By: Brennen Krikorian
To most analysts, this draft was one of the weaker prospect pools in recent memory. Unlike last year, when Zion Williamson was the unanimous first overall choice, this draft lacked a clear number one pick.
With that, here are the five best value selections of the 2020 NBA Draft.
PG Kira Lewis Jr. – New Orleans Pelicans
SF/PF Saddiq Bey – Detroit Pistons
SF Jordan Nwora – Milwaukee Bucks
PG Cassius Winston – Washington Wizards
PG/SG Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings
Tyrese Haliburton is widely regarded as the best value pick of this entire draft.
The 6-foot-5 combo guard was projected to be in the top-10 heading into the night and was supposed to go as high as fourth in some mock drafts. Surprisingly, he was able to fall all the way to 12th, and the Sacramento Kings were able to capitalize.
His lengthy wingspan will allow him to excel on both sides of the floor and he has the ability to match Fox’s style of speed and playmaking. This is an A+ pick for Sacramento and might be a player teams look back on and regret not picking up.
SF Aaron Nesmith, Boston Celtics
As a Celtics fan, I could not have been happier with this pick.
While the Celtics main need was a rim-protecting big, there was no chance they were going to get a player who could satisfy their needs with the 14th pick.
Instead, the Celtics looked to fill their second biggest need: bench scoring.
Last season, Boston was tied for last at only 26.5 bench points per game and they finished 24th in the league in bench three-point percentage at 32.6%.
Aaron Nesmith will look to drastically improve both of those team stats next season. During his sophomore season at Vanderbilt, the 6-foot-6 wing averaged 23.0 points and shot 52% from behind the arc.
With Gordon Hayward now on his way to Charlotte, Nesmith has the chance to get significant playing time and has the opportunity to slide onto an All-Rookie team at the end of the season.
PF/C Precious Achiuwa, Miami Heat
Last season, the Miami Heat were the story of the playoffs.
The Heat made it all the way to the NBA Finals and developed an elite shooting duo in Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. However, the team ultimately fell to the Los Angeles Lakers by getting exploited in the paint.
Because of that, Precious Achiuwa is the prefect selection for Miami. The 6-foot-9 big man was the conference player of the year during his freshman season at Memphis and can make an immediate impact in his rookie year.
Achiuwa is a great partner for Bam Adebayo in the paint, as he is an elite shot blocker and rebounder. He also has the ability to run a successful pick-and-roll with Jimmy Butler, and has the strength to finish at the rim against strong defenders.
Based on his time in Memphis, most analysts compare him to a Montrezl Harrell-type player, and while he may not play as athletic as Harrell, that style of play is exactly what the Heat need to contend for a title again this season.
C Udoka Azubuike, Utah Jazz
If you follow college basketball, it is more than likely that you have heard the name Udoka Azubuike more than once. The 270-pound center was the key piece of a successful Kansas Jayhawks team that was a No. 1 seed in three of four March Madness appearances during his college career.
Coming into the draft, I was not too high on Azubuike, as it seemed he was very limited offensively and his game would not translate well in the modern era of the NBA.
That was until he was selected by the Utah Jazz at 27th, which makes this a great pick.
Rudy Gobert is the perfect mentor for Azubuike. Gobert is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and is arguably the best defensive center in the league. With Gobert entering the final season of his contract, Utah may look to breed Azubuike as his long-term replacement.
Azubuike is also very mobile for his size. His 41-inch combine vertical was the highest among centers, making him an excellent lob threat for Donovan Mitchell.
If it were any other team, I would not think much of this pick. But with the Utah Jazz, it seems like a match made in heaven for Azubuike in the long-term.
SG Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies have one of the brightest futures in the league thanks to Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke, as they are looking to get into the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
With that vision in mind, general manager Zachary Kleiman knew he needed a guy who would be NBA-ready and could make a positive impact early.
Desmond Bane is the perfect option for that vision.
Bane is a natural scorer and will most likely be the best shooter from this draft class. His feel for the game and gritty playstyle gives Morant an excellent partner in the backcourt.
At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Bane is an above-average defender as well. While he may not have great lateral quickness, he is good at getting around screens and eliminating opposing shooters the chance to get open. His shorter wingspan may limit his ability to get steals, but his aggressiveness and smart positioning makes up for that.
It seems like the Grizzlies drafted a spark plug, and they appear to be destined to improve and create noise in a loaded Western Conference.
Cover photo via: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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