With the Knicks possessing three top-40 picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, we looked at who could be available for the ‘Bockers in our (now-annual) mock draft.
The real draft may have gone through numerous delays, but the The Knicks Wall’s Mock Draft experienced no such thing.
In the spirit of this enigmatic event, the mock had twists and turns, including our favorite piece of a mock draft: fake trades!
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
Anthony Edwards, shooting guard, Georgia: Had the Phoenix Suns not gone undefeated in the bubble, I would have pushed hard for a possible Devin Booker deal. Without a viable trade coming to mind, I went with the player with the highest upside in the draft. Edwards steps into a great situation with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell allowing him to play pressure-free as the tertiary scorer, which could allow him to flex that potential.
2. Golden State Warriors
LaMelo Ball, point guard, Illawarra (NBL): Is LaMelo the cleanest fit with the Splash Brothers plus Draymond? Absolutely not. That title would belong to one of Avdija, Onyeka Okongwu, or Isaac Okoro, but Bob Myers here gets the highest-profile guy (read: highest-value trade chip), who could, if they decide to keep him, play off-ball due to his size and shooting potential. With Steph, LaMelo, and Klay in the backcourt, it’s even possible Golden State tries to trade Draymond for someone who fits the long-term vision a little better while Green still has positive value.
3. Charlotte Hornets
James Wiseman, center, Memphis: With center as an upgradable position, the Hornets grab the best frontcourt prospect in the draft and add him to P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges.
— Quentin Haynes
4. Chicago Bulls
Deni Avdija, forward, Maccabi Tel Aviv: The Jim Boylen era is over and a fresh start is needed. While the Bulls are locked in to a fairly set roster of players they are paying or spent high draft picks on, a playmaker like Avdija can always help. Especially with a potential Lauri Markkanen deal around the corner, a flexible two-way player is exactly what they need to complement their young roster.
5. Phoenix Suns (TRADE)
Details: Cleveland trades the fifth overall pick to Phoenix for the 10th pick, Kelly Oubre Jr., and the Suns’ 2022 second-round pick.
Killian Hayes, point guard, ratiopharm Ulm: Losing Oubre hurts, but he’s an expiring contract who could command a decent payday in the summer of 2021, and the Suns seemed to unlock things in the bubble with the shooting of a Devin Booker/Mikal Bridges/Cam Johnson three-wing unit.
So while this trade stings in the short term, the chance to get a high-level two-way point guard of the future to learn under Rubio until his time comes to ascend into the starting lineup (Rubio on an expiring contract in 2021–22 would also be a decent trade chip for a team looking to shore up its guard rotation).
Hayes offers great defense beside Booker, and can play either on or off the ball on offense, provided they clean up his catch-and-shoot mechanics.
6. Atlanta Hawks
Isaac Okoro, forward, Auburn: I was tempted to go with Tyrese Haliburton, who I think would be a really good fit with Trae Young in some ways, but I worried too much about guard defense. Hali, while being a talented defender, is scrawny and easy to plow through or blow by. So this is both a vote of confidence in Okoro becoming a decent shooter and Cam Reddish continuing his development as a high-level 3-and-D wing. Between Reddish and Okoro, there’s a ton of defense, but more importantly, a ton of secondary playmaking that could unlock Trae’s most underutilized elite skill: off-ball shooting.
7. Detroit Pistons
Obi Toppin, power forward, Dayton: The Pistons need just about everything at the moment, but they also need to fill an arena. With Blake Griffin in and out of the lineup, Toppin’s ability for highlight dunks and big blocks gives Detroit a player to sell from day one.
8. New York Knicks
Devin Vassell, forward, Florida State: Not every pick can be a home run. With years of strikeouts on the Knicks’ resume, a base hit is long overdue.
Devin Vassell is a solid pick with nice upside that is fairly safe as far as being a competent NBA player goes, and that is something the Knicks surely need. His shooting and defensive capabilities are two things the Knicks need to surround R.J. Barrett with. Vassell appears to be a perfect complement for the young core in place.
