2023 NBA Draft on B/R

Bleacher Report: Latest Mock Draft with NBA Draft less than 1 month away

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman predicts all 58 picks for the 2023 NBA Draft.

Victor Wembanyama is projected to go No. 1 overall to San Antonio.

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) — Between the French league (LNB Pro A) playoffs heading to the Finals, and gossip spreading as prospects make their workout rounds, necessary changes to our mock draft have been made.

Scoot Henderson also just conducted his workout for the Portland Trail Blazers, a sign from Henderson’s camp that it isn’t sold on the Charlotte Hornets’ level of interest at No. 2. Brandon Miller continues to hold down the No. 2 spot in our projections.

Cam Whitmore may also be emerging as the hottest NCAA prospect after Miller. He was moved to No. 5 in last week’s update.

The biggest changes as of Monday, June 5 include:

  • Bilal Coulibaly rises to No. 11 after another strong outing in LNB Pro A playoffs
  • Ben Sheppard’s stock is soaring, now at No. 19 with interest building in mid-first round
  • Jett Howard slips down to No. 29

1. San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92, PF/C, 19 years old)

Wembanyama is still putting the finishing touches on the most eye-opening, pre-draft highlight reel in two decades with his French team headed to the finals of the French domestic league’s semis, LNB.

Wembanyama is currently delivering playoff wins in a respected pro league, which only helps sell the impact of his unprecedented physical tools and skill set.

San Antonio is on the verge of pairing a five-position defender in Jeremy Sochan with a 7’5″ shot-blocker who’ll double as both the team’s rim protector and No. 1 scoring option.

2. Charlotte Hornets: Brandon Miller (Alabama, SF, 20 years old)

League sources tell B/R that there are execs in Charlotte’s front office who see a star wing in Miller. Miller’s 6’9″ size, shooting, live-dribble passing and defensive tools make him a lower-risk prospect, in terms of sheer talent.

It’s not as clear how high the Hornets are on Scoot Henderson, and whether they see a fit with LaMelo Ball. But some scouts around the league have cooled on Henderson throughout the year.

With 33-year-old Gordon Hayward entering the final year of his contract, Miller may have an edge at No. 2.

3. Portland Trail Blazers: Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite, PG, 19 years old)

Thinking Basketball breaks down why Scoot Henderson is one of the top prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft.

With Miller possibly gone at No. 2, Henderson becomes a likely best-player-available choice at No. 3.

The question is whether Portland will be making it, or if another team trades up with a Blazers’ franchise focused on adding veteran star power.

Miller would be an easier fit for Portland, but if the Blazers are motivated to push for the playoffs in 2023-24, it may not matter who’s on the board for them at No. 3. Portland figures to be fielding and making proposals from now until draft night on June 22.

4. Houston Rockets: Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite, PG/SG, 20 years old)

Assuming James Harden becomes a Rocket, the biggest positional need for Houston will be a wing, with Jalen Green and Jabari Smith locked into starting jobs.

Sources say the Thompsons twins—Ausar and Amen—are both in heavy consideration at No. 4.

While Ausar comes off as the better fit for his improved shot-making, Amen has the more bankable skill with his passing—something that creates a rare archetype and unique upside.

With Ausar’s erratic decision-making and (still) below-average shooting, Amen’s combination of elite athletic ability, ball-handling and translatable playmaking at 6’7″ could give him an edge in the best-player-available discussion.

5. Detroit Pistons: Cam Whitmore (Villanova, SF/PF, 18 years old)

The Detroit Pistons could plug Cam Whitmore into either forward spot with his shot-making and 235-pound frame.

Having two playmakers in Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey allows Detroit to look past Whitmore’s sub-par passing skills. He could play to his athletic strengths and catch-and-shoot game in Detroit, though Whitmore should also see enough opportunities to experiment with some of the self-creation he flashed into dribble drives and step-backs.

Between Whitmore, Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren, the Pistons would ultimately have one of the NBA’s most physical front lines.

