The Most Accurate NBA Mock-Drafters of 2020

Who were the most accurate NBA mock-drafters in 2020?

While we are certainly approaching peak fantasy football szn, it should not be forgotten that the NBA Draft is knocking on our doors as well. And for me, that means (hopefully) plenty of betting.

We know that draft markets are beatable, and part of my process is tuning into what the sharp mock-drafters are saying. But who are the best mock-drafters? This information is not as readily available in NBA as it is for NFL, so I had to do some digging.

Fortunately, my buddy Dan Rivera got me started with some mock data he already had from last year. I updated that data, added some mocks, and performed some Google Sheets magic to grade the mocks in six different categories:

  • Mocked first-rounders who went in Round 1

  • Mocked lottery players who went in the lottery

  • Mocked non-lottery players who went non-lottery (in R1)

  • Picks within two places of accuracy

  • Picks within five places of accuracy

  • Exact matches

This gave me a few different avenues to grade accuracy for the mock-drafters in question. It should be kept in mind that this is only one year of information, but I feel as though last draft was almost a more true test of ability to find and synthesize data points given the circumstances. In any event, here were the most accurate mock-drafters out of the 23 I observed.

Jonathan Givony - ESPN

Round 1: 27
Lottery: 13
Non-Lottery: 12
+/- 2: 10
+/-5: 23
Exact: 7

Givony is the class of NBA mock-drafting and information. He was the founder of Draft Express prior to joining ESPN, and that certainly shows. Givony was first or tied for first in four categories, and was second in exact matches.

James Ham - NBC Sports

Round 1: 27
Lottery: 13
Non-Lottery: 12
+/- 2: 13
+/-5: 22
Exact: 2

Ham rivaled Givony everywhere but in exact matches, where he scored just two. Even without nailing teams exactly, Ham was able to place 22 draftees within five places, and 13 within two. That level of accuracy is extremely helpful for NBA Draft betting.

*Editor’s note — I made an error transposing Sam Vecinie’s final mock draft originally, causing his accuracy to be far lower than it should be. His correct statistics lie below.

Editor’s note — I am my own editor.

Sam Vecenie - The Athletic

Round 1: 27
Lottery: 12
Non-Lottery: 11
+/- 2: 13
+/-5: 17
Exact: 8

Vecenie is an excellent NBA draftnik and insider. He also has a fantastic podcast. I am relieved to see his mock accuracy be high since I was rather confused that it was not the case originally.

Stone Hansen - Lines Sports

Round 1: 26
Lottery: 13
Non-Lottery: 11
+/- 2: 10
+/-5: 22
Exact: 6

I had actually never heard of this site until trying to find some mocks for 2021, but I’m glad that I did. Hansen showed no deficiencies in accuracy across the board.

Jeff Goodman - Stadium

Round 1: 27
Lottery: 12
Non-Lottery: 11
+/- 2: 10
+/-5: 20
Exact: 6

Goodman is Stadium’s NBA insider, and it led to excellent proficiency in predicting the draft.

Kevin O’Connor - The Ringer

Round 1: 27
Lottery: 12
Non-Lottery: 11
+/- 2: 9
+/-5: 21
Exact: 5

I feel like KOC is a sneaky-good NBA insider. Sure, nobody is going to confuse him with Woj (a one-of-one), but he definitely has connections inside the league. It shows in his mock accuracy.

Krysten Peek - Yahoo

Round 1: 25
Lottery: 12
Non-Lottery: 9
+/- 2: 12
+/-5: 22
Exact: 4

Peek struggled a little bit in the 20’s, but was absolutely money at getting picks close to actual. Players towards the end of Round 1 don’t cost us nearly as much money as the fellas in the lottery.

With accuracy decreasing, here are just the stats on some other mock-drafters to round out the top 10.

NBA Draft Junkies

Round 1: 25
Lottery: 11
Non-Lottery: 8
+/- 2: 13
+/-5: 20
Exact: 8

NBA Draft Room

Round 1: 27
Lottery: 12
Non-Lottery: 11
+/- 2: 10
+/-5: 19
Exact: 5

Ricky O’Donnell - SBNation

Round 1: 25
Lottery: 13
Non-Lottery: 10
+/- 2: 11
+/-5: 20
Exact: 4

Jason McIntyre - Fox

Round 1: 24
Lottery: 12
Non-Lottery: 8
+/- 2: 13
+/-5: 18
Exact: 7