Following the Denver Nuggets winning the NBA Championship and the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery being decided, the San Antonio Spurs hold the number one overall pick. Every 2023 NBA Mock Draft has the Spurs drafting yet another generational player, Victor Wembanyama. Not many liked that San Antonio came away with the top pick, as the team’s last two times selecting first resulted in Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
While Wembanyama will be the first pick, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the first round shakes out, as the 2023 NBA Mock Draft community seems to be torn on who will go next.
Was Brandon Miller’s poor NCAA Tournament enough to cause him to fall to the third pick? Where do the Thompson brothers land? With Jordan Hawkins having the best NCAA Tournament out of those in the draft, does he sneak into the lottery picks? All of those questions and more will be answered in this 2023 NBA Mock Draft.
Updated 2023 NBA Mock Draft and Player Comparisons
1. San Antonio Spurs – Victor Wembanyama – France
In the 2022-23 season in France, Victor Wembanyama averaged 21.5 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game on 56% shooting. Thought of as a generational and franchise-changing talent, Wembanyama may be the most-hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James.
The San Antonio Spurs have been in NBA purgatory since the retirement of Tim Duncan. Wembanyama’s combination of size, speed, and wingspan is something that has never been seen before in NBA history. This selection should instantly jolt the Spurs back into the playoff picture, as Wembanyama can take the burden off of the shoulders of many of the young guys they have there now.
Wembanyama is a guard in a center’s body, who is just as capable of taking his defender off the dribble and finishing strong in the paint, as he is hitting a fading, one-legged three-pointer. He is not going to be hitting one-legged threes in the NBA, but his eight-foot wingspan should be enough alone to create his own shots and lock down on defense.
Player Comparison: Kristaps Porzingis
2. Charlotte Hornets – Scoot Henderson – G-League Ignite
With G League Ignite producing as many NBA players as they do, there may not be one that has been better or is going to be better than Scoot Henderson. His physical tools set him apart from other guards in this 2023 NBA Mock Draft, as the 18-year-old stands at 6-3 and weighs just short of 200 lbs. His long arms, ability to finish at the rim and exceptional passing ability should be enough to make him an impact player in the NBA.
Adding Henderson to a team that is led by LaMelo Ball should provide some sort of relief for Hornets fans. Ball is obviously a ball-dominant guard, but with Henderson in the mix, Ball can go back to his high-school days of playing off of the ball. Henderson’s energy and defensive skills should be a huge factor moving forward as the Hornets continue to rebuild their team.
Player Comparison: Russell Westbrook
3. Portland Trail Blazers – Brandon Miller – Alabama
Brandon Miller had a very poor NCAA Tournament, leading many to drop him a spot or two down their draft board. I don’t think that he should totally be judged on this tournament, as he still was far and away the best player in college basketball last season. Obviously, his legal troubles are a concern, but his overall talent should be enough for the Trail Blazers to spend a pick on him here.
Miller has the ability to take over the game with his length and scoring ability. He played the guard position in Alabama, but will probably be used more as a three in the NBA. If he is used at a two, there aren’t many who have the ability to match up with his 6-9 frame.
Adding Miller to Portland should give Damian Lillard the best offensive player that he has played with since LaMarcus Aldridge. Portland needs to take Miller to take some of the weight off of Lillard’s shoulders. Wembanyama will probably win Rookie of the Year, but Miller is a sneaky pick if you are a betting person, especially if he lands in Portland.
Player Comparison: Danny Granger
4. Houston Rockets – Amen Thompson – Overtime Elite
If the Rockets are serious about a James Harden or Khris Middleton trade, I can see this pick being a part of that trade. In this scenario, I have Houston taking Amen Thompson. Given a little development, Thompson should be able to develop somewhat into a lead guard. Whether Jalen Green is on the team next year or not, Thompson should be able to slide into the two or one positions.
Thompson is everything you want from a slashing guard. At 6-7, Thompson loves to play above the rim, whenever he can find a lane or sneak behind a defense. Thompson will need to improve his three-point shooting to become a potential all-star, but he should have all of the opportunity to do so with a Houston team who is not close to contending.
Player Comparison: Andre Iguodala
5. Detroit Pistons – Ausar Thompson – Overtime Elite
If this pick seems eerily similar to the previous pick, you probably aren’t the only one noticing that. Ausar and Amen are twin brothers who share a lot of the same game. Ausar plays with a little faster pace than Amen, which should fit Detroit’s playing style. Cade Cunningham will be back next year, but the Pistons need someone to handle their second unit.
