NBA Draft Betting: Who Will Be the Top Pick?
The 2020 NBA Draft will take place on Wednesday night. The draft is always a thrilling event, and this year promises to be no different.
The Minnesota Timberwolves hold the number-one overall pick for the second time in franchise history, and FanDuel Sportsbook is offering betting odds on who will go first overall. The overwhelming favorites are Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball -- both of whom are listed at -110 to be the top pick. No one else has better odds than +600, with James Wiseman sitting at that number.
Minnesota is reportedly zeroed in on Ball and Edwards, which is why the odds are what they are. Both players have sky-high potential. While Edwards may be more pro-ready player right now, Ball's upside in undeniable, and his long-range shooting should make him a good fit for today's NBA.
Operating on the assumption Minnesota keeps the pick, who should you bet on the 'Wolves to take?
Why It Will Be LaMelo Ball
Ball is an interesting case after opting to play in Lithuania and Australia rather than in the NCAA. Of course, Ball isn't the first to do this, but he's the most notable player to do so in this particular draft.
A 6-foot-7, 181-pound point guard, Ball isn't know for his defense, but he is an offensive spectacle with three-point range that will fit in today's league. The size is tantalizing for a guard with the skills Ball has, and the offensive potential is through the roof if Ball can refine some of his weak spots, particularly his shot selection and efficiency, per NBADraft.net.
Ball played in 12 games in Australia with the Illawarra Hawks. His team went 4-8 with him as a starter, and he recorded three or more turnovers in half of his games played. On the brighter side, Ball posted a triple-double in each of his final two games with the Hawks.
He averaged 31.1 minutes and 17.0 points per game overall while hitting 1.7 three-pointers per night. Ball attempted 6.7 treys per game, hitting only 25% from deep. Like we already mentioned, efficiency is an issue for him. Ball did average 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists, showcasing his all-around potential, but how that will translate into the NBA is a question everyone is curious for an answer to.
Between Ball and Edwards, Ball definitely "feels" like the riskier pick, but we've seen time and time again that NBA teams shoot for potential.
Why It Will Be Anthony Edwards
There's some overlap between Edwards and Ball when it comes to traits.
Edwards has some of the same efficiency issues as Ball. He made only 29.4% of his three-point tries during his freshman season at Georgia, and he relied heavily on his three-point game, attempting 48.5% of his shots from deep (7.7 per game). Also like Ball, Edwards' team didn't win a lot, going just 16-16.
On the contrary, UGA isn't exactly a basketball power, and Edwards had to do a lot on his own, with 45.8% of his three-point attempts being unassisted, according to Hoop-Math. Edwards was most of the Bulldogs' offense, and he scored in double digits 28 times in his lone college campaign, including doing so in 18 of the final 20 games.
In one of his toughest matchups, Edwards flashed his ceiling with a monster second half against Michigan State, scoring 33 points after the break and finishing with 37 in all. He hit 7 of 16 from three in that game.
One area where Edwards has a clear edge over Ball is his athleticism. At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Edwards is regarded as an elite athlete, per NBADraft.net. And despite being 6-foot-5, Edwards' wingspan is 6-foot-9.
The Pick -- Anthony Edwards (-110)
Ball is somewhat of a wildcard in this draft. If he doesn't go first, he could slide a bit, with some mocks having him at fourth overall. But Ball is firmly in play to be the first guy off the board -- as the odds tell us.
What pushes me to Edwards, though, is the fit with Minnesota.
The 'Wolves already have a ball-dominant guard in D'Angelo Russell, so Bell might not be a great puzzle piece for Minnesota. Edwards, on the other hand, would likely be able to slide right into the starting five and be a nice fit alongside Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.
You can never feel too safe about anything on draft night, but I'm backing Edwards to be the first name called on Wednesday night.