6. Orlando Magic: Anthony Black (Arkansas, PG/SG, 19 years old)

The Magic—who always seem to value skill, versatility and intangibles over athleticism in the draft—could covet Black’s jumbo point-guard potential or his versatility for a lineup that already has a handful of guards and cornerstone forwards. Between Black, Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, there would be plenty of interchangeability and defense in front of lead scorer Paolo Banchero.

7. Indiana Pacers: Jarace Walker (Houston, PF, 19 years old)

Walker’s potential shoot-dribble-pass versatility would fit cleanly at the 4 next to Myles Turner, assuming the freshman continues to build on the flashes of three-point range, drives past closeouts, live-dribble playmaking and some self-creation skill. We’re hearing an elbow injury forced him to cancel his pro day, so it will be interesting to hear who he’s able to work out for over the next few weeks.

8. Washington Wizards: Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite, SG/SF, 20 years old)

Thompson’s athleticism, creation potential, defense and improvable shooting would create too much upside for the Wizards to pass on at No. 8. This would presumably be his floor, with Thompson earning realistic consideration as high as No. 4.

9. Utah Jazz: Gradey Dick (Kansas, SG/SF, 19 years old)

Gradey Dick, Kansas

Without an obvious star on the board, the Jazz could value Dick’s sure-thing shooting and look to mirror the Miami Heat’s success by loading up on shot-making. Utah could be drawn to the strategy of building with the firepower/spacing provided by Dick and Lauri Markkanen alongside Walker Kessler’s offensive efficiency and rim protection.

10. Dallas Mavericks: Taylor Hendricks (Central Florida, PF, 19 years old)

Hendricks would fill a need in Dallas with his shooting, defensive versatility and athleticism from the power forward position. When the perceived star names are off the board, teams are expected to covet and value Hendrick’s three-and-D archetype and fit over upside.

11. Orlando Magic: Bilal Coulibaly (Metropolitans 92, SF, 18 years old)

While most prospects use pro days and workouts to try and improve their stock, Coulibaly is helping himself in the LNB Pro A playoffs, most recently going for 16 points in a Game 4 win over ASVEL to help Mets 92 advance to the finals. Rumors of a lottery promise have started swirling in NBA circles. Teams in the late lottery have been considering the 18-year-old who’s making an impact for Victor Wembanyama’s Mets 92 with his effortless bounce, two-way activity and spot-up shooting. Recent flashes of self-creation have only made Coulibaly look more enticing weeks before the draft.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Dereck Lively (Duke, C, 19 years old)

Teams at Lively’s pro day came away impressed by his shooting, something we saw more of in AAU and high school. With Oklahoma City’s backcourt set and Jalen Williams a clear starter, the Thunder could think about the defensive upside of a Chet Holmgren-Lively frontcourt, with the Duke freshman having made tremendous improvement throughout the season in pick-and-roll coverage and rim protection.

13. Toronto Raptors: Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas, SG, 19 years old)

After injuries affected Smith’s season and inefficiency cast a cloud over it, scouts sounded pleased with his pro day. There is still plenty of confidence in his shot-making and three-level scoring, despite what the percentages at Arkansas say. Smith would give Toronto needed backcourt depth and insurance with Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. both entering the final year of their deals (player options).

14. New Orleans Pelicans: Keyonte George (Baylor, SG, 19 years old)

The fact that George looked slim and well-conditioned during his pro day sat well with scouts. The Pelicans would value his shooting and second-unit scoring, while New Orleans’ veteran talent would help limit George’s decision-making load.

15. Atlanta Hawks: Cason Wallace (Kentucky, PG, 19 years old)

Jordan Hawkins could give Atlanta the shooting it needs, but it may have a tough time passing on a defensive guard like Wallace at No. 15. The Hawks could use him to run the second-unit offense and provide three-level scoring and defensive ball pressure.

16. Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves): Jalen Hood-Schifino (Indiana, PG, 19 years old)

The Jazz could pass on guards at No. 9 with the idea that Hood-Schifino, Wallace or Kobe Bufkin could be there at No. 16. Hood-Schifino’s positional size and length, prolific pull-up game and flashy passing have led to scouts picturing enticing upside for a prospect who’ll be available in the late lottery to mid-first round.

17. Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bufkin (Michigan, PG/SG, 19 years old)

There is a divide among scouts on Bufkin, who has believers in his versatility and trajectory and skeptics over the eventual effectiveness of his creation, shooting and physical tools. With D’Angelo Russell’s future up in the air for the Lakers, Bufkin could provide some insurance and depth with his backcourt versatility, efficient finishing, three-level shot-making and defensive instincts.

18. Miami Heat: Jordan Hawkins (Connecticut, SG/SF, 21 years old)

Miami could look to continue adding shot-making with Hawkins, who put together one of the most convincing seasons of shooting with 109 threes, including 19 during Connecticut’s national title run. He’d be an easy fit based on Miami’s offense and ball movement.

19. Golden State Warriors: Ben Sheppard (Belmont, SG, Senior)

Interest in Sheppard has snowballed since the NBA combine, as he now has teams with picks in the teens bringing him in for workouts. Scouts and executives suddenly started to take his 18.8 points and 58.2 true shooting percentage at Belmont more seriously after he torched groups of second-round prospects in Chicago. Sharp pick-and-roll offense and shooting versatility are earning Sheppard legitimate consideration in the mid-to-late first round.

20. Houston Rockets (via Clippers): Brandin Podziemski (Santa Clara, PG/SG, 20 years old)

Love for Podziemski has gradually spread, and now teams are considering him in the late teens and 20s. He has fans inside Houston’s front office for his creativity, shot-making and playmaking, areas he shows enough skill in to overcome physical and athletic limitations.

21. Brooklyn Nets (via Suns): Dariq Whitehead (Duke, SG/SF, 18 years old)

Dariq Whitehead, Duke

Whitehead will have a tough time rising up boards after another foot surgery that limits his workout opportunities. But a promising medical report could also help scouts re-picture the scoring wing at Montverde whose creation and shot-making development fueled top-five hype entering the season.

22. Brooklyn Nets: Leonard Miller (G League Ignite, SF, 19 years old)

More of an idea than a surefire NBA pro at this time last year, Miller now has a season’s worth of solid G League production, plus gradual improvement and an attractive combination of 6’9″ size and wing skills.

23. Portland Trail Blazers: Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine, SF, 20 years old)

Scouts have been trying to weigh Lewis’ NBA physical profile, three-level shot-making and enticing creation flashes versus Pepperdine’s 9-22 record and the sophomore’s inconsistent defense against lower-level competition. He should ultimately look enticing in a workout setting with the body of a wing and the shooting versatility to hit different types of jumpers from all over.

24. Sacramento Kings: Kris Murray (Iowa, SF/PF, 22 years old)

The Kings may have a tough time resisting the urge of pairing the Murray twins, particularly given how easily Keegan fit. Kris’ off-ball scoring is similar and seemingly translatable, and with Sacramento focused on advancing in the playoffs, there could be more incentive to draft a 22-year-old.

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Brice Sensabaugh (Ohio State, SG/SF, 19 years old)

Memphis could add another shooter behind Desmond Bane with Sensabaugh, who brings a unique, powerful build and creative skill for second-unit scoring. A late-season knee injury has affected his availability and likelihood of rising during the pre-draft process.

26. Indiana Pacers: Noah Clowney (Alabama, PF/C, 18 years old)

Clowney enters the draft with a project label, though certain teams will be willing to invest and wait on the potential rewards of adding frontcourt three-and-D.

27. Charlotte Hornets: Colby Jones (Xavier, PG/SG, 21 years old)

If the Hornets take Brandon Miller, a big, defensive guard who can pass should look appealing at No. 27. Jones could handle the ball behind LaMelo or play a Swiss Army Knife role at either position.

28. Utah Jazz: Amari Bailey (UCLA, PG, 19 years old)

Amari Bailey, UCLA

Unteachable basketball IQ and improvisation have helped Bailey earn NBA fans. Instead of selling himself as a scoring combo, teams have started to picture a facilitator who has shown just enough creative shot-making to keep defenses honest.

