Top Four NBA Draft Pick Predictions

Brendan Conniff, Writer

After the NBA season came to a screeching halt because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the four worst teams in the NBA record-wise are the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Atlanta Hawks. Assuming that the NBA season will not be resuming this spring, basketball fans should look forward to the next major NBA event, which would be the NBA draft. Now obviously these teams might not end up with these picks because the NBA draft lottery has not happened yet, but these four teams will have the best odds at the number-one pick, and they will be in the following order:

1st pick- Golden State Warriors select James Wiseman- Center, Memphis

James Wiseman is an outstanding athlete who is exceptional at finishing above the rim and spacing the floor. Standing 7 foot, 1 inch, Wiseman is built to be an accomplished rim protector in the NBA. In addition, Wiseman also packages great defensive skills as he can guard anyone from the paint out to the perimeter. Some downsides to Wiseman’s game include his competitiveness and his toughness. Some scouts have said that after watching him play, Wiseman is not as tough as they had previously thought and if he could develop a mentality in which he could overpower anyone that gets between him and the rim, he could be an outstanding NBA player. The Warriors have gone from going to five straight finals to being the worst team in the league. However, this is because of the fact that Stephen Curry has missed almost the entire season, Klay Thompson has missed the entire season and they traded D’Angelo Russell. Through the past five years, the center position has been their weakest as they always had a new starting center every season. This is their chance to solidify that position and make another championship run next season.

2nd pick- Cleveland Cavaliers select Anthony Edwards- SG, Georgia 

Arguably the best prospect of the 2020 draft class, Anthony Edwards has proven that he is a gifted scorer as he can score from literally everywhere on the court. He proved this by scoring 33 points in one half against Michigan St., one of the top teams in college basketball. Just like Wiseman, Edwards also is known for his crazy athleticism. In addition to his ability to become the leading scorer on the Cavs right away, his physicality allows him to guard any point guard, shooting guard, or even small forward. Edwards is 6’4, and the average small forward is 6’9, proving that Edwards is an animal on both sides of the ball. Probably the biggest downside to Edwards’ game would be his shot selection. There were many instances where we saw Edwards settle for deep and contested three point shots and it was these shots that made his efficiency plummet to only 29%. However, shot selection easily can be fixed especially in the NBA where Edwards does not need to take all the shots. Unlike the Warriors, the Cavaliers have struggled for some time now. After Kyrie Irving left the team in 2017, and Lebron James in 2018, the Cavaliers have been in need of a superstar to lead the team and Anthony Edwards can be that guy. While the Warriors took Wiseman simply to fill the center position, the Cavaliers are taking Edwards because he is the best player in the draft. To be honest, if any other team that is not the Warriors gets the first overall pick, then the first pick should be Edwards.

3rd pick- Minnesota Timberwolves select Obi Toppin- PF, Dayton 

Obi Toppin is a player that can start immediately for the Timberwolves and help the team win games. Toppin has great potential to come into the NBA and be an outstanding rebounder as well as a great scorer in the post. While Zion Williamson is most definitely better then Toppin, Toppin plays basketball similar to the way Zion plays. They are both characterized by their flashy dunks and insane strength and physicality. Toppin also has a trustworthy jump shot and does not need to have the ball in the post in order to score. He can make moves from the perimeter. Arguably, Toppin’s biggest downfall is his defense. It has been questioned whether or not he could guard the elite power forwards and centers in the league, but his defense will improve as he gets more and more experience. If Toppin does land in Minnesota, it would be exciting to see what he could do playing alongside All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns. The Timberwolves are similar to the Cavaliers in that they have been underachieving for the past couple of years. However, they have their star to build around in Towns and they also traded for an up and coming star in D’angelo Russell. The power forward position always has been an area of concern for the Timberwolves and Obi Toppin finally gives them the chance to secure a good power forward with a lot of potential.

4th pick- Atlanta Hawks select Lamelo Ball- PG, Australia

Lamelo Ball, the little brother of Lonzo Ball, the point guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, has spent this past season playing in the Australian League and has been putting up great numbers. He averaged 17 ppg, 7 apg, and 7.5 rpg as a point guard. Lamelo takes after his brother when it comes to passing as he has developed into one of the flashiest passers ever seen. His great passing makes for a great basketball IQ and Lamelo also is lethal when it comes to pick and rolls. His deadly three-point shot mixed with his great passing make it almost impossible to guard him when there is a pick and roll. In addition, at 18 years old, Lamelo still has not completely grown into his body yet, and currently standing at 6’7, it has been confirmed that Lamelo will continue to grow and ultimately get stronger. However, Lamelo tends to struggle on the defensive side of the ball. He also has had issues off the court which has caused him to move across leagues throughout the world. Lamelo Ball will either develop into a star, or he will be a bust, but the Hawks hopefully will look to add that second star in the backcourt and pair up Ball with Trae Young.

 

With all these great prospects coming into the NBA, it gives basketball fans something to look forward to since we can not watch the playoffs.