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Rivals Roundtable: NBA Draft, surprising lottery picks

The NBA held their Draft Lottery on Thursday night. Just how big of a winner was Minnesota and what should they do with the top pick? Whose emergence as a potential Lottery pick was the most surprising and which team’s move are national analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald most interested to see? They discuss in this weekend’s Rivals Roundtable.

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1. You are the Timberwolves and you have the No. 1 Draft pick, based on your needs and options what are you doing with it?

Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards (AP Images)

Bossi: You can make an argument for any of LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman being the right direction based on the Timberwolves' roster. That being said, if I’m president Gerrson Rosas I’m looking to move the pick and see if I can’t land a proven veteran to play alongside D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns. Many have speculated that the Wizards could be willing to move Bradley Beal and if a trade for him, or another similar player, could get worked out with reasonable terms then it is the move to make because it would put them in better position to win now.

Evans: I am with Bossi would would try and trade the first overall selection and fall back a few spots. Maybe Minnesota could get the Bulls or Cavaliers to jump. The guy that I would want if I was leading things in Minnesota is Tyrese Haliburton. Maybe taking him first overall would be a reach to some but I am not sure there is a more sure-fire top-five selection than the former Iowa State standout. He is a basketball player. Haliburton is not a supreme athlete, he is not super strong and his shot doesn’t look like everyone else’s, but he brings tremendous backcourt versatility and would fit alongside D’Angelo Russell like a glove.

Dan: I'd take Anthony Edwards. I think he's the best player and prospect in this year's class, and I think he can play a few different positions because of his size, skill and athleticism. Assuming both are still on the roster, I also think it would be really good for him to have two fellow Atlanta natives on the roster there with him in Josh Okogie and Malik Beasley to help him make the adjustment to the NBA. I really think Edwards could be a star in the league.

2. There are always draft surprises. Who is the likely lottery pick you didn't see coming? Why and what did his recruitment look like?

Obi Toppin
Obi Toppin (AP Images)

Bossi: Obi Toppin looks to be well on his way to be taken in the top five and wow, what a journey. For one, I never saw him play during high school and few did. He bounced around some different schools, wasn’t a regular on the summer circuit and grew late in high school and prep school. On top of that he had to sit out his first year for academics. How could anybody have seen him developing into the National Player of the Year and soon to be multi-millionaire? Anthony Grant and the staff at Dayton deserve a great deal of credit for helping to turn him into a beast and Toppin’s story really would make a great moview.

Evans: There are too many to name this year but Devin Vassell has my vote. This was someone that was supposed to redshirt his freshman year only to look so good in preseason workouts that it made Leonard Hamilton change course just before the season. Vassell has steadily added weight, gotten even taller and become one of the more dynamic shot makers in the country.

Back in high school, Vassell was a very little-known guard that, though he intrigued because of his talent, there was worries about his lack of strength. Running with Team AJ Bouye, a non-shoe sponsored program based out of Georgia, it was primarily the mid-majors sniffing around before his commitment in the spring going into his junior year. While Florida State has become known for its four and five-star recruiting wins of late, don’t forget just how great of an eye for talent that Leonard Hamilton and his assistant, Charlton Young, have, proof being Vassell who has gotten as good as anyone over a two-year time frame for anyone in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Dan: I'd have to go with Vassell, too. He came up right here in Atlanta and I saw him play several times in high school. I never saw a prospect that would do two years at Florida State and potentially be a lottery pick. It's a testament to his work ethic in always getting better, but also his coaches putting him in the right spot to success. He can be a "3 and D" guy for a long time in the NBA and hopefully grown beyond that label.

3. Which lottery team's moves are you most interested to see? What would be a fun direction to see them go?

Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich (AP Images)

Bossi: Amazingly, the San Antonio Spurs haven’t had a lottery pick since they took Tim Duncan No. 1 overall in 1997. Heck, they’ve only even had picks inside the top 20 twice since then. So, I’m really curious to see what they will do with the No. 11 pick. While they didn’t draft Kawhi Leonard back in 2011, they traded for him on draft night and it worked out very well for both parties. In the search to find Kawhi 2.0, many have pointed to Florida State’s Patrick Williams.Williams didn’t have crazy numbers during his freshman year for the Seminoles, but he also just turned 19 a few weeks ago and is only scratching at the surface. It would be really interesting to see what happens if he were to land in San Antonio.

Evans: Draft boards are going to be all over the place with a prospect ranging from as high as the lottery for one franchise to out of the first round entirely for another. It isn't easy predicting where exactly Aaron Nesmith, who was injured for most of SEC play last season, lands but it's fun to imagine him ending up with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Nesmith is limited as a playmaker but he could be a lottery pick because of his shooting prowess. At the time of his injury, he was making over four 3-pointers per game at over a 50-percent clip. That is lethal! Adding one more shooter around Zion Williamson opens up a world of possibilities that could make the Pelicans a playoff team a year from now.

Dan: I think the Warriors have a really tough decision to make here with the second pick. I've never been terribly high on James Wiseman and I'm still not completely sold on LaMelo Ball. If I were in the Golden State front office, I'd really think long and hard about Obi Toppin at No. 2 overall. I think he would be a such good fit there with the way they play, and it would be a ton of fun for all us fans to watch.