2020 WBA First Round Mock Draft
What was once viewed as a potentially historically weak WBA draft class got a major shot in the arm from several top IBF prospects declaring for the draft in recent days, including the reigning league MVP, 6’10 SF Benet Da Gama. The 21 year old’s announcement that he was free of his contractual obligations to Sutor Montenegranaro and entering into this year’s draft triggered a flurry of interest in the #1 pick, and he will lead off our 30 selection WBA first round mock.
#1 London Disco: Benet Da Gama, SF- Spain
The Matias Gutierrez experiment seems to have lasted just 1 year in London, as GM Breese bought into the Da Gama hype train big time and sent the 1.3 and the aforementioned to the Dragons for the top pick as well as another pick late in this year’s first round. Benet has long held a reputation as the best player in the world not currently playing in the WBA, and the 2-time IBF MVP led his team to a 45-14 record last year while averaging 20.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 27 minutes per game.
The Disco scouts see in Da Gama a lead scorer and exceptionally valuable rebounder at the small forward position, and a player who has proven his dominance in the IBF over the past 3 years while improving consistently. He is viewed as having the most refined skills of the entire draft class in several different areas, with some of the few knocks being his non-elite athleticism and only decent perimeter defense. As a result of the trade London will also have the cap room to hunt for a second star to play alongside him in free agency, or perhaps improve their shoddy depth if they come up empty on the top shelf.
NBA Comp: Luka Doncic
#2 Sydney Bloods: Klaas Binsenshaum, G- Germany
This is admittedly a meteoric rise for someone who played last season in the IBFE and averaged just short of 10 PPG, but the 21 year old has been developing quickly and fits what Sydney needs, a starting-caliber guard who is on a development schedule with the rest of their talent. While most players typically have a best position fit, Klaas Binsenshaum looks like the rare breed who would be equally adept at either guard position but would pencil in as the 1 guard for Sydney pending a free agency move.
There is some debate on if Binsenshaum will become an elite scorer or just a very good one, but he also has the makings of a top-rate floor general and a defensive stopper. He might not ever be a league MVP, but if he progresses as forecasted he could certainly be a key member of a championship contending team.
NBA Comp: Jamal Murray
#3 Arizona Dragons: Jarius Sulivan, PG- Berkley Tech
The top draft prospect coming from the ranks of the GCBA, Sulivan was the #2 overall high school recruit in 2018 and lived up to his billing by averaging 13.6 PPG and 5.3 APG en route to being named the national Freshman of the Year. It surprised no one that Sulivan was a one-and-done, but it doesn’t mean that he will be ready to step right in and be a valuable starter in the WBA. The 6’1 eighteen year old is still raw and will certainly struggle if he sees time in his first year. That might be just what the doctor ordered for the Dragons, who are on Year 1 of a 2-4 year rebuild and don’t want to ruin their draft position by rising to the middle.
Sulivan is a jump shooter and projects to be the kind of ballhandler the offense can run through. He is still mediocre on defense but has the speed to improve greatly. By the end of his rookie deal he could be rated as a Blue/Purple easily, and with point guards seeming to be one of the scarcer positons in the league, he could have top 5-10 value at that time.
NBA Comp: John Wall
#4 Toronto Dinos: Dimitrije Erkocevic, C- Serbia
This is certainly considered a reach considering most outlets have Erkocevic pegged for the later half of the lottery and the 4th or 5th big man selected. However, the 288 lb. Serbian has a track record of success for Bamberg in the Spanish/German league and reports back on the 7 footer indicate he is the most complete center in the class and possibly the best current player out of the big men. If the Dinos scouts agree he would fill a large hole in the middle of their roster.
Dimitrije rates as the strongest prospect in this class, and may have one of the best inside scoring games as well. He is a throwback-style center who doesn’t really do much well on the perimeter but his lack of flaws in traditional post skills make that something you can overlook. There are still options on the board with more potential upside and this is another pick that could be on the move, which would almost certainly affect who lands here.
NBA Comp: Jonas Valančiūnas
#5 Los Angeles Gargoyles: Herve Bourgois, SF- France
If Bourgois drops to #5 he would definitely be a nice get for L.A., as he’s already a lockdown perimeter defender with a competent offensive game who could smoothly slide into their starting lineup and improve one of their two weakest positions. I don’t see him moving the needle enough in his first year to move them out of the lottery in 2021 but he would be a great asset for them to have moving forward.
Spending the past 3 seasons with Antwerp, Herve consistently filled all corners of the stat sheet, averaging 15.4 ppg, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals over his career there, which reflects the absence of weaknesses in his all-around game. He is also a better overall athlete than presumptive number one pick Benet De Gama, with elite quickness for his position. He is viewed as the most pro-ready prospect in the class on the defensive end and should have no problem becoming a starter right out of the gate.
