The 2020 NBA Draft is still, for all intents and purposes, an unknown. We don’t know when it will take place, we don’t know who will pick first, we don’t even know what exactly the NBA will look like provided a 2020-21 season even occurs. The league has already postponed the Draft Lottery and the Combine, and while it has not formally been announced, we can safely assume the same will happen for the Draft itself.
What we do know, however, is who will be in it. The end of April saw the early withdrawal date for the Draft come and go, so every underclassman who could be taken this year has declared. As such, I thought it would be best to rank the 75-best players we know are in this draft as of right now.
1. Killian Hayes, G, 6’6, ratiopharm Ulm, 18 years old
Generally the top player in a given class has some sort of superstar upside. From Zion Williamson to even Andrew Wiggins, you’d usually say that the potential top pick has the capability of becoming one of the 10-15 best players in the NBA. That probably isn’t true of Hayes, but it’s just as unlikely to be true for anyone else in this draft, and his intersection of size, playmaking, shooting touch, and defensive instincts makes him an obvious bet to be at least very good, which is enough for this draft.
2. LaMelo Ball, PG, 6’7, Illawarra Hawks, 18 years old
If I were to pinpoint which player has the highest level of upside, it’d probably be Ball. In many ways, he’s a lot like Hayes: a tall guard with great playmaking instincts and touch. Unlike Hayes, there’s a ruggedness to his game that makes his initial NBA fit a little rockier. Ball on a certain kind of bad team could be a risky proposition. It doesn’t really hurt his overall value as a prospect, but it does give Hayes the slightest of advantages.
3. Anthony Edwards, SG, 6’5, Georgia, 18 years old
Edwards is the third of three “potential superstars” at the top of this draft and is easily the most explosive athlete. He’s got the athletic profile and highlight reel of a lead scorer, but he’s really more of a pure pull-up shooter at this stage. He has flashes of dominance, particularly in the open court, but has more trouble putting the ball on the floor and getting into the paint than you might think, and his decision-making as a passer and particularly as a defender can be very spotty, but in the end, he’s the kind of athlete and shooter that just isn’t found easily and will likely not fall further than this.
4. Onyeka Okongwu, C, 6’9, USC, 19 years old
The next tier of this draft starts here, with the best freshman in the country this season. Okongwu was the main reason why USC was a probable tournament team before everything got cancelled. His movement skills, powerful leaping, and touch around the rim all stand out, even among his peers. He’s undersized by the traditional definitions of the center position, but Okongwu’s athletic traits make him more than forceful enough to survive in the modern NBA. He’s the best shot blocker in this class while also being the best perimeter defensive big, and has arguably the highest floor of anyone in the draft. There’s almost no way he isn’t a good pro.
5. Devin Vassell, G/F 6’7, Florida State, 19 years old
It’s reductive to say that Vassell is the best three-and-D player in this draft, even if it’s true. The best team defender in this draft, Vassell was Florida State’s unquestioned leader and one of the best and most consistent players in the ACC. He’s a surprisingly adept pull-up shooter, particularly from the midrange, and uses his length exceptionally well to contest shots and grab offensive rebounds. He ranks higher than most other three-and-D prospects because of the potential he has to break out offensively in time, along with his overall general mastery of team defense. He’s way beyond everyone else this year in that regard.
6. Tyrese Maxey, G, 6’3, Kentucky, 19 years old
Pinpointing the best guard outside of the top-3 this year has been a long-term project for basically every evaluator. They all have strengths, and they all have more concerning weaknesses. Maxey isn’t much of a distributor and disappointed a bit as a pure shooter, but his ability to get the ball in front of the rim and finish through contact is unparalleled in this class, especially at his size. I’d be wary to call him a surefire starter, but I’d be just as wary saying that about anyone else, and most of them aren’t as good at point of attack defense as Maxey.
7. Tyrese Haliburton, G, 6’5, Iowa State, 20 years old
A confession: Haliburton is my favorite college basketball player. Perhaps ever, but certainly right now. He shouldn’t be higher than this. Anyone who has him in the top-5 is putting a self-creation burden on him that he simply cannot currently fulfill. His best (and only) role is as an off-ball, decision making, spot-up shooting jack of all trades guard — think of a more dynamic Delon Wright or a sweet-shooting Michael Carter-Williams. His lack of physicality right now makes it exceptionally hard to imagine him as a true lead guard for any NBA team. His passing is as good as anyone in this class, but what makes him stand out is that he doesn’t necessarily have to have the ball all the time to utilize it. He’s a terrific transition point guard, knowing exactly when to push the ball and make quick passes on the break, but will struggle against NBA size if you give him the rock every possession and ask him to break down defenders. Still, he can be the ultimate role player and still worth a top-10 pick.
