The Talentless Draft

by Aaron Bektas

Why the 2020 NBA Draft Is the Weakest In Years

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The 2020 NBA draft touts some intriguing and gifted players that could become superstars in the future; however, overall, the draft is weak. Many of the top players in this year’s draft class have easily identifiable holes in their game that will likely hinder their production. With no bonafide stars at the top of the draft and a weak pool of talent in the later rounds, the 2020 NBA draft is going to be exceptionally weak.

Looking at the draft as a whole, Lamelo Ball is the most interesting prospect. The 6’7 point guard can see over the defense, rebound well for his position, and finish strong at the rim. Similar to his older brother Lonzo Ball, Lamelo’s passing is the best part of his game, often making full court or behind the back passes with ease. Despite all this, Lamelo is the unpredictable prospect in the entire draft. The National Basketball League (NBL) rookie of the year struggled to shoot and often had poor shot selection. Last season in the NBL, Lamelo shot a subpar 25% from three point-range and 37% from the field. In the NBA, Lamelo will be matched up against players like Steph Curry and Damian Lillard; thus, Lamelo needs to be able to keep pace with them on the offensive end. To be competitive with other points guards, he needs to at a minimum improve his three-point shooting above 35%. On the defensive end, Lamelo improved immensely during his time in the NBL, but there were many instances where he seemed disengaged and lazy. These weaknesses may likely make Lamelo an average to below-average NBA player.

Another high projected pick is Anthony Edwards. Edwards is a 6’4 guard out of Georgia. While his skillset is reminiscent of Dwayne Wade, his bulldog mentality draws similarities to Russell Westbrook. Edwards can score from all levels of the court consistently and is the best pure scorer in the draft. To complete his game offensively, Edwards needs to work on his playmaking. He often misses easy reads and is reluctant to get his teammates involved. This could easily hinder Edward’s game if he intends to be a primary ball-handler.

The center with the most potential in the draft is James Wiseman out of Memphis. Although his college season was limited to three games due to NCAA suspension, Wiseman proved himself in high school to be an NBA-ready prospect. Wiseman, standing at 7’1, is a phenomenal rim protector. Wiseman runs the floor in transition and can finish high above the rim. He also has a good shooting form but was regarded by scouts as a lackluster shooter mainly due to his sub-par basketball IQ. The ball often sticks to Wiseman as he doesn’t make quick decisions, allowing the defense to reset. He then will take tough leaning shots or post moves after passing up an easier shot. These shooting woes may cause Wiseman to struggle as big men today are expected to stretch the floor. If Wiseman can improve his basketball IQ to complement his defense, he should be unstoppable in the NBA. However, if he can’t, he will most likely become an average NBA center.

The most polished prospect in this draft is Dayton’s 6’9 forward Obi Toppin. Toppin, who is 22 years of age, is regarded to have the best basketball IQ out of any of the potential lottery picks. He shot an impressive 63.3% from the field during the regular season and averaged almost 20 PPG in a schedule filled with challenging opponents such as Kansas or Georgia. What is most intriguing about Toppin is his effect on winning. When Toppin played for Dayton, the team had a 92% win percentage in the regular season. Toppin can finish around the rim athletically, has a soft touch in the paint, and is an underrated playmaker. Toppin should make an immediate impact on an NBA team. Although he does not have the superstar potential of Ball, Edwards, and Wiseman, Toppin does not have as weaknesses in his game as they do.

After these lottery picks, the draft lacks talent. Many scouts have Deni Avdija, a power forward out of Israel as the next best player. However, he only averaged 14 PPG at Maccabi Tel Aviv last season while playing 14 minutes per game. These stats shouldn’t warrant such a high selection in the draft, but they do this year. Other players include Cole Anthony who shot only 38% from the field in college and Onyeka Okongwu who is a traditional athletic big that can’t shoot, which may likely cause him to struggle in today’s NBA.

Overall, the 2020 NBA draft has some noteworthy names, but a lot of unknowns. Ball, Edwards, and Wiseman could become stars, but they could just as likely become average players or busts due to the weaknesses in their games. Obi Toppin is the only player who already has an all-around developed game, but he lacks the star potential that a Lamelo Ball or James Wiseman possesses. The uncertainty at the top of the draft along with the sharp drop-off in talent makes the 2020 NBA draft one of the weakest in recent memory.