Prevailing wisdom suggests that this 2020 NBA draft will not be a good one, which gives it a lot in common with the rest of the calendar year.
Transcendent talents are nowhere to be found. No Zions. No Lukas. At least not based on the scouting reports.
While some of the lottery picks might turn into quality NBA players, depth is lacking. Sleepers abound, but picking the ones that hit is a challenge. At least, that’s what most of the experts are whispering.
The Mavericks own the 18th overall pick in the first round and the first pick of the second round (31st overall), at the moment.
Whether or not they keep those picks – reports are persistent that they are willing to move those assets and more for immediate help – it’s clear that the Mavericks will be a team of interest throughout the NBA on draft night, Nov. 18.
And particularly so for MFFLs.
So with that in mind, we’ll offer up our scouting report for draft night. We’ll break it down into point guards, wing players, big men and wrap it up with the Mavericks’ best options.
Next up: the big men.
The first problem when analyzing the big men in the 2020 draft is defining what the role of big men is in this era.
Everybody wants a 6-10, athletic center who can step out and hit a jump shot – preferably from 3-point range.
But NBA teams still need rebounding. And they still need rim protection.
Those reasons are why players like Andre Drummond, Clint Capela and Rudy Gobert are still in demand.
However, you can’t get around the fact that the league has come a long way from the days when everybody lived by the theory that in the draft, if you are split on two players, you would always go with the big guy.
Complicating matters this year is the shortage of hard information regarding the best big man in the draft: James Wiseman.
The 7-1 Wiseman played just three games for the Memphis Tigers before he was suspended by the NCAA and then made the decision to shut it down for the rest of his freshman season.
Those three games were terrific. He averaged better than 19 points and nearly 11 rebounds, shooting 80 percent from the field.
If this was the 2000 season, GMs would be salivating about adding a prototypical big man who could be a force in the paint for years to come.
But now? Wiseman is not going to be a 3-point shooter. He’s not wired that way. But he is a great athlete who should be a perfect fit for rolls to the basket and getting out on the fast break.
Is he the No. 1 overall pick? That’s something the Minnesota Timberwolves, who already have a center who can stretch out to the 3-point line in Karl-Anthony Towns, must answer.
Beyond Wiseman, the Dayton’s Obi Toppin is the next power forward/center likely to go off the board. His career has followed a similar path to that of Pascal Siakim. Both were under the radar going into college, then burst on the scene and announced themselves to the basketball world as sophomores, Siakim at New Mexico State and Toppin with the Flyers.
The team that drafts Toppin can only hope he turns out as good as Siakim has for the Raptors.
The other big man likely to go high in the lottery is Onyeka Okongwu, 6-9, out of Southern Cal. He clearly has a lot in common with Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in that he definitely needs a clever nickname so no sportswriters have to spell out his real name.
In addition, if Okongwu’s offensive skills weren’t so raw, he could go No. 1 overall because he’s got all the defensive instincts and abilities anybody could want.
If the Mavericks elect to go for a big man, it probably would be because they have their sights set on a particular player. They already have Kristaps Porzingis, Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber, in addition to Dorian Finney-Smith. All are under contract for the coming season, know the Mavericks’ system well and are favorites of the organization and fans alike.
The only way the Mavericks would take another big man in the draft is if they felt confident that he could come in and earn playing time ahead of one of the veterans.
Precious Achiuwa, Jaden McDaniels, Vernon Carey, Jalen Smith and Isaiah Stewart all could go in the first round.
Highlighting the incoming big men
James Wiseman 7-1 235 Memphis Top 3
Obi Toppin 6-9 220 Dayton Top 10
Onyeka Okongwu 6-9 235 USC Top 10
Precious Achiuwa 6-9 225 Memphis First round
Jaden McDaniels 6-10 200 Washington First round
Vernon Carey 6-10 270 Duke First round
Jalen Smith 6-10 220 Maryland First round
Isaiah Stewart 6-9 250 Washington First round
Zeke Nnaji 6-11 240 Arizona First round
Tyler Bey 6-7 215 Colorado First round