NBA Draft 2020: Projecting the Top 10 Picks based on team needs

The 2020 NBA Draft will be the first-ever virtual draft in the history of the league. Because this season will have a compressed schedule, this year’s draft is poised to bring intrigue right before the free agency market opens.

The NBA Draft will be held on November 18, Wednesday (Thursday, Manila Time) with many teams looking to turn their franchise around through the draft. This year’s draft class is touted as one full of role players rather than superstars. The lottery teams though will try their hand in unearthing the next diamond in the rough this year. The rumor mill has been active and before the first pick is cast, here are the needs of the top 10 lottery teams and who they might draft when they’re on the clock. 

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1. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves front office has been busy over the past month in deciding their strategy heading into draft night. They will be looking to build a contender in the West around Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell if everything falls into place. Many possible talents can fit Ryan Saunders’ team, but they will be looking for a combo forward that can defend and be a supporting piece behind their two superstars.

Possible Targets: Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball
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2. Golden State Warriors

The Bay Area team possesses a wildcard in their hands as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are fully healthy again for a possible title run this season. The rumor around San Francisco is trading away the second overall pick, but they also have plenty of options if they decide to keep the pick. Steve Kerr and co. can opt to continue their small-ball strategy or decide to go big which will secure their future inside the paint.

Possible Targets: James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball
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3. Charlotte Hornets

The Carolina team will be looking for a prospect that will be ready to be the franchise piece for the Hornets to build an identity around. They are raw yet promising as Devonte Graham broke through as a sophomore guard last season and head coach, James Borrego navigating them amidst the post-Kemba era. A talent that would be box office in-and-out of the court would be perfect for this small-market team to start being competitive again and bring attraction back to Charlotte.

Possible Targets: LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards
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4. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are looking to strike gold this offseason with respectable pieces in Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr. and the fourth overall pick. They are in a good position with their new VP of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas and former OKC Thunder head coach Billy Donovan at the helm. Under new management, they are looking to gel the current pieces together while still adding to the war chest of assets at their disposal. They could be willing to take a risk on a high ceiling, low floor talent but they will be looking for a guard or small forward to complement the current pieces they have. 

Possible Targets: Deni Avdija, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Killian Hayes
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5. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs are in the lottery for the third straight year after drafting Collin Sexton and Darius Garland in consecutive years. The two have shown flashes of their potential, but more is expected from the franchise post-LeBron James era. They still have a few veteran pieces up for trade in Kevin Love and Andre Drummond if they opt for a draft-night trade. Obi Toppin from Dayton looks to be another hometown pick by Cleveland or they can find a forward/big that can fill the void they have at those positions right now.

Possible Targets: Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu
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6. Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks are in a win-now situation to capitalize on Trae Young’s rookie scale contract and the impending extension for John Collins. The Georgia team is spectacular for fantasy teams with their fast-paced offense but evidently lack the consistency and defense to be a contender with their current core. All signs point to them moving up or trading the pick for an NBA-ready talent or a star that could be available come draft night.

Possible Targets: Patrick Williams, Onyeka Okongwu, Tyrese Haliburton
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7. Detroit Pistons

The Pistons are at a crossroads as they have multiple assets up for trade in Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose before a full rebuild. In a top-heavy draft class, the eight pick leaves for much desire this year as the mock drafts start to get unpredictable from here. Luke Kennard and Sekou Doumbouya have looked solid pieces to build a team around. It will be interesting; however, if the Pistons could develop a superstar under coach Dwayne Casey, who has had trouble developing young talents throughout his coaching career.

Possible Targets: Isaac Okoro, Onyeka Okongwu, Patrick Williams
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8. New York Knicks

The New York Knicks slipped to eighth in this year’s NBA draft who hope to once again find their poster-child for modern-day Knicks basketball. RJ Barrett had a decent rookie season baring his shaky shooting numbers while Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikna, and Mitchell Robinson continue to be diamonds in the rough. As the Knicks welcome Tom Thibodeau as their new head coach, a playmaker and a solid post-player have been a staple during his time in Chicago and Minnesota. It will be interesting what combination of young talent will unlock the Knicks’ potential to be competitive again.

Possible Targets: Isaac Okoro, Tyrese Haliburton, Aleksej Pokusevski
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9. Washington Wizards

The Wizards are looking to make their way back into Playoff contention out in the East. With John Wall returning and Bradley Beal continuing his rise, Washington’s guard slots are locked in. That leaves their big man and wing rotation thin. If the Wiz want to make a splash in the East, they’ll need to strengthen those spots by drafting the right player in this year’s draft. They can grab a defensive big man or a small forward to slot next to Wall and Beal since the two will own the lion’s share of the offense.

Possible Targets: Isaac Okoro, Patrick Williams, Onyeka Okongwu
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10. Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns are continuing to make noise in 2020 with a strong showing in the Orlando bubble and rumors of a Chris Paul trade. The Arizona team is in an interesting position here as their needs for most positions have been filled thus far. The icing on the cake for the Suns would be a forward to accompany DeAndre Ayton in the paint or an additional playmaker to backup Ricky Rubio or Devin Booker. 

Possible Targets: Onyeka Okongwu, Killian Hayes, Obi Toppin, Tyrese Haliburton