Scouting and preparing for the upcoming 2020 NBA draft is incredibly challenging due to circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
As always, we examine the mock drafts from the most trusted analysts to give us the best idea of a consensus for what the upcoming class will look like in June. The latest 2020 NBA mock drafts from experts at ESPN, CBS Sports, SI.com, Bleacher Report, NBADraft.net, The Athletic, SB Nation, Sporting News and USA Today Sports Media Group’s Rookie Wire were used for these rankings.
Currently, the first three players expected to be selected (Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman) have remained in the exact same order for the third aggregate mock draft in a row.
After dropping from No. 5 all the way to No. 11 between December and January, Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Deni Avdija has jumped back to No. 4 for this version.
He played well recently at the 2020 Eurobasket Qualifiers, scoring 21 points with eight rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal while also shooting 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. This was a welcome change of pace for scouts hoping to learn as much as possible about Avdija as he had averaged just 4.0 points in 14.3 minutes in Euroleague games earlier this season.
Several other prospects playing overseas have seen their stock increase as well. This makes some sense considering many in the NCAA rely on their performance in March Madness to solidify their draft position whereas the international players gain momentum in other ways.
Killian Hayes, who was ranked No. 18 overall on our last aggregate mock draft, jumped up to No. 8 for this edition. The 6-foot-5 guard was 14-for-61 (39 percent) from 3-point range while also connecting on 90.9 percent of his free-throw attempts during Eurocup action. Several outlets are currently projecting him as a Top 5 pick in the 2020 NBA draft.
Another prospect playing outside of the United States but currently making waves is Leandro Bolmaro. He debuted on our aggregate mock draft in the most recent edition before this one but has jumped all the way to No. 29 this time around.
Meanwhile, in the NCAA, some college basketball players managed to make some serious momentum for themselves before the season was unexpectedly cut short. Some of those players are seniors Killian Tillie (Gonzaga), Grant Riller (Charleston), Udoka Azubuike (Kansas) and Desmond Bane (TCU).
As mentioned here, it makes sense for upperclassmen to be more appealing in this class than in previous years. Seniors have far more game film to draw film which may be necessary considering individual team workouts and even the 2020 NBA Draft Combine may be canceled. Plus, older players are likely more ready to contribute immediately.
On the flip side, there are freshmen around the country who have seen their draft stock drastically decline in recent months.
Oregon’s N’Faly Dante has fallen off our boards completely after playing just twelve games and making no appearances in the starting lineup. Kahlil Whitney, who was considered a lottery pick when we did this exercise in October 2019, also dropped off after withdrawing from Kentucky.
Some other freshmen who saw their draft stock fall: Duke’s Matthew Hurt was ranked No. 16 overall back in October but is now at No. 76 overall. LSU’s Trendon Watford was ranked No. 14 in October but has fallen to No. 63. Florida’s Scottie Lewis was No. 9 in July and is currently No. 53 overall.
Less drastic but still valid: Arizona’s Nico Mannion has fallen from No. 6 back in January 2020 all the way to No. 16 now in April. Likewise, UNC’s Cole Anthony dropped from No. 2 back in July 2019 to No. 10 in our new study.
But some encouraging news for prospects who were considered Top-25 recruits coming out of high school but had a disappointing freshman year (e.g. Duke’s Wendell Moore as well as the aforementioned Dante, Whitney, Watford, Hurt and Lewis) can be found in Kentucky’s Immanuel Quickley.
The 6-foot-3 guard was the No. 13 overall recruit in the nation coming into Kentucky as a freshman. But after averaging just 5.2 points as a freshman, he returned for his sophomore campaign.
Fortunately, the SEC Player of the Year dramatically improved his draft stock in 2019-20. His season was highlighted by 21.3 points per game in February and a free throw percentage (92.3%) that ranked as the sixth-best among all underclassmen. This month, he debuted on our aggregate mock draft at No. 42 overall.
HoopsHype’s Alberto de Roa contributed research to this report.
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