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NBA Mock Draft 2023: Edition 2

Scoot Henderson to Portland

1. San Antonio Spurs

Victor Wembanyama, F, France

No matter what happens over the next several weeks, there's no doubting which direction San Antonio will go in with the No. 1 selection. Winning the lottery and securing the services of Victor Wembanyama was a franchise-changing event for the Spurs, who seemed to be floundering after the success of the early to mid-2010s. Considering the last two big men who went No. 1 overall to the Spurs was David Robinson and Tim Duncan, it feels like an ideal fit for him, too.

2. Charlotte Hornets

Brandon Miller, F, Alabama

This year's draft really begins with the second pick, where the Hornets will essentially be deciding between Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson. Henderson is firmly entrenched at No. 2 on my big board, and I don't think the gap between him and Wembanyama is as large as some seem to think. Yet, I worry about his fit next to La'Melo Ball and feel like Brandon Miller makes more sense given Charlotte's current roster composition.

3. Portland Trail Blazers

Scoot Henderson, G, G League Ignite

Portland is a team to keep a close eye on over the summer. Damian Lillard continues to play his heart out, but the rest of the roster is extremely underwhelming. Is it time for the Blazers to trade "Dame" and usher in a new era? Lillard is 32 after all, and has begun to show signs of wear and tear. If Portland does choose to move on, Scoot Henderson would be the ideal selection, an explosive combo guard who reminds me of a younger Russell Westbrook.

4. Houston Rockets

Amen Thompson, G, Overtime Elite

Amen Thompson is a complete mystery to wide swaths of the basketball public, but NBA folks adore him. The 6'7" guard has elite two-way potential and is going to deliver immediate playmaking ability, even if other parts of his game need to round out. He's worth the risk for Houston, who could another piece to energize a mediocre backcourt.

5. Detroit Pistons

Jarace Walker, F, Houston

Detroit was the big loser of this year's lottery, dropping all the way to the fifth pick. Even so, there's an opportunity to add a nice piece to go along with their young core of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Jalen Duren. Houston's Jarace Walker isn't as flashy as others projected to go in the Top 10, but he's a well-rounded, versatile forward who brings an immediate defensive and rebounding presence.

6. Orlando Magic

Ausar Thompson, G, Overtime Elite

An even larger risk than his twin brother, Ausar Thompson isn't quite the playmaker, but he's displayed an improved shooting touch and defensive upside. While Amen is expected to be more ball-dominant at the next level, Ausar Thompson is best set up to be more of a complementary piece who can move off-ball. Orlando's backcourt is awfully crowded, but why not take a swing on someone with Thompson's potential?

7. Indiana Pacers

Cam Whitmore, G/F, Villanova

Indiana is a team that has some interesting pieces, such as Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner, but they lack any type of consistent scoring punch off the wing. Enter Cam Whitmore, who earned Big East Freshman of the Year honors during his lone season at Villanova. The high-flyer is a highlight reel waiting to happen, and I love the fluidity of his offensive game.

8. Washington Wizards

Anthony Black, G, Arkansas

An injury to five-star freshman Nick Smith allowed Anthony Black to show what he could do this past season for Arkansas and he did not disappoint. Black proved that he was excellent distributor who could immediately jolt an offense, even if his jump shot was streaky. At 6'5", he has ideal size for the modern NBA, and could be a nice fit alongside Brad Beal.

9. Utah Jazz

Gradey Dick, G/F, Kansas

I'm a huge fan of Gradey Dick and feel confident that whichever team snatches him up will be getting a player with a high floor who will have a long NBA career. In some ways, he reminds me a lot of Gordon Hayward when he was coming out of college, who went on to have a stellar career in Salt Lake City. The Jazz could be getting their next Hayward, although Dick has to improve drastically defensively to warrant this pick.

