NBA Draft: Breaking Down The Draft’s Top Prospects

The 2020 NBA Draft is set to happen on Wednesday, November 18, 2020. The draft, however, doesn’t have a lot of potential franchise-changing players in it. But it’s a draft that’s good for teams to acquire depth, a potential starter or two, and maybe a couple of guys who can be that franchise guy. We’re going to dive in and take a look at four of the top NBA prospects in this year’s draft and breakdown their strengths, weaknesses, fit, etc.

LaMelo Ball

Allan Wright, EDFsports

The first prospect that’s projected to be drafted number one overall in Wednesday’s NBA Draft is point guard LaMelo Ball. When it comes to strictly passing the basketball, Ball is in a class of his own in this draft class. He also is a player that’s box office due to the buzz he’s going to generate. In Australia, Ball averaged 17 points, 6.8 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.

He is also a prospect teams might consider trading up to grab as well. Teams like the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, and the New York Knicks, who are linked to possibly trading for Russell Westbrook. As for Ball, his potential is through the roof, but like every prospect, he has a noticeable flaw in his game.

Ball’s noticeable flaw is the same flaw his older brother Lonzo Ball has and it’s his jump shot. In Australia, he shot 37.5% from the field and 27% from three-point range. And on defense, his flaw is at times gambling for steals a little too much and letting guys get past him.

One of Ball’s other strengths that aren’t talked about a lot is his offensive rebounding. He averaged 1.9 offensive rebounds per game in Australia, which is encouraging due to him using his size to bully opposing guards. For Ball, the talent is definitely there. He played against quite a few in Australia who are NBA ready as they say, so mentally he’s not phased.

Ball is poised to have a long and possibly very good NBA career. If he can become simply an average shooter, opposing teams will have to honor his jumper, which will open up lanes for him to pass the ball or attack.

And his offense off the ball, such as cutting to the rim, will be vital too for his growth. His vision and passing ability are something a franchise can build around day one, and those are gifts that can revitalize a franchise in need of a star. So barring anything crazy happening, expect Ball to be taken number one overall on Wednesday night.

Killian Hays

Paul Casanova, EDFsports

Hays is another young man, age 18, that is coming from Europe and took an unusual road to the NBA. He was born in Lakeland Fl and then moved to France as a very young child. His Father,  DeRon Hayes was also a ballplayer who made his way across the Europian leagues. This young man turned pro at the ripe old age of 16. Hays spent his first two seasons with Pro A Cholet, a team his dad once wore the jersey of.

He then spent a year with the German team, Ratiopharm Ulm. As a young man playing in a man’s league it was a rough start. It took some time for a teenager to make his way in the league. What he found was he had the talent to compete with these men, to help make them even better. He does this some of the best passing I have seen from a guy so young. I know people may call me crazy but I see CP3 in him, just watch the film.

He is like a small Nikola Jokic the way he through those darts across the floor with such accuracy. The thing is most at his age that can pass like that can not shot as well as they need. Not Hays, he can shoot from outside and he has that European floater in the lane that is deadly. He plays at a much higher level than his age. When asked what he brings to the NBA recently in a zoom call he stated;

“My ability to adapt to any situation, come in, and have an impact right away. Could be on the defensive end could be on the offense, and my ability to lead the squad on the floor”

Where he lands we won’t know until Wednesday’s NBA draft, but we can read the leaves. Some teams such as the Cavs have already passed on him as they do not want a PG. He could be one of the steals of this year’s draft and if you are the Knicks and you need a guy like this, you may want to grab him. I have seen him projected from five to 15. Keep your eye on this guy for years to come.

Deni Avdija

LaMarr Fields, EDFsports

Deni Avdija is 19 years old and was born in Israel. Many scouts see Avdija as the best international prospect in the draft because of his versatility. Avdija is expected to be a high lottery pick in the 20020 NBA Draft.

Avdija is 6’9 with the ability to play both forward positions. He has a high basketball IQ and is an outstanding playmaker. Avdija reads pick-and-roll situations well. The 6’9 forward put his team first and has a strong work ethic to get better. The one thing Avdija must improve on is his shooting. He made just 55% of free throws and only 27% from three-point land. His game is like Luka Donic, a big playmaker, but don’t expect to be like Luka right away.

On the defensive end, Avdija plays hard. In Euroleague, he was able to guard 1-4 positions, Avdija may not be able to that at the NBA level, but he will not be a liability on the defensive end. With his size and playmaking ability, Avdija would be an excellent pick for whatever teams draft him, He can do many things on the court, and with his work ethic, the forward should improve his shot.

Issac Okoro

Nick Andre, EDFsports

Isaac Okoro is a name that seems to hit everyone’s radar over the last month. His emergence as a freshman under Bruce Pearl was spectacular. Okoro is by far a top 15 pick in this year’s draft and will make his presence known right away. 

Okoro has a strong build at the small forward position. He becomes very versatile when he has the ball in his hands and uses any clearance to find his way to the basket. Okoro’s field goal percentage was at 51%, which was due to his ability to get high-quality shot attempts around the rim. 

The one place that needs work in Okoro’s game is his perimeter shooting. He tends to be a great mid-range scorer, but many times he is not as consistent with his shooting ability from range. Whichever organization picks him up in the draft, I am sure there will be a shooting coach alongside Okoro that can help him develop more consistency from the outside. Adding this aspect to his game could make Okoro a potential all-star talent. 

There are a few teams in the lottery that could snatch Okoro quickly. One team could be Detroit. A team that hasn’t found much success this past season, Okoro could be the franchise cornerstone that could have a big future. Pairing Okoro alongside Christian Wood could mean damage for the NBA future going forward. 

How about the Knicks? A borderline pathetic team like this franchise could use anything at this point. New York was not able to grab the first pick in the draft, but that doesn’t mean they can’t grab one of the best players. Okoro would be beloved in New York with the bright lights being spotted on him. His versatility on the floor could take the franchise in a possible different direction. 

I’m happy to see Okoro finally get the recognition he deserves. He leaves everything on the floor and gives max effort on both ends. We wish the best for Isaac Okoro going forward and hope he exceeds expectations.

Take in the NBA draft Tonight at 8 PM on ESPN

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