NBA Draft 2023 - Final Mock and Top 60 Prospects

NBA Draft 2023 - Final Mock and Top 60 Prospects

This article is part of our NBA Draft series.

Draft Day has arrived!

The San Antonio Spurs are on the clock at No. 1 -- in position to select French super-prospect Victor Wembanyama. Will we see Charlotte pull off the same smoke and mirrors that Orlando used in their Paolo Banchero over Jabari Smith selection last year? 

From there on, anything is possible. Let's dive in.

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1. Victor Wembanyama, Metropolitans 92: San Antonio Spurs

19 years old -- 7'4" Forward -- 230lbs

The Spurs win the Wembanyama sweepstakes. Wembanyama's balance + good touch + good mechanics + legendary size = scoring from anywhere. He has permanent existence as a shot-alterer around the basket and on the perimeter. Acclimation to the league might not be as rapid as it was for LeBron James, but that is truly the best prospect-hype comparison. 

2. Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite: Charlotte Hornets

19 years old -- 6'2" G -- 200lbs

A midrange scoring, smooth finishing, linebacker-esque point guard, Henderson's style is a good fit alongside LaMelo Ball's three-point bombing, flashy facilitating and drive-and-kick game. Ball shot 37.6 percent from three overall but hit 39.8 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts. This backcourt is likely a defensive liability, but the overall talent and length could force enough turnovers to surprise people. The offensive upside is dynamite, and Henderson has that killer instinct. He is the best player available. 

Henderson averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 33.3 percent from deep for the G League Ignite last season. While those numbers don't jump off the page, I think he's the top bet for this pick. All of Charlotte's other rumors could merely be to fuel the trade market.

3. Brandon Miller, Alabama: Detroit Pistons (trade via the Portland Trail Blazers)

20 years old -- 6'9" Forward -- 210lbs

The Trade: Detroit gets Brandon Miller, Portland gets the No.5 pick, rights to a future 1st Round pick swap with deferment option from 2026-2028 and a 2025 2nd Round Pick.

In this mock, Detroit pays up, adding an excellent fit in Miller. He's a gravitationally-awesome shooter, and his playmaking skills represent a true triple-threat forward. His ball handling is smooth, and he's a willing passer. That being said, his athleticism and finishing around the basket are red flags. Miller could be more of a floor-raiser than a ceiling-raiser, but he's a dynamic third piece alongside Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.

4. Amen Thompson, Overtime Elite: Houston Rockets

20 years old -- 6'7" Wing -- 215lbs

Thompson's elephant in the room is that he cannot shoot. More importantly, creativity in his in-between game needs to grow. However, his athleticism and rim pressure have elite upside. His advantage creation could struggle off the bat, but Thompson's size allows him to play on the wings, and he should step in as a plus-defender immediately. Once he acclimates to NBA speed, I think the athleticism will shine. Also, Alperen Sengun's passing will be beneficial to Thompson getting paint buckets in the halfcourt. 

5. Anthony Black, Arkansas: Portland Trail Blazers (trade via Detroit)

19 years old -- 6'6" G -- 210lbs

Portland moves down and grabs a new sidekick for Damian Lillard in Portland. Anfernee Simons should be on the trade block. The utter lack of defense in Portland's backcourt for the past decade has been a glaring weakness. Black's true 6-foot-6 frame can work alongside Lillard, and he couples it with strong vision and playmaking. He can help Portland win while also being a bridge to the future -- building chemistry with Shaedon Sharpe all the while.

6. Taylor Hendricks, UCF: Orlando Magic

19 years old -- 6'9" Forward -- 215lbs

Only 38 players in NBA history have recorded a season with 1.0 blocks per game and 36.0% shooting on at least three three-point attempts per game. Hendricks profiles to join them. He connected on 39.4 percent of 155 total triples at UCF while blocking 1.7 shots per game. Orlando allowed opponents to shoot 70.3 percent at the rim last season -- 28th in the league. His rim protection alongside or without Wendell Carter Jr. will help. Hendricks also brings knockdown shooting and the ability to attack closeouts. He can guard 4s and some 3s on the wings. He's versatile enough for it to work in Orlando.

7. Ausar Thompson, Overtime Elite: Indiana Pacers

20 years old -- 6'7" Wing -- 215lbs

Similar to his brother Amen, Thompson's shooting is a weak point -- not quite as concerning as Amen's, but Amen is also the twitchier, better-finishing athlete. Indiana needs wing defenders badly, and Thompson could be a clamper from day one. Additionally, if anybody can derive offensive value from Thompson, it's Tyrese Haliburton. Thompson is a good cutter and transition weapon. He also brings secondary ball handling to the table.

