Home Sports A unique 2020 NBA Draft for a unique year

A unique 2020 NBA Draft for a unique year

by Benjamin Zelniker November 29, 2020
A unique 2020 NBA Draft for a unique year

This year’s NBA Draft was exciting, eventful, and packed with surprises at every turn

After a long hiatus in the NBA, draft night is upon us. Fans will finally get to find out which of the exciting young prospects their team will add on from colleges, overseas professional teams, or perhaps even from Quebec CEGEPs. Tonight is very important for many teams, and it will shape franchises for years to come.

Before the draft, a few picks had already traded hands; the Portland Trail Blazers traded the 16th overall pick to the Houston Rockets, and their 2022 first round pick along with Trevor Ariza in exchange for Robert Covington. This year’s Trailblazers’ pick was eventually traded to the Detroit Pistons, who selected 6-foot-9 centre Isaiah Stewart.

One interesting change in this year’s draft is the change in the hat tradition. In previous years, players and their families have been handed caps of the team that drafts them. This year, they were given one of every team’s hats, to be ready for anything. Players held small draft parties with their families from the comfort of their homes, and when a player was drafted, their home and families were displayed on television.

This was emotional for many players, especially for Anthony Edwards, whose home had portraits of his mother and grandmother displayed since they had unfortunately passed away while Edwards was young.

Some very interesting selections were made during the draft, and there was plenty of excitement and drama surrounding them. Edwards was taken with the first overall selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and — despite a few flaws in his game, such as below average defense — is projected to be an excellent shooting guard to pair alongside D’Angelo Russell.

James Wiseman, the seven-foot tall centre from the University of Memphis Tigers was selected second overall, and should be able to help push a star-studded Warriors lineup back into finals contention. The infamous Lamelo Ball was selected third overall by the Charlotte Hornets.

Some players were drafted far higher than expected, and others fell down general managers’ draft boards. Patrick Williams, a combo forward who was expected to go around ninth overall, ended up being selected fourth overall by the Chicago Bulls, ahead of players projected to go much farther ahead, such as Obi Toppin (eighth overall) and Deni Avdija (ninth overall). Many Raptors fans were hoping that Isaiah Stewart would be available at pick 29, due to the team’s lack of centre depth, but the Pistons selected him with the 16th pick.

The Raptors selected two interesting guards. Malachi Flynn, a 6-foot-2 guard from the University of San Diego, has excellent playmaking ability reminiscent of Fred VanVleet, who just signed a four-year contract extension with the Raptors worth $85 million. Jalen Harris was selected at pick 59, and is projected to be a scoring machine. However, Harris is a very raw prospect and can use some time to develop in the G League before coming to the NBA.

This draft was very interesting, as there was a lot of fluctuation in people’s draft rankings. This draft projects to have a lot of excellent role players, but there was a distinct lack of star power, like Zion Williamson last season. Some more trades were finalized later on, due to the league’s various rules about trading such as the Stepien Rule, which states that no team can trade their first-round selections in two consecutive years.

The NBA implemented the rule after Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien attempted to trade all of his first round draft picks, and succeeded in trading his first round picks from 1982 to 1986 in trades that ended up having poor returns. The league eventually had to step in, as he was actively ruining his franchise by doing so.

The main blockbuster trade of the night was a four-team trade which sent  Steven Adams from the Oklahoma City Thunder over to the New Orleans Pelicans, Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans to the Milwaukee Bucks, and had the Denver Nuggets exchanging a draft pick in 2023 in order to secure the draft rights to R.J. Hampton.


Graphic by @ariannasiviria

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