With the 2020 NBA Draft just four months away, the league’s bottom feeders have started to fall into position in the reverse standings and many of college basketball’s elite prospects have established themselves.
On a monthly basis leading up to the draft, Stats Perform is taking its best shot at ranking the next wave of potential stars by analyzing countless factors in order to compare this year’s prospects to current and former NBA players with similar profiles when they were leaving college.
Stats Perform’s NBA Draft Model, which was unveiled ahead of the last year’s draft, takes into account consensus draft rankings, volume and rate statistical analysis, biographical/anthropometric information and other proprietary data. It will also eventually include international prospects and be powered by the revolutionary AutoStats – the first patented AI-driven technology to capture sports tracking data via broadcast video.
So without further delay, here is our first NBA Draft Model for 2020, along with some analysis of top projected draft picks who have interesting comparisons:
|Rank||Player||Position||School||Comp 1||Comp 2||Comp 3|
|1||Anthony Edwards||Guard||Georgia||O.J. Mayo||D'Angelo Russell||Klay Thompson|
|2||James Wiseman||Center||Memphis||Deandre Ayton||Greg Oden||Anthony Bennett|
|3||Vernon Carey Jr.||Center||Duke||Jared Sullinger||DeMarcus Cousins||J.J. Hickson|
|4||Cole Anthony||Guard||North Carolina||Damian Lillard||Dennis Smith Jr.||Cameron Payne|
|5||Onyeka Okongwu||Forward/Center||USC||Pascal Siakam||Tyrus Thomas||Ed Davis|
|6||Tyrese Haliburton||Guard||Iowa State||Shane Larkin||Lonzo Ball||Caris LeVert|
|7||Isaiah Stewart||Forward||Washington||Tyler Zeller||John Collins||Brook Lopez|
|8||Precious Achiuwa||Forward||Memphis||James Johnson||Al-Farouq Aminu||Thomas Robinson|
|9||Zeke Nnaji||Forward/Center||Arizona||Bam Adebayo||Ivan Rabb||Julius Randle|
|10||Nico Mannion||Guard||Arizona||Jonny Flynn||D.J. Augustin||Kemba Walker|
|11||Obi Toppin||Forward||Dayton||TJ Leaf||Patrick Patterson||Kyle Kuzma|
|12||Tyrese Maxey||Guard||Kentucky||Austin Rivers||Reggie Jackson||Gerald Henderson|
|13||Isaac Okoro||Forward||Auburn||DeMar DeRozan||Trey Lyles||Jarell Martin|
|14||Paul Reed||Forward||DePaul||Trevor Booker||Larry Nance Jr.||Brice Johnson|
At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Anthony Edwards is a big guard with the build and athleticism of O.J. Mayo but with the height and ballhandling of D’Angelo Russell. Though Mayo and Russell shot at least 44% from behind the arc in college, Edwards is shooting only 30.5% from 3. That hasn’t stopped him from putting them up, as he ranks third in the SEC with 197 attempts.
Much like his comparisons, the freshman, who sits fourth in the SEC at 18.9 points per game, has the confidence to pull up from any distance. Edwards is a strong finisher at the rim and has the potential to become a prolific NBA scorer if he can develop a consistent, reliable jumper and maintain a more disciplined shot selection. Edwards already has an NBA body, so taking contact in the paint should not be a problem. His length, athleticism and playmaking abilities put him at or near the top of most draft boards.
It might be alarming that James Wiseman has a couple of legendary busts listed as comparisons. But keep in mind that for the most part, Greg Oden had his career derailed because of chronic knee injuries. Though he only played three games before announcing he was withdrawing from Memphis to prepare for the draft, Wiseman displayed an ability to back defenders down and finish with a soft touch around the rim.
The 240-pound big man has also displayed some Ayton- and Oden-esque explosiveness with two-handed power dunks. While he does not spread the floor like a modern big and only made one 3-point attempt in his three games, Wiseman has shown an ability to shoot from outside the paint on occasion and made 19-for-27 (70.4%) from the free-throw line in college. If Wiseman can develop a consistent shot, the lefty can be used in pick-and-pop situations outside the lane. If he doesn’t, he could end up looking more like Anthony Bennett.
Cole Anthony, son of former NBA point guard Greg Anthony, has only played in 15 games in his debut season at North Carolina due to a partially torn meniscus in his right knee that sidelined him for nearly two months. When he’s been on the court, the 6-3 point guard has displayed a smooth shooting stroke, explosiveness on drives to the basket and a soft touch around the rim with his floater.
Anthony, however, is still striving for consistency, shooting 35.9% from the field and 32% from the 3-point line. NBA scouts will have to assess whether Anthony can improve his percentages at the next level. It could be the deciding factor in whether he turns out to be more like Damian Lillard than Cameron Payne. Many draft experts believe Anthony’s shooting inefficiencies can be remedied with better shot selection and he’s shown the potential to be an effective scorer regardless with an ACC-best 19.5 points per game.
With the ability to score, pass and rebound, Tyrese Haliburton is a tall guard that drew comparisons to versatile initiators also who possess solid all-around games. The sophomore showed the ability to score from almost anywhere on the court before going down for the season with a broken wrist. Haliburton has shot 50.9% from the field, 42.6 from 3-point range and 77.5 from the foul line over 57 college games.
He also compares with other strong defensive players as he led the team with 54 steals before his injury. The 6-5, 175-pound Haliburton is able to use his height to bring down rebounds and see the court clearly – much like Lonzo Ball, and his versatility makes the lengthy guard a clear lottery pick on most draft boards.
Nico Mannion is not only capable of scoring from all over the floor (think Kemba Walker comp), but he also has the ability to get his teammates involved with 5.3 assists per game so far for the Wildcats. The 6-3, 190-pound freshman may not be the biggest or most explosive point guard, but he keeps defenders on their toes with his change of pace – much like Jonny Flynn and D.J. Augustin.
The Siena, Italy native is shooting 32% from the 3-point line, but many scouts feel he has the potential to improve in that area. Mannion has solid form and a quick release regardless of whether he’s coming off screens or pulling up off the dribble. In addition to his shooting stroke, Mannion will likely have to improve his strength and defense to reach his full potential at the next level.
Check back in next month for updates to our NBA Draft Model. Advanced analytics and data analysis provided by Stats Perform’s Matt Scott and Jon Chepkevich