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2023 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1 Picks & Predictions

2023 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1 Picks & Predictions

We had the draft lottery earlier this week and we are now about one month away from the 2023 NBA Draft. We just had the combine which should raise the stock of certain players over the next few weeks, but here is my first look at some of the prospects and what they bring to the table.


NBA Mock Draft Selections

1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama (C – France)

The highest touted NBA prospect since LeBron James, Wembanyama has been known to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft for a while with the Spurs recently coming out on top in the lottery. They will add him to the core of Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Tre Jones, and Jeremy Sochan among others. Wembanyama was going to be must-see TV no matter where he landed and it just so happened to be in San Antonio.

2. Charlotte Hornets: Scoot Henderson  (PG – G-League Ignite)

This is a tough situation for the Hornets because Brandon Miller fits the team need more, but it is tough to pass up Henderson here regardless. They could go either way between the two, but I am predicting they’ll roll with the guard out of the G-League here, who at one point some thought could go No. 1 overall.

3. Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Miller (SF – Alabama)

I am not doing any trades in this particular mock draft, but the latest rumors suggest Portland is looking into pairing this pick with Anfernee Simons for a big name player to pair with Damian Lillard. I’m not sure who they could realistically target, but Miller is the pick here likely no matter who has the pick whether it is Portland or another team. His scoring and shot-making ability will likely make Miller an immediate starter no matter what team drafts him.

4. Houston Rockets: Amen Thompson (PG – Overtime Elite)

We’re seeing the Rockets add more size and athleticism to the backcourt with Thompson here. In this situation, we would likely see Thompson run the point with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. running alongside him in the backcourt. He’ll also add some physicality on the defensive side of the ball for Houston.

5. Detroit Pistons: Ausar Thompson (SG – Overtime Elite)

Thompson works more on the wing off the ball unlike his brother (Amen) who is a primary point guard. Detroit could use the defensive first mindset of Thompson and he also possesses the upside to expand his offensive game.

6. Orlando Magic: Jarace Walker (PF – Houston)

Walker possesses intriguing upside as a prospect, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. He is a solid passer and raised his scoring ability with Houston. He has the potential to grow his offensive game even more at the next level as well.

7. Indiana Pacers: Taylor Hendricks (PF – UCF)

One of the potential top three-and-D players in this class, Hendricks is one of the safer players in this draft. He shot just under 40 percent from deep last season at Central Florida, while averaging just under two blocks and one steal as well on the other side of the floor. Hendricks is an ideal fit as a stretch four in today’s game in the NBA.

8. Washington Wizards: Cam Whitmore (SF – Villanova)

The Wizards are looking to add to the core of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma currently leading the team. Whitmore is capable of handling the ball himself or playing off the ball depending on if Beal continues to work as the primary point guard. His explosiveness is one of his top traits and he can also defend multiple positions with his size and length.

9. Utah Jazz: Cason Wallace (PG – Kentucky)

One of the top defenders among guards in this class, Wallace also displayed his ability on the offensive end of the court last year at Kentucky. He averaged just under 12 points per game and shot just under 45 percent from the field. He also averaged a pair of steals per contest. Wallace is a super gritty defender who has shown the willingness to do what it takes to help his team win on both sides of the floor.

10. Dallas Mavericks: Gradey Dick (SG – Kansas)

We saw Dick step up in some big games last season for the Jayhawks. He could be the perfect spot-up shooter on the outside with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving maintaining their playmaking roles leading the Mavericks offense.

11. Orlando Magic: Anthony Black (SG – Arkansas)

Black is capable of playing point guard, but he can also play off the ball. It seems he could be more comfortable bringing the ball up the court though. He displayed flashes at Arkansas of solid vision and an ability to push the ball down the floor and find his teammates. He also averaged over two steals per game, leading an impressive defensive unit for the Razorbacks. Black will likely most look to improve on his shooting from the outside and from the free throw line.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Keyonte George (SG – Baylor)

George displayed the ability to create his own shot and finish at the rim at Baylor. He has the size to be able to back down opposing guards in the post and either fade away or back his way far enough for a close look near the rim. The biggest question mark for his game is inefficiency at times overall on the offensive side of the ball, but that doesn’t take away from his overall playmaking ability.

13. Toronto Raptors: Nick Smith Jr. (PG – Arkansas)

This is mostly a best player available type of pick here for the Raptors as point guard is far from a big need for the Raptors. At Arkansas, Smith had the ball in his hands a lot which led to him averaging over 12 points per game. Depending on where he lands, it is possible he plays a little more off the ball at the next level compared to in college but he is still capable of bringing the ball up the court if need be. Smith is often at his best in the pick-and-roll game with his ability to find an open teammate, drive to the rim or take an open shot if available.

14. New Orleans Pelicans: Jett Howard (SG – Michigan)

Howard is one of those players who displayed his ability at Michigan to be able to benefit his team off the ball. He is always moving when he doesn’t have the ball and displayed an impressive ability as a catch-and-shoot type of player, shooting just under 37 percent from deep on the season. He’ll have an immediate role no matter what team he lands on with his ability to not need the ball to impact his team in a positive manner.