8. Cam Whitmore, Villanova: Washington Wizards 

18 years old -- 6'6" Wing -- 235lbs

Washington would be ecstatic to get Whitmore here. A powerful, slashing wing who is a credible shooter and defender, Whitmore could be a one-man army in an all-you-can-eat offense next season. That's my euphemism for saying the Wizards are going to be bad, but Whitmore's ridiculously low 0.7 assists per game is one of the lowest marks of a guard/wing in lottery history anyway. The volume and team context may lead to inefficiency, but the opportunity for a learning curve will certainly be there. 

I'm fond of Whitmore's game. If his bully ball translates and a couple of other skills come along, he'll be a talented scorer. His bulky build and limited diversity made me opt for Indiana and Orlando to go with other players.

9. Cason Wallace, Kentucky: Utah Jazz

19 years old -- 6'3" G -- 195lbs 

Wallace brings a Marcus Smart-esque energy to the court. He's defensively skilled on the perimeter and excels at forcing turnovers. Offensively, Wallace is a good, continuously improving, multi-dimensional pick-and-roll ball handler. The shot is there. Wallace knocked down 34.6 percent of 4.0 three-point attempts per game on a poorly spaced Kentucky squad. Utah is also rumored to covet Anthony Black, so Wallace or Kobe Bufkin would be viable backup plans for a Utah backcourt currently led by Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton, and Talen Horton-Tucker.

10. Jarace Walker, Houston: Dallas Mavericks

19 years old -- 6'7" Forward -- 250lbs

If Dallas keeps this pick, plugging as many holes as possible would be nice. Walker has upside offensively to be a secondary initiator, a credible spot-up threat, and a presence inside due to his hulking frame. The key word is upside. Walker is an outside-in, 4-5 'tweener with a finesse playstyle. He must improve his finishing. Defensively, the forward can take some challenging assignments, and his rim protection -- especially as a helper -- is strong. His multi-dimensional skillset is appealing, but he could simply be a rotation player without a true position. Walker is a good passer as well, but I'm skeptical of his game.

11. Kobe Bufkin, Michigan: Orlando Magic

19 years old -- 6'5" G -- 190lbs

Bufkin is a big, smooth, lefty guard with ambidexterity, craft and athleticism around the rim -- not to mention a blossoming passer, fluid scorer and active two-way rebounder. His do-it-all style allows him to play on-ball and off-ball. The growth is ongoing. In Michigan's final 12 games, Bufkin averaged 17.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.9 steals/blocks per game while shooting 52.0 percent from the field and 45.1 percent from beyond the arc. Three-point shooting and off-ball chemistry with Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner are the swing factors.

12. Gradey Dick, Kansas: Oklahoma City 

19 years old -- 6'7" Forward -- 205lbs

Everything about Dick's fit in OKC is appealing. The Thunder finished 18th in 3P% with a 35.5 percent clip, so Dick's 40.7 percent mark at Kansas -- including 53.5 percent shooting on off-the-dribble threes -- will be appreciated. He and Jalen Williams form an awesome outside-inside wing duo. If Chet Holmgren can protect the rim and Dick can be passable defensively, OKC playing small-ball around Chet would be lethal. 

13. Keyonte George, Baylor: Toronto Raptors

George brings an alluring combo-guard skillset, but is also another example of a guy I'd trust playing on the wings. A plus-defender on the perimeter with a strong build to battle bigger players, George also brings good shooting and an impressive repertoire finishing around the basket. He logged zero dunks in the halfcourt offense across 395 possessions -- how his athleticism translates is worth monitoring.

14. Dariq Whitehead, Duke: New Orleans Pelicans

18 years old -- 6'6" Wing -- 215lbs

New Orleans is looking to make a blockbuster trade. Regardless of a blockbuster coming to fruition, the Pelicans moving this pick is very possible. Speculation aside, the duo of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram made the Pelicans look like one of the best teams in the league last season when healthy. With tons of role players already, taking a gamble here is worth it to me.

Whitehead has the upside to be the best player left on the board. His surgically repaired right foot is noteworthy. Whitehead originally had surgery prior to his freshman campaign at Duke, but it didn't heal properly, resulting in another surgery in early May. He's expected to be ready near the start of the upcoming season. If the medicals clear, Whitehead could return fantastic value. At Duke, he lacked explosiveness off the dribble compared to his high school years but still connected on 42.9 percent of 3.5 3PA per game.

