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NBA Draft outcomes 2020: Grades, evaluation for each decide in Spherical 1

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Pick – Team – Player

1. Timberwolves — Anthony Edwards, Georgia, Guard

Minnesota keeps its pick and goes with Edwards, who was always the best fit next to D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.

Edwards is an elite athlete with the scoring ability to eventually become a multiple time All-Star. There have been questions about his defensive effort and work ethic, but he’s got the talent to be special.

Grade: B+

2. Warriors — James Wiseman, Memphis, Center

Wiseman should thrive as a rim-runner in Golden State’s offense. The 7-footer has a huge wingspan and moves well for his size, giving him a chance to emerge as a Rudy Gobert-esque stopper later in his career.

It’s not easy to be a big man in today’s game, but Wiseman found a great landing spot.

Grade: A-

3. Hornets — LaMelo Ball, Illawarra, Guard

Charlotte may have found a franchise cornerstone at No. 3. While Ball is far from a perfect prospect — defense and shooting consistency are obvious concerns — he is a top-tier playmaker and possesses the biggest upside in the draft.

The Hornets needed someone to give them an identity and a level of excitement. Ball does that.

Grade: A

4. Bulls — Patrick Williams, Florida State, Forward

A calculated risk here by Chicago. Williams is raw offensively, but he has a strong physical build and good defensive potential and could carve out a long career if he can improve his outside shot.

Grade: B

5. Cavaliers — Isaac Okoro, Auburn, Forward

Cleveland has a dreadful defensive unit; Okoro should help on that end by taking multiple assignments. He also won’t take away offensive possessions from Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.

Will he ever be a decent 3-point shooter? That skill will ultimately determine Okoro’s ceiling. 

Grade: B

6. Hawks — Onyeka Okongwu, USC, Center

Okonguwu theoretically fits well in Atlanta as lob catcher and rim protector, but the Hawks already have John Collins and Clint Capela on the roster. Perhaps they are considering a trade following this selection.

Grade: C

7. Pistons — Killian Hayes, Ulm, Guard

With Detroit likely heading toward a rebuild, Hayes makes a lot of sense as the point guard of the future. He will struggle early because of his lack of elite athleticism and propensity to go left, but he has a terrific feel for the game and should have plenty of time to develop.

Grade: A-

8. Knicks — Obi Toppin, Dayton, Forward

Toppin was the best player in college basketball last season. He’s a great scorer and a monster above the rim.

Defense is going to be a problem for the Knicks. At this point, though, they are just going for talent, as Toppin, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson are the only foundational pieces.

Grade: B

9. Wizards — Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Forward

Avdija was projected to be a top-five pick in some mock drafts. Washington was happy to take him at No. 9.

The 19-year-old is an oversized creator who’s comfortable operating out of the pick-and-roll and in transition. The biggest issue with him is his outside shooting. Can he eventually force defenses to respect him on the perimeter?

Grade: B+

10. Suns — Jalen Smith, Maryland, Forward

Well, this is a shocker. For the second consecutive year, Phoenix selects a prospect much higher than his initial projections.

Smith brings size (6-10, 225 pounds) and shooting to the frontcourt, but he has limited mobility and isn’t a superior athlete. A curious choice here with other options available.

Grade: C-

11. Spurs — Devin Vassell, Florida State, Guard

Vassell could quickly emerge as the best 3-and-D prospect in the class and log significant minutes for a team chasing a playoff berth. He should at least be a role player for years to come — and maybe much more.

Grade: A

12. Kings — Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State, Guard

It was a surprise to see Haliburton slide outside the top 10, so Sacramento has to be ecstatic about this pick.

Outside shooting, playmaking, basketball IQ — the 6-5 guard is just solid in a lot of areas. He’s not an exceptional athlete, but Haliburton is a winning player.

Grade: A

13. Pelicans — Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama, Guard

One of the fastest players in this class heading to the Pelicans? It’s going to be a track meet in New Orleans.

The Pels are stacked with guards, but some of them may be moved prior to the season. Lewis should carve out a place in the rotation.

Grade: B+

14. Celtics (via Grizzlies) — Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt, Forward

Knockdown shooting. That’s what Boston gets in Nesmith, though it’s unclear how he can excel at the next level beyond being a spot-up threat.

There are also concerns about Nesmith’s health after he missed significant time at Vanderbilt with a broken foot. This is an upside play for the Celtics.

Grade: B-

15. Magic — Cole Anthony, North Carolina, Guard

Once considered a potential top-five pick, Anthony could become a draft-day steal. Despite a rough year at UNC, Anthony is still a talented offensive player who can break down defenders and get buckets off the dribble.

Orlando desperately needed some backcourt creation, so Anthony receives the call.