10. Dallas Mavericks

Nick Smith, G, Arkansas

The Kyrie Irving experiment appears to have failed miserably, but it's clear that Dallas is looking to add an explosive ball-handler to their backcourt that they can pair with Luka Doncic in the long-term. Nick Smith didn't have the season he was hoping for when he came to Arkansas, but he's a relentless, pacy guard who checks plenty of boxes as an NBA prospect.

11. Orlando Magic

Taylor Hendricks, F, UCF

Don't be surprised if Taylor Hendricks is a name that continues to shoot up draft boards. He was a pleasant surprise during his one season at UCF and has a very well-rounded game. Hendricks put up good shooting numbers with the Knights, but will also defend and protect the rim. He adds another high-upside piece to this Orlando frontcourt.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

Keyonte George, G/F, Baylor

OKC continues to move on an upwards trajectory and will be adding a healthy Chet Holmgren to the mix in 2023-24. They should use this late lottery selection on a floor-spacer who can settle into more of a complementary role if needed. Although Keyonte George starred at Baylor, he feels more like a "3-and-D" guy at the next level, which would be just fine with the Thunder.

13. Toronto Raptors

Jordan Hawkins, G, UConn

One of the major pieces in UConn's National Title run, Jordan Hawkins now looks like he'll land somewhere in the late lottery. He's got a skilled offensive game and projects favorably as a lights-out shooter at the next level, even if his athleticism isn't at the level of others around him. He could help open a Toronto offense that needs all the help it can get.

14. New Orleans Pelicans

Jett Howard, G, Michigan

One of the better pure shooters in this Draft, Jett Howard would be a quality addition for a Pelicans team looking to open up space for Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. The key for him will be improving on the defensive end, but the tools are there. He's 6'5" and can defend multiple spots, with decent enough lateral quickness to survive at the next level.

15. Atlanta Hawks

Cason Wallace, G, Kentucky

Cason Wallace is likely to land somewhere in the lottery, but could slide a bit depending on how the guards play out here. Wallace needs to improve his jump shot, but he's an elite perimeter defender that can get to the rim. He would be a nice change-of-pace for Atlanta either alongside or behind Trae Young.

16. Utah Jazz

Bilal Coulibaly, G/F, France

Looking for a dark horse prospect to buy in on? French wing Bilal Coulibably certainly fits the bill, a well-built playmaker who can play multiple different spots. His game will need refinement, but Utah seems like the perfect destination for him to hone his skills. He's worth the risk for the Jazz, who have enough draft selections this year that they can take a flier or two.

17. Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bufkin, G, Michigan

Kobe Bufkin was a pleasant surprise during the disappointing 2022-23 campaign for Michigan, showcasing a modern offensive game and superb shooting ability. He could be a bit undersized for a two-guard the way the NBA is moving, but he more than makes up for it with his quick jumper. The Lakers always need shooters, so this feels right.

18. Miami Heat

Leonard Miller, F, G League Ignite

Leonard Miller is a bit of an unknown commodity entering the 2023 NBA Draft, but the combo forward had an impressive season with the G League Ignite and now projects as a mid-first rounder. At 6'9" with a 7'2" wingspan he could handle a multitude of different roles for the Heat and is your prototypical "glue guy." The offense has been up-and-down, but the raw tools are there.

19. Golden State Warriors

Kris Murray, F, Iowa

Keegan Murray was one of the best rookies in the NBA this year and his younger brother, Kris, looks like a first-round lock. They have nearly identical builds and similar skillsets, although Kris is a tad less athletic than his older brother. Instead, he relies more on an old-school offensive game and although his defense isn't necessarily elite, he has "3-and-D" characteristics.

20. Houston Rockets

Dereck Lively, F/C, Duke

What's fascinating about the 2023 Draft is the lack of true big men that project to land in the first round. It's more guard and wing heavy than usual, which means a traditional big could rise up boards based on team need. That's good news for Dereck Lively, a talented seven-footer who had an underwhelming season with Duke in 2022-23.

