Aaron Doster/Associated Press
The 2019-20 men’s college basketball season was cut short, but not before several NBA draft prospects dominated.
Because the Association is obsessed with upside, it’s not clear what these sizzling college campaigns will mean to each player’s draft outlook. But it must be reassuring when placing multimillion dollar bets on players to watch them routinely carve up the competition.
We’ll look at three of college basketball’s best on our NBA draft board following our mock first round.
2020 NBA Mock Draft
1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton
4. Atlanta Hawks: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn
5. Detroit Pistons: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC
6. New York Knicks: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
7. Chicago Bulls: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
8. Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
10. Phoenix Suns: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
11. San Antonio Spurs: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
12. Sacramento Kings: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State
15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
16. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
17. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova
18. Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL
19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF, Barcelona
20. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington
21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Robert Woodard II, SF, Mississippi State
22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
23. Miami Heat: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
24. Utah Jazz: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets): Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
26. Boston Celtics: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos II
27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers): Tyler Bey, SF/PF, Colorado
28. Toronto Raptors: Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton
If an award was handed out in men’s college basketball this past season, chances are Obi Toppin took it home. Among the many items now crowding his trophy case are the highly coveted John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Player of the Year honors.
The way he sees it, there’s an award missing from that case, too.
“Honestly, if you had asked me, I swear we could’ve won a national championship, and our team was so ready to play in the tournament,” Toppin told reporters. “We were so locked in. But because of this virus, things happened. It’s just going to be a what-if for the rest of our lives, but it’s something we’re going to have to live with.”
Toppin, a nightly supplier of 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists, powered the Flyers to one of their best seasons in school history. They went a blistering 29-2 on the year and finished as the third-ranked program in the nation.
Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
There might be a debate worth having at some point about where Cassius Winston ranks among all the great players Tom Izzo has coached with the Spartans. What matters for this discussion, though, is that Winston belongs in that conversation, as Izzo told 247Sports’ Evan Daniels:
“He is one of the more unique and better players that I have had here. He’s just not the same kind of player like a Jason Richardson who would jump out of the gym or a Zach Randolph who will beat the hell out of you or Mateen Cleaves who is just going to will you to win. He’s just a unique guy, he can shoot it, he can pass it, he can do some things, he’s just an unselfish kid as most of those were.”
More than anything, Winston is a winner. He became a full-time starter his final three seasons at Michigan State. The Spartans went 84-21 over that stretch.
The 6’1″, 185-pounder’s physical and athletic tools will be questioned at the next level, but he clearly has NBA talent. He’s a great shooter (43.2 percent from three) and decision-maker (7.5 assists against 2.9 turnovers in 2018-19), and he has the kind of intangibles that could help him lead a bench unit for the next decade-plus.
Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
If Daniel Oturu entered the 2019-20 season on the NBA bubble, he spent the ensuing months eliminating all question marks. By the time he declared for the draft in March, it felt like a formality.
Even if the draft process is about more than raw numbers, his were the kind that could not be ignored. He averaged 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per night. He shot 56.3 percent from the field and 70.7 percent from the foul line, and even he stepped out to hit 19 of 52 threes (36.5 percent).
“He’s obviously had one of the most productive years for a big man in Gophers history,” Gophers coach Richard Pitino told reporters.
There’s some debate about Oturu’s NBA upside, as he isn’t a great athlete and may have trouble expanding his offensive range. But he has the tools and the strength to control the interior, and if he can become a solid-or-better shooter, he could go from being a run-of-the-mill reserve to a player who gets worked into the game plan.