The 2020 NBA Draft is just around the corner, which means all teams will continue to scout the most sought-after basketball prospects in the world to try and determine who's the better fit for their project. And today, they'll know who'll be available once they're on the clock after the Draft Lottery takes place.
We've seen countless hours of prospects footage over the past couple of years. But this year's atypical season took a toll on plenty of the prospects' chances to showcase their abilities, as the NCAA Tourney was canceled.
Even so, NBA scouts are going to continue undergoing their thorough scouting of the young men that are bound to take the league for assault after the 2020 NBA Draft. But who are those top-5 prospects bound to become superstars?
In the following paragraphs, we're going to show you everything there is to know about the top 5 prospects of the 2020 NBA Draft. Strengths, weaknesses, NBA comparison, and the better fit for them.
Honorable mentions: Kilian Hayes, Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, Onyeka Okongwu
5. Deni Avdija
College: International, Israel
Position: Small Forward
NBA Comparison: Toni Kukoc
Better Fit: Atlanta Hawks
Deni Avdija's draft stock has risen lately and for very good reasons. Like most European prospects, Avdija has already plenty of experience under his belt and a well-developed basketball IQ. He knows how to get to his spots and his size (6'9'') allows him to play and guard multiple spots from the shooting guard to the power forward.
He's got a well-round game and can do a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor. He's a solid playmaker who knows how to pick apart opposing defenses in real-time and find the open guy every time out there and can create his own shot with ease.
On the downside, Avdija has a subpar athleticism and wingspan for his size. He also tends to struggle in the halfcourt and lacks the explosiveness you'd want out of an NBA-caliber scorer. He'd be a perfect complement for Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks thanks to his ability to draw double teams and play on and off the ball.
4. Obi Toppin
College: Dayton, Sophomore
Position: Power Forward
NBA Comparison: Kenyon Martin
Better Fit: Minnesota Timberwolves
No other prospect has risen through big boards like Obi Toppin, the human highlight. He came out of the blue to impress with his freakish athleticism, NBA-ready body, strength, and hops. He's a never-ending source of energy that will finish through contact and dominate above the rim.
Toppin played some five in college and there isn't a reason to think he couldn't hold his own below the rim vs. NBA centers, although he gives up some size sitting at just 6'9''. He also excels out of the pick-and-roll and even showed glimpses of a promising post offense.
Even so, Toppin needs to become a more consistent jump shooter if he wants to make it in today's NBA. He lacks the range of modern power forwards and tends to struggle guarding quicker players. His intensity and grit would be much welcome with the Minnesota Timberwolves as he could take some pressure off of Karl-Anthony Towns.
3. James Wiseman
College: Memphis, Freshman
NBA Comparison: DeAndre Jordan
Better Fit: Golden State Warriors
James Wiseman was considered the consensus 1st-overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft before college hoops season started. He was suspended by the NCAA and he decided to sit out the remainder of the season and work out for the Draft, which is obviously a concern given the lack of footage.
Wiseman is as strong as they come. He's an elite finisher and rebounder on both ends of the glass. He also has the size (7'1''), wingspan, athleticism, and muscle to dominate right away in the league, and proved to be incredibly efficient as a roll man. There's no denying in Wiseman's talents and potential to become one of the most disruptive defenders in the league.
However, he tends to overdo things as a rim protector and that often makes him fall for pump fakes and get into foul trouble. His offense is limited, to say the least, which may hurt any modern big man. Even so, he'd be perfect to anchor the Golden State Warriors' defense down low, especially considering the fact that they usually play their centers around 20 minutes a night.
2. LaMelo Ball
College: International, USA
Position: Point Guard / Shooting Guard
NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford
Better Fit: New York Knicks
As talented as controversial and he is, LaMelo Ball may be the best prospect in this year's class. He's used to being in the spotlight and is the kind of player who will never back down or hesitate to take a big shot or make a risky play. Offensive-wise, this young man has the whole package.
LaMelo has elite handles and shot-creating ability. He's got an outstanding court vision and unlimited range as a shooter. He's also got the size (6'8'') to play both guard spots and even some small forward, although he must bulk up if he doesn't want to struggle at the NBA level.
On the downside, Ball's shot selection is a huge concern. He wants to showcase his skills on every play, especially in isolation, which makes him prone to making avoidable mistakes. There are also serious concerns about whether he'll ever be an average defender but he's still too talented to overlook. The New York Knicks have been looking for a franchise player and starting point guard for years and LaMelo might as well be it, as long as they pair him with Frank Ntilikina's defensive grittiness in the backcourt.
1. Anthony Edwards
College: Georgia, Freshman
Position: Shooting Guard
NBA Comparison: Dwyane Wade
Better Fit: Cleveland Cavaliers
Anthony Edwards sits atop of most mock drafts right now. Most people see him as the consensus 1st-overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft after watching him dominate and steal most of the headlines during his lone season at Georgia.
Edwards is an impressive athlete that can play both guard spots. He's got an NBA-ready body and a competitive mindset that certainly impressed most scouts, as well as his ability to post up and bully opposing players when driving through the lane. He's also got an impressive basketball IQ, especially when double-teamed, and is a willing passer and solid shot-blocker and rebounder for his position.
Honestly, Edward's game doesn't have many flaws. He does have to work on his free-throw shooting (shot less than 60% from the stripe) and should know how to make the most of his athletic traits to dominate inside the paint instead of constantly pulling up. He's almost a lock to join the Warriors if they land the 1st pick but he'd be the perfect guy to build around if you're the Cleveland Cavaliers.