Previewing Some of the Best Prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft Class
It’s easy for us as fans to look at the collegiate athletes preparing to take their talents to the next level and see them as the next group of stars to enter the league. It’s just as easy for us as fans to look at the stats and make a quick judgement on the incoming rookies.
The truth is, these are teenagers, young adults coming into a league with some of the greatest basketball minds and so much room to improve. There is value in any draft. It’s all about taking advantage of situation presented to you. This year is no different. It may not be as loaded as previous years but there are still potential stars that could be shaking hands with the commissioner on draft night.
Anthony Edwards: SG, Georgia, Freshman
The freshman star began the year on everyone’s radar as a possible top three pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and he has not disappointed.
Edwards is currently averaging 19.7 points per game, ranking third in the SEC. The thing about Edwards is he shoots the rock with confidence. He’s averaging 7.5 threes point attempts per game and hitting on 31.8% of his attempts. His broad shoulders allow him to get to the lane and with his athleticism, he’s able to elevate above defenders. He’s explosive but like every 19-year-old basketball star, he has his flaws.
There are nights where he seems to force it. Whether it’s racking up turnovers or shooting poorly from the field, he could tend to try and do too much and hurt his team in the end. Even then, Edwards is still looking like the best prospect in this class. Solely on the basis that he is a bonafide bucket, Edwards could very well be the first name called June 25th.
James Wiseman: C, Memphis, Freshman
The kid that was seen as the consensus number one overall pick coming into the college basketball year is now seen taking a detour as he approaches the next level.
After being suspended by the NCAA early in the year, Wiseman made the decision to forgo the remainder of his suspension and withdrew from Memphis University. In the three games he played for Memphis, he lead the Tigers to a 2–1 record and he proved his potential to be a double-double machine while providing solid rim protection.
Don’t let his 7-foot frame fool you, the big man is quick on his feet. He showed his ability to run the floor as a big. Filled the lane and never ran out near the perimeter and, when the ball handler found him, he showed his brute strength finishing at the rim.
The recent moves surrounding the NBA trade deadline could very well decide the fate of Wiseman’s draft experience. Teams that looked to be a surefire landing place for Wiseman made moves in which it could negate selecting the 19-year-old with their coveted pick. He could fall from a top three pick to sliding into the six to eight range depending on how the lottery unfolds.
Even in his short time as a collegiate athlete, Wiseman showed his inevitable upside and one team will be extremely lucky to have him at the beginning of the 2020–2021 season.
Deni Avdija: SF, Israel, 19
Every year we see international stars make their way to the states to play in the NBA and this year, scouts and draft experts are getting very familiar with the 19-year-old Israelian, Deni Avdija.
An overall talented basketball player with high IQ, Avdija poses to be a nice project for a rebuilding team. The 6-foot-8 wing has shown versatility in his time overseas and come draft night could find himself landing in the top five.
Avdija doesn’t necessarily do anything in particular that jumps out but his basketball IQ and ability to move off the ball is enough to grab any scouts attention. Add that with his youth and his potential, Avdija could very well be the most well rounded player in this draft class. He’s smart and could make a direct impact fairly quickly if given the opportunity.
Despite being given limited playing time so far in his professional career, he’s shown flashes in the time he has had. He possesses all the tools both mentally and physically to be a valuable player for any given team.
LaMelo Ball: PG, Australia, 19
Perhaps no one has had a more bizarre journey to the Association than LaMelo Ball out of Australia.
After being pulled out of high school and taken to Lithuania to play overseas, Melo found himself at Spire, an Ohio private school, to finish his high school career. His time in Lithuania deemed him ineligible to participate at the collegiate level. He decided it was in his best interest to take his talents to the NBL, alongside R.J Hampton, a current lottery projected pick in the 2020 NBA draft.
In 12 games Melo was averaging 17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists. The youngest Ball brother made the decision to suddenly return to the states and finish rehabbing a bone bruise in his foot and he is now preparing for the journey to the draft and many scouts have made the speculation of him potentially being the NO. 1 overall pick.
Ball has a lot to offer any rebuilding team. His play making alone intrigues any team vying for the first pick. He’s 6-foot-8 and as a point guard could pose match-up nightmares in the future. He’s quick and savvy and excels on the break. He has a tight handle allowing him to breakdown defenders and get to the lane but also isn’t afraid to fire from the perimeter.
His lack of muscle my be concerning for some draft scouts but the upside Melo has shown almost guarantees he is set to hear his name called early. It was an unorthodox route to get here but LaMelo will soon reach a life long dream.
Obi Toppin: PF, Dayton, Sophomore
From a late first round pick, to now being seen as one of the best in the draft class, Obi Toppin has it all.
His length and athleticism has caught the eyes of all scouts over the course of his sophomore season. Toppin is averaging 19.7 points per game on 63.1% from the field and 35.9% from beyond the arc. His explosiveness is surely enticing as scouts look to determine if his production will translate to the NBA.
He’s a safe pick. With his ability to act as the roll man in the pick and roll while being poised and reliable in the post, Toppin is a safe bet for a GM drafting near the top of the board.
As the NBA has begun to go small in all aspects of the game and become heavily reliant on the perimeter, Obi Toppin could find himself filling in the role of a small ball center. He’s strong, he’s quick, and his efficient play has him climbing the draft boards.
With four months until the draft takes place, so much can change. Players can continue to climb boards while others could unfortunately dwindle. These five are just the tip of the iceberg. On June 25th, 2020, 60 kids will hear their names called and their dreams will become a reality.