2023 NBA Draft on B/R

Bleacher Report: Latest Mock Draft as NCAA Tournament concludes

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman predicts all 60 picks for the 2023 NBA Draft.

Victor Wembanyama dropped 26 points on Le Mans in a win on March 28.

Editor’s Note: Find more of Jonathan Wasserman’s coverage of the 2023 Draft on Bleacher Report or to read this article on BleacherReport.com, click here.

(B/R) — The end of the NCAA Tournament officially signals the start of NBA draft season.

B/R’s projected board has made changes and added new names following the NCAA Tournament and Connecticut’s run, which could now result in three Huskies getting drafted.

There is still debate around the league about who deserves to follow Victor Wembanyama at No. 2. And a handful of freshmen and international prospects still have interesting decisions to make about declaring or waiting another year.

From here on out, prospects have the Portsmouth Invitational, G League Elite Camp, NBA combine, workouts and interviews to improve their stock.

1. Detroit Pistons: Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92, PF/C, 2004)

Victor Wembanyama, Mets 92

Given the construction of the Pistons’ roster, it’s going to feel like Wembanyama or bust for Detroit. Drafting Scoot Henderson or Amen Thompson, guards valued most for ball-handling and creation, would either have to play to their weaknesses or similarly force Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham off the ball. And while Brandon Miller’s shooting would fit, the drop-off between him and Wembanyama feels significant when projecting upside.

Adding a perimeter shot-making threat, passer and another defensive ace—like Wembanyama—next to Jalen Duren or James Wiseman would seem ideal for this particular lineup. Falling to No. 2 or No. 3 in the Draft would likely result in Pistons’ general manager Troy Weaver making and fielding trade calls from the lottery until the Draft.

2. Houston Rockets: Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite, PG, 2004)

With Wembanyama off the board, every sign would point to the Rockets addressing their point guard position and valuing Henderson’s leadership. Amen Thompson figures to receive some consideration as well, given his superior positional size and passing.

But the majority of scouts still feel safer about projecting Henderson, given their comfort level assessing the G League’s competition, his production at 19 years old and how his combination of explosiveness and creativity typically translate.

3. San Antonio Spurs: Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite, PG/SG, 2003)

Miller’s struggles in the NCAA Tournament highlighted flaws that could lead to Thompson earning an edge on Draft boards. The Spurs also don’t have a creation weapon like Thompson. In fact, no team in the NBA has a player with his combination of 6-foot-7 size, untoppable athletic ability and playmaking skill.

Even without a consistent jump shot, Thompson figures to remain an NBA scoring threat with his transition game, ball-handling, elevation, runner touch and finishing package. While he does lose value points for the shooting limitations, he makes up some by projecting incredibly well defensively with his quickness, court coverage and hops.

4. Charlotte Hornets: Brandon Miller (Alabama, SF, Freshman)

Concerns over Miller’s ability to separate and finish resurfaced in the NCAA Tournament, where he combined to shoot 5-of-22 inside the arc through three games. Missing 16-of-19 threes was more likely just a poorly timed slump.

Miller still figures to have an edge here at No. 4, as teams remain confident in his shot-making and enticed by the idea of a 6-foot-9 ball-handler, live-dribble passer and shooter. He ultimately demonstrated enough versatility with his playmaking and defense to provide a cushion in case his on-ball weaknesses continue to affect his scoring efficiency.

5. Portland Trail Blazers: Jarace Walker (Houston, PF/C, Freshman)

Walker should have some wiggle room with scouts, given what time and development could do for a 6-foot-8, 240-pounder with 3-point range, driving ability, touch shots, passing IQ and special defensive tools. He’s only going to make more fans in workouts and interviews and sway teams to remain patient with his creation and shooting skill.

Too far away from thinking about win-now mode in the Draft, Portland will operate the way it did last year and take the best long-term prospect. Ausar Thompson, Cam Whitmore, Anthony Black and Taylor Hendricks will earn consideration, though at the moment, Walker feels like the most popular.

6. Indiana Pacers: Taylor Hendricks (UCF, PF, Freshman)

Taylor Hendricks, UCF

Given Hendricks’ physical tools, 61 threes at 39.4% and convincing lateral and vertical mobility, his shooting, finishing and defensive versatility are deemed translatable. They also form a valued combination that creates a desirable, 3-and-D forward archetype. Hendricks could receive bonus points from Indiana for how well he’d fit at the 4 next to Myles Turner.

