2023 NBA Mock Draft With Analysis – 1/26/23

Now with a corresponding YouTube video!

Draft order and lottery courtesy of http://www.tankathon.com

Pick Team Player Stats Commentary
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Oklahoma City Thunder
C Victor Wembanyama, France – 7’4, 240 lbs 21.4 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 3.2 bpg What an amazing get for the Thunder. They defy the odds in this lottery generator and move up 9 spots to land this generational talent. 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. Imagine Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren patrolling the paint on defense for Oklahoma City. That would be scary.
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Charlotte Hornets
PG Scoot Henderson, USA/G-League – 6’2, 195 lbs 19.8 ppg, 6.1 apg, 4.7 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. The only knock on him might be his average size, but that is just nit picking. The Hornets best player is a point guard, but this is a team so talent starved that they absolutely have to take Henderson here and figure out how to integrate him later.
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New Orleans Pelicans
SF Amen Thompson, USA/OT Elite – 6’7, 202 lbs 16.1 ppg, 6.0 apg, 6.6 rpg From LAL
Amen Thompson needs to work on his jumpshot, and it is a legit concern that he is almost 20 years old playing against a bunch of high school kids, but he is a top notch athlete and may be the best on the ball defender in this class. Throw in his ability to be a true point guard and the total package is probably at the top of tier three. Thompson has the kind of all around game that would make him a nice fit for any team. Thompson would join other defensive wings Trey Murphy, Herbert Jones and Dyson Daniels on a deep, young Pelicans team.
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Houston Rockets
SF Brandon Miller, Fr, Alabama – 6’9, 200 lbs 19.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.8 apg Brandon Miller has been the best freshman in the country and it has not really been close. While almost all of the other top recruits have struggled at times, Miller has consistently poured in 20 points per game, shooting 46% from the field and an amazing 45% from three. He is also an active defender, and should be the first college player off the board. His game may overlap with Jabari Smith Jr.’s a bit, but the Rockets simply need talent. You can never have enough shooters.
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Detroit Pistons
SF Ausar Thompson, USA/OT Elite – 6’7, 207 lbs 16.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.4 apg  Ausar Thompson has been just as impressive as his twin brother Amen. Scouts say he is not quite the athlete Amen is, but also has the ability to be a defensive minded, athletic point forward that can do a ton of little things to help his team win. The Pistons remain young and mostly lost. Thompson would be a great fit as a glue guy and defensive specialist for a roster mostly composed of ball dominant scorers.
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San Antonio Spurs
SF Cam Whitmore, Fr, Villanova – 6’7, 232 lbs 12.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.6 spg Things really open up a bit after the top five above are gone. The next tier is full of very talented, but flawed, freshmen prospects. Villanova is having its worst season in a very long time, but Cam Whitmore has been mostly a positive. He is a strong wing with a real defensive presense. Steals are the defensive stat that usually translates to the NBA, and he averages almost two per game. The Spurs lack toughness and a defensive identity, and Whitmore should help in that area.
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Orlando Magic
SG Nick Smith Jr., Fr, Arkansas – 6’5, 185 lbs 12.8 ppg, 1.8 apg, 1.8 rpg It has been a freshman season to forget for Nick Smith Jr. He missed time to start the year and now may be done for the season with a knee injury. I still find it hard to believe he will fall out of the top ten, however. He is a very gifted scorer, and every team in the NBA is clamoring for guards who can get their own offense. The Magic have a ton of intriguing front court talent, but the guards have struggled to establish themselves. Smith Jr. would be a great addition as a scorer and creator.
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Toronto Raptors
SG Keyonte George, Fr, Baylor – 6’4, 185 lbs 16.9 ppg, 3.3 apg, 4.6 rpg Both Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. are upcoming free agents, so the Raptors back court could look very different next year. Keyonte George has struggled with efficiency, but that is something that should be fixed with NBA coaching. He is an explosive scorer and ball handler, and is what NBA teams are looking for out of their guards these days.
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Washington Wizards
PG Cason Wallace, Fr, Kentucky – 6’4, 193 lbs 11.2 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.5 rpg There are few things in life more consistant than the Wizards picking between 8 and 12 every year. Here they are once again, with point guard being, by far, the biggest need on the roster. Kentucky has been a mess this year, but Cason Wallace has mostly been very good. He reminds me a lot of Marcus Smart. A tenacious defender who can knock down enough jump shots to keep defenses honest.
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Orlando Magic
SF Gradey Dick, Fr, Kansas – 6’8, 205 lbs 14.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 apg From CHI
Gradey Dick is the best freshman that no one really talks about. He is knocking down shots at a 45/43/82 clip, and chips in a steal and a half per game. Simply put, he is that three and D wing that every team wants two or three of. This would be a really nice get for the Magic, who end up landing Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner and Gradey Dick for Nikola Vucevic. I would say that is a win.
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Portland Trail Blazers
SF Brice Sensabaugh, Fr, Ohio State – 6’6, 235 lbs 17.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.6 spg Brice Sensabaugh just keeps getting better and is now firmly in the lottery mix. He has been extremely consistent, with shooting percentages of 50/47/80. Right now he is mostly a scorer, but is strong and has the ability to improve as a defender. Portland has a dynamic back court duo, but could use additional scoring, as could any team in the league.
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Indiana Pacers
PF Kris Murray, Jr, Iowa – 6’8, 225 lbs 21.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.8 apg I have seen some mocks that do not have Kris Murray in the first round at all. That is silly to me. He is quite comparable to his brother Keegan, who was a top four pick and is a very good player for a playoff team. I would definitely draft Kris in the late lottery, especially if I was a solid team like the Pacers looking for that extra push towards playoff contention. Sure, he will be 23 by the time the season starts, but he should be a quality scorer and rebounder right away.
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Utah Jazz
PF GG Jackson II, Fr, South Carolina – 6’9, 215 lbs 16.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.9 bpg GG Jackson II, one of the youngest players in college basketball, is holding his own on an over-matched South Carolina team. He is a great athlete who can score off lobs and put backs, and his perimeter shot has been promising. He struggles with efficiency, but it can be excused since he is doing everything for a really bad, overmatched, South Carolina team. The Jazz have three first round picks and would be a very nice spot for Jackson, who could slowly develop there.
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Utah Jazz
PG Anthony Black, Fr, Arkansas – 6’7, 198 lbs 12.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.0 apg From MIN
Anthony Black is a unique prospect. He is big and strong, a solid scorer with a better than anticipated jump shot. He plays solid defense, and can absolutely run the point guard position full time. He still needs to be more consistent offensively, but the potential is there to be a starting point guard in this league. He would be a particularly good fit next to undersized two-guard Colin Sexton.


