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2020 NBA

Grading Every Pick In The 2020 NBA Draft

After a night of surprises and excitement, the 2020 NBA Draft is now behind us. 60 players heard their name called on draft night, and it’s time for me to share my analysis on each one of those selections, starting with the first overall pick

Round 1

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, Guard, Georgia

With the first overall pick in the draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves landed themselves Anthony Edwards. I was a big believer that Minnesota should’ve traded this pick, they were interested in doing so, yet they still didn’t strike a deal. This clearly tells me that there was no offer enticing enough to move down. Edwards was probably the best option when considering talent plus fit here, and Edwards has potential to be a star one day. I still don’t adore this pick, but it was probably the best Minnesota could do.

Grade: B+

2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, Center, Memphis

Similar to Minnesota, I felt like Golden State should’ve moved down. Another similarity to Minnesota, Golden State tried to, but clearly no offer was enticing enough (Although, if the 4th pick + Wendell Carter Jr was really on the table, that should’ve been a no brainer). If you know me, I don’t see Wiseman anywhere near a top three talent, even in this draft class, and I felt like Golden State should’ve gone a different direction here. I believed there were a handful of better prospects, but there’s no denying Wiseman’s potential and the fact that he’s an automatic upgrade at center over what the Warriors already have. With that potential comes the need to untap it, and Golden State can do that with their development staff.

Grade: B-

3. Charlotte Hornets: Lamelo Ball, Guard, Illawarra

Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets grab a box office attraction and arguably the best prospect on the board here in LaMelo Ball. The Hornets do have solid guards such as Devonte Graham, but they don’t have a franchise point guard, or a franchise player for that matter. Well, now they do. LaMelo Ball is in a system that will give him the ball and let him do his thing, and I really like that. I do have my questions on how well Charlotte will develop Ball, but I don’t feel like his bust potential is as grand as others think, and I really like this pick for Charlotte.

Grade: A

4. Chicago Bulls: Patrick Williams, Forward, Florida State

The first surprise of the draft, Chicago takes Patrick Williams here at 4. I didn’t see this as that unlikely, but this was still a surprise nonetheless. Williams is a young prospect with a fairly high floor and ceiling. Although I felt like there were a couple better options for Chicago here, I still don’t despise this selection like many do. Williams is still raw, but Chicago has a great development head coach with the addition of Billy Donovan, and the Bulls aren’t contending this season, which should take some pressure off the 19 year old.

Grade: C+

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro, Forward, Auburn

Some people don’t hate this pick, but I do. Okoro does bring great perimeter defense to the table, but with no offensive skill set to speak of, I was very low on Auburn’s freshman coming into the draft. He will improve Cleveland’s defense, but with such a limited offensive skillset, I see Cleveland regretting this down the line, bigtime.

Grade: D

6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, Big, USC

This pick is a tricky one for me. From a value perspective, it’s not a bad selection at all. In terms of a potential Okongwu-Collins pairing, that would be a great fit if you ask me. With that being said, I’m still not fully sold on Okongwu first and foremost. Second of all, the Hawks already have Clint Capela, a 26 year old center under contract for the next 3 seasons, and he doesn’t compliment a guy like Okongwu on the court. Not to mention, loading up on big men in today’s era isn’t the most effective strategy, especially when you’re a team like Atlanta that still has other holes, such as shooting guard. At the end of the day, I land in the middle with this pick, and I see what Atlanta was going for. Okongwu can start his career off on the bench as he continues to develop his raw skillset. Then, if he pans out, you can always trade or let go of a guy like Capela. But, as I said, I felt as if there were better options for Atlanta here, and I’m still not completely sold on Okongwu, although I still do like him as a prospect.

Grade: B-

7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, Guard, Ratiopharm Ulm

Detroit grabs the best prospect of the draft in my opinion here at pick 7. Even better, Detroit is in dire need of a talent such as Hayes at the guard position. This was an amazing pick by Detroit, and it was absolutely the right one. Killian is going to be able to run the offense and bring some talent to a Pistons roster that really lacks it. As of now, Hayes is the cornerstone of the Detroit Pistons, and they nailed this pick. 

Grade: A+

8. New York Knicks: Obi Toppin, Forward, Dayton

Obi Toppin is coming back home. From a value perspective, I don’t love this pick, and I did feel like there were better prospects on the board. With that being said, I like this for a team like the New York Knicks. Toppin is a fairly safe prospect who’s dunks are going to sell some tickets at Madison Square Garden. With such a poor culture, I like that the Knicks are going with a prospect on the safer side with that type of maturity. Not too mention, New York has been releasing big men such as Taj Gibson to free up room in the frontcourt for a guy like Toppin.

