Both the NBA and College Basketball seasons are in full swing. Here is my weekly 2023 NBA Mock Draft with analysis!
Draft order courtesy of http://www.tankathon.com. A lottery generator was run.
Reminder that I base this on my NBA 2K23 Draft Class, meaning there are not an infinite number of freshmen in this mock. I try to keep the total number of freshmen in a class to 20 or so. So you will see more upperclassmen than most mocks. More inline with how the NBA Draft usually plays out.
|1||C Victor Wembanyama, France – 7’4, 240 lbs||22.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 3.1 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. Sure, the Heat have Bam Adebayo at center, but they would find a way to play both guys.|
|2||PG Scoot Henderson, USA/G-League – 6’3, 180 lbs||21.2 ppg, 6.0 apg, 4.3 rpg||Scoot Henderson is more than just a consolation prize for whoever loses out on the top pick. He is an elite talent, and is a perfect fit as a 2023 NBA point guard. He is big, strong, an aggressive scorer and talented distributor and defender. He has 20/5/5 potential right out of the gate. Both Henderson and LaMelo Ball are versatile and talented enough that they could be interchangeable point guards for the Hornets.|
|3||SG Nick Smith, Fr, Arkansas – 6’5, 185 lbs||N/A||From LAL
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 and should have no problem averaging 20 points per game pretty quickly. Teams can never have enough guys who can get their own offense, and he would be quite the luxury for a Pelicans team that continues to reap the rewards of the Anthony Davis trade.
|4||SF Brandon Miller, Fr, Alabama – 6’9, 200 lbs||20.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.3 apg||The Spurs are one of the youngest teams in the NBA, and should just go after the best available talent. That would definitely be Brandon Miller right now, who has been an absolute dog for Alabama. He has shown a complete offensive game and has been a ball of energy on the defensive end. He is looking like a real two way threat.|
|5||PF GG Jackson II, Fr, South Carolina – 6’9, 215 lbs||16.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.4 spg||Playing for a terrible Gamecocks team, GG Jackson II could be overlooked a bit, but he shouldn’t be. Already an NBA level rebounder and energy guy, he has shown a great ability to score a variety of ways, especially from the outside. If he can continue to hone his jump shot, he would be the perfect new generation power forward. The Pistons do not have a big man on the roster with as much potential as Jackson II.|
|6||PG Cason Wallace, Fr, Kentucky – 6’4, 193 lbs||12.6 ppg, 4.6 apg, 4.0 rpg||The starting back court of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter can really fill it up on the offensive end of the court, but I have my doubts on how that pairing would work long term. Cason Wallace would be such a perfect fit in Houston. He has been so impressive in the early going, looking a lot like Marcus Smart out there, with his ability to lead a team, take care of the ball, take smart shots and absolutely smother ball handlers defensively.|
|7||SF Amen Thompson, USA/OT Elite – 6’7, 202 lbs||N/A||Amen Thompson needs to work on his jumpshot, but he might be the best on the ball defender in this class, and is a solid ball handler and scorer as well. He may be more of a De’Andre Hunter type than a true alpha, but he does a lot of things that helps produce winning basketball. Orlando is pretty much all offense right now. Thompson would do so many things that would help the Magic become a more consisten team.|
|8||PF Jarace Walker, Fr, Houston – 6’8, 240 lbs||12.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.6 apg||Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might be too good to keep the Thunder from truly tanking, though I am sure they will shut him down for the season if things get out of hand. Jarace Walker was the highest recruit Houston has had in a while, and so far so good. He is strong, tough, can handle the ball and has a developing perimeter shot.|
|9||SG Keyonte George, Fr, Baylor – 6’4, 185 lbs||14.4 ppg, 5.0 apg, 4.0 rpg||From CHI
Paolo Banchero has been great, but the Magic need more fire power. Keyonte George is a fantastic combo guard who can play point guard in the NBA. He has more upside than any of the Magic guards, especially when it comes to scoring. It is hard to be successful in today’s NBA if you do not have a few guys that can get their own offense.
|10||PF Kris Murray, Jr, Iowa – 6’8, 225 lbs||23.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.5 apg||It is early, but Kris Murray is looking like a spitting image of his twin brother Keegan. He should average 20 ppg for Iowa this year, showing the same type of offensive game that landed his brother in the lottery. Other than Stephen Curry and Adrew Wiggins, the rest of the Warriors look lost. Changes may be coming, and Murray is experienced enough to be a big part of the team immediately.|
|11||SF Ausar Thompson, USA/OT Elite – 6’7, 207 lbs||N/A||It will be interesting to see how the Overtime Elite program develops NBA players. Ausar is not quite the athlete and scorer that his brother is, but could wind up as a point forward type who can shut things down defensively. He is the type of “do a little bit of everything” type guy the Nets really need.|
|12||SF Dariq Whitehead, Fr, Duke – 6’7, 220 lbs||4.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apg||From PHI
Dariq Whitehead has returned from his broken foot, and the Blue Devils are bringingg him along slowly, similar to how they used AJ Griffin last year. I expect Whitehead to get better as things go along. He is definitely a lottery talent, especially on offense. The Jazz have three first round picks, and will probably take a couple of young freshmen to develop.
|13||SF Dillon Mitchell, Fr, Texas – 6’8, 205 lbs||7.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 0.5 spg||From MIN
The Longhorns are bringing Dillon Mitchell along slowly, but he has already started to show off his amazing athleticism. He dropped a double double during his second game of the season in just 18 minutes and is shooting 86% from the field on the season. He is a project to be sure, but the type of prospect the surprising Jazz are looking to add.
