The 2020 NBA Draft is next week on Wednesday, November 18th, and we’re already getting a good sense of how the top 3 will shake out. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman will likely go in the first three picks (not necessarily in that order). The Minnesota Timberwolves have the first overall pick and plenty of mock drafts have them looking at one of the two guards in Edwards and Ball.
Givony mentioned an interesting report in his writeup for Monday. He says that there are three teams — the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder — willing to trade up to try and snag Ball with the first pick. The Bulls are slotted in at No. 4 overall, the Pistons are No. 7, and the Thunder have the No. 25 pick in the first round.
It doesn’t make much sense for the Bulls to trade up to get another guard, though a 3-guard lineup featuring Coby White, Zach LaVine and Ball could be lethal on offense. Chicago has plenty of young talent, so it can afford to take a risk with a prospect with high upside like Ball.
The Pistons are likely looking into this to add the most talented player in the class. LaMelo has some red flags but he’s got the highest ceiling and Detroit’s roster is lacking talent. The Pistons traded C Andre Drummond to the Cavs before last trade deadline and there top asset seems to be Sekou Doumbouya. Blake Griffin is on the decline and Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard are off the books after 2020-21. Adding Ball gives the Pistons at least one solid building block.
OKC has three guards already but two of them likely won’t be hanging around much longer. Chris Paul’s contract is for two more years, though the last year is a player option. CP3 is making a ton of money, so he likely won’t opt out. He could be traded, however. Dennis Schroder has one year left on his deal. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should be the top priority for OKC and will be around for a while. Pairing SGA with Ball long-term could be very interesting.
As for Ball, he hasn’t had a live workout for teams yet and doesn’t plan on doing any before the draft. Teams are apparently discouraged about Edwards’ pro-day workout. Tyrese Maxey, the guard out of Kentucky, outperformed Edwards and may have moved himself up the board (you know we love UK prospects). So with Edwards underwhelming teams, it seems Ball has the clear path to the No. 1 pick now. The T-Wolves and Warriors have both been looking to trade their pick for a more established player, but no deals have come up, per Givony.