- San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama, 19 years old, 7-5 PF/C Metropolitans 92
The San Antonio Spurs have won the lottery and are almost guaranteed a championship at some point if they can build a team with the right pieces alongside generational prospect Victor Wembanyama. David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and now Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs have gotten a generational player with the #1 pick three times. The best prospect since LeBron James and a generational talent on both ends of the floor, at 7-5 with a whopping 8 foot wingspan, Wembanyama can handle the ball like a guard, has elite 3-level shot creation with an unblockable jumper (because of his height). He is also one of the more versatile defensive prospects in recent memory.
Though his efficiency has dwindled down toward the end of Metropolitans 92’s season, the volume was still elite as Wembanyama still averaged 21.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game last season with a TS% of 58. I wouldn’t be surprised with the pace of play in today’s NBA if he averaged 22+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 2+ blocks per game as a rookie. He the all the talent in the world and could become the greatest player in NBA history if he reaches his potential.
NBA Comp: Kevin Durant mixed with Anthony Davis and Jaren Jackson’s shot altering ability
- Charlotte Hornets: Scoot Henderson, 19 years old, 6-3 PG G- League Ignite
One of the most athletic Point Guards to ever enter the league, Scoot Henderson uses his explosiveness and burst to dominate and get to the rim offensively, but also to stay in front of defenders and force turnovers. He isn’t an elite perimeter defender yet, but unlike other scouts who believe he will simply be an offensive star, I think he will extremely impactful on the defensive end as well.
His instincts on both ends of the floor are paralleled by few and Henderson is known to be one of the hardest workers in this draft class, willing to do anything to improve. His 3PT shooting needs work (27% last season for G-League Ignite), but his shot mechanics are fine and his ability to get others open improves drastically each year. You may be questioning Henderson’s fit next to LaMelo Ball, since they are both ball dominant Point Guards, but I think the Hornets won’t care. Even if Charlotte goes on fit and takes Brandon Miller instead, Henderson will thrive anywhere and become a Superstar in this league.
NBA Comp: Prime Russell Westbrook/Derrick Rose
- Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Miller, Freshman, 6-9 SF Alabama
One of the most dominant Wing shooting prospects over the last decade, Brandon Miller brings two-way versatility with an emphasis on elite shot creation from beyond the arc (38.5 percent from 3 and a TS% of 61.7). His first step is still a bit slow, but his playmaking and rebounding improved as his Freshman year progressed at Alabama and he has the upside to become a top 15-20 player in the NBA. The Trail Blazers would be wise to keep this pick and select Miller, who’s got loads of upside and should fit in perfectly alongside Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons.
NBA Comp: Paul George
- Houston Rockets: Amen Thompson, 20 years old, 6-7 PG Overtime Elite
Amen Thompson uses his elite athleticism and playmaking skills to dissect opposing defenses with a variety of moves, but his 3PT% of 25% against weak competition causes some concern. In fact, his 3PT shooting is so bad right now, opposing defenders won’t even guard him beyond the arc, and that won’t all of a sudden change in the NBA.
Though 3PT shooting will never be his strong-suit, Thompson needs to develop into at least some threat from 3PT range to keep defenses honest and allow for his playmaking and shot creation to flourish. Thompsons game-changing athleticism, shot creation, and playmaking alone make him one of the highest upside prospects in this draft, despite his poor outside shooting metrics. The Rockets are in need of another explosive, athletic big guard to pair alongside Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr., so it isn’t the end of the world that Houston missed out on a top 3 pick.
NBA Comp: Prospect Lonzo Ball mixed with Ja Morant’s athleticism
- Detroit Pistons: Taylor Hendricks, Freshman 6-9 Wing/PF UCF
The Pistons had a great shot to get the #1 pick, but fell all the way to 5th meaning they’ll select a player based on fit and upside. A guard is completely out of the question with Cade Cunningham returning and Jaden Ivey‘s impressive end of his rookie season, so they’ll look at the best Wing prospects in the draft.
Taylor Hendricks fits the modern NBA perfectly as teams are looking for the next Mikal Bridges or Trey Murphy III, an elite 3-PT shooter with defensive versatility and secondary shot-creation and playmaking. Hendricks fits the build and is the best 3 and D Wing in the draft, and should fit in perfectly with two guards that are elite playmakers and can get him open looks.
