From: Las Vegas
Vecenie 2020 NBA Mock Draft 7.1: A mini update based on what I’m hearing:
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
LaMelo Ball | 6-6 guard | 18 years old | Illawarra Hawks
So this is an immediate adjustment at the top of the mock draft. Why? A few different reasons worth discussing.
First, there is a feeling around the league that Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas will explore every conceivable option with this pick, including a multitude of trade options. Not only has Rosas already proven himself to be one of the more aggressive heads of basketball ops in the NBA, but also the executive team in charge is also one of the more creative ones in executing deals. Remember: the team’s vice president of basketball ops, Sachin Gupta, created the damn trade machine on ESPN. I would not be so sure that the Wolves end up making this pick at No. 1. At the very least, they’re going to see if anyone is willing to meet whatever they set as their asking price.
Having said that, none of the three players who most executives consider to have the highest upside in this class — Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and Ball — particularly fit with the Wolves. Edwards and Ball are ball-dominant and poor defenders, skills that don’t particularly fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Wiseman is a center, meaning he’s a non-starter for the Wolves at No. 1 because he and Towns wouldn’t provide enough quickness on the court together to field a competent defense. So what do the Wolves do?
It’s worth coming back to what I said above regarding Rosas’ aggressiveness. In general, the thought is that this front office doesn’t necessarily see its roster as completed yet, and will need to maneuver over the next year to build a roster to compete as Towns’ contract enters its final stages. The Wolves are going to think of this pick as an asset that could be moved in the future, even if they have to use the pick and if the player doesn’t quite fit with this core.
So who do they rate as the top player? No one is particularly sure at this juncture. But my guess is Ball makes a lot of sense as the guy they think has the highest upside. He had a terrific half year playing in Australia against pros, and his advanced numbers across the board are better than Edwards’. Both were wildly inefficient, but Ball had a ridiculous 3-to-1 assist rate to turnover rate. He rebounded well and had a high steal rate. And even beyond that, the scouting tells you that his ability to make plays with ball in hand is special. I have him at No. 1 because his upside as a playmaker and passer is exceptionally high. But my bet is that this projection gets adjusted again before the draft happens — whenever that may be.