15. Bilal Coulibaly, Metropolitans 92: Atlanta Hawks 

18 years old -- 6'7" Wing -- 195lbs

Atlanta really struggled getting to the rim last season, ranking 19th in frequency and 17th in scoring. Dejounte Murray is slated for free agency after 2023-24, but regardless of how their backcourt shakes out, drafting a cutting, above-the-rim finishing, defending wing with toolsy upside has value. Shooting and self-creation are very raw for Coulibaly right now, although he's capable of hitting spot-ups. The aforementioned archetype would still slot in nicely for Atlanta 

16. Jalen Hood-Schifino, Indiana: Utah Jazz

20 years old -- 6'5" G -- 215lbs

Hood-Schifino is a jumbo combo guard with scoring instincts who is capable of running an offense. Three-point shooting is a swing factor, but Hood-Schifino's polished offensive craft and defensive playmaking set him up with a good foundation. 

17. Jordan Hawkins, UConn: Los Angeles Lakers

21 years old -- 6'4" G -- 185lbs

Hawkins could step into the NBA and be JJ Redick immediately. His tireless movement on offense is an asset inherently. Hawkins adds another dimension to any offense he joins. Putting him alongside LeBron James is ideal. 

18. Jett Howard, Michigan: Miami Heat

19 years old -- 6'8" F -- 215lbs

Miami's three-point shooting woes in the NBA Finals were indicative of what the Heat struggled with all season, as they ranked 22nd in 3P% at 35.1 percent. Howard can help while filling the classic Miami stretch-4 role. He's adept at hitting midrange jumpers off the dribble, and he has a frame that can succeed around the basket. Howard posted a 2.21 AST/TO ratio in his one-and-done campaign at Michigan, and while the defense is an issue at times, he has an encouraging floor and ceiling as a prospect. 

19. Maxwell Lewis, Pepperdine: Golden State Warriors

20 years old -- 6'7" Wing -- 205lbs

Lewis is a good passer, and the way he attacks the rim is rare. His galloping stride length can take him from the three-point line to the rim for a dunk in two steps. He has rare finishing capabilities as well. He's added 10 pounds of offseason muscle, but continuing to do so is a huge step. He's turnover prone and skinny, but if Lewis can slow the game down, he could blossom.

20. Dereck Lively, Duke: Houston Rockets

19 years old -- 7'1" C -- 230lbs

Lively dropping to No. 20 would be excellent value for Houston. He would be limited to a bench role during the upcoming Alperen Sengun experiment, but the Rockets could really diversify on both ends with Lively. With so many unknown factors in Houston, Lively could represent a constant. Rim protection never loses value.

21. Leonard Miller, G League Ignite: Brooklyn Nets

21 years old -- 6'10" F -- 210lbs

Potentially at an inflection point…or part of a never-ending, involuntary sequence of revamping…Brooklyn is a wild card on draft night. 

Miller would be an interesting fit as a secondary ball handler and bulky forward to pair alongside Nic Claxton. His combination of size and speed is unparalleled in this draft. I most believe in Miller's future as an active rebounder, short roll passer and capable offensive initiator. On the other hand, I have serious questions about his processing, IQ, and touch. 

22. Brandin Podziemski, Santa Clara: Brooklyn Nets

20 years old -- 6'4" G -- 205lbs

Standing 6-foot-4 barefoot with a 6-foot-6 wingspan isn't ideal for point-of-attack defense, but Podziemski is scrappy and savvy, which is an enticing combination. His savviness is often on display as a facilitator. In addition to being a great passer, he's also a great shooter -- hitting 43.8 percent of 5.8 3PA per game last season. This do-it-all style combined with backcourt needs for Brooklyn makes him a solid fit. 

23. Jaime Jaquez, UCLA: Portland Trail Blazers

22 years old -- 6'6" G/Wing -- 225lbs

Jaquez is a good connective piece, although the "two-timeline approach" I'm building with Portland is dangerous -- having a singular, clear franchise direction is always prefers, but Portland is in a unique circumstance. Jaquez is a stout all-around defender, a crafty offensive player, and he was simply a winner during his time at UCLA. He can help Portland now, while still being in an environment conducive to growth.

