The 2020 NBA Draft was as eventful as ever, and keeping track of the moves is tough, but don’t worry, I’ve decided to share with you some notable news from the first round of the draft.
The first three selections in the draft went as planned, and LaMelo Ball going 3rd overall to the Charlotte Hornets was no surprise. I love the fit as it gives LaMelo the perfect situation to step right into an impact role, with even more opportunity for growth depending on what Charlotte does with Terry Rozier and Devonte Graham at the guard spots.
As he sends another son to the NBA as a top-three pick, Lavar Ball reminded us all that his unorthodox and often criticized methods paid off with his choice of hat for the evening.
At the ninth overall selection, the Washington Wizards stuck to a draft philosophy as old as time itself—Take the most talented guy remaining on your draft board. As a result, 19-year-old Deni Avdija will take his talents to Washington, D.C
Avdija is the youngest MVP in Israeli League history, and even though his selection might have surprised Wizards fans at nine, they made a pick that represented value based on his pre-draft projections.
Avdija was ranked within the top six by The Athletic and The Ringer, and Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard stated he had scouted him since he was 16-years-old, so it’s reasonable to see how once Onyeka Okongwu was off the board, Avdija was the ideal selection.
If you’re unfamiliar with his game, please take the time to check his highlights below and keep in mind to analyze how he moves, creates space, and scores.
Most people watch highlights and just focus on the ball going in the basket, but you can notice plenty about a players ability if you take note of just how surgical they are with their movement in the way they score.
Footwork and technique always show up on tape.
Ricky Rubio Returns to Minnesota
Ricky Rubio returning to the Wolves is a big note of my draft night because of what the move signals. Bringing Rubio back is an indicator to me that the Timberwolves made a trade to give their young team a leader and a proven winner.
Yes, I said what I said. Rubio knows how to win games better than most rotation point guards in the league, and his presence increases the ceiling of every player on the roster.
Rubio is a great veteran guard and will find minutes in the rotation due to his playmaking ability. Lineups Involving Rubio will allow scorers to work off the ball and focus on doing what they do best—put the damn thing in the bucket
After Selecting Anthony Edwards 1st overall and adding other young playmakers in the draft, the Wolves are turning in a direction that takes them a step closer to the playoffs.
Next, Minnesota must make the right moves in free agency to help maximize Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell’s impact in the upcoming season.
Celtics Take Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard
Sharpshooting, every team needs it, and the Boston Celtics made spacing the floor a priority on draft night.
For a team planning to be in the thick of the eastern conference, the selections of Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard are picks that can help space the floor on day one.
Pritchard was one of the most competitive guards in the country at Oregon. He never backed down from a challenge and has an impressive skillset that propelled him to lead the Pac-12 in both scoring and assists a year ago. I project him to be effective off the bench and eventually develop to a point where he can command the Celtics second unit as soon as this season.
Joining up with Pritchard is Vanderbilt product Aaron Nesmith.
Nesmith is a lights-out shooter, and the combination of these players in the first round will help the Celtics lessen the blow of potentially losing Gordon Hayward this offseason.
The chart speaks for itself as the Vanderbilt product is one of the, if not the best catch-and-shoot rookies in the class. His value fills a much-needed hole in the Celtics offensive attack by adding another off-ball shooter to the rotation.
Tyrese Haliburton is one of the most talented mismatches in this class due to his size at the point guard position. He’s also skill-wise everything you want in a playmaking guard, so it was confusing to see him fall to Sacramento with the 12th pick.
The Kings should feel great with the selection, but as a fan, I’m worried that he may not be able to maximize his potential in Sacramento.
The 76ers were active during the first draft under new GM Daryl Morey. The Sixers may have one of the steals of the draft with Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey’s selection at 21st overall.
Acquiring Maxey raises the talent level of the roster, and Morey’s trades rid the Sixers of Al Horford’s bloated contract and brought shooting to the team in the form of Danny Green and Seth Curry.
Klay Thompson’s Injury
Without a doubt Klay Thompson Tearing his Achilles is the most impactful story that occurred on draft night. The Warriors potentially lose one of the biggest pieces of their organization as they were primed to make a twilight run in the western conference.
The injury did not result in a change of plans for the team on draft night as they selected the most talented player on their draft board, Memphis big James Wiseman, 2nd overall.
The first round of the draft mirrored the unpredictability of the world around us as we saw many surprises one can attribute to the stoppages of sports last spring.
The first round was absent a few all-conference and conference player of the year candidates, so we may see a few gems in this class from late in the draft.
I’ll share my thoughts on some moves from the 2nd round— including undrafted free agents—in my follow up post.