Golden State Warriors
SF Jett Howard, Fr, Michigan – 6’8, 215 lbs 14.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.5 apg Jett Howard is a solid 3 and D type that every team would love to have coming off it’s bench. He is a very consistent scorer, can handle the rock and get some blocks and steals. The Warriors have the young talent and depth to tranform on the fly around Stephen Curry, and Howard would be a nice piece.
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New York Knicks
PF Jarace Walker, Fr, Houston – 6’8, 240 lbs 10.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.8 apg From DAL
Jarace Walker has been hit and miss, but as a freshman playing for one of the best teams in the country, he has been impressive. He is a solid scorer out to three point range, can rebound and even handle the rock. At 16, he could be a steal. The Knicks have several first round picks, and a solid starting five, so they could just go best player available.
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Atlanta Hawks
SG Maxwell Lewis, So, Pepperdine – 6’7, 195 lbs 18.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.8 apg Gonzaga is not the only WCC team that produces NBA products. In 2022 it was Jalen Williams of Santa Clara, and this year Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis looks like a legitimate talent. He is basically the complete package as a wing, able to handle the ball, shoot and play some great defense. Shooting 51/41/82 is impressive, especially on a 7-14 team where defenses are completely keying in on you. The Hawks often employ a best player available strategy during the draft.
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Indiana Pacers
C Kyle Filipowski, Fr, Duke – 7’0, 230 lbs 15.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.3 spg Duke has struggled during Jon Scheyer’s first season as head coach, but Kyle Filipowski has probably been the teams most consistent player. Filipowski is not overly athletic or strong, but he is already showing the ability to grab rebounds, knock down jump shots and play passing lanes on defense. I cannot imagine that DeAndre Ayton will be a Sun for long, and Cameron Johnson is an upcoming free agent, meaning the front court could be reshaped, and Filipowski would provide some quality minutes.
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Los Angeles Clippers
PF DaRon Holmes II, So, Dayton – 6’10, 225 lbs 18.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg DaRon Holmes II was perhaps the highest rated Dayton recruit ever, and he has been as good as advertised. He is not a pure three point shooter, but can score, rebound and block shots. Moses Brown has been the primary backup center for the Clippers this year, which should tell you all you need to know about the state of their bench.
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Los Angeles Lakers
SG Colby Jones, Jr, Xavier – 6’6, 205 lbs 14.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.9 rpg From NO
Colby Jones has exploded on the scene as a junior, doing it all for a very good Xavier team. Teams in the 20’s are going after these types of upperclassmen more and more, since they are cheap labor so to speak. The Lakers roster is extremely top heavy, so they need to use the few picks they have to add players who can immediately contribute.
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New York Knicks
SF Dariq Whitehead, Fr, Duke – 6’7, 220 lbs 8.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg Like most of the Duke freshmen, Dariq Whitehead has struggled to establish himself. Still, he is knocking down shots at a deent clip and showing some energy on defense. While he does not look like a lottery pick, he should still go in the 20’s, especially since so many teams, like New York, have multiple first round selections.
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Miami Heat
SF Taylor Hendricks, Fr, UCF – 6’9, 210 lbs 14.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.9 bpg While so many top freshman have struggled, a little known Central Florida recruit named Taylor Hendricks has exploded. He fits the new age power forward archetype to a tee. He can run the floor, block shots and score out to three point range. The Florida native gets to stay in his home town, playing for a Heat team that could probably stand to get a bit younger and more athletic.
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Sacramento Kings
PF Noah Clowney, Fr, Alabama – 6’10, 210 lbs 10.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.3 bpg Look at the Kings! Sitting in the 20’s and winning games, hoping to break the longest playoff streak in the NBA. Finally, they can sit back and draft the best player available. Brandon Miller has not quite been a one man show for Alabama. Fellow lanky freshman Noah Clowney has been great as well. A project ofensively, he offers nice potential as a rebounder and shot blocker, and can knock down jump shots as well.
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Indiana Pacers
SF Emoni Bates, So, Eastern Michigan – 6’10, 170 lbs 20.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.1 apg From CLE
Hey look, it is Emoni Bates. Remember this guy? The former “Next LeBron James” is putting up very strong, efficient numbers for a terrible Eastern Michigan team, and is coming off a 43 point game. If Patrick Baldwin Jr. can wind up in the first round, I do not see why Bates cannot as well. The Pacers have three first round picks and a solid coaching staff, making this pretty much a slam dunk swing. This would be a tremendous landing spot for Bates.


