NBA Draft: Which Mocks got it right?

ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs looks on during a game against the Auburn Tigers at Stegeman Coliseum on February 19, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Georgia Bulldogs looks on during a game against the Auburn Tigers at Stegeman Coliseum on February 19, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Which mocks correctly predicted the order of the 2020 NBA Draft?

As a follow up to my article about what mocks were predicting leading up to the 2020 NBA Draft, I decided to go back and look at which of the ten mocks I reviewed actually got it right. This was definitely one of the toughest drafts to predict, so the bar for accuracy is low. I only looked at the first 15 picks since no draft day trades were done until pick #16 (meaning all the lottery picks plus Orlando’s selection).

The award for most accurate mock draft goes to ESPN, they got 8 of the first 15 picks right. They were followed by The Athletic with 6, then NBA Draft Junkies and got 5 right. Most mocks got the first three picks pick correct, 8 of the 10 picked Anthony Edwards first overall, all picked  James Wiseman to Golden State, and 7 out of 10 picked LaMelo to Charlotte with the third pick.

The first surprise pick was Patrick Williams going to Chicago with the 4th pick, only ESPN and The Athletic predicted that correctly. No one got the 5th pick correct, half the mocks predicated Toppin would go to Cleveland. ESPN was only mock to predict Okongwu to Atlanta with the 6th pick. Only two sites correctly predicted the 7th pick, Killian Hayes to Detroit — The Athletic and NBA Draft Junkies.

As for the pick the Knick fans cared about most, only NBA Draft Junkies predicted Obi Toppin to the Knicks. I remember hearing the owner of the site, Rafael Barlowe, say he caught a lot of flack from Knick fans for that prediction as many thought New York would have needed to trade up to get Toppin.

For picks 9-15, the accuracy was really low, Only ESPN predicted Deni Avdija to Washington. No one predicted correctly the 10th, 14th or 15th pick. Only NBA draft Junkies predicted Tyrese Haliburton to Sacramento with the 12th pick. The most accurate of the predictions was Devin Vassell to San Antonio at the 11th slot, five sites nailed that pick. Next was Kira Lewis Jr. going to New Orleans with the 13th pick, four sites got that right.

Why were the mocks so off?

The pick that caused a domino effect and threw off the mocks was Patrick Williams at #4 to Chicago. As mentioned, only two sites predicted that pick. Williams was considered a mid-first round pick just over a month ago, but his stock started to rise as the draft approached. That resulted in Obi Toppin and Deni Avdija sliding down, which most predicted would go between the 5th and 6th picks. The next player to slide was Haliburton, who most mocks had going 6th to Atlanta.

The biggest surprise was Jalen Smith going 10th to Phoenix — no mock draft had him graded as a lottery pick; he was pegged as a late 1st rounder. Smith’s surprise selection resulted in Saddiq Bey, who was predicted to go as high as 10th to fall back to the 19th pick. The player that fell the most was R.J. Hampton, four of the mocks had him going at the end of the lottery to New Orleans or Boston. He fell all the way to 24th and his rights were traded several times until he ended up with the Denver Nuggets.

Lesson Learn

We see this in every draft, teams will choose potential over production. After all you can’t teach someone to be taller or more athletic. Athletic big men are at a premium, that is why Patrick Williams and Jalen Smith went higher than expected. Wings and ballhandlers need to be more polished simply because there are more players with that skill set.

dark. Next. 5 things NYK fans can be thankful for

While this is the common practice in the NBA, it doesn’t mean it’s the right approach. Each team needs to find the players that are right for them. There is a reason why most players drafted don’t make it in the NBA. It’s not all about physical gifts and measurables, as fit, heart, grit and desire all matter, too. Let’s hope that applies to the Knicks’ selections: Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley.