Who won the 2020 NBA draft? After the top three picks came off the board in planned order – Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves), James Wiseman (Golden State Warriors) and LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets) – the draft started to see some surprise picks later on.
Which teams get an A rating? What were the biggest surprises and disappointments? Our NBA experts answer the big questions and make bold predictions from the draft.
More: Pick Analysis by NBA Draft Pick | NBA Trade Tracker
You have the opportunity to give a grade of A. Who receives it?
Jonathan Givony: The Charlotte Hornets. LaMelo Ball is the best prospect in the draft. Getting him with the No. 3 pick is a huge blow for a franchise that desperately needs some excitement. It will take a lot of work to surround him with the right players as Ball develops his structure, defense, jumper and decision-making on the court. But you can’t teach your creativity and star power.
Bobby Marks: The Philadelphia 76ers, who once again taught us that no contract is fixed in the NBA. They started the night by sending the $ 60 million guaranteed in Al Horford’s contract to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson. The trade cost the Sixers a first-round future and the No. 34 pick, but saved them about $ 20 million in tax penalties this season.
In the draft, the 76ers selected Tyrese Maxey and then traded Josh Richardson and the 36th pick to the Dallas Mavericks for Seth Curry. The 76ers not only solved their financial woes, but they also balanced the list. A solid night for the new head of basketball operations, Daryl Morey.
Kevin Pelton: The Sacramento Kings. I liked the way the Kings let the draft come to them under new general manager Monte McNair, something Sacramento hasn’t done often in the past. The Kings were there to stop Tyrese Haliburton’s unexpected slide at No. 12 and landed a couple of second-round players below where they were projected in our mock draft: 3-D wing Robert Woodard II with the 40th pick ( after trading down from No. 35) and Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey at No. 43.
What’s your bold prediction coming out of the draft?
Pelton: Precious Achiuwa plays the most minutes of any rookie in the playoffs. He joins a Miami team that made a deep run to the NBA Finals last season and seems to be a perfect fit playing a similar role to Bam Adebayo when Adebayo is on the bench.
Givony: I’m confident to say that the 2021 NBA draft will feature significantly higher star power at the top. Look for teams that do their best to preserve lottery picks, as there are several players in the 2021 class who would have sparked quite a bit of interest with the number one pick this year if they were eligible.
What was your biggest surprise?
Pelton: For teams to continue to value pure crosses so highly in the draft. We’ll see if Phoenix thinks Jalen Smith (No. 10) can play both frontcourt spots, and so does Isaiah Stewart at No. 16 for Detroit. It also looks like Onyeka Okongwu (No. 6) could play power forward in Atlanta alongside Clint Capela. Still, add James Wiseman and that’s four of the top 16 picks used on players who will see at least some of their action in the middle. It amazes me that their value remains so high when crosses are easily signed in free agency.
Givony: Freshmen from Patrick Williams and Isaac Okoro were chosen ahead of more proven players like Obi Toppin, Deni Avdija and Tyrese Haliburton. I really thought NBA teams were turning the corner in terms of valuing production over potential, but tonight it proved that physical tools and perks are still king when it comes to the top of the draft. You won’t find an Okoro fan bigger than me, but time will tell how those choices turn out.
Brands: That the Celtics didn’t pack all three first-round picks to rise to the top 10. Yes, it takes two to dance when it comes to making a trade, but this is the second year in a row the Celtics have had three. first-round picks and struck out raising or trading for an established player.
What did you find the most disappointing?
Pelton: Cassius Winston drops to No. 53. We seem to do this almost every year with a veteran point guard who has proven he can play at the NCAA level. Put Winston in the same category as Fred VanVleet, who was not drafted, and No. 51 pick Monte Morris, who, like Winston, shone in my statistical projections despite their age.
Givony: After the backlog of trade talks in the lead up to the draft, it was a bit anticlimactic to see zero picks in the top 12. That just goes to show how much teams value lottery picks, even at what is considered relatively weak. drought.
Brands: The missing crowd of New York. The hospitality on the ESPN campus was excellent, but it wasn’t quite the same as the energy at the Barclays Center. It would have been great to see Knicks fans react when their team selected Obi Toppin in eighth place.
Who is your favorite rookie of the year?
Brands: Obi Toppin. While there will be a learning curve with Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball, Toppin should see significant playing time for new head coach Tom Thibodeau, especially if Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson have gone to free agency.
Givony: LaMelo Ball. Ball will have every opportunity to score big numbers in Charlotte, even if he struggles with efficiency early on and the team still has work to do surrounding him with enough shooters and shooters to take advantage of his prodigious passing.
Pelton: Anthony Edwards. Choice number one is the safest bet here. Half of the last 12 Rookie of the Year award winners were selected with the top pick. Edwards probably has a bit more competition for points than most, as he joins a team with D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns, but I suspect he will find a way to get his own.
What rookie showdown can’t you wait to see?
Givony: Killian Hayes vs. Tyrese Haliburton
Hayes going five spots ahead of Haliburton was one of the biggest surprises for me on draft night. I will be fascinated to see what their careers look like, even though Hayes will surely be in a much better position to add numbers early on playing for a Detroit team without much established talent.
Pelton: LaMelo Ball vs. Anthony Edwards
I don’t know if they’ll match in the traditional sense of protecting each other, but I think Ball and Edwards are the two players that will be linked from this draft as presumably the final two to be No. 1 overall. . Timberwolves fans are sure to be watching closely to see if their team made the right decision.