How The Top 10 2020 NBA Draft Picks Will Fit In With Their New Teams


Dan Gendy, Staff Writer

The NBA draft is finally in the books, even though it was about five months late. On November 18th, 30 teams picked from a wide variety of college and international players, bringing in the 60 best players to make up the 2020 draft class. As seen in the rest of the sports world, the NBA also took a big toll from the COVID-19 situation, making this year’s draft process an unusual and fascinating one. A draft had never been broadcasted virtually in league history. It was quite strange seeing players put on their team’s cap from their living rooms instead of the lively Barclays Center. The NBA draft is always an important day for the teams, as they look to insert some young talent into their squads to try to improve their group of guys. Yes, there will be busts, there will be players that never reach their full potential, and of course, there will be players who become stars and the next faces of the NBA. This year’s class, even without the Coronavirus addition, was still very intriguing. This draft class never had a guy who was going to be a guaranteed first overall pick like what we saw with Zion Williamson in 2019 or Markelle Fultz in 2017. The number one pick was always up in the air till draft night. This draft class was one of the deepest classes the NBA has had in a long time. Even at the end of the first round, there were many top tier guys still left on the board. Ultimately many teams made some great choices while others may have made a few questionable ones. The question is, how will the top 10 picks suit their respective teams? Let us take a look.

Anthony Edwards, 1st Overall (Minnesota Timberwolves) 

Anthony Edwards, a shooting guard out of Georgia, became the first overall pick in the NBA draft. He was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves, becoming the first player to be chosen in the top 5 from the University of Georgia. It is challenging to have the first overall pick in a draft where there is no legitimate number one guy. Some experts pick one player and other analysts pick another, but nonetheless Anthony Edwards can be a star in this league. The Minnesota Timberwolves needed an explosive shooting guard, which they got in this kid. He averaged over 19 points and five boards in his freshman college season. His athleticism is off the charts, and it seems like the Timberwolves are going to want to play him at the wing, which would suit him. He also brings intense defense, unlike his teammate and guard D’Angelo Russell. Many experts commented that LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman might be the better overall players, but the Timberwolves already have two all-stars in their positions: Karl-Anthony Towns and Russell. Anthony Edwards does come with a few negatives, as his jumper and basketball IQ are not where they need to be. Many people also see a lack of motivation from him coming out of college. Even with all that, the thing that surprised most analysts was his comments about the sport of basketball, saying that he is not a fan of watching it at all. Although there are holes in his game and attitude, the skill and strengths he possesses point to him becoming a stud and fitting right in with his team.

James Wiseman, 2nd Overall (Golden State Warriors) 

James Wiseman, a center out of Memphis, ended up becoming the second overall player in the NBA draft. He was selected by the Golden State Warriors and was the highest-drafted Memphis Tiger since Derrick Rose was drafted first overall in 2008. The Golden State Warriors had to deal with some heartbreaking news before the draft, as Klay Thompson had suffered a leg injury during practice. It would later be confirmed that it was an Achilles injury that would sideline him for the 2020-2021 season. Even though Warriors fans’ minds were set on the injury to their All-Star player, the Warriors drafting Wiseman did not make the night a complete disaster. Big men, specifically the center position, were a weakness for Golden State coming into the draft, and they filled that hole with Wiseman. It is a gamble taking someone who only played three collegiate games, but his high school resume speaks for itself. The 7-footer was able to net over 25 points and collect almost 16 boards leading his team to a 24-8 record. He has an elite level of athleticism and playmaking, giving him the ability to contribute right away. This is why so many teams were so high on this kid when he had minimal college-level production. Many experts believe that he can bring his big man preference both on offense and defense right away in this league. There are definite concerns of if his layoff from competitive basketball will impact his play on the NBA court but, by drafting James Wiseman, the Golden State Warriors are getting a sturdy building block for their future.

