2020 Prospect Rankings

Remember last year’s draft class? The one that got hated on because of the lighter number of perceived high-upside options? Well, buckle up because this is going to be a bumpy ride. The 2020 class could be even worse in terms of ceilings. It appears to be feasible, however, that this class could contain a strong number of safe, roleplayer-type guys. Below is our tiered fantasy rankings of the 2020 NBA draft class.

Tier 1 

PG/SG Lamelo Ball

PG Killian Hayes

SG Anthony Edwards

PF/C Onyeka Okongwu

C James Wiseman

Tier 2

PG/SG Tyrese Haliburton 

PF Obi Toppin

PG/SG Cole Anthony

PF Nico Mannion

PF/C Aleksej Pokusevski

PG/SG RJ Hampton

SG/SF/PF Deni Avdija

PG/SG Theo Maledon

PF/C Jalen Smith

PF Paul Reed

PG Kira Lewis Jr

PF/C Isaiah Stewart

SG/SF/PF Tyler Bey

Tier 3

PF/C Vernon Carey Jr

F Isaac Okoro

PG Tre Jones

SF/PF Precious Achiuwa

PG Cassius Winston

SG Devin Vassell

SG/SF Aaron Nesmith

PG/SG Joel Ayayi

SG Cassius Stanley

PG/SG Tyrese Maxey

SF Saddiq Bey

SF Elijah Hughes

PF/C Xavier Tillman

SF/PF Jaden McDaniels

PF Killian Tillie

SG Josh Green

SF/PF Matthew Hurt

C Daniel Oturu

SF Jordan Nwora

C Neemias Queta

PG/SG Grant Riller

SF Tres Tinkle

SF/PF Trendon Watford

C Udoka Azubuike

PG/SG Tyrell Terry

SF/PF Patrick Williams

SF Leandro Bolmaro

PG Devon Dotson

SG Jahmi’us Ramsey

I’ve never had such a difficult time distinguishing the top tier of prospects. We’ve been gifted such clear-cut options at the top of our drafts in recent years – Zion, Luka & Ayton, Simmons, Fultz… well, they at least seemed like the top options at the time. This year is a bit of a curveball. There exists a handful of names near the top of the class, each presenting their own argument for why they’re the best choice. It’s a rough, unenviable position to possess the first-overall selection in your a dynasty draft this summer.

In the following summaries of the prospects, the player”s “strengths” will be listed, implying the categories the player has a good chance of succeeding in. Darker green implies that the player might be great in that category, while the lighter green implies the possibility of being above average, but not great. Lastly, the gold color translates to a category the player isn’t necessarily strong in, but is above average in compared to other players at their position (i.e. a Guard that has the potential to tally some out-of-position blocks).

Without further ado, let’s get into a brief summary of each prospect.

Lamelo Ball

PG/SG – 6’7, 190lb – draft age 18 (will be 19 in August)