NBA Comp: Trey Murphy III/Mikal Bridges
- Orlando Magic: Jarace Walker, Freshman, 6-8 PF Houston
A lot of scouts believe Jarace Walker’s 3PT shooting will translate to the NBA but I don’t see it. Sure, he can stretch the floor a little bit and create his own shot at times, but I see Walker as a mid-range and offensive rebounding specialist on offense, while providing versatility on defense. The Magic have too many guards so they’ll pass on Anthony Black and since they are close to contention they will draft on need, which is defensive versatility at the Forward position, which is exactly what Walker provides.
He does every little thing right, rarely makes mistakes, and at just 19 years old, he already looks like he’s 30 with the most NBA ready strength and body type in the draft. Pairing him alongside Palo Banchero and Franz Wagner would be terrifying for opposing teams and Walker will undoubtedly be a good role player for years to come.
NBA Comp: Paul Millsap
- Indiana Pacers: Ausar Thompson, 20 years old, 6-7 Wing Overtime Elite
Unlike his brother, Ausar Thompson isn’t a playmaker, but instead a gifted scorer and shooter who plays above the rim (though his shooting metrics won’t support that claim, 29% from 3PT range in the Overtime Elite league, but his shooting mechanics are great).
Both Thompson brothers are a risk considering they did not play high-level competition in the Overtime Elite league, but the upside is there for both of them. Amen has a higher ceiling because of his shot creation and playmaking, but if Ausar’s 3PT shot and defensive versatility can translate to the next level, both could become All-Stars sooner rather than later and the Pacers will draft Ausar on upside and hope he pans out considering they need another wing alongside Tyrese Haliburton.
NBA Comp: Prospect Zach LaVine
- Washington Wizards: Anthony Black, Freshman, 6-7 PG Arkansas
Anthony Black can’t shoot, but his mixture of elite-level playmaking, defense, and rebounding make him worth the risk in the top 10. Similar to Lonzo Ball in college or Josh Giddey coming out of Australia, Black can’t shoot yet, but is a winning basketball player that makes his teammates better. If he ever develops a jumper, Black will be one of the best two-way Point Guards in the NBA. The Wizards need a game changing two-way Point Guard and Black is the perfect fit to play alongside Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, and Kristaps Porzingis.
NBA Comp: Josh Giddey
9. Utah Jazz: Gradey Dick, Freshman 6-8 Wing Kansas
Though Gradey Dick doesn’t have the quickest first step or unreal athleticism, his elite 3-point shooting (40.3 percent), shot creation, versatility on defense, and secondary playmaking all at 6-8 will fit in well on any NBA team, especially a contender or a team trying to make a leap like the Jazz.
He will never be the best player on a team, but as the third or fourth option, he can do wonders for any team on both ends of the floor and the Jazz need a scoring Wing to take their already amazing offense to another level. The Jazz will be licking their chops getting Gradey Dick here as he can help on both ends of the floor and fits in perfectly alongside Lauri Markkanen at 9th overall.
NBA Comp: Gordon Hayward
10. Dallas Mavericks: Nick Smith Jr., Freshman 6-5 PG Arkansas
Nick Smith Jr. struggled tremendously with efficiency in his lone year at Arkansas, and his season was derailed by injuries. After an unimpressive NCAA Tournament where his struggles continued, NBA scouts had more questions than ever before of the once lock to be a top 5 pick in the NBA Draft in late 2022. Nonetheless, offense comes very easy to Smith Jr. and he still is still a crafty 3-level scorer with playmaking skills and a lot of shooting upside, and I don’t think the Mavericks can resist drafting a player this talented at 10th overall.
NBA Comp: Jamal Murray
- Orlando Magic (Via Bulls): Cam Whitmore, Freshman, 6-7 SF Villanova
Cam Whitmore uses his strength to bulldoze through defenders and get to the rim with ease (better than mosts prospect over the last few years) and has some defensive versatility.
