SLAM’s 2020 NBA Mock Draft

by March 25, 2020

SLAM will be revealing one pick per day. This page will be updated as each pick is announced via our social media channels: @SLAM & @SLAM_HS. Follow along.

Each member of the SLAM Fam was assigned a team to pick for. Below are the results + explanations.

  1. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Anthony Edwards (6-5 Guard, Georgia)

CLASS: Freshman (18 years old)

2019-20 STATS: 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 40% shooting from the field

First things first: The Golden State Warriors are not about to draft a third Splash Brother. Anthony Edwards may not be a great three-point shooter, but that’s arguably the only thing he doesn’t already do at an elite level. As he showed pretty much every night during an SEC Freshman of the Year campaign at Georgia—and as comparisons to Donovan Mitchell, Victor Oladipo, and even Dwyane Wade make clear—the 6-5, 225-pound combo guard has all the tools necessary to be a difference maker in the NBA. With Steph and Klay both in their 30s and coming off major injuries, the Dubs need to be thinking about the backcourt of the future. Edwards could be their next All-Star SG. — Ryan Jones

  1. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: LaMelo Ball (6-8 Guard, Illawarra Hawks of the NBL)

AGE: 19 years old

2019-20 STATS: 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.6 steals, shooting 38% from the field

I’m gonna ignore that this pick adds a third point guard to a young team and just roll with the kid that I think is an incredible talent that any team would be lucky to have. Last we saw of LaMelo, he was a 6-7 point guard who can shoot from deep, put the ball on the floor and make the smart pass. Now I hear he’s sprouted to 6-8, grown into his lanky frame and become a more confident playmaker. That’s tough to pass on, regardless when the pick is being made. I realize this would create a logjam at the PG spot—LaMelo, Collin Sexton and Darius Garland seem unlikely to successfully share the ball—but it gives Cleveland a hell of a group of young players to develop and/or trade for other guys as the next season nears (or in the distant future). — Adam Figman

  1. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES: James Wiseman (7-1 Center, Memphis)

CLASS: Freshman (18 years old)

2019-20 STATS (three games): 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, shooting 77% from the field

Karl-Anthony Towns’ capacity to match imposing physical size with guard-like quickness has proven to be the quality that separates him from many of the League’s bigs. James Wiseman has a skill-set, frame and athletic ability that almost mirrors that of Towns. Wiseman, who left Memphis after just three games, has consistent 20-point, 10-rebound potential written all over him. Pairing a forceful yet talented big man duo with D’Angelo Russell could be the right way to finally bring the Wolves back to the hunt. — Max Resetar

  1. ATLANTA HAWKS: Obi Toppin (6-9 Forward, Dayton)

CLASS: Sophomore (22 years old)

2019-20 STATS: 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, shooting 63% from the field and 39% from three

The 6-9 redshirt sophomore became a SportsCenter regular thanks to his high-flying finishes, but overall was a super-efficient scorer despite a high usage. Prior to the NCAA suspending all remaining games, the Brooklyn native had positioned Dayton as a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Flyers held a 29-2 record—easily the best season in school history.  He was already named National POY by USA Today, CBS Sports, NBC Sports and The Athletic, and is widely considered the front-runner for the prestigious Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year award. Additionally, Toppin was the only unanimous selection for the AP All-America teams. While the Hawks already have John Collins and Clint Capella in the paint, Toppin’s resume is worthy of serious consideration. — Franklyn Calle

  1. DETROIT PISTONS: Deni Avdija (6-9 Forward, Maccabi Tel Aviv)

AGE: 19 years old

2019-20 STATS: 7.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, shooting 51% from the field (19.8 mpg)

Four of the highest ceiling prospects have already come off the board, but the Detroit Pistons can still pocket a valuable building block with this No. 5 pick as they turn to the future. Despite the fact that they already have ambiguously tantalizing combo forward Sekou Doumbouya and breakout stretch Christian Wood, the Pistons should take a long look at 19-year-old utility forward Deni Avdija. Avdija has impressed as a transition quarterback in the Israeli Premier League and looks comfortable enough handling the ball and pulling up from beyond the arc to project as an intriguing offensive option at the next level. Defensively, his length and discipline should help him at least make an impact, but if he’s going to see time at the three, or even at the four, in today’s small ball era, he’ll need to show that he can match NBA speed and athleticism.  — Austin Kent

  1. NEW YORK KNICKS: Cole Anthony (6-3 Guard, North Carolina)

CLASS: Freshman (19 years old)

2019-20 STATS: 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, shooting 38% from the field and 35% from three

This just makes sense for so many reasons. 1) The Knicks continue to search for a consistent playmaker at the point guard position. Cole uses his explosive athleticism to get to the paint and put constant pressure on the defense. Which brings us to 2) The Knicks offense currently ranks 29th in the NBA and they desperately covet scoring. Cole averaged just under 20 points per game for the Tar Heels and, while a solid facilitator, is more aggressive than passive. Right now, the Garden needs that. And, of course, there’s 3) Cole grew up in New York City and his father, Greg Anthony, was a PG for the Knicks from 1991-95, when the team was making deep playoff runs. As long as Cole takes care of the ball and RJ Barrett improves his perimeter shooting, the two could form the backcourt that turns things around for a franchise that hasn’t finished over .500 since 2012-13. — Alex Squadron

  1. CHICAGO BULLS: Tyrese Haliburton (6-5 Guard, Iowa State)

CLASS: Sophomore (20 years old)

2019-20 STATS: 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.5 steals, shooting 50% from the field and 42% from three

The underachieving Bulls showed that they need help in several areas—shooting and defense in particular. Iowa State sophomore point guard Tyrese Haliburton excels in those domains, and then some. Haliburton, who just turned 20, averaged 15.2 points (on 50/42/82 shooting splits), 6.5 dimes, 5.9 boards and 2.5 steals this season. A pass-first playmaker, he would fit perfectly alongside scorers Coby White and Zach LaVine. Standing 6-5 with a crazy wingspan, Haliburton could easily guard positions 1-3, giving Chicago more switch-ability on the perimeter. And not to be overlooked, Haliburton brings great character to a team—lauded by Iowa State coach Steve Prohm for his “winning demeanor.” — Ryne Nelson

The No. 8 pick will be revealed Wednesday, April 1. Stay tuned!