How weird was the 2020 NBA draft? There were zero lottery picks from Kentucky, UNC, Duke and Kansas

Jack Baer
·Writer
·3-min read

The 2020 NBA draft was seen as one of the most wide-open drafts in recent memory, mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic that cut the 2019-20 college basketball season short and threw every team’s scouting pr into disarray.

However, even before the pandemic hit, it still wasn’t clear who would be taken first overall. The rest of the draft was just as unclear.

Here’s how the lottery picks of the draft ended up playing out, with players from Dayton to Israel.

2020 NBA draft lottery picks

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, University of Georgia

2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, University of Memphis

3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawara (Australia)

4. Chicago Bulls: Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State University

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn University

6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, C, University of Southern California

7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, PG, Ulm (Germany)

8. New York Knicks: Obi Toppin, PF, University of Dayton

9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)

10. Phoenix Suns: Jalen Smith, PF, University of Maryland

11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State University

12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State University

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Kira Lewis, PG, University of Alabama

14 Boston Celtics (from Memphis Grizzlies): Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt University

One thing you might notice is which schools aren’t there.

College basketball blue bloods shut out

You will not see Kentucky, which previously had a lottery pick every year since John Calipari took the job in Lexington. You will not see Duke, which had two of the top three picks in the 2019 NBA draft. You will not see North Carolina, Kansas, Arizona, Indiana, Michigan State or UCLA.

Just about every school that could reasonably be considered a blue blood — you could even throw in Villanova, Syracuse, Louisville and Gonzaga — did not have a player taken in the lottery this year. Missing only the first four teams makes this the kind of draft not seen since the beginning of the millennium, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Of course, it’s not like those schools whiffed on the draft. UNC’s Cole Anthony just missed the lottery cut-off as the No. 15 overall pick, landing with the Orlando Magic. Tyrese Maxey from Kentucky went six picks later to the Philadelphia 76ers. Udoka Azubuike from Kansas went 27th overall. Vernon Carey of Duke went 32nd overall.

North Carolina guard Cole Anthony (2) dribbles against Duke during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Cole Anthony just missed out on being a lottery pick. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

It’s still wild to see the blue bloods shut out, though. Anthony was theoretically the most likely lottery pick among the big four schools, but UNC’s nightmare year helped prevent that. Kansas finished the year ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, but only had one player — Devon Dotson — declare early for the draft. Duke and Kentucky had their usual highly ranked freshmen, but none was a Zion Williamson or Anthony Davis.

In all likelihood, this will end up being a fluke, at least judging from next year’s Rivals recruiting rankings. Kentucky, Duke and UNC form the top three classes with 10 five-stars between them.

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