Young stars get their night

NBA Draft goes on virtually following conclusion of 2020 season


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LaMelo Ball runs point guard for the Illwara Hawks of the NBL. Ball was touted as the top point guard prospect in the draft. Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is hoping this selection could help change the franchise and take them towards relevancy in the NBA.

Carson Fox, Staff Reporter

High expectations were set for the 2020 NBA Draft. The virtual event was meant to be held in April, but was pushed back when the NBA season was postponed until August. Led by a class of young stars, fans had differing opinions over where each young talent may land. Just as 2020 would have it, it was obvious that this year’s NBA draft could be one of the most unpredictable in years.

The draft lottery proved that from the start, with the Golden State Warriors, a perennial dynasty over the last half decade, snagging the second overall pick in the draft. The New York Knicks, one of the historically worst franchises in the league, fell to the eighth pick despite having top five odds. 

The opening pick belonged to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who selected Georgia guard Anthony Edwards with the top pick. Most experts are high on Edwards, comparing him to future hall of famer Dwyane Wade. Edwards is a bigger guard with an athletic frame, but needs to work on his shooting to develop an outside threat.

Fans were skeptical on whether or not the Warriors would keep their second pick. There were rumblings that the Warriors could trade the pick, but they instead elected to go with Memphis center James Wiseman. Wiseman missed most of the NCAA season due to eligibility issues, but he was the clear cut top center prospect by a long shot. The Warriors could still attempt to trade them, but it seems obvious that their front office believes he is NBA ready. 

The third pick went to Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets. The Bulls hall of famer picked young sensation LaMelo Ball with the selection, filling a guard position that was desperately needed in Charlotte. Ball spent the last year in the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia. Scouts say that Ball already has the passing ability of an all star caliber player.

Patrick Williams was one of the most surprising picks of the draft. The forward from Florida State wasn’t even a starter before entering the draft, but the Chicago Bulls see a defensive and facilitating force in the young player. He’s most known for being a lockdown defender and tough on the glass, but lacks any real scoring ability at the next level. The Cleveland Cavaliers went with scoring threat Isaac Okoro, hoping he can provide some relief for young point guard Colin Sexton.

Onyeka Okongwu went sixth to the Atlanta Hawks. Okongwu is a dominant, lengthy defender, with versatility on the offensive and defensive end. He played high school basketball with LaMelo Ball in Chino Hills, California, where the two were part of arguably the greatest high school team ever. French forward Killian Hayes went to the Detroit Pistons, providing some depth to their wing play. Analysts are big on Hayes in this draft, and believed he could have easily gone higher. The pick could turn out to be a steal for the Pistons.

Knicks fans were disappointed once again, when they chose 22 year old forward Obi Toppin. Fans were split on Toppin in this draft, but the consensus seems to be that nobody thinks he is a star worth a top ten pick. With athleticism being his only real attribute, New York has to deal with another draft blunder with the pick. 

The same can’t be said for the Washington Wizards, who got the steal of the draft by selecting Deni Avdija with the ninth overall pick. Avdija is another dominant european sensation, with shades of Luka Doncic. If Avdija pans out the way he should, it will continue to be a mystery why euro-league players continue to get passed up by traditional college kids. The Phoenix Suns brought the draft back to centers, taking Maryland big man Jalen Smith with the tenth pick. It’s a mind bending pick, as the Suns took DeAndre Ayton with the top pick in the draft just two seasons ago. With the Suns on the rise, they could look to use him as a trade asset.

There were many winners and losers to the draft, and time can only tell how each team’s selections pan out over time. Some teams went with whatever player fit their needs, and some went with the total superstar available at that time. In just a couple years we will be looking back at this draft, wondering if our predictions were correct.