The 2020 NBA Draft has looked to be one of the deeper classes in recent years thus far. Just two years into the league, a good crop of the talent that came out of this class has already developed impactful roles for themselves in the league. Other prospects that were taken high and have failed to reach expectations thus far still have the potential to be great down the line. Headlined by Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball, this article will detail how the draft would’ve played out if we knew what we know now.
In a lot of cases, teams will take the best player on the board, but in others, the team’s fit schematically comes into play with their decision. Not only that, but the team’s expectations come into play as well. If a team wants to win now, they’ll select a guy that comes in right away ready to perform. If not, they’ll search for the player with the best possible ceiling down the line. With that being said, here is the “way too early” 2020 NBA redraft.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves Select- Anthony Edwards (Real Pick- Anthony Edwards)
The Minnesota Timberwolves are the only team standing pat in this redraft, selecting the same player they did in 2020. Edwards has been terrific to start his career and has proven to be a star already. Averaging 21 points per night, Edwards’ scoring has been just as good as advertised for Minnesota, and as their lead wing creator, he has not disappointed.
Edwards doesn’t fail to step up to the plate when it matters most, as he was the best player in the Memphis-Minnesota first-round series this year. With Karl-Anthony Towns struggling all series, Edwards posted up stats of 25 points per night, while shooting 45% from the floor and 40% from deep on nine attempts per night. His combination of poise and confidence as a scorer is something that not many players have in the league. To have that developed at such a young age in the league is even more proof that he’s a future All-NBA level player.
Although it’s still up for debate as to whether Edwards is the best in the class as of now, he certainly projects to be the best down the line. Edwards has the makings to be the best player on a championship team in the very near future. His ability to not back down from pressure and show out when the lights shine the brightest is what makes him a star. Edwards has the “IT-Factor” that makes a superstar, and he’s in for a massive year three next season.
2. Golden State Warriors Select- LaMelo Ball (Real Pick- James Wiseman)
Ball was widely regarded as the best player coming out of the draft, and thus far into his NBA career, he makes a strong case to be the best player in the class. From the moment Ball stepped onto the NBA hardwood, he instantly became one of the league’s best playmakers. His God-given skill-set as a passer combined with his high IQ gives him the ability to be a lead playmaker on a team right away, as he’s one of the best transition playmakers the league has today. Ball has also shown upside as a defender, using his length to disrupt passing lanes and push the pace in transition.
Ball and Edwards are neck and neck as players, but there are more red flags raised in Ball’s game. His half-court offense is worrying, as he isn’t a versatile scorer by any means. Despite a decent three-point shot and an elite floater, Ball struggles to score in the half-court at times. Despite this, his ability to navigate lanes as a playmaker in the half-court is still elite, and he ranks as one of the premier playmakers in basketball already. Ball doesn’t project to be a top option on a title team, but as a primary playmaker and secondary scoring option, Ball should be able to mold himself out as a top secondary guy for the future.
Ball’s fit on the Warriors is near perfect. Despite being named to an All-Star team already in his career, Ball would have to come off the bench for Stephen Curry. However, his pairing off the bench with Jordan Poole makes for a starting level back-court right away. Assembling a bunch of young guns headlined by Ball, Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody to back up the vets in Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green makes Golden State by far and away the most talented team in basketball.
3. Charlotte Hornets Select- Tyrese Haliburton (Real Pick- LaMelo Ball)
LaMelo Ball has been a revelation for the Hornets thus far into his career, but with him off the board, Charlotte snags a near-perfect replacement in Tyrese Haliburton. Although not as much of an offensive threat, Haliburton ranks up with some of the better playmakers in basketball already. In some ways he shows flashes of a Chris Paul, Steve Nash esque playstyle. Haliburton is already one of the smartest players in basketball, and replacing Ball with Haliburton still keeps Charlotte very competitive in the play-in race. Not many changes for Charlotte, as they still hover around the eighth to tenth spot in the East with Haliburton at the helm.
