2023 NBA Draft

Bleacher Report: Wembanyama still top, but other prospects emerge in latest Mock Draft

New prospects are starting to emerge in Jonathan Wasserman's latest two-round Mock Draft, but there's no surprise at the top spot.

Why Victor Wembanyama's 'jaw-dropping' talent is tantalizing NBA teams

Victor Wembanyama continues to awe with his fluidity, three-level scoring and stout defense as the 2023 NBA Draft looms in June.

Editor’s Note: For 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) — While NBA scouts build their feel for the main 2023 NBA draft prospects, new ones have started to emerge onto watchlists.

We’ve also seen a pair of top-10 prospects make their debuts after starting the season on the shelf.

The past few weeks have ultimately been huge for NBA scouts. After gathering in Portland for the Phil Knight Invitational last month, most are in New York this week for the Jimmy V Classic. There have been dozens of important nonconference matchups for teams to evaluate.

So far, there have been more pleasant surprises than disappointments. Still, a few high-profile names may wind up being available in the late lottery or 20s, with questions about their starts becoming more alarming by the game.


1. Orlando Magic: Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92, PF/C, 2004)

Orlando’s nine-game losing streak coincides with Wembanyama scoring at least 30 points in four consecutive games. He continues to blow minds with his ball-handling command for creation and shot-making versatility, inside and behind the arc. The LNB Pro A league’s leading shot-blocker has hit 16 threes in 10 games.

The emergence of Bol Bol would make the Magic extra interesting if they did draft Wembanyama. But they’d obviously see the logjam as a good problem to have. A Paolo Banchero-Wembanyama pairing could become the league’s toughest one-two frontcourt punch at the 4 and 5.

2. Detroit Pistons: Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite, PG, 2004)

There is a perceived gap between Henderson and No. 3, which would prevent a team like the Pistons from passing on him for a cleaner positional fit. They’d let any logjam with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey sort itself out later. Henderson is simply too special with the advantages he creates using his ball-handling, change of direction, explosiveness, pull-up game and playmaking. He’s missed the past few weeks with a broken nose, but in six games, he’s demonstrated growth in key areas by shooting 47.1 percent from three and averaging 6.0 assists to 2.8 turnovers.

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

Questions about Thompson’s shot don’t offset the advantage that his first step, quick moves and explosiveness at the rim create. NBA teams will want to use him to initiate offense, given how difficult it will be for defenses to contain him off the dribble, plus how effective he’s become at setting up teammates with his gravity and passing vision.

4. Charlotte Hornets: Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas, PG/SG, Freshman)

First impressions of Smith were strong after he missed a month and went for 16 points with three made shots from beyond the arc, five assists and no turnovers Saturday. While he doesn’t possess Henderson’s athletic gifts, he’s well-rounded, with creation and passing skills for a lead guard and the 6-foot-5 size and shooting ability to play off the ball. Possessing that combo versatility should allow a team like the Hornets to ignore any questions about redundancy with LaMelo Ball.

5. Houston Rockets: Cam Whitmore (Villanova, SF, Freshman)

Whitmore made his debut last week, and his improvement in creating off the dribble was evident. His combination of explosiveness and power still separates the 6-foot-7, 232-pound wing as it leads to easy transition baskets, half-court finishing and defensive playmaking. But he’s become a popular top-10 prospect because of his budding scoring and the shotmaking skills he started flashing in the spring.


6. Orlando Magic (via Bulls): Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite, SG/SF, 2004)

Outrageous athletic ability will keep scouts patient with Thompson’s jump shot and decision-making. But he’s coming off an encouraging stretch of a shooting with Overtime (6-for-14 on 3-pointers). And any signs of improving mechanics and touch will be deemed noteworthy, given his easily translatable transition offense, defensive tools and ability to create separation with quick-twitch moves and elevation.

