Creator: Rob Carr | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2020 Getty Images NBA Draft

2020 NBA Draft Prospect preview 11-20

This 2020 NBA Draft is one that extends well beyond the first 10 players. This list is full of prospects looking to crack into the draft lottery and make their name known. While most of the guys listed here don’t have quite the star power the first 10 have, they’re nothing to sneeze at. Here is a group of 10 guys I think any fan should be happy to see their team choose.

11. Devin Vassell (Florida State)

Position: Wing

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 190 lbs.

Wingspan: 6’10”

Creator: Melina Myers | Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports Copyright: Melina Myers NBA Draft
Jan 25, 2020; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Devin Vassell (24) celebrates after a play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half at Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

            Vassell could have ended up in the top ten on this list. He brings a skill set to the table many NBA front offices desire from wings and he has shown enough over the course of his college career for people to think there is untapped potential. Much like Haliburton, he carried a heavier load this season compared to last and was able to remain a very efficient player. He has the looks of a player who can contribute in the NBA for a long, long time.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Solid all-around defender thanks to his length and size. He is alert and aware at all times which makes him a great off-ball defender; some believe he may be the best wing defender in the draft.
  • Could be someone who earns the moniker of “positionless defender” down the line as he continues to add strength to his frame. Ideally, he could guard 2-4 at an elite level at his best.
  • A great shooter from deep. He drained nearly 42% of his threes over the course of his collegiate career. He has a slight hitch, but it hasn’t affected the numbers to this point.
  • Showed the ability to handle playmaking responsibilities in his second season. He played smart with the ball in his hands and showed he could be a secondary ball handler in a starting lineup.
  • Vassell won’t ever be the best athlete and has a wiry frame to this point. He will need to add strength if he wants to reach his full potential.

Player Comparison: Mikal Bridges, Joe Ingles, Khris Middleton

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12. Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky)

Position: Guard

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 200 lbs.

Wingspan: 6’6”

Creator: Michael Hickey | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2020 Michael Hickey NBA Draft
LEXINGTON, KY – JANUARY 04: Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats brings the ball up court during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Rupp Arena on January 4, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

            The Wildcats usually have a litany guys who end up being lottery picks in every draft it seems. This year is a little different since it looks like Maxey could be the only player who hears his name called in the first round. All the reports that have come out about his predraft workouts have been positive; many have walked away impressed with how much he loves to play the game. Tyrese hails from Garland, Texas and has been viewed as a scoring machine since his high school days. His first collegiate game showcased that as he dropped 26 on Michigan State; NBA teams are hoping they see plenty more of that for years to come.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Maxey has a knack for finishing around the rim. He has surprising strength for a guard and seems to be automatic anytime he’s heading towards the rim. Teams don’t want to foul him either as he shot 83% from the charity stripe.
  • The guard is an exceptional athlete who blends speed, explosiveness, and strength together in a way that makes him a tough matchup for anyone.
  • For all the talk about his offense, he was a good defender at Kentucky too. He uses his length well and works hard to stay in front of his man. He could be a formidable two-way player at the next level if he continues to work hard.
  • Maxey shot only 29% from three at Kentucky which was a bit of a surprise to some. I think part of it was because of the three-point line being moved back during the 2019-20 season. His form is good and he isn’t afraid to shoot so I think the subpar shooting he showed was more of an aberration.
  • He isn’t going to be a primary ball handler due to his lack of court vision. He will make the easy pass when it is there, but he mostly looks to score.

Player Comparison: Collin Sexton, Terry Rozier, Dennis Schroder

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13. Kira Lewis Jr. (Alabama)

Position: Guard

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 170 lbs.

Wingspan: 6’6”

Creator: Wesley Hitt | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2019 Wesley Hitt NBA Draft
FAYETTEVILLE, AR – MARCH 9: Kira Lewis Jr. #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks over the offense during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 9, 2019 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Crimson Tide 82-70. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

            Lewis decided to leave high school a year early and enroll at Alabama in the 2018-19 school year. A product of Meridianville, Alabama, Lewis has seen his potential turn into substantial talent as he has been a focal point of the Crimson Tide for the past two seasons. One of the major talking points with this young guard is that he is same age as many true freshmen while having two years of college ball under his belt. That experience to go along with the talent he displays makes him someone worth considering in the top ten.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Lewis is the fastest player in the 2020 NBA draft without a doubt. His ability to get up and down the court in no time will make teams who look to push the pace very intrigued.
  • He shows the aptitude to be a great shot creator at the next level as he uses an array of tools to score. He shoots well from deep and can penetrate using a number of dribble moves, showing real potential to be three-level scorer.
  • Kira is a creative finisher around the rim, using euro steps and floaters to be able finish over, and around, bigger defenders.
  • His decision-making does need some work if he is going to be a true point at the next level. He can be reckless at times and create problems for himself when he gets going too fast.
  • Lewis is incredibly light to this point. He needs to add weight onto his frame if he hopes to finish through contact.  

