2023 NBA Draft Results
Round 1 Picks 1-15
The 2023 NBA Draft is one of the deeper drafts in recent memory. It's got just as much star power as 2021 and it may be a deeper draft class.
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 22, 2023.
San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama, C, Metropolitans 92 A+ Grade
- Victor Wembanyama is special. Just how special is he? Victor Wembanyama got more votes than Connor Bedard, Dylan Crews, and Bryce Young as the number one pick from the 2023 Drafts as the player sports fans will remember the most. Young went first overall to the Carolina Panthers in the 2023 NFL Draft, Bedard is going first overall to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft in six days, and LSU right fielder Dylan Crews should be the Pittsburgh Pirates first overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft. All of these prospects were considered either blue chip prospects or generational talents. The hype with Victor Wembanyama is as good as advertised.
- The 7-5 230 lb Victor Wembanyama had 21.6 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, 3 blocks per game, 2.8 assists per game, a 47% field goal percentage, a 82.8% free throw percentage, and a 27.5% three point percentage in 2022-2023. Victor Wembanyama got Metropolitans 92 to the 2023 LNB Pro A Championship game even helping Metropolitans 92 defeat Asvel his former team which is owned by former San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker.
- Victor Wembanyama has the passing, short range, medium range, long range, and rebounding. Victor Wembanyama can defend the 1 at point guard, the 2 at shooting guard, the 3 at small forward, the 4 at power forward, or the 5 at center. Imagine a center who shoots three pointers like Steph Curry, defends like Tim Duncan, and dunks like Shaquille O'Neal. Victor Wembanyama is the complete package at center and also coincidentally has the same birthday as my late father Vann Ransom along with Tennesee Titans running back Derrick Henry.
- San Antonio currently has Tre Jones at point guard after the San Antonio Spurs 2020 second round pick emerged as a viable starting point guard, Devin Vassell their 2020 first round pick at shooting guard, Keldon Johnson their 2019 first round pick from the Toronto Raptors in the Kawhi Leonard trade at small forward led San Antonio with 22 points per game last season, Jeremy Sochan a 2022 first round pick from Baylor who averaged 11 points per game at power forward, and Victor Wembanyama at center. There's also the possibility the Spurs try to get former Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul or Toronto Raptors point guard Freddy VanVleet in the 2023 NBA Free Agency Period. Greg Popovich is back at head coach and San Antonio's GM said we're not even picking up the phone.
- San Antonio has a good starting lineup, but Keldon Johnson only played 63 games while the rest of the starting lineup dealt with injuries. A trio of Victor Wembanyama, Keldon Johnson, and either Paul or VanVleet elevates the Spurs from a play-in tournament team if this starting five avoids injuries to a team that can do just enough damage to make the 2024 NBA Playoffs if everyone stays healthy.
Charlotte Hornets: Brandon Miller, SF, Alabama A+ Grade
- The Charlotte Hornets have narrowed this pick down to two players. Those two players are SEC Player Of The Year Brandon Miller at small forward and Scoot Henderson whose the consensus number two player according to most in the NBA Media with the second overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. These are the only two players in the 2023 NBA Draft who could be All NBA players outside of Victor Wembanyama.
- Both Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson wowed the Charlotte Hornets at their predraft workouts. Charlotte Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak was so impressed with both Miller and Henderson that he invited both players for follow up meetings where Charlotte Hornets former team owner Michael Jordan will be brought in as a consultant and have some input in who the Charlotte Hornets select between those two with the second overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Michael Jordan sold the Hornets to Gabe Plotkin and Rich Schnall.
- The New Orleans Pelicans the team that was originally known as the Charlotte Hornets before relocating to New Orleans also made Charlotte a trade offer for the second overall pick. The trade offer would send either New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Willamson, New Orleans Pelicans small forward Brandon Ingram, or New Orleans Pelicans shooting guard C.J. McCollum who are the three 20 point scorers on New Orleans to Charlotte for the second overall pick.