21. Brooklyn Nets

Jalen Hood-Schifino, G, Indiana

The short-lived Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving era in Brooklyn is officially over, leaving the Nets with a lack of scorers. Enter Jalen Hood-Schifino, a dynamic guard who has proven he can take over games when needed. Hood-Schifino is a crisp ball-handler and uses his body well, but the jumper is still frightfully inconsistent. He will have his fair share of dominant nights, but follow them up with his fair share of duds.

22. Brooklyn Nets

Rayan Rupert, G/F, France

Another French prospect to watch in this Draft is Rayan Rupert, a high-energy wing who seems to be moving up draft boards at the right time. He's got ideal size at 6'6" with a staggering 7'3" wingspan, perfect for getting in passing lanes and disrupting the rhythm of opponents. Yet, the offensive game is still far away from NBA levels, making him a high-risk, high-reward prospect.

23. Portland Trail Blazers

G.G. Jackson, F, South Carolina

Despite uneven shooting numbers on a bad South Carolina team, G.G. Jackson is set to land somewhere in the first round this June. He is still just 18 years old after reclassifying, so there's plenty of time for him to figure things out. And, there's no doubting his potential as a rim-runner who can fit numerous different roles with his blend of size and speed.

24. Sacramento Kings

Dariq Whitehead, G/F, Duke

Few freshmen entered this college basketball season with as much hype as Dariq Whitehead, but he has unable to live up to those lofty expectations. Injuries were a factor, but Whitehead still has a ways to go offensively and needs to completely rework his jumper. Even so, you he oozes potential, and is worth the risk for a playoff contender like the Kings in the late first.

25. Memphis Grizzlies

Brandin Podziemski, G, Santa Clara

One of the big winners from this year's NBA Draft Combine, Santa Clara's Brandin Podziemski has worked his way into first round consideration. Podziemski doesn't jump out at you athletically the way other guards do in this Draft, but he's an elite shooter with a crafty offensive game. He should be a nice change-of-pace behind Ja Morant, or could provide spacing help alongside him at the two.

26. Indiana Pacers

Brice Sensabaugh, G/F, Ohio State

The Pacers can stay inside the Midwest and land a proven scorer in Brice Sensabaugh, who was one of the few bright spots for Ohio State this winter. Sensabaugh has a nice jumper and elite finishing ability, although you wonder if he has the athleticism and quickness to survive against NBA wings.

27. Charlotte Hornets

Noah Clowney, F, Alabama

This late in the first round, you're either drafting purely off potential or hoping one of these guys can find a niche they can excel at in the NBA. That could be the case for Alabama's Noah Clowney, who projects favorably as a stretch four that can provide efficient minutes off the bench. The comparisons to Bobby Portis feel right, but Clowney seems a bit more versatile.

28. Utah Jazz

Olivier Maxence-Prosper, F, Marquette

There was some question whether Olivier Maxence-Prosper would return to school, but the Marquette product is officially locked in, and seems to be generating first round buzz. He's a high-flyer that will provide instant energy on whichever NBA team he lands on. I love his defensive upside too; he'll be able to defend multiple positions and can be a real pest when needed.

29. Indiana Pacers

Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana

There's definitely some bias playing into this mock selection, but I adore the idea of the Pacers drafting Hoosier legend Trayce Jackson-Davis. As a 23-year old, Jackson-Davis isn't sniffing the lottery, but he offers plenty of value in the late first round. He's got tremendous touch around the rim and elite athleticism, and you saw how much he grew as a leader during his time at Indiana.

30. Los Angeles Clippers

Maxwell Lewis, G/F, Pepperdine

There's a good chance Maxwell Lewis goes higher than this, but depending on how things shake out, he may sneak into the late first or early second. If so, the Clippers will jump on the opportunity to keep him in the state of California and add a good-sized, rangy wing who has improved rapidly in the collegiate ranks.

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