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Big Board 2.0 for the 2020 NBA Draft

The 2020 NBA Draft will be one of the most intriguing drafts in recent memory. The circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to truly gauge the talent of the best prospects in this year’s draft class. With that said, here is the second edition of KSR’s big board of the top 30 draft-eligible players.

All player movement from Big Board 1.0 is noted along with any additions or subtractions. You can read the first version here

1. Anthony Edwards, Shooting Guard, Georgia

In essence, Edwards is a pretty good encapsulation of this entire draft class. There is obvious talent here, but the flaws are so glaring that you just cannot call him a “sure thing.”

You probably already know this, but this is a draft without a true top prospect that everyone agrees will be the next big thing at the next level. No one even knows who will be the No. 1 pick in this draft. Edwards is widely regarded as one of the best possibilities for the top selection, but he is far from flawless. For starters, he was not interested in playing much defense last year for Georgia. Add that in with some rough decision making on offense and you have a prospect that admittedly has bust potential.

However, I think a large part of his downfalls showcased in his freshman can be marked up to him being on a terrible Bulldog team that had little talent around him. His overall athleticism, shot-making ability, and alpha-dog mentality gives me enough confidence to make him the top prospect here. Think of Edwards as a Donovan Mitchell/Victor Oladipo type. His upside on getting to the rim with ease will translate to the next level, and I think he will try much harder on defense once he reaches the NBA. Even in an uncertain draft, I’m willing to bet on Edwards being a borderline future all-star.

2. LaMelo Ball, Point Guard, New Zealand

I’m not here to degrade Ball as a prospect because of who his dad is or because of his choice to forgo college basketball and play overseas. Instead, what I care about is the fact that he is BY FAR the best passer and ball handler in the 2020 draft. His ability to orchestrate an entire offense with ease at such a young age is a great indicator that he is going to be among the league leaders in assists over the entirety of his pro career.

I was never all that fond of his brother when he was coming out of college. I genuinely think that LaMelo is a better all-around prospect than Lonzo was. If it wasn’t for his shooting struggles and for his terrible shot selection, I would’ve had the youngest Ball brother atop of this big board. Even with those flaws, I still like LaMelo’s athleticism and genius offensive play-making ability more than Lonzo’s. Rain down your hate all you want for this ranking, but LaMelo is the best point guard in the class.

3. Onyeka Okongwu, Power Forward/Center, USC

The majority of scouts and basketball talking heads have Edwards and Ball in their top five players of this draft. I think it’s fair to say that one of those two guards will end up being the No. 1 overall pick. But from this point on, everyone’s opinions are all over map. So be ready for some surprises starting now!

For me, I’m going with the big man from Southern California as my third best player simply because he has little to no bust potential. Okongwu just doesn’t have many flaws in his game. He has great athleticism combined with good size, he is incredible at running rim-to-rim on the fast break, he has a nice jump shot even at his size, he can effectively guard just about any position on the floor, and he is a good ballhandler.

In summary, he is the ideal big man for today’s game. The reason why he isn’t ranked as high as Edwards or Ball is because his ceiling isn’t quite as high as theirs are. However, Okongwu is pretty comparable to Bam Adebayo. This guy can start for any team in the league from day one. Okongwu is the best big man of the 2020 draft.

4. Killlan Hayes, Point Guard, France

While born in America, Hayes played pro ball overseas for the last several months. Hayes was near the bottom of the first round near the start of the 2020 draft process, but he has since flown up draft boards due to his improved game over the past year. Like Okongwu, Hayes has little flaws in his game but there is a limited ceiling here. At 6’5, Hayes showcased impressive length and effort on defense. Plus, he added a very impressive step-back jump shot that has some scouts comparing him to Luka Doncic.

I’m not quite that high on Hayes as he still isn’t any where near being as good of a shooter as Doncic is. That’s where he has to improve the most. However, I really like his ability to control an offense. Like Ball, Hayes is one of the draft’s best passers and he has elite-level basketball IQ. I’m confident Hayes will be a starting point guard in the league for years to come.

5. Devin Vassell, Small Forward, Florida State

This is probably the highest you will see Vassell on anyone’s big board, but this isn’t a “Hey look at how different my thinking is” ranking. I genuinely think Vassell is this good. In fact, no other prospect flew up my big board after film study more than the sophomore from Florida State did. He is not only the best 3-and-D player in this draft class, but he is also the best all-around defender. Period.