9. Washington Wizards
Onyeka Okongwu, center, USC: The Wizards have the pieces to be decent next season if John Wall is fully healed. Rui Hachimura’s rookie season should give the Wizards reason to believe they could be competitive. Onyeka Okongwu not only fills a post-presence need, he is a player who fits a win-now situation.
10. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Phoenix)
Patrick Williams, forward, Florida State: Cleveland is a relatable loser with basic needs: talent. Kelly Oubre gives them an immediate boost in the scoring department and Patrick Williams gives them a player oozing with two-way potential. The Cavaliers have more building to do, which will give Williams time to turn into a man-child by the time the team is ready to be good again.
(The Cavs traded the fifth overall pick to the Suns for no. 10, Oubre, and a future second-rounder, to recall.)
11. San Antonio Spurs
Aleksej Pokusevski, power forward, Olympiacos Piraeus: The Spurs feel stuck in the middle with their top two players being over the age of 30, but also have a plethora of young wings on the roster. Poku gives San Antonio a high upside big man who could grow with the young wings in the coming seasons.
12. Orlando Magic (TRADE)
Details: Sacramento trades the 12th pick and Buddy Hield to Orlando for the 15th pick and Aaron Gordon.
Tyrese Haliburton, guard, Iowa State: A bit of a challenge trade as Orlando has several defensive-minded talents, but no real floor-spacer alongside them. Hield doubles as an elite shooter and an offensive hub to work around the likes of Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac.
Haliburton makes sense with Jon Hammond’s length and defensive ethos. Haliburton can play on and off the ball, space the floor, and provide Orlando a talent floor-raiser moving forward.
13. New Orleans Pelicans
Aaron Nesmith, guard/forward, Vanderbilt: I love the possibility of J.J. Redick mentoring Aaron Nesmith. The Vanderbilt sharpshooter was connecting on an unfathomable 52.2% from deep. He is a pure scorer that will keep the defense from packing the paint against Zion or keying in on Brandon Ingram.
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis)
Cole Anthony, point guard, UNC: Boston’s affinity for smaller, volume scoring guards is no secret. Their last three guards have been Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. Could Cole be next in line? Kemba is a great player, but Cole could represent a buy-low candidate to eventually be a cheaper replacement down the line. If any team is going to extract peak value from the one-time lead prospect, Boston seems like that team.
15. Sacramento Kings (via Orlando)
Saddiq Bey, small forward, Villanova: Needing to move off of Buddy Hield was the number one priority for the non–Vlade Divac Kings helmed by Monte McNair. Aaron Gordon has upside and would theoretically pair nicely with Marvin Bagley Jr. in the frontcourt. Saddiq Bey can fill some of three-point shooting missing from Hield but add a little more defense and offensive versatility.
(Sacramento traded the 12th pick and Hield for no. 15 and Gordon, to recall.)
16. Portland Trail Blazers
Josh Green, shooting guard, Arizona: The Trail Blazers’ eternal search for a dominant wing to play along Dame and C.J. is not stopping any time soon. With a frontcourt of Nurkic/Collins they are solid if those two can stay healthy. They’ve added bench scoring and three-point shooting in young guys such as Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. Josh Green would be a great 3-and-D wing to accompany their current roster.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn)
Tyrese Maxey, point guard, Kentucky: This is another reason to go Edwards over LaMelo. Tyrese Maxey isn’t much of a downgrade from Ball—and might end up being better. Maxey’s two-way playing style and underrated shooting potential would make this a home run pick for Minnesota, and give Towns every reason to want to stay put.
18. Dallas Mavericks
Kira Lewis Jr., point guard, Alabama: Luka showed this year how far he can take a team with minimal other playmakers, but in the end, he just needs help. Lewis could offer a change of pace that would open things up for an already dominant Mavs offense. The two could run the team similarly to the Harden/Westbrook pairing, where Harden played slow and destroyed in the halfcourt and Westbrook destroyed in the full-court (in the regular season at least). Lewis is also a good shooter off the catch, which is a must on a team with Luka controlling the ball.