While Thompson will be projected to be an off-guard, or even a three, he has the ability to move in transition. With Jaden Ivey’s strength of his game being speed in transition, adding Thompson will give this ability to the bench unit as well. He shoots a little bit better than his brother but will need to continue to improve upon it to become a strong NBA player.
Player Comparison: Jason Richardson
6. Orlando Magic – Cam Whitmore – Villanova
The Orlando Magic have a very interesting roster, comprised of players who succeeded in college. Paolo Banchero was the Rookie of the Year and for good reason. Orlando’s starting lineup is solid, but its bench unit could use a little bit of help. Cam Whitmore has an outstanding scoring ability. His best feature is finishing at the rim. Whitmore has never seen a dunking opportunity that he hasn’t loved, and he will provide much-needed scoring off of the bench for a Magic team that greatly lacked it last season.
The Magic are still a couple of pieces away from seriously contending, so adding a dynamic player like Whitmore can only help them out. His athleticism should be perfect for a young Magic team.
Player Comparison: Jaylen Brown
7. Indiana Pacers – Jarace Walker – Houston
Over the last couple of seasons, Indiana’s relationship with Myles Turner has seemingly soured. If Indiana finally pulls the trigger or continues to look to shop Turner, Jarace Walker should be able to slide into the rim-protecting position perfectly. At 6-8, 240 pounds, Walker contains a 7-2 wingspan.
The Pacers have a couple of holes to fill on their roster, so I think that they go “best player available” here. Jarace Walker really made his name stand out towards the end of the season, going to the NCAA Tournament with Houston. Walker showed his dominance inside as he is a big forward who should be able to play down low with some physicality. He will make his money in the NBA on the defensive side of the ball. Walker should also provide Indiana with some much-needed rebounding.
More than just rebounding and defending, Walker has shown flashes of above-average court vision. All that culminated with a soft touch inside, should give Indiana an instant contributor.
Player Comparison: Paul Millsap
8. Washington Wizards – Anthony Black – Arkansas
Anthony Black started his college season off hot without teammate Nick Smith in the fray. In Maui, Black averaged just over 22 points, while shooting 40% from three. Black is lanky and has the ability to switch on to almost any player in college basketball. Questions surrounded his offensive game coming into the 2022-23 season. Black proved those questions wrong as he was able to settle into the number one scoring role with Smith out. He has great court vision and understands the game of basketball well. If he can improve his defense, Black may be an instant contributor to Washington.
Player Comparison: Josh Giddey
9. Utah Jazz – Nick Smith Jr. – Arkansas
Nick Smith Jr. is an awesome passing point guard, who oftentimes finds the open teammate before the defense realizes that they are open. More than that, Smith has shown that he can consistently finish in the paint, often resorting to a good-looking floater. He always wants to run in transition and with a solid three-point shot-making ability, that may be what the Jazz need to take over the offense.
Player Comparison: Gilbert Arenas
10. Dallas Mavericks – Keyonte George – Baylor
Keyonte George may have been the best player on a veteran-led Baylor team. His instincts as a scorer should immediately grab the attention of NBA scouts, as the freshman is a three-level scorer. He is no slouch on defense either. Dallas is not in any immediate need of a scorer, especially from the guard position, but I think that they need to go best available player in this 2023 NBA Mock Draft. Dallas’ problem is on defense, and with no big-time defender here, the Mavericks taking George should make them one of the best offensive teams in the league.
Player Comparison: Eric Gordon
11. Orlando Magic – Taylor Hendricks – Central Florida
Taylor Hendricks succeeds on the defensive side of the ball. As a versatile big man, Hendricks can defend at the rim, on the wing or on the ball. On the offensive side of the ball, Hendricks has shown that he can consistently knock down the three ball. More than shooting, Hendricks can play above the rim and loves to throw down flashy dunks. With Hendricks’ versatility, he can easily end up as a top-5 player from this draft.
Player Comparison: Jerami Grant
12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Gradey Dick – Kansas
Gradey Dick was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in America in 2022. While he probably underperformed at Kansas, but in the grand scheme of things, last year was just an audition for the NBA. Dick is an exceptional three-point shooter who works really well as moving without the ball. His athleticism also gives Oklahoma City another player who can play above the rim. Dick is probably small for a three, but I can imagine that Oklahoma City should be able to fill him in at the two in the starting lineup in a quick time. He also has a strong ability to rebound the ball.