29. Indiana Pacers: Jett Howard (Michigan, SF, 19 years old)

With a valued, translatable skill set for off-ball scoring, and questions about athleticism and defense, Howard’s draft range is wide, likely from No. 15 to No. 30.

30. Los Angeles Clippers: Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA, SF/PF, 22 years old)

With Jaquez, there will be teams in the 20s and 30s willing to forget about upside, and instead value the floor tied to his physicality, intangibles and versatility. He’s drawn positive reviews for his shooting during workouts.

2nd Round

31. Detroit Pistons: GG Jackson (South Carolina, PF, 18 years old)

Jackson will draw looks from teams in the teens who see upside in an 18-year-old forward who can create for himself, hit specialty jumpers and shoot threes. He’s also a candidate to slip given his lengthier NBA-ready timeline, inefficient scoring and suspect decision-making and defense.

32. Indiana Pacers (via Rockets): Bobi Klintman (Wake Forest, PF, 20 years old)

Klintman is drawing late first and early second-round interest from teams who like the idea of a stretch 4, buy his defensive potential and think his talent/upside was masked by a limited role at Wake Forest.

33. San Antonio Spurs: Rayan Rupert (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 18 years old)

Rupert will draw first-round looks just based off the appeal to long wings (7’2″ wingspan) with shot-making potential. Limited production in the NBL has also led to low confidence levels in scouts.

34. Charlotte Hornets: James Nnaji (Barcelona, C, 18 years old)

Nnaji’s physical profile and Euroleague experience for an 18-year-old should be enough to draw looks in the 20s and 30s from teams who see a high-floor finisher and defender.

35. Boston Celtics (via Blazers): Andre Jackson Jr. (Connecticut, SG/SF, 21 years old)

While teams acknowledge Jackson’s shooting woes, scouts have still found a way to love his athleticism, passing and intangibles for a unique two-way playmaker role.

36. Orlando Magic: Tristan Vukcevic (KK Partizan, PF, 20 years old)

Though not everyone was convinced by Vukcevic’s stellar NBA combine scrimmage—mostly due to athletic and defensive questions—he’s still an enticing pick in the 30s for his 7’0″ size, obvious shooting touch and high skill level.

37. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Wizards): Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Marquette, SF, 20 years old)

After taking over Wednesday’s combine scrimmage with his physical tools, motor and some surprise ball-handling, Prosper suddenly has teams picturing an NBA energizer and wing defender.

38. Sacramento Kings (via Pacers): Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana, PF/C, 23 years old)

Jackson-Davis has been shooting jumpers during NBA auditions, something he didn’t do at Indiana. Regardless, he’ll earn consideration for his effectiveness as a post scorer, finisher, passer and rebounder.

39. Charlotte Hornets (via Jazz): Julian Phillips (Tennessee, SF, 19 years old)

Scouts around the league believe Phillips has early second-round teams willing to offer guaranteed money. The former McDonald’s All-American is starting to be seen as a buy-low pick after he measured near 6’7″ in socks, won athletic testing and presumably shot worse than he’s capable of at Tennessee.

40. Denver Nuggets (via Mavericks): Julian Strawther (Gonzaga, SF, 21 years old)

Julian Strawther, Gonzaga

Strawther has earned some first-round grades for his spot-up and movement shooting, though the ability put the ball down and weaponize his floater/runner has turned him into a more multidimensional off-ball scorer.

41. Charlotte Hornets (via Thunder): Jordan Walsh (Arkansas, SF/PF, 19 years old)

One of the final names to commit to the draft, Walsh has earned fans for his defensive intensity, near 7’2″ wingspan, hustle and potential to build on the flashes of spot-up shooting, driving and passing.

42. Washington Wizards (via Bulls): Marcus Sasser (Houston, PG/SG, 22 years old)

Teams have been scared off by smaller scoring guards, but Sasser’s ball-handling and shooting versatility should be convincing enough for one team to picture a useful bench spark.