7. New Orleans Pelicans (via Lakers): Keyonte George (Baylor, SG, Freshman)

Keyonte George

Keyonte George

Scouts will look past George’s inefficient shooting (39.8 percent from the field), given his confidence, skill and and range for translatable shotmaking. His 4.0 assists per game just highlight his bonus playmaking ability and more creation.

8. Washington Wizards: Brandon Miller (Alabama, SF, Freshman)

The combination of his 6-foot-9 size and consistent shooting (46.6% on 3-pointers) have made it easier to ignore questions about Miller’s struggles blowing by or finishing inside the arc. Encouraging flashes of passing and defense have added a potential comforting versatility cushion behind his perimeter-heavy scoring attack.

9. Miami Heat: Cason Wallace (Kentucky, PG/SG, Freshman)

Teams will see a low-risk, easy fit in Wallace, who’s averaging 4.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game while shooting 50.0 percent from three. He might not offer the scoring firepower as some previous Kentucky combo guards, but his two-way versatility and low-usage, high impact will look highly appealing once the class’ perceived future All-Stars are taken.

10. New York KnicksAnthony Black (Arkansas, PG/SG, Freshman)

Recent history suggests there will be no shortage of interest in Black’s archetype of being a 6-foot-7 playmaker with standout defensive instincts. Given his start from three (9-of-23) and his use of change of speed to create, there aren’t as many questions about his shooting or athleticism as there were before the season.

11. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jarace Walker (Houston, PF, Freshman)

Despite playing a supporting offensive role, Walker has been able to spark NBA imaginations with his 6-foot-8, 240-pound frame, live-dribble flashes, 6-of-15 start from three and overwhelming defensive pressure.

12. Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves): Kel’el Ware (Oregon, C, Freshman)

Ware has emerged as the center target in the late lottery after he’s shown off various touch shots, a quick second jump, defensive mobility, shot-blocking, shooting range and IQ plays that don’t appear in box scores. Oregon giving him the freedom to launch 2.9 threes per game has allowed Ware to look like an always desirable stretch-5 rim protector.

13. Golden State Warriors: GG Jackson II (South Carolina, PF, Freshman)

Seventeen-year-old Jackson ranks third among freshman in scoring with his mix of three-point shooting, drives past closeouts and play-finishing. Scouts are still trying to determine how translatable his creation is and what to make of his 21 turnovers to six assists. Regardless, Jackson has demonstrated enough shotmaking versatility and activity/athleticism at the rim for scouts to see a surefire NBA forward.

14. New York Knicks (via Mavericks): Terquavion Smith (North Carolina State, PG/SG, Sophomore)

While Smith looks similar to last year as a streak-scoring shotmaker, he’s showcased noticeably more playmaking, averaging 5.2 assists. It’s still performances like Tuesday’s night’s 33-point outburst that will help sway teams to buy the Bones Hyland and Jordan Poole comparisons.

> Nos. 15-30

15. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): Gradey Dick (Kansas, SF, Freshman)

Dick’s shooting (48.0 percent from the field, 45.3% on 3-pointers) will always be the draw, but his athletic finishes, contested shotmaking and defensive toughness hint at a more multidimensional pro.

16. Toronto Raptors: Dariq Whitehead (Duke, SF, Freshman)

After joining Duke’s rotation late because of a foot injury, Whitehead has mostly struggled to build rhythm in an off-ball role bench role. He’s still delivered sporadic flashes of spot-up shooting, isolation shotmaking and aggressive drives to remind scouts about his evolution into a three-level lead scorer. There are some worries to alleviate about his early assist rate (three in 99 minutes), decision-making and finishing, but even an inefficient, uneven freshman season won’t keep scouts from disregarding their high school evaluations and the upside tied to an 6-foot-7 18-year-old with advanced self-creation skills, shooting versatility and defensive tools.

17. Utah Jazz (via Nets): Jett Howard (Michigan, SG/SF, Freshman)

Jett Howard

Jett Howard

The combination of his 6-foot-8 size, 2.9 threes per game, consistent shooting and good decision-making (six turnovers all season) help paint Howard as an easy NBA fit.