7. Washington Wizards: Anthony Black (Arkansas, PG/SG, Freshman)

A 6-foot-7 playmaker with special defensive instincts and an ability to impact games without scoring, Black established himself as one of the Draft’s unique players. And being unique can help separate him from the other prospects in a tier where there isn’t a clear best available. The Wizards could look at Black as a new lead ball-handler option or just an interchangeable, two-way plus for the lineup.

8. Orlando Magic: Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite, SG/SF, 2003)

Teams will be eager to get a closer look at Thompson’s shooting mechanics in workouts. Many will presumably be willing to exercise patience once they take in his outrageous quickness and bounce, which are only made more dangerous by his ability to handle, get to spots and separate. Thompson would give Orlando’s lineup a needed injection of speed and athleticism.

9. Utah Jazz: Cason Wallace (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)

The Jazz could see Wallace, an efficient ball-handler with passing IQ, shooting versatility and defensive instincts, as the right point guard for this roster to build with. Despite questions over his self-creation in the half court, performances like his 21-point game against Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament highlight his ability to find ways to score with his pull-up game, floater and finishing package.

10. Dallas Mavericks: Cam Whitmore (Villanova, SF, Freshman)

Suddenly five games under .500, the Mavericks may wind up keeping their pick that would otherwise go to the New York Knicks if it’s No. 11 or later. A best-player-available search could lead to Whitmore. He’ll enter the league with the type of power, explosiveness and shot-making for instant transition offense, slashing, finish and streak shooting.

11. Oklahoma City Thunder: Gradey Dick (Kansas, SF, Freshman)

With plenty of ball-handlers, the Thunder could target Dick’s shooting and overall efficient spot-up scoring. While there is still hope for more off-the-dribble development, he’d play to his strengths in Oklahoma City with his catch-and-shoot game, timely drives and cuts off Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams.

12. Orlando Magic (via Bulls): Keyonte George (Baylor, SG, Freshman)

Keyonte George, Baylor

With a roster of young players, Orlando could attempt to package its two lottery picks and move closer to the top five. The Magic could also see more value with George this late. They’d have to look past the inefficient percentages for his scoring firepower and shooting versatility.

13. Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves): Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas, SG, Freshman)

Teams may downgrade Smith after learning that he’s more likely a 185-pound 2-guard than a 6-foot-5 lead ball-handler. Despite the lack of playmaking, his shot-making, touch shots and finishes still create enough scoring versatility/potential to interest lottery teams.

14. Toronto Raptors: Kobe Bufkin (Michigan, PG/SG, Freshman)

Scouts started to take Bufkin seriously as the off-the-dribble shooting, crafty finishing and two-way playmaking consistently popped over the last few months. He was far more efficient than some of the projected one-and-done lottery guards, and considering he’s still 19 years old, it’s not out of the question teams start thinking about Bufkin as an option earlier than mid-first-round.

15. Atlanta Hawks: Jett Howard (Michigan, SF, Freshman)

The combination of size (6-foot-8) and shooting versatility will make Howard look like a safe pick outside the lottery. How early he goes will come down to a team’s belief in his creation development and the likelihood he improves defensively.

16. Los Angeles Lakers: Dariq Whitehead (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)

Considering the high school tape and college film told different stories, Whitehead is expected to finish near the lottery on some boards and ranked late in the 20s on others. Scouts are more trusting of Whitehead’s shooting than they were this time last year. Shot-making and defensive tools alone should warrant first-round interest. Teams buying the self-creation and passing flashes improving from ages 19-21 will have him ranked higher.

17. New Orleans Pelicans: Jordan Hawkins (Connecticut, SG, Sophomore)

Jordan Hawkins, UConn

Twenty-one threes in the NCAA Tournament gave Hawkins 109 for the season and a case for being the class’ top shot-maker. Teams have to ask about the upside of a 6-foot-5 non-creator, passer or defensive playmaker, but at the least, he should serve as a plug-and-play shooter with his shooting versatility.

18. Houston Rockets: Rayan Rupert (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 2004)

Teams will be eager to bring Rupert in for workouts, given his lack of playing time in the NBL and the hype around his shot-making and 7-foot-3 wingspan for three-and-D.

