The 2020 NBA Draft will be predictable due to reaches and prospects sliding. For the Knicks, it means capitalizing on opportunity. This is the second mock for TKW.
The second edition of The Knicks Wall’s mock draft features a shake-up for our four contributors (Nick Carannante, Mike Cortez, Eli Cohen, and Quentin Haynes) with each writer receiving a new set of teams and picks.
This time around we saw the Knicks make a move, dealing their later picks to move up in the first round of the NBA draft.
Besides that spoiler, there were a few more surprises in selecting the top 40 picks of the 2020 NBA Draft.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
LaMelo Ball: This is a draft with more questions than usual, which makes the job of the Timberwolves especially tough. I do not personally love the fit of any realistic top pick for the T-Wolves, so I kept it simple: take the best player. Not only do I think LaMelo is the most talented prospect from this NBA draft, but maybe more importantly for the Wolves, he has far and away the highest trade value. That is something to keep in mind, because whether the Wolves end up using this pick to draft or not, they may still be looking to trade it later in the night.
— Nick Carannante
2. Golden State Warriors
Isaac Okoro: I channeled my inner Costanza a bit here. Still, the Warriors are indeed in the market for an athletic wing that can take advantage of the incomparable spacing Steph Curry and Klay Thompson offer. Okoro can become Baby Iggy with the potential for much more.
— Mike Cortez
3. Atlanta Hawks (TRADE)
Details: Charlotte trades the third pick for Atlanta’s Cam Reddish, the sixth overall pick, and a top-five protected 2021 first-round pick.
Anthony Edwards: Anthony Edwards getting to stay home was almost as big a selling point as pairing him up with Trae Young is. Edwards is a gifted player with flaws, vision being one of them. Allowing Trae to worry about running the offense will free Edwards up to focus on his key strength, scoring.
Trading Cam wasn’t an easy call, but there is enough redundancy with De’Andre Hunter and Kevin Huerter that Atlanta could roll the dice.
4. Chicago Bulls
Killian Hayes: Despite a strong end to his rookie campaign, Coby White feels like a combo guard as opposed to the creative point guard the Bulls need. Hayes is a two-way point guard option who can handle and create—just as well as he can defend. An ideal backcourt partner for Zach LaVine, he gives Chicago multiple options for their backcourt moving forward.
— Quentin Haynes
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
James Wiseman: The future of the Cleveland Cavaliers is certainly unclear, however, they have taken ball-dominant guards the last couple of years. So, it would only make sense to take a big to pair with them. James Wiseman is widely considered the top big in this draft, and if the Cavs could take him at no. 5, it would be a huge win for them.
6. Charlotte Hornets (via Atlanta)
Onyeka Okongwu: I was all set to take Isaac Okoro at no. 3 until Golden State threw a wrench in the plan by grabbing him at two. I didn’t love the fit with Anthony Edwards, but was about to take him when in swooped the Hawks with a deal I couldn’t refuse. Cam Reddish is coming off an underrated rookie year where he showed promise as a 3-and-D wing, which is perfect next to Devonte’ Graham.
Trading back to six allowed me to snap Okongwu, who should pair beautifully with P.J. Washington. What happens with Miles Bridges remains to be seen, but in one move, the Hornets addressed two major positions of need while adding what could be a very valuable pick in next year’s stacked NBA draft.
(The Hornets traded the third pick for no. 6, Cam Reddish, and a protected 2021 first-rounder, to recall.)
— Eli Cohen
7. Detroit Pistons
Deni Avdija: Deni or Devin—that was the question. This was a tough one, but on a team with so few creators, I felt Avdija offered greater upside. Avdija will never be a primary creator, but he has more likelihood to be effective with the ball in his hands than Vassell does. Do I feel amazing about this pick? No. Could the Pistons do better if the board shook out this way? I’m not sure they could.