- Zion Willamson is 22-years old, but cannot stay healthy while Brandon Ingram is 25-years old. C.J. McCollum is in his thirties and simply wouldn't command as much trade value as Zion Williamson or Brandon Ingram. I highly doubt Charlotte agrees to trade the second overall pick for one of those two veterans unless both prospects fail to impress Michael Jordan at next weeks meeting in Charlotte. Charlotte is not interested in moving the second overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, but the Portland Trail Blazers at 3, Houston Rockets at 4, Detroit Pistons at 5, Orlando Magic at 6, Indiana Pacers at 7, and Dallas Mavericks at 10 are all open to a trade down for the right price.
- The 6-8 200 lb Brandon Miller is the player I'm leaning towards Charlotte picking at 2 and he's been the consensus favorite to Charlotte since the Charlotte Hornets moved up to the second overall pick following the 2023 NBA Draft lottery. Brandon Miller had 18.8 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, a 43% field goal percentage, a 85.9% free throw percentage, and a 38.4% three point percentage en route to winning SEC Freshman of the Year in 2022-2023.
- Brandon Miller was the biggest reason that Alabama got the top overall seed in this years 2023 Men's Basketball March Madness Tournament. You can debate Brandon Miller VS Scoot Henderson at 2, but what you cannot debate is that both players belong in the top 3 overall.
- Brandon Miller has the passing, short range, medium range, long range, and rebounding. Brandon Miller can defend the 1 at point guard, the 2 at shooting guard, the 3 at small forward, or the 4 at power forward.
- Brandon Miller had an incident involving a gun, but never was arrested or convicted on any charges, so I highly doubt this affects his draft stock. Brandon Miller was a three sport athlete that played football, basketball, and baseball in middle school for a few years before committing to Basketball once he got to High School which probably explains why Brandon Miller is so athletically gifted on the court.
- The Charlotte Hornets will have LaMelo Ball at point guard, Terry Rozier at shooting guard, Brandon Miller at small forward, Miles Bridges at power forward, and Mark Williams at center. Charlotte is likely to give Miles Bridges an RFA offer and will move Gordon Hayward to power forward while Bridges serves a 10 game suspension to start next season. Charlotte has a good starting five, but injuries to Ball, Rozier, Heyward, and Bridges at different points of the season along with a lack of bench players really crippled the Charlotte Hornets last season.
- Charlotte has four more picks along with the second overall pick. Those other four picks include a first rounder at twenty seven, two second round picks in the top forty, and a third second round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft with the forty first selection.
Portland Trail Blazers: Scoot Henderson, PG, Ignite (NBA G-League) A+ Grade
- Portland has point guard Damian Lillard coming off a career year. Portland is very likely to draft Brandon Miller or Scoot Henderson at 3 depending on who Charlotte takes at 2. This means that Portland will draft another point guard to play under Damian Lillard a three unless the Trail Blazers trade this pick or trade Damian Lillard after drafting Scoot Henderson at 3.
- Portland Trail Blazers General Manager Joe Cronin made it clear that Portland is looking ot ditch the idea of a slow rebuild. There is a possibility that Portland flips this draft pick in a trade as Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics and Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors are two star players who averaged over 20 points a game who would be terrific additions to pair with Lillard as these are Cronin's top two trade targets if he decides to move the third overall pick.
- The New Orleans Pelicans want Scoot Henderson and moving 3 for Williamson or Ingram, the fourteenth pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and a 2026 first round pick would be enticing enough for me to consider this because Yahoo Sports is reporting that the the next two NBA Drafts are significantly weaker than 2023. The top two players in High School Basketball are currently sophomores and neither would be eligible until the 2026 NBA Draft. New Orleans could keep their 2024 first and both of their first round picks in the 2025 NBA Draft thanks to the Anthony Davis trade.
- If Portland cannot get a buyer or chooses to keep this pick, then the selection will be Scoot Henderson at 3. Scoot Henderson is the consensus second best prospect on most NBA Big Boards behind Victor Wembanyama. Damian Lillard would rather stay in Portland, but would be open to playing for the Miami Heat or the Milwaukee Bucks if Portland opts to draft Scoot Henderson. Lillard hasn't played a full 82 game season since his third year in the NBA in 2014 after being the Portland Trail Blazers 2012 first round pick.
- I love Lillard's loyalty to Portland, but if you want to get a Kings Ransom for Lillard you have to consider moving him now if you draft Scoot Henderson at three. Damian Lillard posted a career high 32 points per game as well as 71 points in a win against the Houston Rockets following the 2023 NBA All Star Game.
