Wednesday, December 1

2020 NBA rewording too early: LaMelo Ball ascends to No. 1; James Wiseman falls

It may be hard to believe, but November 18 marks the first anniversary of the 2020 NBA Draft.

While it would be unfair to throw out the B word (“bankruptcy”) and harshly criticize certain players at this stage in their careers, it’s not too early to look at what it was and think about what it might have been.

With that in mind, seven members of The Sporting News staff met on the anniversary of the 2020 NBA Draft to draft a new lottery.

MORE: 2020 NBA Draft Ratings for Each First-Round Pick

For this exercise, we focused less on fit and more on which players deserved to be selected based on what we’ve seen of them so far. This is why you will see someone like LaMelo Ball rise higher in the new draft than in the original draft.

Do you not agree with our request? Let us know!

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NBA 2020 redesign

(NBA Getty Images)

No. 1: LaMelo Ball, Timberwolves

Original selection: Anthony Edwards

Rookie of the year 2021, Ball’s potential to be a superstar in this league was pretty clear from day one. It’s not often that you see an average of 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for a 20-year-old, but that’s exactly what Ball is doing this season. If it’s that good at the beginning of its second season, imagine how good it will be once it enters its prime. That alone is number one worth choosing.

– Gilbert McGregor (@ GMcGregor21)

No. 2: Anthony Edwards, Warriors

Original selection: James Wiseman

Do I really have to explain this choice? It’s no wonder Ball became number one, but Edwards quickly proved himself someone who could one day lead the league in scoring. He closed his rookie season on a strong note and has already had some explosive performances this season, most notably losing 48 points to the Warriors. I am an Edwards believer.

– Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)

No. 3: Tyrese Haliburton, Hornets

Original selection: LaMelo Ball

Ball, Edwards and Haliburton finished one-two-three in the Rookie of the Year voting results, so let’s keep the same order here. The Kings point guard has quickly proven himself to be an excellent playmaker (5.3 assists per game as a rookie) and outside shooter (over 40 percent in more than 300 career 3-point attempts). He fits perfectly into any backcourt rotation because he can operate as a point guard, but he doesn’t need the ball to hit. Who wouldn’t want a guy like Haliburton on their team?

– Jordan Greer (@ jordangreer42)

No. 4: Cole Anthony, Bulls

Original selection: Patrick Williams

Once the top-ranked recruit in his class, Anthony is beginning to show signs of that talent after pulling out of the lottery. He’s off to a scorching start to this season, posting 20.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.

– Alex Novick (@ANov_SN)

No. 5: Saddiq Bey, Cavaliers

Original selection: Isaac okoro

He may have gotten off to a rocky start in Year 2, but Bey proved his 3-and-D potential during his debut season that saw him win First Team Rookie honors. Villanova’s product looks like a professional through and through and has a long NBA career ahead of him.

– Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)

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No. 6: Desmond Bane, Hawks

Original selection: Onyeka Okongwu

You can never have too many guys in 3 and D, and Bane is the perfect match regardless of team. He can defend at a high level and does not need the ball in his hands offensively to contribute. Simply the perfect pick at this point in the draft.

– Carlan Gay (@CarlanGay)

No. 7: Patrick Williams, Pistons

Original selection: Killian Hayes

Well, I know he’s hurt. But Williams looked throughout the Summer League as the “second-year player who’s too good to play in the Summer League.” Williams has the highest defensive advantage of all in this draft, and if his offense catches up, it could be a home run pick. I am legitimately surprised that it is coming down on a new wording, and I am calling out to the rest of my esteemed colleagues for letting it go.

– Micah Adams (@ MicahAdams13)

No. 8: James Wiseman, Knicks

Original selection: Obi Toppin

Wiseman has been unlucky with injuries early in his career, but let’s not forget he was in consideration for the number one pick along with Ball and Edwards. With size, skill, and instincts like a 7-footer, Wiseman has plenty of room to become an impactful player in the league. Remember the key role Deandre Ayton played during the Phoenix Finals race? Wiseman may have a similar impact in the future.

– McGregor

No. 9: Tyrese Maxey, Wizards

Original selection: Deni Avdija

Playing time was hard to come by for Maxey in his rookie season, but he’s making the most of Ben Simmons’ absence from the team this season. He has started the 15 games he has appeared in to this point, averaging 17.5 points, 4.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds on .518 / .420 / .875 split shots. Maxey is a walking bucket.

– Rafferty

No. 10: Isaiah Stewart, Suns

Original selection: Jalen smith

This may surprise you, but among all the rookies in the 2020 draft class, Stewart is the current leader in winning actions. (Yes, it is even above Ball and Haliburton.) “Beef Stew” led this group in rebounding despite playing just 21.4 minutes per game as a rookie, devouring boards with his great engine and physique. It may be undersized at 6-8, but it’s a real paint breaker.

– Greer

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No. 11: Devin Vassell, Spurs

Original selection: Devin Vassell

Vassell struggled a bit during his rookie year, but this season he’s showing signs of being a top-level 3-D player consistently. He appears to be an intoxicating player who will only get better in the Spurs system.

– Novick

No. 12: Immanuel Quickley, Kings

Original selection: Tyrese haliburton

They say it’s about opportunities, and every time Quickley has had that opportunity, he has shown that he has what it takes to be a talented scorer and playmaker in the league. The Knicks’ crowded backcourt and rotation haven’t allowed him to see consistent minutes this season, but if he were in a different situation, his name might have been off the board even earlier in this new wording.

– Irving

No. 13: Precious Achiuwa, Pelicans

Original selection: Kira Lewis Jr.

Of the players that are still available on the board, Achiuwa may have the highest ceiling. It may take a while for you to really blossom into what you’re projected to be, but if you’re drafting in the lottery, you probably have time to wait for a prospect or two.

– gay

No. 14: Obi Toppin, Celtics

Original selection: Aaron Nesmith

Toppin’s athletic gifts remain elite, and his rare combination of size and explosiveness is rare. At this point in the draft, largely unwarranted game of chance, give me the player with the highest ceiling.

– Adams

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