2020 NBA Draft Preview: Selections 11-20
Wrapping up the late-lottery selections and bridging into the deep picks of the draft, historically this is where some of the greatest NBA players of all-time have been selected. In a deep draft class, each of these selections have tremendous upside and potential as well as skills ready to put to use as soon as the season tips off.
The teams selecting in this portion of the draft spent much of the past few seasons on the precipice of becoming contenders but are still searching for the missing piece to set them over the edge, these selections could be just what they have been looking for. So let's dive in shall we.
Source: University of Arizona
Pick #20 Miami Heat: Zeke Nnaji, Arizona
An exceptional big man in this year's draft, Zeke Nnaji’s game will translate beautifully to the NBA. Nnaji stands just under 7-feet and has a strong build. With his frame and athleticism he will be ready to get to his spot down low and make defenders pay as a result. Nnaji has a great touch for a big man, almost automatic from mid-range or inside the key. With his exceptional skill set and high upside he would be a perfect selection for last years’ Larry O’Brien runner-ups, the Miami Heat.
The Heat lacked depth at the centre position all season long, feeling the pain from this gap at its peak in the NBA Finals after all-star big man Bam Adebayo went down with a neck injury. With the addition of Nnaji, the Heat would be able to play big when needed, as well as have a great back-up for their cornerstone centre. Nnaji will have a great role in the NBA once he is selected in this year's draft, but Miami may just be the perfect fit.
Source: Kyusung Gong/The Associated Press
Pick #19 Brooklyn Nets: Tyler Bey, Colorado
An explosive prospect, Bey is poised to become a serviceable player in the Association early into his career. He is an elite level athlete demonstrating this by crushing the previous max vertical combine record for forwards. Bey may still be in need of a jump shot but his ability to crash the glass, use his speed in the post, and rise above defenders for an easy flush is second to none.
While it is not a focal point of his game Bey is also an underrated passer, with great court vision for his position Bey becomes even more lethal in the transition game. Being selected by the Brooklyn Nets would be an under the radar selection, but with great potential down the line. Bey's ability to move without the ball and run the rims on both ends of the court is an incredible asset when playing with ball dominant players such as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Caris LeVert. Bey will be ready to give 110% effort when his number is called and will play to the delight of his star studded teammates.
Source: Ivan Korzhenevskiy/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Pick #18 Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne
Arguably one of the most complete players in the draft, Theo Maledon has superstar written all over him. Maledon plays the game like a pro at only 19 year old, and can handle any set thrown at him on the floor. Maledon has one of the best ball fakes in basketball and can use this skill to make defenders look silly before adding them to his highlight reel.
However, his crafty ball fakes are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his playmaking ability. At six-foot-five, Maledon uses his height and length to make difficult passes down the court as well as high level wrap-around passes to the perimeter from the painted area.
The Mavericks will keep their tradition of going International by taking the Frenchman Maledon, and his fit with the Mavericks should send shivers down the spines of Western Conference defences. Maledon will take away some of the primary ball handler duties from star player Luka Doncic, and has a great feel for the lob pass which will give seven-foot-three Kristaps Porzingis easier scoring opportunities.
Maledon will make the lives of the star Mavericks duo far easier than before, by taking away some of the attention they so often draw, and help put them in clean scoring situations without exerting all of their resources. Maledon could be in the running for Rookie of the Year honours this upcoming season, as we may be witness to the birth of a new three headed monster in the NBA.
Source: William Mancebo/Getty Images
Pick #17 Minnesota Timberwolves: Jaden McDaniels, Washington
One of the best shot blockers in this draft, Jalen McDaniels has a unique bag of tricks up his sleeve. McDaniels lives for rim protection and showed this with his average of nearly two blocks per game in his one year stint with the Washington Huskies this past year, but McDaniels is also well equipped to pull up from outside. McDaniels shooting stroke sets him apart from the crowd shooting the ball well off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot scenarios.
McDaniels has a nice handle for a six-foot-ten forward and his slim frame allows him to sneak by defenders when attacking the rim, but he does need to improve on his shooting efficiency. Shooting well below 50% from the field and just over 30% from deep just isn't good enough.
