2020 NBA Mock Draft Roundup: Who Really Knows Who/When Portland Will Pick!
At some point in time, the league will hold the 2020 NBA Draft. When? Who knows. How will the order be decided if the 2019-20 season doesn't resume? Hard to tell. Would they even wait for the season to be over before deciding the draft order? Will the league even wait for the season, whatever that may look like, to end before holding the draft? Who's to say!
And then there's the question of how teams will go about evaluating draft prospects. Between the NCAA Tournament being cancelled and in person workouts likely not allowed, it seems likely that teams will go into the draft with less information, at least recent information, than in years past. Granted, teams track prospects for years leading up to the draft, so it's not like they're going in blind, but the usual pre-draft evaluation process is going to be significantly reduced.
But if the NFL was able to pull off a draft last weekend with more teams and way more rounds, there's no reason why the NBA shouldn't be able to do the same at some point in the next... six months? The NFL Draft ratings were reportedly gangbusters, so if nothing else, the actual NBA Draft itself might be a bit more interesting this year, even if the run up to it is much less so. Coverage of the draft always involves quite a bit of guess work, but between a pre-draft process that will be drastically different than the norm and a draft class that features no clear standouts, making even slightly-educated guesses about which players will end up on which teams is going to be tougher than ever.
So here's the best guesses of those who follow the NBA Draft about which player the Trail Blazers might select if/when the 2020 NBA Draft takes place. Make of it what you will...
• Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz at ESPN, in a mock drafted posted on April 8, have the Trail Blazers taking North Carolina freshman guard Cole Anthony with the 13th overall pick...
13. Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers haven't been afraid to swing on talent over positional need in the past, and Anthony entered the collegiate ranks with arguably as much buzz as any player in his class.
Adding another floor-spacing wing alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum also makes a lot of sense here. Six-foot-6, 215-pound Nesmith would provide instant shooting for Portland, as he knocked down 52% of his 3s on 115 attempts before going down with a foot injury.
Anthony, the son of former Trail Blazer Greg Anthony, averaged 18.5 points on 38 percent shooting from the field, 35 percent shooting from three and 75 percent shooting from the line, 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.9 minutes per game during the 2019-20 season for the Tarheels.
• Kyle Boone at CBS Sports, in a mock draft posted on April 13, has the Trail Blazers selecting 6-6 small forward Aaron Nesmith out of Vanderbilt with the 13th overall pick...
A foot injury in January ended Nesmith's sophomore season after just 14 games, but in that span he made 52.2% of his shots from 3-point range and solidified himself as a pro. He's a plug-and-play wing who would give the Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard another weapon on the perimeter.
Nesmith averaged 23.0 points on 51 percent shooting from the field, 52 percent shooting from three and 83 percent shooting from the line, 4.9 rebounds, 14 steals and 0.9 assists and blocks in 14 games this season for the Commodores.
• Jeff Zillgitt, Scott Gleeson and Mark Medina at USA TODAY, in a mock draft posted on April 8, have the Trail Blazers selecting 6-3 freshman point guard Nico Mannion out of Arizona with the 14th overall pick...
14. Portland • Nico Mannion • Arizona • Freshman • Point Guard • 6-3 • 190 pounds
Playing for a mediocre Arizona team without much of a supporting cast, Mannion (14 points and 5.3 assists per game) was bogged down by Pac-12 teams' scouting reports that focused on him. If he can shoot better in the pros, that'll add to his playmaking on the pick-and-roll game, where he's excellent.
Mannion averaged 14.0 points on 39 percent shooting from the field, 33 percent shooting from three and 80 percent shooting from the line, 5.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 32 games this season for the Wildcats.
• Jeremy Woo at whatever is left of Sports Illustrated, in a mock drafted posted on March 31, has the Trail Blazers selecting 6-5 guard RJ Hampton, who spent the last year playing for the New Zealand Breakers, with the 14th overall pick...
14. Trail Blazers - RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19
Hampton has been a frustrating player to evaluate for a lot of scouts, and it’s hard to argue that going to Australia really helped his stock. His play on whole was below-average, which was probably to be expected given he reclassified, and that this would have been his senior year of high school. Hampton does have some things you can’t teach in terms of size, smoothness and quickness off the dribble, and he was a well-regarded high school prospect known for scoring. He can defend and should fit physically in the NBA as he matures. But it’s also tough to watch his film and walk away encouraged about his readiness for the league. This wouldn’t be a need pick for Portland, but they’ve taken more of a stockpiling approach in recent drafts, and Hampton has appeal here as a project of sorts.
Hampton averaged 8.8 points on 40 percent shooting, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 15 games this season for the Breakers.
• The folks at Slam Magazine have the Trail Blazers selecting 6t-6 sophomore guard Devin Vassell out of Florida State in a mock draft posted on April 17...
With the Blazers set to enter the 2020-21 season at nearly full strength after an injury-filled 2019-20 campaign, the team needs reinforcements to shore up its roster and make a run at the Western Conference’s best. A rookie that could step in and provide shooting and defense on the wing would help strengthen the team’s supporting cast around the Lillard-McCollum-Nurkic core. Enter Devin Vassell. The 6-6 guard from Florida State evolved into the team’s leading scorer (12.7 PPG) after averaging under five points in his freshman season. He showed off his range with the Seminoles, shooting at or above 41.5% from deep in each of his two seasons. Vassell also brings value on the defensive end, with averages of 1 block and 1.4 steals per game. The forward is the essential 3-and-D complement that Portland has lacked in recent years. He projects as an instant contributor with the potential to take over the wing from the Blazers’ older forwards.
Vassell averaged 12.7 points on 49 percent shooting from the field, 42 percent shooting from three and 74 percent shooting from the line, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks in 30 games for the Seminoles this season.
• Zach Buckley at Bleacher Report, in a mock draft posted on April 27, has the Trail Blazers selecting 6-9 freshman forward Jaden McDaniels out of Washington with the 14th overall pick. McDaniels averaged 13.0 points on 41 percent shooting from the field, 34 percent shooting from three and 76 percent shooting from the line, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 blocks in 31 games for the Huskies this season.
• Brian Lewis at The New York Post, in a mock drafted posted on April 10, has the Trail Blazers selecting 6-8 sophomore forward Saddiq Bey out of Villanova with the 14th pick...
The Blazers have excelled drafting best available and Bey seems like a strong fit in Portland. At 21 and well-schooled at Villanova, he’s closer to being on the timeline and able to contribute immediately. He’s a solid spot-up shooter, a strong defender and plays with a high IQ on both ends of the floor.
Bey averaged 16.1 points on 48 percent shooting from the field, 45 percent shooting from three and 77 percent shooting from the line, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals in 31 games for the Wildcats this season.