Grade: B-

9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, Forward, Israel

I was pretty surprised to see Avdija fall this far if you want the complete and honest truth. I’m not the biggest Avdija fan, but I like this pick considering the team and draft position. Washington could really use a wing that brings some defense, facilitating, maturity, and promise. Avidja brings all those things to the table. Not too mention, the Wizards have a clear hole at the small forward position, and Avdija helps fill that hole in.

Grade: A-

10. Phoenix Suns: Jalen Smith, Big, Maryland

Out of all the surprises in the top 10, this one takes the cake. Myself, along with many other NBA fans and organizations really liked Jalen Smith, but top 10? Phoenix could use depth at every single position, so this should’ve been either a trade-down or a take the best guy available at 10 type of scenario. The Suns clearly saw Smith as the best guy at 10, but I saw a handful of better prospects here. Smith will be a solid pro, but Phoenix had their fair share of better options here.

Grade: C

11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, Forward, Florida State

Wow, what a great pick from San Antonio here. Vassell is a guy with a really high floor, and very quietly, a pretty high ceiling. At worst, he’s an above average 3&D wing. At best, Vassell turns into a do it all wing who makes plays for himself and his teammates on both ends of the court. This was great value here at 11 for San Antonio, and their stellar development staff has a chance to turn Vassell into something special.

Grade: A

12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Haliburton, Guard, Iowa State

Although we were due to see at least one top prospect fall in the draft, I was a little surprised to see Tyrese Haliburton be that prospect that fell. With that being said, the Sacramento Kings pounced and capitalized on the situation here at 12. With the future of guys like Bogdan Bogdonavic and Buddy Hield up in the air, Sacramento gets themselves a replacement if they both leave. Haliburton is of tremendous value at 12, and him and De’Aaron Fox is a great backcourt pairing for the Kings.

Grade: A

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama

After trading Jrue Holiday away to Milwaukee, the Pelicans turn around and take a guard in Kira Lewis here at 13. I like Kira Lewis at 13 from a value standpoint, and a future backcourt pairing of Kira Lewis and Lonzo Ball isn’t a bad thing at all. They certainly won’t ever be a match made in heaven fit wise, but I like the value here, and New Orleans frankly didn’t have a whole lot of holes to patch up besides grabbing another guard for the future.

Grade: A-

14. Boston Celtics: Aaron Nesmith, Wing, Vanderbilt

As a Celtics fan, this pick gets my stamp of approval. There were definitely a few guys I liked more here, but I’m pleased with Nesmith at 14. He’s the best three point shooter in this draft, and he’ll provide immediate shooting help off the bench, something Boston is in dire need of. If Nesmith can stay healthy and continue to develop on the defensive end of the court, I can definitely see him becoming a starter sooner than later.

Grade: A-

15. Orlando Magic: Cole Anthony, Guard, North Carolina

With the first selection outside of the lottery, Orlando grabs themselves point guard Cole Anthony. Anthony was a projected top three pick before his UNC days, but after battling with injuries and some worrisome inefficiencies, Anthony slid out of the lottery. Overall, I like this pick. Orlando really needs to get a guy they can rely on long term for a guard, and Anthony has the potential to be that guy. With that being said, Orlando needs to improve their spacing around him, or this could end up being UNC all over again.

Grade: B

16. Detroit Pistons: Isaiah Stewart, Center, Washington

After the number 16 overall pick bounced around a few times, the Pistons ultimately ended up making the pick, and they took the throwback bigman out of Washington, Isaiah Stewart. Although Stewart was receiving some buzz around this area, and the Jalen Smith pick at 10 caused big men to slide up the totem pole, I still felt like this was a reach value wise. Not too mention, the Pistons have quite a few bodies in their frontcourt. I don’t love the pick, I can still see Stewart being a nice contributor for Detroit.

Grade: C

17. Oklahoma City Thunder: Aleksej Pokusevski, G/F/C, Serbia

After all the pre-draft chatter about Poku and OKC, the Thunder end up trading up to take their guy, Aleksej Pokusevski. Let me just say, this was a tremendous pick. Poku is a risky prospect, but he has a chance to be the homerun pick of this draft. The Thunder have a nice development staff, which gives me faith. Also, considering the fact that OKC has a surplus of picks over the next 5+ years, they can afford to take a big swing here with Pokusevski.