8. New York Knicks
Kira Lewis Jr.: A slight reach at no. 8? Lewis’ combination of speed and ball handling is a perfect development play for a New York team that needs a point guard of the future. As he grows into a better defender and shooter, the Knicks could be looking at a John Wall–type point guard to go with R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.
9. Washington Wizards
Obi Toppin: This would be an example of the Wizards sticking to the status quo. Obi Toppin would certainly not help their bottom of the league defense, but he would be a fun addition to a team that plays with a top-five pace in the NBA.
10. Phoenix Suns
Tyrese Maxey: The other Tyrese could have gone here, too. I rolled with Maxey over Haliburton mainly for Maxey’s willingness to venture inside the three-point line. The Suns could add more snipers around Booker later—at 10 they should add a player who can shoot, drive, and lock up on defense.
11. San Antonio Spurs
Devin Vassell: This would be something of a dream outcome for the Spurs, a team that could conceivably extract the most shot-creation possible out of Vassell, who unexpectedly slipped to them. With Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt and Jakob Poetl manning the 5, the Spurs would have an absolutely lockdown core moving into the post-DeRozan/Aldridge era.
12. Sacramento Kings
Patrick Williams: The Kings are all over the place, but they could use a Swiss army knife like Patrick Williams, who can play alongside Marvin Bagley and provide defensive cover. Williams’ combination of upside defensively and shooting makes him a long-term play for a Sacramento team that lacks some star power outside of De’Aaron Fox
13. New Orleans Pelicans
Jalen Smith: The Pelicans are a young team that are still looking for the right pieces to fit together. They took Jaxson Hayes with the eighth pick last year, but with their long-term success hinging on Zion Williamson, it does not hurt to take an additional potential running mate for Zion. Jalen Smith is a fluid big with a nice jumper that would complement Zion perfectly.
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis)
Aleksej Pokusevski: Boston is well-stocked with talent that they can afford to stash a project with a high ceiling. Imagine two years from now when Jayson Tatum is comfortably a top-three player in the league, Poku comes into the mix doing stuff a seven-footer has no business doing. Brad Stevens’ head might explode at the possibilities of having a point-center.
15. Orlando Magic
R.J. Hampton: I know what you’re thinking: another shaky shooting, super-athletic young guy in Orlando? But it fits the M.O. John Hammond has displayed since back in his Milwaukee days, plus Evan Fournier only has one year left on his deal. Markelle Fultz and Hampton would be a huge, athletic backcourt, and if even just one of them could figure out how to shoot, they could be seriously fun.
16. Portland Trail Blazers
Aaron Nesmith: Portland bets on Nesmith’s shooting to play alongside the likes of Lillard and McCollum. Much like Gary Trent Jr., the selection of Nesmith is to take an elite skill and hope to play up the other skills as he develops. Nesmith lacks an ideal second skill, but he’ll get on the floor with his elite outside shooting and contribute to Portland’s rotation right away.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn)
Tyrese Haliburton: Similarly to the first overall pick, this is less about fit and more about talent. The Timberwolves are a very interesting case as a young team that will be trying to compete immediately. Which is why it makes sense to take the best player available to benefit the team on the court, as well as a potential trade piece. Haliburton is a top-10 talent in this draft, and if he were to fall to the Wolves here, they would be more than happy to take the risk and make the fit work later.
18. Dallas Mavericks
Tyrell Terry: Every great player needs help, and Luka Doncic is no exception. All Luka needs is someone to grab rebounds and a flank of shooters armed and ready. Tyrell Terry would fit like a pair of Yeezys alongside Luka. Terry would be able to score more and facilitate less, maximizing the effectiveness he could have early on.
19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia)
Josh Green: Brooklyn has a lot of interesting and interchangeable pieces on the roster, but the one thing they really don’t have is an athletic wing defender. This would be a pretty perfect spot for Green, who would likely only be asked to cut and shoot off spot-ups. If Kevin Durant takes a lot of minutes at the 4, there are paths to playing time on a title contender for the rook.