Dynasty Draft Consideration: early lottery

Strengths: Rebounds, Assists, Points, Steals

Initially, I didn’t fall for Ball hard enough to call him the top overall option in this draft. However, he has staked his claim for this spot in the fantasy prospect rankings because of his elite vision, and the lack of a clear number-one option in this class. At 6’7 (and counting), Ball will enter the league with top-tier length at the point guard position, and the passing chops to boot. He may be one of the best accumulators of counting stats in this draft, but Ball is far from a surefire, number-one option, as he can stand to improve his shooting percentages significantly. He shot a putrid 25% on three-point attempts in the Australian league, with 37.5% from the field, and 72.3% from the line. The good news is that he’s seemed to have taken strides toward improving his shooting from various areas of the court. Firstly, his jump shot form has improved, as he has worked on his shooting motion (although he still has an elbow flare in his shooting motion – maybe odd shooting mechanics just run in the family). Also, his lower body is beginning to compliment his shot better as he’s bending his knees more, and utilizing his legs during his shot, which helps to avoid shot form discontinuities. In addition, Ball has improved his floater game a bit, helping it to look a bit more fluid. Ball certainly has DEEP range, but while he has begun to gain consistency as a shooter, he’s still far from a consistent option at the moment. Other aspects that Lamelo should strive to work on are his strength, defense, and off-ball motor. He also has a knack for turning the ball over, but that’s not wholly unexpected of a high-usage ball-handler. NBA executives will surely take the bad with the good here though, because Ball is as good of a passer as an 18-year old can be expected to be. He possesses a plethora of passes in his arsenal that may be considered “flashy,” to some. In addition, Ball is very coordinated with the ball, and displays ambidexterity with his dribble regularly, and with ease. His combination of handles and elite passing acumen at the age of 18 make him an extremely appealing option for GMs drafting in the very early lottery. Defensively, Ball leaves a bit to be desired. He lacks the strength and physicality to be a lockdown player on the perimeter at the moment, but occasionally makes up for his lack of physical tools with good anticipation. If Ball will become impactful on the less-glamorous end of the court, it’ll be because his feel for the game and IQ carried him. He may not be the athlete that other guards in this class are (although his quickness goes underrated at times), but between his playmaking, court vision, handles, and ability to rack up huge counting stats, Ball more than makes up for that in other areas.

Anthony Edwards

SG – 6’5, 225lb – draft age 18 (will be 19 in August)

Dynasty Draft Consideration: early lottery

Strengths: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Threes, and some out-of-position Blocks

Edwards is the cream of the crop when it comes to athletic scoring guards. His explosiveness is hardly rivaled by his peers, and his ability to get above the rim is effortless. In addition to that athleticism, Edwards’ size, length, and physical tools will be extremely appealing to teams drafting in the early lottery.  He projects to be a very difficult player to guard as his shot-making will force defenders to consider guarding him up close but his strength and explosive first step will rip defenders apart if they’re too close, as he’ll just get right by them. About half of his shots come from downtown at the moment, and while his percentage from deep isn’t ideal, the hope is that he can improve upon it over time, although it’s certainly not a given when looking at his inconsistent shooting form from various areas of the court. His ability to facilitate and make plays, while still largely undeveloped, has been on display on numerous occasions this year, although, for a high-usage lead scorer like Edwards, it’s difficult to not rack up a few assists per game. His court vision will obviously be tested harder in the big leagues. One of the biggest bugs with Edwards is his affinity to show a lack of interest at times – especially in the first half of games. If Edwards can lock in, and continue to refine his skills, he’ll be tough to deal with at any level. Conversely, one of Edwards’ most resounding strengths is how quickly he can cover ground, which obviously comes back to his elite quickness and explosiveness. This may sound like an empty compliment, but if you combine his ground coverage with his reaction time, you have a potentially elite option in several categories – points, rebounds, steals, and blocks. Overall, Edwards has one of the highest ceilings of any prospect in this class. At the least, he appears to have a solid floor in terms of scoring and, hopefully, hustle stats. Best case scenario – Edwards is the NBA’s next star, and contributes virtually across the board in fantasy.

Cole Anthony

PG/SG – 6’3, 190lb – draft age 20

Dynasty Draft Consideration: mid lottery

StrengthsPoints, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Threes, and potentially some out-of-position Blocks

As my pick for the top overall prospect going into the season, Cole Anthony’s production has disappointed just a bit. Admittedly, he’s likely teetering on the brink between tier 1 and tier 2 at this point. However, he’s a better playmaker than his current assists per game seem to suggest. His assist output would probably be a bit stronger if he were surrounded by better floor-spacers at North Carolina. Additionally, his shooting percentages (from both the field and the line) have not been on-par with the level most expected from him – especially considering he was an 85-90% free throw shooter throughout most of his pre-college career. Anthony was also a top rebounding guard prospect entering the college season, and hasn’t displayed that quite as much as you’d like to see, although he’s still above average in that area. He does still maintain his potential to be a great athlete at the lead guard spot, and a top scoring option for any team he plays for. Altogether, Cole has been fine, and it’s always unfair to these players that we put such high expectations on them, but I do still believe in his ability to be one of the best guards of this class. Although Anthony hasn’t produced quite to the level some may have expected, I still believe he has one of the safer floors of this class.

