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B1G In The Big Leagues: 2020 NBA Draft Preview & Open Thread

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Oh, you don’t like him? Tough cookies, I’m running this thread
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 18, 8:00 PM EST, ESPN

We won’t list the entire selection order, but you can consult it here. I’ve always thought the presentation of draft selections by the NBA and ESPN is kind of confusing, as they don’t clarify which team the player actually ends up going to after the various rights exchanges. Granted, outside the lottery, most of these selections are longshots to play much as rookies anyway, but it would still be nice to know.

The Big Ten has something of a double-edged sword with this year’s draft: from the perspective of fans of the conference, many of the league’s best players opted to return, meaning the quality of play should be excellent once again. Ayo Dosunmu, Luka Garza, Kofi Cockburn, Marcus Carr, Isaiah Livers, Aaron Henry, and CJ Walker all withdrew from the draft after initial declarations.

That does mean, however, that the league’s pool of draft candidates is a bit shallow this year. None of the mocks I’ve seen have any Big Ten products going in the top ten. The general consensus is also that former Maryland PF/C Jalen Smith is probably the first B1Ggie off the board, somewhere around the end of the lottery (mid-teens).

After that, it gets a bit dicey. Ex-Spartan Xavier Tillman is commonly mocked right around the end of the first round or first few picks of the second. But standouts like Daniel Oturu, Cassius Winston, Lamar Stevens, and Anthony Cowan could find themselves waiting well into the second round, if they’re selected at all.

If that’s surprising given how effective those players were in college, keep in mind the NBA’s evaluation is obsessed with upside - a sufficiently tall, long-armed, springy guy who hasn’t yet proven much is far more interesting than a four-year player who’s a finished product. If all other things are equal, or even if an older player is better, a younger prospect is still going to draw more attention for the possibility of undiscovered star power that could be had on a team-friendly rookie deal.