For more in depth scouting reports of several draft prospects, check out the “And the Thunder Select…” series from Aidan and others at Daily Thunder.
I’ll admit, I’ve never done a top 30 big board before, and it was much more difficult than I thought it would be, especially at the tail end of the first round. Of course, these rankings aren’t definitive. If you think Nico Mannion is the 25th best player in the draft instead of 29th like I have him, that’s fine with me. These are just the ranges (give or take two or three spots) for these players in my view. Everything is taken into account here: injuries, positional value, age, and everything else you can think of.
This list still is and will remain fluid as I’ll most likely continue to make small minor tweaks all the way up until the draft. But for now, here are my top 30 players for the 2020 NBA draft.
1. Killian Hayes – ratiopharm Ulm | G
Extremely gifted passer who excels in the PnR, with solid outside shooting indicators (30% from three this past year for Eurocup and G-BBL; 88% from the line). Good size for a lead ball handler, despite concerns with lack of burst, and he possesses a good handle and craftiness that allows him to get to the rim (.313 FTr this past year). He has a nasty stepback, uses his 6’8 wingspan to collect steals on and off the ball (3.1 STL%), although he also tends to get in foul trouble picking up 4.3 fouls per 36. Hayes is only 18 years old.
2. Onyeka Okongwu – USC | C
Dominant PnR player with great touch at the basket with either hand (73% at the rim). A fantastic shot blocker at 6’9 (9.8 blk%), Okongwu has shown the ability to guard in space and out on the perimeter at times. Montrezl Harrell-esque motor and athleticism, combining powerful dunks with hustle rebounds and transition rim running. Sixth highest BPM 2.0 in the country as a freshman; solid post potential with an already devastating spin move. High level impact depends on potential of outside jumper but he’s shown solid FT numbers (72%) and touch around the rim that it’s possible he’ll one day shoot from three.
3. Anthony Edwards – Georgia | G
Flashes of all-star level shot creation (had an unbelievable second half vs. MSU). Very good athlete with vertical explosion + powerful upper body that helps when going to the rim. Uninspiring 52 TS% this past season; shot selection is a worry, and decision making is a big hindrance (Zach Lavine-esque). 69% at the rim with his build can mold into a great slasher, 77% from the line + 23% on runners: how good of a shooter is he actually? Has shown flashes of solid passing, loose handle. Has potential on the defensive end but didn’t show it consistently at Georgia.
4. LaMelo Ball – Illawarra Hawks | G
Unbelievable passing and vision (best in the class), great height for his position, awesome handle that he uses to create space with crossovers and a variety of dribble moves. Has really good touch, although he tends to shy away from contact (180 pounds). Awareness off-ball on defense is severely lacking. Biggest swing skill: shooting; only shot 28% from three/ 70% from the line, and shot selection is also a concern.
5. Tyrese Maxey – Kentucky | G
Very good finisher armed with good touch at the rim. Shot 83% from the line but only 29% from three; proper NBA spacing should bring his shooting potential to light. 39% on runners and 37% on off-the-dribble jumpers. Does not possess the passing ability to become a lead ballhandler, might become a tertiary/secondary ballhandler at the next level. Not much of an event creator on defense (1.5 STL% and 1.3 BLK%) but plays good defense on and off the ball.
6. Tyrese Haliburton – Iowa State | G
Another great passing guard (esp. in the PnR); 43% shooter from three in college career on 237 attempts (99th percentile spot up shooter), shot 74% at the rim this past season. Very smart and cerebral player on the offensive and defensive end (3.8 STL%), pedestrian FTr (.184), only shot 24% on off-the-dribble jumpers this past season. Potential to reach star level equity is the only thing limiting him from being higher, will be a very good role player hopefully as a secondary playmaker.
7. Cole Anthony – North Carolina | G
2018 EYBL MVP after averaging 26.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists over 16 games. Like Edwards, has shown the ability to become a three-level scorer with good shot creation skills. Not big for the position (6’4 wingspan) and doesn’t have great burst or speed like other top guards; not a great ball handler or passer–coupled with bad decision makes make me question if he can be a lead guard. 50.1 TS% on the year due to a combination of bad shot selection and terrible spacing by UNC (308th in 3point %), shot a bad 54% at the rim this year but 42% on runners. Not an overly impressive defender by any means although I wouldn’t call him a liability.
8. Devin Vassell – Florida State | F
Prototypical “3&D wing”; fantastic off-ball team defender, career 42% shooter from distance at FSU, causes a lot of disruption on the defensive end (2.8 STL% + 4.1 BLK%), high release point allows him to get his shot up over defenders, great finisher in transition. Not much of an iso scorer or playmaker, but could have some equity as a movement shooter coming off of screens; career 72% FT shooter is a slight concern for legitimacy of outside shot.
9. Deni Avdija – Maccabi Tel Aviv | F
Good passer for a wing of his size (6’8 with 6’9 wingspan) with value as a playmaker, solid team defender, and has legitimate value as a weak side rim protector (3.2 BLK%). Much improved efficiency in the Israeli BSL (62% TS), although his FT% (52%) is a massive concern because if can’t provide any value as at least a capable spot up shooter then you likely overdrafted him. High IQ player on both ends, not much of a vertical leaper or downhill threat with speed.
