Patrick Williams, Florida State
This was one of the most difficult categories on this entire list and it was because there were so many deserving winners. Freak athletes like Cassius Stanley, Isaac Okoro and possible top pick Anthony Edwards are all worthy of recognition here. Depite Casius Stanley breaking Zion Williamson’s vertical numbers, his run/jump athleticism alone would top this list, but Williams has more strength and shows more dexterity, plus he shows the raw athleticism to defend multiple positions including the post and perimeter as well as pass, handle and shoot.
Isaiah Stewart, Washington
This category came down to a couple of Pac-12 big men who absolutely dominated in almost every game they played in. Isaiah Stewart and Onyeka Okongwu are two of the strongest players in the class, but the edge, in this category at least, goes to Stewart. The Pac-12 boasted some ferocious big men in these two, Oscar Da Silva, Francis Okoro, Zeke Nnaji and more made up the best of the west coast and it had to have taken a toll. If it did, you couldn’t tell with Stewart’s consistent play and dominance in the post. In the only matchup between Stewart and Okongwu, Washington’s star looked like an entirely different specimen outscoring and outrebounding Okongwu in less minutes in a 32-point victory.
Kira Lewis, Alabama
Just like Colin Sexton from his alma mater Alabama, Kira Lewis has explosiveness and speed that jumps off the screen. Lewis is such an exciting player, and it all starts with his elite quickness and speed. This speed opens up his teammates and he certainly has the vision to find them with over five assists per game last season. His speed is most noticeable when he blows by his defender in a blur in the half-court offense. It is why his name is climbing up draft boards and it is why he has snuck into the top 10 of our mock draft.
Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt
In the short time we got to see Nesmith this season, he was the best shooter in the country, and it was not too close. Not many guys can shoot over 50% from distance, and if they do, it is because of low volume. That was not the case for Nesmith. In only 14 games, he made 60 three-pointers on 115 attempts. For those who do not want to do the math, that is 52%. On 8 attempts. Per game. This efficiency as a high-volume shooter is not something that comes around very often, if ever. It led Nesmith to 23 points per game and the honor as the best shooter in this year’s draft.
LaMelo Ball, Australia
There are some very talented passers in this year’s class, but we have a generational talent in LaMelo Ball. Ball is one of the rare cases where the highlights do all of the talking with his passing ability. You can see his accuracy and vision, but his anticipation is what amazes viewers the most. He has a knack for passing players open and this anticipation is what sets him apart from some of the premier passers in the draft. Young players are supposed to have a learning curve with anticipation while they learn the game, but Ball already has tremendous anticipation and that is what makes him so intriguing as a prospect and as a franchise point guard.
Isaac Okoro, Auburn
Okoro could easily be considered the best defender in this year’s class and it is because of his perimeter defense. He has great footwork and is difficult to drive past. Even if you do get past him, he has great discipline and timing to come back and block you from behind. He is quick enough to stay with shifty, offensive playmakers and also holds his own in the paint. Okoro is strong enough and quick enough to play against the pick-and-roll offense by fighting through screens or quickly getting around them. A team looking for a lockdown defender should look no further than Isaac Okoro or Patrick Williams who is discussed a little later.
James Wiseman, Memphis
This superlative came down to a pair of big men who are projected to come off the board very early due to their interior defense. James Wiseman barely squeaked by Onyeka Okongwu from USC, primarily because of size. Okongwu tends to have more discipline in post defense and can block shots all game long if he wants. But he does not have the size that Wiseman does, and it raises questions of if he can dominate at the next level with such a size disadvantage. At only 6’9 with a 7’2 wingspan, Wiseman has a four-inch advantage in both height and wingspan. Because of this, Wiseman is projected higher in the draft and he will stand out as the best post defender in this year’s class.
Obi Toppin, Dayton
The reason Obi Toppin dominated college basketball as much as he did was because of his versatility. It only makes sense to honor him as the most versatile offensive player in the draft as well. Toppin can explode past wing defenders and finish powerfully at the hoop. He fights for position in the post and can hold his own at 6’9, 220 pounds. He has a solid jump shot and can hit it from anywhere. In summary, Obi Toppin has it all and it makes him such an exciting prospect. If he can replicate his success that earned him a sweep of the Player of the Year honors, teams will be regretting passing on such a specimen.
Patrick Williams, Florida State
When choosing the most versatile defender in the draft, it is never a bad idea to go find a player from Florida State. Leonard Hamilton has turned the Seminoles into a defensive powerhouse that can rival the likes of Virginia and Brad Stevens’ Butler teams. He rotates guys and keeps them fresh enough to suffocate opposing offenses. His favorite defensive player this year had to be Williams. While Trent Forrest racked up a boatload of steals, nobody brought more to the table than Williams. He has size, length, and athleticism to guard anyone on the court and he made a tremendous defensive impact despite coming off the bench every game. His nearly two blocks and steals per 40 minutes tells the story about how much of an impact he made while on the court and it makes him the most versatile defender in 2020.
