On Nov. 18, the NBA draft took place from ESPN studios in Bristol, Connecticut. Despite being labeled a lesser draft talent-wise by many pundits, there are still many players in this draft who have the potential to be quite good, or even great NBA players. This year’s draft had a clear top 3 according to most analysts, and outside of Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and Lamelo Ball, there does not seem to be a ton of prospects with superstar potential.
With the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Anthony Edwards. Minnesota already has an elite center in Karl-Anthony Towns, and a stellar point guard in D’Angelo Russel, so from a positional standpoint this selection makes sense considering Ball and Wiseman play those positions. Edwards is a 6-foot-5-inch shooting guard who attended the University of Georgia. In his one season of college ball, Edwards put up 19.1 points per game while shooting 40.2% from the field and 29.4% on three-pointers. Edwards’ biggest strength is his explosiveness and his offensive versatility. He can drive to the hoop, hit the mid range shot and even knock down threes. Edwards has all the tools to be an elite shooting guard in the league, with the only issues in his game being consistency and the mental aspect. Edwards is a streaky shooter and at times makes questionable decisions, but many NBA coaches feel confident that they can help him improve on both those things. Edwards could also improve on his 3-point shooting, and while being capable, he is very streaky, and in a league where the three ball is so important, it would be nice to see Edwards work on that and become a more consistent shooter.
The Golden State Warriors took 7-foot-1-inch center James Wiseman with the second overall pick. Wiseman had a rocky first year in college, but it had nothing to do with what he did on the court. After issues with the NCAA early in the season over Wiseman’s family accepting money from Memphis coach Penny Hardaway, Wiseman decided to stop playing for Memphis and train for the draft. This resulted in Wiseman only playing three college games this season, but his talent and raw potential was enough to warrant his early selection in the draft. Wiseman is a true 7-footer who is agile and can extend the floor with his shooting ability. In his three games at Memphis, Wiseman averaged 19.7 points per game on 76.9% shooting and 10.3 rebounds per game. Undoubtedly we were robbed of watching an elite center dominate the college game for a full season, but soon enough we’ll see how Wiseman adjusts to the pro game after basically having an entire year off. Wiseman has all the potential in the world, and with the right effort and work, he should become a very dominant center.
Lamelo Ball went third overall to the Charlotte Hornets. In one of the stranger routes to the league for an American, Ball did not play college ball and instead played in Australia’s pro league, as this was one of the few places he was age-eligible. While there he won rookie of the year honors despite only playing in 12 games. Ball showed off while he was a dynamic player, averaging 17 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. Lamelo was ranked by ESPN as the No.1 prospect, but fell to third due to the teams with the first two picks already having established point guards. Ball is a lot like his brother Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans. He is bigger for a point guard at 6 feet, 7 inches tall, has great dribbling skills and is very creative when it comes to assisting his teams. His frame and quickness make some believe he has the potential to be a great defender if he puts in the effort. The only knock on Ball’s game is a similar fault that to his brother Lonzo has as well, which is that they are not the best shooters, with Ball only shooting 46% for 2-pointers, and 25% for 3-pointers. Despite this, Ball’s creativity and ability to run the floor makes him a can’t miss prospect at third overall.
At fourth overall, the Chicago Bulls shocked fans by selecting Patrick Williams out of Florida State. Williams is considered by many to have been drafted too early, with most projections having him going closer to 10 than to 1. Williams is a 6-foot-8-inch small forward and was chosen as ACC’s sixth man of the year as a first year. Williams averaged 9.2 points and 4 rebounds per game while averaging 22.5 minutes per game. Not starting and only getting minutes in the low 20s is a concern, but he has the build and raw ability to prove the critics wrong that Chicago reached on him. Williams has the ideal size and showed glimpses of excellence in college. Chicago has a project in Williams, which is why people are critical of this pick. Williams was the second youngest player in the draft class and can still develop physically. So it is not a bad pick in terms of Williams being bad, because there were better prospects on the board who had less risk and similar upside.
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Isaac Okoro, a small forward from Auburn University at fifth overall. The 6-foot-6-inch small forward brings elite defending with offensive ability. In his first-year season, Okoro took home SEC All-Defensive Team, as well as Second-team All-SEC. Okoro averaged 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds along with displaying elite defense. Okoro seems to be a pick with a high floor due to his defense, but a lot of people questioned whether or not he should have been a top 10 pick due to his good but not great offensive abilities. He is capable, but time will tell if he can grow into the offensive player the Cavaliers hope he turns out to be. Nonetheless, Okoro should be a solid player due to his defensive ability. A lot of people thought prospects like Obi Toppin, or Deni Avdija would have been better picks. So when the Cavaliers look back they may regret passing on those two, but should be happy with what Okoro brings every night on the defensive side of the game.