Ball, Edwards, or Wiseman? Who Will Go First Overall in the 2020 NBA Draft?
- LaMelo Ball seems to be the odds on favorite to go first overall in the NBA Draft. But will his lack of domestic experience hurt his stock?
- Anthony Edwards has all the makings of a top overall draft pick, but according to recent reports, he also has the potential to disappoint.
- James Wiseman is the best big man in the 2020 Draft, but could be excluded from amateur competition since 2019 harms his chances?
With the 2020 NBA Season culminating in another NBA Championship for the Los Angeles Lakers, all eyes are set on the NBA event of the offseason, the NBA Draft. The NBA Draft is where the brightest young stars see the launch of their careers. While the draft lottery is home to the biggest talents, some fantastic players were found in later rounds or in the undrafted pool.
The 2020 NBA Draft has been delayed since its initial date in May. After sorting out the season’s schedule, we now look forward to the event this Wednesday, November 18th. While it is not looked at as the strongest draft class in recent years, three specific talents seem to rise above the rest.
LaMelo Ball may be getting fans for all the wrong reasons, but NBA front offices aren’t blind to his talent. Anthony Edwards has all the tools to be a top talent in the NBA, but it will take the right situation to foster his growth. While in the frontcourt, James Wiseman not only towers above the rest but is also the top of the pack at the center. Each of these players has a case for going first overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, let’s take a look at why.
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In what is a relatively weaker draft class, these three players rise to the top. Seeing as the Minnesota Timberwolves have the first overall pick, we see Anthony Edwards from Georgia going first overall.
It isn’t that Wiseman and Ball aren’t talented, in fact, they could even be considered superior, but that the Timberwolves are more than set with talent at the positions that Ball or Wiseman would fill.
While there have been talks of the Timberwolves looking to move the first overall pick for more talent, we see Edwards as the first overall pick should the draft order stand.
Anthony Edwards (+155)
(G) LaMelo Ball – USA – 6’7, 181lbs (201cm, 82kg)
— Overtime (@overtime) November 14, 2020
LaMelo Ball follows in the footsteps of his older brother Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans as one of the top talents of his draft class. A physically talented athlete with already elite ball handling and distribution skills, Ball gives breath to the prospect of him running an NBA offence from day one. On the offensive end of the court there is nothing that he can’t do.
Coming from his relatively famous upbringing, Ball comes with the label of having attitude issues. He’s shown a lack of desire on the court and he’s played in relatively uncompetitive leagues to this point of his career considering his skill level. He is rail-thin and lacks consistency as fatigue sets in, but the sample size is small due to the one-sided nature of his competitive matchups. Defensively he doesn’t seem NBA ready.
NBA Comparison: A taller Ricky Rubio
Best Fit: Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Hornets
Despite all of his perceived attitude issues, you couldn’t think of a better place for that to be hammered out than with the Golden State Warriors. Playing protege to Steph Curry is a tall order, but Ball certainly has the skills to be his successor.
The Charlotte Hornets already committed long term to Terry Rozier, but he is merely a stopgap until they complete their rebuilding process. Entering a Hornets team as one of its best players from day one, Ball could shake up the struggling franchise and accelerate their trajectory into contention.
(G) Anthony Edwards – Georgia – 6’5, 225lbs (196cm, 102kg)
Top prospect Anthony Edwards needs no time to adjust. He’s already NBA ready ♨️ pic.twitter.com/N5bOOSJOiA
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 11, 2020
They don’t come more NBA-ready than Anthony Edwards. At 6’5, 225lbs with 32 NCAA matches under his belt, Edwards has more than shown he’s ready for the big leagues. He’s explosive on the offensive end and has a silky looking spot-up jumper. If you’re looking for a scorer, Edwards is the best in his class.
Edwards’ size is a blessing and a curse at times, marking him as a tweener in the NBA. Unfortunately, his college performances suggest he has no place as a combo guard and will enter the NBA as an undersized wing. Despite having the physical tools to succeed on the defensive end of the court, he often showed his lack of awareness both on and off the ball. Despite being a great scorer, he coasted in college with his physical abilities and will need to develop a more varied skill set.
NBA Comparison: Donovan Mitchell/Norman Powell
Best Fit: Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets
The Minnesota Timberwolves are set at the point guard position with D’Angelo Russell leading the squad. In Edwards they’d have a terrific slasher, finisher, and spot-up shooter from day one. Relieving ballhandling duties from Edwards is key in his rookie season and Minnesota is rightly equipped to do so.
The Charlotte Hornets have two opposing point guards in Rozier and Graham, one a defensive savant and the other a scoring ace. In Edwards they’d be able to balance their lineup and force each into more effective roles running the offence rather than playing together. On a young team like the Hornets, Edwards could shine in their up-tempo style.
(C) James Wiseman – Memphis – 7’1, 240lbs (216cm, 108kg)
— NBA (@NBA) November 16, 2020
When you talk about physical tools, Wiseman stands above the rest. At 7’1, 240lbs, combined with an incredible 7’6 reach, Wiseman would enter the NBA with competitive size and athleticism. He’s no plodding center either, natural going up and down the court or finishing above or below the rim, Wiseman is an exciting prospect at the pivot position. His defensive tools are great, but he is more than capable in the low-post or in the pick-and-roll on offence as well.
Wiseman has limited lateral quickness like many bigs, an issue in this perimeter, and switch-oriented defenses of the modern NBA. Despite being an excellent offensive player, the move away from traditional post play and playmaking renders his more valuable skills almost useless. While teams surely see him as a defensive pivot due to his skillset, Wiseman seems to be a first-option post presence of old. The contradiction is more than concerning. His time out of competition, since December 2019, also raises concerns.
NBA Comparison: Joel Embiid
Best Fit: Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Hornets
The Golden State Warriors have been looking to bolster their ranks, especially at the center position, since the departure of Andrew Bogut. Wiseman would not only be able to take advantage as a finisher from the playmaking of Curry and Thompson, but he’d be an apt defensive partner for Green in the paint.
The Charlotte Hornets are a perimeter-oriented team, with mostly role players taking up their frontcourt. Wiseman would be an immediate upgrade over Biyombo or Zeller at the center. With Rozier and Graham accounting for most of Charlotte’s scoring, Wiseman’s alternative scoring ability in the post would be more than welcome on a rather one-note offensive squad.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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