The NBA has been put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak. But while the games are indefinitely canceled, the 2020 NBA Draft may proceed as expected on June 25, 2020.
Unlike games, the draft can be held via a virtual conference although the league has not said that is the plan. However, it’s an activity that can be held without a gathering of people so it’s most likely going to push through. As early as now, the oddsmakers have already come up with prop bets for the 2020 NBA draft.
Let’s take a look at the best odds taken from BetOnline as of March 28, 2020:
Who Will Get Picked First?
1st Overall Pick
Unlike in previous drafts where there was a clear-cut player to be selected first overall, there is no unanimous choice for the #1overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Anthony Edwards of the Georgia Bulldogs is the odds-on-favorite but it’s hard to tell whether he did enough in his only season at Georgia to merit a first overall selection.
Edwards’ game can be likened to that of Washington Wizards’ guard Bradley Beal who went #3 in the 2012 NBA draft. There is no question that Edwards will be a good NBA player but some experts are still unsure if he will be great. Georgia’s poor record in the recent NCAA Season and Edwards’ poor defense also prevented him from being a consensus choice for a top draft pick.
I am intrigued by LaMelo Ball at +400 because the draft order has yet to be determined and the top pick could end up as a result of a positional need. Half of the team with the bottom six records in the league need a point guard. Detroit, New York, and Minnesota don’t have an elite point guard although the Wolves have a prospect in Jarrett Culver. The Cavs have Darius Garland and Collin Sexton but Ball may be interesting to them with his height and shooting.
Golden State has Steph Curry as their point guard but at his size, LaMelo could shift to two-guard or even small forward. Given his versatility and ability to knock down the three, he may be a better fit for the Warriors’ system than Edwards and Wiseman.
The safe pick is Edwards but if you want to take the risk for a bigger yield, go with LaMelo Ball.
Who Will Be 2nd and 3rd?
The top five odds for the second overall pick are the top five picks for the top pick, in the same order. Of the teams with the 10 worst records in the league, only Phoenix ( DeAndre Ayton), Minnesota (Karl Anthony Towns), and Atlanta (John Collins) have elite big men. That gives James Wiseman a good chance at getting picked second if Anthony Edwards is picked first.
2nd Overall Pick
Wiseman is the top center prospect in this draft class. The 18-year old from the University of Memphis stands 7-1 tall and was a consensus five-star recruit. He was suspended during the early part of last season due to recruitment issues and played only three games before withdrawing to prepare for the draft.
The Cavs have Tristan Thompson but I’m not sure if he’s still part of the Cavs’ long-term plans. Washington has Rui Hachimura but he is still a project. I think this is going to be either LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman. Because Ball has a better chance of getting picked #1 overall in my opinion, I will go with James Wiseman here.
Prediction: James Wiseman
3rd Overall Pick
If we pick this draft using talent and size, I think Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman would go 1-2 here. While I’m high on LaMelo Ball, I think Edwards and Wiseman have more upside than LaMelo. Many draft boards have them getting picked first with Ball as the #3 overall pick. Again, it’s not consensus but if LaMelo isn’t getting picked #1 overall, I have a feeling he will slide down to #3.
Prediction: LaMelo Ball
Who Goes 4 and 5 Overall?
For me, the 4th overall pick looks like the easier pick to make. I think Edwards, Wiseman, and Ball are going to go 1,2, and 3 although I’m not 100% about the correct order. However, when it comes to the 4th pick, I think it will go down to either Obi Toppin or Deni Avdija.
4th Overall Pick
Toppin is a 6-9 forward from the Dayton Flyers who was the 2020 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. The 2020 Oscar Robertson trophy winner averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds last season as a sophomore. On the other hand, Avdija is a 19-year old Israeli professional basketball player who is a terrific passer who has excellent handles. However, he isn’t a Deadshot from outside and teams may see that as a weakness from someone who isn’t as athletic and bulky as his American collegiate counterparts.
I think Toppin will be the 4th pick as Avdija is a risky pick. Sure, we saw Porzingis get booed but for every unicorn like him, there is someone like Mario Hezonja or Dragan Bender who didn’t work out well in the NBA.
Prediction: Obi Toppin
5th Overall Pick
The top four picks should be a lock-in Edwards, Wiseman, Ball, and Toppin. Now the fifth pick is going to go down between Deni Avdija and Cole Anthony. We talked about the pros and cons of Avdija earlier and at #5, the team here may be willing to take the risk with the top four players already gone by now. Cole Anthony is the best point guard of the 2019 class and he was a high-school superstar. However, he is 6-3 and size may be a factor in deciding between him and Avdija. I think the intrigue factor that is Avdija is worth the 5th pick.
Prediction: Deni Avdija