20. Miami Heat
Jahmi’us Ramsey: The Miami Heat are the kings of development at the moment, and this pick is an upside play. Ramsey gives you a bit of everything as an offensive player, while having solid size defensively. He’s raw, though, so Miami can place him into their incubator—give him a year behind the likes of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro and see what they have.
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC)
Saddiq Bey: What the Sixers need in this draft they have needed for years: shooting. That is exactly what Saddiq Bey would provide them, a 3-and-D player who gives them more wing defense and potentially great shooting from the outside. The Sixers also might appreciate the chance to take another local Philly guy from Villanova after trading Mikal Bridges on draft night two years ago.
22. New York Knicks (TRADE)
Details: Denver trades the 22nd pick to New York for picks 27 and 38.
Desmond Bane: Opting to move up and not risk it, the Knicks grab the best 3-and-D prospect remaining in the draft in Desmond Bane. A good defender who has two straight seasons of 40% shooting from three at TCU, Bane can jump right into New York’s rotation and offer a floor spacer that can help create passing and driving lanes for fellow backcourt mate Barrett.
23. Utah Jazz
Jaden McDaniels: It might sound weird for a guy pegged as a lottery pick coming into the year, but falling to one of the good teams in the 20’s could be the perfect outcome for the rangy wing following his disappointing one-and-done season at Washington. McDaniels has interesting defensive tools and athleticism at 6’10″, as well as some shooting potential. If Utah could mold him into the right kind of player, he could be a perfect complement to Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert in a couple years.
24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana)
Grant Riller: The Milwaukee Bucks need impact players right away and at this point, Riller makes the most sense. He removes some of the ball-handling duties from Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, while also offering a consistent three-point shooting threat in the backcourt. The Bucks could try trading this pick, but if they don’t, Riller makes sense as an instant impact player.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver)
Cole Anthony: The Thunder are one of the most asset-rich teams in the league and there are very few teams with a brighter future. There is no pressure on them to win now, so they can take a risk on talent in the draft. Cole Anthony, for all his flaws, had enough talent to be a theorized top pick in the draft before this season. With such a malleable core piece in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, they have flexibility in building a backcourt, and he would likely complement Cole and muffle his weaknesses. With the assumption being that the Thunder will trade one of if not both Chris Paul and Dennis Schröder, a guard to play with SGA seems likely after all of the success they had this year with their three-guard lineup.
26. Boston Celtics
Tyler Bey: The rich get a little richer here. The Celtics already have formidable perimeter defenders, but you can never have too many of those. Tyler Bey is one of the draft’s old heads, so landing on a contending team feels optimal. There is some 3-and-D potential to Bey and Boston is the perfect place to hone such skills.
27. Denver Nuggets (via New York)
Leandro Bolmaro: Copy and paste what I said for Boston’s Poku selection. Denver is well-positioned to be good for a long time. Leandro Bolmaro is positioned to be a good player eventually. Eventually does not mean next season, which is fine for the Nuggets. They waited for Michael Porter Jr. and now have a third core piece; waiting on Bolmaro could yield similar returns.
(The Nuggets traded no. 22 for picks 27 and 38, to recall.)
28. Los Angeles Lakers
Malachi Flynn: Rajon Rondo might’ve found the fountain of youth in the pivotal Game 6 of the Finals, but the Lakers still need ball handlers moving forward. Caruso is a good player (I almost said “young player” before I remembered he’s the same age as Andre Drummond) but not a floor general. Flynn would give the Lakers another great initiator to run pick-and-rolls with Anthony Davis, and with L.A.’s size all over the court, they’d be able to cover for his one weakness, his diminutive stature.
29. Toronto Raptors
Theo Maledon: The Raptors opt for an upside play in their backcourt. Maledon is a ball of clay with all of the size to be a difference maker on both sides of the ball. His jump shot has improved, but it isn’t consistent. His defense is valuable, being able to defend both backcourt positions. With Kyle Lowry closer and closer to leaving and Fred VanVleet a pending free agent this summer, Maledon gives Toronto a long-term solution to the PG spot.
