Timberwolves select Anthony Edwards with No 1 pick in delayed NBA draft | NBA

Anthony Edwards paid tribute to his mother and grandmother. Onyeka Okongwu recalled his brother. Obi Toppin thought about coming home.

Tears flowed freely for those and many more players Wednesday night when their long-awaited, months-delayed NBA dreams were finally realized.

Edwards was taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No 1 pick in an NBA draft delayed multiple times because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Commissioner Adam Silver announced the pick from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. The draft was originally scheduled for 25 June before multiple delays caused by the virus pushed it back out and out of its usual home at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Boxes of hats were shipped to the top prospects to put on the one they needed after their name was called.

Edwards watched while seated next to portraits of his late mother and grandmother. They both died of cancer and he was emotional after his name was announced.

“As far as just being excited and just being happy and ready to go and ready to work and ready to get there as soon as possible, those emotions were overwhelming with just my mother and grandmother being there,” Edwards said. “I mean, it was just a dream come true and just a blessing.”

And though there wasn’t the usual family table in the green room and trip on stage to meet the commissioner, some players still were outfitted in fashionable attire perhaps none more than No 12 pick Tyrese Haliburton of Sacramento, whose blue, floral suit had the words “Black Lives Matter” on the inside.

They celebrated with family, friends, coaches and in Cole Anthony’s case, even celebrity fans. Movie director Spike Lee jumped up and down with his family when Orlando took Anthony, whose father, Greg played for the Knicks, at No 15.

Some moments triggered deeper emotions. Okongwu, taken No 6 by Atlanta, recalled his older brother, Nnamdi, who died after a skateboarding accident in 2014.

Toppin, the national player of the year last season at Dayton, struggled to speak after New York took him at No 8, bringing the Brooklyn-born forward to his hometown.

“I’m from New York, that’s why it’s important,” Toppin said. “Me repping my city, it’s amazing.”

Edwards became the 11th straight one-and-done player to be the No 1 pick, coming in a year where there was no clear obvious choice. He averaged 19.1 points for the Bulldogs, tops among all freshman.

The Golden State Warriors, stung by the news that Klay Thompson sustained another leg injury earlier Wednesday, took Memphis center James Wiseman with the second pick. They stumbled to the bottom of the league while Thompson missed the entire season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

The severity of his injury had not been revealed as the draft began but it didn’t persuade the Warriors to take another guard. Instead they went with the 7ft 1in center who arrived as the No 1 recruit out of high school and averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in three games before he was suspended for eligibility reasons and eventually left the program to prepare for the draft.

LaMelo Ball then went to the Charlotte Hornets, the next stop on a lengthy basketball journey that sent the guard from high school in California to stops as a professional in Lithuania and Australia. He joined brother Lonzo, taken No 2 by the Lakers and now in New Orleans, to give the Balls two brothers taken in the top three picks.

After all his travels, Ball is eager to make a home playing for Michael Jordan’s team in Charlotte.

“I feel like I can go out there and play basketball,” Ball said. “I feel like I was born to do this.”

The newcomers will have precious little time to prepare for their debuts and need to knock off months of rust or more Wiseman hasn’t played an organized game in a year without the benefit of summer league. Training camps open in early December and the 72-game 2020-21 season is set to begin on 22 December.

“This draft process has been the longest for me, so I’ve just been working on my game,” Wiseman said. “I’ve actually been playing pickup games with pros already, so I’ve been getting a lot of experience. But really just focusing on myself. I’m truly ready to play with these great guys.”

Teams had to evaluate prospects without benefit of the usual draft combine in Chicago or the ability to invite them to their facilities for workouts and meetings. And with the coronavirus shutting down the sports world in March, there was no NCAA Tournament for the players to make a final impression before entering the draft.

That helped contribute to perhaps more questions than usual surrounding the draft, with little feel for how the top few picks would play out.

The Chicago Bulls took Patrick Williams of Florida State, the ACC sixth man of the year as a freshman, at No 4. Cleveland followed with Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, another freshman, to round out the top five.

The latter half of the top 10 featured a couple highly regarded international players in France’s Killian Hayes, taken by Detroit at No 7, and Deni Avdija, the highest player to come from Israel when Washington picked him at No 9.

The setting wasn’t the only thing unusual about the draft. Duke didn’t have a player picked in the first round after having 39 since the league went to a two-round draft in 1989.

