While the 2019 NBA draft had a clear hierarchy at the top -- with a supernatural force in Zion Williamson as the anchor, followed by an uber-athlete in Ja Morant and a versatile, consistent winner in RJ Barrett -- the 2020 NBA draft is flummoxing franchises projected to end up with high lottery picks.
NBA front-office executives have expressed quite a bit of early consternation because of the major questions surrounding this draft's top candidates.
Normally a team (and its fans) that suffers through the misery of a 20-win season can look forward to the salve of a top draft pick, considered among the most valuable assets in the NBA. With the flattened lottery odds, that's less likely, as we saw last year when the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies jumped from the seventh- and eighth-worst records to drafting No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
And even for the teams that do win the 2020 lottery, no prospect has emerged as a clear, reliable No. 1 pick. Plus, the talent in the top three relative to previous drafts is increasingly more difficult to discern.
While teams knew going into this season that the 2020 draft class might be lacking in proven, high-end talent, several circumstances have created even more mystery and anxiety around just how to evaluate this group.