Player Comparison: De’Aaron Fox, Darren Collison, Lou Williams

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14. Saddiq Bey (Villanova)

Position: Forward

Height: 6’8”

Weight: 215 lbs.

Wingspan: 6’10”

Creator: Eric Hartline | Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports Copyright: Eric Hartline NBA Draft
Feb 12, 2020; Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA; Villanova Wildcats forward Saddiq Bey (41) drives to the basket against Marquette Golden Eagles guard Koby McEwen (25) during the second half at Finneran Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

            Bey wasn’t the most heavily recruited player in high school until his senior season at powerhouse DeMatha. He ended up having a major growth spurt as a teenager and it helped him unlock new elements to his game. Bey isn’t the most exciting player in this draft, but he is someone who could be a win-now kind of guy. He has multiple years of college experience on his resume at a school that has long been recognized for their basketball program. His potential to be a very serviceable 3-and-D wing makes teams wonder if he would be worth taking in the top 10.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Shot an insane 45% from three on 5.6 attempts per game last season, showcasing how well he can stretch the floor. That sort of shooting stroke while playing the power forward spot in the modern NBA is a rare weapon.
  • A good passer and decision-maker for a forward. He was a point guard in high school before a growth spurt and those skills have translated as he (and his game) have grown.
  • Bey is a versatile defender thanks to his size and understanding. As he continues to add strength, he could be a high-level defender against nearly anyone. He brings passion to that side of the court and often acts as the tone-setter for his team.
  • He isn’t a high-end athlete by any means. Saddiq won’t ever be categorized as an explosive athlete and seems to lack a quick first step.
  • Not much of a shooter off the dribble. He doesn’t use his non-dominant hand much and seems out of control when facing high-level defenders; more than likely a spot-up shooter in the NBA.

Player Comparison: Robert Covington, Marcus/Markieff Morris, P.J. Tucker

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15. Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt)

Position: Wing

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 215 lbs.

Wingspan: 6’10”

Creator: Donald Page | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2019 Getty Images NBA Draft
KNOXVILLE, TN – FEBRUARY 19: Aaron Nesmith #24 of the Vanderbilt Commodores drives with the ball past Jordan Bowden #23 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half of their game at Thompson-Boling Arena on February 19, 2019 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)

            Nesmith was part of a the 2018 incoming freshmen class at Vanderbilt that underwhelmed to say the least. The Commodores were pegged to be an SEC title contender until 2019’s number five pick in the NBA draft, Darius Garland, was lost for the season. This year didn’t hold the same lofty expectations for the team, but Aaron looked to ball out. Nesmith is the definition of a flamethrower. As soon as he passes half court, he’s good to go. He proved to be deserving of that title as he hit over half of his threes this season. The only thing that seemed to slow him down this past season was a foot injury that limited him to only 14 games.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • The best three-point shooter in the class, period. He buried 41% of his treys over the course of two season at Vandy. His mechanics are impeccable and he is equipped with a very quick release.
  • His ability to work off the ball and find himself open will be a major weapon at the next level. The way he gives up the ball, goes around a screen, then relocates for the three is reminiscent of Splash Brother Klay Thompson.
  • Nesmith shows the potential to be a good defender down the line. He is an intelligent defender off-ball and displays the things you want to see out of a help defender.
  • He isn’t much of a threat when he isn’t shooting threes. Nesmith doesn’t have the creativity to make space for his own shot and hasn’t fared well when attacking the basket.
  • His on-ball defense leaves a lot to be desired. His long wingspan and competitiveness give people hope, but he too often gets beat. Aaron could do well in a switch-heavy scheme.

Player Comparison: Buddy Hield, Joe Harris, Rodney Hood

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16. Cole Anthony (North Carolina)

Position: Guard

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 190 lbs.

