Potential Superstars That Were Taken in the 2020 NBA Draft
The 2020 NBA Draft went largely as many expected it to near the top. I thought LaMelo Ball would go first overall, but if it wasn’t him, it’d be Anthony Edwards.
It was Edwards in the end, but the top-three still predictably consisted of Edwards, Ball, and big man James Wiseman.
The draft delivered some memorable moments from there, but one that really stood out to me was when the ESPN crew was asked which players could become superstars.
They seemed dumbfounded and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) give an answer.
I agree it’s tough to do. Players that look great in one situation could look awful in another. Sometimes you can be a star at one level, but at the next, you’re asked to be a different type of player.
The players that have one elite skill-set have a shot at establishing long careers. If you have a glaring weakness, you could end up being a bust. If you have numerous elite skills, you just might have a chance to be a superstar.
Obviously Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman were the top two picks in this draft, so I won’t mention them here. But I’ll start off with LaMelo Ball as I break down the five players from the 2020 NBA Draft who will be superstars.
LaMelo Ball, PG, Charlotte Hornets
Once you get Edwards and Wiseman out of the way, you get to Ball. I’m really just listing Ball in this breakdown of potential NBA superstars because I felt he was a bit disrespected in the draft.
Not only did I view Ball as the best overall prospect in this draft class – and thought he should have gone first overall – but I was a little shocked that he slid to the third pick.
Shocked isn’t the right word, though, because I knew the Warriors wanted James Wiseman.
Maybe just disappointed.
Especially given the news that Klay Thompson blew out his Achilles, I figured the electrifying Ball would be appealing to Golden State.
That wasn’t the case, but to be frank, Ball still landed in an amazing spot that will allow him to morph into an NBA stud.
Ball’s game has a life of its own. He is a classic free style point guard who boasts elite vision, creativity, flair, and excellent anticipation. Just as a pure passing prospect, Ball is incredibly exciting.
Just look at those highlights. There is a spot in that film where it slows down and you can see how Ball was anticipating an unreal pass from a mile away, all while running the break.
The way he plays the game, Ball has the ability to make everyone around him better, and he can do so in style.
The question will be if he can clean up his shot selection, become more efficient, and grow into a leader.
Ball’s size, length, athleticism, outside shooting and overall scoring ability are all fantastic in terms of sheer potential. In all honesty, it’s going to take a lot of bad luck to prevent him from being one of the best players in the league in just a few years.
Deni Avdija, SF, Washington Wizards
This is another guy that slid in the draft. He dropped way more than Ball, and way further than he should have.
I had the versatile and balanced Avdija as one of the best natural scorers in this draft class, yet he was passed over for Patrick Williams, Isaac Okoro, Onyeka Okongwu, Killian Hayes, and Obi Toppin.
Toppin and Hayes are amazing prospects in their own right (although I don’t view them as true superstars going forward), so there’s merit to that. And I get that sometimes a team’s need trumps the “best player available” mantra.
But the Bulls, Cavs, and Hawks all said “no” to this kid, and they absolutely could use a silky smooth offensive player who can literally do everything.
See for yourself.
When thinking about which players from the 2020 NBA Draft that could be superstars, Avdija stands out because he has such a diverse skill-set, and he does so much of it at such a high level.
He also did this against high-level competition, and when you factor in his size and defensive acumen, the potential is off the charts.
Opportunity should be there for Avdija, too.
Other than Bradley Beal, the Wiz don’t have any reliable go-to options that they desire to keep around for the long haul. That could mean shouldering a lot of the scoring early and often, and it just might expedite his maturation process in the NBA.
Aleksej Pokusevski, C, Greece
Pokusevski isn’t quite on the level of a likely “can’t miss” prospect like Avdija might be, but he was still among the best international prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft.
The upside with Pokusevski is pretty absurd; so much so that Michael Wynn compared him to Nikola Jokic.
Don’t say he’s crazy, either. While the young big man is frail and raw, he is an insanely skilled big man with elite passing, exceptional vision, and a well-rounded offensive game.
This kid can be a force on defense with his shot-blocking ability, and he can space the floor at the other end with his outside shot.
What’s crazy is how talented and effective he is, and he’s only going to be 19 in December. It may take some time for him to develop, but the traits are there for him to be a menace on both ends for years to come.
Once he arrives in Oklahoma City, he could learn from a terrific big man in Steven Adams, and eventually take over as one of the franchise’s cornerstones.
Cole Anthony, PG, Orlando Magic
Another kid I’m very high on – higher on than most – is North Carolina’s Cole Anthony. Once discussed as a number one pick contender, Anthony slid due to injuries and a poor showing last year by the Tar Heels.
I’m not really sure why he got knocked so much, however. Anthony wasn’t able to carry North Carolina in the tough ACC, but he displayed immense leadership and incredible toughness, while still putting up 18.5 points and 4 assists per game.
Anthony can’t erase the fact that he wasn’t 100% all year, that he had to force the issue on offense, or that his teammates didn’t always help him when he needed it.
But I liked what I saw as a whole, and Anthony was still a tantalizing offensive prospect that can effectively create offense for himself and others. His outside jumper is arguably a lot better than the numbers showed, too, while he’s also a solid athlete with adequate size for the position.
The talent and dedication is there for a kid who is living his dream right now, and you could see that on draft night.
His emotions after being drafted told you that, and I have zero doubt he’s going to put his all into becoming a star player.
It only helps him that he’s going to the Orlando Magic. They don’t really have reliable offense outside of Nikola Vucevic, and they’ve needed an answer at the point guard position for years.
I think Cole Anthony is that answer, and if he can prove me right, he may be en route to blossoming into an NBA superstar.
Nico Mannion, PG, Golden State Warriors
This one is a mild reach, to be sure. Mannion was not overly efficient in his one and only season at Arizona, and he slid to the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft because of it.
But boy, is this kid skilled.
Mannion has as much athleticism, ball handling, and scoring ability as any other point guard in this draft class. He also has a nice outside shot, and can effortlessly create for himself and others.
The size and plus athleticism seals Mannion as a total package point guard who will likely enter the league with a chip on his shoulder. That’s honestly perfect, as this legit first-round prospect slid way further than he should have, yet landed in the best place possibly with the Warriors.
In a normal year, Mannion would likely be stuck to Golden State’s bench. However, given the horrific Klay Thompson news, it’s now very possible the Warriors entertain playing Mannion with Stephen Curry more than they’d have wanted to.
That could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as Mannion is a crafty point guard who can push the pace and find holes in the defense.
If his shot and efficiency can get cleaned up a bit, he could be a new member of The Splash Brothers and work toward taking over the reins once Curry and Thompson move on.
I know the title frames this to be a post about 2020 NBA Draft players that will be superstars. To be fair, some may lean more towards just regular stars, or really good players in general.
But they all have superstar potential, even if some teams looked past them and didn’t see it.
Remember, there are a lot of players drafted in round two that rose up and shocked the NBA.
There are guys who fell in the draft and ended up being insane value picks, and there are even would-be reaches in the lottery that ended up being megastars.
Guys like Gilbert Arenas, Kawhi Leonard, and Giannis Antetokounmpo fit these descriptions. Superstars do not need to be taken first overall, or even be regarded as elite talents when they’re this young.
Environment and role also played a huge hand in a player’s upside. Things need to break just right for some of these players, but if they get a fair shake, they all have a shot at being NBA superstars.
You can’t bet on if these guys will be NBA superstars, but you can bet on them in terms of props, futures, and games. When you do, be sure you’re using the best NBA betting sites.