18. Utah Jazz: Kyle Filipowski (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)

Duke’s leading scorer, Filipowski has made an impression on scouts with his shooting and ball skills to attack bigs, create against them and finish on the move. It’s the defensive questions that could keep interest in him from spiking into the top-10 mix.

19. Atlanta Hawks: Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine, SG/SF, Sophomore)

Coming off a 30-point game on Saturday, Lewis is now shooting 71.1 percent inside the arc, 50.0 percent from three and 80.0 percent from the line while showing scouts his takeover scoring ability with self-creation and shotmaking versatility.

20. Indiana Pacers: Ricky Council IV (Arkansas, SF, Junior)

Scouts are still gauging the height of Council’s ceiling and whether any of his hot start has been fluky. But Arkansas’ leading scorer is becoming a more believable prospect by the week, as he’s up to 19.8 points per game on 60.2 percent shooting inside the arc. His creation flashes, explosive drives, secondary playmaking and tough shotmaking continue to pop, and despite unconvincing three-point numbers (33.3 percent, 3.8 attempts per game), he’s shot better off the catch (42.9 percent, per Synergy Sports) than he did at Wichita State.

21. Chicago Bulls (via Blazers): Trevon Brazile (Arkansas, PF/C, Sophomore)

From an NBA standpoint, Brazile’s breakout is starting to feel more real, between the translatable explosive finishing and now 39.3 percent shooting on 3.5 three-point attempts per game.

22. Los Angeles Clippers: Kris Murray (Iowa, PF, Junior)

A quiet game against Duke cast a cloud over his dominant performances against weaker opponents. Still, while scouts may question how much self-creation for scoring can translate to the NBA, there is translatability tied to his off-ball scoring skills with three-point shooting, cutting, drives past closeouts and offensive rebounding.

23. Sacramento Kings: Dillon Mitchell (Texas, PF, Freshman)

Teams will target Mitchell for easy baskets and defensive playmaking fueled by his wild blend of quickness and bounce, though zero assists or made threes highlights his offensive limitations.

24. Charlotte Hornets (via Nuggets): Taylor Hendricks (UCF, SF/PF, Freshman)

It’s becoming tough to ignore Hendricks after Sunday’s 4-of-5 three-point performance against Samford. Looking like a legitimate shooting prospect at 6-foot-9, the freshman has also showcased productive athleticism for off-ball rim scoring and defensive playmaking.

25. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): JJ Starling (Notre Dame, SG, Freshman)

Teams won’t put too much stock into Starling’s percentages, as long as he continues to score with a balanced mix of self-creation, jump-shot versatility and athletic driving/play-finishing.

26. Memphis Grizzlies: Brice Sensabaugh (Ohio State, SG, Freshman)

Averaging 14.3 points in just 17.9 minutes (31.9 points per 40), Sensabaugh is scoring at a wild rate with a 63.9 true shooting percentage. He might not have blazing speed or explosive bounce, but for a 6-foot-6, 235-pound wing, shotmaking, instincts and incredible effectiveness early have made Sensabaugh a must-track prospect entering conference play.

27. Los Angeles Lakers (via Pelicans): Tyrese Proctor (Duke, PG/SG, Freshman)

Proctor is starting to look more comfortable picking his spots and making shots, and for an 18-year-old guard, scouts figure to more stock into his long-term potential as a creator, shooter and decision-maker than his freshman numbers.

28. Phoenix Suns: Rayan Rupert (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 2004)

A wrist injury has cost Rupert the last month. Still 18 years old, he’ll remain in the first-round discussion with a shooting stroke and 7-foot-3 wingspan that have built a high-floor, three-and-D case.

29. Houston Rockets (via Bucks): Marcus Sasser (Houston, PG/SG, Senior)

Teams won’t put much stock into Sasser’s efficiency numbers, given his heavy usage, lead role for the nation’s No. 1 team and convincing history of creation, ball-screen offense and shooting.

