Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

NBA Mock Draft 2023: Edition 3 (Final Edition)

Victor Wembanyama

 1. San Antonio Spurs

Victor Wembanyama, F, France

Don't expect any late surprises this year, as there is no question Victor Wembanyama will be the top selection in the 2023 NBA Draft. The greater questions are whether Gregg Popovich will be back to coach him, which is looking more likely by the passing day, and how San Antonio chooses to round out his supporting cast. 

2. Charlotte Hornets

Scoot Henderson, G, G League Ignite

Charlotte remains the ultimate wild card at the top of this Draft. There are rumors the Hornets could look to swing this pick in a trade, but even if they do keep it, the selection isn't obvious. Alabama forward Brandon Miller has been slated here for awhile, but things seem to be trending in the direction of Scoot Henderson at this juncture. He would give them a powerful guard to pair with La'Melo Ball, a terrifying combination for the rest of the Eastern Conference.

3. Portland Trail Blazers

Brandon Miller, F, Alabama

Portland appears just fine sitting here at No. 3 and taking whoever Charlotte doesn't a pick earlier (assuming they don't trade out). In this case it's Brandon Miller, which may actually be a positive for the Blazers. The combo forward is a bit more versatile in what he can bring to an NBA team and gives them a much-needed building block in an underwhelming frontcourt.

4. Houston Rockets

Amen Thompson, G, Overtime Elite

Don't be surprised if the Rockets choose to mix things up with the fourth selection. They enter the offseason as serious players in the James Harden sweepstakes and there isn't an obvious prospect to hone in with the consensus top three off the board. If they do stick firm, dynamic lead guard Amen Thompson seems to make the most sense, bringing immediate playmaking and limitless upside to the equation.

5. Detroit Pistons

Ausar Thompson, G/F, Overtime Elite

As disappointing as slipping to the No. 5 pick was for the Pistons, they have a capable young core that can still add a nice complementary piece here. I've previously had Jarace Walker mocked here, but things seem to be trending in the direction of the other Thompson twin, who some scouts like more than Amen. Ausar isn't quite the playmaker his brother is at this stage in his development, but will fit nicely as a defensive menace with some potential as a shot creator.

6. Orlando Magic

Cam Whitmore, G/F, Villanova

Are rumors of a potential Cam Whitmore slide legitimate or merely your prototypical pre-Draft smoke screens? It's hard to say, but the Villanova wing is still sure to land somewhere in the mid-to-late lottery, and is worth the risk for the Magic at this spot. He has potential to grow into a lethal scorer at the next level and should benefit from the floor-spacing ability of Franz Wagner.

7. Indiana Pacers

Jarace Walker, F, Houston

The Pacers have an interesting core in place and could be a dark horse playoff threat if things go right next season. They could choose to invest this selection in one of the many wings projected to go in the mid-lottery range, but Houston's Jarace Walker offers more value. He's an instant impact player that will eat rebounds and play physical defense, without being an uncomfortable fit alongside Myles Turner.

8. Washington Wizards

Anthony Black, G, Arkansas

Few players increased their draft stock this past winter quite like Anthony Black, who took advantage of additional minutes at Arkansas to evolve into a lottery pick. NBA folks love his two-way potential and crisp passing touch, even if the offensive game needs to round out. Now that Brad Beal is on his way to Phoenix and it doesn't appear Chris Paul is coming back in return, there will be ample minutes for Black to grow.

9. Utah Jazz

Bilal Couliably, G/F, France

An LNB teammate of Victor Wembanyama's, Bilal Couilably is an intriguing prospect. Although his offensive game is still raw, his measurements are all lottery worthy and he has real potential as a "3-and-D" guy at the next level. A destination like Utah would be a great place for him to learn and grow without the pressure.

10. Dallas Mavericks

Taylor Hendricks, F, UCF

Taylor Hendricks is the type of modern forward that NBA teams covet, so it wouldn't be shocking if he goes before this. However, if he is available, Dallas a chance to add a versatile piece who would a superb fit alongside Luka Doncic. At 6'8", Hendricks could play small forward or even a small-ball five, while providing steady scoring output and tenacious defense.

