Going into the 2020 NBA draft, the pool of players was looked at as weaker than past years. The draft wasn’t seen as top heavy or deep at all. At the time, experts were saying that none of the top players in the 2020 draft would be highly selected in the 2021 NBA draft. But as we approach the halfway mark of the 2020-21 NBA season, this class has shown that it had the potential to be a great one.
The top picks in this class have not disappointed. First overall pick Anthony Edwards has been a great scorer this season, averaging 14.5 PPG. Even though he hasn’t been efficient, Edwards has had to be the top option with Karl Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Malik Beasley all missing time. Edwards also had one of the best dunks in the past decade against the Raptors.
Center James Wiseman has also been a great addition to the competitive Warriors. Wiseman has recently missed time with a wrist injury but he just came back and hasn’t skipped a beat. Wiseman is hard to stop in the paint as he is a high flyer. Wiseman has also shown off his ability to shoot and stretch the floor. Wiseman has been the perfect big next to Stephen Curry.
The gem of this draft class has been LaMelo Ball. Ball is everywhere on social media due to his flashy style of play, and is averaging 22.6 PPG, 6.6 APG, and 6 RPG since cracking the starting lineup. LaMelo’s crafty playmaking and chemistry with his teammates makes him look like a future superstar. Fourth and fifth overall picks Patrick Williams and Isaac Okoro have been very underrated this season and both have shown extreme versatility. It is safe to say that the top picks aren’t disappointments.
The rest of the top ten has been questionable but they have reasonable excuses as why they haven’t performed up to par. Onyeka Okongwu is coming back from a foot injury and hasn’t played consistently. Killian Hayes is out for the rest of the year with a labral tear in his hip. Obi Toppin hasn’t been getting consistent minutes with the New York Knicks. And Deni Avdija and Jalen Smith both have been the most disappointing rookies this year, as they both have played every game and get good minutes.
There were a good amount of steals in the draft, and it starts with Tyrese Haliburton at pick twelve. Haliburton was one of the best players in college basketball before being sidelined with a wrist injury. Tyrese fell to the Kings and it was the perfect pick for them. Like LaMelo, Tyrese does everything on the court. People questioned Tyrese’s shooting, yet he has been an amazing shooter. Tyrese can guard multiple positions and he fits great next to De’Aaron Fox. The Kings didn’t miss on this pick.
Picks 19, 20, and 21 were all hits. Piston’s Saddiq Bay has had an amazing season including a player of the week award. Precious Achiuwa is a great defender and is already the perfect role player for Miami. And, Tyrese Maxey has been a spark off the bench for the one seed Sixers. Picks 25 and 26 were also great picks. Immanuel Quickley for the Knicks has been amazing and is top three in the ROTY race. The Knicks may have found their future point guard in IQ. Boston’s Payton Pritchard seemed like a bad pick at the time but Pritchard is having a great rookie season, which has included a game winner against the Miami Heat. Pritchard is a scrappy sharpshooting guard and has been Boston’s scorer off the bench. Malachi Flynn, Desmond Bane, Theo Maledon, Xavier Tillman, and Skylar Mayes have been quality picks and have gotten rotational minutes.
This class has been a pleasant surprise for NBA fans and there is still so much time for a lot of these players to develop. It should only get better from here.
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