19. Golden State Warriors: Colby Jones (Xavier, PG/SG, Junior)

Versatility and an impact on winning have Jones near the top 20 on Draft boards. He’ll appeal most to teams more interested in acquiring an immediate role player than gambling on upside.

20. Miami Heat: Dereck Lively II (Duke, C, Freshman)

Only teams focused on improving defensively will target Lively, whose length, foot speed and improved reads have teams re-buying the rim protection that popped in high school. Though limited to mostly easy baskets and putbacks on offense, a recent surge in the finisher-shot-blocker archetype making clear impacts should help Lively’s case.

21. Brooklyn Nets: Jalen Hood-Schifino (Indiana, PG/SG, Freshman)

Hood-Schifino may have raised some eyebrows of late with cold shooting and some lackadaisical play. There will still be first-round interest in a 6-foot-6 ball-handler who can control possessions with his pace, sink defenses with his pull-up and facilitate.

22. Brooklyn Nets (via Suns): Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine, SG/SF, Sophomore)

Lewis may benefit from some distance between the end of the season and draft process. He jumped out early, turning heads with improved, smooth creation flashes, shot-making versatility and consistency through two months, but a shooting slump extinguished excitement over the early numbers. Pepperdine’s 9-22 record has also kept interest in Lewis from blowing up. His body type, scoring skill set and fluidity should re-pop in workouts.

23. Portland Trail Blazers (via Knicks): GG Jackson (South Carolina, PF, Freshman)

Jackson’s flashes of ball-handling, shooting versatility and athletic finishes hint at upside. His 38.4 field-goal percentage, 27 assists, 74 turnovers and lack of defensive playmaking will scare impatient teams away. He’ll either go to a rebuilding team that gives him the freedom to play through mistakes or a playoff team interested in developing a project for the future.

24. Sacramento Kings: Brice Sensabaugh (Ohio State, SG, Freshman)

Sensabaugh will attract teams focused on adding scoring firepower. Consistent production and ultra efficiency show how effective his self-creation and shot-making were against college defenses. Teams just question how well his 235-pound frame will execute against NBA wings, because the lack of passing and defense reduces his margin for error.

25. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): Kyle Filipowski (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)

For a 7-footer, 3-point range, face-up moves, post skill and defensive mobility have earned Filipowski first-round grades. Inconsistent shooting and separation trouble against athleticism/length will keep lottery teams from reaching.

26. Memphis Grizzlies: Brandin Podziemski (Santa Clara, PG/SG, Sophomore)

While some teams may have questions about Podziemski’s frame, athleticism and defensive projection for the NBA, they won’t negate the efficient production and what it says about his skill level as a creator, shot-maker and passer. Leading the conference in rebounding while averaging 1.8 steals should also help ease concerns over his physicality or quickness. From an optics standpoint, it can’t hurt Podziemski that former Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams may be up for Rookie of the Year after similarly playing against WCC competition.

27. Utah Jazz (via 76ers): Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA, SF/PF, Senior)

Jaquez carried UCLA during the season and through most of the NCAA Tournament, despite the fact that his game isn’t suited for a No. 1 option role. He’ll play a supporting role at the next level that values his versatility, toughness and defense.

28. Charlotte Hornets (via Nuggets): Leonard Miller (G League Ignite, SF, 2004)

Leonard Miller, G League Ignite

While there has been a focus on his choppy shooting mechanics, Miller’s two-point efficiency, face-up fluidity, touch shots and free throws, 6-foot-10 wing size, age (19) and gradual improvement will buy him time with NBA teams. He’s a candidate to rise up boards over the next two months, especially considering he’ll be familiar with the pre-Draft process after going through it last year.

29. Indiana Pacers (via Celtics): Kris Murray (Iowa, PF, Sophomore)

Production, improved shooting, cutting, offensive rebounding and transition finishing have teams picturing an off-ball scorer in Murray. The excitement around his breakout just cooled down due to tough games against bigger, more athletic front lines.

30. LA Clippers (via Bucks): Bilal Coulibaly (Metropolitans 92, SF, 2004)

Coulibaly wasn’t productive enough for teams to reach in the top 20, but athleticism, shot-making flashes, defensive playmaking and age (19) create enough upside to entice a team in the late first round.