4. Chicago Bulls Select- Saddiq Bey (Real Pick- Patrick Williams)
One of Chicago’s biggest problems this past season was their inability to pair DeMar DeRozan with a 3-and-D wing in the frontcourt. Javonte Green played some solid minutes, and Patrick Williams was solid when healthy, but the addition of Saddiq Bey to the group just makes too much sense. Bey’s defense has not been as good as expected coming out of the draft, but he’s by no means a negative defender. Bey’s offense in just his second season is better than what anyone could’ve expected. He has averaged 16 points per contest while being one of the few players to have a monstrous 50-point outing this year.
Bey’s shooting splits aren’t great, but he’s shown way more upside as a self-creator than expected. He likely wouldn’t have had the success he did as a scorer in Chicago, but he’d be able to use more energy on the defensive side of the ball while knocking down spot-up threes and mid-range jumpers consistently. Bey would fit in as the perfect complementary option for Chicago right away if inserted into their current group.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers Select- Tyrese Maxey (Real Pick- Isaac Okoro)
Tyrese Maxey to Cleveland looks like one of the weirder selections in this redraft, but if you think about it, he may be the best pick on the board. Cleveland’s intention in pairing guards Darius Garland and Collin Sexton together was to make a high-octane backcourt that can get up and down the floor, as both would create instantaneous offense for themselves and their teammates. However, with Sexton’s inability to stay on the floor, his future in Cleveland raises a massive question mark. Not only does Maxey project to be better than Sexton when he’s healthy, but he’s simply a better fit.
Garland would handle the duties as the primary playmaker, while Maxey handles the duties as the primary scorer in the backcourt. The Cavaliers already possess one of the best defensive frontcourts in the league in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, so pairing them with two offensive-minded guards in the backcourt who excel in transition only makes them a bigger threat. Maxey’s off-ball movement, playmaking, and transition play puts him ahead of Sexton already. Pairing him with Garland in the backcourt sets the two up as one of the league’s better offensive backcourts for the next five to 10 years.
6. Atlanta Hawks Select- Desmond Bane (Real Pick- Onyeka Okongwu)
The Atlanta Hawks have a player that many refer to as the second coming of Stephen Curry, and his name is Trae Young. Although Young resembles more of a Steve Nash, Damian Lillard archetype, pairing him with a literal Klay Thompson clone would give him his backcourt partner for the future right away. Desmond Bane has an eerily similar game to Thompson, as both are primarily used as spot-up shooters who can defend the opposing team’s best player. Bane moves off-ball just as well as anyone, and his three-pointer has already become one of the best in the NBA. He struggles as a creator, as he doesn’t have an effective first step or handle, but game by game you can see slight glimpses of improvement in this facet for the future. Bane is the perfect winning player you’d want to pair with your star point guard, and Atlanta steals him from Ja Morant to pair with their star guard in Trae Young.
7. Detroit Pistons Select- Immanuel Quickley (Real Pick- Killian Hayes)
Although Killian Hayes still has potential, him being selected at seventh overall looks like the worst pick in this draft so far. Although you can’t predict the future, Hayes’ fit next to Cade Cunningham has looked rough thus far, and his inability to stay on the floor is concerning. Detroit selects Immanuel Quickley here, pairing Cunningham with a guard that suits his skill-set far better.
Quickley is a perfect tertiary option in the backcourt and is ready to make the junior year jump next season. Quickley’s go-to floater is his premier move in his arsenal, and his ability to get into the lane for easy mid-range looks is very impressive. He’s an on and off three-point shooter, but without the ball, Quickley can get himself open with ease. His shot selection is rough at times, but his herky-jerky playstyle combined with his versatility as a scorer projects Quickley to be one of the better scorers in the class when it’s all said and done.
8. New York Knicks Select- Onyeka Okongwu (Real Pick- Obi Toppin)
The New York Knicks are in dire need of offense, especially with Quickley off the board. However, Onyeka Okongwu is too good to pass up on. Mitchell Robinson has been a disappointment thus far compared to expectations, despite his resilient shot-blocking. Okongwu showed incredible flashes of future defensive excellence in the 2020 NBA playoffs, stepping toe-to-toe against some of the better players in the NBA on the biggest stage. His defense is Bam Adebayo-esque, and he can be New York’s anchor for the foreseeable future. The Knicks could realistically go for a Cole Anthony at this pick, but finding an offensive creator of Anthony’s caliber is easier than finding a defensive gem in Okongwu.
