We just finished the college basketball season, which means we are that much closer to the 2023 NBA Draft. With the NBA season ending days from today, an updated draft order is on the docket. From Brandon Miller to Trayce Jackson-Davis, where do the biggest stars in college basketball fall on a 2023 NBA mock draft? I am here to figure that out.
Obviously, there is still some basketball to be played in the NBA, so the draft order from now and my final 2023 NBA Mock Draft.
Updated 2023 NBA Mock Draft | First-Round Projected Order
1. Detroit Pistons – Victor Wembanyama – France
Victor Wembanyama is currently playing professional basketball overseas in France, where the 7-4, 18-year-old is averaging 23.2 points per game, nine rebounds per game and three (!) blocks per game. With Wembanyama being the face of this draft, the Detroit Pistons have to take him here. His size, speed and wingspan combination is nothing that has been seen in the NBA before. Now he is putting back dunks on his own three-point attempts, what is next?
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. I am assuming once draft time rolls around, Wembanyama’s hype will be as strong as Zion Williamson’s was. Plus, a starting lineup containing Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Victor Wembanyama makes it look like the Pistons are trending in the right direction.
Player Comparison: Kevin Durant/Kristaps Porzingis
2. Houston Rockets – Brandon Miller – Alabama
There may not be a college basketball player more ready for the NBA than Brandon Miller this year. Brandon Miller is a 6-9, 200-pound wing that plays better as a two than as a three. What jumps out immediately is Miller’s long frame for a guard. He also possesses the ball-handling necessary to blow by defenders. On top of that, Miller is one of the better freshman three-point shooters, which should easily transfer to the NBA. Even though Miller has been through legal troubles and really tapered off in the NCAA Tournament, he was still the best player in college basketball all season. Leading Alabama to a one-seed in the tournament is no small feat. Miller is obviously a dangerous second-overall pick here with legal troubles, but a rewarding pick he will be, nonetheless.
Player Comparison: Danny Granger
3. San Antonio Spurs – 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.
Maybe his biggest positive though is his incredible first step, followed by his explosive finishing ability. Think of guys like Ja Morant, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. There are a lot of those three’s games in Scoot Henderson.
Player Comparison: Russell Westbrook
4. Charlotte Hornets – Amen Thompson – Overtime Elite
If the Hornets draft Amen Thompson, there may be no one happier than LaMelo Ball. Thompson is everything you want from a slashing forward. At 6-7, Thompson loves to play above the rim, whenever he can find a lane or sneak behind a defense. All I am hearing from that is halfcourt, fastbreak alley-oops from Ball to Thompson. A strong wing is a necessity for Charlotte and Thompson is as good as anyone in this draft to fill that spot.
Player Comparison: (Young) Andre Iguodala
5. Portland Trail Blazers – 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 Thompson, which is totally up Portland’s alley. I think what makes Thompson a good fit for POR is that he can take the pressure off of Damian Lillard and run the break by himself. Thompson’s defense is awesome, which will be a bright sight for Trail Blazer fans. Thompson has the ability to easily turn defense into offense.
Player Comparison: Jason Richardson
6. Indiana Pacers – Jarace Walker – Houston
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
7. Orlando Magic – Cam Whitmore – Villanova
Cam Whitmore is another player who really improved his draft stock through the 2022-23 college basketball season. While Villanova did not have a finish that we expect from them, Whitmore did as much as he could to will them there. Whitmore is strong, explosive wing player who succeeds at getting to the rim. Over the course of the season, Whitmore also developed his three-point shot. 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
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 replace Mike Conley.
Player Comparison: Gilbert Arenas
10. Dallas Mavericks – Keyonte George – Kansas
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 for a scorer, especially from the guard position, but I think that they need to go best available player here. 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
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