On the clock: Timberwolves land No. 1 pick

The Minnesota Timberwolves won the NBA draft lottery on Thursday, securing the No. 1 pick in October’s draft.

Here is the complete order of the lottery picks that were revealed Thursday evening.

1: Minnesota Timberwolves

2: Golden State Warriors

3: Charlotte Hornets

4: Chicago Bulls

5: Cleveland Cavaliers

6: Atlanta Hawks

7: Detroit Pistons

8: New York Knicks

9: Washington Wizards

10: Phoenix Suns

11: San Antonio Spurs

12: Sacramento Kings

13: New Orleans Pelicans

14: Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies)

Knicks, Cavs fall

The Hornets and Bulls both moved into the top four, bumping the Knicks and Cavaliers down from their pre-lottery slots. The Cavaliers were slotted second and tied for the best odds to win the No. 1 pick and will pick fifth. The Knicks had the sixth-best odds and will pick eighth.

The Hornets won the No. 3 pick after entering the lottery with the eighth-best odds, while the Bulls moved up from the No. 7 slot to the No. 4 pick. Minnesota was slotted third and had the best odds alongside the Warriors and Cavaliers to win the No. 1 pick.

Who will go No. 1?

Unlike last year’s draft with Zion Williamson as the undisputed top prize, there is no clear-cut No. 1 pick in 2020.

LaMelo Ball is a top candidate, but Georgia guard/forward Anthony Edwards, Memphis center James Wiseman and Dayton forward Obi Toppin could all figure into the equation. The Timberwolves already have a starting point guard in D'Angelo Russell and an All-NBA center in Karl-Anthony Towns. Will they overlook Ball and Wiseman to add Edwards on the wing?

Where will LaMelo Ball land? (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Ball may be the best prospect in the draft. The brother of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, LaMelo is slightly taller and more athletic than his brother and a better scorer than the elder Ball who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA draft. LaMelo did not play in college, opting instead to play overseas in preparation for his NBA future.

He exceeded expectations competing against professionals last year in Australia’s National Basketball League at 18 years old. A 6-7 point guard with high-level handles and the ability to score from anywhere over halfcourt, Ball had a chance to be the first name called.

But with the top two teams in the draft having established point guards, Ball could fall. Or the Warriors may look to trade out of the No. 2 spot for an established player as they look to return to contention with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson rejoining the lineup after missing time with injuries.

COVID-19 pushes back draft

The draft that’s normally held in June was pushed to October because of the COVID-19 crisis. The Oct. 16 date falls three days after the latest possible NBA Finals game in the Disney World bubble.

The 2020-21 season is tentatively slated to start on Dec. 1. But like most things scheduled in the COVID-19 era, that date sounds increasingly unlikely. Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN prior to Thursday’s lottery that the league is leaning toward pushing the start date back with hopes of playing games in front of fans.

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