His instincts are incredible both on the ball and off the ball on that side of the floor. Plus, his 6’10 wingspan for a small forward enables Vassell to cause havoc in opposing offense’s passing lanes. He plays hard on both sides of the floor, and his jump shot is NBA-ready after shooting 41.5% from deep last season. Similar to Hayes and Okongwu, there is very little bust potential here. At the peak of his career, Vassell can easily be the best defender on a championship team while also being the third or fourth best offensive option. There is real value here, and he might end up being the steal of the draft.

6. Tyrese Maxey, Combo Guard, Kentucky

I’m not sure what scouts are missing here, but Maxey is absolutely one of the better players in this draft. Yet, most mock drafts have him going anywhere from the late lottery to the high teens. Someone, please make it make sense because that’s crazy to me.

While Maxey can easily play the point, he can also play alongside an established lead guard. If you haven’t already sensed a theme here, I tend to like prospects who have very low bust potential and real talent on both sides of the floor. That’s exactly what Maxey possesses. While his jump shot needs a little more improvement, he is a good defender, a great finisher at the rim, and a very clutch player. Maxey is the definition of an NBA guard. Several teams are going to feel really stupid when they pass on him.

7. Deni Avdija, Small Forward, Israel                Up 6 Spots

Thanks to a huge improvement in his jump shot which happened in just the last few months, I’ve bumped Avdija from being a total bust in this class to a solid role player. He is essentially a point-forward due to his handle and passing abilities. I never see him being an elite defender or shooter so I can only have him so high. His feel for the game is pro-ready. I see a path where he is an average team’s fourth or fifth best player. Avdija is the first player to get a large bump in this big board which is mostly due to his vast improvements on the offensive end of the floor. His bust potential drips away with every new piece of game film that gets added. He will be ready to play from day one.

8. Obi Toppin, Power Forward, Dayton              Up 2 Spots

After being very hard on Toppin in the first big board, I gave him a little bit of a boost here. Like what the consensus says, Toppin’s offense is great. He plays above the rim as one of the more athletic players in the class, and he has a jump shot that’s pro-ready. It’s not an elite shot, but it will keep defenders modest.

But with no exaggeration, he is the worst defender out of the major prospects in this class. He gets absolutely abused in the pick-and-roll, his hips are too stiff to ever guard someone quicker than he is, and he is too fragile to guard any big post player on the block. Plus, he isn’t exactly a great rebounder either. Toppin is your guy if want 18 ppg, 7 rpg, highlight-reel dunks, and one of the worst defenders at his position in the league. That’s mostly why I have him out of the top five prospects. But there is a chance that with his work ethic and personality he could have a very promising career and improve on the defensive end.

9. James Wiseman, Center, Memphis

I can write over a thousand words on Wiseman as a prospect, and I still don’t think I can accurately encapsulate what he will be at the next level. He is honestly one of the biggest boom-or-bust players I have ever scouted. He could be the next great big man in the sport, or he could just be an athletic rim-runner who never reaches his full potential. I lean more to the latter.

I’ll freely admit that no one in this class has a higher ceiling than Wiseman. He looked like a hall of famer in three games at Memphis against bad competition. His combination of size, length, athleticism and shooting touch is incredibly impressive. Sounds like a No. 1 pick right? Absolutely not. He regularly gets totally lost on defense, he bites on way too many shot fakes, and his shot selection on offense is quite terrible. There is so much work to be done to Wiseman’s fundamentals on both sides of the floor that I consider him a big project. He should be a starter in the league for years to come, but a team will be disappointed if they pick him in the top five. If picked No. 1, he could be a borderline bust.

10. Kira Lewis Jr., Point Guard, Alabama            Down 2 Spots

I’m a lot higher on Lewis Jr. than the general consensus which has him being selected in the middle of the first round. The reason why is that he is essentially a more out of control Tyrese Maxey. The sophomore from Alabama is an uber fast lead guard who can accurately finish at the rim in a variety of ways. His jump shot is fine, his athleticism is fine, and his defense is well…fine!

His biggest weakness is that he is still pretty raw as a prospect. He can get very wild at times which is a pretty big problem considering his skinny frame. But these things could possibly be corrected. At the very least, I can see him being a valued role player. However, Lewis Jr. does have a high ceiling since he is still one of the younger players in the draft. He gets a slight bump down due to higher rankings for Avdija and Toppin.

11. Tyrese Haliburton, Point Guard, Iowa State    Down 4 Spots

It gives me no pleasure to do this, but Haliburton takes the biggest slide on this Big Board. I have sincere worries about certain parts of his game. His rail-skinny frame will be exploited by opposing defenses, he isn’t a particularly great finisher at the rim, and while he has good shooting numbers, I completely despise his shot mechanics. But he is still one of the smartest and best passers in this class. For a point guard, that’s so vital to have.