- The idea of moving Lillard makes me want to punch a wall since he's under contract through 2027 and cannot opt out of his contract until 2025 or 2026 at the earliest. Henderson would have a year or two of being mentored by Lillard before taking over as the starting point guard if Portland drafts Henderson at 3.
- Both of the Thompson twins Ausar and Amen Thompson impressed Damian Lillard in their private workouts. Neither player has the ceiling that Scoot Henderson has despite the fact that both Damian Lillard and Scoot Henderson play point guard. Woj of ESPN and Shams Charania of the Athletic reported in tweets on Twitter that Portland will not move the third pick unless they get an offer that wows them after Cronin stated that Portland is ditching the idea of a slow rebuild. It's hard to say whose telling the truth between Cronin and the top two NBA Draft Insiders who once worked with each other at Yahoo Sports back in the day. For now, I'm giving Portland Scoot Henderson whose the best player on the board.
- The 6-2 190 lb Scoot Henderson had 14.3 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game, a 44.9% field goal percentage, a 77.8% free throw percentage, and a 21.6% three point percentage in 2021-2022. Henderson was a first round prospect for the 2022 NBA Draft, but opted to return hoping to improve his draft stock from a late first round prospect to a top 5 pick. Scoot Henderson had 17.6 points per game, 6.4 assists per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, a 44.3% field goal percentage, a 75% free throw percentage, and a 32.4% three point percentage in 2022-2023.
- Scoot Henderson has the passing, short range, medium range, long range, and rebounding. Scoot Henderson said at the 2023 NBA Combine he can play on ball or off ball as well as point guard or shooting guard. Scoot Henderson can defend the 1 at point guard, the 2 at shooting guard, the 3 at small forward, or the 4 at power forward. He's just as effective defensively as Damian Lillard.
- Scoot Henderson entered the Fall as the number two prospect behind Victor Wembanyama and continued to check off every box on film. Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller, and Scoot Henderson are the only guys in this draft class who have the upside to be All NBA players. There are more guys with All Star potential compared to 2021 as this is the best NBA Draft Class I've seen since 2018.
- The Portland Trail Blazers have Damian Lillard at point guard who had 32.2 points per game as Portland's 2012 first round pick, Scoot Henderson at shooting guard unless Lillard wants a trade, and Anfernee Simons who averaged 21.1 points per game could move from shooting guard to small forward. Portland wants to retain power forward Jerami Grant who averaged 20.5 points per game, but also wants to get a viable starter at small forward that's a veteran to pair with Lillard so Portland will have the starting five to contend. Jusuf Nurkic is the starting center. Anfernee Simons and Nurkic are guys Portland is open to moving if it leads to Portland getting a star player at small forward allowing Grant to play power forward.
- Each of Portland's four core starters started 52 games. Portland was 27-31 prior to Damian Lillard's season ending injury in 2023. The Portland Trail Blazers ended the season 6-18 without Lillard in the lineup which just shows you how huge this decision is at 3. Scoot Henderson may be an All Pro down the road, but he won't replicate what Lillard has done right out of the gate even if he does become the first team NBA player many are hyping him up to be.
- Shaedon Sharpe last years first round pick who was drafted seventh overall would move to shooting guard if Simons got traded for a star at small forward. However none of these rumors about Portland moving this pick matter if Portland stays put and takes the best player on the board which would most likely be Scoot Henderson.
Houston Rockets: Amen Thompson, PG, Overtime Elite A+ Grade
- Houston would love for both Charlotte and Portland to stay put with both teams drafting for need and passing on Scoot Henderson. I highly doubt Scoot Henderson will be available for Houston at 4. Two players Houston reportedly loves are Amen Thompson of Overtime Elite at point guard and Cam Whitmore a small forward out of Villanova.
- Houston's needed a point guard upgrade for quite a while. The three point guard the Rockets are looking at are Chris Paul, Scoot Henderson, and Amen Thompson. Chris Paul will probably sign elsewhere with either the Lakers or Spurs while Scoot Henderson will either go to Portland or to a team that trades with Portland for the third pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. That means Amen Thompson is the fourth pick for me at this point.