James Wiseman

C – 7’1, 240lb – draft age 19

Dynasty Draft Consideration: early lottery

Strengths: Points, Rebounds, Blocks, FG%, and a FT% that potentially won’t tank you

There’s two sides to the debate of James Wiseman’s stock after playing just three games in college before being forced to take a seat and simply wait on the NBA draft. On one hand, GM’s would be taking a leap of faith by considering drafting him in the early lottery. On the other hand, Wiseman is oozing with upside, and the lack of tape on his game could help camouflage some overbearing weaknesses and potential nitpicks, making the possible reward more appealing. Now, he’ll get the opportunity to shine in solo combine excercises, showing off the array of attractive strengths in his war chest. First and foremost is his size – over 7ft tall with a 7’6 wingspan (possibly even longer), Wiseman has what it takes to be a serious rim-protector. The downside is that he doesn’t always seem to be willing to play that role. He shows more of a willingness to be an offensive threat, and attempts to show certain types of touch and ball-handling that he doesn’t possess yet. In addition to protecting the paint, and projecting as a good rim-runner, he shows signs of becoming a reliable pick-and-pop partner with flashes of a Myles Turner-type game if his offense develops a little further. Wiseman unfortunately doesn’t use his athleticism as fluidly as scouts may like, looking a bit hulky at times, and getting shaken off a bit too easily by smart, quick ball-handlers. If Wiseman keys in on his defensive potential, he’ll be a real problem at the next level. There’s still serious questions surrounding Wiseman after the lack of college tape we’ll get to see on him, but as a lengthy, versatile big man who can play both sides of the court, he’ll be well worth the risk – especially considering there isn’t a clear top option in this class.

Tyrese Haliburton

PG/SG – 6’5, 175lb – draft age 20

Dynasty Draft Consideration: mid-late lottery

StrengthsPoints, Assists, Steals, Threes, Rebounds, FT%, and some out-of-position Blocks

A player who gave his draft grade a serious boost by returning for a second year at Iowa State, Tyrese Haliburton has proven that he can be the best floor general on the court at any given moment. The 20-year old is placed in tier 2 currently, but there’s a clear path for him to perform like a tier 1 player. His passing ability was a known commodity going into the season, and he didn’t let his team down in that regard. Haliburton would consistently make beautiful passes to his teammates, but, unfortunately, his teammates would fail to finish those plays, leaving Tyrese’s stat sheet emptier than it otherwise could have been. In addition to his excellent passing acumen, the sophomore has taken his scoring skills to the next level. Haliburton’s elite basketball IQ is put on display each time he steps on the court – offensively and defensively, as he has a nose for the ball to pick up multiple steals per game. On top of his exceptional ball-handling, Tyrese is also a knockdown shooter. Overall, Haliburton doesn’t possess many weaknesses. He could bulk up a bit, as his frame is slender, but we’re just nitpicking at this point.

Nico Mannion

PG – 6’3, 185lb – draft age 19

Dynasty Draft Consideration: late lottery

StrengthsAssists, Points, Threes, FT%

One of the best pure passers in this class, Nico Mannion has the feel of a player who will see a quick spike in ownership in all fantasy leagues because of his knack for racking up assists, assuming he gets a sufficient amount of playing time as a rookie. Considering that assists are one of the two hardest categories to fill, Mannion’s playmaking instincts and impressive court vision could thrust him into a standard league role as early as his first professional season. His skill of creating opportunities in both transition and the half-court, and his ability to drop dimes through tight windows will entice NBA GMs on draft day. On top of his facilitating game, Mannion is reliable from the free-throw line, and shows promise as an off-ball three-point shooter, which gives him more versatility offensively to play with other creators. He’s confident in his scoring ability, but his lack of above-average explosiveness might cause efficiency issues with his overall FG%. However, Mannion counteracts his limited explosiveness with smart angles and a quick change of pace and direction. Overall, Mannion’s ambidexterity, three-level scoring, and court vision provides him with a solid fantasy floor.