15. Atlanta Hawks: Dariq Whitehead (SG – Duke)

There is some injury risk with Whitehead as he underwent surgery on a fractured foot prior to last season. It caused him to miss some time, but he played in 28 games and shot just under 43 percent from deep. Whitehead is super athletic and was a consistent shooter at Duke while displaying an ability to defend multiple positions at a high level.

16. Utah Jazz: Jalen Hood-Schifino (PG – Indiana)

It was an up-and-down final season at Indiana for Hood-Schifino where he was a little streaky as a shooter and scorer. He has a solid frame and is a good defender, especially on the ball.

17. Los Angeles Lakers: Jordan Hawkins (SG – UConn)

Assuming LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain on the team, it’s going to be another win-now situation for the Lakers where they’ll be targeting a player that can help out immediately. That is what you get in Hawkins, who averaged over 16 points per game and shot just under 40 percent from deep. He scored in double-figures in every NCAA Tournament game for the Huskies including two 20+ point games and a solid 16 points in the National Championship win over SDSU.

18. Miami Heat: GG Jackson II (PF – South Carolina)

The Heat can use some long-term help at the power forward position which is what they’re getting here with Jackson. He averaged over 15 points and six rebounds per game last season at South Carolina. He did only shoot 32 percent from the field, so that’s an area of his overall game we can see take a step forward at the next level. Jackson is one of the youngest players in this draft class, so it is possible it takes some time for him to develop but he has the tools to be a legit player in the front court for Miami.

19. Golden State Warriors: Brice Sensabaugh (SF – Ohio State)

Sensabaugh will add more scoring to a Warriors team that struggled most of the playoffs this year outside of Steph Curry. He averaged over 16 points per game last season at Ohio State on 48 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from deep. He is a super efficient all-around scorer and playmaker.

20. Houston Rockets: Dereck Lively II (C -Duke)

One of the better defenders near the rim in this class, Lively averaged well over two blocks per game last season at Duke. He was also super efficient near the rim on the offensive side of the ball, shooting over 65 percent from the field on fairly limited volume. Lively also showcased flashes of solid passing and vision when he was doubled down low.

21. Brooklyn Nets: Noah Clowney (PF – Alabama)

Clowney was an impressive defender last season at Alabama. He only shot 28 percent from deep, so that’s an area of his game he’ll look to improve on at the next level. He can switch on any ball screen and guard almost any position on the defensive side of the ball and projects as a potential three-and-D type of player if his shot can become more consistent.

22. Brooklyn Nets: Leonard Miller (SF – Canada)

Miller is a super long and lengthy athlete. He is not afraid to crash the boards and give his time second chances with offensive rebounds. The biggest unknown is likely his shot from the outside, but that can be improved wherever he lands.

23. Portland Trail Blazers: Kris Murray (SF – Iowa)

We saw Murray take a huge step forward this past season as a scorer and playmaker with his brother (Keegan) departing for the NBA. He averaged over 20 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field to go along with just under eight rebounds. He is capable of helping out his team with and without the ball on both sides of the floor.

24. Sacramento Kings: Bilal Coulibaly (SF – France)

Coulibaly played on the same team as Wembanyama so when scouts would go to watch him play, they would also see Coulibaly play on the same team. He has appeared to be super athletic. His stats didn’t exactly stand out, but scouts aren’t always purely looking at the numbers in the box score. He can finish around the rim with his athleticism and can use it on the defensive side of the court as well.

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Colby Jones (SF – Xavier)

Jones could be a potential replacement for Dillon Brooks assuming the Grizzlies do not bring him back based on the reports. He is a super steady defender and saw his overall shooting from the field take a step forward in each of his three seasons at Xavier. He averaged over a steal per game all three years and most recently took a step forward as a scorer, averaging over 15 points per game to go along with what he offers as a defender.

26. Indiana Pacers: James Nnaji (C – Nigeria)

Nnaji is a super lengthy and athletic prospect who played high competition overseas for Barcelona. He was able to display to scouts his ability to attack the rim, finish at a high rate, as well as create his own shot. He is also a solid defender near the rim.

27. Charlotte Hornets: Rayan Rupert (SG – France)

Rupert did not see too many minutes in the NPL, but that didn’t stop scouts from being intrigued by his potential. He possesses the upside to be a lengthy wing at the next level who could be a solid shot-creator with some more development.

28. Utah Jazz: Terquavion Smith (SG – NC State)

Smith is another super streaky scorer in this draft class who displayed flashes of his ability to both create his own shot and shoot from deep. He shot 38 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep last season at North Carolina State, but he was more of a volume shooter as he still averaged just under 18 points per game.

29. Indiana Pacers: Kobe Bufkin (PG – Michigan)

Bufkin saw his role take a serious step forward this past season at Michigan, averaging 34 minutes of playing time per game after playing just 10 minutes per game his freshman season two years ago. He averaged 14 points per game on 48 shooting from the field to go along with over one steal. Bufkin displayed the ability to score at almost any level of the court.

30. Los Angeles Clippers: Marcus Sasser (PG – Houston)

One of the more experienced players in this draft class, Sasser was a four-year starter at Houston. He displayed solid shooting ability from deep and he is also one of the better defenders among guards which he displayed as part of a Cougars team that has boasted one of the top team defenses in the country for the last few seasons.

NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer

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