- Houston's reported that the gap between Brandon Miller, Scoot Henderson, and Amen Thompson is closer than you would think. Also, Amen Thompson is the final blue chip player for me in the 2023 NBA Draft. I still believe there are as few as six and as many as thirteen more players with the upside to develop into NBA All Stars, but the drop off from sure fire blue chip talent to day 1 starter with All Star potential begins to take its toll once Amen Thompson gets picked which is why I believe Amen Thompson gets selected fourth overall by the Houston Rockets.
- The 6-6 210 lb Amen Thompson is a combo guard with the versatility to play both point guard and shooting guard. Amen Thompson had 16.9 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, a 42.9% field goal percentage, a 79.9% free throw percentage, and a 42.9% three point percentage in 2021-2022. Amen Thompson had 16.4 points per game, 5.9 assists per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, a 56.6% field goal percentage, a 65.6% free throw percentage, and a 25% three point percentage in 2022-2023.
- Amen Thompson has the passing, short range, medium range, long range, and rebounding. Amen Thompson can defend the 1 at point guard, the 2 at shooting guard, or the 3 at small forward. My friend Luis Estarda whose a huge Houston Rockets, Texans, Astros, and Houston Dynamo F.C. fan was critcal of Thompson as a shooter saying he doesn't believe the skill set will translate and he prefers Cam Whitmore over Thompson. He also pointed out who Whitmore is younger and has more longevity.
- Amen Thompson isn't a guy with the ceiling to be a first team all pro like the top three picks. However, he's the most consistent player I've seen outside of the top three and really the only blue chip player left for me. I've seen Amen Thompson pass the basketball from a longer distance than Scoot Henderson and that's one thing that stands out with Thompson in a big way. After that, there's some day 1 high end starters with upside to develop into All Stars, but not a player with hardly any weaknesses after the top 4.
- Houston would have Amen Thompson at point guard if the Houston Rockets take him at 4, Jalen Green at shooting guard, Kevin Porter Jr. can either be a third starter at guard or a wing player at small forward, Jabari Smith Jr. will start at power forward, and Alperen Sengun will play center. If Houston took Cam Whitmore he would play power forward with Porter Jr. and Green both starting at guard with two shooting guards in the lineup without a facilitator to pass the ball like a point guard. That's what separates Amen Thompson from Kevin Porter Jr. and it's the biggest reason I mocked him to Houston at 4 with former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Ukodah ready to step in at head coach.
Detroit Pistons: Ausar Thompson, SF, Overtime Elite A+ Grade
- Detroit would have a starting lineup of Cade Cunningham the first pick in the 2021 NBA Draft at point guard, Jaden Ivey the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft at shooting guard, Ausar Thompson at small forward, Jalen Duren, Detroit's second 2022 first round pick at power forward, and James Wiseman, Golden State's second overall pick from the 2020 NBA Draft which Detroit acquired at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline as their starting center. Golden State wasn't patient enough with Wiseman and Detroit got rewarded for gambling on him. Ausar Thompson is the fifth best player in the 2023 NBA Draft and a fantastic pick for Detroit at 5.
- The 6-6 195 lb Ausar Thompson had 16.9 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, 42.9% field goal percentage, 79.9% free throw percentage, and a 42% three point percentage in 2021-2022. Ausar Thompson had 16.3 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, 6.1 assists per game, 48.1% field goal percentage, 66.2% free throw percentage, and a 29.8% three point percentage in 2022-2023.
- Ausar Thompson can hit short range, mid range, and long range shots. He passes well too. He can defend the 1 at point guard, the 2 at shooting guard, and the 3 at small forward. He struggles to flip his hips and is prone to giving up blow bys when defending. Ausar Thompson has potential to become an All Star if he fixes that and will be a high end starter at the very worst.
Orlando Magic: Anthony Black, SG, Arkansas B+ Grade
- Anthony Black's father Terry Black played basketball at Baylor and his mother Jennifer Black played college at Texas and Baylor. Jennifer split up with Anthony and has been seeing David Peavy father of TCU's Micah Peavy. David Peavy was also the coach of Duncanville High School which was where Anthony Black transferred for his senior season of High School before committing to Arkansas.
- The 6-6 210 lb Anthony Black had 12.8 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 3.9 assists per game, 2.1 steals per game, a 45.3% field goal percentage, a 70.5% free throw percentage, and a 30.1% three point percentage in his freshman season at Arkansas in 2022-2023.