However, by going to the Minnesota Timberwolves McDaniels will add immediate impact as a defensive anchor down low. Franchise centre, Karl Anthony-Towns may be one of the best offensive big men in the league but his defence leaves much to be desired. With McDaniels addition he will be able to take on the primary post scorers in their matchups allowing KAT time to save his energy for getting buckets on the other end. McDaniels will bring a versatile playstyle to the NBA and could be a key piece in the Timberwolves future going forward.
Source: Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Pick #16 Portland Trail Blazers: Patrick Williams, Florida State
Intensity personified, Partick Williams is the real deal. An NBA ready build with great speed and athleticism to match, Williams looked like a boy amongst men last season for the Florida State Seminoles. While his numbers don’t jump out at you immediately, his average of over one steal and block per game is a rarity. Williams plays every minute like it is his last, with the pedal down to the floor all game long.
Williams is also an incredible dunker, finishing off a feed, lob, or put back, as well as being able to fight along the boards to set up scoring chances for others. With his active hands and size Williams is the perfect addition to a Portland Trailblazers squad that has been desperate to find a lockdown perimeter player.
Standing at six-foot-eight, he can play both shooting guard and small forward, and can guard virtually anywhere on the court. Williams needs to improve his scoring ability as he lacks the finesse and touch to become a go-to scorer. Luckily for Williams, playing alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum means he will not have much to worry about on that end. By taking away defensive pressures from the all-star backcourt, Williams will open himself up to a huge potential role in Portland as they take another kick at the can for an NBA title run.
Source: John McCoy/Getty Images
Pick #15 Orlando Magic: Tyrell Terry, Stanford
Built for today's game, the Stanford man, Tyrell Terry is one of the top ranked guards in the draft for a reason. One of the purest shooters in the NCAA last season, Terry terrorizes defences by pulling up from wherever and whenever he likes with his wet jumper. With his spectacular guard play offensively, he is able to zip past defenders with his lightning quick speed making him deadly in transition as he is more than comfortable pulling up from deep while on the break.
While a phenomenal offensive player, his defence is concerning at times. Much of this stems from his lack of size. Terry is six-foot-two and his length is average, but it is his build that allows defenders to body him down low and blow by him on the perimeter. At only 160lbs, the freshman Cardinal will have guards around the league licking their chops when being covered by the undersized Terry.
However, Terrys fit on the Orlando Magic would help with these defensive shortcomings. The Magic have been an average, slow, and downright boring team to watch the past few seasons but strong defensively. With the addition of Terry not only are they getting a great talent, but also a player that can overhaul the dynamics of the teams oncourt production.
While the Magic have not had great luck with young talent development in recent years, Terry will be able to get up and coming players such as Johnathon Isaac and Mo Bamba ample opportunities to get to the rim, as well as space the floor and allow All-Star centre, Nikola Vucevic space to operate from the block. Terry may not be an imposing figure on the court but his game speaks for itself, Terry is built for the game of basketball and he is ready to showcase this at the highest level.
Source: Bob Donnan/USA Today
Pick #14 Boston Celtics: Vernon Carey Jr, Duke
As we now enter into the lottery portion of the draft we start with a force of nature in Vernon Carey Jr. Carey is an absolute machine in the interior, able to pin shots against the glass as well as slam home a bucket on any defender’s head in the paint. Carey, one of the most highly touted prospects coming out of high school, cemented his place as a top talent this past season putting up tremendous averages of 17PPG, 8RPG, on 57% shooting from the field. Carey is able excel down low due to his physical style of play, utilizing every inch of his six-foot-ten, 270lbs frame.
Due to his size and strength Carey is a nightmare to guard in pick and roll situations as he stands up anyone trying to get over or under him, as well as possess the ability to make a heads up play if the ball is sent his way on the roll to the rim. One aspect of his game that can be improved is typical of any young big man, that is in his outside scoring. Carey does not have much of anything in terms of a jump shot at the moment, but even if he is able to find a comfortable spot from just outside the key, it will make him that much more dangerous.
Placing Carey on the Boston Celtics will give them a legitimate starting big man, a spot of concern for the Celtics ever since the departure of Al Horford. Carey can help make space for young studs Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as well as work beautifully in pick and roll situations with Kemba Walker. If the Celtics are able to grab Carey with the fourteenth pick in the draft, the Celtics could become the team to beat in the East next season.