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee)
Tre Jones: Tre Jones is a solid two-way playmaker who can manage the game while Kemba gets some rest. Jones sharply improved his shooting his second season at Duke, and Brad Stevens can help further that improvement.
31. Dallas Mavericks (via Golden State)
Isaiah Stewart: I love everything about this pick. Even with a healthy Porzingis the Mavericks are Poptarts: soft in the middle. Isaiah Stewart is a brick wall that is solid in just about everything, including cleaning the glass. Stewart will give Luka whatever he needs, and has some untapped potential on offense.
32. Charlotte Hornets (via Cleveland)
Isaiah Joe: Isaiah Joe is one of the best shooters in the class, despite what his percentage might’ve said this year. At 6’5″ with a 6’10″ wingspan, he has really good size for a shooting guard, provided he can fill out and add some more muscle (I think he should be able to). It’s entirely possible that between Joe, Reddish and Okongwu, the Hornets filled out their entire starting five alongside Graham and Washington in this draft (Rozier, in this scenario, would hopefully accept going to the bench once Joe is ready to take over the starting spot). Talk about a big night!
33. Minnesota Timberwolves
Precious Achiuwa: Having gone guard with the two earlier picks for the Wolves, it was only right for them to think a little bigger. Precious is a pretty ideal fit next to KAT as a 4 man. He’s a versatile defender who can benefit from the spacing in the Minnesota offense.
34. Philadelphia 76ers (via Atlanta)
Cassius Winston: The Sixers are another team with a ton of question marks about what their roster will look like next year. Even if they keep their roster the same, it is a question of who their starting “point guard” will be with Doc Rivers at the helm. The Sixers’ backcourt was a real issue for them in the bubble this year, especially after Ben Simmons’ injury. So taking a point guard in the second round and hoping they pan out would be a logical move for Philly here.
35. Sacramento Kings (via Detroit)
Cassius Stanley: Buddy Hield wants out and Bogdan Bogdanovic is a pending restricted free agent this summer. The Sacramento Kings could use another wing prospect in the mix for the foreseeable future, and Stanley is the best on the board. At Duke, he flashed a solid jumper, defensive awareness, and athletic tools. The issue is he offers almost little to no upside as a creator, limiting his upside. Still, with Fox running the show, Stanley can be a 3-and-D option if everything falls into place.
36. Philadelphia 76ers (via New York)
Killian Tillie: As I mentioned earlier, the Sixers need shooting. Both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons benefit from having shooters around them, and Killian Tillie is an elite talent and shooter. While Sixers medical staff doesn’t instill confidence with regard to someone with Tillie’s medical history, his talent and fit are both worth the risk at this pick.
37. Washington Wizards (via Chicago)
Nico Mannion: Similar to the first round, this is a bit of a flashy pick for the Wizards, but one that could be fun. Mannion is a fun player with an exciting offensive game, and similar to Obi Toppin, fits with their current roster construction.
38. Denver Nuggets (via New York)
Jay Scrubb: I’m not sure what exactly Jay Scrubb ends up being, but the Nuggets can afford to check. If developed properly they would add a guard who can flat out get buckets whenever Jamal Murray needs some rest.
(The Nuggets traded no. 22 for picks 27 and 38, to recall.)
39. New Orleans Pelicans (via Washington)
Payton Pritchard: Payton Pritchard is a high-octane offensive player with serious range who can create his own shot at a high level. He would give the Pelicans a bench scorer role that would energize them off the bench.
40. Memphis Grizzlies (via Phoenix)
Devon Dotson: Adding a solid guard who can score at three levels is not the worst use of the 40th overall pick. Dotson gives the Grizzlies more guard depth and offers a well-rounded game.