As the minutes fall off the clock and we approach the final hours before the 2020 NBA draft, there is still so much uncertainty as to how the first three picks will play out. The names everyone keeps hearing–LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, and Anthony Edwards–are all slated to go in the top five. However, the order of that top five is very much up in the air. Over the last couple months, I’ve touched based with NBA agents to gauge how they view the number one overall pick and the draft, as a whole. Late in the summer, I reached out, asking, “With the first pick in the 2020 NBA draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves….”
“Trade it,” one agent texted back within seconds. “Worst draft in 30 years,” he added. When asked if he liked anyone in particular in the class, he responded, “I like Vassell [Florida State wing] and Bey [Villanova wing] I think later on. I see Nick Anderson [referring to Anthony Edwards, Georgia guard], not as good. Not a fan [of LaMelo Ball, Illawara Hawks point guard]” I brought up University of Memphis center James Wiseman, for whom I see shades of Joel Embiid as a ceiling comparison. He answered, “He’s [Wiseman] good. Dwight Howard lite? But is the league going this way? He’s not DeAndre Jordan athletic and he’s not in Embiid’s universe in terms of talent, in my honest opinion. The league is going smaller–Pascal, Zion, Draymond, etc. There’s a place for Wiseman. Not sure he’s as good as Whiteside.”
Another agent offered some different insights. He said, “Minnesota I think realizes [Jarrett] Culver isn’t the answer at wing so I think they go Ant Edwards or possibly Wiseman if they think he can play alongside KAT or they want to develop him in case they lose KAT. Warriors go with the one that falls to their lap by default. Hornets I think go LaMelo, even if they have [Terry] Rozier and [Devonte’] Graham. Wide open from there.” In recent weeks, Culver has been rumored to be available in trade talks, thus supporting the agent’s belief.
Last week, I revisited the topic.
For one agent, the answer was relatively unchanged. although a candidate for the first pick emerged. “If I have to take the pick, I guess Memphis kid [Wiseman]. But, I would trade it.” When asked if he felt the same sentiment towards the draft, overall, he replied, “It’s terrible. I could see Memphis, Georgia, and Dayton [Obi Toppin, forward] guys be ok. Not sure about LaMelo.”
Another agent felt that a new candidate (from when I asked previously) had emerged for the first overall pick, but he kept his answer much shorter: “I think you go James Wiseman,” he said.
While not all scouts feel that Wiseman is destined to be the first overall pick, the Memphis center has surely emerged as one of the most intriguing players in the class.