Odds On 2020 NBA Draft No. 1 Pick & Which Team Takes Him
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While the top NBA teams are just getting settled into the opening round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, the rest of the league begins the process of prepping for next season. It starts Thursday with the NBA Draft Lottery.
The virtual lottery offers hope for immediate-impact players for the teams not in the Orlando bubble and it is an event worth keeping an eye on for NBA betting enthusiasts.
Sportsbooks are offering NBA futures betting odds on the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, set for Oct. 15. Here are the top contenders to be the No. 1 overall pick, per the odds at Unibet sportsbook:
Who Will Be No. 1 Pick In NBA Draft?
|Player||6/22 Odds||8/17 odds|
Odds are subject to change.
Which Team Picks No. 1?
Here are the teams with the best chance at No. 1:
|Golden State Warriors||14%|
|New York Knicks||9%|
Sizing Up The Favorites
The two players at the top of the board are there for a reason, but neither is a slam dunk.
Georgia’s 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Anthony Edwards, is a unique athletic specimen. He’s a natural scorer, a long-range shooter and up-close finisher who has been compared favorably to future NBA Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade.
What Edwards wasn’t, at least at Georgia, was very selective. He averaged a robust 19.1 points per game but on just 40.2% shooting, including 29.4% on 3-pointers. If the Warriors have the No. 1 pick, the last thing they need is a backcourt gunner who commands the ball. It would be great for Edwards to learn behind a Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson, but is that how Golden State aims to use its No. 1 pick?
James Wiseman, on the other hand, is a 7-1, 235-pound athlete out of Memphis with a 7-6 wingspan, a nice offensive touch and a shot-blocking defensive mentality. His stats were great, averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks while shooting a crazy 76.9%.
But there’s one massive caveat with Wiseman: He managed just three games in college before being declared ineligible. With no scouting combine this year, scouts will have to take a leap of faith on this high-risk, high-reward prospect.
The odds for No. 1 overall pick have been sliced in half for Onyeka Okongwu, a 6-9, 240-pounder from USC. He averaged 16.2 ppg on 61.6% shooting and was known as a strong defensive post presence. He’s the No. 2 frontcourt player on most draft boards, after Wiseman, and might be more of a can’t-miss prospect.
Obi Toppin, a 6-9 PF from Dayton, might be the most NBA-ready guy in the top 10 but his odds have skyrocketed over the last two months for No. 1. He crushed it at Dayton, averaging 14.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 1.8 apg while shooting 66.6% in only 26.5 minutes. But his speed and footwork need work, and he wasn’t the overpowering rebounder that some might have hoped for against Atlantic-10 competition.
Three top contenders have been playing pro ball overseas, including one known name here in the U.S..
LaMelo Ball is from a basketball family — his older brother Lonzo Ball is the point guard for the Pelicans, another brother LiAngelo Ball is in the G League and father LaVar Ball is the enigmatic CEO of Big Baller Brand. LaMelo Ball was the NBL Rooke of the Year in Australia last winter, averaging 17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.
The smooth 6-7 point guard might have as much upside as Wiseman. But will his high profile, history and notable family dynamic deter the team with the top pick? It’s probably going to be a factor.
Deni Avdija, 19, is a supremely talented small forward (6-8) from Israel, one of the most decorated players on the European circuit in decades. He was the MVP of the FIBA U20 European Championships when he was just 18 and led Israel to the Euro championship when he was 17.
Killian Hayes, a 6-5 PG from France, was MVP of the 2017 FIBA U16 European Championships and has been playing professionally ever since. Hayes, 19, was averaging 12.8 ppg and 6.2 apg in Germany’s top league before play was halted due to the coronavirus.
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Picks For The Top Pick
The Warriors, Cavaliers and Timberwolves each have a 14% chance of the top pick. And each has different needs.
If the Warriors get the pick, a big man like Wiseman may be their preference. If it’s the Timberwolves, perhaps it’s an outside threat like Edwards to go alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. The Cavaliers could go in any direction. None of those teams — and same with the Hawks (12.5%), who are next in line — are in dire need of a point guard. Ball and Killian aren’t likely the top choice for any of them.
Right now, the value is on Wiseman. In a draft full of potential standouts at guard and small forward, Wiseman is the top post player. Despite his lack of big-time competition, Wiseman is who the Warriors need. Also, many of the bottom teams in contention for the top pick would be willing to gamble on an unproven, but potentially great, big man.
Looking for value down the board? Avdija is the X-factor. Some teams might balk at taking a European prospect without the luxury of a combine or team site workouts. But others might be in love with the European star, who has been compared favorably to Luka Doncic.
Take Wiseman at a solid +200 price with Unibet. For those looking for a bigger payoff, Avdija at +2000 is a calculated gamble.