Onyeka Okongwu

PF/C – 6’10, 245lb – draft age 19

Dynasty Draft Consideration: early-mid lottery

StrengthsRebounds, Blocks, FG%, Points, Steals, and a FT% that won’t tank you

A young big with a solid frame and a nose for the ball, Onyeka Okongwu made an unexpected leap onto the NBA radar this season. Entering the season, he was hardly on anyone’s radar – especially in terms of lottery consideration – but has since sparked a serious debate on just how early on he should be taken now. While his game is largely unrefined, Okongwu has shown flashes of banging down low in the paint, but can also be a very good rim-running big man, and has the IQ to play the role impressively. The USC product is also a high-quality rebounder, fighting tirelessly for boards more often than not. Additionally, the 19-year old has better passing abilities than some may give him credit for, and has the potential to develop into an above-average playmaker out of the post. But Okongwu’s greatest strength (at least in the eyes of fantasy die-hards) might be his shot-blocking, holding a top 10 spot in blocks percentage in the country of players seeing 25 minutes per game or more. Altogether, Okongwu looks like a hustle stat machine that won’t tank you in any particular category, and will be worth owning everywhere when he earns the playing time. Between his unstoppable effort, sharp big-man stats, versatile on-court abilities and IQ (on both ends), and potential to eventually contribute across the board, Okongwu will be a serious asset on the court and in fantasy.

Killian Hayes

PG/SG – 6’5, 185lb – draft age 18 (will be 19 in July)

Dynasty Draft Consideration: early lottery

Strengths: Assists, Steals, Threes, FT%, Points

As a potential lead guard, Killian Hayes shows a strong ability to get assists, but struggled to display the ability to competently contribute in other categories entering the season. However, Hayes has really exploded onto the radar in EuroCup play this past season. His most significant area for improvement going into the season was his shooting, as it was quite inconsistent. He displayed a nice free-throw touch, implying that there was upside for improvement in the shooting area – and improve he did. In addition to his elite passing, decision-making, and court IQ, Hayes’ sudden ability to knock down triples from beyond the arc at a consistent rate will have NBA executives intrigued. Add in his strong FT%, and you have a real potential offensive weapon. One weakness that Hayes can’t help but make apparent is his inability to use his right hand in a drastic number of situations – but especially passing.  This is a weakness that Hayes will surely need to address on his journey to becoming a successful NBA player, or else his game will be a bit too predictive. Additionally, his below-average quickness and athleticism could’ve accounted for a slight drop in draft grade before his shooting abilities made an about face, but there’s no hiding Hayes from top 10 consideration now – in both the NBA and fantasy drafts. In a draft consisting of numerous guard options, Hayes sits among the top handful.

RJ Hampton

PG/SG – 6’5, 185lb – draft age 19

Dynasty Draft Consideration: mid 1st round

Strengths: Rebounds, Steals, Points, Assists, and some out-of-position Blocks

Hampton possesses great size and length for a point guard, but should strive to add strength to his frame. He boasts pretty good athleticism, and a well-rounded fantasy skill set, with the biggest room for improvement being his shooting touch. He often knows how to use his size to get to certain spots that he wants to on the court, but struggles with his shot too frequently. While he can get a decent amount of dimes, he doesn’t project to be a top-tier facilitator. However, Hampton’s fantasy arsenal comes with several strengths. While he might be an inefficient shooter – and scorer in general – he is a very good rebounder for his position, and also adds a solid number of out-of-position blocks. Add in his solid-but-not-outstanding ability to get assists and steals, and you have a solid counting stats asset for fantasy purposes. It’s just his turnovers and efficiency that fantasy owners will hope improves the most.