10. Isaac Okoro – Auburn | F
Very good defender with the physique of a body builder, can guard multiple positions at the next level, good finisher at the rim and through contact + has a .541 FTr, talented passer and skilled slasher. Shot just 4-25 on “other” two pointers (jumpers, floaters, hook shots), shot 29% from three and was in the 22nd percentile for catch and shoot jumpers, and was often ignored by the opposing team behind the arc. OKC fans should know from Andre Roberson that if the opposing team doesn’t have to worry about guarding a player on the perimeter, it greatly hinders their true “upside” and potentially the value of them on the floor.
11. Kira Lewis – Alabama | PG
Super quick guard downhill and in transition, solid live dribble passer who flashes the ability to execute high level skip passes when driving. Not a great finisher (wiry frame + issues finishing through contact), but good touch towards the basket (41% on runners). Good enough defender with his limitations physically, good awareness off-ball. 37% from three on the season despite being assisted on only 55% of them. Lewis just turned 19 years old at the end of his sophomore season, and he excelled down the stretch.
12. Obi Toppin – Dayton | F/C
Very skilled offensively for a big man, finished the year with a 68% TS and 39% from three on 82 attempts, led the nation in BPM 2.0, unbelievable finisher down low + great vertical athlete who can throw down some incredible dunks, good passer. Disaster defending in space and on the perimeter; although not a good defender, he was able to create some disruption on that end of the floor (4.1 BLK%). Already 22 years old.
13. R.J. Hampton – NZ Breakers | G
Fast and athletic combo guard, good length for the position (6’5 with 6’7 wingspan), solid passer but not a lead guard or initiator of the offense. Alright finisher, but his lack of physicality definitely deters him from getting to the line more (.263 FTr in the NBL). There are reasons to buy into the shot but the results have been less than stellar (29% from three in the NBL + EYBL, 74% from the line), very thin frame, shows promise of on-ball defense but off-ball needs a lot of work, gets lost and has a low motor. Jack of all trades but master of none.
14. Patrick Williams – Florida State | F
Mediocre finisher at the rim (62%), won’t be a black hole in terms of playmaking, has thrown a few impressive passes this season despite the low AST% and might be able to run a few PnRs at the next level. Has super encouraging flashes of pull-up shooting although offensive ceiling is limited due to questionable shot from three (32% despite 84% from the FT line). Good team defender but has his issues on-ball, slow mover on the perimeter, strong defensive indicators (5.6 BLK% + 2.5 STL%). 6’8 with a 6’11 wingspan, and only 18 years old.
15. Devon Dotson – Kansas | PG
Great slasher and finisher for a guard his size (64.1% at the rim while only being assisted on 17.1% of his makes), elite quickness and great first step with the ball in his hands, almost 50% of his shots came at the rim last year (can he get to the rim as effectively in the NBA?). Very good defender at the collegiate level (3.6 STL%) despite only being 6’2 with a 6’3 wingspan. Solid work operating in the PnR and as a passer in general (23.3 AST% compared to 26.3 USG%). Outside shot is a big question; career 33% shooter from distance but an 81% FT shooter.
16. Aaron Nesmith – Vanderbilt | F
Awesome shooter in every sense, can shoot off movement/catch and open/contested, was at 52.2% from three this season before suffering a stress fracture in foot, high release point allows him to get shot over defenders. Not much of a playmaker with a 6.9 AST% compared to 26.3 USG% this past year. Not a great defender and lacks athleticism, but has shown intriguing defensive indicators (2.3 STL% + 2.6 BLK%), have seen a few solid rotations as a weakside rim protector, solid frame that he can hopefully utilize more on the defensive end.
17. Leandro Bolmaro – FC Barcelona | F
Very crafty and skilled wing with the ball in his hands; despite not being the most vertically explosive or speedy athlete, he compensates with a nice handle that can create some space; great passer who’s shown the ability to throw passes in very tight windows (see pass vs Valencia). Good anticipation on defense (3.9 STL%) and strong overall defensive ability. Shot is a real concern at only 68% from the line this year and 28% from three.
18. Tyrell Terry – Stanford | G
Small guard with excellent shooting ability (41% from three and 89% from the line), can shoot off movement and has an excellent pull-up jumper, and good touch at the rim for someone with his physical limitations (60.4% despite being assisted on only 24% of his makes). Solid passer but not good enough to ever be a primary creator, wasn’t a great off the dribble shooter last season (31.2%). Size (6’1, 160 lbs.) really limits potential on the defensive end, gets caught up in screens and generally lacks awareness when playing off-ball.
19. Théo Maledon – ASVEL | G
Good but not great shooter; 45% of his shots last season came from three, has shown some pull-up ability, doesn’t have much rim gravity due to him being a mediocre athlete, decent finisher and has shown good touch when driving, .375 FTr this past season. Good passer with some manipulation to his game, not on the same level passing as Killian, LaMelo, or Haliburton. Good size at 6’5 with a near 6’9 wingspan, not a great athlete, 5.9 fouls per 36 for ASVEL this past year.
