As the NBA enters the slowest part of its offseason, basketball fans have more time than ever to learn about the next generation of players.
This is a particularly interesting class considering two of the top high school talents (LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton) will be playing overseas rather than taking the more traditional route via the NCAA. Until the league eliminates the one-and-done rule, alternate routes to the pros have become increasingly viable.
But for a full taste of the 2020 NBA Draft, we looked at the top experts and analysts to provide a wide range of opinions and projections. Early mock drafts from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, SB Nation, Bleacher Report, NBADraft.net and USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s Rookie Wire were used for these rankings.
Below are the full results as well as some of the players worth keeping an eye on when the basketball season begins.
freshmen To Know
Anthony Edwards, Georgia
USA TODAY SMG Rookie Wire writer Ben Pfeifer recently made a strong case for the Georgia freshman guard as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Edwards averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game for his AAU team during Under Armour UAA 17U events. He scored 21 points in the Jordan Brand Classic earlier this year and was also given a spot on USA TODAY’s All-USA First Team.
Cole Anthony, North Carolina
There is a lot to love about Cole Anthony, who recorded 24.4 points with 7.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game for his AAU team during the Nike EYBL 17U tourney. He was also 34-for-65 (52.3 percent) from three-point range in those ten games. During the Jordan Brand Classic, the guard had 25 points with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Anthony took home MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic, NIKE Hoop Summit and McDonalds All-American game.
James Wiseman, Memphis
Wiseman, who won the national Gatorade Player of the Year, is a 7-foot-1 prospect can fit in the NBA as a potential stretch big with two-way upside given his massive wingspan. He shot .500 from three-point range during the Nike EYBL 17U tournament, though it was a smaller sample size with 0.8 three-pointers made per game. But that was a huge improvement as he did not take a single three-pointer during five games in the FIBA U16 Americas Championship in 2017.
NCAA Returners To Know
Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois
The 6-foot-5 guard finished 92nd percentile in the NCAA for jump shots off the catch, per Synergy Sports. Illinois coach Brad Underwood has described him as a “blur” in transition, which is arguably his best skill. Among all D1 players during the regular season, he ranked Top 25 in points per game when operating this type of offense. He also led the United States in assists during the U18 Americas Championship in 2018.
Tre Jones, Duke
During his freshman year, the guard was one of the best rim finishers at his position. According to The Stepien, he was 54-for-92 (58.7 percent) near the basket. He had a very effective floater and though it was not used often, it can be a helpful tool when he makes the leap to the pros. Expect him to enjoy his larger role with Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cameron Reddish in the league now.
Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State
Iowa State had several future NBA players on its roster last season, including second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker (Los Angeles Lakers) and two-way signee Marial Shayok (Philadelphia 76ers). Haliburton may have the highest floor, though, considering his impressive jump shot. The guard is an excellent spot-up shooter who connected on over 40 percent of his three-pointers taken from NBA range. He also ranked Top 10 in his conference for both block and steal percentage.
International Prospects To Know
Théo Maledon, ASVEL Basket
After winning the gold medal at the U16 Euro Championship A in 2017, he helped his squad finish silver at the U17 World Cup the following year. He had 11.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in the tournament. During the regular season this year, Maledon was awarded the Rising Star in the French LNB Pro A league.
Killian Hayes, Ratiopharm Ulm
2017 was a good year for the 6-foot-5 guard, who was awarded MVP of the U16 Euro Championship A and also took home the top international honor at the Jordan Brand Classic. He was fantastic for Espoirs Cholet, averaging 16.7 points and 7.2 assists per game. The French-born prospect was less effective amid his tenure with Cholet Basket but will have a chance to have a new start with the Ratiopharm Ulm squad in Germany.
Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Avdija was recently dominant at the U20 Euro Championship A tournament, leading Israel to a gold medal and taking home MVP honors at just 18 years old. He was able to produce 18.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in the event. At 6-foot-9, he projects as a natural point forward due to his court vision and his scoring ability.
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