19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia)
Precious Achiuwa, power forward, Memphis: If Brooklyn decides to pursue a third star, Jarrett Allen will be involved in a trade. If so, Achiuwa could come in and offer similar value as a defensive player, plus provide an extra element as a passer.
20. Miami Heat
Jaden McDaniels, forward, Washington: If any team is going to maximize a player like Jaden McDaniels, it is the Miami Heat. When you have the luxury of being as successful as they have been with young players on their current roster, they are able to take a risk on a high upside guy like McDaniels.
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC)
Tyrell Terry, point guard, Stanford: This is pretty simple. The Sixers need shooting and someone to play point guard. Terry kills two birds with one stone and gives Ben Simmons the ideal player to fill the point guard position. Simmons remains the initiator and allows Terry to do what he does best: shoot.
22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston)
R.J. Hampton, guard, New Zealand Breakers: Gary Harris’ defensive value is clear, but his struggles on the other end have been downright painful to watch. Hampton isn’t exactly known as a shooter, but he’s been working with great shooters for months, and is the type of “high-profile player whose value dropped” swing that Denver took on Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol. The Nuggets need more transition threats for Jokic to hit on outlets, and R.J. Hampton is one of the better transition players in the class.
23. Utah Jazz
Desmond Bane, shooting guard, TCU: Money is beginning to shift in Utah. Between Rudy Gobert and the dilemma of his max contract, Mike Conley’s expiring contract, and Donovan Mitchell’s pending max contract, the Jazz will need to find guys who can come and provide value right away. Bane does that as a shooter, defender, and secondary creator.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder (TRADE)
Details: Milwaukee (via Indiana) trades the 24th pick along with Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Ersan Ilyasova, Robin Lopez, and Donte DiVincenzo for Chris Paul.
Jalen Smith, power forward, Maryland: The Bucks have to make a serious move to appease Giannis Antetokounmpo. Trading for Chris Paul does that. On paper it seems like a lot, but Donte DiVincenzo is the only player with which the Bucks are really parting. Paul in place of Eric Bledsoe makes the Bucks considerably better.
For OKC, Jalen Smith being around is reason enough to celebrate. His shooting and rebounding will make him a great fit alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the Thunder should finally begin their rebuild.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver)
Leandro Bolmaro, shooting guard, FC Barcelona: Like I just said, the Thunder will finally begin their rebuild. That means they can afford to take a stash player and Leandro Bolmaro. The numbers are too insignificant to take into account, but the tape shows a slashing playmaker who could develop into a real piece.
26. Boston Celtics
Robert Woodward, small forward, Mississippi State: I had planned on taking Bolmaro to stash him overseas, as the Celtics already have more players than they know what to do with. But with Bolmaro going to OKC and no trade offers on the table, the Celtics double down on rangy wings with good team defense and some shot potential.
27. New York Knicks (via L.A. Clippers)
Isaiah Joe, shooting guard, Arkansas: Isaiah Joe is a horizontal spacer who can get hot and score very quickly. He is exactly the kind of player the Knicks should be looking for here, continuing the trend of surrounding Barrett and Mitchell Robinson with shooters. Isaiah Joe at the very least will be able to put the ball in the bucket. The Knicks should be looking to acquire shooting like his wherever available.
28. Los Angeles Lakers
Grant Riller, guard, Charleston: Assuming LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain on the roster, Los Angeles needs guys who can play around their gravity. Riller can not only space the floor, but his ability to create can add an extra element in Los Angeles’ role player group.
29. Toronto Raptors
Isaiah Stewart, power forward, Washington: Similar to Stewart’s teammate Jaden McDaniels to the Heat, there are few franchises better designed to help him succeed than the Raptors. The Raptors have an aging frontcourt of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, who may be gone as of this offseason. They also have a coaching staff and culture proven to help develop players to fit their system. Stewart has potential to be a very good big, and should be a high energy guy. The Raptors are in the perfect place to help him become both.