30. Indiana Pacers (via Celtics): Dereck Lively II (Duke, C, Freshman)

Lately, Lively has been more effective using his tools for finishing and shot-blocking. He’s just missing a speciality skill or any versatility for teams to make him a Plan A target.

> Nos. 31-45

31. Orlando Magic: Amari Bailey (UCLA, SG, Freshman)

Though Bailey doesn’t offer much creation, he’s been an efficient, adaptable scorer and a heady passer for UCLA. On the ball, he’s picked the right spots to attack in transition, pull up or play-make for teammates. And he’s made off-ball plays at the rim while shooting well on open threes.

32. Detroit Pistons: Leonard Miller (G League Ignite, SF/PF, 2003)

At 6-foot-10 with the ability to handle in transition, attack closeouts and use touch shots for paint scoring, Miller has been efficient in the G League despite shooting 25.0 percent from three. He becomes a more serious prospect if he improves his jump shot and mechanics. Miller went for 25 points and made both of his three-point attempts against the Stockton Kings last week.

33. San Antonio Spurs: Jordan Hawkins (Connecticut, SG, Sophomore)

While Hawkins hasn’t added too much to his off-the-dribble game, his shot-making has been eye-catching, with the 6-foot-5 wing making 3.0 threes in just 22.3 minutes per game.

34. Boston Celtics (via Rockets): Jalen Wilson (Kansas, SF, Junior)

Averaging 21.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists, Wilson is producing his way into the draft discussion, though it’s the improved perimeter shot-making and passing that are making it easier to picture a pro.

35. Philadelphia 76ers (via Hornets): Coleman Hawkins (Illinois, PF, Sophomore)

Hawkins’ triple-double against Syracuse highlighted shooting and passing that creates versatility that NBA teams value from their bigs.

36. Los Angeles Lakers (via Bulls): Terrence Shannon (Illinois, SF, Senior)

Shannon continued his to build on a breakout season with 12 points in overtime to knock off No. 2 Texas. While his improved playmaking (3.5 assists) has been a bonus this season, it’s the combination of new shooting confidence ( and explosiveness that’s made Shannon a more believable pro prospect after three seasons at Texas Tech.

37. Los Angeles Lakers: Nikola Durisic (Mega, SF, 2004)

Though Durisic hasn’t shot well when healthy this year, he’s still showcased effective playmaking ability with his handle and feel, and there has been enough evidence over the years to bet on him becoming a capable NBA shooter.

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

Cissoko has been a capable shooter for the Ignite, which could be a significant development for a 6-foot-7 wing capable of ball-screen playmaking and guarding multiple positions.

39. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Knicks): Judah Mintz (Syracuse, SG, Freshman)

Mintz has cooled off after a hot start, but the quick-dribble moves for creation, playmaking flashes, mid-range scoring and energy at both ends remain worth tracking.

40. Denver Nuggets (via Heat): Julian Strawther (Gonzaga, SF, Junior)

While Strawther hasn’t taken the big step into a creator or lead scorer, NBA teams should still show interest in his shooting and transition game and touch for bonus, secondary offense.

41. Charlotte Hornets (via Wizards): Colby Jones (Xavier, SG/SF, Junior)

Averaging 5.8 assists and 1.5 steals on 11-of-20 from three, Jones has improved in key areas to create more believable shoot-pass-defense versatility for the NBA.

42. Memphis Grizzlies (via Timberwolves): Julian Phillips (Tennessee, SF, Freshman)

Playing mostly a spot-up role with inconsistent touches at Tennessee, Phillips figures to have a better chance at winning over scouts during workouts with his shooting stroke for a 6-foot-8 wing.

43. Toronto Raptors: Emoni Bates (Eastern Michigan, SF, Sophomore)

With 24 threes through eight games, Bates’ shooting should keep NBA interest alive and allow scouts to look past his finishing and decision-making issues.

