Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY
Published 6:10 a.m. ET July 7, 2020 | Updated 6:10 a.m. ET July 7, 2020
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The NBA will finally begin to conclude the 2019-20 season later this month in Orlando with 22 teams competing for the playoffs and an NBA championship. But the eight teams left at home will turn the page to the 2020-21 campaign, with October’s NBA draft a central piece in improving teams’ outlook.
Examining the lottery-level NBA draft players, here’s a look at which player would help each of the eight non-playoff teams the most.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, Georgia. Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell make up this team’s star power, and an explosive shooting guard like Edwards would complement their games well.
Golden State Warriors: Obi Toppin, Dayton. The 6-9 athletic forward led the nation in dunks and was USA TODAY Sports’ national player of the year. He’d fit right into coach Steve Kerr’s half-court offense and catch alley-oops from Steph Curry in the open court.
Atlanta Hawks: James Wiseman, Memphis. The 7-footer would give Atlanta a big man with raw talent and a high ceiling. He’d also make for a nice inside-out game teaming up with All-Star Trae Young.
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New York Knicks: LaMelo Ball, Australia. The 6-7 point guard has the most upside of any player in the draft and could be a modern-day Penny Hardaway. Putting Ball alongside last year’s lottery pick, RJ Barrett, could make for a promising young nucleus.
Charlotte Hornets: Killian Hayes, France. The 6-5 floor general is only 18 and shows tremendous potential, and he’d be able to grow up quick in a Charlotte backcourt lacking other standout options.
Chicago Bulls: Onyeka Okongwu, USC. Okongwu is an undersized big man who was off the radar until recent months. He’d give the Bulls much-needed size and force in the paint. He’s likely the second-best big man in the draft.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro, Auburn. The 6-6 wing would be a great fit on any team, but his defensive skill-set would be a huge boost for Cleveland.
Detroit Pistons: Deni Avdija, Israel. A former Most Valuable Player of the FIBA Under-20 European Championship, the 6-9 forward would give Detroit a weapon on the block and perimeter.
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Follow reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.