2020 NBA Mock Draft, 1.0: LaMelo Ball gives the Warriors a boost

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /
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nba mock draft, lamelo ball, warriors
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks in action during the round 9 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena on November 30, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /

The top of the 2020 NBA Draft class is murky but our first pass at a mock draft has LaMelo Ball helping restart the dynamic Golden State Warriors.

The 2020 NBA Draft is just over three months away, and we still don’t have a consensus No. 1 prospect. Many of the lottery candidates are done with their seasons or very close to it, leaving plenty of mystery surrounding the first handful of selections.

The 2019 NBA Draft class might have had three players that would have been the consensus No. 1 player in this draft. The class isn’t necessarily weak, we won’t be able to know that for sure for some time. The issue is, the class is unproven. James Wiseman barely played at Memphis, Cole Anthony has been hurt and plays on the worst UNC team anyone can remember, and LaMelo Ball’s NBL season was cut short due to injury.

With UNC and Georgia both likely to miss the NCAA Tournament, two of the highest-rated NCAA players in (Cole) Anthony and Anthony Edwards, will have their seasons end in the near future as well. The only players in the lottery on most big boards currently projected to participate in March Madness are Auburn’s Issac Okoro and Dayton’s Obi Toppin. With over 100 days still in between this date and the draft, much is to be discovered, but here is the first version of our 2020 NBA Mock Draft series.

*Draft order determined by NBA standings as of the morning of 3/10/2020 and all stats used are from Sports Reference-CBB*

6-foot-5 | G. Arizona. Josh Green. 18. Scouting Report. 30. player. Pick Analysis

Green is a 3-and-D prospect for Boston to mold. His offense is the biggest question at this stage, but he’s a nice compliment to the Ramsey pick at No. 25.

Scouting Report. 29. 20. Pick Analysis. 7-foot | C. Olympiacos B. Aleksei Pokusevski. player

A long-term stash type play for the Lakers, Pokusevski is a 7-footer with wing-like tendencies. He’s at least two years from the NBA, as he has yet to be an effective player at any level.

28. 81. Scouting Report. Duke. Vernon Carey. Pick Analysis. 6-foot-10 | C. player

Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are getting up there in age, and Carey’s combination of offensive prowess and shot-blocking is intriguing. He’s a decent 3-point shooter on low volume which hints that he may be a capable stretch-5 down the road.

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Charleston. Grant Riller. player. 6-foot-3 | G. 27. 27

Riller has been a four-year scoring machine at the College of Charleston, averaging 22 points per game the past two seasons. He’s a solid threat at all three levels, represented by his 61 true shooting percentage. The Knicks could use some shooting. Or literally anything good. Riller has been good at basketball for a while.

26. 149. Jalen Smith. Maryland. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 6-foot-10 | F/C

Steven Adams only has one year left on his deal, and Smith provides a different skill set in the meantime. Smith is the only player in NCAA’s Division I with at least 60 blocks and 30 made 3s.

Pick Analysis. Jahmi'us Ramsey. 25. player. 18. Scouting Report. 6-foot-4 | G. Texas Tech

Ramsey is perhaps the best pure scorer on the board at this stage. Boston scoops up another quality asset in this scenario in this microwave-type scorer.

Scouting Report. player. 110. Pick Analysis. 6-foot-11 | F. Arizona. Zeke Nnaji. 24

Nnaji is efficient inside offensively and has started to develop more of a 3-point shot at Arizona. Miami might look to plug him in as they shed contracts in a run at big-time free agents in 2021.

6-foot-3 | G. Arizona. Nico Mannion. Scouting Report. 23. player. 118. Pick Analysis

Jones going ahead of Mannion is a surprise, but this part of the draft starts to become about fit, especially for contending teams. Jones just fits better in Philly, while Mannion fits in Utah. Mitchell still needs a backcourt mate in the long run, and Mannion’s court vision and competitiveness should complement Mitchell well if he’s good enough to be a starter.

Pick Analysis. Duke. Tre Jones. player. 93. Scouting Report. 6-foot-2 | G. 22

Jones is up to 36 percent from 3 as a sophomore, alleviating some of the concerns with him at the next level as a shooter. It’s not a given he’ll leave Duke, but if he does, the Sixers could use another ball-handler and shooter to increase roster flexibility around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Washington. Isaiah Stewart. 21. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 73. 6-foot-9 | C

Stewart blocks a ton of shots, is decently efficient inside and has begun experimenting with a 3-point shot. The 3-ball has a long way to go, but he might provide some frontcourt depth for a Denver unit that has struggled to find the right lineup combinations at times.

Pick Analysis. player. 89. Scouting Report. Alabama. Kira Lewis Jr.. 20. 6-foot-3 | G

The perfect fit hasn’t hit home yet but if Lewis is still here at 20, someone should trade up for him. The 6-foot-3 guard needs to add weight to his frame but remains a wiry scorer with creation ability. The Bucks don’t have any needs, as they are first in the NBA in net, offensive and defensive rating, but his talent is worth it.

79. Pick Analysis. Aaron Nesmith. player. Vanderbilt. 19. Scouting Report. 6-foot-5 | G

The beauty of Luka Doncic from a roster-building standpoint is he’s a 6-foot-9 point guard and you can always find a way to at least sort of match-up defensively. Nesmith projects as one of the top 3-and-D prospects in the 2020 class and is one of the best shooters on the board, a natural fit with Dallas. His 6-foot-10 wingspan is appealing, too.

Pick Analysis. Florida State. Patrick Williams. 18. player. Scouting Report. 147. 6-foot-8 | F

While he is not having a particularly outstanding college season, he has a vast skill set. Williams is averaging a block and a steal off the bench at 6-foot-8, while also shooting 32 percent from 3 on over 1.5 attempts per game. The Nets may look to add him as a complimentary, higher-upside piece around superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

6-foot-9 | F/C. Precious Achiuwa. 17. player. 18. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Memphis

Achiuwa offers Boston another frontcourt option to mix in. The Memphis product is a high energy big who was shown flashes from 3, shooting 32 percent on 1.3 attempts in 2019-20.

player. Scouting Report. Jaden McDaniels. Washington. 16. 86. Pick Analysis. 6-foot-10 | F

McDaniel’s profiles as a stretch-4 who can block some shots on the other end. He’s not particularly efficient on offense right now, and probably needs to make a few more of his 3s to be worthy of this pick.

6-foot-6 | G/F. Florida State. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Devin Vassell. 15. 38

Vassell gives Orlando another 3-and-D option to plug into the rotation right away. With the potential loss of Evan Fournier and plenty of size/length on the roster, taking the 6-foot-6 wing would be a solid move for a team that has seemingly lacked shooting since the days of J.J. Redick and Rashard Lewis.