NBA 2023 Draft Predictions - Mock Draft, Analysis, Scouting Reports

NBA 2023 Draft Predictions - Mock Draft, Analysis, Scouting Reports

This article is part of our NBA Mock Draft series.

With the NBA Draft lottery completed, the San Antonio Spurs are on the clock at No. 1 -- in position to select French super-prospect Victor Wembanyama

We're approximately a month away from the June 22 Draft. Beyond the No.1 selection, the rest of the lottery remains unpredictable. Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller, as well as twin brothers Amen and Ausar Thompson of the Overtime Elite represent other top names.

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1. Met92, Victor Wembanyama: 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 natural defensive versatility and permanent existence as a shot-alterer around the basket and on the perimeter.

He drastically speeds up San Antonio's rebuild timeline, joining a shallow-but-intriguing frontcourt with Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan. Wembanyama will face athleticism like never before. His acclimation to the league might not be as rapid as it was for LeBron James. Nonetheless, that's the best prospect-hype comparison.

2. Ignite, Scoot Henderson: Charlotte Hornets

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

A potential midrange assassin and linebacker-esque point guard, Henderson's game is a solid fit alongside LaMelo Ball's three-point bombing and flashy passing. Ball shot 37.6 percent from three overall, but he hit 39.8 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts and 46.4 percent of his unguarded C&S attempts. If Scoot coexists well with Ball, the offensive upside is dynamite. 

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. This backcourt is a defensive liability, but the talent and energy could force enough turnovers to be credible.

3. Alabama, Brandon Miller: Portland Trail Blazers

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

Miller is a gravitationally excellent shooter, and his playmaking skills represent the triple-threat forward that Portland has always lacked throughout the Damian Lillard era. The overall ceiling of Miller as an on-ball playmaker is still unclear. Skepticism is understandable. His progress as an offensive orchestrator and attacker marked a good jump, but he will need another one as he enters a new echelon. Miller's spot in the top three is a lock, even if he's more of a floor-raiser than a ceiling-raiser.

4. OTE, Amen Thompson: Houston Rockets

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

Thompson is heralded as a freak athlete and downhill point guard with good vision. His athleticism does jump off the screen, but I'm skeptical about his vision. Overtime Elite has produced multiple G League and fringe NBA players, but it's still a weaker context than his peers face. Thompson averaged 5.9 assists and 3.2 turnovers per game.

Rumors of James Harden's return to Houston sound increasingly imminent. In that case, the Rockets would pay him big bucks through his age-37 season. He's bound to become less and less rim oriented -- the killer scoring instinct is already a shell of its former self. Thompson's dynamic, twitchy penetration could pair well with Harden off-ball. Harden is still a game manipulator. He was also a good teacher and teammate for Tyrese Maxey, so Thompson could reap the benefits of that.

5. Villanova, Cam Whitmore: Detroit Pistons

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

Detroit entered the lottery with equal odds as San Antonio and Houston for the top overall selection. Alas, the Pistons slide to five -- a spot yielding no clear answer for a team that lacks certainty across the roster. Whitmore -- a powerful, slashing wing who is a credible shooter and defender -- could fill a glaring roster hole in Detroit. Despite a ridiculously low assist rate, he's a conducive selection to Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.

6. Kansas, Grady Dick: Orlando Magic

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

Dick is an awkward fit defensively because Orlando will be slow whenever he plays the two alongside Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero. Still, he fills Orlando's need for a shooter while bringing quality size. The defensive IQ is there as well. The Magic's trajectory is excellent. A safe selection is logical, although trading back into the 7-10 range is also an option.

7. OTE, Ausar Thompson: Indiana Pacers

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

Ausar Thompson, twin brother of Amen, profiles as a gifted defender. Quick hands and crazy burst are the selling points. Offensively, Tyrese Haliburton is an absolute lifesaver. Few players in the league are more capable than Haliburton of making his teammates look good. Thompson's rim finishing is good already, and his shot is showing incremental growth, but the translation is questionable. The offense is unrefined, but overall, he's a strong positional fit.

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8. Arkansas, Anthony Black: Washington Wizards

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

Black is an elite defender and facilitator. However, he's a poor shooter, hitting just 30.1 percent of his threes at Arkansas. Nonetheless, Black's manipulation of the game is an unteachable skill that Washington can't go wrong with. Black's versatile defense and ability to maximize Washington's surrounding roster should bear fruit.  

9. Michigan, Kobe Bufkin: Utah Jazz

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

Bufkin is a big, smooth, lefty guard with ambidexterity, craft and athleticism around the rim. He's 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.

10. UCF, Taylor Hendricks: Dallas Mavericks

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

Hendricks shot 39.4 percent on 4.6 three-point attempts per game while blocking 1.7 shots across 34 games for UCF. His on-ball offense is simplistic, but not in a concerning way. Hendricks would bring spacing, rim protection, and some switchability to Dallas. His ability to anchor a defense and spot-up is precisely what the Mavericks need. As a hybrid 4/5, he's slightly undersized and needs to bulk.

11. Baylor, Keyonte George: Orlando Magic

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

George has a rare combination of physicality and slithery body control getting to the rim. He shot just 33.8 percent from deep in a disjointed season at Baylor, but his floor as a shooter is solid. George is a bulldog, sparkplug defender. His dynamic attacking brings a different style to Orlando's offense, and his fit next to Markelle Fultz is promising.

12. Houston, Jarace Walker: Oklahoma City Thunder

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

Walker is, frustratingly, more finesse than power on both ends, but he brings fantastic touch, good shooting and good passing/vision on offense. Even if the physicality is inconsistent, Walker's frame still forms a good tandem with Chet Holmgren, who is skinny but has upside to be a stout rim protector. 

13. Duke, Dariq Whitehead: Toronto Raptors

19 years old -- 6'6" G/Wing -- 195lbs

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, so if the medicals check out, Whitehead could return extraordinary 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.

14. Wake Forest, Bobi Klintman: New Orleans Pelicans

20 years old -- 6'10" , 235lbs

Klintman's instincts flash immediately. He's a quick decision-maker, crisp passer and decent shooter with upside as a versatile defender. However, upside is all there is -- the sample size is dangerously small. The Pelicans ranked last in opponent field-goal percentage (71.6 percent!) at the rim last season. Klintman can help. His versatility seems legit, even if he's a jack-of-all-trades, master of none defensively.

That said, No.14 is a tough slot for New Orleans, and Klintman will be available later. This is among the most likely lottery pick that could be dealt. Derek Lively drew consideration here as well.

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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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