Draft order based on 1. record. 2. point differential. Since this is an extended mock draft, I decided to run a lottery generator to get the draft order.
The NCAA season is officially underway. While I try to take very early results with a grain of salt, we can at least learn what freshmen might get some real minutes with the opportunity to make an impact.
I base my mocks off of my ever changing NBA 2K23 2023 Draft Class. Meaning it is not just a list of freshmen. There are always limited number of freshmen that declare every year, so you will actually see some upperclassmen in this mock.
|1||C Victor Wembanyama, France – 7’4, 240 lbs||21.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.8 bpg||No need to type up a team/player fit for Victor Wembanyama. He is 100% guaranteed to be the top pick. The most hyped prospect in years has lived up to the billing, with jaw dropping performances on national television. He is a legit 7’4 with the ball handling skills of a guard, a great shooting stroke and all defensive NBA potential. Just pray to the basketball gods that he can stay healthy. History has not been kind to players as tall as him. The Heat will probably not wind up in the lottery, but yeah, they’ll find a way to play both Bam Adebayo and Wembanyama.|
|2||PG Scoot Henderson, USA/G-League – 6’3, 180 lbs||25.0 ppg, 6.0 apg, 1.0 spg||The Rockets have some good individual talent, but it still hasn’t translated to wins. Adding a true point guard with the ability to score like Scoot Henderson, to go along with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter, would give Houston an embarrassingly talented trio of guards. Jabari Smith Jr. should get all of the spot up looks he could handle – if these guards ever pass the ball.|
|3||SG Nick Smith, Fr, Arkansas – 6’5, 185 lbs||N/A||Things really open up a bit after the top two guys above, with several players fighting for number three status at the moment. Nick Smith sat out Arkansas season opener with a precautionary injury, but it should not affect him going forward. He is an aggressive, flashy scorer that would be just what the offensively challenged Hornets need. This would give Charlotte one of the most exciting back courts in the league.|
|4||SF Amen Thompson, USA/OT Elite – 6’7, 202 lbs||N/A||For the second consecutive draft, Sacramento lands the fourth pick. Right now I like Amen Thompson here, though it will be interesting to see how much the Overtime Elite program will help NBA Draft prospects. Thompson struggles a bit with his jump shot, but is a good ball handler and very willing defender with the potential to be a great two way player. He is the type of strong glue guy who would fit with any young team.|
|5||PF GG Jackson, Fr, South Carolina – 6’9, 215 lbs||18.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg||From LAL
The Pelicans have the luxury of taking the best player available here, thanks to the hapless Lakers. While other top recruits are injured, GG Jackson, the top 2023 recruit who reclassified, has hit the ground running. He is an extremely energetic big man with a developing perimeter game. He may take a year or two to get going in the NBA, but imagine him running the floor with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
|6||SF Brandon Miller, Fr, Alabama – 6’9, 200 lbs||14.0 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg||Brandon Miller would give the Pistons another versatile ball handler and scorer. Miller has the ability to get to the basket, slash as an off the ball mover, and shoot it from deep.|
|7||SF Dariq Whitehead, Fr, Duke – 6’6, 220 lbs||N/A||Dariq Whitehead will be out for a while with a broken foot but is expected to make a full recovery, so it should not impact his draft stock all that much. Whitehead is a strong wing scorer, who could overpower the average NBA shooting guard. He also has great defensive potential, which would make him a good fit on an Orlando team struggling on that end.|
|8||PF Jarace Walker, Fr, Houston – 6’8, 240 lbs||8.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg||Jarace Walker has gotten a bit of Draymond Green comparisons, so he could be a good fit for the Warriors. He is a strong defender, good rebounder and can pass the ball out of the high post. He also has a developing offensive game, making him a very well rounded power forward.|
|9||SF Ausar Thompson, USA/OT Elite – 6’7, 207 lbs||N/A||Ausar Thompson is not nearly the shooter and scorer that his twin brother Amen is, but he may be an even better defender. He is a great athlete and a strong ball handler as well, and should be an upper-echelon role player type at the NBA level. The always rebuilding Thunder hope to pick much higher than this, of course.|
|10||SF Cam Whitmore, Fr, Villanova – 6’7, 220 lbs||N/A||Cam Whitmore is injured, and freshmen have historically had a tough time making an impact at Villanova, but I will keep him in the lottery for now. Whitmore, like a lot of high schoolers developing at the college level, struggles with his jumpshot, but has great size and is lethal in transition and cutting to the basket. With Whitmore and Jeremy Sochan, the Spurs have two ultra-athletic forwards to build around.