However, he also doesn’t project to be a good 3PT shooter or playmaker at the NBA level, both of which are largely required for Wings in today’s NBA. Nonetheless, Whitmore is still far from a finished project and should bring an innate ability to get to the rim and score right away to whichever team that drafts him, in this case the Magic.
NBA Comp: Prospect Jaylen Brown/Jonathan Kuminga
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Cason Wallace, Freshman 6-3 PG Kentucky
Cason Wallace is the best perimeter defender in this draft, which is why many evaluators, including myself, compare him to Jrue Holiday. His a pest on the ball and can force turnovers at a high rate, and on offense, he is a good playmaker that provides some 3PT shooting and finishing skills.
His athleticism is never going to make you jump out of your seat, but he is always one step ahead of the defender and uses his high IQ to make good decisions on both ends of the floor. The Thunder could go in a variety of directions with this pick, but Wallace is a winning-basketball player that can play off ball if needed to as well, considering the Thunder have their franchise Point Guard in Shai Gigeous-Alexander.
NBA Comp: Jrue Holiday
13. Toronto Raptors: Keyonte George, Freshman, 6-4 SG Baylor
Keyonte George is a gifted 3-level scorer for his age and should be able to average 15+ in the NBA right away, but he struggled immensely with efficiency in his lone year at Baylor and could face that same problem right away in the NBA. If a team is patient with George, they won’t regret it as he has a Star ceiling. The Raptors desperately need a game-changing shot maker and though it may take some time for George to fully develop, he will help the Raptors with his scoring right away.
NBA Comp: Bradley Beal
14. New Orleans Pelicans: Jordan Hawkins, Sophomore 6-5 SG Uconn
Jordan Hawkins shot 38.8% from 3PT range despite taking 7.6 3-point attempts per game on average in his Sophomore season at UCONN, but he is way more than just a gifted shooter.
He started scoring more from mid-range and at the rim as last year progressed and is a proven on-ball defender that should translate to the next level. 3PT shooting, secondary playmaking, and on ball defense will intrigue enough teams for Hawkins to be taken in the lottery or right outside it. The Pelicans are still in win-now mode and will be a contender if Zion Williamson stays healthy. Why not add an elite 3PT shooter to the mix?
NBA Comp: Norman Powell
- Atlanta Hawks: Amari Bailey, Freshman 6-4 SG UCLA
I am higher on Amari Bailey than any other evaluator in the country. Despite struggling to find his role on offense earlier on in the season at UCLA, Bailey found a way to tear defenses a part in the NCAA Tournament with his innate playmaking and finishing skills.
After Bailey used his athleticism to impose his will in getting to the rim, then he’d keep defenses honest by knocking down a few mid-range and 3PT shots, showing his improved versatility on offense. Add in his elite on ball defense (one of the best on-ball defenders in the draft) and his dominant end to the season, scouts should be salivating at the opportunity to select Bailey outside the lottery at a discount. A comparison for Bailey is very tough because very few guards with his athleticism and finishing skills have his court vision and elite on-ball defense.
NBA Comp: More Athletic and Bigger Jalen Brunson
- Utah Jazz (Via Timberwolves) GG Jackson, Freshman, 6-9 PF South Carolina
GG Jackson is a more advanced playmaker than a lot of scouts give him credit for. He can bring up the ball, create his own shot, and find open teammates when his shot isn’t there all as a 6-9 Power Forward (which is why the Pascal Siakam comparison makes a lot of sense).
Jackson has also shown the ability to guard multiple positions at a high level and knockdown 3’s when needed to as well (32.5% 3PT shooter on 5.2 attempts per game). Efficiency is Jackson’s big issue, but he has enough versatility on both ends of the floor for a team to take a risk and draft him on upside early on in the draft.
NBA Comp: Pascal Siakam
- Los Angeles Lakers: Jett Howard, Freshman, 6-8 Wing Michigan
Jett Howard has one of the smoothest jumpers in the class and will fit perfectly alongside a pass-first point guard that will get him open shots (LeBron James/Austin Reaves). He scored 14.2 points per game and shot about 37% from 3PT range as a Freshman in the Big 10, but his defense isn’t great. The Lakers desperately need a good 3PT shooter that can be relied upon in big games, and Howard should be able to step up to the plate and provide that.