High Risk/High Reward
Aleksej Pokusevski, Serbia
There are a lot of question marks surrounding this Serbian standout, but if he can do everything he is supposed to do, he has the highest upside in this draft. He is 7 feet tall and has a 7’3 wingspan, but he is not a center. He moves around with quickness, athleticism, ball-handling, and great court vision. He can play any position on the court and rarely looks sluggish while doing so. If he can continue to flourish and develop his game, as he is still only 18, he can become the first point-center we have ever seen. But the questions about his strength in the post (190 pounds) and whether he can succeed against more talented competition make him an incredibly high-risk player. All of the tools that he displays are going to be too much for a team to pass up on, and only time will tell if this risk will be rewarded.
Anthony Edwards, Georgia
The lowest risk player in 2020 has to be Anthony Edwards. This year has been crazy for countless people and uncertainty has been the word of the year, but one thing that has remained consistent is Anthony Edwards being the safest pick. The top of this year’s class has so many question marks because of limited exposure with players like LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman rarely playing in front of an audience. Edwards has all of the tools to be a superstar and he showed it to a national audience all year long. It does not seem to be possible for him to be anything less than an impactful starter and that is what makes him the safest option for a team this year.
First Round Sleeper
Tyrell Terry, Stanford
Stanford’s star freshman made a name for himself in his first season and that currently has him listed as a late first round pick. As one of the best shooters in the draft, Terry can make an immediate impact and make a name for himself as one of the leading scorers as a rookie. His shooting form needs little to no work and he will be able to come in right away and shoot the lights out at the very least. He still needs to improve with strength and decision-making with the ball, but his ability to catch fire quickly will help him make a name for himself early on in his career.
Second Round Sleeper
Nick Richards, Kentucky
Nick Richards was a highly touted prospect from Jamaica three years ago. He stands at 7’0 with a 7’2 wingspan, but most importantly, he can jump out of the building. Richards showed vast improvement from his freshman year until now and it seems his development will only continue to grow. He turned himself into a dominant rim protector in the SEC, but he also developed an offensive game that seemed hopeless after a disappointing freshman season. He improved his touch around the rim and there is no question he can get up for alley-oops. With a little time, Richards can become a spark plug on either side of the ball for a lucky team.
Malik Fitts, Saint Mary’s
Fitts is considered a BIG sleeper pick in this year’s draft as he comes in at only 76 on our big board. Physically, Fitts is an absolute freak. He is 6’8 with close to a 7’0 wingspan and he is a brute force on the court. He dominated all season long in the WCC because of his imposing strength and ability to stretch the floor. He shot over 40% from three-point range and he is quick enough to blow by opponents on the dribble. His form can use some work, but his physical traits should be enough to give him a chance at some playing time this year, and I would not be surprised if he takes advantage of this opportunity.
AthleticismPatrick Williams Anthony Edwards Isaac Okoro Precious Achiuwa Cassius Stanley
StrengthIsaiah Stewart Onyeka Okongwu Reggie Perry Isaac Okoro Anthony Edwards
SpeedKira Lewis Devon Dotson Cassius Stanley Josh Green Cole Anthony
ShootingAaron Nesmith Isaiah Joe Tyrell Terry Markus Howard Tyrese Maxey
PassingLaMelo Ball Tyrese Haliburton Malachi Flynn Leandro Bolmaro
Perimeter DefenderIsaac Okoro Patrick Williams Ashton Hagans Kira Lewis Josh Green
Post DefenderJames Wiseman Onyeka Okongwu Udoko Azubuike Isaiah Stewart Nick Richards
Offensive VersatilityObi Toppin Deni Avdija Tyrese Haliburton Killian Hayes Anthony Edwards
Defensive VersatilityPatrick Williams Onyeka Okongwu Precious Achiuwa Isaac Okoro Paul Eboua
High Risk/High RewardAleksej Pokusevski LaMelo Ball Jaden McDaniels Patrick Williams Kira Lewis
Lowest RiskAnthony Edwards Obi Toppin Isaac Okoro Killian Hayes Tyrese Haliburton
First Round SleeperTyrell Terry Vernon Carey Killian Hayes Elijah Hughes Josh Green
Second Round SleeperNick Richards Tyler Bey Devon Dotson Daniel Oturu Zeke Nnaji
Undrafted SleeperMalik Fitts Abdoulaye N'Doye Jay Scrubb Joshua Hall Skylar Mays