NBA Comp: Luol Deng
#6 Cincinnati Hitmen: Archemorus Verga, G- Greece
Early in the season, I projected the Hitmen would end up with two top 10 picks. This didn’t end up coming to pass, as their other first rose to #13; however, with the depth in this draft they should still be able to find a valuable player at that spot. They have a couple different directions they could go here- snag a big man like Geert Kain to shore up their backcourt for now and eventually hope to pair with Wimpy Critchfield, get a strong developmental point guard for the future in Jared Torrey, but the direction I looked at was combo guard Archemorus Verga.
Archemorus was the MVP of the IBFW last season at just 19 years old, averaging 22.8 points and 4.8 assists on the season. Though undersized at only 6’0, putting Verga in the lineup alongside Bennett Bangerter would let the offense run through Bangerter and free up Verga to play to his strengths as a spot up shooter. Another way Verga’s skill set meshes well with Bangerter’s is that both are ballhawks on defense and could come up with a lot of steals in a high press scheme.
NBA Comp: Kemba Walker
#7 Osaka Fugu: Urban Navratil, SG- Czech Republic
One of the most natural need fits in the draft would be Navratil landing in Osaka, it seems to be the one position on the board where all the mocks are in agreement. The Fugu need a second shooter beside Javonte Bolk, and Navratil is probably one of the top 3 prospects in the class in terms of being ready to step into a game right now. While Urban proved he can be a 20 point scorer with Argentino de Junin, he doesn’t possess a 2nd elite skill so I wouldn’t be shocked to see the team lean in a different direction and fill a need for defense or rebounding either. Navratil is incredibly strong for a guard and could spend some time at the 3, but his post defense would make him a liability in certain matchups.
NBA Comp: Bogdan Bogdanović
#8 New York Firestorm: Jared Torrey, PG- Greenbriar Tech
Right behind Jarius Sulivan at #3 overall in the high school rankings of 2018, Torrey had a much different college experience as he came off the bench and averaged only 18 minutes of playing time. While it was still enough for him to average 7 points per game and come away with Big 7 Freshman of the Year honors, Torrey couldn’t declare for the draft fast enough when the time came. He is still a raw prospect who might spend his first year in the D League and opinions vary on how much of a scoring threat he’ll be in the pros, but his high end potential as a ballhandler and defender aren’t often available at pick #8 overall. The Firestorm will be counting on longtime assist master Issac Edmunson to hold together physically for one more year and if Torrey has a great season in the D League and comes along he could be the next guy in line for the keys to the offense.
NBA Comp: Ricky Rubio
#9 Fort Worth Warriors: Mihalis Zizilevs, PG- Latvia
One glaring weakness in the Fort Worth roster is ballhandling, particularly among their guards. It’s never a good thing when your center is the best dribbler on your team. Mihalis is the only guy left on the board who improves that for the Warriors and projects well enough to warrant a top 10 pick. His best skill will likely end up being his 3 point shooting, but Zizlevs looks like he will become a complete guard whose only weakness is mediocre size. It should be noted that this pick comes with a risk factor, as Mihalis wasn’t even the regular starter during his one year at Virtus Bologna and could be worse than advertised.
NBA Comp: Darren Collison
#10 Seattle Rainmakers: Geert Kain, C- Germany
The Rainmakers are going to be looking for a player who can give them minutes right away and the oldest prospect in the class, Geert Kain, fits that bill. Kain projects as a defensive force with a developing jump shot on offense, who specializes in cleaning the defensive glass. Adding him to Seattle helps them give Stretch Armstrong more minutes at the 3, which fits his game slightly better than power forward. Kain didn’t exactly fill up the stat sheet in his 3 years at Dinamo Sassari, which again calls into question the reliability of international scouting. If he is as good as advertised though, the 7 footer will be well worth this pick.
NBA Comp: Alex Len
#11 Tokyo Devils: Dong Hanying, C- China
We jump straight from the oldest player in the class to the 3rd youngest, Dong Hanying, who saw 48 minutes off Real Madrid’s bench as a fresh faced 16 year old in 2018. He was so buried on the depth chart that he actually saw those minutes as a 3, but Hanying certainly projects better as a center. He’s athletic for his size, and seems to have an above average handle for a big, but it’s difficult to estimate what the actual ceiling could be for a player so young. It’s entirely possible he ends up being the best big man in the class and a top-5 overall talent. I have him mocked here to Tokyo as a potential depth or D-League stash, I could see a shooting guard or Morten Kjolbye land here as well.
#12 Gabon Giants: Jere Hubble, SG- Vegas Union University
A former #26 overall recruit who averaged in the double digits in scoring during both of his years in college, Jere Hubble is considered to have long-term potential as a shooter but is probably best served by a season in the D-League. I’ve heard rumors of Gabon considering a rebuild and they may be entering the stockpiling assets phase, so this pick could also move.
#13 Cincinnati Hitmen: Baczo Paliciuc, C- Romania
The Hitmen are currently running a little short on bodies down low, and Romanian bruiser Baczo Paliciuc can be an immediate upgrade for them as a rebounder and post defender. The 7 footer is an all around liability in terms of scoring or handling, which limits his total upside. At only 20 years old, Baczo should have long career plying the skills he does have though.