8. Cole Anthony, G, 6’3, North Carolina, 20 years old
The son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony, Cole was the jewel of Roy Williams’ eye and a contender for the top pick coming into this season, but a rash of injuries, poor finishing and abysmal team play forced him into the 20s for some evaluators. I still mostly believe in him as an athlete and a shooter, and his instincts as a distributor have steadily improved. He’s a little older than most freshman guards, but as a result, he’s also a little more polished. If he can regain some of that explosiveness he showcased in high school, there’s a direct and obvious path to being the best guard in this draft.
9. Deni Avdija, F, 6’9, Maccabi Tel Aviv, 19 years old
I’m not sure any other prospect this year has moved up and down for me as much as Avdija. He’s been the Next Big Euro Prospect™ for a couple of years now, and has mostly lived up to it despite some putrid shooting performances when asked to be a lead scorer. Outside of his rugged post defense and potential shooting touch, what truly makes Avdija a high level prospect is his skill and vision as a passer, particularly in transition. He has a confidence and aggressiveness as a playmaker than most 6’9 players do not have, and if he can develop his ability to break good defenders down off the dribble, he could become one of the NBA’s best secondary playmakers down the line.
10. Aleksej Pokuševski, F, 7’, Olympiacos, 18 years old
Here’s the draft’s youngest and possibly least-experienced player, a seven foot-tall ball-handling big with the body of a middle schooler and the skillset of prime Lamar Odom. Pokuševski is one of the most statistically dominant youth basketball players in the recent history of European basketball, but his lack of strength, fouling issues, and overall rawness have hampered his playing time, though he is one of the youngest players to ever play in the Euroleague. Playing in the same Greek second division that Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated in 2012, he’s racked up absolutely dominant block and steal numbers while flashing some very legit shooting ability and some occasionally breathtaking playmaking skills. Problem is that he basically cannot score inside the arc right now, even against other 18 year olds. It’s probably going to take a few years, but if you’re placing on the next breakout Euro big, he’s as fair a bet as anyone else since Porziņģis.
11. Kira Lewis Jr., PG, 6’3, Alabama, 19 years old
One of the fastest players in the nation, Lewis brings three things to whatever NBA team selects him: an incredible intersection of raw athletic gifts and technique as a runner and driver, a steadily increasing jumpshot, and a pedigree as one of the youngest sophomores in the history of college basketball. What he is beyond that depends mostly on the developmental abilities of the team that takes him, but the foundation of a starting NBA point guard is there to be found.
12. Isaac Okoro, F, 6’6, Auburn, 19 years old
Arguably the best athlete in this entire draft, Okoro is a ready-made impact defender and play finisher. A proven winner, Okoro came into Auburn a relatively unheralded top-40 recruit and left an All-SEC defender and consensus lottery pick. To people who had seen him in high school, these results were hardly surprising, but questions still remain about his overall skill level. He’s a great ball mover and overall intelligent player, but his complete refusal to shoot has really harmed his team at times and he is very unlikely to ever be a high-leverage scoring threat, despite his athleticism and powerful frame. Still, it’s hard to pass up a player who jumps like he does, and it’s not as though there isn’t a way for Okoro to still become a highly valuable player in the NBA. It may just take time.
13. Devon Dotson, PG, 6’2, Kansas, 20 years old
Alongside Lewis, the premier speed merchant in this draft, Dotson markedly improved as a passer and pull0up shooter during his second season in Lawrence, helping transform the Jayhawks into one of the favorites to win the tournament had it happened. All year, every defense was geared around stopping him getting into the paint, but he still did it seemingly at will, and his rapport with Udoka Azubuike developed into something you’d expect between two upperclassmen and not two 20-year-olds. The idea with Dotson is that he immediately slots into a part-time role as an attacking guard off the bench and then hopefully becomes a good enough shooter to start in time. He’s fallen a bit between the cracks with all the other mid-level guards this year, but he was an excellent college basketball player who is still young and has great speed, which is something you always bank on.