Brooklyn Nets
SG Terquavion Smith, So, NC State – 6’4, 165 lbs 18.6 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.4 rpg Terquavion Smith has regressed a bit from a solid freshman year, still struggling to shoot over 40%. He is the majority of the offense for NC State, however, and does a lot of things even when his shot is not falling. He may max out as a Lou Williams type, but he could battle for Sixth Man of the Year awards during his prime. He would be a nice part of the second unit for a star heavy Nets squad.


Memphis Grizzlies
SG Julian Strawther, Jr, Gonzaga – 6’7, 205 lbs 13.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.7 spg Gonzaga has struggled at times this year, and so has Julian Strawther, but I remain a fan. He has nice size, is a good defender and can really shoot the ball. The Grizzlies drafted and successfully developed a similar prospect in Dillon Brooks.
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Houston Rockets
PG Marcus Sasser, Sr, Houston – 6’2, 195 lbs 16.6 ppg, 3.2 apg, 2.8 rpg From MIL
If there is any scenario where a rookie could come in and be a team leader, it is Marcus Sasser to the Rockets. The Texas native has won big at Houston, and gets to stay in the same city and hopefully help the Rockets do the same. He is an ideal steady, quality backup point guard in the Monte Morris role.
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Utah Jazz
PF Azuolas Tubelis, Jr, Arizona – 6’11, 245 lbs 19.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.1 apg From MIL
I get it. Azuolas Tubelis is not a great athlete and could struggle defensively. However, I am a proponent of drafting guys with a defined skill or two late in the first round. Tubelis can rebound and shoot the ball. He is also smart enough to play the passing lanes and rack up a few steals. He would be a really nice backup to Lauri Markkanen in Utah and could do some of the same things.
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Charlotte Hornets
PF Jalen Wilson, Jr, Kansas – 6’8, 225 lbs 21.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.5 apg From DEN
Jalen Wilson is definitely in consideration for College Basketball Player of the Year. He has had a monster junior season for Kansas. He is not the best athlete and may struggle to score this well in the NBA, but he does the dirty work rebounding and playing defense as well. Maybe not a starter, but he should be a productive bench combo-forward for Charlotte.
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Indiana Pacers
SG Rayan Rupert, France – 6’6, 192 lbs 7.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.7 apg From BOS
Rayan Rupert is a long way from being a productive NBA player, but he is young and versatile, and could be a nice 3 and D player if he develops. The Pacers have three first round picks here, so they would have no issue throwing him to the G-League wolves to slowly develop.


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