11. Orlando Magic

Gradey Dick, G/F, Kansas

Orlando may have an exciting group of young pieces on this roster, but three-point shooting is a real problem on this roster. Even if the guard grows up fast, whether it's Cole Anthony or Jalen Suggs, none are likely to become plus shooters from downtown. The Magic can be proactive in addressing that conundrum by taking Gradey Dick, the best pure shooter in this Draft. The defense may need work, but there's still plenty of value with Dick at pick 11.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

Kobe Bufkin, G/F, Michigan

There's nothing particularly flashy about Kobe Bufkin, but the Michigan product earned plenty of adoration in the pre-Draft process and has the looks of a lottery lock. He's a well-built wing with proven shooting ability and very nice touch around the rim. Add him alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, the Thunder get yet another young piece to toy around with.

13. Toronto Raptors

Keyonte George, G/F, Baylor

Toronto has had a lack of premier scoring threats since the departures of Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan, but selecting Keyonte George would change that. George will have to learn to be more efficient, but the dynamic wing is a pure scorer with limitless range and a fearless mindset.

14. New Orleans Pelicans

Jalen Hood-Schifino, G, Indiana

Is there a real chance New Orleans trades Zion Williamson? It remains unlikely in my mind, but makes the Pelicans worth watching at the bottom of the lottery. If they stick here and the Draft falls like so, they probably invest in a backcourt piece like Jalen Hood-Schifino. The Indiana product may be streaky, but he's an explosive, pacy playmaker who could play either guard spot.

15. Atlanta Hawks

Cason Wallace, G, Kentucky

The Hawks appear to be one of the teams most interested in moving up in this Draft and may be willing to move a big name (such as John Collins or Dejounte Murray) to do so. If they do remain at 15, it makes sense for them to invest in a piece like Cason Wallace. The Kentucky product is a rock-solid combo guard who may be undersized (6'2") but is a tremendous defender that should fit in nicely alongside Trae Young.

16. Utah Jazz

Dereck Lively II, F/C, Duke

We're getting to the point where predicting Dereck Lively II to go 16th overall feels far too low for the powerful Duke big man. He has been shooting up boards late in the process and now feels like a lottery possibility. The Jazz would be just fine if he lasts to them at 16, giving them a talented but raw big to pair with Walker Kessler in the long-term.

17. Los Angeles Lakers

Jordan Hawkins, G, UConn

The Lakers are always looking to add shooters to open up this offense and they have a chance to select one coming off an impressive National Title run in Jordan Hawkins. Whether it's off screens, off the dribble, or spot-up, Hawkins is a fearless scorer that should bring a winning edge to Los Angeles.

18. Miami Heat

Leonard Miller, G/F, Canada

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Leonard Miller is one of the most mysterious prospects in this Draft. Yet, the 6'9" wing is coming off an impressive season in the G League ranks and checks enough boxes to warrant consideration in the Top 20. His athleticism and fluidity make him a fun watch every night and if he lands in the right spot, somebody could unlock his complete offensive repertoire. No team in the NBA gets value from the Draft quite like Miami, so this could be a match made in heaven.

19. Golden State Warriors

Nick Smith Jr., G, Arkansas

An established contender like the Warriors is always looking to add backcourt playmaking at a low cost, and Golden State could do just that by selecting Nick Smith Jr. here. Smith didn't quite live up to the preseason hype he received while at Arkansas, mainly due to injuries, but is a quick, decisive playmaker that could learn a bunch from Steph Curry and company.

20. Houston Rockets

Olivier-Maxence Prosper, F, Marquette

Another late riser in this Draft, Olivier-Maxence Prosper has taken advantage of a strong Combine and pre-Draft process to move up boards. He's still a bit limited in his overall game, but you can see the potential when he steps up on the court as a rim runner and lockdown defender. For a team like Houston, who is looking to hoard all the intriguing young talent they can, this selection makes sense.