Grade: A

18. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green, Wing, Arizona

Josh Green is a guy I liked coming into the draft despite a second round grade. He has the potential to be an effective 3&D player that can get up the court in transition and utilize his high IQ. Green was poorly coached at Arizona, and he’s still a little raw in the shooting department for a 3&D guy, but if Dallas can work well with him, he’ll be an effective role player in no time.

Grade: B

19. Detroit Pistons: Saddiq Bey, Forward, Villanova

In yet another trade, the Pistons trade Luke Kennard away to the Clippers and they receive the 19th overall pick from Brooklyn in a three team deal. Man, I really love this pick. I don’t see Bey becoming anything special, and there were some better prospects available, but this is the exact type of player Detroit needs, especially after dealing Kennard. The Pistons are in dire need of shooting, and a 3&D wing like Bey brings that, along with defense and intensity. 

Grade: A-

20. Miami Heat: Precious Achiuwa, Forward, Memphis

If you knew my pre-draft thoughts on Precious Achiuwa, you know that I’m not a fan of him as a prospect. I’ll paraphrase a quote from my good friend Thomas Stapleton here. “He brings energy and a high motor, sure, but I can’t find his basketball talent.” Achiuwa’s high energy and enticing athletic profile will put scouts on notice, but he’s really got no skill to speak of. I don’t like this pick for Miami, but I trust them with a guy like Achiuwa to at least turn him into something. Miami loves gritty players, and they’ll utilize his defensive versatility, and maybe even help him build a little bit of an offensive profile. 

Grade: C

21. Philadelphia 76ers: Tyrese Maxey, Guard, Kentucky

This was a really solid pick from the Philadelphia 76ers. Until he becomes a more consistent shooter, I don’t see Maxey being a great fit in Philadelphia, but I have confidence. Maxey’s skill set would be a bit more favorable for other teams, but I still love the value here, and I still don’t hate the fit.

Grade: A-

22. Denver Nuggets: Zeke Nnaji, Center, Arizona

This is one of those picks I saw as a reach. Nnaji’s motor and interior presence will keep him a spot in the NBA, but when I factor in his whole game, I saw him as a mid-second round talent. I understand he was getting first round buzz, for reasons I can’t explain, but from a value perspective, this was a bad pick. Also, I understand the Nuggets really don’t have any noticeable holes on their roster, but Nnaji was a reach here, and there were better big man options available.

Grade: C-

23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Leandro Bolmaro, Point-Forward, Argentina

The Minnesota Timberwolves land one of the more talked about draft and stash candidates we’ve seen in a while in Leandro Bolmaro here. I had a mid-second round grade on him, so I don’t love the value here. Draft and stash players hardly ever pan out, and again, I saw this as a reach value wise. I understand the intriguing upside with Bolmaro, but considering he’s a draft and stash getting limited minutes overseas, I don’t see him developing at Barcelona the way Minnesota is hoping for.

Grade: D+

24. Denver Nuggets: RJ Hampton, Guard, New Zealand

After taking Zeke Nnaji two picks prior, the Nuggets landed RJ Hampton here not long after. All in all, I like this pick. RJ Hampton is a bit of a project, but the Nuggets have a trustworthy development staff and enough depth to be patient with a guy like Hampton. Not too mention, the Nuggets could use a young guard like Hampton that has the potential to add a contributor at guard to their rotation.

Grade: B+

25. New York Knicks: Immanuel Quickley, Guard, Kentucky

Although there were better prospects on the board, I still like this pick for the Knicks. Quickley is a prospect I really like, and I don’t hate the value here. Not too mention, Quickley is a fairly safe prospect, so it’s going to be tough for New York’s terrible culture to ruin him. Quickley is an elite shooter and a solid defender with upside to be a great defender. New York needed a 3&D guy, and Quickley might just be their answer.

Grade: B+

26. Boston Celtics: Payton Pritchard, Guard, Oregon

Listen, I like Payton Pritchard. He’s a winner and a great player. He screams Boston Celtics. With that being said, this is a reach value wise. There was a list of prospects, and even a handful of point guards I would take over Pritchard here. His floor is higher than most, but his ceiling isn’t much higher than his floor. You’re getting a solid backup point guard with Pritchard. There were guys with more upside here, and I would’ve gone with someone else here, although I still don’t despise the pick.

