The 2020 edition of the NBA Draft takes place this Wednesday, and I’m leaving the mock drafts for my second post and focusing today on the atmosphere surrounding such a unique draft, along with answering some draft questions I received from a few readers.
A Unique Player Evaluation Period
Due to the rampaging pandemic, the traditional pre-draft process is different than what we’re used to seeing, and one question that comes to mind is if this the most difficult year to evaluate talent.
The short answer to that in recent memory is yes, but enough information has been compiled on the highest-profile picks so, we should firmly know if their current value is accurate. (Ex. Mid-First, Lottery, Undrafted, etc are generally accurate labels, but the exact position is harder to pinpoint)
Many players primed for selection in the lottery are mocked accurately.
However, a lack of traditional workout periods coinciding with an abrupt end to the NCAA season could be the difference that may massively overrate or underrate a prospect with several question marks headed into the draft.
According to a Bleacher Report article from 2014, a phenomenal NCAA tournament performance increases the draft stock of a high performing player.
For teams, a lack of a traditional evaluation schedule could be the difference in drafting a franchise star or a bust.
For players, it can be the difference between finding the right fit and blossoming into their potential or being out of the league in a few years.
For the 2020 draft, finding the right fit is crucial due to the class having talent but lacking in star quality.
In my opinion—for the NCAA prospects, the lack of the tournament is a big loss. I’m forever a big believer that the tournament shows how the best prospects react to a high-intensity win-or-go home environment. You see how their game looks when everything is in control, you see their body language when they are fighting a deficit, and most importantly, who executes against the best when the clock dwindles into winning time.
I have plenty of players I wanted to finish their campaigns, but if I had to pick one guy I wish we saw more of, I would select Arkansas guard Mason Jones.
Jones is a player that will go lower than his talent suggests because he is leaving for the draft as a Junior. Without a potential SEC tournament run to improve his stock, (Arkansas beat Vanderbilt in the first round) I wouldn’t be surprised to see teams take younger guys with a higher theoretical ceiling—something I find insane because his numbers are some of the best in the class.
Player A- 22/5/3 on 45% shooting
Player B- 19/5/2 on 40% shooting
So, I loaded that comparison, but keep in mind that Player B is the likely number one overall selection in the draft, Anthony Edwards. (Assuming the Timberwolves make the pick instead of trading it or deciding to take LaMelo #1)
Edwards has a higher ceiling, but they both played in the same conference against similar competition, and arguably, Jones still has room to grow at the NBA level. However, an abrupt ending to the season didn’t allow us to see the best that Jones might have put forward to increase his stock.
I’ll have to stop here as I work on some more content between now and the draft, but stay locked in as I bring you more content before the picks.