14. Obi Toppin, F/C, 6’9, Dayton, 22 years old
The 2020 recipient of the Naismith Player of the Year, Toppin was undoubtedly the nation’s most visible good player, spending as much time on highlight reels as most teams did and showcasing some ridiculous, dunk contest-worthy james in transition all year. His overall package as an offensive player makes him feel like a pretty secure bet to have success at the NBA level (particularly his passing and spot-up shooting at his size), but his lack of true big man size and strength, particularly lower body strength, combined with his mediocre lateral movement skills make his defensive fit in the NBA more questionable than anyone else in the lottery. Still, the idea of Toppin as a highly-productive scoring combo big, like a hyper Marreese Speights or Drew Gooden, makes him an obvious early pick and a likely solid pro no matter where he ends up.
15. Patrick Williams, F, 6’8, Florida State, 18 years old
An absurdly powerful athlete for his age, Williams has all sorts of great shooting indicators, some awe-inspiring weakside rotations as a rim protector, and a pretty great athletic profile, either as a secondary Paul Millsap-style big or as the ultimate small ball center. He struggles moving laterally at times, but his vertical explosion is as good as anyone in this class, and he seems to have pretty exemplary instincts as a cutter and defender already.
16. Grant Riller, G, 6’3, Charleston, 23 years old
The single best scorer in the last generation of NCAA players. A surreal under-the-rim finisher with terrific explosiveness off the dribble and some great shotmaking ability. He’s come along well enough as a distributor and off-ball shooter to believe in him as, at least, some sort of point guard, which will allow his terrific scoring abilities to carry him to a long-term role as, at least, a bench scorer. He has drawn comparisons to Fred VanVleet, but he’s in a whole other galaxy as a driver and finisher (though he likely won’t ever be the kind of bulldog defender that FVV is). At a certain point you have to believe in collegiate dominance over “potential.”
17. Aaron Nesmith, G/F, 6’6, Vanderbilt, 20 years old
The best movement shooter in the draft. Good size for a wing, but missed all but one conference game after a foot injury. Shot well over 50 percent from three before that as the primary option for a major-conference college basketball team, which is patently absurd to do for longer than a week or so. Very unlikely to not translate.
18. Xavier Tillman, C, 6’8, Michigan State, 21 years old
One of college basketball’s best recent players according to most versions of BPM (Box Plus/Minus). A dominant presence in the paint who routinely bullied and overpowered much bigger players like Jon Teske and Luka Garza in the Big Ten (arguably the nation’s biggest conference physically). A great passer and wheel-greaser in the high post who competes for everything and boxes out everyone. A complementary piece at best at the next level, but one with an obvious path to long term NBA success.
19. Desmond Bane, G/F, 6’6, TCU, 22 years old
Extremely well-rounded wing who produced at a high level for four entire NCAA seasons. Is a good athlete with great strength for his size, shoots excellent off the catch, and defends well outside his own zone. Essentially this year’s version of Terence Davis, it’s hard to see him failing in the NBA.
20. Tyrell Terry, G, 6’1, Stanford, 19 years old
Arguably the best pull-up shooter in college basketball. A great passer and a surprisingly effective team defender, Tyrell Terry isn’t on the Trae Young/Steph Curry level of game-breaking pull-up shooter, but he’s at least on the same level as Seth Curry or Patty Mills, and is much more of a natural point guard than either of those two. He lacks a certain dynamism with the ball in his hands, but is an effective driver and scorer when he wants to be, and his shooting is as good as anyone in this class. It’s hard to imagine him not being a helpful NBA player in time, especially if he can step into a secondary role and get time to work on his body a bit.
21. R.J. Hampton, G, 6’5, NZ Breakers, 19 years old
Another physically raw but obviously talented player, the Robin to LaMelo’s Batman in the NBL this past season. Hampton reclassified from the class of 2020 to kickstart his pro career a year early and generally acquitted himself well. Where he lacks in Melo’s transcendent passing skills and instincts, he’s a significantly more fundamentally sound driver and defender at this stage. I don’t consider him much of a future PG in the NBA, which could limit him to a Dante Exum-style role, but his fluidity as an athlete and general scoring skill makes it hard to envision him not going in or around the lottery.