He lacks lateral quickness and has trouble switching and staying in front of defenders. However, that shouldn’t matter as his poise and production as a catch-and-shoot 3PT shooter at just 19 years old can help a team win right away.
NBA Comp: Klay Thompson
- Miami Heat: Dariq Whitehead, Freshman, 6-7 SF Duke
Dariq Whitehead was the #1 recruit in the country entering Duke, but after missing substantial time due to injuries, and not being as impactful on both ends of the floor as scouts had hoped he’d be, Whitehead is falling out of the lottery despite his immense talent.
Whitehead has excellent shooting mechanics and shot almost 43% from 3PT range in his Freshman year at Duke, while also displaying some playmaking and shot creation skills. His defense is solid, though he may never be more than an average defender at best in the NBA. A team would be taking a risk on Whitehead, hoping the 3-level efficient scorer that he was in high school can eventually translate to the NBA and the Heat are already so good that they can gamble on the upside of Whitehead.
NBA Comp: Cam Reddish
- Golden State Warriors: Maxwell Lewis, Freshman, 6-7 Wing Pepperdine
Maxwell Lewis has one of the best jumpers in the draft, and with his ideal size and length for the Wing position (6-10 wingspan) he projects to be a good 3 and D role player at the next level. His defense isn’t amazing yet, but he has the length, IQ, and quickness to become one of the better 3 and D players in the NBA and the Warriors will pounce on the opportunity to get an offensive threat with some upside defensively in Lewis.
NBA Comp: Cameron Johnson
- Houston Rockets (Via Clippers): Dereck Lively II, Freshman 7-1 C Duke
A wizard at interior defense, Dereck Lively II is an absolute game-changer on defense that has elite shot-altering ability. Though Robert Williams III is much shorter, quicker, and more versatile than Lively, the way he can change the pace of play and completely shut down big men is reminiscent of the “Time Lord” himself. He will likely never be that impactful on offense, but he could be an impactful role player on a championship team for years to come and the Rockets had one of the worst defenses in basketball. Lively will come in and help Ime Udoka and the Rockets improve defensively.
NBA Comp: Robert Williams III
- Brooklyn Nets (Via Suns): Brandin Podziemski, Sophomore 6-5 SG Santa Clara
One of the best shooters in the country, Brandin Podziemski is like Luke Kennard from beyond the arc, a sniper that if you give space will make you pay. But unlike Kennard at the NBA level, Podziemski projects for some extra shot creation and playmaking skills at the next level, which makes him an intriguing prospect. The Nets have enough defense right now and would benefit from adding another shooter with some upside. They do it with Podziemski.
NBA Comp: Luke Kennard +
- Brooklyn Nets: Jalen Hood-Schifino, Freshman 6-6 SG Indiana
Jalen Hood-Schifino is rising up all draft boards because of his ideal size and scoring ability (especially in the mid-range game) to play Shooting Guard in the NBA. Hood-Schifino averaged an inefficient 13.5 points per game in his lone year at Indiana (as his eFG% of just 46.8 indicates), but many scouts still love his scoring upside despite the inefficient numbers.
I am one of the evaluators that doesn’t think Hood-Schifino’s game will translate to the NBA right away. He is a risky prospect that will need a ton of development on both ends of the floor to reach his ceiling, but the Nets have back-to-back picks here and will take a gamble with one of them.
NBA Comp: CJ McCollum
- Portland Trailblazers (Via Knicks): Kobe Bufkin, Sophomore, 6-5 SG Michigan
Kobe Bufkin has one of the highest ceilings in the draft due to his versatility on both ends of the floor. Bufkin is a gifted playmaker who can get to the rim with ease and draw multiple defenders to make the extra pass to a wide open shooter.
On defense, Bufkin is laterally quick and switches well, he doesn’t let many defenders blow by him and he rotates well off ball. The only negatives surrounding Bufkin is that he tries to do too much at times, leading to turnovers and bad shots. Either way, the Blazers will get lucky drafting Bufkin at a discount.
NBA Comp: Taller Tyrese Maxey
- Sacramento Kings: Rayan Rupert, 19 Years old, 6-7 Wing New Zealand Breakers/France
I am always hesitant to rank players very high that have no offensive game, but Jeremy Sochan proved a lot of people wrong in year 1 despite showing almost no offensive ability in college.