44. Philadelphia 76ers: Forfeited:

45. Atlanta Hawks (via Nets): Will Richard (Florida, SG/SF, Sophomore)

Shooting 62.5 percent inside the arc and 58.6 percent on 3.6 three-point attempts, Richard has become a three-and-D name to watch entering conference play. The 6-foot-5 wing has been an ultra-efficient play-finisher with promising defensive tools.

> Nos. 46-60

46. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Warriors): Arthur Kaluma (Creighton, SF, Sophomore)

Kaluma hasn’t made a noticeable jump and therefore still looks far from NBA-ready. But given his 6-foot-7 frame, shot-making potential and defensive tools, scouts figure to remain patient.

47. Indiana Pacers (via Mavericks): James Nnaji (Barcelona, C, 2004)

Any production or flashes from 18-year-old Nnaji in the ACB or EuroLeague should feel meaningful. Playing against the top competition outside the NBA, he’s starting to earn some minutes for physical tools and athleticism that NBA teams could eventually use for finishing, offensive rebounds and defense.

48. Charlotte Hornets (via Jazz): Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA, SF, Senior)

Jaquez scores and competes with the type of craftiness, physicality and defensive toughness for teams to look past his three-point percentages and athletic limitations.

49. Boston Celtics (via Blazers): Tucker DeVries (Drake, SG/SF, Sophomore)

DeVries’ shot-making (44.9% on 3-pointers) has reached peak levels, with the 6-foot-7 scorer averaging 21.3 points off a balanced mix spot-ups, pull-ups, movement threes. Positional size, shooting versatility and IQ are helping scouts look past his athletic limitations.

50. Sacramento Kings (via Pacers): Matthew Murrell (Ole Miss, SG, Junior)

Despite limited off-the-dribble skill, Murrell’s spot-up and movement shooting create an appealing off-ball scoring pitch to NBA teams.

51. Brooklyn Nets (via Hawks): Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana, PF/C, Junior)

While teams are well aware of Jackson-Davis’ limitations and older-school game for today’s NBA, certain teams looking for more easy baskets and a post presence may value his outstanding finishing tools, hands and footwork for paint scoring.

52. Los Angeles Clippers: Reece Beekman (Virginia, PG, Junior)

Reece Beekman

Beekman’s value revolves around playmaking and defense, though it’s the improved shooting early (8-for-17 on 3-pointers) that’s earned him a mention in the draft conversation.

53. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Hunter (Texas, PG, Sophomore)

More efficient finishing and accurate shooting from three, Hunter has made necessary improvements to help scouts forget about his 6-foot-0 frame. A role change has more to do with the drop-off in assists.

54. Chicago Bulls (via Nuggets): Foreited

55. Memphis Grizzlies: Mojave King (G League Ignite, SG, 2002)

King is building a case around complementary scoring by making two threes per game and picking his spots to attack and finish off spot-ups and closeouts.

56. Milwaukee Bucks (via Cavaliers): Caleb Love (North Carolina, PG/SG, Junior)

While Love hasn’t demonstrated any playmaking improvement or potential to run a team, scouts could still value his shooting versatility for a shot-making specialist role.

57. Atlanta Hawks (via Pelicans): Ryan Kalkbrenner (Creighton, C, Junior)

Kalkbrenner plays a non-sexy game, but at 7-foot-1, his finishing tools, timing, hands and awareness (76.2 percent FG) could earn him late second-round looks.

58. Phoenix Suns: Kevin McCullar Jr. (Kansas, SG/SF, Senior)

McCullar is auditioning for a jack-of-all-trades role at the next level, and early signs of improved shooting could be key when paired with his passing, rebounding and defense.

59. Milwaukee Bucks: Adam Flagler (Baylor, PG/SG, Senior)

Flagler could look too productive and efficient with his shooting and passing for second-round teams to worry about tools or athleticism with a pick in the 50s.

60. Boston Celtics: Oscar Tschiebwe (Kentucky, PF/C, Senior)

It’s going to take a specific team who sees value in Tschiebwe’s rebounding instincts and physicality for a limited energy role.


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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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