Overall, Haliburton screams “role player.” And there isn’t anything wrong with that, you just can’t win championships without those guys. I just don’t see a guy that really has the talent of a clear-cut top 5 pick.

12. RJ Hampton, Combo Guard, New Zealand       Up 4 Spots

Like with Ball, Hampton is a highly ranked recruit out of high school who decided to play in New Zealand last year. This makes for a rather tough evaluation considering that Hampton doesn’t quite have Ball’s ceiling. Still, Hampton has obvious NBA speed and athleticism for a 6’5 guard. Plus, he plays hard which gives him solid defensive upside. He needs a few more years of development, but there is a big chance that he turns out to be a huge steal.

Hampton gets a large rise in his ranking this time around mostly due to more film study which clearly showed his next-level explosiveness. I’m so curious to see what kind of a player he will be at the next level, but he is easily a lottery talent.

13. Cole Anthony, Point Guard, North Carolina        Down 2 Spots

I never see Anthony being a good defender at the next level so his potential is stunted. Like Edwards, he was on a bad team in college which nuked his efficiency, but his talent is so obvious. He has good athleticism for his size, his competitive fire will keep him in the league, and I love his jump shot. On a bad team, his bad shot selection will not improve and neither will he. But if picked to a good franchise Anthony could have a Lou Williams-type of career. However, I am very worried about those Austin Rivers comparisons.

14. Aaron Nesmith, Shooting Guard, Vanderbilt       Down 1 Spot

I really, really wanted to put Nesmith in my top 10 simply because he is the best pure shooter in this class. His shooting stroke is relatively perfect, and in just 14 games of action last year due to injury he averaged 23.0 ppg while shooting an impressive 52% from three-point land. Yes, Nesmith is not a good passer, and he is not great off the dribble. He is the textbook definition of a one-tool player. But if a prospect does one thing really well in college, then he will do it well at the next level. Nesmith will be a valued shooter in the pros.

15. Tyrell Terry, Point Guard, Stanford                         Down 1 Spot

Terry is basically a much lesser version of Trae Young. He has limitless range and is not afraid to shoot from 30-feet away. Where his talent really shows is that he shot 40.8% from that far away. It’s not ideal, but he has shown he is justified in taking those shots. Like Young, Terry is terribly undersized and lacks pro-athleticism. Plus, he will get exposed on defense. Still, his offensive upside makes him a borderline lottery pick in this draft.

16. Isaac Okoro, Small Forward, Auburn                      Down 1 Spot

Okoro is the “reverse Obi Toppin” of this class. I would put Okoro right behind Vassell as the second-best pure defender in this draft. Seriously, Okoro’s combination of length, athleticism, and defensive IQ will keep him in the league for a long time. HOWEVER, the Auburn freshman is way too raw on offense. He is a terrible three-point shooter, and he is very below average from the free-throw line. Okoro is a player that will need to be picked by a team that has a plethora of good offensive players. If not…yikes.

17. Patrick Williams, Power Forward, Florida State

Williams is incredibly intriguing. He came off the bench for the Seminoles as a freshman and only averaged 9 ppg and 4 rpg. Its always a big risk to take a prospect this high with such limited production, but his flashes of talent earn this ranking. Williams is already a great rim-protector and a good defender. Couple that with his solid shooting potential and at worst you have a solid role-player. I just see a very limited ceiling with Williams which places him in the middle of this round.

18. Jalen Smith, Power Forward, Maryland

I’m higher on Smith than most scouts, and that’s fine with me. I’ve always like Smith due to his combination of size/athleticism and impressive shooting touch for a big man. He does need to improve his situational defense, but I like what I’ve seen from him as a rim-protector in spurts. He feels like a high-energy guy off the bench who possesses starting potential.

19. Isaiah Stewart, Power Forward, Washington             Up 1 Spot

Stewart is a pretty divisive prospect. I’ve seen some people have him near the lottery, but I’ve seen others have him outside of the first round. I fall in the middle of these groups. Stewart has a great attitude and plays incredibly hard on both ends of the floor. He doesn’t have NBA athleticism, and his jumper needs improvement. But the tools are here, and I have a feeling Stewart will figure things out.

20. Aleksej Pokusevski, Center, Serbia                               Up 10 Spots

Widely known as “Poku”, this tall Serbian earns the honor of having the biggest jump in the rankings from Big Board 1.0. Poku is an uber-skinny seven-footer who has good passing and ball skills. I have no idea if he will be able to put more muscle on his frame whenever he arrives in the U.S., but if he doesn’t, his career will be short. If he does, he can be a poor man’s Kristaps Porzingis; Huge boom-or-bust player. The reason for his rather large rise is because the package really is here for Poku to become the next “unicorn” type of big man. Still, his defense on the perimeter is atrocious and he has to put on more muscle. He has a chance to be very good, I just need more reassurance before ranking him higher.