Wingspan: 6’5”

Creator: Mark Konezny | Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports Copyright: Mark Konezny NBA Draft
Feb 29, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Cole Anthony (2) works to get the ball past Syracuse Orange forward Quincy Guerrier in the second half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

            Son of former NBA player and now NBA TV commentator Greg Anthony, Cole displays skills that NBA teams look for in a point guard. He grew up around the game and plays with a desire that makes fans of any age love to watch him go to work. His season for the Tar Heels was a bit of a roller coaster as he showed flashes of potential that previously led people to think of him as a top-five player in this class. He also dealt with a knee injury that required surgery and cost him a good portion of the season. He certainly has potential, and many think he could be something special if it all comes together.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • An explosive athlete for someone his size. He has plenty of bounce to go along with wiry strength and the quickness to get by defenders whenever he wants. Cole’s a high-effort guy and that helps him get the most out of his athleticism.
  • Anthony showcases the ability to score from all three levels at a high rate. He can finish around the rim with either hand and ended up shooting 35% from the outside, giving him plenty of weapons to choose from.
  • He gives great effort on the defensive side of things. That doesn’t always translate to stops, but he is willing to defend; you cannot say that about all the guards in this class.
  • His decision-making is going to have to improve if he wants to have the ball in his hands. He forced shots at times and never looked like someone who would create for his teammates regularly. It is fair to say he is a score-first guard to this point.
  • The injury can be viewed as unsettling to some. Cole is someone who relies on athleticism over skill at this stage. What if this is a recurring issue? Can he make the adjustments to stretch out his career?

Player Comparison: Poor man’s Derrick Rose, Emmanuel Mudiay, Dennis Smith Jr.

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17. Jalen Smith (Maryland)

Position: Center

Height: 6’10”

Weight: 225 lbs.

Wingspan: 7’1”

Creator: Rob Carr | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2020 Getty Images NBA Draft
COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND – MARCH 08: Jalen Smith #25 of the Maryland Terrapins celebrates after hitting a three pointer to end the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Xfinity Center on March 08, 2020 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

            Commonly referred to as “Pogo”, Smith brings a very modern skill set to the table for a big. He has been lauded for his potential over the past couple of years and finds himself situated to be a potential lottery pick. Rumors were going around last year that he may throw his name in the ring for the 2019 NBA draft, but he decided against it. Teams looking to solidify their backup center position for the 2020-21 NBA season and beyond should look no further than this talented young man.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • A very good rebounder and shot blocker, Smith averaged 10.5 rebounds to go along with 2.4 blocks per game last year. He boxes out very well and seems to have a great sense of timing when going up to swat shots.
  • He has been a solid shooter from the time he stepped on campus. Jalen is equipped with a smooth shooting stroke for someone his size and was able to knock down 37% of his threes last season.
  • Smith is a big threat in transition because of how hard he runs the floor. If he isn’t getting the rebound, he’s usually streaking down the court for the easy points.
  • Is a good run-and-jump athlete, but often looks stiff on the court. His mobility and agility leave a lot to be desired, which could affect his aptitude for stepping out and guarding on the perimeter.
  • Smith really struggles to play with the ball in his hands. He won’t do much of any ball handling and seems to be very uncomfortable when trying to pass out of the post.

Player Comparison: Serge Ibaka, Myles Turner, Thon Maker

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18. Aleksej Pokusevski (Serbia)

Position: Big

Height: 7’0”

Weight: 200 lbs.

Wingspan: 7’3”

Creator: ӁÉS ԁʇ | Credit: Eurokinissi Sports Copyright: Eurokinissi Sports NBA Draft
EUROLEAGUE / ÏËÕÌÐÉÁÊÏÓ – ÂÉËÅÑÌÐÁÍ (ÖÙÔÏÃÑÁÖÉÁ: ÔÁÊÇÓ ÓÁÃÉÁÓ / EUROKINISSI)