#14 Miami Extreme: Morten Kjolbye, SF- Denmark
This is a hell of a fall for a guy most mocks have getting picked in the 3 to 5 range, but the WBA already has a glut of pretty good but not elite small forwards. One team not in possession of any of those is Miami, who has back-to-back picks and holes at the 2 and 3 to fill. This would be a pretty ideal outcome for the Extreme, Kjolbye will take his lumps but certainly projects as a starter in this league on both sides of the ball. Still only 20, Morten’s rebounding leaves a lot to be desired and he will need to improve on his 27.5% accuracy from 3 point range over his career at Angola.
#15 Miami Extreme: Arcangelo Rissetto, SG- Appleby University
Rissetto came over from Italy to play one year of college basketball, averaging 17.4 points as the lead option of the Apples. The 19-year old has the potential to be a solid starter in the league, he fits the mold of a good-but-not great player to a T as his inside game and 3 point shooting will never be elite, nor will his defense. I would expect the Extreme to be able to sign a better starting option and leave Rissetto a year to develop in the D League before trotting him out against real pros.
#16 Cape Town Zulus: Tyrre Dudley, PF- Greenbriar Tech
The 5th GCBA player off the board in this mock is the 2nd Techie to be selected, 2018’s #1 overall recruit Tyrre Dudley. Originally considered a lock to be a top 5 pick, Dudley’s draft stock slipped when his offensive game turned out not to match the hype and he struggled to see minutes. It was no surprise when he and freshman teammate Jarred Torrey declared for the draft the night of Greenbriar’s upset loss in the 2nd round of the tournament, but would be a surprise to see the 7 footer fall to a team that needs depth at his position here in the Zulu.
#17 Salt Lake City Fanatics: Cleveland Steffens, SF- Bakersfield Tech
This is a case of matching positional needs, as Cleveland is the last small forward on the board with a realistic shot of a pro caliber ceiling and the Fanatics are paper thin at the position. Steffens is a tremendous athlete who is an inside out scorer, shooting over 50% overall and 44% from 3 on his way to a 17.6 average PPG in his senior year at Bakersfield. The problem is his lack of growth potential in other skills, but the former #180 overall recruit has exceeded expectations before.
#18 Paris Honey Bees: Albrecht Herzing, C- Germany
The 3rd German off the board would provide both needed depth in the post and a long-term prospect to last year’s WBA Finals runner-up. Opinions differ wildly on Herzing, who has spent his career thus far with Panathinaikos in the IBF Adriatic Mediterranean League and is yet to average over 10 points or 7 boards. Some see him as a mid 20’s level prospect, but others project him as a potentially above average starter.
#19 Las Vegas Gamblers: Venceslas Portocarrero, SG- Spain
The Gamblers would love it if a true point guard was available here, but all the first round level talent dried up before their time in this mock. Portocarrero is a nice consolation prize, as most mocks have him being taken just outside the top 10. The Spaniard is a premier athlete who makes his name on the defensive end and especially on the perimeter. His offensive game is marred by the fact that his 3 point shot doesn’t ever look likely to develop.
#20 Barcelona Counts: Jim McCarthy Jr., PF- Yellowhammer State
The WBA’s original Hall of Famer’s son ends up getting picked just inside the top 20 after being the #7 prospect out of high school and starting for a year with the Mammoths. McCarthy is loaded with potential and could become a particularly big threat as a defensive player, but he needs at least a year in the D League before that happens, even at the college level he was occasionally making defensive errors that had his father hurling curse words and middle fingers from the stands.
#21 Milan Mayhem: Eliseo Larocca, SG- Italy
BPA or Positional Need: BPA Best Asset: Quickness
#22 Mexico City Hellcats: Gonzalo Hoyos, C- Spain
BPA or Positional Need: Both Best Asset: Post Defense & Shot Blocking
#23 Cancun Outlaws: Garry Engram, C – Detroit Lutheran State
BPA or Positional Need: Positional Best Asset: Defensive Rebounding Potential
#24 New York Firestorm: Curro Campos, SF- Greenbriar Tech
BPA or Positional Need: Positional Best Asset: Jump Shooting Potential
#25 Colorado Pioneers: David Work, PG- Great Plains University
BPA or Positional Need: Positional Best Asset: Ball Handling
#26 London Disco: Glenn Peiffer, SG- Lone Star State
BPA or Positional Need: BPA Best Asset: Quickness
#27 Moscow Snow Bears: Luke Whisenhunt, SG- Billings A&M University
BPA or Positional Need: BPA Best Asset: Athleticism
#28 New York Firestorm: Kirk Lansing, PF- Midwest State
BPA or Positional Need: Positional Best Asset: Defensive Rebounding Potential
#29 New York Firestorm: Frank Tso, SF- Rhode Island Union
BPA or Positional Need: BPA Best Asset: 3 Point Shooting Potential
#30 Brookyln Rage: Brian Miller, PF- Jersey State University
BPA or Positional Need: BPA Best Asset: Post Defense