- Anthony Black has the passing, playmaking, defense, and athletic traits you want. He can process information at a high level and has the basketball IQ you want. He has a chance to be special if he can fix his three point shooting as well as his jump shot. He's also got to fix his catch-and-shoot looks. Anthony Black can defend the 1 at point guard, the 2 at shooting guard, and the 3 at small forward.
- Orlando has Cole Anthony at point guard who did well enough to take the starting point guard job from Markelle Fultz after being Orlando's 2020 first round pick even though both guards are good enough to play point guard, Anthony Black would challenge Jalen Suggs for the shooting guard job after Suggs struggled for the second year in a row as Suggs might get demoted to a sixth man role, Franz Wagner at small forward the second 2021 first round pick drafted after Jalen Suggs, Paolo Banchero their top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft is at power forward, and Wendell Carter Jr. got a 4-year $50-million dollar extension prior to the 2022 NBA Draft and has three years left on that contract.
Washington Wizards: Bilal Coulibaly, SF, Metropolitans 92 C+ Grade
- The Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards both had a dire need at power forward. Washington traded up with Indiana to get Bilal Coulibaly who plays small forward by giving up the eighth pick and two 2028 second round picks.
- The 6-6 225 lb Bilal Coulibaly had 6 points per game, 3 rebounds per game, 1 assist per game, a 53.8% field goal percentage, a 62.7% free throw percentage, and a 36% three point percentage in 2022-2023. Victor Wembanyama believes he can average 15 points per game over 48 minutes with the top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft praising Coulibaly for his work ethic with Wembanyama stating he belongs in the top 10 perhaps even the top 5. Coulibaly averaged 10 points per game when playing 36 minutes for Metropolitans 92.
Indiana Pacers: Jarace Walker, PF, Houston A+ Grade
- I get the feeling Indiana will end up taking whoever the Detroit Pistons pass on at 5 with the seventh overall pick since the Indiana Pacers really need a power forward to complete their starting five. Both Cam Whitmore from Villanova and Jarace Walker from Houston would be ideal fits for the Indiana Pacers here at 7, but Indiana moved down from 7 to 8 and got two 2028 second round picks from the Washington Wizards.
- Jarace Walker has three siblings with one of his sisters playing Volleyball and his other sister playing basketball. Jarace Walker left Pennsylvania to go to IMG Academy before committing to the Houston Cougars Basketball program which was his top choice.
- The 6-7 245 lb Jarace Walker is versatile enough to play small forward or power forward. Jarace Walker had 11.2 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 1.2 assists per game, a 46.5% field goal percentage, a 66.3% free throw percentage, and a 34.7% three point percentage with the Houston Cougars while winning AAC Freshman Of The Year in 2022-2023.
- Jarace Walker is a playmaker who will pass the basketball to get teammates involved. He's also the one guy outside of Victor Wembanyama who can defend the 1 at point guard, the 2 at shooting guard, the 3 at small forward, the 4 at power forward, and the 5 at center. Jarace Walker can make short range, mid range, and long range shots, but struggles with contested shots. Jarace Walker delivers at times when he's wide open. Defensively, Jarace Walker projects as a power forward since he lacks the foot speed to defend on the wing against forwards like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and Kawhi Leonard. There's a good chance Jarace Walker is a high end starter, but his leadership traits give him an outside chance to be a player with enough potential to develop into an All Star.
- The Indiana Pacers will have Tyrese Haliburton at point guard, Buddy Hield at shooting guard, Aaron Nesmith at small forward, Jarace Walker at power forward, and Myles Turner at center. Rick Carlisle won an NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks back in 2011 and this is the best starting five I've seen a team coached by Carlisle have since then. With one starter in a contract year as a UFA in Buddy Hield and two starters in contract years before becoming RFA's with Haliburton and Nesmith, the Indiana Pacers may be a suprise team to keep an eye on if they can avoid injuries. Bennedict Mathurn has been great off the bench at shooting guard, and could be a viable replacement to Buddy Hield as a starter in 2024 when Hield's contract is up.
Utah Jazz: Taylor Hendricks, PF, Central Florida A Grade
- The 6-8 215 lb Taylor Hendricks had 15.1 points per game, 7 rebounds per game, 1.7 blocks per game, 1.4 assists per game, a 47.8% field goal percentage, a 78.2% free throw percentage, and a 39.4% three point percentage in 2022-2023.