LaMelo Ball, 3rd Overall (Charlotte Hornets) 

LaMelo Ball, a point guard who played professional basketball in Australia this past season, ended up going third overall in the NBA draft. He was selected by the Charlotte Hornets, where he became the second player in his own family to be drafted in the top 3; his brother Lonzo Ball was taken by the Lakers in the 2017 draft. Many experts believed LaMelo Ball was the best in this draft and were surprised when he fell right into the Hornets’ lap. The ceiling is extremely high for LaMelo Ball as his playmaking skills are exceptional. His shot is extraordinary, showing Steph Curry esque range, as well as being very tall for a point guard standing at 6’7. This makes him a nightmare to defend. The fact he did not play in college and played international ball is ultimately what made him drop to the third overall player drafted. He averaged seventeen points, seven assists, and eight boards, however, giving him a triple-double threat in the NBA immediately. Many fans are also very excited to see LaMelo Ball in Charlotte because of his father’s comment a couple of years ago where he said he would beat Michael Jordan in a 1v1 basketball match. Well, Michael Jordan is the owner of the Hornets, so NBA fans will wait to see if the both of them have an interaction this season. All in all, if LaMelo Ball can work on his basketball IQ and shot selection skills, he has guaranteed All-Star potential.

Patrick Williams, 4th Overall (Chicago Bulls) 

Patrick Williams, a small forward out of Florida State, became the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft. He was selected by the Chicago Bulls, becoming the second player to be chosen in the top four overall from Florida State. Patrick Williams was surely one of the biggest surprises of the first round. The Chicago Bulls coming into the draft did not have any extensive needs, so taking someone with the upside of Williams could be a valuable decision. He has everything you look for in a forward in the NBA, plus he has the size and strength to match it. He comes with a skill that not very many players come with from college, and that’s defense. He won ACC sixth man of the year, which may sound good, but that award means he didn’t start for Florida State. Patrick Williams is someone who averaged just 9 points coming off the bench for Florida State, meaning he’s fundamentally a late first-round projection. Yet, the Bulls scouting team saw something special in him. With the help of new head coach Billy Donovan, a promising Bulls team hopes to tap into Willaims’ potential whilst he develops under other Chicago forwards, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.

Isaac Okoro, 5th Overall (Cleveland Cavaliers) 

Isaac Okoro, a small forward out of Auburn, ended up becoming the fifth overall player in the NBA draft. He was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of previous 5th overall Auburn forward and NBA Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley. Isaac Okoro is a perfect fit for the Cavaliers. Maybe taken a little bit higher than projected, but he has all the attributes the Cavaliers’ roster lacks. He adds major defensive help that other Cavs youngsters Collin Sexton and Darius Garland lack. Standing a 6’6, he adds incredible athleticism to the Cleveland lineup. He can score with contact and has tremendous basketball skills at the wing. He also adds that strong defense, as talked about before, which means he can defend even some of the NBA’s best forwards. A considerable attribute he lacks though is strong offensive ability. That is what is going to make or break this pick for the Cavaliers. Shooting 29% from three in college, he offers a limited shot that needs fixing. Because of his lackluster offense, many Cavs fans were looking at the Cavaliers to take Obi Toppin or Devi Avdija, or even trade down in the draft and take Okoro later, getting assets in the trade as well. In closure, if Isaac Okoro can develop an elite shot, he can really become an X factor in this league and become one of the best two-way players in this draft class.

Onyeka Okongwu, 6th Overall (Atltanta Hawks) 

Onyeka Okongwu, a center out of USC, became the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. He was selected by the Atlanta Hawks, becoming the second player drafted from Chino Hills High School, where he played alongside third overall guard LaMelo Ball for four years. Averaging 16 points and nine rebounds at USC shows signs of stardom at the big man position. There are many experts that give him a Bam Adebayo comparison because of his small size at the center position and his athleticism and strength on the glass. He can produce on offense and then come back and show energetic and firm protection at the other end of the floor. The issues with Onyeka do not even involve his ability on the court, but his fit on the Hawks squad. They acquired a reliable center in Clint Capela in the offseason and still have a potentially great big man in John Collins. This is a team that could possibly have one of the best guards in the NBA in Trae Young, so it’s confusing why they would go for someone who can develop over time instead of going for someone like Killian Hayes or Tyrese Haliburton, who could come in right away and contribute. Amidst the other big men in the squad, Onyeka Okongwu has the ability to develop remarkably quick and take the starting center role for the Hawks with his all-around basketball ability.