Grade: B-

27. Utah Jazz: Udoka Azubuike, Center, Kansas

This pick made me chuckle to be completely honest with you. I understand Utah didn’t have a center outside of Rudy Gobert on the roster at the time, but Azubuike in the first round is such a reach. Not too mention, there were a handful of better big men on the board at this pick. Azubuike did dominate in college thanks to his size and the fact that he was a senior, and his size will allow for him to be an interior bruiser on both ends of the court, but he’s still very raw with a very limited skill set and a ton of flaws in his game.

Grade: D

28. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jaden McDaniels, Forward, Washington

For the 28th overall pick, McDaniels is a low-risk, high-reward pick that serves as great value considering it’s the late first round. I’m not fond of Minnesota’s culture or their development staff, so I do believe that this will hold him back from fulfilling his potential, but with that being said, I still really like this pick for the Timberwolves.

Grade: A-

29. Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn, Guard, San Diego State

Malschi Flynn is a solid scorer and rebounder that plays gritty defense and constantly gives 110%. Considering the current state of Toronto’s roster, Flynn most likely won’t do a whole lot early on in his career. With that being said, Kyle Lowry is already 34 years old, and it was unknown as to whether or not Fred VanFleet would be signing back at the time. Flynn can continue to develop under these guys and with Toronto’s great development staff, and his transition should be really smooth. Personally, I felt like Toronto should’ve gone after someone with a little more upside, but I still like this pick.

Grade: A-

30. Memphis Grizzlies: Desmond Bane, Wing, TCU

And with the final pick of the first round, the Memphis Grizzlies make a trade to acquire this pick, where they selected Desmond Bane. If you know me, you know that I’m a huge Desmond Bane guy, so I love this pick. He may not have all-star upside, but he reminds me a lot of Malcolm Brogdon. He’s a do it all guard/wing with a high floor, and he will have a very smooth transition into the NBA. I expect Bane to be a really solid contributor for years to come.

Grade: A

Round 2

31. Dallas Mavericks: Tyrell Terry, Guard, Stanford

Grade: A+

32. Charlotte Hornets: Vernon Carey Jr, Center, Duke

Grade: C

33. Los Angeles Clippers: Daniel Oturu, Center, Minnesota

Grade: A-

34. Oklahoma City Thunder: Theo Maledon, Guard, France

Grade: A-

35. Memphis Grizzlies: Xavier Tillman, Big, Michigan State

Grade: A

36. Dallas Mavericks: Tyler Bey, Forward, Colorado

Grade: A-

37. Oklahoma City Thunder: Vit Krejci, Guard, Czech Republic

Grade: C

38. Detroit Pistons: Saben Lee, Guard, Vanderbilt

Grade: C+

39. Utah Jazz: Elijah Hughes, Wing, Syracuse

Grade: B-

40. Sacramento Kings: Robert Woodard II, Wing, Mississippi State

Grade: B-

41. San Antonio Spurs: Tre Jones, Guard, Duke

Grade: B+

42. Charlotte Hornets: Nick Richards, Center, Kentucky

Grade: B

43. Sacramento Kings: Jahmi’us Ramsey, Wing, Texas Tech

Grade: B-

44. Chicago Bulls: Marko Simonovic, Center, Montenegro

Grade: C+

45. Milwaukee Bucks: Jordan Nwora, Wing, Louisville

Grade: B

46. Portland Trail Blazers: CJ Elleby, Wing, Washington State

Grade: C+

47. Boston Celtics: Yam Madar, Guard, Israel

Grade: C+

48. Golden State Warriors: Nico Mannion, Guard, Arizona

Grade: B

49. Philadelphia 76ers: Isaiah Joe, Guard, Arkansas

Grade: A-

50. Atlanta Hawks: Skylar Mays, Guard, LSU

Grade: B

51. Golden State Warriors: Justinian Jessup, Wing, Boise St

Grade: A-

52. Houston Rockets:  Kenyon Martin Jr, Wing, IMG Academy

Grade: B

53. Washington Wizards: Cassius Winston, Guard, Michigan St

Grade: B

54. Indiana Pacers: Cassius Stanley, Wing, Duke

Grade: A

55. Los Angeles Clippers: Jay Scrubb, Guard, Logan Junior College

Grade: B-

56. Charlotte Hornets: Grant Riller, Guard, Charleston

Grade: A-

57. Brooklyn Nets: Reggie Perry, Big, Mississippi State

Grade: B-

58. Philadelphia 76ers: Paul Reed, Forward, DePaul

Grade: A+

59. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Harris, Guard, Nevada

Grade: B+

60. Milwaukee Bucks: Sam Merrill, Guard, Utah State

Grade: B-

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