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The best NBA teams do not come away from the NBA draft with the premier prospects, but if their scouting pays off, they can find the next Landry Shamet, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart.
Those three are among the notable names to be chosen in the final 10 picks of the first round in recent years. Derrick White, OG Anunoby and Jarrett Allen also developed into important players from those draft positions.
Some of the best fits for contenders in the 2020 draft class come from the most successful college basketball programs. Devon Dotson and Tre Jones showed improvement during their respective sophomore seasons, and they could be valuable depth assets for teams with title aspirations during the 2020-21 campaign.
2020 NBA 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Lonzo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
4. Atlanta Hawks: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
5. Detroit Pistons: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
6. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
7. Chicago Bulls: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
8. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
9. Washington Wizards: Devin Vassell, SG/SF, Florida State
10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
11. San Antonio Spurs: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
13. New Orleans Pelicans: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
15. Orlando Magic: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn): Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
17. Boston Celtics (from Memphis): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
18. Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
19. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana): Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
20. Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia): Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
21. Denver Nuggets (from Houston): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
22. Philadelphia 76ers (from Oklahoma City): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
23. Miami Heat: Tre Jones, PG, Duke
24. Utah Jazz: Jalen Smith, PF/C. Maryland
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Denver): Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
26. Boston Celtics: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B
27. New York Knicks (from Los Angeles Clippers): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
28. Toronto Raptors: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas
30. Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee): Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
Prospects Who Could Help Contenders
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Dotson has a chance to land in the back end of the first round, which would be higher than recent guards to come out of Kansas.
The sophomore could make a similar impact as Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte’ Graham, who carved out roles for themselves after being second-round picks in 2018.
Dotson carries a few qualities that could make him an ideal fit for a team like the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, four assists and 2.1 steals per game while earning Second Team All-American honors last season.
But he is not projected to land in the top 20 because of his 6’2″ frame and inconsistent three-point shot. Dotson hit 30.3 percent of his shots from the beyond the arc as a sophomore, which was a 16 percent decrease from his freshman campaign.
If he improves his shooting, Dotson may turn into a great fit for franchises in search of guard depth.
He has late-first-round value because of his defensive abilities and improved passing and shooting totals. If he lands with the Lakers, Dotson would benefit from playing under veteran guards Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Danny Green.
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There is a lot to like about Tre Jones’ NBA potential.
He comes from a family that has already produced one first-round pick—his older brother Tyus has spent five years between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies.
The younger Jones also heads into the league with experience from one of the most important roles in college basketball. Jones was asked to be a top distributor and defender for two Duke teams loaded with NBA talent. And his decision to return for a sophomore season paid off, as he produced 16.2 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds per contest.
The Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors might be the contenders with the largest point guard needs depending on what happens with Goran Dragic and Fred VanVleet, respectively, in the offseason.
Even if Dragic returns to the Heat, Jones could benefit most from landing in Miami given its recent track record with bringing on younger players. Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo all thrived in college and carved out spots in Miami’s rotation.
If the Heat take Jones, it would give them more depth on a cheaper basis, which could benefit them in the 2021 offseason if they opt to make a run at a marquee free agent, like Giannis Antetokounmpo.
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Daniel Oturu is one of two Big Ten frontcourt stars who should intrigue contenders picking from Nos. 21-30.
The big man out of Minnesota averaged 20.1 points and 11.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore, and he finished the campaign with five 20-point outings in six games.
His presence around the rim should spur some interest out of the Boston Celtics, who will have three first-round opportunities to improve their roster. Boston should be OK with frontcourt depth if Enes Kanter collects on his player option for the 2020-21 campaign, but it needs someone else to develop behind him and Daniel Theis.
A handful of recent draft picks have had the chance to move up the depth chart, but none of them have taken advantage of the opportunity.
If Toronto keeps VanVleet in free agency, it may look away from point guard and add to its frontcourt for support behind Pascal Siakam.
Additionally, Oturu’s draft position could be affected by where Maryland’s Jalen Smith lands. If Smith is selected in the early 20s, it could open up space for Oturu to find a spot with a contender instead of falling to a struggling side at the beginning of the second round.