21. Brooklyn Nets

Rayan Rupert, G/F, France

Is there a team that enters the offseason with more unanswered questions than the Brooklyn Nets? We have no idea what this team is going to look like, either in 2023-24 or in the long-term. But, with a pair of consecutive picks in the mid-first, why not take a swing on a name like Rayan Rupert? The wing has plenty of work to do, but is an elite perimeter defender with impressive physical tools.

22. Brooklyn Nets

Jaime Jaquez Jr., G/F, UCLA

Jaime Jaquez is not your typical first-round NBA prospect. He's a bit older, at 22 years of age, and isn't an overwhelming athlete or polished specialist. Yet, he brings a winning mentality and hard-nosed attitude that could be a major asset for this Nets team after the disastrous "Big Three" era. His range is all over the place, but landing at 22 is not a stretch.

23. Portland Trail Blazers

Jett Howard, G/F, Michigan

It appears that Portland has no ambitions to trade Damian Lillard at any point in the near future, which means they should do whatever possible to help out the face of their franchise. Jett Howard could provide help as a long-range floor-spacer and should also take some of the pressure of Lillard in the scoring column, as Howard has shown he can handle an increased offensive load.

24. Sacramento Kings

Noah Clowney, F/C, Alabama

It will be interesting to see how Sacramento operates this offseason after finally ending their postseason drought. They have a bunch of options they could take advantage of at this point in the Draft, but I like the idea of them adding another high upside forward in Noah Clowney. The Alabama product can play either forward spot and potentially even a small-ball five, while adding impact defense and rebounding prowess.

25. Memphis Grizzlies

Brandin Podziemski, G, Santa Clara

Ja Morant's suspension is official, meaning Memphis will need other players to step up if they have any hopes of reaching the postseason once more. That provides a valuable opportunity for a prospect like Brandin Podziemski, a creative offensive weapon with a lethal jumper. I'm super high on Podziemski, and feel like has the looks of a guy that's going to have a long, productive NBA career.

26. Indiana Pacers

Dariq Whitehead, G/F, Duke

Injuries limited what Dariq Whitehead could do during his lone season at Duke, but the former five-star prospect is still likely to land somewhere in the first round. There's a lot to like about Whitehead's offensive potential, if he can stay healthy, and he's worthy of a flier at this spot in the Draft.

27. Charlotte Hornets

Kris Murray, F, Iowa

Kris Murray doesn't command attention the way other prospects do in this Draft, but it wouldn't shock me if he's a late first-round gem. Despite not being a top-tier athlete, he's found a niche as an efficient scorer that does all the little things well. Charlotte could use a high-floor prospect like him, particularly after taking a chance on Scoot Henderson second overall.

28. Utah Jazz

Colby Jones, G, Xavier

Both of Utah's prior first-rounders could be a considered high-risk, high-reward selections in this mock, but taking Xavier's Colby Jones at 28 would represent a safer move. The combo guard is a tremendous passer who will easily slide into any role that this team needs, whether that's as a starter or in spot minutes off the bench.

29. Indiana Pacers

Brice Sensabaugh, G/F, Ohio State

Every single year, there's a prospect or two who have the types of games that would be perfect in the NBA a decade ago, but seem to be moving out of fashion in the current context. Sensabaugh fits that description; he's an old-school bucket-getter who isn't going to blow you away with his athleticism, but remains productive. A pre-Draft injury has him waiting longer than he probably should, but it's hard to imagine him lasting outside the first.

30. Los Angeles Clippers

James Nnaji, F/C, Nigeria

Will the Clippers be making this selection? This pick originally looked to be on its way to Washington in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, but that has since "fallen apart" as I'm writing this. If Los Angeles does hold on to it, I like them investing in a high-upside big like James Nnaji, who could give them reinforcements in an underwhelming frontcourt.

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.