43. Portland Trail Blazers (via Hawks): Keyonte Johnson (Kansas State, SF/PF, 23 years old)

Shooting, strong defensive tools and toughness should help Johnson generate second-round interest from teams who see a two-way role player.

44. San Antonio Spurs: Sidy Cissoko (Overtime Elite, SG/SF, 19 years old)

Missing a signature skill hurts Cissoko, but his combination of secondary playmaking, capable shot-making and defensive tools should create enough versatility for Round 2.

45. Memphis Grizzlies: Kobe Brown (Missouri, SF, 23 years old)

Brown will likely have to lose some weight from his 252-pound frame, but his shooting and passing skills point to an NBA fit and second round.

46. Atlanta Hawks (via Pelicans): Seth Lundy (Penn State, SF, 23 years old)

Teams looking for shooting will have Lundy highlighted on their boards after he hit 92 threes and lit up NBA combine scrimmages with his balanced mechanics and quick, confident release.

47. Los Angeles Lakers: Terquavion Smith (North Carolina State, SG, 20 years old)

Scouts have concerns over Smith’s inefficiency and defense, but his shot-making and pick-and-roll offense should keep interest alive in the second round.

48. Los Angeles Clippers: Jalen Wilson (Kansas, SF/PF, 22 years old)

Though Wilson struggled at the NBA combine, his college production, improved shot-making and strong frame will keep him in second-round conversations.

49. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Warriors): Toumani Camara (Dayton, SF, 23 years old)

From the Portsmouth Invitational to Elite Camp and the NBA combine, Camara was productive throughout while off an appealing mix of offensive versatility, capable shooting and high activity levels.

50. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Heat): Mouhamed Gueye (Washington State, PF/C, 20 years old)

In a draft with limited true bigs, Gueye should hear his name called after a productive season that highlighted a combination of post skill, mid-range touch, face-up driving potential and rebounding motor.

51. Brooklyn Nets: Emoni Bates (Eastern Michigan, SF, 19 years old)

While there is skepticism over Bates’ limited frame, athleticism for separating and feel for the game, the combination of 6’8″ size and shot-making could get him drafted this late.

52. Phoenix Suns: Mojave King (G League Ignite, SG/SF, 20 years old)

Mojave King, G League Ignite

King had some impressive moments of shot-making and finishing during combine scrimmages that helped create visions of an NBA spot-up scorer.

53. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Knicks): Ricky Council IV (Arkansas, SG/SF, 21 years old)

Council is falling after a poor NBA combine and few signs of three-point improvement. He’ll be in the late second-round mix based on his explosiveness, creation flashes and two-point shot-making.

54. Sacramento Kings: Tosan Evbuomwan (Princeton, PF, 22 years old)

This late, it’s worth taking a flier on a unique big like Evbuomwan, an outstanding passer for a big who’s flashed glimpses of open shot-making and driving.

55. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): Jordan Miller (Miami, SF, 23 years old)

Marginal shooting improvement this season created some optimism, though Miller will draw second-round looks for his slashing, finishing and wing defense.

56. Memphis Grizzlies: Jaylen Clark (UCLA, SG/SF, 21 years old)

Despite missing the NCAA tournament and NBA combine with an injury, Clark established himself as a clear defensive difference-maker with unteachable instincts and just enough play-finishing and passing ability to get by offensively.

57. Chicago Bulls (via Nuggets): Forfeited

58. Philadelphia 76ers: Forfeited

59. Washington Wizards (via Celtics): Sir’Jabari Rice (Texas, SG/SF, 24 years old)

Rice may wind up getting himself picked after a strong predraft process—from Portsmouth to Elite Camp to the combine—where he continued to shoot and finish well despite underwhelming athletic ability.

60. Milwaukee Bucks: Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky, PF/C, 23 years old)

A playoff team could see a value pick in Tshiebwe, who should be able to continue rebounding and making energy plays. He also flashed some budding mid-range touch over the past year.

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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.