22. Mason Jones, SG, 6’5 Arkansas, 21 years old
One of the best under the rim finishers in the history of college basketball, shot 75 percent at the rim this season, despite finishing an entire regular season with only one recorded dunk. Has great strength and balance, and possesses as least a little of that Luka Doncic deceleration ability. Terrific touch. Lives at the foul line. Despite his role as a lead scorer, Jones still led his team in rebounds, assists, and steals. Still relatively new to basketball and has transformed his body the last few years. One of the true sleepers this year despite being at an obvious athletic disadvantage.
23. Tre Jones, PG, 6’3, Duke, 20 years old
Ballhawking defensive guard who improved his shooting in his sophomore campaign in Durham. Obvious role player right away.
24. Leandro Bolmaro, F, 6’7, FC Barcelona, 19 years old
Potentially the best overseas player in this draft if he ever finds his jumper again, Bolmaro is a terrific ballhandler and shot creator for his age, and plays competent enough defense to survive. Very rare talents for a 19 year old. I worry about his physicality.
25, Josh Green, G/F, 6’5, Arizona, 19 years old
Another fluid and powerful athlete who consistently performed as a perimeter defender and not entirely useless shooter at Arizona. Looked great as a transition scorer and passer on occasion, and generally plays with a smoothness that could signal future NBA dominance just as easily as it could signal a Stanley Johnson-style inability to separate from other high level athletes. Still, a multi-faceted, young, athletic wing will always have more than their fair share of NBA suitors.
26. James Wiseman, C, 7’1, Memphis, 19 years old
Yes, he’s this low. Perhaps he made the right decision to leave school entirely after how the NCAA treated him, but every time I’ve seen him play against big men even close to his size, he’s gotten bullied down low and his skill game on the perimeter is not even in the same universe as someone like Karl-Anthony Towns or even LaMarcus Aldridge. He’ll go early and I do understand why, but it’s very hard to buy Wiseman being a true impact player on either end for at least his first couple of seasons. Much more of a project than I think has been reported.
27. Paul Reed, F/C, 6’9, DePaul, 21 years old
Funky, goofy defensive ace with a weird jumper and a herky-jerky slashing style. Has gotten some Pascal Siakam comps but his handle and vision as a scorer is nowhere near even college Siakam. Plays more like Thad Young, kind of undersized but able to square up most opposing bigs, snake past them, and score with a variety of weird flip shots and ugly hooks. Should be an effective mismatch guy off the bench pretty early.
28. Théo Maledon, G, 6’4, ASVEL, 19 years old
Some outlets have Maledon in the lottery, and I understand why, but his package of skills at 6’4 don’t really stand out in any way. He doesn’t play with forcefulness and unless his shooting really comes along, it’s hard to buy him as a starting guard in the NBA. There are worse risks to take, however, and it’s unlikely he’s not at least a first rounder.
29. Killian Tillie, F/C, 6’10, Gonzaga, 22 years old
Incredible glue-guy teammate who would likely be a lottery-level talent if he hadn’t had three straight seasons cut short due to injury, Tillie can shoot, handle the ball, deter shots at the rim, and generally chip in wherever his team needs him. Should still thrive in a bench role right out of the gate.
30. Tyler Bey, F, 6’7, Colorado, 22 years old
Super undersized rebounding big man with some intriguing bounce as an athlete. Could be a starter in the league for the right team if he gains more confidence as a shooter.
31. Malachi Flynn, PG, 6’2, San Diego State, 22 years old
32. Nate Hinton, G/F, 6’5, Houston, 21 years old
Incredibly good wing rebounder who can shoot off the catch and play tough defense on the perimeter. Has flown under the cracks for two seasons at Houston but his IQ and versatility is obvious on tape.
33. Jalen Smith, F/C, 6’10, Maryland, 20 years old
34. Precious Achiuwa, F/C, 6’9, Memphis, 20 years old
Powerful athlete who really pops at his height, especially in transition. Plays very hard and has had stretches of real dominance against decent college competition. Also very old for his class and has some troubling flashes of tunnel vision, terrible shot selection, and defensive inattentiveness. Still has some real potential as an energy big with some shooting skill and great athleticism.
35. Nico Mannion, PG, 6’3, Arizona, 19 years old
Another consensus lottery pick to most outlets. Mannion simply can’t put pressure on the rim, and his shooting is too spotty to really rely upon him as an offensive fulcrum at any level. That leaves him as a decent defender with mediocre size and athleticism and a fairly obvious role as a backup point guard in the NBA.