Source: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports
Pick #13 New Orleans Pelicans: Josh Green, Arizona
With trade talks centred around shooting guard Jrue Holiday, the New Orleans Pelicans will be looking into a go-to fail safe in case the right deal is struck, and the Arizona Wildcat, Josh Green is the perfect pick in this situation. Green is an amazing shooter, with an old school look to his game. Green uses his superior spot up shooting ability to get his shots off from anywhere on the floor. Green's confidence to shoot the ball is apparent as the 20-year old Australia-native has no shortage of swagger.
Green uses this mental fortitude to get in the heads of his opponents forcing them to close out aggressively on his pump-fakes, leading to easy trips to the free throw line or an easy one dribble side-step for the open jumper. Green is also a great athlete all-around but you may not notice it right away. Green is able to sneak up on defenders with this and rise above the rim for empathic finishes on a nightly basis.
Green does however need to improve on creating his own shot. Currently, Green relies on others to facilitate for him which makes things difficult for his teams when he is forced into isolation offence. He’ll need to work on his ball handling and other playmaking abilities if he wants to grow into the go-to scorer he has the potential of becoming.
But, with his strong mentality and mature game, the New Orleans Pelicans would be a great destination for Green. Alongside multiple budding young stars such as Lonzo Ball, Zion Williamson, and Brandon Ingram, Green will be able to become a key role player in their rotation by making open shots, playing superb defence, and having the speed to keep up in the Pelicans fast paced game plan. Green has the game of a veteran and with his strong skill set he will have no problems making a name for himself in the NBA.
Source: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Pick #12 Sacramento Kings: Precious Achiuwa, Memphis
Coming from Nigeria, Precious Achiuwa is extremely raw, but boy, oh boy, does he scream potential. Achiuwa has elite athletic ability and possesses a motor and drive that cannot be taught. Achiuwa uses his great athletic frame to send shots into the stands and grab boards with ease. While under sized for the typical big man, Achiuwa uses his verticality and strength to compensate. Achiuwa is able to run the court in transition well and can be effective as the rollman in pick and roll situations.
Something we have not seen much of in Achiuwa’s game yet is how well he can shoot the ball. While he is perfectly capable of getting his from the inside, his shooting stroke is clean and his percentage is not terrible for a young big man, but the rate he shoots at does not give us a sample size large enough to formulate an opinion thus far. If Achiuwa is able to develop a consistent jump shot, we could be seeing him play all three positions within the front court by the end of his rookie season.
Being selected by the Sacramento Kings would go swimmingly for Achiuwa. Achiuwa would be able to play all spots of the frontcourt, but would primarily earn his living at the power forward position, pairing him with Marvin Bagley as the tandem down low. This duo would work beautifully together as Achiuwa would be able to handle the nitty gritty of crashing the glass and going toe to toe with opposing top scoring big men, while Bagley goes to work on the high and low post on the other end.
Achiuwa will take time to develop, and it may not happen overnight, but with proper training and development he could be a dominant force in the upcoming years ahead.
Source: AP/Mark Humphrey
Pick #11 San Antonio Spurs: Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt
A walking bucket, Aaron Nesmith will have no problem taking his high scoring nature into the professional level. Cool, calm, and collected Nesmith can beat his defender in any way imaginable. Nesmith has great handles and speed which generates space and time for him to cut to the basket, or find an open teammate. Nesmiths’ best trait is undoubtedly is his picture perfect jump shot, and shows it shooting at a premier level with averages of 23PPG on 51% from the floor, and a whopping 52% from three.
If that doesn’t have NBA general managers salivating I don’t know what will.
While his bucket getting talents are second to none in this draft class, Nesmith does have his fair share of issues on the defensive end of the court. He is not a strong defender, but his athletic ability shows potential for development on that side of the ball. But who are we kidding, when you can score at the level of Nesmith, coaches will turn a blind eye to a few bad defensive possessions (see James Harden for more details).
Nesmith on the San Antonio Spurs would be a great placement for the start of his career. The Spurs lacked perimeter scoring last season as teams were able to isolate and abuse all-star DeMar DeRozan. With Nesmith's addition, the Spurs would be able to run a fast paced offence with Nesmith, DeRozan, and Aldridge handling the bulk of scoring opportunities.
There is also no better coach in the history of the game to learn defence from than Greg Popovich. Pop will have Nesmith whipped into shape in no time as we could have an all-star guard in the making