Player Comparison: Brandon Rush
13. Toronto Raptors – Cason Wallace – Kentucky
While Cason Wallace was an awesome passer at Kentucky, as proved by his 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, his major contribution to the NBA will be on defense. Wallace may be the best defender in this draft both on-ball and on the wing. Wallace is relentless on the ball and should make other guards’ lives difficult every time he steps on the court.
With Fred VanVleet hitting free agency, Toronto could easily put together one of the better defensive lineups in the league with Pascal Siakim, Wallace and Scottie Barnes. He has also consistently knocked down the three-point shot while at Kentucky. With a little bit of development, there is no reason why Wallace can’t be an All-Star in the future.
Player Comparison: Jrue Holiday
14. New Orleans Pelicans – Dariq Whitehead – Duke
Dariq Whitehead is a great athlete who plays very well in open space. A foot injury at Duke last year limited his play, but should not be an immediate problem for the NBA. He has improved his shot creation and taking abilities, but he still needs a little more development there. If that development comes, Whitehead can easily be a 15+ point per game scorer in this league.
His athleticism alone provides an upside for solid defense. Let Brandon Ingram, C.J. McCollum and Zion Williamson take the heavy brunt of the work to start and have Whitehead come off of the bench to cook.
Player Comparison: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
15. Atlanta Hawks – G.G. Jackson – South Carolina
G.G. Jackson provides a lot of upside on the offensive side of the ball – something that the Hawks really need, which is why he goes here in our 2023 NBA Mock Draft. Similar to a LeBron James-style of play, Jackson is fast, strong, athletic and powerful. He can easily get downhill and push through NBA-level defenders. Jackson will probably have to make a transition to the three position in the NBA, but with his skill on the offensive end of ball, it should not be that big of a transition.
Player Comparison: Josh Smith
16. Utah Jazz – Kobe Bufkin – Michigan
Kobe Bufkin is a fast, smooth player who can handle the ball well. His stock really rose in 2023 NBA Mock Drafts in the offseason. With his 6-4, 185 size, Bufkin has a strong ability to finish at the rim with both hands. Bufkin really improved his three-point shooting in his sophomore season, but will need to keep developing it to be a consistent shooter in the league. For what he lacks in size on the defensive of the ball, he somewhat makes up for in his quick hands to generate loose balls and steals.
Player Comparison: Shake Milton
17. Los Angeles Lakers – Jordan Hawkins – Connecticut
Nobody benefited more from the 2023 NCAA Tournament than Jordan Hawkins, who led Uconn to yet another championship. Hawkins’ ability to create, take and consistently make three-point shots on the highest stage should play well in the draft process. While Hawkins isn’t the greatest defender of all time, his 6-5 frame should allow him to hold his own on the defensive side of the ball.
Player Comparison: Anfernee Simons
18. Miami Heat – Jett Howard – Michigan
Jett Howard is a talented scorer, who Miami should select for his high upside. Son of Juwan Howard, Jett comes from an NBA family and has strong basketball IQ. He needs to develop every other part of his game to become an everyday player, but if the reports are true about Miami landing Bradley Beal or Kyrie Irving, he should have more than enough time.
Player Comparison: Doug McDermott
19. Golden State Warriors – Kris Murray – Iowa
The Golden State Warriors are probably not out of their championship window yet. With Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole all likely returning next season, the Warriors need to look at Murray. Brother of Keegan Murray, Kris Murray is an older prospect, who moves really well without the ball. Murray can develop into a solid wing player, who can impact the game without the ball. Perfect for the Warriors’ MO.
If given a chance in Golden State, Murray should have all of the time that he needs to develop his three-point shot.
Player Comparison: Dorian Finney-Smith
20. Houston Rockets – Rayan Rupert – France
Rayan Rupert is probably the least NBA-ready prospect that we have discussed so far in this 2023 NBA Mock Draft. Even though that is the case, he has a tremendous amount of upside to develop into a solid wing player. Right now, Rupert is a 3&D player, who has long arms to provide disruptions on defense. Rupert could develop into a solid ball-handler and decision-maker, something that Houston really, really needs.
Player Comparison: Nic Batum
21. Brooklyn Nets – Leonard Miller – G-League Ignite
Leonard Miller loves to get dirty and work hard against bigger guys at the power forward position. Over the last year, Miller has shown somewhat of an ability to create and make shots. That will really need to be developed quickly if the Nets want to use Miller immediately. Adding strength will be key for Miller’s development into a rotational player.