36. Cassius Winston, PG, 6’1, Michigan State, 22 years old
37. Isaiah Joe, SG, 6’5, Arkansas, 20 years old
38. Jared Butler, PG, 6’3, Baylor, 19 years old
39. Ty-Shon Alexander, SG, 6’4, Creighton, 21 years old
A true three-and-D player, the kind they used to pump out of the NCAA every year or so back in the early 2000s. Basically just does those two things, but does them both a pretty high level. Arguably the best guard defender in the class.
40. Zeke Nnaji, F/C, 6’11, Arizona, 19 years old
Long, lean pick-and-roll big with at least some shooting equity. Dominated early non-conference games at Arizona then came back to Earth once confronted with legit size and the prospect of playing pick and roll defense against people who can actually dribble.
41. Jalen Harris, SG, 6’5, Nevada, 21 years old
42. Saddiq Bey, F, 6’8, Villanova, 21 years old
Has gotten a lot of traction as a shooter in this class, which he is, but unlike Nesmith or Bane he’s essentially a ghost on defense and can only really play the 4 in the NBA. Still will get drafted higher than this due to being a legitimate 6’8 marksman.
43. Kaleb Wesson, C, 6’9, Ohio State, 20 years old
44. Robert Woodard, F, 6’7, Mississippi State, 20 years old
45. Jaden McDaniels, F, 6’9, Washington, 19 years old
46. Joel Ayayi, G, 6’4, Gonzaga, 20 years old
47. Lamine Diane, F, 6’7, Cal State Northridge, 22 years old
One of the true statistical weirdos of the recent college landscape. Utterly dominant per 36 numbers and an obvious NBA athlete on tape. His level of competition and shot selection are real concerns, but it’s not hard at all to imagine him as some sort of new age hyper-specialized rebounder and transition attacker.
48. Boriša Simanić, F/C, 6’10, Crvena zvezda, 22 years old
49. Matt Mitchell, F, 6’6, San Diego State, 21 years old
50. Aaron Henry, G/F, 6’6, Michigan State, 20 years old
51. Cassius Stanley, G/F, 6’6, Duke, 20 years old
52. Naji Marshall, G/F, 6’7, Xavier, 22 years old
53. Saben Lee, G, 6’2, Vanderbilt, 20 years old
Good at basically only one thing, but that one thing is one of the most valuable skills in the sport: putting pressure on the rim. Elite slashing guard with good athletic traits. Had to shoulder an absolutely incredible offensive load at Vanderbilt and mostly performed well.
54. LJ Figueroa, G/F, 6’5, St John’s, 22 years old
55. Isaiah Livers, F, 6’7, Michigan, 21 years old
56. Vernon Carey Jr., C, 6’10, Duke, 19 years old
57. Skylar Mays, G, 6’4, LSU, 22 years old
58. Jalen Crutcher, PG, 6’1, Dayton, 20 years old
59. Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, 6’4, Texas Tech, 19 years old
60. Abdoulaye N’Doye, G, 6’7, Cholet, 22 years old
61. Udoka Azubuike, C, 7’, Kansas, 20 years old
62. Immanuel Quickley, G, 6’3, Kentucky, 20 years old
63. Trevelin Queen, G/F, 6’6, New Mexico State, 23 years old
Another per 36 monster, came from nothing to become the tournament MVP in 2019. Has a really intriguing mix of skills and bounce as an athlete. Tough minded, hard working, and good at basketball.
64. Dwayne Sutton, SF, 6’5, Louisville, 23 years old
65. Payton Pritchard, PG, 6’2, Oregon, 22 years old
66. CJ Elleby, G/F, 6’5, Washington State, 20 years old
67. Reggie Perry, C, 6’10, Mississippi State, 20 years old
68. Georgios Kalaitzakis, G/F, 6’8, Nevezis, 21 years old
69. Ayo Dosunmu, G, 6’4, Illinois, 20 years old
70. Marko Simonovic, F/C, 6’11, Mega Bemax, 20 years old
71. Daniel Oturu, C, 6’10, Minnesota, 20 years old
72. Emmitt Williams, C, 6’7, LSU, 21 years old
73. Trent Forrest, G, 6’4, Florida State, 22 years old
74. Myles Powell, G, 6’2, Seton Hall, 22 years old
75. Vít Krejčí, G, 6’4, Zaragoza, 20 years old