Written by Alexis Barton
In the midst of their return to the 2019-20 season, the NBA recently held their draft lottery to determine the draft order and to determine the future of their franchises. The Minnesota Timberwolves came out on top this year with the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets rounding out the top three picks. In the style of the year 2020, no one knows exactly which direction each of these teams will go with their pick, but we do know that there are some franchise-changing players at the top of this year’s draft class.
The two players bouncing back and forth between #1 and #2 are University of Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards and internationally renowned LaMelo Ball, younger brother of the Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball. Though both men, and the prospects just beneath them, are incredibly talented, their fit with both the Timberwolves and the Warriors will be critical in this draft.
The Timberwolves, after finishing with the third-worst record in the league, have two incredible starters in center Karl-Anthony Towns and shooting guard D’Angelo Russell. With those solid performers on both ends of the court, the Timberwolves have room to add some offensive flare. LaMelo, just like his brother, is known for his passing and play-making ability. His on-court vision is unparalleled with players his age, which would allow him to create scoring opportunities for Russell as his shooting guard. Anthony Edwards also has some incredible scoring potential but does not fill that same passing role. Edwards is a fast, agile player, where Ball is slightly more calculated and sometimes lags behind. Ball is considered by many to be a defensive liability, criticized for his transitions, whereas Edwards has proven success in his transition from defense to offense that has gained him comparisons to Houston’s James Harden. LaMelo Ball might be able to create offensive opportunities, but in my book, he serves as too much of a liability. If I’m making the #1 pick for Minnesota, I’m going for Anthony Edwards.
Looking at the Warriors’ pick, LaMelo, though his talents would serve them well, may not be the obvious next pick. With a high-powered offense that is home to former MVP Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors may choose to stick with a more grounded player that would bring defensive and transition attributes to their team. This, of course, is where Ball falls significantly short. The next in line could be James Wiseman, a center from Memphis. Wiseman brings solid rebounding and great athleticism while not being too flashy with his play. His style could be a great complement to Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green.
With two months until draft night, it’s hard to tell what direction the top three teams will go in. With contracts, personalities, and raw skill all at play, it’s going to be an interesting night. Catch the NBA Draft on Friday, October 16th from the Barclays Center.