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee)
Theo Maledon, point guard, ASVEL: Taking Maledon here represents a value play more than anything. Maledon is a big combo guard who can really shoot the ball, and if he’s still available at 30, he’s a bit of a steal. Between Cole and Maledon, the Celtics would suddenly have one of the best shooting bench-guard pairs in the league.
31. Dallas Mavericks (via Golden State)
Zeke Nnaji, center, Arizona: Nnaji is a seven-footer who once won the Iverson Classic three-point contest. He offers a roll threat for Doncic as well as another pick-and-pop option. While he and KP would be an extremely scrawny frontcourt, they have enough versatility on both ends to even play together for stretches.
32. Charlotte Hornets (via Cleveland)
Nico Mannion, point guard, Arizona: Charlotte loves big school guys and, if Mannion falls this far, I can see the Hornets popping him and figuring it out later. While he lacks ideal defensive tools and size, Mannion has all the tools to be a solid backup point guard who can space the floor.
33. Minnesota Timberwolves
Tyler Bey, small forward, Colorado: Minnesota keeps adding pieces that can come in and have an impact. Tyler Bey is a defensive menace who will free up his prominent teammates to focus more on scoring and less on worrying about the opposing team’s best player. If Bey can become a modest shooter from deep, then Minnesota comes away big winners on draft night with an exciting core of talent.
34. Philadelphia 76ers (via Atlanta)
Jahmi’us Ramsey, shooting guard, Texas Tech: More shooting for a team that desperately needs it. Jahmi’us Ramsey is a good bad shot shooter, which could provide value in the cluttered mess Elton Brand has built. Ramsey will certainly find work in Philly.
35. Sacramento Kings (via Detroit)
Killian Tillie, center, Gonzaga: If not for injuries, you could talk me into Killian Tillie as a top 10 pick. That sort of value at this point in the draft is well worth the risk. The Kings have young pieces to build around but are still trying to accumulate talent. Tillie is the kind of player who, if he stays healthy, could be an absolute steal—and shine in an offense with De’Aaron Fox.
36. Philadelphia 76ers (via New York)
Tre Jones, point guard, Duke: This is more of a best player available pick. Tre Jones is a solid player and good defender who can develop into a leader off the bench. The Sixers could look to move this pick in a package for a veteran player, but if they keep it, Jones would be a nice option for a team in desperate need of a good bench.
37. Washington Wizards (via Chicago)
Cassius Winston, point guard, Michigan State: The uncertainty around John Wall will always exist with the laundry list of problems he has had. Having a smart player of Winston’s caliber is good security. Winston is a first-round talent and the rare four-year player. Winston’s outside shooting and smart decision making could make him Wall’s backup from day one.
38. New York Knicks (via Charlotte)
Devon Dotson, point guard, Kansas: Regardless what happens this offseason, it is clear that point guard is a top priority for the Knicks. While they can and likely will pursue that position in free agency or trades, a young point guard is an important piece going forward. Devon Dotson would be a useful scoring guard off the bench. He could fill the role Allonzo Trier once held, and replace that capability for Damyean Dotson (no relation) if he does leave this offseason.
39. New Orleans Pelicans (via Washington)
Paul Reed, power forward, DePaul: Taking a balanced approach in building around Ingram and Williamson. Paul Reed has the tools to be an absolute terror on defense, and given time he could be a decent contributor on offense. His first order would be as a defensive enforcer off the bench, a role Reed is more than capable of filling.
40. Memphis Grizzlies (via Phoenix)
Xavier Tillman, center, Michigan State: Jaren Jackson Jr. is such a versatile big man that you can add another talented big man around him and make it work. Tillman is an underrated prospect for his ability to do a bit of everything on defense. The trio of Jackson, Brandon Clarke and Tillman could spell trouble for teams defensively.