Grade: B+

16. Pistons (via Rockets) — Isaiah Stewart, Washington, Center

Stewart is the kind of player who will carve out a long career for himself just by outworking those around him. He rebounds like crazy and could eventually be a shooting threat.

With that said, this feels like a bit of a reach. Sporting News had Stewart going in the late 20s in its most recent mock draft.

Grade: C

17. Thunder (via Timberwolves) — Aleksej Pokusevski, Olympiacos, Forward

Pokusevski is a 7-footer, but he’s far from a traditional big. He’s got strong ballhandling skills, and he can catch and shoot off a screen like a wing. The problem? He only weighs about 200 pounds.

With Oklahoma City piling up future draft picks as part of its rebuild, it can afford to take a chance on the 18-year-old.

Grade: B+

18. Mavericks — Josh Green, Arizona, Guard

Green can spot up along the 3-point line and do a bit of creating as the primary ballhandler. He is tough on and off the ball defensively. He may top out as a role player, but he could be a very good one.

This guy should be just fine playing in Rick Carlisle’s system alongside Luka Doncic.

Grade: A-

19. Pistons (via Nets) — Saddiq Bey, Villanova, Forward

Detroit received this pick as part of a three-team trade that sent Luke Kennard to the Clippers and Landry Shamet to the Nets.

Bey doesn’t have a high ceiling, but he is a safe bet as a 3-and-D wing. Plus, he’s nice value at this spot.

Grade: B+ 

20. Heat — Precious Achiuwa, Memphis, Forward

Defensive versatility and a high motor — of course Miami wants Achiuwa.

His offensive role in the NBA is unclear, but the Heat are tremendous at developing their youngsters. He should be able to grow behind Bam Adebayo.

Grade: B

21. 76ers (via Thunder) — Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky, Guard

Maxey can create offense off the dribble and is excellent as an on-ball defender. While his 3-point numbers at Kentucky weren’t inspiring, Maxey’s form isn’t disastrous, and he has looked comfortable on pull-up jumpers.

Philadelphia must have been pleasantly surprised Maxey was available at No. 21. It’s a terrific fit.

Grade: A

22. Nuggets (via Rockets) — Zeke Nnaji, Arizona, Center

Nnaji could be part of an NBA rotation for years to come, as he is a capable finisher and has flashed a nice shooting stroke. Not exactly Defensive Player of the Year material, though.

With Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee possibly leaving in free agency, Nnaji makes some sense as a backup.

Grade: B-

23. Timberwolves (via Knicks) — Leandro Bolmaro, Barcelona, Guard

The 20-year-old has the ballhandling, passing, basketball IQ and intensity to the floor. Not a great shooter or athlete.

Minnesota must have felt strongly about him with a trade up for this pick.

Grade: B-

24. Nuggets (via Pelicans) — RJ Hampton, New Zealand, Guard

Hampton could be a decent upside gamble. The 19-year-old is a quick, explosive guard, but he will need some time to develop.

Denver will allow him to do that. A major steal candidate here.

Grade: B+

25. Knicks (via Timberwolves) — Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky, Guard

A late first-round shocker. Quickley is a sharpshooter, but he’s also undersized at 6-2 and not an exceptional athlete.

New York could have easily taken him (or a similar prospect) later in the draft. 

Grade: C-

26. Celtics — Payton Pritchard, Oregon, Guard

Pritchard could be a solid backup point guard in Boston, but there were more intriguing options here. Still, he’s a tough player and capable shooter.

Grade: B-

27. Jazz (via Knicks) — Udoka Azubuike, Kansas, Center

A beast inside, Azubuike is a fantastic finisher inside. However, he will have essentially zero chance to defend guards and wings outside the paint. That’s not ideal in the modern NBA.

Grade: C-

28. Timberwolves (via Thunder) — Jaden McDaniels, Washington, Forward

McDaniels can be a versatile scoring force when locked in, but he also turns the ball over and gets called for technical fouls with alarming regularity.

As a late first-rounder, though, the potential reward overrides the risk. 

Grade: B+

29. Raptors — Malachi Flynn, San Diego State, Guard

In the pick-and-roll, Flynn has shown that he is equally deadly as a distributor or pull-up shooter. He also really puts in the effort defensively.

Flynn won’t be able to avoid the Fred VanVleet comparisons, but that’s not a bad thing. Really good value.

Grade: A-

30. Grizzlies (via Celtics) — Desmond Bane, TCU, Guard

One of the best shooters in the draft, Bane is the kind of floor spacer Memphis needs. He is limited as a creator, but the Grizzlies won’t be asking him to be the primary source of offense.

Grade: B+

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Melinda Martin