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Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
If NBA teams had a chance to redo the 2020 draft knowing what they know now, many of their picks would be different. Even the Minnesota Timberwolves might rethink their original No. 1 overall selection.
Though a handful of first-rounders have yet to receive a fair opportunity, most have played enough for us to have a better feel for their fit and development.
These selections are based on a mix of personal opinions and what we believed teams would do if given the chance to redraft.
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Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 3
Anthony Edwards wasn’t a bad pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He just wasn’t the right one. It should have been LaMelo Ball all along, and that’s more clear after the first third of the season.
Ball has flashed similar scoring potential (13.8 PPG, 43.6 percent FG) to Edwards (13.7 PPG, 37.5 percent FG), which was supposed to separate the original No. 1 pick from everyone else. Meanwhile, his elite passing has immediately translated to high-level playmaking that’s missing from Minnesota’s 29th-ranked offense.
At 19 years old, he’s among the top 10 in the NBA in assist percentage (35.0 percent).
Questions about Ball’s shooting and defense presumably caused Minnesota to pivot elsewhere in the original draft. But those concerns now seem overblown, particularly with his jump shot, as Ball is making 1.6 threes on a respectable 33.9 percent shooting, and he’s hitting 79.4 percent of his free throws.
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Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 2
Even with Anthony Edwards on the board at No. 2, the Golden State Warriors would likely stick to their original plan.
James Wiseman has looked like the prospect Golden State presumably hoped he would. He gives the starting lineup a dimension of frontcourt athleticism that it hasn’t had in the Stephen Curry era, while his flashes of open-floor ball-handling and three-point shooting (9-of-22) continue to hint at All-Star upside.
Golden State also seems like the ideal spot for Wiseman to develop, playing alongside Curry and Draymond Green in a rotation that could use an upgrade at center.
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Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 1
Tyrese Haliburton could stir up debate in the Charlotte Hornets’ front office, but it would have a difficult time passing on the original No. 1 pick.
After a rough start, Anthony Edwards is getting comfortable, averaging 17.0 points while shooting 42.9 percent from three over his last seven games. While there aren’t many athletes on the same level as him in this year’s draft class, his advanced shot-creation and shot-making are what continue to fuel his All-Star scoring potential.
He’s played 52 percent of his possessions at small forward and 24 percent at power forward in Minnesota, so the Hornets wouldn’t worry about his fit with Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward.
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Ashley Landis/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 12
There were whispers about the Chicago Bulls thinking about Tyrese Haliburton at No. 4 in November’s draft. They wouldn’t pass on him twice knowing what they know now, even though they have to be thrilled about Patrick Williams’ start.
Haliburton would be too strong of a fit in Chicago with his scoring efficiency (48.7 percent FG), shooting (44.4 percent 3PT) and playmaking IQ (5.4 assists to 1.5 turnovers). He has immediately silenced critics who questioned whether his lack of athleticism would limit him inside the arc and if his unorthodox jump-shot form would work.
Capable of running pick-and-rolls or playing off ball-dominant players (like De’Aaron Fox) as a spot-up shooter, Haliburton has been versatile and adaptable enough to play any position 1-3. That would be a huge selling point for a Bulls team with Coby White and Zach LaVine.
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John Raoux/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 4
As promising as Isaac Okoro’s defensive potential looks early, Patrick Williams offers similar two-way upside along with far more scoring versatility.
Splitting time between the 3 and 4 in Chicago, Williams has shown off a little of everything—slashing through defenses, spot-up shooting, stepping into pull-ups, passing on the move and defending both forward spots.
Despite being thrown right into the starting lineup after coming off Florida State’s bench last year, the 19-year-old is shooting 48.0 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from three.
The Cavaliers could have used him the same way they use Okoro, except Williams would pose more of a threat to make plays.
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Nick Wass/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 9
If the Atlanta Hawks knew Clint Capela would have returned to his peak form, they might not have used the No. 6 pick on another center in Onyeka Okongwu.
Deni Avdija may make more sense now, especially given how comfortable he looks shooting the NBA three (42.9 percent), which many scouts didn’t see coming.