And the San Antonio Spurs picked in the lottery for the first time since 1997, when they drafted Tim Duncan No 1. The Spurs picked Devin Vassell at No 11, giving Florida State two first-round selections for just the second time in school history.

First round

1. Minnesota Timberwolves, Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia
2. Golden State Warriors, James Wiseman, C, Memphis
3. Charlotte Hornets, LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
4. Chicago Bulls, Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
5. Cleveland Cavaliers, Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
6. Atlanta Hawks, Onyeka Okongwu, C, Southern California
7. Detroit Pistons, Killian Hayes, PG, France
8. New York Knicks, Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
9. Washington Wizards, Deni Avdija, SF, Israel
10. Phoenix Suns, Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
11. San Antonio Spurs, Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
12. Sacramento Kings, Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
13. New Orleans Pelicans, Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
14. Boston Celtics, Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
15. Orlando Magic, Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
16. Portland Trail Blazers, Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington (reportedly traded to Detroit via Houston)
17. Minnesota Timberwolves, Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Serbia (reportedly traded to Oklahoma City)
18. Dallas Mavericks, Josh Green, SG, Arizona
19. Brooklyn Nets, Saddiq Bey, PF, Villanova (reportedly traded to Detroit via L.A. Clippers)
20. Miami Heat, Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
21. Philadelphia 76ers, Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
22. Denver Nuggets, Zeke Nnaji, PF, Arizona
23. New York Knicks, Leandro Bolmaro, SG, Argentina (reportedly traded to Minnesota)
24. Milwaukee Bucks, RJ Hampton, PG, New Zealand Breakers (reportedly traded to Denver via New Orleans)
25. Oklahoma City Thunder, Immanuel Quickley, PG, Kentucky (reportedly traded to New York)
26. Boston Celtics, Payton Pritchard, PG, Orego
27. Utah Jazz, Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
28. Los Angeles Lakers, Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington (reportedly traded to Minnesota via Oklahoma City)
29. Toronto Raptors, Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State
30. Boston Celtics, Desmond Bane, SG, TCU (reportedly traded to Memphis)

Second round

31. Dallas Mavericks, Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
32. Charlotte Hornets, Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
33. Minnesota Timberwolves, Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota (reportedly traded to New York)
34. Philadelphia 76ers, Theo Maledon, PG, France (reportedly traded to Oklahoma City)
35. Sacramento Kings, Xavier Tillman Sr., C, Michigan State
36. Philadelphia 76ers, Tyler Bey, PF, Colorado (reportedly traded to Dallas)
37. Washington Wizards, Vit Krejci, PG, Czech Republic (reportedly traded to Oklahoma City)
38. Utah Jazz, Saben Lee, PG, Vanderbilt (reportedly traded to Detroit)
39. New Orleans Pelicans, Elijah Hughes, SG, Syracuse (reportedly traded to Utah)
40. Memphis Grizzlies, Robert Woodard II, SF, Mississippi State
41. San Antonio Spurs, Tre Jones, PG, Duke
42. New Orleans Pelicans, Nick Richards, C Kentucky (reportedly traded to Charlotte)
43. Sacramento Kings, Jahmi’us Ramsey, PG, Texas Tech
44. Chicago Bulls, Marko Simonovic, C, Montenegro
45. Milwaukee Bucks, Jordan Nwora, PF, Louisville
46. Portland Trail Blazers, CJ Elleby, SG, Washington State
47. Boston Celtics, Yam Madar, PG, Israel
48. Golden State Warriors, Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
49. Philadelphia 76ers, Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas
50. Atlanta Hawks, Skylar Mays, SG, LSU
51. Golden State Warriors, Justinian Jessup, SG, Boise State
52. Sacramento Kings, KJ Martin, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) (reportedly traded to Houston)
53. Oklahoma City Thunder, Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State (reportedly traded to Washington)
54. Indiana Pacers, Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke
55. Brooklyn Nets, Jay Scrubb, SG, John A. Logan College
56. Charlotte Hornets, Grant Riller, PG, Charleston
57. Los Angeles Clippers, Reggie Perry, C, Mississippi State
58. Philadelphia 76ers, Paul Reed, PF, DePaul
59. Toronto Raptors, Jalen Harris, SG, Nevada
60. New Orleans Pelicans, Sam Merrill, SG, Utah State (reportedly traded to Milwaukee)

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