As expected by many, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Georgia guard Anthony Edwards with the first overall pick at the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday night.
The 19-year-old averaged 19.1 points per game prior in the disrupted 2019-20 college season as the leading-scoring freshman in the nation. He marks the 11th straight No 1 pick to have been one-and-done at college.
With the No 2 pick, the Golden State Warriors added a big to their ranks in Memphis center James Wiseman, before the Charlotte Hornets took guard LaMelo Ball third overall.
“As far as just being excited and just being happy and ready to go and ready to work and ready to get there as soon as possible, those emotions were overwhelming with just my mother and grandmother being there,” Edwards said. “I mean, it was just a dream come true and just a blessing.”
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Wiseman played just three games for the Tigers after receiving an NCAA suspension following an $11,500 payment head coach Penny Hardaway made to Wiseman’s mother in 2017 to help the family move from Nashville to Memphis. Despite Hardaway not being Memphis coach at the time, he had undertaken the role upon Wiseman’s arrival.
On how he sees himself fitting in, Wiseman said: “Just being their guy, just to come in here and just learn as much as possible, like me coming in, great vets, Steph Curry, you got Klay Thompson, you got Draymond Green, Marquese Chriss, Kevon Looney, you got a lot of great players in that team, so me just coming in and just trying to fit my role to try to stay humble and just trying to be coachable, which I am.
“Going to just work hard, just play hard. So I really like that fit and that position that I’m in, is a great position for me, right fit for me and I’m just ready to go in and just play my role.”
Once campers. Now teammates. pic.twitter.com/SS7752cyb1
Ball is the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball as enters the league as one of the most intriguing prospects of this year’s class, with remarkable vision as a passer and flair around the rim but vast room for improvement on defense and as a shooter.
His route to the NBA saw him skipper college basketball and instead play in Lithuania with Prienai-Birstonas Vytautas at the age of 16 before later competing in the Junior Basketball Association with the Los Angeles Ballers and eventually signing with the Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s NBL, where he averaged a second-best 17 points per game, seven assists per game and 1.7 steals per game last season.
“Definitely feel great falling into with them, but the way I’ve fallen down and I never looked at it like that because, like I say, whatever happens, happens and I feel like it’s God’s plan,” said Ball, having gone at No 3 despite some projections having him as the first overall pick. “So wherever He wanted to put me, that’s where He put me and I feel like He’s going to let me blossom there.”
Quick message from @MELOD1P to Buzz City 🗣 pic.twitter.com/AslRCYKOxc
The Chicago Bulls used the No 4 overall pick on Florida State forward Patrick Williams, who was named Atlantic Coast Conference Sixth Man of the Year last season.
Auburn’s Isaac Okoro went fifth to the Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by Southern California center Onyeka Okongwu to the Atlanta Hawks as six.
Killian Hayes was picked seventh by the Detroit Pistons, before the New York Knicks made New York native Obi Toppin, who was National Player of the Year at Dayton last season, the eighth selection on the night.
“I feel like nothing has came easy for me,” said Toppin. “I went through a lot of things growing up, and I feel like through those struggles and through those bad times that I’ve been through growing up, it’s made me the person and player that I am today.”
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No better feeling. pic.twitter.com/zAXrQWG65x
Having been widely-projected as the fourth overall pick, Israeli forward Deni Avdija was claimed by the Washington Wizards at No 9.
“For me just to represent my country and to make history, that’s a blessing,” Avdija said from Tel Aviv during a video conference with reporters. “I have the whole nation behind me. I hope I’m going to represent well.”
Maryland forward Jalen Smith went to the Phoenix Suns at No 10, Florida State guard Devin Vassell to the San Antonio Spurs at No 11 and Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, expected as a top 10 pick, to the Sacramento Kings at No 12.
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The New Orleans Pelicans added speed in the form of Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr with the 13th pick and the Boston Celtics welcomed Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith with the 14th pick.
North Carolina guard Cole Anthony went to the Orlando Magic at 15, before the Pistons made the first trade of the night to acquire the 16th pick, which they used on Washington forward Isaiah Stewart.
Making their second selection on the night at No 17, the Timberwolves drafted Serbian Aleksej Pokusevski, who was reportedly set to be dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Australian guard Josh Green headed to the Dallas Mavericks at 18, and another trade saw Detroit move up to select Villanova forward Saddiq Bey at 19.
The Miami Heat turned to Memphis forward Precious Achiuwa with the 20th pick and the Philadelphia 76ers opted for Kentucky shooting guard Tyrese Maxey at 21.
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