Player Comparison: Marvin Bagley III
22. Brooklyn Nets – Maxwell Lewis – Pepperdine
With their second of two-straight picks, the Brooklyn Nets go after Pepperdine prospect Maxwell Lewis here. Lewis is an awesome three-point shooter, who can provide much-needed defensive depth in Brooklyn. While Lewis will probably play as a big two in the NBA, he certainly has the ability to switch to bigger players on defense.
Player Comparison: Trey Murphy III
23. Portland Trail Blazers – Jalen Wilson – Kansas
Jalen Wilson has good size at the wing position, which should translate well to the NBA. Winning a championship at Kansas, Wilson should be able to bring some winning expertise to a Trail Blazers team that underperforms every single year. What he lacks in playing above the rim, Wilson more than makes up for in his shot-making ability. His size also allows him to play physically to find an open shot, while banging down low for rebounds.
Player Comparison: Keldon Johnson
24. Sacramento Kings – Terquavion Smith – North Carolina State
Terquavion Smith is a solid combo-guard, who should bring high energy and intensity to Sacramento. Smith is a volume scorer who can easily heat up at any moment, something that the Kings shown they have a need for. His quick first step allows him to get in and around anyone on the defensive side of the ball, and his speed allows for many pull-up jump shot opportunities in transition.
Smith will need to work on his on-ball defense, but he has shown a strong ability to disrupt passes and dribble with quick hands.
Player Comparison: Bones Hyland
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Trayce Jackson-Davis – Indiana
Trayce Jackson-Davis was a force on the inside for Indiana last year. While he is small for the power forward position in the NBA, TJD plays with incredible technique and should be able to get around bigger defenders using this skill. TJD also possesses a strong feel and IQ for the game, leading to him being able to contribute without the ball. With the Dillon Brooks seemingly ending in Memphis, Jackson-Davis could see playing time immediately for Memphis.
Player Comparison: Daniel Gafford
26. Indiana Pacers – Noah Clowney – Alabama
Noah Clowney is an impressive big man who has shown an ability to play big in the paint. The Alabama alum is very mobile and has shown a penchant for playing somewhat of a floor-stretching role. On defense, Clowney is very energetic, oftentimes causing disruptions on the drive or blocking shots under the hoop. Clowney will need a year or two to adjust his game, but if everything works smoothly, it could be a big payoff for Indiana.
Player Comparison: Nic Claxton
27. Charlotte Hornets – Bilal Coulibaly – France
With the sale of the Charlotte Hornets recently, I think it makes sense for the new ownership group to take a stab at a player who is seen more as a prospect. While Bilal Coulibaly could go much earlier than this, he is probably 2-3 years away from really impacting the NBA. Coulibaly is long, athletic and has a high motor, leading many to compare him to Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is at his best when he is cutting to the hoop and finishing on the inside.
Strength and overall shot-making/ball handling will need to be drastically improved, but if that comes to be, the Hornets may strike gold with this pick.
Player Comparison: Gerald Green
28. Utah Jazz – Dereck Lively II – Duke
Dereck Lively II is an energetic center, who loves getting up to disrupt and block shots. While he has not proved that he can consistently hit an open shot, that part of his game has been greatly developed since the college basketball season. Lively should play well as the roll-man in the pick-and-roll, but outside of that, he will really need to improve his offensive play to warrant big-time minutes.
Player Comparison: Willie Cauley-Stein
29. Indiana Pacers – Jalen Hood-Schifino – Indiana
The Indiana alum has a strong sense of playing the traditional point guard role in today’s NBA. JHS has strong passing, as well as shot-making and shot-taking ability. He is big, tough and loves to play physically, which should be perfect as a reserve for Tyrese Haliburton who plays the same way. His 6-6 frame should be enough for Indiana to roll the dice on him here.
Player Comparison: Spencer Dinwiddie
30. Los Angeles Clippers- Ben Sheppard – Belmont
Ben Sheppard is an impactful 3&D player who has been climbing draft boards recently. What sticks out about Sheppard is his confidence in his offensive game. Whether it be taking a three-point shot, driving to the rim, or making the correct pass, Sheppard looks smooth doing it.
What is intriguing about him too is his ability to switch on to a lot of players 1-4. While probably not a starter, Sheppard should make somewhat of an immediate impact for the Clips.
Player Comparison: Garrett Temple