24. Noah Clowney, Alabama: Sacramento Kings

18 years old -- 6'10" C -- 210lbs

Clowney can absorb 10-20 minutes of rim protection from Domantas Sabonis each night, but his overall viability is reliant on shooting growth. Clowney hit just 28.3 percent of 3.3 3PA per game at Alabama. He's a good rebounder and solid overall defender, fueled by decent shot-blocking and occasional switchability. Would Sacramento prefer more shooting here? This is a tough slot for the Kings, who could trade it.

25. Marcus Sasser, Houston: Boston Celtics

22 years old -- 6'1" G -- 195lbs

Boston adds its Marcus Smart replacement. Sasser is a gritty two-way veteran with two-way skills conducive to winning. Sasser accumulated a 116-22 record across his four seasons at Houston. He also canned 36.9 percent of 7.0 3PA per game across his Houston tenure. 

26.  Brice Sensabaugh, Ohio St.: Indiana Pacers

19 years old -- 6'4" G -- 235lbs

Despite an utter lack of defense, this is a worthwhile swing for the Pacers, who could use a clutch scoring forward. Sensabaugh will need to be molded by coach Rick Carlisle, but the talent is there. Notably, Sensabaugh underwent offseason knee surgery, Olivier-Maxence Prosper could be an option here if defense is mandatory, but there aren't many shot charts in the country that look as good as Sensabaugh's (via cbbanalytics):

27. Ben Sheppard, Belmont: Charlotte Hornets

21 years old -- 6'5" G/Wing -- 195lbs

I'm skeptical of Sheppard's game off the dribble, but if he can shoot and defend off the bat, he would be immensely valuable in Charlotte -- one of the worst-spaced offenses in the league last season. Sheppard played four seasons at Belmont, climbing in three-point volume and efficiency in each campaign. He connected on 41.5 percent of 6.0 3PA per game last season. He's a versatile, gifted shooter.

28. Nick Smith, Arkansas: Utah Jazz

19 years old -- 6'5" G -- 180lbs

Smith has a rare wiggle to him. The way he changes gears and utilizes his speed makes him tough to guard. Durability is an issue. Smith adding muscle is mandatory. Due to knee issues and a poorly spaced offense, his time at Arkansas isn't overly indicative of what he's capable of. Utah has no reason to draft three guards, so trading this pick is plausible if the board runs dry. 

29. Andre Jackson, UConn: Denver Nuggets

21 years old -- 6'6" Wing -- 200lbs

This is meant to be. Perhaps the best cutter in the draft, Denver pairing him with Nikola Jokic is divine. Jackson needs to keep progressing his shot, but his defense and overall impact levels will carve out a role. He's a quality wing initiator on offense. 

30. Colby Jones, Xavier, Los Angeles Clippers

21 years old -- 6'5" G/Wing -- 200lbs

If the Clippers keep this pick, Jones would be a current contributor due to his size and shooting growth. That being said, even though he climbed to 37.8 percent three-point shooting, he still hit just 65.3 percent of 3.4 free-throw attempts per game during his junior season at Xavier. Shooting is the swing factor, but Jones graded as one of the best pick-and-roll ball handlers in the county last season.

Second-Round Prospect Rankings

Guards:

  1. Terquavion Smith, NC State
  2. Sidy Cissoko, G League Ignite
  3. Amari Bailey, UCLA
  4. Mike Miles, TCU
  5. Isaiah Wong, Miami
  6. Craig Porter Jr., Wichita St.
  7. Jazian Gortman, OTE
  8. Jalen Pickett, Penn State

Wings

  1. Julian Strawther, Gonzaga
  2. Jalen Wilson, Kansas
  3. Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Marquette 
  4. Jaylen Clark, UCLA
  5. Rayan Rupert, New Zealand Breakers
  6. Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan
  7. Seth Lundy, Penn State
  8. Jalen Slawson, Furman
  9. Jordan Miller, Miami

Forwards

  1. Kris Murray, Iowa
  2. Kobe Brown, Missouri
  3. GG Jackson, South Carolina
  4. Julian Phillips, Tennessee
  5. Jordan Walsh, Arkansas
  6. Ricky Council IV, Arkansas
  7. Hunter Tyson, Clemson 
  8. Chris Livingston, Kentucky

Bigs

  1. James Nnaji, FC Barcelona
  2. Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
  3. Tristan Vukcevic, Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade
  4. Adama Sanogo, UConn
  5. Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henry Weinberg
Henry is a sports writer and analyst, specializing in NBA analysis, CBB coverage and draft prep. He's a freelance scout, passionate baseball fan, elite fantasy football player and former Butler Bulldog.
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