Potential 2020 NBA Draft picks ‘look awfully impressive’

Joe Branch
Courtesy of Timberwolves

Editor’s Note: With the first pick of the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Anthony Edwards.

Potential 2020 NBA Draft picks ‘look awfully impressive’

The first-ever virtual NBA Draft is most likely history by the time you are reading this. Minnesota was expected to pick first for only the second time in franchise history on Wednesday Nov. 18.

Personally, I stopped years ago following NBA drafts, directing instead my energies on WNBA drafts because the women’s names are more recognizable as opposed to the men. But because this year’s draft is unique due to COVID-19, we asked folk to give us their pre-draft expert analysis.

“I don’t know if you can say there’s a clear-cut, standout, can’t-miss individual out there,” admitted Detroit Pistons Analyst Greg Kelser, himself a top NBA pick (fourth overall, 1979). “But there are some real good players. They look awfully impressive.”

ESPN Analyst Jay Bilas, a 1986 fifth-round draft pick, added, “There’s a lot of ‘I don’t knows’ included in the draft, or ‘I’m not sure.’ We can flip a coin on the top three and it could really be in any order, and you’re not going to scratch your head.”

The first three probable picks Wednesday, in any particular order, are:
Anthony Edwards, 6’-5”, Georgia: “I think Anthony Edwards is the most talented player,” says Bilas. “The issue with Edwards is [his] understanding the game… He should be an outstanding defender and he has not been.” Kelser added, “Put it in his hands and he can fill it up.”

James Wiseman, 7’-1”, Memphis: “You can’t deny the kid’s skills,” said Kelser of the 19-year-old. “Wiseman is like a 7-1 Chris Bosh-type player,” said Bilas.
LaMelo Ball, 6’-6”, who played overseas after 2½ years of high school ball: “I like Ball because of his playmaking ability and his court vision,” said Kelser. “The one thing he doesn’t do is shoot it. That’s got to improve,” added Bilas.

Given its checkered draft history, can Minnesota screw this one up?
“This is an exciting day for our franchise,” predicted Wolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas in an earlier conference call with reporters, including the MSR. “There’s a ton of diligence that we’re doing,” added Wolves Assistant GM Joe Branch.

Minnesota hired Branch in September 2019 after seven years as a players agent. This is his first draft as a team executive, and we asked him to reflect on it. “It is very interesting to be on the other side to see how thorough our front office is in our evaluation of players,” said Branch.

There also were several Minnesotans in this year’s draft. 6’-9” Daniel Oturu, who left Minnesota after two seasons, was projected as an early second-round pick. Tre Jones (Apple Valley) also left Duke after his sophomore year. “Tre Jones will be taken in the top 20, top 25,” predicted Bilas. “He’ll be a really good NBA guard because he plays at both ends of the floor.”

Tyrell Terry (Minneapolis) opted for the draft after his freshman year at Stanford and is projected as a late first-round pick.

“The reason why I chose to leave [school early] was I’ve seen how much I improved since my freshman year in high school,” the De La Salle grad told the MSR, “and made tremendous jumps every year. The biggest thing that will make me successful is my shooting and my passing, but I think it’s my IQ and having a great ability to read the game [that] I think will bring a lot of success and allow me to read the game the right way.”