|11||SG Keyonte George, Fr, Baylor – 6’4, 185 lbs||13.0 ppg, 7.0 apg, 6.0 rpg||From MIN
The Jazz were supposed to be tanking, but apparently no one told the players or coaches that. This pick is from Minnesota, who got destroyed by Danny Ainge in the Rudy Gobert trade. The Jazz will probably go best player available while they look to reshape the roster. Keyonte George might struggle with consistently early but is a talented combo guard who can create his own offense and lead the team in a pinch.
|12||SG Terquavion Smith, So, NC State – 6’4, 165 lbs||26.0 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.o rpg||Terquavion Smith is probably the best non-freshman prospect in college basketball. He reminds me a lot of Bones Hyland. A combo guard who is instant offense off the bench, with the ability to start if needed. Who knows what is going on with the Nets, but Smith should be able to contribute immediately.|
|13||PG Anthony Black, Fr, Arkansas – 6’7, 198 lbs||3.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.0 apg||Few things are as consistent as the Wizards picking in the 8-13 range every year. Point guard is probably the biggest need on the roster. Anthony Black, like most guys on this list, needs to improve his jump shot, but he is a true point guard with fantastic size. He should know how to get it to Bradley Beal early and often.|
|14||SF Gradey Dick, Fr, Kansas – 6’8, 205 lbs||23.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg||Honestly, I just wanted to coin the nickname “Dick the Knick.” I did not have Gradey Dick in my inaugural 2023 draft class because I wanted to see how much run Bill Self would give him. It was only one game, but Dick played 32 minutes and showed the type of three point shooting and defense that should make him a late lottery pick. Simply put, every team in the NBA could use a guy like him.
|15||SG Julian Strawther, Jr, Gonzaga – 6’7, 205 lbs||16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 spg||The bottom of the Eastern Conference is wide open, so the Pacers could realistically claim one of the final playoff spots. This, along with three first round picks, means an upperclassmen here could be a possibility. I am a big Julian Strawther fan, and think he could be an NBA contributor right away. He paid his dues at Gonzaga, and has developed into a crafty scorer who can chip in some steals as well.|
|16||SG Rayan Rupert, France – 6’6, 185 lbs||8.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.6 spg||From PHI
With one of three first round picks, the Jazz opt for potential here. Rayan Rupert, like a lot of French prospects, is versatile and can do a lot of things on the floor. Play defense, slash to the basket, handle the ball. He would be a good developmental prospect for the Jazz.
|17||SG Cason Wallace, Fr, Kentucky – 6’4, 193 lbs||15.0 ppg, 9.0 apg, 8.0 rpg||From CHI
Markelle Fultz cannot stay healthy and RJ Hampton has not developed, meaning bench scoring is still a big need in Orlando. Cason Wallace flirted with a triple double during his first college game, and is your typical offensively aggressive combo guard.
|18||SF Jett Howard, Fr, Michigan – 6’8, 215 lbs||21.0 ppg, 5.0 apg, 2.0 rpg||From NO
Jett Howard carried over his impressive summer work to the regular season. The “only one game” disclaimer applies, but the coaches son should get plenty of run on a good Michigan team, thanks to his length and shooting stroke. The Lakers only have a small handful of first round picks this decade. Perhaps they will actually try to develop a young player?
