Last year there was a clear consensus with the NBA draft: Zion Williamson would go No. 1, Ja Morant would go second. In 2018, certain players were clearly at the top (Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley), and the only question was where Luka Doncic would go in that mix. In 2017, Markelle Fultz was on top of everyone’s draft board.
The 2020 NBA Draft… nobody has any idea. Draft boards — and opinions on the players themselves — vary widely around the league.
It became a discussion around NBA Twitter after Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote the Knicks did not plan to take New York native Cole Anthony (Anthony has said it would be “cool” to play there).
Recently spoke with an exec who had Anthony #35 on his board https://t.co/0wfiLjeBFZ
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) October 8, 2020
Non-#Timberwolves FO exec. to me the other day: "It's all over the map, this draft. Seems everyone is thinking different and everyone is in trade mode." https://t.co/59HhTKjUQC
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) October 8, 2020
Cole Anthony is the perfect example of the challenges with the players in the 2020 NBA Draft — even the ones with the most talent have flaws and potentially low floors.
Anthony put up counting stats at North Carolina — 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a game shooting 34.8% from three — but there are real questions about how his game translates to the next level. He was an attacking, score-first guard in high school and college, but he doesn’t have the level of athleticism needed to excel that way in the NBA, something we discussed on an NBA Draft podcast. Anthony was high on college recruiting boards but slid down NBA draft boards the more teams got a look at him. That said, Anthony has an excellent work ethic and a good feel for the game — he will figure out how to be an NBA player. But is he a starter, a rotation player, more than that? Where do you draft a player like that?
There are questions like that up and down the draft board. Anthony Edwards may go No. 1, but there are doubts about his defense and motor. LaMelo Ball is the highest risk, highest reward player in the draft — he has All-Star potential, he has great handles and passing skills but his defense is dreadful and there are concerns about his commitment to put in the work. And so it goes up and down the draft.
Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of draft-night trades, teams more than ever are willing to move down this year. However, because of that, they may not get as much for a high pick as they would in other years.