Killian Hayes, 7th Overall (Detroit Pistons) 

Killian Hayes, a point guard out of Germany, became the seventh overall pick in the NBA draft. He was selected by the Detroit Pistons, becoming the second player who decided to play international basketball instead of college ball. Detroit Pistons hired a new general manager this offseason, and many Pistons fans think he’s off to a great start with this pick. Experts across the board love the talent on this kid, and how can you blame them with his strong play in Germanys’ first division? He is the best all-around point guard in this draft class. He has ball-handling, passing, shooting, and defense, all on capable levels. He has superb upside and maturity, which brings an urgent upgrade for a rebuilding Pistons squad that has playoff aspirations in a weak Eastern Conference. The big question mark for him is if he can develop his right hand. Killian Hayes is left-handed and can only work with said left hand. So, getting to the rim with his right hand is extremely difficult for him and will cause issues in the big leagues of the NBA if he can only go one way. With further development and a more potent shot, he can legitimately be the Pistons point guard of the future who has long-term upside.

Obi Toppin, 8th Overall (New York Knicks) 

Obi Toppin, a power forward out of Dayton University, became the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. He was selected by the New York Knicks, becoming the third player to be drafted from Dayton in the first round. The woeful New York Knicks are hoping they found a star in Toppin, as they have been in the draft lottery since 2014. This is a basketball city that needs some dynamic basketball play, and Obi gives just that. He won every major college basketball award, and that is no surprise when you see the skillset he offers. Obi Toppin brings the offensive dynamite that will be shown on highlight reels for years to come. Toppin is able to attack the rim with the best of them and can still be an elite scorer with no three-point shot. He will be 23 years old by the time the season is over, which can be looked at a positive and negative. Toppin will bring the maturity and leadership from the get-go that the Knicks are looking for. Unfortunately, he is already past the stage where most young players develop, so he’s already at a disadvantage and is going to have to work extremely hard to reach the ceiling that everyone sees him having. If Toppin can continue to develop the shot that he’s already started to work on, as well as his defensive ability, there is no reason why this man can not make Madison Square Garden get on its feet every time his name is announced.

Deni Avdija, 9th Overall (Washington Wizards)

Deni Avdija, a forward out of Israel, became the ninth overall pick in the NBA draft. He was selected by the Washington Wizards, becoming just the fifth player from Israel to be drafted. Avdija was projected to be drafted a lot higher than 9th overall because of the talent he possesses, but is one of the worst defensive players in the entire draft. Bad defense continues to be a recurring theme in this draft class and is why it is so valuable to have a player that can not only attack the rim on offense but defend the perimeter as well. Nevertheless, Deni Avdija is a real playmaker who can help out Bradley Beal and newly acquired Russell Westbrook on offense. He carries the same attribute that both Beal and Westbrook have which is an aggressive offense mentality. At 6’9 he is loaded with offensive skills, making him the top-tier basketball talent he is. One problem that may occur is that Rui Hachimura, fellow forward and teammate, has a very similar playing style to him. So, it’ll be interesting how they play off each other. Overall, be on alert for Devi Avdija’s dynamic ability to be on full effect right at the start of the season.

Jalen Smith, 10th Overall (Phoenix Suns)

Jalen Smith, a center out of Maryland, became the tenth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. He was selected by the Phoenix Suns, becoming the fourth Terrapin to be drafted in the last three years. The Phoenix Suns love when they are in the lottery, and they did it again here, picking Jalen Smith well above where he was projected. Not to mention the Suns have a talented center already in Deandre Ayton, so unless they see Jalen Smith playing a bit of power forward, it’s a questionable pick. Jalen Smith does have a proficient three-point shot for a big man, as well as having rebounding and blocking ability. He can also run the court very well. It’s just a very unusual pick because he can develop and turn into a solid player for years to come. The question is, how will the Suns do it with Ayton being the starter? At the end of the day, the Suns selected the most puzzling pick out of the top 10 with other assets still on the board. He’s ultimately going to be a 15 minute a game backup this year, but it will be fascinating to see what their plan is for him.


In short, the NBA season is on the cusp of returning. The Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets open the season, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers and LA Lakers on December 22nd. There are many storylines to look forward to, but seeing how the draft class pans out every year is a recurring one to always check in on. Look for immediate impact from the rookies and for who will take an early lead in the Rookie of The Year voting.