Last year, there was no question that Zion Williamson would be drafted first overall in the 2019 NBA draft. However, there is no clear-cut favorite to be the first player taken in this year’s edition of the NBA draft.
As of the latest odds board, Anthony Edwards, who played for the Georgia Bulldogs in the NCAA, is the odds on favorite to be picked first overall in next month’s draft. Memphis’ James Wiseman is next in the odds board while Lonzo Ball’s younger brother LaMelo Ball is third on the list. Obi Toppin, the most accomplished collegiate player among the Top 6 favorites, comes in at #4.
Who Are the Favorites?
Anthony Edwards has solidified his claim as the betting favorite to be picked first overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. From a +125 in March, he’s moved to -110 in the current odds board although various media outlets have different opinions regarding this year’s top pick.
Unlike last year’s Draft where it was a no-brainer for whichever team had the #1 pick to select Zion Williamson, this year’s crop doesn’t have that kind of once-in-a-lifetime talent. But among the top names, Edwards stands out as the player who may have the most ceiling.
The 6-3 guard has a game that resembles that of Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. He is a good shooter with his feet set up but is even better when with the ball in his hands. He made 42 pull up jumpers in 32 games and he can move back and hit the three-point basket.
Edwards is also a very good facilitator on offense and he has the length to become a good defender in the NBA. He averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for Georgia last season but played on a bad squad.
James Wiseman is still in the second spot at +200. However, he is the player in the Top 6 who has the most uncertainty hanging over his head. It can be recalled that Wiseman played in only a total of three games for Memphis in the NCAA before declaring in December that he would be joining the 2020 draft. Because of his thin collegiate resume, teams and scouts will have to bank on his elite high school background to justify him as #1 pick.
Based on the limited sample size, Wiseman has the size to be a dominant big man in the NBA. He also has the elite athleticism for a kid his size and his ability to shoot the midrange jumper makes him an intriguing prospect.
He will be an immediate impact player when it comes to rim protection but his offense still needs a lot of work. Given that he has soft hands though, I think he will make a good NBA big man. Whether he will be great is another story.
- Anthony Edwards -110
- James Wiseman +200
- LaMelo Ball +300
- Obi Toppin +1000
- Deni Avdija +1600
- Cole Anthony +2500
*The betting odds to be picked 1st overall in 2020 NBA Draft are from BetOnline as of 05/11/2020
LaMelo Ball is third in the odds board at +300 and right now, he’s a popular topic in conversations for the Top overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft. Unlike big brother Lonzo who was hyped by his dad heading to the Draft, LaMelo’s case is based on his experience playing professional basketball in Australia.
Instead of going to college, LaMelo played in the Lithuanian Basketball League. But after not getting significant playing time there, he signed with the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League in Australia. Ball averaged 17 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game and was named as NBL Rookie of the Year after the 2019 season.
LaMelo’s development over the last 18 months has made some camps believe that he has what it takes to be taken first overall in the 2020 NBA draft. At 6-7, he has elite size as a point guard and at only 18 years old, he has shown the ability to be a fantastic playmaker who can also create shots for himself.
Unlike the Top 3 names in the odds board, Obi Toppin played more than one season in the NCAA so he has more legit experience than Edwards, Wiseman, and Ball. Toppin is also coming off a very successful season where he was named consensus All-American First team and National Player of the Year.
He was very effective and efficient while playing under Dayton’s system. He shot the ball at 69.8% from the field and was decent from behind the arc at 30% last season. His versatile offensive skills and his potential to be a good defender in the NBA makes him a lock to be a very good NBA player for at least a decade.
At 6-9, he has NBA size. I think among the Top 5 names on the odds board, Toppin may be the most NBA-ready. The question is how high will his ceiling be when he steps in the big league.
Who Will Be Picked First Overall?
It’s hard to make a definite pick right now because for one, we do not know the order of the 2020 NBA draft yet. Last May 1, the NBA postponed both the NBA Draft Lottery and the NBA Draft Combine due to the coronavirus pandemic although, during its official announcement, the league said that both will take place later this month.
Unless there is a consensus #1 pick like last year wit Zion Williamson, the teams will be drafting based on need rather than talent. The teams with the worst NBA records have the bigger probability of landing the #1 pick. That means that the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, and Detroit Pistons are the teams that have the best probability to land the top pick.
The Warriors don’t have a quality center so they might be looking at James Wiseman. The Cavaliers have Andre Drummond, the Wolves have Karl Anthony-Towns, and the Hawks have Clint Capela so they may not be looking to pick Wiseman at #1.
When it comes to point guard, the Warriors, Cavs, Wolves, and Hawks already have point guards so La Melo Ball might not be a top option for these teams. However, the Pistons don’t have a point guard right now so they may be looking at LaMelo.
When it comes to having a quality wing player, all these teams don’t have an All-Star quality wing player. Because of that, Anthony Edwards may be the safest pick to be selected first overall in the 2020 NBA draft. He is a polished wing who can make an immediate contribution to his team.
Prediction: I’m picking Anthony Edwards to be the first player selected in the 2020 NBA Draft.