Between his unselfishness on offense, complementary scoring, spot-up jumper and defensive competitiveness, Avdija would fit well at either forward spot in Atlanta, particularly now with De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic both injured.
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John Raoux/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 15
Predraft questions over Killian Hayes’ shooting and turnovers appeared valid during his brief time in the Detroit Pistons’ starting lineup before a hip injury knocked him out. Meanwhile, the concerns about Cole Anthony are fading.
Over his last 10 games, he’s averaging 13.0 points, 4.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 50.0 percent from three. He’s appeared more comfortable than Hayes, whose jump shot and decision-making looked far away through seven games.
Anthony’s scoring and shot-making could give him an edge in arguably the NBA’s weakest backcourt. He still has to improve on using his dribble to set up teammates, but he’s looked willing and skilled enough as a passer to buy more playmaking potential.
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Brad Penner/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 25
The New York Knicks won’t let another team get away with preventing their robbery of Immanuel Quickley, whom they originally snagged at No. 25.
He’s been far more effective than teammate Obi Toppin, who no longer seems worth drafting at No. 8 with Julius Randle emerging as a potential All-Star.
Fourth among rookies in scoring and 14th in minutes per game, Quickley has been instant offense for New York. He’s shot-making from deep, using his signature floater and demonstrating elusiveness off the dribble he didn’t have a chance to showcase at Kentucky.
Regardless of whether he’s the Knicks’ long-term answer at point guard, Quickley is still an answer for a franchise that values his scoring firepower, creativity and energy.
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John Bazemore/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 6
The Washington Wizards seemed to be high on Onyeka Okongwu before the original draft. They’ll take him now with Deni Avdija off the board and Thomas Bryant out with a torn ACL.
An offseason foot injury has limited Okongwu early, but he was a consensus top-10 prospect out of USC. His athleticism at the rim, shot-blocking and switchability gave him defensive upside and encouraging skill level for scoring around the post.
Aside from having a best-player-available case at No. 9, Okongwu jumps out as a strong fit for a lineup that’s currently dominated by guard play.
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Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Original pick: No. 21
The Phoenix Suns have barely used rookie Jalen Smith, who originally seemed like a questionable pick at No. 10 for a team that already had Deandre Ayton.
Tyrese Maxey has given the Philadelphia 76ers an efficient 9.0 points (46.7 percent FG) in 17.7 minutes off the bench. And the Suns could use that scoring in their second unit.
Already tough inside the arc with his strength/coordination for driving and touch on floaters and pull-ups, Maxey could blow up once his three-ball becomes more consistent. And he’s demonstrated enough shot-making skill over the years to buy into his shooting development.
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Ashley Landis/Associated Press
11. San Antonio Spurs: Jaden McDaniels (Original pick: No. 28)
McDaniels should fly up the board of a re-draft after what he’s shown so far as a shooter and defender. His inconsistency at Washington was frustrating, but the 6’9″ forward’s NBA potential always popped when scouting his perimeter skill set and tools guarding different positions.
12. Sacramento Kings: Devin Vassell (Original pick: No. 11)
Shooting 38.9 percent from three, Vassell would give Sacramento another floor-spacer the way Haliburton has. But instead of offering playmaking, he’d earn his spot in the rotation with on- and off-ball defense.
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Kira Lewis Jr. (Original pick: No. 13)
The Pelicans shouldn’t rethink their decision on Lewis, especially given Lonzo Ball’s struggles and Killian Hayes’ rough start. They’ll eventually value Lewis’ ability to break down defenses and create scoring opportunities with his speed and dribble.
14. Boston Celtics: Obi Toppin (Original pick: No. 8)
A slow start for Toppin in New York shouldn’t deter Boston at No. 14. The Celtics would use him differently, getting him more involved in pick-and-rolls to optimize his athleticism around the basket instead of playing him as a spot-up shooter the way the Knicks have.
15. Orlando Magic: Killian Hayes (Original pick: No. 7)
With Anthony selected in the top 10 of this re-draft, the Magic can buy low on Hayes, who doesn’t turn 20 until July and excels as a ball-screen scorer and playmaker. Given all the injuries to Orlando’s roster, this lost season would represent a good opportunity for Hayes to play through mistakes and develop his shooting and decision-making.