21. Desmond Bane, Shooting Guard, TCU                           Up 6 Spots

Bane is an athletic, experienced shooter who has decent potential to be a steal if he is placed on a team that has other athletic defenders. He has an NBA body with the athleticism to match. He is a winner who has great basketball IQ. Bane gets a nice bump up because he really is a sure-thing. While I don’t think there is All-Star potential here, there is plenty of potential for Bane to be a meaningful contributor on a good basketball team. Winning players are essential to winning championships, Bane is that kind of player.

22. Jahm’ius Ramsey, Shooting Guard, Texas Tech         Down 3 Spots

Ramsey reminds me a lot of guys such as Monta Ellis, JR Smith, and, most recently, Kevin Porter Jr. from the 2019 class. The freshman from Texas Tech has extremely impressive, flashy highlights along with a beautiful jump shot. He was a lights-out shooter from three-point land last year, but he isn’t fundamentally sound as a prospect. He is a pretty hot-headed on offense, and he needs to be more locked-in at the free-throw line. Still, Ramsey is a really talented player in this class who just needs to go to the right team. He falls a bit because I am worried he might be more focused on accumulating good stats over making winning plays.

23. Isaiah Joe, Shooting Guard, Arkansas                           Down 2 Spots

Every year, I pick a player that is mostly slated to go in the second round by the majority of NBA scouts and give him a first-round grade. After all, every single draft has a diamond-in-the-rough success story out of the second round. My money is on Joe to be that guy in this class. His ultra-quick release on his pretty jump shot is a very good indicator he will be a good shooter at the next level. He finally decided to stay in the draft, and I see a guy ready to be a spark plug off the bench in the pros right now.

24. Xavier Tillman, Center, Michigan State                          Down 1 Spot

Tillman is one of the more fun prospects in this class. Despite being undersized for a big man at 6’8 and lacking elite athleticism, Tillman used his basketball IQ and 7’1 wingspan to be an elite defender in college. Not only will that translate to the pros, but his experienced, winning personality will make him a team and crowd favorite as an energetic role player. He is one of the sleepers of this year.

25. Grant Riller, Point Guard, College of Charleston

Riller is this draft’s small-school darling. Many scouts call the senior a “3-level scorer” but I think his real value is his uncanny ability to finish at the rim. While he was an elite scorer in college, he only shot 35% from the 3-point line in his career. Plus, he turned the ball over too much. At his age, what you see is what you get: A high-energy guy who can score in spurts off the bench.

26. Precious Achiuwa, Power Forward, Memphis               Down 2 Spots

There is a ton of bust potential with Achiuwa as he is incredibly raw. He is a non-shooter from the field and from the free-throw line, while also lacking proper passing skills. However, guys who play as hard as he does find a way to stick around in the league. He runs the floor very well and he is an elite rebounder. There is obvious second-unit potential here with room to grow.

27. Tre Jones, Point Guard, Duke                                              Down 1 Spot

Much like his brother Tyus, the ACC Player of the Year fills the mold of a pass-first, high-IQ, second-unit point guard at the next level. His scoring package could use more improvement, but Tre is going to take care of the ball while successfully getting the offense in a solid flow. He will be the same player he was at Duke but with less scoring production.

28. Saddiq Bey, Small Forward, Villanova

Bey is a pretty solid 3-and-D player in this class. He is a good shooter with good measurements and decent athleticism, but he has a pretty low ceiling. I struggle to see him being a yearly starter in the league with his lack of elite talent, but he will be a solid contributor on any team’s second unit.

29. Josh Green, Small Forward, Arizona                                New to the Big Board

I decided to drop Cassius Winston and give his spot to Green. Winston’s lack of speed and quickness gives me a lot of concern. I’m trading that in for Green’s NBA-ready body and athleticism. He is a good enough shooter and defender to be a first-round 3-and-D small forward who also has a high ceiling which may move him up the last version of this board which will drop before the draft night.

30. Immanuel Quickley, Combo Guard, Kentucky               Down 1 Spot

Has good potential as a shooter off the bench due to his ability to be a non-negative on the defensive end of the floor. His high IQ will keep him in the league for at least 5-6 years. Quickley’s lack of playmaking ability makes him a bit of a one-note player.

Article written by John Reecer

1 Comment for Big Board 2.0 for the 2020 NBA Draft

  1. BigBlueFoo42777
    9:20 pm August 23, 2020 Permalink

    I can’t deal with this site any more. may charge but it will be worth it.