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2020 NBA Draft: Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman go 1-2

Reuters SPORT
Published November 19,2020

Georgia guard Anthony Edwards is headed to the Minnesota Timberwolves as the first pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

"It's an indescribable feeling. I can't even describe it," Edwards said in a live ESPN interview moments after the selection was announced. "My family is emotional. I'm sure when I get off of here I'm going to get emotional."

Edwards, who turned 19 in August, is slotted to receive a four-year contract worth $44.2 million under terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement.

It was the 11th consecutive draft in which the top player was a one-and-done at the college level.

Another college freshman, Memphis 7-footer James Wiseman, was selected No. 2 by the Golden State Warriors. Wiseman played only three games for the Tigers before an NCAA suspension directed him to the NBA.

Golden State reached the NBA Finals five years in a row before leading the league in losses last season. The selection came on the same day the Warriors learned shooting guard Klay Thompson, who missed last season with a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, hurt his right leg in a pickup game.

"Being coached by Penny Hardaway and Mike Miller, I was already in an NBA system," Wiseman said.

Edwards joins 2015 No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns with the Timberwolves, who had 19 wins in 2019-2020. He averaged 19.1 points per game at Georgia.

Point guard LaMelo Ball, the 6-7 younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, was picked third by the Charlotte Hornets. Lonzo Ball was the No. 2 pick (Los Angeles Lakers) in the 2017 NBA Draft.

At No. 4, the Chicago Bulls surprised with the Florida State small forward Patrick Williams, the Atlantic Coast Conference Sixth Man of the Year last season. Williams, 19, is one of the youngest players in the draft and is considered a big upside pick. He averaged 9.2 points for the Seminoles last season. Florida State teammate Devin Vassell, a 6-5 shooting guard, was drafted 11th overall by the San Antonio Spurs.

Two more freshmen went fifth and sixth. Auburn's one-and-done defensive dynamo Isaac Okoro was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Southern California center Onyeka Okongwu, a high school teammate of the Ball brothers, joined the Atlanta Hawks.

"I don't even know what to say right now," Okongwu told ESPN after the pick was made. "I feel so blessed. I worked so hard to be here."

New York native Obi Toppin, the National Player of the Year at Dayton last season, realized a lifelong dream of playing for the Knicks when he was chosen with the eighth pick after French point guard Killian Hayes came off the board to the Detroit Pistons. Toppin was a highlight reel dunker for the Flyers, registering 107 dunks last season.

Toppin, a 6-9 forward, became the first draft pick of new Knicks president Leon Rose.

The Washington Wizards used the ninth pick on 6-9 Israeli forward Deni Avdija. Another 19-year-old prospect, he has played more than 100 professional games internationally.

"It means a lot for me, for me to represent my country and be in the highest spot possible, this is amazing," said Avdija, who played professionally starting at age 16.

Maryland power forward Jalen Smith was picked 10th by the Phoenix Suns, joining a frontline that includes 2018 No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton.

The Sacramento Kings grabbed Iowa State's Tyrese Haliburton, a projected top-five pick, at No. 12 to team the talented hybrid guard with point guard De'Aaron Fox, the fifth pick in the 2017 draft.

Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr. was the New Orleans Pelicans' selection with the 13th pick as a potential replacement for Jrue Holiday. The Pelicans reportedly agreed to deal Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this week, with the swap yet to be finalized. Lewis was rated as the fastest player in the draft by ESPN.

The Boston Celtics, who entered Wednesday with three picks in the opening round, used the final pick in the lottery (No. 14) to add sharpshooter Aaron Nesmith of Vanderbilt. Nesmith shot 52.2 percent from 3-point range and averaged 23 points per game in 14 games as a sophomore last season before a foot injury ended his college career.

North Carolina freshman point guard Cole Anthony, the son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony, was drafted 15th by the Orlando Magic.

The first announced trade of a draft pick on the night came when the Detroit Pistons moved into the 16th spot in a proposed deal with the Portland Trail Blazers to grab Washington forward Isaiah Stewart.