For those familiar with our Community Mock Drafts, they can get a bit...crazy. This year was no exception - we had over 100 trades agreed to over the span of four days. Things can get busy! But a fair critique of such mocks is realism is lost...some argue that mock drafts shouldn’t ever include trades since it’s educated guess work at best and blind shots in the dark more often than not. Makes total sense.
But that’s boring. We like fun here at GBB.
So how do you balance? You add a trade panel - and ours this year was terrific! Evan Barnes of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and Mark Schindler of Indy Cornrows (the Indiana Pacers SB Nation blog) were the two full-timers for the festivities, and in order for a trade to go to the final judge - Twitter! - it had to be approved unanimously by the current panel. Then Twitter had to vote and be that final say in the process. Was this perfect? Of course not. But 100+ agreed to trades became roughly 25...meaning about 75% of what the 30 mock GMs WANTED to do was turned away.
Want to know what I suggested that got turned down for Memphis? I bet you do...not gonna share that here. Instead I am going to run down the top 10 picks, all made by GBBers, while making comments on picks along the way and detailing deals that went down that got those picks to the spots they were slotted for.
Let’s get it going with a deal for #1...and a potential stretch for the top spot.
An interesting exchange. Washington has real skill and value, especially next to Karl-Anthony Towns in a versatile front court. It’s surprising that mock GM Ben Hogan of GBB was willing to make such a switch to get to #1...there must have been someone he really wanted that he was worried Golden State may snag just before him...
#1. Charlotte Hornets (via Minnesota) - James Wiseman, Center, Memphis.
Wiseman is talented, and quite possibly has the highest ceiling of any player in this draft. Memphis Tigers fans surely will support this view (at least some of them) - even in a limited sample size his frame and stretches of dominance were impressive. But he is inexperienced and raw, and if he is on a team where he is asked to do too much too early he may flail and underachieve. Golden State actually seems to be the perfect fit for him...
Which is probably why Charlotte felt compelled to get their man at #1. But parting with Washington is a risky move. Wiseman is an elite athlete, but he has a lot of work to do on his all-around game to unlock all his potential. He’s a bit of a mystery, and that’s why he makes sense to some at the top of the draft - and why he may tumble down the board on draft night.
An elite passer who also needs to add tools to his offensive game. With the Warriors and mock GM Tev Shakir of our Starting 5 podcast, the fit isn’t perfect...but given Golden State’s likelihood to move the pick, perhaps in reality taking their top man on the board is a solid plan B.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Charlotte Hornets) - Anthony Edwards, guard, Georgia
Mock GM Justin Lewis wasn’t thrilled with this selection - the inefficient scoring Edwards showed at Georgia grinds his gears. But perhaps his decision making can/will improve. You can’t teach his physical gifts, and he has the makings of being a wonderful defensive compliment to D’Angelo Russell in the back court.
4. Chicago Bulls - Killian Hayes, guard, France
Mock GM Lauren Harvey should be very happy with snagging Hayes here. He may well be the best prospect in the draft overall - his offensive skill set is near elite already, at least in the pick and roll. He has a frame to play a variety of roles within the Bulls system and he is malleable to fit whatever new coach Billy Donovan needs from him.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers - Onyeka Okongwu, center, USC
Some have this young man ranked ahead of Wiseman. Not me - but it was close. While Wiseman’s ceiling has him a smidge higher than Okongwu on my big board, mock GM Brendan Smart is not foolish at all to take this Trojan in this spot. He may never be a superstar, but he is going to make an impact earlier than Wiseman more than likely because he’s shown the capacity to be a very good NBA defender from day one. He can hedge, switch, and use his body very well on both ends of the floor. He lacks a perimeter game right now, but not many players in the lottery mix have a better floor than Okongwu. He’s definitely going to be good.
Maybe never great. But definitely good. And that holds value.
6. Atlanta Hawks - Deni Avdija, forward, Israel
This is terrifying. Mock GM Bryce Hayes nails this pick. He needs a jumper, like several members of the Hawks, but his ability to float across frontcourt positions will be in line with the Cam Reddish/De’Andre Hunter types already playing alongside Trae Young in the ATL. Atlanta has a wealth of talented players. Avdija should be able to make them all better given his feel for the game.
7. Detroit Pistons - Obi Toppin, forward, Dayton
Mock GM Greg Ratliff is probably a bit nervous about this pick. Obi could be Amare Stoudamire or a more athletic LaMarcus Aldridge. He could also essentially be a Morris twin. There’s a wide range of possibilities for Toppin, which is why he is another target for a possible fall. He should be a good offensive NBA player (and potentially a really bad defensive one), but given his age (22) he may not become more than what he currently is. Your perspective on how that translates to the NBA in 2020 probably dictates whether this was a reach or not. I have him at #9 on my board, so...not too far off.
We will discuss EdMemphis’ Mock Knicks a couple times the next week or so. He was very active, and I loved this selection. He has a real argument for being the best overall creator with the ball in his hands in this entire draft. Your entire roster just got better offensively if you add this young man to your roster.
This makes even more sense once you read about the Bradley Beal trade (later!) Long story short, Shawn Coleman and his mock Wizards have a lot of assets and a mandate to get younger/more versatile talent. Vassel fits the bill as arguably the best true “three and D” wing in the draft. He has length, he has positionless potential, and he has range from beyond the arc.
10. Phoenix Suns - Cole Anthony, guard, North Carolina
It’s not a surprise that the Phoenix Suns need a point guard. It may be a bit surprising that mock GM Nate Chester took Cole Anthony to meet that need. Anthony is 15th on my big board - he is certainly a scoring threat and that should translate to the NBA. But he lacks defensive versatility and true playmaking capacity, at least right now. Could that come? Sure. But Phoenix has an elite offensive option in Devin Booker and Anthony early on could take touches and shots away from the wrong folks for the Suns. Tyrese Maxey or a trade back/involving this pick and other money to get an upgrade would maybe have been my move in this spot.
But Anthony has a high ceiling, like Wiseman. If this hits? Phoenix just became even more of a problem in the mock West.
Picks 11-30 will be broken down on Wednesday!