16. Detroit Pistons: Isaac Okoro (Original pick: No. 5)
Okoro’s scoring limitations are worrisome, but he currently leads all rookies in minutes because of his defensive toughness. Instead of chasing unrealistic upside from anyone else at No. 16, the Pistons should value Okoro’s high floor and role-player potential.
17. Oklahoma City Thunder: Precious Achiuwa (Original pick: No. 20)
Aleksej Pokusevski looks a little too far away for Oklahoma City to feel confident in its original No. 17 pick. Achiuwa could be a safer option with enough upside, based on his rookie flashes of unique athleticism and defensive versatility.
18. Dallas Mavericks: Desmond Bane (Original pick: No. 30)
Clearly missing Seth Curry, the Mavericks should be thrilled to land Bane, who’s fifth in the NBA in three-point percentage (48.6 percent). Josh Green is still a promising two-way prospect long term, but Bane is a sure thing right now thanks to his elite shooting and high-IQ play.
19. Detroit Pistons: R.J. Hampton (Original pick: No. 24)
The second time around, the Pistons might want to gamble on Hampton’s upside over Saddiq Bey’s one-dimensional shooting. Though Hampton hasn’t logged many minutes, he’s still the more exciting long-term play with explosive athleticism and combo-guard skills at 20 years old.
20. Miami Heat: Theo Maledon (Original pick: No. 34)
Maledon has given the Thunder some offensive versatility with his pick-and-roll play and shooting from both backcourt spots. With Achiuwa taken, Miami could now develop the French combo guard to eventually replace Goran Dragic.
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Brandon Dill/Associated Press
21. Philadelphia 76ers: Payton Pritchard (Original pick: No. 26)
With Kemba Walker out early in Boston, Pritchard capitalized on his opportunity. He now looks like a useful player for any playoff team who’d value his shooting and gritty play.
22. Denver Nuggets: Josh Green (Original pick: No. 18)
Green’s defense is ahead of his scoring, but as long as his shot eventually comes around, his three-and-D archetype should hold value to every NBA team.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves: Xavier Tillman (Original pick: No. 35)
The Wolves need defense, and Tillman’s has been strong for the Memphis Grizzlies, with his tools, IQ and anticipation carrying over from Michigan State. Though he’s limited offensively, he’s still been a threat as a finisher off dump-downs and rolls.
24. Denver Nuggets: Aleksej Pokusevski (Original pick: No. 17)
Clearly a few years away from making a meaningful NBA impact, Pokusevski could take it slower in Denver. Despite an ugly start to his career, it’s still worth reaching on the 19-year-old 7-footer with a shoot-dribble-pass skill set.
25. New York Knicks: Saddiq Bey (Original pick: No. 19)
Bey hasn’t been efficient in Detroit, but the eye test still buys his shooting and defensive projection long term. And the Knicks can’t add enough three-and-D forwards.
26. Boston Celtics: Jalen Smith (Original pick: No. 10)
Although Smith has struggled to crack Phoenix’s rotation, the Celtics would still see value in his stretch-5 potential and defensive energy.
27. Utah Jazz: Aaron Nesmith (Original pick: No. 14)
Shooting propelled Nesmith into the original lottery. Though he hasn’t been able to show it yet in Boston, the Jazz would still buy his three-ball carrying over from Vanderbilt at No. 27 overall.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves: Leandro Bolmaro (Original pick: No. 23)
The Wolves don’t need three rookies in their rotation, so they’ll take Bolmaro again—this time at No. 28 instead of No. 23—and watch him develop overseas with Barcelona.
29. Toronto Raptors: Isaiah Stewart (Original pick: No. 16)
Stewart has been able to show off his toughness and energy around the basket for the Detroit Pistons. Physicality and offensive rebounding will continue to be his money-makers, though he’ll slip in a re-draft without having showed any shooting or valued offensive skills.
30. Boston Celtics: Zeke Nnaji (Original pick: No. 22)
Nnaji hasn’t received many opportunities, but he offers interesting value this late for his high floor as a finisher, rebounder and post player. He also has the potential to unlock some upside with underrated touch that could eventually extend out to the arc.