- Taylor Hendricks can make short range, mid range, and long range shots. He's a great passer, rebounder, and shot blocker as well. His release point when shooting uncontested three point shots is precise and money. He's got the shooting motion you want, but Taylor Hendricks has to improve his lower body mechanics when shooting from beyond the arc. He defends well in space and has foot speed you want to see from a defenseman. He cannot anchor on the interior when playing defense and he's more of a crasher. His decision making has to improve as both a passer and a defender. Taylor Hendricks will be a high end starter, but I don't see him becoming an All Star unless he fixes his defense despite the fact that potential to blossom into a borderline All Star is there.
- Utah has Collin Sexton at point guard, Jordan Clarkson at shooting guard, Kelly Olynyk at small forward, Lauri Markkanen at power forward, and Walker Kessler at center. Taylor Hendricks can develop into a viable replacement for Lauri Markkanen, but could also potentially be an upgrade over Kelly Olynyk at small forward.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Cason Wallace, PG, Kentucky B- Grade
- Oklahoma City will have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at point guard, Josh Giddey at shooting guard, Jalen Williams at small forward, David Bertans at power forward, and Chet Holmgren returns and plays center. Oklahoma City needed a power forward, but opted for a backup point guard with the tenth pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
- Cason Wallace has an older brother Mike that was a three time All Conference Player at UTSA. Cason Wallace won Freshman of the Year during his High School season in Dallas before winning Defensive Player of the year in his district as a sophomore. He became a five star recruit during his junior year and maintained that status until enrolling into Kentucky.
- The 6-3 195 lb Cason Wallace plays bigger than his size. Cason Wallace had 11.7 points per game, 4.3 assists per game, 3.7 rebounds per game, a 44.6% field goal percentage, a 75.5% free throw percentage, and a 34.6% three point percentage at Kentucky in 2022-2023.
- Cason Wallace can make short range, mid range, and long range shots. He passes well with playmaking being one of his specialties. He can defend the 1 at point guard, the 2 at shooting guard, the 3 at small forward, the 4 at power forward, or the 5 at cnter despite being a point guard. Some scouts believe he can become an All NBA point guard on defense.
- Cason Wallace didn't do a lot of pick and roll at Kentucky. His awareness and anticipation is off of the charts.
Orlando Magic: Jett Howard, SG, Michigan C Grade
- Michigan shooting guard Jett Howard is the son of Michigan head coach Juwan Howard who was part of Michigan's Fab Five in the 90's before having a 19 year career in the NBA. Jett Howard is the last of the nineteen players that got invited to the 2023 NBA Draft still on the board.
- The 6-7 215 lb Jett Howard had 14.2 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, a 41.4% field goal percentage, a 80% free throw percentage, and a 36.8% three point percentage in 2022-2023. Jett Howard has the short range, mid range, long range, and passing you want to see from a shooting guard. He's got to develop defensively, but can become the starting shooting guard for the NBA team that drafts him if he develops defensively.
- Jett Howard was twenty first in my mock draft and twenty first on my big board. That being said Howard impressed me more on film than teammate Kobe Bufkin. While some will argue this is a reach, I would argue that the worst grade you could give this pick is a C grade. Being the son of a former NBA player in Juwan Howard tempts me to bump this up to a C+.
Dallas Mavericks: Dereck Lively II, C, Duke A- Grade
- The 7-1 230 lb Dereck Lively II was the top recruit in High School Basketball heading into the Fall a year ago. Dereck Lively II can defend the 1 at point guard, the 2 at shooting guard, the 3 at small forward, the 4 at power forward, and the 5 at center. Dereck Lively II had 5.2 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, 1.1 assists per game, a 65.8% field goal percentage, a 60% free throw percentage, and a 15.4% three point percentage at Duke in 2022-2023.
- Dereck Lively II is raw, but the upside to average 16.8 points per game and improve his three point percentage by 12 percent is there. He's well rounded defensively, but raw offensively. He can dominate the low post and high point the basketball being money from short range. However his mid range and long range has to imrpove if Dereck Lively II hopes to develop into an NBA starter.
- Dereck Lively doesn't create his own shot. He needs everything created for him.
