similar questions. While some might talk themselves into the idea of the Golden State Warriors adding LaMelo to their roster, I'm not buying it. There's too many question marks about the fit and utilization of Ball with that backcourt, and I'm sure Bob Myers and company don't want to try to deal with another D'Angelo Russell experiment like they just experienced. A team like Cleveland could absolutely add LaMelo to their team, but I'm not a fan of the idea. GM Koby Altman has taken lottery point guards in back-to-back Draft's and it would seem that the organization would be better off adding help on the wings in this year's draft.
The problem with the projected top 5 in this year's draft is that you can argue 4 out of the 5 teams are set at the point guard position. So are you drafting LaMelo to be the primary ball-handler and making your ball-dominant guard play away from the ball? Minnesota just acquired D'Angelo Russell from the Warriors at last year's deadline and they look to be ready to give Russell the key to the city at this point. While some might argue that Ball could play alongside Russell, it's important to remember that Russell is often at his best when the ball is in his hands. That leaves us with Atlanta and Detroit for the time being. Now although I've been so strong about keeping Ball away from the previous 3 teams mentioned above, I'm a bit more open to the idea of adding Ball alongside Trae Young. Atlanta is a team with some serious talent on the wings and they are putting together a promising foundation. Trae seems to be a player who could thrive off of the ball, running off of screens, etc. The most promising fit in the Top 5 seems to be Detroit, who is in desperate need of a potential franchise-altering point guard. Ball could come in right away and take over as the man in charge. Of course, the darkhorse team to look at outside of the Top 5 is the New York Knicks, who are currently projected to get the 6th overall selection in the lottery.
A number of things could change come draft night. All eyes will be patiently awaiting the results of the NBA Draft Lottery, which is set to take place on August 25th. There will be a number of names that can be mentioned as potential dark horses to slip into the Top 3 of this draft, including international prospects Deni Avdija (Israel) and Killian Hayes (Germany), as well as National Player of the Year Obi Toppin of Dayton. But when you're looking at the Draft Class, these are the three swing players of this year's draft that could change everything.