It was about half a year later than it was supposed to be, but the Minnesota Timberwolves finally got to draft Anthony Edwards with the first overall choice in the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday night.
After Minnesota picked, it was the Golden State Warriors selecting big man James Wiseman with the second overall pick, followed at number three by the Charlotte Hornets, who were left to take LaMelo Ball, the last remaining of the big three. At different times during this draft cycle, all three of Edwards, Wiseman, and Ball were considered the top talent in the draft, but in the end, the Wolves decided Edwards was their guy.
The Timberwolves also traded the number 17 overall pick (turned into Aleksej Pokusevski) to the Thunder on Wednesday during the draft in exchange for veteran guard (and former Timberwolf) Ricky Rubio, the 25th pick (Immanuel Quickley, who was traded to the Knicks with the no. 33 pick for no. 23, Leandro Bolmaro), and the 28th pick (Jaden McDaniels).
The T-Wolves now have a nice young core with Edwards, big man Karl Anthony-Towns, and guard D’Angelo Russell catching passes from the playmaking Rubio.
Edwards, who is 6’5” and 220 pounds, played just one season at the University of Georgia, during which he led all D-I freshmen in scoring with 19.1 points per game on his way to SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Edwards has a great deep shooting stroke, a nose for the basket, and impressive playmaking ability off the ball as well.
“It is an indescribable feeling,” Edwards said after being selected. “My family is emotional. I feel like when I get off of here, I am going to be emotional. I am just blessed beyond measure to be in this situation.”
Once the Edwards family started celebrating for real, the Warriors selected 7’1” big man Wiseman to pair in the frontcourt with perennial pest-in-the-paint Draymond Green. Unfortunately for Golden State, it was a rather bittersweet night, as it was also confirmed this morning that Klay Thompson tore his achilles during a pick-up game on Wednesday.
The injury will reportedly keep the sharpshooter out for the second straight season. Because of this, I would advise against anyone taking a flier on the Warriors at +2000 odds to win the 2021 title on 888sport, or to try cashing in any bets you might have already made on them.
Wiseman and his physicality are expected to be a big help for the Warriors near the rim and on defense in general. The 19-year-old was visibly emotional after being drafted, and why not? Joining a team like the Warriors as a lottery pick is a rare treat. The Nashville native also said he expects to adapt to the vaunted Warriors locker room culture very quickly and already has a good relationship with Steph Curry after having attended his camp in previous years.
After Wiseman came the selection of Ball by Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets, which should be an interesting experiment for both owner and player. What do you think the over/under will be on the number of times LaVar Ball challenges the GOAT to a game of one-on-one? Probably at least a dozen I’d say.
The youngest Ball—who, with his older brother Lonzo, became the first pair of brothers to be drafted in the top three—will be bringing some much-needed starpower and scoring prowess to a Hornets team that’s in dire need of both.
Ball did not have your average journey to the NBA Draft. His brother and father’s fame notwithstanding, he decided to leave the American spotlight and make some money playing ball instead of playing for free in the NCAA sweatshop. The Chino Hills native first played in Lithuania before moving to Australia’s National Basketball League this past year, during which he put up 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in 12 games playing for the Illawarra Hawks.
Though it surely rubbed his father Lavar the wrong way, LaMelo said that he didn’t really mind sliding down to the no. 3 pick and the Hornets.
“I definitely feel great falling to [Charlotte],” Ball said. “But the way I’ve fallen down, I never looked at it like that because, like I say, whatever happens happens, and I feel like it’s God’s plan. 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.”
Now, all we can do is wait and see if these top three talents live up to their billing like an Anthony Davis or a Ben Simmons, or if they falter under the pressure like an Anthony Bennett or an Andrew Wiggins.