20. Josh Green – Arizona | G
High IQ defender with questionable shot at the next level, active defender on and off the ball (2.8 STL% + 1.6 BLK%). Capable finisher (64% at the rim) with good athleticism but struggled to make any shot outside of the restricted area: shot 30-108 on non-rim two pointers, 21% on off the dribble jumpers, was assisted on 97% of his three pointers. So no real self creation ability but can potentially become a good catch and shoot wing.
21. Desmond Bane – TCU | G
Very good shooter over a large college sample (44.2% over the past three seasons), impressive physical build despite really small wingspan (6’4), solid passing instincts, decent finisher at the rim despite incredibly low FTr (.131 last year). Good instinctual defender with encouraging indicators (2.5 STL% + 1.6 BLK% his senior year). Potential to be a secondary playmaker similar to the role Malcolm Brogdon played in Milwaukee.
22. Aleksej Pokuševski – Olympiacos | F/C
A true unicorn skillset for a seven footer, looks like a wing when moving out on the perimeter, can attempt and make every shot in the book (catch-and-shoot, off movement, off dribble), shot 32% from three and 78% from the line last season. Quick release, good passer (25 AST% compared to 26 USG%), very good defensive indicators while playing for Olympiacos (3.1 STL% + 8.3 BLK%). Play strength not that good (only 205 lbs.) and will likely get bullied by bigger and more athletic NBA big men. Raw prospect but if everything hits he’ll be a major steal, and is only 18 years old.
23. James Wiseman – Memphis | C
Great size for a center (7’1 with 7’6 wingspan), should be a good rim runner at the next level but will likely be dependent on others putting him in opportunistic situations, not a quick leaper but has the potential to become a very good rim protector (13.6 BLK% in small college sample), natural length and size will give him plenty of opportunities to be a very good rebounder (offensively and defensively). Lacking self creation and passing skills, questionable shot selection, awareness is lacking on both ends of the floor, lumberer in space.
24. Killian Tillie – Gonzaga | F/C
Supremely skilled and versatile big man, shot over 40% from three during all four years at Gonzaga, 3rd in the country in BPM 2.0, great touch around the rim (72% excluding dunks), very capable passer for a 6’10 big that has great vision when passing out of the PnR. Highly instinctual defender, is able to cause disruption on the defensive end of the floor (career 2.3 STL + 3.6 BLK%). Not a vertical leaper, and has suffered numerous injuries throughout his career (stress fracture in ankle, knee surgery, hip pointer). Tillie is also already 22 years old.
25. Grant Riller – Charleston | G
One of the best bets in the class to score at the next level. His ability to finish at the rim is an outlier skill in recent years, only 6’3 yet shot 70.6% at the rim last season on 153 attempts despite only being assisted on 14% of those makes, three level scorer who shot 36% from three in his career. An excellent .470 FTr his senior year, very quick with the ability to blow by defenders with first step. Good but not great passer, real defensive concerns with awareness and effort (although had a 2.8 STL% senior year), competition concerns because of playing at a Mid-Major school (TS% dropped from 60% to 55% when facing top 100 teams), and already 23 years old
26. Jalen Smith – Maryland | F/C
Gifted perimeter shooter for someone of his size, legit value as a movement shooter, can attack closeouts and finish at the basket where he shot 72% (61% without dunks). Not much feel as a passer, great rim protector (8.2 BLK%), bit of a lumberer in space and out on the perimeter, might be relegated to the 5 in the NBA because of lack of athleticism, has the potential to be taken advantage of by bigger and stronger players down low. 3rd in the NCAA in PIPM
27. Tre Jones – Duke | PG
Small PG with below average athleticism (6’3 with 6’4 wingspan), shot 54% at the rim this past season however he hit 51.4% of his runners (admittedly a small sample). Good defender despite limited athleticism and size, will most likely only defend 1s at the next level, solid 2.9 STL% in his Duke career. Good but not great passer, AST% climbed greatly when USG% increased; will likely peak as a very good backup.
28. Xavier Tillman – Michigan State | F/C
Led the NCAA in PIPM and was second in BPM 2.0. Very high level defensive player (career 2.2 STL% + 7.2 BLK%), good finisher (72% at the rim), and awesome passer for a big man. Lacks high level athleticism and vertical ability; swing skill is his three pointer–he’s shooting 27% from distance the past two years and 70% from the line.
29. Nico Mannion – Arizona | G
Good pull-up shooter, has a nice floater and runner game (38% on runners), solid PnR passer and good IQ on the offensive end. Not much rim gravity (only 20% of his shots came at the rim), and when he got to the rim he only shot 54%. Not a good athlete, lacking vertical explosiveness and downhill speed; only 6’3 wingspan, that lack of size hurts him on the defensive end.
30. Tyler Bey – Colorado | PF
One of the best defenders in the class, career 2.3 STL% + 4.5 BLK%, good athlete (similar frame to Andre Roberson), great weak-side rim protector, led the NCAA in D-PIPM. Concerns about three point shot but has a .546 FTr over the past two seasons to go along with 76.1% from the line. Struggles to create his own shots, not a skilled passer.