Like Sochan, Rayan Rupert is an elite defender with an unreal 7-2 wingspan, but unlike Sochan in college, Rupert has shown some flashes of 3PT shooting. He may go as high as the lottery because of his elite defense that will translate right away, but he lands at 24 here to the Kings who need to improve their versatility on defense.
NBA Comp: Jeremy Sochan
- Memphis Grizzlies: Brice Sensabaugh, Freshman 6-6 SF Ohio State
Brice Sensabaugh was one of the most efficient scorers in the country as a Freshman in the Big 10 averaging 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game with a 3PT% of 40.2 and an eFG% of 55.5 despite having an extremely high usage percentage of 34.4. Sensabaugh may never be a good defender at the NBA level but he is a true bucket-getter that can score from all 3 levels. The Grizzlies need some more scoring off the bench and Sensabaugh can bring that right away.
NBA Comp: TJ Warren
- Indana Pacers (Via Cavaliers): Kris Murray, Junior 6-8 Wing Iowa
Kris Murray plays exactly like his brother, Keegan Murray, shooting 3’s at a high rate, showing some secondary shot creation skills, and having versatility on defense as well. Keegan was a better prospect because he can shoot better, but Kris is going to be a good NBA role player at the very least and will be a first-round pick because of his size and versatility.
NBA Comp: Keegan Murray
- Charlotte Hornets (Via Nuggets): Colby Jones, Junior 6-6 SG Xavier
Colby Jones will get knocked because he doesn’t do anything absolutely elite on offense, but he is a ballhawk on defense that forces turnovers at a high rate, and is an extremely gifted playmaker and shot creator that excels with the ball in his hands in transition.
Jones can contribute right away to any team, and despite him being a Junior, he’s still just 20 years old and has more upside than a lot of scouts give him credit for. At the very least, Jones should be a very good backup Combo Guard for years to come and should fit right in on the Hornets who ranked last in offensive rating in the NBA.
NBA Comp: Josh Hart
- Utah Jazz (Via 76ers): Julian Strawther, Junior 6-7 Wing Gonzaga
Many scouts don’t love Julian Strawther because of his lack of burst and athleticism, but his outside shooting and shot creation is so elite that it shouldn’t matter. At the very least, Strawther should become a Doug McDermott, Luke Kennard, or Malik Beasley type of player, but he also has some defensive upside that is going unnoticed.
Sure, he isn’t the quickest, but he uses his high IQ to switch on screens, rotate, and create turnovers from on-ball pressure. A team like the Lakers may take him as high as 17th because of his size and shooting ability, but in this Mock Draft he falls to 28 to the Jazz.
NBA Comp: Ochai Agbaji
- Indiana Pacers (Via Celtics): Leonard Miller, 19 years old 6-9 PF G League Ignite
Leonard Miller is an ultra athletic big man that can dribble and create his own shot. Miller is also extremely versatile on defense because of his quickness and length (7-2 wingspan). He excelled in his one year in the G-League averaging 18.2 points per game with a TS% of about 65 and pulled in over 11 rebounds per game and was a menace on the offensive glass.
Miller has enormous upside, but he will likely need a few years before he can be counted on to contribute to a contending. team. The Pacers will try to develop Miller quickly and prepare him for big games at a very young age as their rebuild around Tyrese Haliburton is almost complete.
NBA Comp: Christian Wood
- Los Angeles Clippers (Via Bucks): Marcus Sasser, Senior 6-2 Combo Guard Houston
Marcus Sasser may fall to the second round because of his size (only 6-2 combo guard) and age (almost 23), but he is one of the more NBA ready prospects in this draft that can help a contender right away with his playmaking and shot creation abilities. The Clippers need another Combo Guard who can score and play on ball defense and Sasser fits that need. As a result, Marcus Sasser will be a Los Angeles Clipper.
NBA Comp: Jared Butler
Advanced Statistics used in this article are gathered from Fox Sports.com, NBA G-League, Overtime Elite, NBA.com, and ESPN.com and are updated as of May 17th, 2023