2023 NBA Mock Draft
San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama, C, France – A Grade
I’ve joked about it being difficult to trust French big men, but there’s really nothing the Spurs could have done better with this pick. Victor Wembanyama is the consensus No. 1 prospect in this class, so San Antonio is making the logical selection. By the way, it was nice of the NBA to appease Gregg Popovich, who has completely lost his mind over the past seven years.
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Charlotte Hornets: Brandon Miller, F, Alabama – A- Grade
Brandon Miller comes with off-the-court issues, but I’d be a hypocrite if I criticized the Hornets for drafting him because I believed all the NFL teams that passed on Jalen Carter made a huge mistake. Miller is the best player available, so I believe Charlotte has made the correct decision.
Portland Trailblazers: Scoot Henderson, G, USA – A Grade
The top-three prospects go one, two, and three, which is something that doesn’t always occur. This is the right pick for the Blazers, who need to begin the rebuilding process. This means trading Damian Lillard, so here’s Lillard’s replacement.
Houston Rockets: Amen Thompson, PG, OTE – A- Grade
Amen Thompson has huge upside, and he fills a big need for the Rockets at point guard. He’s not on the level of the top three prospects in this class, but he’s still the best prospect available at this juncture, so I can’t say anything bad about this pick.
Detroit Pistons: Ausar Thompson, G, OTE – C Grade
Are the Pistons really getting Amen Thompson? That’s the only way this would make sense because they’re set at guard. The Pistons needed a forward badly, and it’s not like Ausar Thompson is the best player available. I won’t fail the Pistons because this isn’t a reach, but this is a head-scratcher.
Orlando Magic: Anthony Black, PG, Arkansas – B+ Grade
The Magic really needed a point guard, so it makes sense that they would draft Anthony Black. The Arkansas prospect is a great passer with terrific instincts, so he has a pretty high floor.
Washington Bullets: Bilal Coulibaly, F, France – D Grade
The Bullets acquired this pick from the Pacers. It figures Washington would do something stupid like this. Bilal Coulibaly could have easily gone in the 10-13 range, so why would Washington trade to No. 7 for him?
Indiana Pacers: Jarace Walker, F, Houston – A Grade
Great job by the Pacers to con the Bullets into trading up to them. It’s unclear what the Pacers obtained for moving down one spot, but they deserve credit for picking up more assets for free. Indiana easily could have drafted Jarace Walker at No. 7, so I love that they’re getting the high-upside player at No. 8 instead.
Utah Jazz: Taylor Hendricks, F, Central Florida – B+ Grade
The Jazz needed guard help way more than a four, but they have two other picks in the first round to fill that hole. Taylor Hendricks is an athletic player who shoots well and plays good defense, so I like this pick.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Cason Wallace, PG, Kentucky – F Grade
Why did the Thunder trade up for Cason Wallace when they could have obtained him by No. 12, or perhaps even by trading back a couple of spots? Also, the Thunder have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to run the point, so where does Cason Wallace fit in?
Orlando Magic: Jett Howard, G, Michigan – D Grade
LOL. I haven’t seen a mock draft with Jett Howard higher than 20, so what are the Magic doing with picking him at No. 11? Jett Howard is a great shooter, and the Magic need shooting help, but Howard can’t really do anyting else.
Dallas Mavericks: Dereck Lively, C, Duke – A Grade
The Mavericks did extremely well to trade down and pick a better prospect than the Thunder did in the opposite move. Dallas has needed interior defensive help for a long time, and it’ll be getting that with Dereck Lively. The long-time need for a center is finally over.
Toronto Raptors: Gradey Dick, G/F, Kansas – B Grade
Gradey Duck could have gone higher than this, but after thinking long and hard, the Raptors drafted Dick to shoot well. Dick is the best shooter in the draft, so the Raptors will be excited that he will come on their team.
New Orleans Pelicans: Jordan Hawkins, G, Connecticut – B+ Grade
I would have preferred Cam Whitmore, but I’m a fan of this pick. Jordan Hawkins is a terrific shooter and will be a great complement to the other stars on the Pelicans, who needed an upgrade over Trey Murphy at the two.
Atlanta Hawks: Kobe Bufkin, G, Michigan – B Grade
It may seem odd for the Hawks to draft a guard when they already have Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, but they needed a third guard for depth and injury insurance. They also needed better defense at the position.
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Go to Live 2023 NBA Draft Grades: Round 1 – Picks 16-30
Sorry for cutting this into two halves; I’ve received complaints about load times and putting the mock draft on two pages saves bandwidth.
2023 NBA Mock Draft
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