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How the 2020 NBA Draft could turn out if Timberwolves, Warriors take early risks

The Timberwolves aren’t sold on a top prospect. Let’s take a look at how the draft could pan out if teams are willing to taker big risks early on.

Obi Toppin of the Dayton Flyers looks on during a game against the George Washington Colonials at UD Arena on March 7, 2020 in Dayton, Ohio. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 2020 NBA Draft is about a month away and the order has been set. A lot could change ahead of draft day, but we’ve put together a mock draft based on the scheduled draft order. There’s no guarantee that Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, or James Wiseman will be selected with the top pick, so we created a mock with some interesting risks teams could take in the first round.

1. Minnesota TimberwolvesObi Toppin, F, Dayton

The Timberwolves don’t seem to have a clear favorite in this draft. They don’t seem to be split between taking a future superstar that will need time to develop or trading back to bring in experience. Toppin is an NBA-ready option with dynamic athleticism and offensive versatility. He’s reportedly rising up Minnesota’s draft board. His elite finishing could pair well with the shooting of Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt. If Minnesota reaches for any player with the top pick, it’ll be Toppin.

2. Golden State Warriors — Onyeka Okungwu, C, USC

The Warriors are bound to bounce back in a major way in 2020 thanks with their superstar backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back together. Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green are solid froncourt options, but the center spot is up for grabs. Okungwu is the most versatile defensive big in the draft class. While he’s undersized at 6’9” he protects the rim like few other centers in this draft class can and excels in pick-and-roll sets. Golden State has enough offensive firepower to pull off an elite small ball lineup.

3. Charlotte Hornets — James Wiseman, C, Memphis

The Hornets have two scoring guards in Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier but need help in the frontcourt. P.J. Washington appears to be a serviceable power forward and Miles Bridges is transitioning to a full-time small forward role. There’s time for those two to develop, but there’s a clear need for an upgrade at center. Cody Zeller is one of the worst starting centers in the NBA and Wiseman has franchise player potential. Wiseman is a much more dynamic athlete and could improve Charlotte’s offense significantly.

4. Chicago Bulls — LaMelo Ball, G, NBL (Australia)

The Bulls have an interesting backcourt pairing of Zach LaVine and Coby White alongside a plethora of bigs that include Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and Daniel Gafford. Otto Porter Jr. and Kris Dunn could leave in free agency this offseason, so wing depth could be a priority. The Bulls utilized three-guard lineups that included Tomas Satoransky last season, and Ball could fill a similar role and raise the unit’s playmaking upside. LaVine could be a trade target for a few teams in need of offensive-minded guards. Ball could give Chicago a chance to start fresh under new ownership.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers — Deni Avdija, F, Israel

The Cavaliers seem poised to build around combo guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland and have a quality wing prospect in Kevin Porter Jr. There isn’t a center worth drafting this high with Wiseman and Okongwu off the board, so Cleveland could opt for a versatile swingman. There’s been no indication that Andre Drummond won’t opt in for the 2020 season but Kevin Love is fed up with the Cavaliers and could be on the move before his contract is up in 2023. Avidja is a slasher with playmaking chops and can player power forward and small forward. He could help solidify Cleveland’s developing, young core.

6. Atlanta Hawks — Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia

Edwards could end up being the best player in this draft but there’s no clear top prospect. We’ve seen top prospects drop in years past but Edwards shouldn’t slide too far. The Hawks appear to be searching to find a backcourt partner for Trae Young and Edwards has the shot creation and size required to offset the of the diminutive all-star. Atlanta has a promising core but lacks players with the ability to set the table for themselves. Edwards has the chops to do that, be a plus on defense, and develop into a secondary playmaker.

7. Detroit PistonsDevin Vassell, F, Florida State

Derrick Rose’s resurgence was a big part of Detroit’s season in 2020 but the Pistons struggled without star power forward Blake Griffin. Christian Wood proving that he can be a viable replacement for Drummond was big, but there’s a glaring hole at small forward. Detroit is going anywhere fast with Tony Snell starting and there are plenty of wings capable of replacing him. Vassell is an excellent perimiter defender at 6’6” and shot over 41 percent from deep in college. While is new shot form got negative reviews, he’s the best 3-and-D prospect available. He can improve the Pistons’ middling defense and lackluster offense and can fit right in.

8. New York Knicks — Killian Hayes, PG, ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)

The Knicks still need their point guard of the future and won’t find that in Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton, or Frank Ntilikina. They struck out on a point guard out of France with Ntilikina but Hayes is much more polished. Hayes is a crafty left hander with great size at 6’5” and can play on or off the ball. He’s not a relentless attacker but is a creative scorer. Only Ball can top Hayes when it comes to passing. The battle-tested 19-year-old has three years of pro experience and could become an immediate contributor.

9. Washington WizardsTyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

John Wall and Bradley Beal will be back together in 2020, but Washington needs to prepare for the future. The Wizards have promising, young talent at every position but point guard and can get one of the most efficient scoring guards in college basketball to back up their stars. Haliburton can stuff the stat sheet and shot over 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from deep last season. The combo guard has great size at 6’5” and is a legitimate triple-double threat.

10. Phoenix SunsTyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky

Phoenix struck gold with Devin Booker and Maxey could be up next in the next Wildcat who blossoms in the NBA. Jamal Murray, De’Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Tyler Herro all flourished as lead guards early in the pros. Maxey didn’t have eye-popping counting stats or efficient in college but he playing more minutes than any other player on his team last season. Herro and Gilgeous-Alexander led Kentucky in minutes per game in the two seasons that preceded Maxey’s arrival so it’s clear that he has serious potential. Maxey is an excellent team defender and finisher around the rim who could spell Booker and Ricky Rubio. Upgrading from having Elie Okobo and Cameron Payne as backup point guards will be key to the Suns’ success in the near future.

11. San Antonio SpursIsaac Okoro, G/F, Auburn
12. Sacramento Kings — R.J. Hampton, PG/SG, New Zealand Breakers
13. New Orleans PelicansPatrick Williams, SF, Florida State
14. Boston Celtics (via MEM) — Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
15. Orlando MagicCole Anthony, PG, UNC
16. Portland Trail BlazersAaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via BKN) — Joshua Green, SG, Arizona
18. Dallas Mavericks — Leandro Bolmaro, SG, FC Barcelona
19. Brooklyn Nets (via PHI) — Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington
20. Miami HeatPrecious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC) — Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
22. Denver Nuggets (via HOU) — Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
23. Utah Jazz — Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B
24. Milwaukee Bucks (via IND) — Theo Maledon, PG, France
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via DEN) — Desmond Bane, SF, TCU
26. Boston CelticsIsaiah Stewart, C, Washington
27. New York Knicks (via LAC) — Jordan Nwora,, SF, Louisville
28. Los Angeles LakersTre Jones, PG, Duke
29. Toronto Raptors — Vernon Carey, C, Duke
30. Boston Celtics (via MIL) — Paul Reed, PF, DePaul