The NBA Draft Class of 2020 is deep with potential role players, but there’s a dearth of surefire stars in this class that could ultimately lead to draft night musical chairs.

Some franchises may view the class through a more optimistic lens and either stay put or try to move up to target specific players, while others may be willing to move down the board — or off it entirely in exchange for assets — because of question marks surrounding some of this year’s best prospects.

The teams at the top of the draft are in a variety of different phases as franchises that could only further add to the chaos. Minnesota, picking at No. 1, needs someone who can play right away in an already-solid D’Angelo Russell-Karl-Anthony Towns starting rotation. Golden State, picking No. 2, can add a rotation player to a championship-caliber team, or stay put and try to swing big. Then there’s Charlotte, Chicago and Cleveland, three teams who lack foundational pieces but are in the range to potentially secure one in this draft. (We didn’t even mention the Knicks or Pistons, who in this draft missed out on the first wave of stars and pick outside the top five.)

Now, whether or not teams will move up or down the board depends on what trade compensation terms would look like and how some view the class on the whole. But let’s pretend there is indeed movement and chaos does indeed shape up the draft order. In the exercise below, we’ve identified the six most likely teams to move up (or down), and why they may be motivated to do so.

1. Golden State Warriors

Top pick: No. 2

There was speculation predating the draft lottery that Golden State may trade down. Getting the No. 2 pick makes that scenario even more likely. The Warriors have three All-Stars on their roster in Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and need only an ancillary piece — perhaps another scoring wing — to add to the mix. That’s an asset they could later in the draft, and at a more favorable salary hit than the slot they’d pay the No. 2 overall pick.

“Yeah, we’re going to consider all that,” Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers told NBC Sports Bay Area in May about potentially trading their first-round pick. “Now, I don’t know if the headline is going to be that we’re trading our pick. So, be clear that I said ‘consider.'”

If any team moves up or down in this draft, I have the highest degree of confidence it will be the Warriors — and that they’ll be trading out of their slot.

2. New York Knicks

Top pick: No. 8

If Golden State does in fact trade down, then New York may be the most willing trade partner. The Knicks pick eighth in this draft and have been linked to LaMelo Ball on several occasions, but there’s a problem: Ball will almost certainly not be available by pick No. 8.

New York simply can’t afford to not swing for a point guard with its first-round pick. So whether it’s Ball, Killian Hayes or Tyrese Haliburton, moving up in this draft to ensure the new front office regime has a franchise-caliber lead guard to build around is paramount, even if it requires paying a premium.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves

Top pick: No. 1

Trading out of the No. 1 slot rarely happens, but that doesn’t mean the T-Wolves won’t entertain the idea. And according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic, many around the organization expect it’s at least a possibility.

Look, none of the three big names in this draft — James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards — are perfect fits in Minnesota. And none fit their win-now timeline, either, seeing as all three have warts that need worked out in their respective games. That’s why dealing this pick for a player that fits their timeline — or trading down to get better value in addition to a future asset — actually isn’t a totally egregious consideration for the Wolves’ front office.

4. Atlanta Hawks

Top pick: No. 6

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has shown a willingness to be flexible on draft night, as he was part of the blockbuster deal that facilitated the Luka Doncic-Trae Young trade. And while moving down from their spot at No. 6 in this draft doesn’t seem likely, it doesn’t seem impossible, either. There’s some really talented players available in the 10-20 range of this draft that could help Atlanta achieve its goal of putting together a winning roster around Young. If trading down would net Schlenk a ready-made rotation player and a future asset, you’d have to think it’s something he would consider.

5. San Antonio Spurs

Top pick: No. 11

San Antonio has a fringe playoff team in place but DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and Patty Mills are all entering the final years of their contracts. Change is likely coming. And the good thing is that this franchise is in a pliable position to be aggressive. With the No. 11 pick, they could stand pat and try to find a good value add. But those expiring contracts could be used as trade chips to move up the board, and I think the Spurs are a quiet lurker who could not-so-quietly play a big factor on draft night.

6. Philadelphia 76ers

Top pick: No. 21

The Sixers’ first-round playoff exit adds to years of tumultuous building, and Elton Brand has pressure to put together a winner now with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. And pressure could lead to desperation. They have four second-round picks in this draft in addition to pick No. 21 to at least dangle in talks to potentially move up the board, but that’s only if they feel they can get someone worth adding who isn’t available where they currently pick.


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