- Anthony Edwards is an early -110 favorite to be selected 1st overall in the 2020 NBA Draft
- James Wiseman (+200) played in only three college basketball games after leaving Memphis following a recruiting violation
- Playmaker LaMelo Ball (+400) and high-flyer Obi Toppin (+1000) are also in the mix
Given we still don’t know if the NBA season will resume or if there will even be playoffs this year, there’s no telling when the draft might take place.
However, that didn’t stop oddsmakers from installing Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards (-110) as the early favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick ahead of fellow teens James Wiseman (+200) and LaMelo Ball (+400)
Let’s review the odds below and determine who will be the first guy off the board.
ODDS TO BE 1ST OVERALL NBA PICK
THE FAVORITE: ANTHONY EDWARDS
For the first time in more than 30 years, when someone mentions Anthony Edwards there’s a better-than-good chance they’re not talking about the ER doctor or “Goose” from Top Gun.
No, these days they’re referring to an 18-year-old freshman from the University of Georgia. Edwards (-110) is viewed as the favorite to go first overall in 2020 because he already has NBA strength and athleticism packed into his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame.
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) March 31, 2020
In 32 college games, Edwards averaged 19.1 points while shooting just 40.2% from the field and an ugly 29.1% behind the arc. Not exactly great numbers for a shooting guard, but most feel the young, shot-creating wing is tailor-made for today’s game and still has a lot of room for improvement before hitting his ceiling.
WISEMAN, LAMELO AND OBI
James Wiseman (+200) played a whole three games in college before deciding to leave Memphis following a Penny Hardaway-related recruiting refraction that caused him to be suspended for 12 games.
The 19-year-old center averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds in those three contests while displaying impressive versatility and range for a big man. However, while a 7-footer armed with a 7-foot-4 wingspan would’ve been an auto-pick a decade ago, some are worried about his fit in the modern game.
"We are lightyears away from the Warriors being lightyears ahead of the rest of the league. You have 2 untradeable contracts now — Draymond & Wiggins. … By the time LaMelo Ball or whomever you draft is ready to compete, Steph's going to be 36 & you're done." — @getnickwright pic.twitter.com/3KEoKHeWnT
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) February 7, 2020
LaMelo Ball (+400), of course, comes with a whole other set of concerns. His loud-mouthed father has been relatively quiet since his latest sexist remark, but his brother Lonzo has largely underwhelmed in his three-year pro career.
The youngest Ball brother averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game in Australia’s National Basketball League this season, showing similar playmaking and ball-handling as his brother, only with a better shot. Still, the 6-foot-6 point guard probably comes with too much baggage to go first overall.
Unlike the unproven quantities listed above, Obi Toppin (+1000) was in contention for AP College Basketball Player of the Year, leading his Dayton Flyers to a 29-2 record that had them ranked No. 3 in the last AP Top 25 poll and in line for a No.1 seed in the tournament.
"One of the greatest dunkers college basketball has ever seen."
Let's all just take a minute to appreciate Obi Toppin's highlights. pic.twitter.com/kse3TctdWq
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 26, 2020
The 6-foot-9 power forward averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game with the most highlight-reel jams in the NCAA, but because he’s already 22, league executives don’t view him as having the same upside as the younger guys.
Of course, the player who ends up going first overall will largely depend on which team wins the NBA Draft Lottery. While the Warriors are in the driver’s seat with the worst record (15-50) in the league, ping-pong balls will determine whether they can add any one of these young studs to their championship core.
Best Bet: James Wiseman (+200)