|19||C Dereck Lively II, Fr, Duke – 7’1, 230 lbs||N/A||The Clippers have been the worst drafting team of the past ten years, and it has not even been close. They never seem to be interested in adding rookies to the roster, but if they choose to here, Dereck Lively II could fill a role. Los Angeles is thin behind Ivica Zubac, and Lively II would not need to do much except rebound, block shots and hit a three pointer or two. He is raw, and is already missing games at Duke, but has the ability to develop into a solid starting big man.|
|20||SF Arthur Kaluma, So, Creighton – 6’7, 225 lbs||17.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg,||Arthur Kaluma fits the Raptors wing players prototype. He is big, strong and a creative scorer. His lack of a jump shot is the reason he falls to the 20’s, but if he can knock down enough jump shots to keep defenses honest, could be a valuable commodity.
|21||PF Kris Murray, Jr, Iowa – 6’8, 225 lbs||14.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.0 apg||From DAL
While I do not expect Kris Murray to take the NCAA by storm like his twin brother Keegan did last year, he is a safe bet to be much improved as the new face of the Iowa offense. Like his brother, he is a talented combo forward who can handle the ball and hit jump shots. He should be a much improved backup forward over Obi Toppin in New York.
|22||SG Amari Bailey, Fr, UCLA – 6’5, 185 lbs||10.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 spg||The Hawks are a deep team, and like to use their first round picks on freshmen they can develop. Amari Bailey is nothing more than a scorer at this stage of his development, but could develop some ball handling skills as things go forward, making him a potential first guard off the bench.|
|23||C Kyle Filipowski, Fr, Duke – 7’0, 230 lbs||10.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg||Kyle Filipowski is not overly athletic or strong, but he is already showing the ability to grab rebounds and knock down jump shots. He could have a nice career as a backup stretch-type big man.|
|24||C Kel’el Ware, Fr, Oregon – 7’0, 210 lbs||8.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 bpg||From POR
I do not like to ever mock needs this late in the first round, but the Bulls front court is so shallow that they need to add size any way they can. Kel’el Ware is a definite project that will take time to develop, but he can do a lot of things that 2022 big men are asked to do; block shots, run the floor and hit the occasional jump shot.
|25||SF Sidy Cissoko, France/G-League – 6’8, 200 lbs||8.5 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.0 rpg||From DEN
Sidy Cissoko plays for the Ignite by way of France. He has shown the ability to be a point forward type who can rebound and play defense. The offense is developing, but he would be a good fit for a Hornets team short on ball handlers and even shorter on defenders.
|26||PF Leonard Miller, Canada/G-League – 6’10, 208 lbs||12.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.3 spg||From BOS
Another Ignite project, Leonard Miller hails from Canada. He is extremely raw, even for a G-League prospect, but has good size and strong defensive instincts. He may never be a strong scorer, but brings energy and would be a good pick for a Pacers team with three selections here.
|27||PG Marcus Sasser, Sr, Houston – 6’2, 195 lbs||21.0 ppg, 3.0 apg, 4.0 spg||From CLE
The polar opposite of Indiana’s last pick, Marcus Sasser is the best senior in the nation. He will be 23 when the draft rolls around, and does not have huge upside, but should quickly develop into a very solid backup point guard with the chance to start when needed.
|28||SF Matthew Cleveland, So, Florida State – 6’7, 200 lbs||16.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.0 spg||Matthew Cleveland reminds me quite a bit of current Suns backup Torrey Craig. He is not a shooter at all, but does almost everything else well. Cleveland is a strong wing scorer and smart defender.|
|29||PF DaRon Holmes II, So, Dayton – 6’10, 225 lbs||13.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg||DaRon Holmes II was a top 50 recruit that surprisingly chose Dayton, and has quickly developed into a solid NBA prospect. He has good length, can really get after things defensively, and can stretch the floor out to 18 feet or so. He would be another intriguing big to add to the collection in Utah.|
|30||SF Dillon Mitchell, Fr, Texas – 6’8, 205 lbs||4.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg||From MIL
Every year, the Texas Longhorns seem to land a top 20 recruit, but with such a veteran team, they often struggle to make a huge impact. Dillon Mitchell has top ten talent, but is still a project. If everything clicks, he could be a lanky scorer who can keep up with the rest of the jets on the Houston roster.