            Commonly referred to as “Poku”, this young big is as intriguing as any other prospect in this draft. He didn’t become a name people were talking about until mid-July and has continued to climb up mock drafts since. Aleksej is one of the youngest players in this draft and is the definition of a long-term project because of his age and lack of experience. He logged a total of eight minutes playing in the Euroleague over the past two seasons. Despite that, the talent he possesses has had many NBA front offices wondering how good he could be.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • He has tremendous court vision for someone his size and age. He sees over the defense easily and makes great reads on where to go with the ball.
  • Poku has a smooth looking jumper and seems to always have his feet underneath of him when he readies to fire. He is more than just a catch-and-shoot guy in the sense that his release is flexible. Aleksej doesn’t need much space to get the shot off and is capable of doing it off the dribble comfortably.
  • His passing, court vision, and shooting gives him a unique skill set not many other NBA bigs have ever had. He’s unconventional and it excites people. The problem lies in how unconventional he is.
  • He is incredibly skinny for someone who measures seven feet tall. Pokusevski needs to add weight onto his frame if he has any hope of being able to play big minutes in the NBA.
  • His defense is lack luster to this point. He doesn’t move well enough to stick with perimeter threats and he isn’t strong enough to battle on the inside. He, in theory, could be versatile because of his length and fluidity, but that is a long way off from materializing.

Player Comparison: Marc Gasol, Zack Collins, Dragan Bender

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19. R.J. Hampton (Australia)

Position: Guard

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 190 lbs.

Wingspan: 6’7”

Creator: Graham Denholm | Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2019 Getty Images NBA Draft
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 09: RJ Hampton of the Breakers (R) in action during the round six NBL match between the South East Melbourne Phoenix and the New Zealand Breakers at Melbourne Arena on November 09, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

            Hampton made the decision to join Lamelo Ball in Australia and play in the NBL this past season instead of going to college. He was looked at as one of the top recruits for the 2019 incoming freshmen class, so it was a big deal when he opted to play overseas. Having players go out of the country to compete before entering the NBA isn’t something entirely new but having two players of such a high caliber leave made headlines. Hampton’s play wasn’t necessarily inspiring, but he has done enough up to this point to be considered a first-round selection. He has one of the higher upsides in this class; but there’s a decent chance he never pans out.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • R.J. is an athletic combo guard who uses his leaping ability and wiry strength to maximize his tools. The variety of skills he has available to him accompanied by his size makes him a premier two-way option.
  • He finishes well around the rim on drives thanks to length and body control. He has the ability to get around defenders and to the rim, which will be his calling card early on.
  • Hampton knows how to play without the ball. He cuts towards the basket and spots up on the perimeter while showing he won’t stymie the offense when he isn’t handling the ball.
  • He is an inconsistent shooter who managed to shoot only 29.5% on threes and 68% on free throws in the NBL. The placement of his feet differed from shot-to-shot and seemed to be a major reason for the misses.
  • He needs to continue to develop himself defensively if the jumper never comes along. He gives a good effort on that side of the ball, but R.J. lacks fundamentals and makes too many mistakes when guarding.

Player Comparison: Jamaal Murray, Dante Exum, Derrick White

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20. Desmond Bane (TCU)

Position: Guard/Wing

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 210 lbs.

Wingspan: 6’6”

Creator: Kevin Jairaj | Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports Copyright: Kevin Jairaj NBA Draft
Feb 29, 2020; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs guard Desmond Bane (1) dribbles as Baylor Bears guard Jared Butler (12) defends during the first half at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

            Bane enters the draft as one of the older prospects in the 2020 NBA draft. He is also one of the more ready-made players in the 2020 NBA draft. Desmond has spent the past four years honing his craft as a Horned Frog and managed to become someone who many NBA teams would love to have. His numbers have continued to climb from one year the next while his role, over time, has changed. From spot-up shooter as a freshman to super utility leader in his final season, Bane has developed the kind of skill that keeps you in the NBA for a long time.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Bane is a high IQ player who makes the right read with the ball in his hands. His understanding of knowing when to dribble, pass, or shoot will be on par with a seasoned veteran from the moment he steps into the league.
  • A dangerous shooter who has shown he can do it off the bounce or in catch-and-shoot scenarios. Desmond has shot a little above 43% from three over his college career, making it very easy to envision him as a long-range threat.
  • He is a very fundamentally sound defender who can take on a myriad of assignments. He reads the opponent well and makes the right decision often times. His wingspan calls into question how versatile he can be on defense, but the tape shows he can do it.
  • His athleticism is well-rounded as he is capable of doing a little bit of everything. He doesn’t have a quick first step, but he is strong for someone predominately playing the shooting guard position.
  • Bane doesn’t have a high upside because of his age and the limited physical tools. He projects be a very solid role player capable of being a part of a championship team and it seems he could do it right away.

Player Comparison: Malcolm Brogdon, bigger Avery Bradley, Alec Burks

For more 2020 NBA Draft coverage, check out DailyBestOdds.com and follow us on Twitter at @DailyBestOdds.

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