Deni Avdija

SG/SF/PF – 6’9, 215lb – draft age 19

Dynasty Draft Consideration: mid-late lottery

Strengths: Rebounds, Points, Assists, Blocks, Threes

Around 6’8 – 6’9 with room to grow, and a good passing acumen, Deni Avdija was considered a potential top-tier, high-upside type of point-forward, but fell down draft boards a bit due to some slow play initially. However, he’s recently started looking much more competent in several aspects on the court, and has risen back up to potential early-lottery territory. Avdija shows promise as a reliable ball-handler with distribution duties. His court vision and passing chops are very much above average at the least for his position. Avdija’s ability to make the right passes in transition, out of pick-and-rolls, AND with his back to the basket made him a particularly appealing asset, but one major weakness that repeatedly comes back to haunt him is his inability to reliably shoot from distance, and his lack of consistency from the free-throw line. On top of his shooting inefficiencies, Avdija lacks elite quickness. He is capable of creating his own space off the dribble, but cannot put that ability to work properly due to his current weaknesses. He also seems hesitant to attack the lane, and often prefers to find the best possible pass in certain scenarios. While his shooting leaves a lot to be desired, he possesses a fluid shooting motion, so there’s certainly potential to improve in that area. He’s had his struggles playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv – in addition to his shooting woes, his assists are lower than expected – but there still exists loads of upside here.

Obi Toppin

PF – 6’9, 220lb – draft age 22

Dynasty Draft Consideration: mid-late lottery

StrengthsPoints, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks, Threes, FG%

Toppin was not a name at the top of anyone’s draft board going into this season, but he’s put on an absolutely fantastic showing in his sophomore season, posting a monster fantasy stat line, showing out in points, rebounds, steals, blocks, threes, and FG%. Similar to Tyrese Haliburton, Toppin is just loosely tethered to tier 2. There exists a very real opportunity for him to play like a tier 1 player at the next level. The odd aspect of this situation is that he’s not a very different player than what he was in his freshman year. The main difference this season for Toppin has been the change in his situation and surroundings. This year’s Dayton system, filled with spacing and shooting around him, has helped to accentuate and compliment his game significantly. The space in which Toppin has to work is assisted by the successful pick-and-rolls and rim-running situations that Obi participates in this year. Toppin is a very efficient scorer who boasts solid post moves, and possesses the potential to be a reliable stretch four/five at the next level. An added layer to Toppin’s potential to be a floor-spacer at the next level is his ability to hit threes in more ways than just spot-up situations. He has shown some ability to create his own shot at times. On top of that, Toppin can even reliably make plays when the opportunity arises. He has a good motor, and is a serviceable defender, but might want to improve his physicality. There are some possessions where Toppin could make a play to get a rebound, but opts against it. Regardless, he’s had a spectacular season in the box, and could be a draft-day steal if things roll his way. He may never be a successful NBA team’s go-to, late-game option, but in the right system, Toppin can be a serious difference-maker.

Jalen Smith

PF/C – 6’10, 225lb – draft age 20

Dynasty Draft Consideration: mid 1st round

StrengthsPoints, Rebounds, Blocks, FG%, Threes, and a FT% that won’t tank you

A guy who knows how to stuff the stat sheet, Jalen Smith possesses an extremely appealing fantasy skill set. He’s racked up strong points, rebounds, blocks, and FG%, with a respectable free-throw game, and flashes of shooting from deep range in his sophomore year at Maryland. Standing at 6’10, and possessing an expanding shooting touch, Smith has the potential to eventually play either frontcourt position, but at this point, he needs to add more bulk to his frame if he’s expected to find success under the basket on both ends of the court. Smith has decent size, length, and mobility, which he can use to his advantage against the slower big men of the league. He came out of high school with the appearance of a solid shooter, but struggled with it in his freshman season. He’s finally beginning to look comfortable in that area again this year. Other than his strength, one other area of weakness for Jalen is his basketball IQ. His basketball IQ often doesn’t seem to be particularly high, and displays questionable decision-making more frequently than your typical sophomore. He comes off as a player who will need to fall into the lap of the right coaching staff and system to suit his strengths more so than several other frontcourt players in the first round of this draft. If he does, he’ll be an enviable fantasy asset.

