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2020 NBA Draft Big Board: Top-75

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Here is the indisputably correct Big Board of the top-75 players that have declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.

NBL Rd 9 - New Zealand v Illawarra Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Last week was the third volume of the At The Hive mock draft — you can click this link to read it. There are plenty of scouting reports to comb over as well. This week, it’s time for a 2020 NBA Draft Big Board Top-75 from yours truly. Keep in mind that these are my overall personal rankings of each prospect, and what the Hornets do/don’t need has no influence on it.

This is my projection of who could be the best NBA players in the 2020 draft class, rather than who are the best right now, ranked 1-75 using tiers to separate groups of players by potential. I’m sure a lot of you all know how big boards work already. There are some brief notes at the end of the list if you care to scroll all the way to the bottom for that.

Tier 1 (Elite starters/All-Stars/All-NBA/All-Defense)

1.1 L. Ball

1.2 A. Edwards

1.3 O. Okongwu

Tier 2 (High-end starters)

2.4 K. Hayes

2.5 T. Haliburton

2.6 D. Avdija

2.7 D. Vassell

2.8 C. Anthony

Tier 3 (Starters/high-end role-players)

3.9 T. Maxey

3.10 I. Okoro

3.11 P. Williams

3.12 A. Pokuševski

3.13 K. Lewis Jr.

3.14 G. Riller

3.15 A. Nesmith

3.16 J. Wiseman

3.17 R.J. Hampton

Tier 4 (good role-players)

4.18 O. Toppin

4.19 E. Hughes

4.20 D. Bane

4.21 J. Green

4.22 T. Maledon

4.23 X. Tillman

4.24 S. Bey

4.25 D. Dotson

4.26 L. Bolmaro

4.27 M. Flynn

4.28 J. Smith

4.29 T. Terry

Tier 5 (high-end to low-end bench players)

5.30 Z. Nnaji

5.31 P. Achiuwa

5.32 N. Mannion

5.33 T. Jones

5.34 R. Woodard

5.35 P. Reed

5.36 T. Bey

5.37 I. Stewart

5.38 D. Oturu

5.39 J. McDaniels

5.40 J. Ramsey

5.41 S. Mays

5.42 M. Jones

5.43 P. Pritchard

5.44 C. Winston

5.45 N. Hinton

5.46 R. Perry

5.47 I. Quickley

5.48 Y. Madar

5.49 J. Scrubb

5.50 L. Diane

5.51 T. Alexander

5.52 U. Azubuike

5.53 K. Tillie

5.54 M. Powell

5.55 A. Hagans

5.56 P. Eboua

5.57 M. Simonović

5.58 B. Simanić

5.59 A. N’Doye

5.60 T. Queen

Rest (UDFA/Two-Way players)

6.61 C. Stanley

6.62 V. Carey Jr.

6.63 J. Nwora

6.64 K. Wesson

6.65 M. Howard

6.66 N. Richards

6.67 T. Watford

6.68 S. Lee

6.69 A. Lamb

6.70 O. Yurtseven

6.71 M. Cazalon

6.72 T. Tinkle

6.73 S. Merrill

6.74 K. Martin Jr.

6.75 J. Jessup

Unusually high:

Grant Riller - Riller was one of the best scorers in college basketball last season, and if he can knock down 3-pointers at a league-average clip, he’ll have a long career as an offensive initiator off the bench.

Patrick Williams - The skillset that Williams possesses — coupled with an NBA-ready frame — is worth a high draft pick, regardless of the risk. As a high schooler, he flashed pull-up shooting and point forward abilities before accepting a small role at Florida State for the betterment of the team. Intangibles count, too.

Elijah Hughes - It baffles me that some draft people have Hughes as a late-second-rounder. He produced at an extremely high level as Syracuse’s only offensive weapon, and with less attention on an NBA court, his efficiency should rise. He’s been playing sound man defense for all but two seasons of his basketball career, too, so that isn’t a worry.

Malachi Flynn - Flynn just screams “reliable backup point guard,” a la Monte Morris, Ish Smith or Jeff Teague, albeit his style is different from any of them. He’s not an extraordinary player, but he’s flat-out good at basketball. His 3-point shot should translate, and he’s smart enough on the defensive end to make up for a lack of athleticism and size.

Anthony Lamb - Vermont isn’t the most popular college team, but they’ve owned the America East conference for years now, and Lamb is a big reason why. He’s barely on the fringes of being drafted right now, but the diversity in his inside-out game as a 6’ 6”, 227 pound forward, coupled with a high basketball IQ and great work ethic is worth a second-round flyer.

Unusually low:

Obi Toppin - There’s no doubt in my mind that Toppin will provide some value on offense; I just don’t see him ever being a good enough defender to justify giving him a lot of minutes. He’s just bad at defense for a 22-year-old big. He seems like a really nice guy that works his ass off, so I feel bad having to put him at 18. There’s a role for him somewhere, it’s just not what’s being advertised by a lot of draft people.

Daniel Oturu - 38th isn’t too low for Oturu, but I have seen people putting him in the first round. His best skill is defense, but he’s not a good defender yet. He has awareness issues and mental lapses are common. His shot-blocking and floor-spacing potential save him or else he’d probably go undrafted.

James Wiseman - Wiseman’s best-case scenario ends up with him as a Clint Capela-type big, but with a bit more ball-handling and shooting ability. His worst-case scenario is an ultra-athletic 7-footer with little basketball skill, an archetype the NBA has become increasingly weary of. There’s more risk involved with selecting Wiseman than being advertised; there is not a lot of impressive game film. His high school tape is mostly him bullying smaller opponents in the paint or outrunning them in transition. Obviously, there’s plenty of upside, but not as much as some think and he’s unlikely to reach it, in my opinion.

Vernon Carey Jr. - Vernon Carey Jr. is a similar case to Udoka Azubuike; both players are massive human beings that will have to work on their bodies and overcome a lack of mobility in the NBA to be successful. However, Carey Jr. is a low-post banger, whereas Azubuike is a rim protector. It’s much harder for centers to get minutes when they can’t defend in the NBA, and I think Carey Jr. will struggle to hang with nearly anyone in the league as a rookie. We saw what happened to Al Jefferson just three years after making an All-NBA team. Carey Jr. is like a larger, slightly more athletic version of Big Al.

Jahmi’us Ramsey - Maybe I have Ramsey too low, but I’m less-confident in his 42.6 3-point percentage on 6.7 attempts per-40 translating to the league than others — his free throw percentage is 64.1 (50-for-78 on the season) — and he’s one of the weakest off-ball defenders in this draft class. He deserves a guaranteed contract, but is more suited for a role that shuffles him between the G-League and NBA as a rookie, rather than a first-rounder that’s going to be counted on.

If anyone in the comments has been working on a big board of their own, post it in the comments. Doesn’t matter how long (or short) it is. Draft stuff is fun to talk about, and we have a long time before we see Hornets basketball again, so we might as well talk.