Who’s Getting Picked First in the 2020 NBA Draft?

| November 13, 2020 7:20 am PDT

The NBA Draft is arguably one of the most exciting parts of the offseason. We get to see where the future basketball superstars will start their careers and the teams try to get their hands on the most talented young athletes available.

Sometimes, there’s a consensus number one pick, like Zion Williamson last year. There is no player who’s guaranteed to go first this time around and that makes the draft even more exciting. It also opens the door to some betting opportunities.

I share my 2020 NBA Draft first pick prediction and recommended bet in this post. The post includes my analysis of the best prospects and the latest odds available.

First Pick in the 2020 NBA Draft Odds

LaMelo Ball -175
Anthony Edwards +125
James Wiseman +600
Deni Avdija +2500
Obi Toppin +4000

As you can see from the top pick odds, the best NBA draft betting sites believe that only five players have a chance of getting drafted first. I’m inclined to agree with their assessment, so my analysis will be focused on these prospects.

Top Prospects for the NBA 2020 Draft

Let’s take a look at the top-rated young players in the NBA 2020 Draft and the reasons why a team would want to pick them first.

LaMelo Ball

Many believe that LaMelo Ball is the player in this draft who has the highest ceiling and that’s always a good argument when you’re looking for the top pick. The guard has emerged as one of the favorites recently and many experts expect him to be selected first.

The youngest Ball brother is an excellent playmaker who can create for himself and others. He can start contributing on the offense immediately, but there are certain question marks over various aspects of his game.

For a start, his shooting form is a concern and we saw how hard his brother Lonzo has struggled to fix that in the NBA. If you add the weak defense, it’s obvious that LaMello comes with various downsides and he’ll need time to reach his potential.

I don’t think that the player is a good fit for a franchise that’s looking to win now because he will need a lot of the ball to develop properly. Ball is best-suited for an organization that is rebuilding and needs a centerpiece for the future.

Anthony Edwards

The second major contender for the top pick in this year’s draft is Anthony Edwards. The guy already has the physical attributes required to play in the NBA and his athleticism looks elite. The guard is 6’5’ with a 6’9 wingspan and weighs 225 points.

That allows him to attack the rim and he has excellent speed for his size. Edwards is not afraid to finish through contact and his jumper looks good mechanically, even if his shooting splits in college were not that impressive.

Edwards looks like an offensive juggernaut that could easily become the first option for an NBA team in the future, as you can see from his highlights below.

The problem is that he needs a lot of the ball to be effective and his defense is questionable. That puts him in a similar position as LaMelo Ball – he’s probably not a good selection for any team that is looking to improve immediately.

James Wiseman

One of the biggest enigmas of the 2020 NBA Draft is James Wiseman. The youngster has been out of action for the last year or so after serving a suspension, so have no clue how good he is at this particular moment.

What we know for sure is that Wiseman is the best big man in this draft class and he desperately wants to play basketball. Most scouting reports suggest that he has an outstanding frame and a high ceiling on both ends of the floor.

He can be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate one day and his offense combines strength and skill to deliver results. Wiseman can both post up or use his elegant jumper to score.

Any NBA team with a good development program could pick Wiseman and the question is if a big man can be the top draft pick in the modern NBA. I’m not so sure, but he has his chances.

Avdija and Toppin

I don’t want to be disrespectful to Deni Avdija and Obi Toppin, but I don’t think they have a realistic shot at the first pick in 2020. Both have immense potential and could become NBA stars, but the trio above them has a higher ceiling.

I don’t see how they can go above all three of them to the top pick, so I’m going to leave them out of the conversation.

Which Team Will Go First in the NBA 2020 Draft?

Before I move on to my prediction, it’s important to determine which team is going to pick first in the NBA 2020 draft. The order obviously shows that the Minnesota Timberwolves have the right to select before anyone else, but I’m not sure that will be the case.

The franchise currently has a core of two young stars who already have experience in the league and will be hungry to start winning. The Timberwolves need to fight for the playoffs in the West this season, so they have to win right now.

Under such circumstances, none of the top three prospects is a good fit for them. Ball and Edwards won’t work well with D’Angelo Russell in the backcourt, while James Wiseman doesn’t look like a good fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns. The reports suggest that the young man himself doesn’t want to go to Minnesota for that reason.

There’s simply no point in using the top pick for the sake of it. The Timberwolves should trade it, in my opinion, to get a player that can help them improve instantly. For example, the Pelicans could send Jrue Holiday to Minnesota and get the top pick themselves.

In fact, every team that is currently rebuilding or that needs a franchise player for the near future should give it a try and I expect a trade to happen eventually.

One of my colleagues shares a similar opinion in his post with 5 bold predictions on the 2020 NBA draft, so I recommend you to check his thoughts as well.

Prediction and Best Bet for the 2020 NBA Draft First Pick

I believe that it’s highly likely for the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade their top pick to a team that wants a future superstar. LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards are the guys who have the best chances in the modern NBA, so it must be one of them.

The higher odds and the fact that Edwards could be better right from the start are enough for me to select him. On top of that, he looks like the best fit for the Timberwolves if they decide to keep their first pick, so that’s my final prediction.

Pick
  • Anthony Edwards
    +125
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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