Paul Reed

PF – 6’9, 220lb – draft age 21

Dynasty Draft Consideration: mid 1st round

Strengths: Rebounds, Steals, Blocks, Points, FG%

Reed is a good athlete who knows how to finish strong around the rim. He’s a gifted rebounder, and a solid shot-blocker. Reed certainly possesses nice rim-running, picks-and-roll-partner potential. He has an adequate low-post game, and a knack for getting hustle stats, with a particular strength in racking up an above-average number of steals for his size and position. He doesn’t show enough floor-spacing potential to be considered a true stretch-four/five option at the moment, but produces reliable free-throw efficiency, so the shot could potentially come with time. Overall, Reed obviously possesses serious fantasy upside, but might fall outside of the top 10 in the NBA draft due to a lack of starpower potential.

Isaiah Stewart

PF/C – 6’9, 245lb – draft age 19

Dynasty Draft Consideration: mid 1st round

StrengthsRebounds, Blocks, FG%, Points, and a FT% that won’t tank you

Bulky and massively strong, with a 7’2 wingspan, Stewart might have been the most impressive prospect through the first three days at McDonald’s All-American Practices and Scrimmages. While he’s lacking a few inches to be considered a typical “center,” Stewart possesses an extremely high motor and bouncy athleticism, with the ability to thrive in a role similar to that of Montrezl Harrell. He also puts forth enough effort to help make up for the slight height deficit. Already a fantastic rebounder with solid post moves, Stewart is working on expanding his shooting range, but he’s still quite unreliable from that range, which will make him difficult to slide to the power forward spot in plenty of scenarios. He currently seems to project as more of a traditional rim-runner on offense, but if his deep-range shot starts to click, his potential offensive role will expand exponentially. Stewart might not have the highest ceiling, but his floor seems safe.

Tyler Bey

SG/SF/PF – 6’7, 215lb – draft age 22

Dynasty Draft Consideration: mid 1st round

StrengthsRebounds, Steals, Blocks, Points, Threes, FG%

This draft seems to have more lesser-known players who have crept into first-round consideration than what we typically see – Tyler Bey is another one of them. He has a very appealing fantasy arsenal, contributing numbers virtually across the board. While not extremely explosive, his athleticism often goes underrated, and his length – particularly his wingspan – is very helpful in racking up some of his hustle stats. His combination of length and basketball IQ make him a difficult threat to deal with defensively, as he knows how to jump passing lanes and read opponents. Another aspect of his game that helps create steals and blocks is his recovery time, often sneaking up on a shooter or ball-handler to snatch the rock away. Offensively, Bey will be a great cutter and rim-runner from the wing, but has potential to be much more than that, as his three-point shooting has looked quite reliable, but he doesn’t take very many. The shooting looks solid, but can still be considered a question mark. The junior Buffalo may provide Colorado with strong frontcourt-type stats (rebounds, blocks, and FG%), but fantasy drafters will wonder how well he can translate that ability to the NBA, where he’ll be up against players who are stronger and faster than him on a nightly basis. All in all, Bey seems to be a potential, versatile fantasy asset, but one that might not see much usage through his first short stretch of NBA time.

Aleksej Pokusevski

PF/C – 7’0, 205lb – draft age 18

Dynasty Draft Consideration: 1st round

StrengthsPoints, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks, Threes

Pokusevski is one of the youngest players in this class, and also has one of the widest ranges of outcomes. Standing 7ft tall with a 7’3 wingspan, and possibly still growing, he possesses the skill set to play either frontcourt position, but currently lacks the physical strength and bulk to bang down low with NBA-caliber centers. Pokusevski displays the ability to fill the stat sheet in several areas, but lacks physical strength and athleticism, as many players his size do. Pokusevski certainly has stretch-big potential if he tightens up his deep-range shot a bit more, but can also bring much more to the table than that. He’s an above-average playmaker with the ball in his hands, racking up an appealing number of assists. He’s also an adequate scorer off the dribble, but when there’s traffic among him, he can be a bit unstable getting the ball up, which can also come back to his lack of bulk. However, he’s not without hustle, as he has proven to be a strong rebounder. One other concern for Pokusevski is his motor and focus – particularly defensively. When he’s locked in, his defense is solid, but he seems to drift off mentally at times. If everything clicks, Pokusevski’s upside is immense, but his floor is very unstable until he bulks up.