- The Dallas Mavericks will have Luka Doncic at point guard, Tim Hardaway Jr. at small forward, and Dereck Lively II at center. Dallas still needs a shooting guard and power forward, but can start Jaden Hardy at shooting guard.
Toronto Raptors: Gradey Dick, SF, Kansas A Grade
- Gradey Dick's father played basketball at Fort Hayes State while his mother was one of the best college basketball players at Iowa State. Gradey Dick won the Kansas City Chiefs punt, pass, and kick twice as a kid. The Kansas Jayhawks remained the favorite to land Dick when he was a recruit throughout the recruiting process.
- The 6-6 205 lb Gradey Dick had 14.1 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 1.7 assists per game, a 44.2% field goal percentage, a 85.4% free throw percentage, and a 40.2% three point percentage in 36 games with the Kansas Jayhawks in 2022-2023. Wes Langley believes Gradey Dick could be a better value pick than Brandon Miller.
- The short range, mid range, and long range you want from a shooter is there. Gradey Dick is a sharp cutter as well as a terrific finisher. The shooting mechanics, playmaking, offensive awareness, and basketball IQ are there in spades. He's just got to become more consistent on defense when he doesn't have the basketball. Kansas scored 115.3 points per game per every 100 possessions on the court when Gradey Dick was playing.
- Toronto has Scottie Barnes at as a wing player that can play small forward or shooting guard, OG Anunoby at small forward, and Pascal Siakam at power forward. Gradey Dick could be a viable replacement for OG Anunoby when his contract is up.
New Orleans Pelicans: Jordan Hawkins, SG, Connecticut B+ Grade
- The New Orleans Pelicans have C.J. McCollum at shooting guard, Brandon Ingram at small forward, Zion Willamson at power forward, and Jonas Valanciunas at center. Trey Murphy III showed he could start and make an impact after Zion Williamson got injured. New Orleans has interest in trading a player to move up to three for Scoot Henderson. If the Pelicans fail to do that, then the thought process will shift to our organization will draft the best point guard on the board at 14.
- The 6-4 185 lb Jordan Hawkins had 16.2 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, 1.3 assists per game, a 40.9% field goal percentage, a 88.7% free throw percentage, and a 40.9% three point percentage while leading the Connecticut Huskies to a National Championship as a sophomore in 2022-2023.
- Jordan Hawkins has the passing, short range, mid range, and long range you covet. He does get bullied around on defense and he's got to be more assertive on defense.
- Jordan Hawkins does have the versatility to play both point guard and shooting guard. I see him as more of a shooting guard than a point guard though.
Atlanta Hawks: Kobe Bufkin, PG, Michigan C Grade
- The Atlanta Hawks already have a good starting five with Trae Young at point guard, Dejountae Murray at shooting guard, De'Andre Hunter at small forward, John Collins at power forward, and Clint Capela at center. Kobe Bufkin is your backup point guard, Bogdan Bogdanovic is your backup shooting guard, A.J. Griffin is your backup small forward,, Onyeka Okongwu is your backup power forward as well as your backup center, and Jalen Johnson are all quality bench players.
- The 6-4 185 lb Kobe Bufkin had 14 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, a 48.2% field goal percentage, a 84.9% free throw percentage, and a 35.5% three point percentage with Michigan in 2022-2023. Kobe Bufkin has been rumored to be going in the lottery, but I don't see him going that high to be honest.
- Kobe Bufkin has the passing, defense, stealing, and shot blocking you want. He blocks shots like a late 80's and early 90's point guard. Think Shawn Kemp or Gary Payton from a defensive standpoint. He's got to refine his shot, but learning under Steph Curry will allow the Golden State Warriors to get the most out of Bufkin.
- Kobe Bufkin is one of the nineteen players invited to the 2023 NBA Draft. The thing is if he goes to a team where he has to start right away he's gonna bust. It's just a gut feeling I have since I saw more airballs than swishes when watching on film. I'd rather draft someone like Houston point guad Marcus Sasser over Kobe Bufkin, but an NBA team is gonna draft Bufkin in the first round with him getting an invite to the 2023 NBA Draft. That's the reality of the situation. Kobe Bufkin gets to learn under Trae Young in Atlanta as the Atlanta Hawks backup point guard.
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