31. Detroit Pistons: Terquavion Smith (North Carolina State, SG, Sophomore)

A pair of 30-point games over NC State’s last three helped salvage an inefficient sophomore season. They were a reminder for teams of the scoring firepower his shot-making can generate. Meanwhile, consecutive seasons below 40% from the floor point out his vulnerability, living off tough jumpers and a 165-pound frame.

32. Indiana Pacers (via Rockets): Julian Strawther (Gonzaga, SF, Junior)

Though Strawther couldn’t get his shot to fall against Connecticut, he previously had 28 points against Grand Canyon before burying UCLA with an NBA three in the final seconds. While scouts acknowledge the lack of creation, most buy his shooting and touch for finishing drives.

33. San Antonio Spurs: Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana, PF/C, Senior)

Improved passing, short-range creation and shot-blocking have helped reshape Jackson-Davis’ image as an outdated post scorer. While the senior figures to still find himself with a second-round grade on most boards, it wouldn’t be surprising if some teams saw an NBA big worth taking in the 20s.

34. Charlotte Hornets: Ricky Council IV (Arkansas, SG/SF, Freshman)

Council averaged 18.7 points against Connecticut, Kansas and Illinois in the NCAA Tournament, getting to the line a total of 32 times and earning buckets off his ball-handling, burst, tough finishing and explosion at the rim. A team in the first-round may be willing to bet on just moderate shooting improvement and what it could do for his scoring attack.

35. Boston Celtics (via Blazers): Noah Clowney (Alabama, PF/C, Freshman)

The idea of a potential stretch 4 or 5 who rebounds and blocks shots will earn Clowney first-round looks. But at this point, he’s just an idea, likely a few seasons away from potentially providing consistent shooting or offense.

36. Sacramento Kings (via Pacers): Amari Bailey (UCLA, PG/SG, Freshman)

Minds have started to change on Bailey since Jaylen Clark’s injury opened a door for the freshman to showcase more creation and live-dribble passing. Depending on his urgency to jumpstart his pro career, returning to a bigger role for a weaker 2024 draft may be enticing. But he could still earn first-round looks this June, with scouts coming around on his playmaking IQ, shot-making potential, backcourt versatility and defensive activity.

37. Orlando Magic: Marcus Sasser (Houston, PG/SG, Senior)

An early exit from the NCAA Tournament blew an opportunity for Sasser to show off his takeover ability and leadership. He wasn’t able to sell himself any better this year as a lead ball-handler or playmaker, but there will be late-first and second-round interest in his pick-and-roll scoring and shooting.

38. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Wizards): Sidy Cissoko (G League Ignite, SG/SF, 2004)

Some teams may have trouble identifying Cissoko’s NBA’s skill or purpose. There will be others drawn to the idea of a 6-foot-7, 18-year-old wing with improving shot-making skill, secondary playmaking flashes and physical tools for defensive versatility.

39. Charlotte Hornets (via Celtics): Andre Jackson Jr. (Connecticut, SF, Junior)

Andre Jackson Jr., UConn

Despite self-creation and shooting limitations that will keep Jackson from scoring, an NBA team could picture him thriving in the same role that he did with Connecticut, setting the table in transition, moving the ball, finishing off it and playmaking defensively.

40. Denver Nuggets (via Mavericks): Jalen Wilson (Kansas, SF/PF, Senior)

Wilson did what was needed this year to enter the Draft picture, improving his shot-making and assertiveness in a lead-option role. Skeptics will question what area of the game he projects as a plus, but there will be teams willing to buy his physical tools, scoring versatility and production with a late-first or second-round pick.

41. Charlotte Hornets (via Thunder): Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State, SF, Senior)

Johnson’s consistent shooting and 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame for driving, cutting and defense have scouts picturing an off-ball scorer and two-way forward at the 3 or 4.

42. Washington Wizards (via Bulls): Terrence Shannon (Illinois, SG/SF, Senior)

The inconsistent shooting has kept scouts from fully buying in, but Shannon still revived his NBA draft stock this year with more shot-making and passing to complement the attacking and defensive tools.

43. Memphis Grizzlies (via Timberwolves): James Nnaji (Barcelona, C, 2004)

Having played more than 10 minutes once since January, Nnaji’s draft case is built mostly around his strong physical profile and experience playing against the stiffest competition outside the NBA at 18 years old. Buyers will see a finisher and interior defender.