|14||SF Cam Whitmore, Fr, Villanova – 6’7, 220 lbs||N/A||From DAL
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. New York may have three first round picks, and at this point in the draft, this pick would be a gamble worth taking.
|15||SG Terquavion Smith, So, NC State – 6’4, 165 lbs||19.0 ppg, 5.3 apg, 3.3 spg||Terquavion Smith could have been a first round pick as a freshman, but returning to school was unquestionably the right move. He is off to a monster start, scoring from everywhere and terrorizing ball handlers defensively. He would be a great combo guard off the bench for the Knicks with the opportunity to take over as the starting shooting guard in short order.|
|16||SF Gradey Dick, Fr, Kansas – 6’8, 205 lbs||16.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 apg||It is looking like freshman Gradey Dick is going to get big minutes for Kansas, and is squarely on the 2023 draft radar. It is all about shooting here. Dick is tall, lanky with a hard to guard jump shot. He is a good athlete who can chip in a bit defensively. Every team in the NBA needs shooting, Toronto included.|
|17||SG Julian Strawther, Jr, Gonzaga – 6’7, 205 lbs||15.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 spg||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. The Bulls bench is non-existent, and Strawther could back up several positions.|
|18||PG Anthony Black, Fr, Arkansas – 6’7, 198 lbs||11.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.5 apg||Anthony Black’s performance against Louisville on 11/21 showed why scouts are so high on him. He dropped 26 points with 6 assists and 2 steals. He has great size, is a solid defender and a true point guard. If he can continue to shoot it like he did last night, he should shoot back up draft boards.|
|19||C Dereck Lively II, Fr, Duke – 7’1, 230 lbs||3.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.3 bpg||Minutes in the Duke front course are fierce right now, and Dereck Lively II could get lost in the shuffle a bit. Still, he is too talented to not be a first round draft pick. He may max out as a Tyson Chandler type, that plays strong defense but relies on put backs to get his point. Still, that should be good enough to be a long time starting center, or a very high quality backup if he lands with Memphis.|
|20||SF Jett Howard, Fr, Michigan – 6’8, 215 lbs||14.4 ppg, 2.8 apg, 1.4 bpg||From NO
Jett Howard has basically been a solid shooter who chips in a few assists and blocks. For a Lakers team with little in the way of options to improve the roster, could throw some minutes his away. At the very least, he should have plenty of open jump shots.
|21||PF Leonard Miller, Canada/G-League – 6’10, 208 lbs||14.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 spg||From WAS
The Knicks have three first round picks here, and, much to the dismay of Tom Thibodeau, could take a developmental project here. Leonard Miller has had a nice year for the Ignite, and has great length and energy. A long term investment to be sure, but there is a lot to like.
|22||C Kyle Filipowski, Fr, Duke – 7’0, 230 lbs||15.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.4 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. The Kings are set in the front court with Domantas Sabonis and Keegan Murray, but Filipowski could be the top backup to both.|
|23||C Kel’el Ware, Fr, Oregon – 7’0, 210 lbs||7.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg||Big men usually start slow in college, and I expect Kel’el Ware’s usage to expand as the season goes on. He is a very athletic and engaging big man, especially on defense. On offense, he has the ability to keep defenses honest with his jump shot. A project to be sure, but the Clippers could use a backup big man. Los Angeles has been, by far, the worst drafting team of the past ten years.|
|24||PG Tyrese Hunter, So, Texas – 6’0, 175 lbs||16.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.3 apg||Tyrese Hunter is the perfect point guard to lead a second unit in the NBA. Very quick, athletic and a fantastic scorer, he could rack up buckets in a hurry. The Suns are deep, but would probably like to develop a point guard to take over for Chris Paul in the future.|
|25||SF Mark Mitchell, Fr, Duke – 6’8, 220 lbs||11.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 apg||Mark Mitchell was thought to be the Duke freshman that struggled a bit out of the gate, but he has been solid in the early going. He is a very athletic combo forward who can shoot and slash on offense. The Hornets face questions up and down the roster, so Mitchell could get minutes right away.|
|26||SF Brice Sensabaugh, Fr, Ohio State – 6’6, 235 lbs||17.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.3 spg||The Pacers have the fifth best record in the NBA, are loaded with young talent and have three first round picks. Things are looking up. Brice Sensabaugh has had a fantastic start to the season, scoring 17 points per game on 50% shooting in less than 20 minutes per game. He would add even more scoring punch to a deep Pacers bench.|
|27||PF DaRon Holmes II, So, Dayton – 6’10, 225 lbs||13.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.8 bpg||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 yet another piece for a surprising Jazz team that refuses to tank.|
|28||SF Arthur Kaluma, So, Creighton – 6’7, 225 lbs||14.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 apg||From CLE
Arthur Kaluma 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. He gives the Pacers yet another scoring option.
|29||SF Terrence Shannon Jr., Sr, Illinois – 6’6, 215 lbs||21.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 4.0 apg||From MIL
The draft community has followed Terrence Shannon Jr. for years. He always showed ability, but never quite put things together for Texas Tech. He moved to Illinois this past off-season, and has exploded as a senior, showing the all around game that has kept him on the draft radar for four years. He is now squarely in the late first round mix, and could do a lot of the little things the Rockets desperately need.
|29||PF Adama Sonogo, Jr, Connecticut – 6’9, 245 lbs||21.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.2 spg||From BOS
I was looking at draft and stash possibilities here for the Pacers, but teams really do not do that anymore. So I went with Adama Sonogo, who has been a PER darling this year, thanks to his defense, scoring and ability to stretch the floor at times. A great energy guy, he would be a great addition to the Indiana bench.