9. Washington Wizards Select- Cole Anthony (Real Pick- Deni Avdija)
Speaking of Cole Anthony, the Washington Wizards snag the former North Carolina Tar Heel. Anthony’s offensive upside has been off the charts thus far, proving himself to be one of the class’s best scorers and creators. Anthony’s confidence on the court is up there with Edwards and Ball for the best in the class, as he’s not afraid to take any shot that he sees. His shiftiness and speed make him an incredibly tough player to guard, and his passing isn’t a skill to overlook either. Although his defense is still much to be desired and he tends to get trigger-happy at times, Anthony projects to be a great third option on any team down the line.
10. Phoenix Suns Select- Devin Vassell (Real Pick- Jalen Smith)
Phoenix had one of the bigger misses in the entire draft, selecting Jalen Smith 10th overall. Although Smith still has upside, it’s clear Phoenix wasn’t an optimal fit. In this fantasy world, Phoenix takes a near-perfect fit at 10, selecting Devin Vassell out of Florida State.
Vassell’s calling card is his 3-and-D ability. Right away, Vassell would be able to make an impact on one of the league’s fiercest contenders off the bench. Despite a rough showing his rookie year, if implemented into Phoenix’s system right away, he’d likely show his upside as a 3-and-D stud. Chris Paul and Devin Booker have been surrounded by snipers and defensive marksmen in Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and Landry Shamet. Vassell would come in right away as a backup three and contribute with his lights-out shooting and defense, making him a valuable bench piece for a contender.
11. San Antonio Spurs Select- Patrick Williams (Original Pick- Devin Vassell)
With their original pick off the board just one slot ahead, the San Antonio Spurs take the former fourth overall pick in Patrick Williams. Upside-wise, Williams would be selected way higher than 11th in a redraft, but due to schematical fits, Williams falls all the way down to the back-end of the lottery. Williams is another product of Florida State, and his build combined with his skill set as a scorer and defender gives him an All-NBA ceiling. It’s yet to be seen if Williams can tap into his potential, but if any team can develop him to do so, it’s San Antonio. Williams is the prototypical Gregg Poppovich project, and if the Spurs can develop him to being a high-quality player early, they have a guy they can pair next to DeJounte Murray for the foreseeable future.
12. Sacramento Kings Select- Deni Avdija (Original Pick- Tyrese Haliburton)
Sacramento loses out on Tyrese Haliburton for this go-around, and with all of the premier offensive options off the board, the Kings prioritize filling their needs defensively by selecting Deni Avdija. Drawing comparisons to Luka Doncic coming out of the draft, Avdija currently projects to be a polar opposite player just two years after. Defense was one of Avdija’s primary weaknesses coming out of the draft, but it’s become arguably his calling card early into his career. Sacramento desperately needs to address their needs defensively if they want to get back into the playoff race any time soon. Not only does Avdija provide defense, but he gives valuable spot-up shooting and passing to a team that needs anything they can get.
13. New Orleans Pelicans Select- Jaden McDaniels (Original Pick- Kira Lewis Jr.)
New Orleans selecting Kira Lewis Jr. at 13 was yet another bad selection, so they make up for it here by selecting Jaden McDaniels. McDaniels was one of Minnesota’s more valuable bench pieces this past season, showing flashes of an elite 3-and-D career down the line. His creation has been inconsistent, but his length and IQ defensively make him a valuable piece on that end. The Pelicans could use a backup four who can space and defend, so pairing him with a core of Herb Jones and Jose Alvardo only bolsters their defense, while he provides shooting to compliment the stars in Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson.
14. Boston Celtics Select- James Wiseman (Original Pick- Aaron Nesmith)
This was a toss-up between James Wiseman and Isaac Okoro, but ultimately, Boston prioritizes upside by selecting Wiseman at the end of the lottery. Okoro would be a solid piece for Boston’s bench and would fit seamlessly in Ime Udoka’s defensive system, but his lack of any offensive game at all could make him unplayable in the playoffs. Boston could simply send Wiseman to the G-League for the first two years of his career, allow him to develop, and then pair him with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for the future without messing up any of their current plans by rushing him into the rotation.