44. Portland Trail Blazers (via Hawks): Judah Mintz (Syracuse, PG/SG, Freshman)

It’s unclear how JJ Starling’s transfer to Syracuse, Jim Boeheim’s retirement and a weaker 2024 draft field will affect Mintz’s decision to leave or return. His two-point shot-making, playmaking and defensive energy have led to NBA interest, though the lack of 3-point shooting for a 172-pound combo guard will likely keep him in second-round conversations.

45. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Tristan Vukčević (KK Partizan, PF/C, 2003)

Vukčević hasn’t played much in Euroleague, but the 7-foot 20-year-old has shot 40.5% from three in the Adriatic League while delivering face-up flashes, passing and easy finishing. For a big his size, his skill set/level projects favorably to the NBA if he can get by athletically and defend his position.

46. Los Angeles Lakers: Baylor Scheierman (Creighton, SF, Senior)

Baylor Scheierman, Creighton

Scheierman’s athletic limitations have been exposed throughout his career, but shooting and passing are mostly deemed translatable, especially for a 6-foot-7 wing.

47. Atlanta Hawks: Coleman Hawkins (Illinois, PF, Junior)

The appeal to Hawkins’ archetype will earn him Draft looks, as one team figures to ignore the lack of scoring and covet the potential shooting, passing and defensive versatility in a 6-foot-10 forward.

48. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Warriors): Kobe Brown (Missouri, SF, Senior)

At some point in the Draft, a team will forget about age (23) and upside and bet on Brown’s 45.5% on 3-pointers, passing and surprise creation flashes.

49. LA Clippers: Tosan Evbuomwan (Princeton, PF, Senior)

Overlooked this season from the Ivy League, Evbuomwan earned himself NBA workouts during the NCAA Tournament with his scoring craft and signature passing. He’s become an out-of-the-box facilitating big worth thinking about in the second round.

50. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Heat): Jaylen Clark (UCLA, SF, Senior)

Clark made enough fans to crack Draft boards with his defense, pick-and-roll flashes and finishing before March’s season-ending injury. A team will deem him worthy of late second-round consideration based on his defensive-specialist potential and versatility to play on and off the ball.

51. Phoenix Suns: DaRon Holmes II (Dayton, C, Sophomore)

It’s going to take a specific team to draft Holmes, but the right one could add an easy-basket machine and shot-blocker, given the likelihood of his physical tools and athleticism translating to finishing and defense around the rim.

52. Brooklyn Nets: Ben Sheppard (Belmont, SG, Senior)

After a productive, efficient season of spot-up and pull-up shooting, slashing and cutting, the pre-Draft process will give Sheppard a chance to validate the scoring versatility against pro prospects who didn’t play in the MVC.

53. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Knicks): Jordan Miller (Miami, SF/PF, Senior)

Miller helped himself in the NCAA Tournament, influencing games with defense while showing enough slashing and passing to diminish some of the concern over his shooting.

54. Sacramento Kings: Adem Bona (UCLA, C, Freshman)

Bona would draw second-round looks for his rim protection and defensive mobility, though a return to school will presumably be advised if he’s interested in maximizing his Draft stock.

55. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): Mouhamed Gueye (Washington State, PF, Sophomore)

Though scouts wanted to see more 3-point shooting, Gueye’s scoring efficiency off face-up drives, mid-range touch and finishes should earn him second-round looks and an invite to the NBA combine.

56. Memphis Grizzles: Mike Miles Jr. (TCU, PG, Junior)

Miles developed into one of the most efficient finishers among college guards, and though the 3-point and assist numbers were lower than you’d want for a 6-foot-2 ball-handler, the eye test on his shooting and passing highlights were more convincing than the stats.

57. Philadelphia 76ers: Forfeited

58. Chicago Bulls (via Nuggets): Forfeited

59. Washington Wizards (via Celtics): Drew Timme (Gonzaga, PF/C, Senior)

All it takes is one team to buy Timme’s post game, improved face-up skill and passing for an offensive-specialist role off the bench.

60. Milwaukee Bucks: Zach Edey (Purdue, C, Junior)

With the last pick in the Draft, it’s worth finding out if Edey’s 7-foot-4 size and interior skill could be useful for finishing, offensive rebounding, low-post scoring and rim protection.

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Jonathan Wasserman is the lead scout and NBA Draft analyst for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports and Sports Reference.