2023 NBA Mock Draft: Final version

Brandon Miller goes second in our NBA Mock Draft
Alabama forward Brandon Miller (24) reacts as Texas A&M guard Dexter Dennis (0) looks on in the final minutes of an NCAA college basketball game in the finals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Sunday, March 12, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The 2023 NBA Draft is just one day away, so we’ve come to our final NBA Mock Draft.

If you want to check out version 5.0, you can do that here, but this final one will use all of the insight and rumors we’ve gleaned over the final week to see if we can make this as accurate as possible. 

Since this is a no-trades NBA Mock Draft, the Knicks will not pick below, but we can still walk you through how we think the first round will play out a month ahead of the draft. 

Victor Wembanyama goes first in our NBA Mock Draft
Boulogne-Levallois’ Victor Wembanyama drives to the basket during the Elite basketball match Boulogne-Levallois against Paris at the Palais de Sports Marcel Cerdan stadium in Levallois-Perret, outside Paris, Tuesday, May 16, 2023. Wembanyam is projected to be the first overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

2023 NBA Mock Draft

1. San Antonio Spurs – Victor Vembanyama, C France

This has not changed and will not change. Teams were tanking for the 19-year-old Frenchman who is seen as the best prospect since LeBron James. He will go number one overall. 

2. Charlotte Hornets – Brandon Miller, G/F Alabama

Apparently, Charlotte has some concerns about Scoot Henderson’s fit next to LaMelo Ball and is leaning toward taking Miller. While many are chiding them for it, there’s not really a losing move here as Miller has the explosiveness and defensive ability to help Charlotte.  

3. Portland Trail Blazers –  Scoot Henderson, G G-League

If Miller goes second then Henderson is a lock to go third. It may just not be to Portland. Perhaps Portland will deal this pick to the Clippers to get Paul George and help Damian Lillard with his chances at a title?

4. Houston Rockets – Amen Thompson, PG/SG Overtime Elite

This is the beginning of the question marks in the draft and another pick that could be traded, but if Houston stays, then Thompson is a natural fit next to Jalen Green since he’s a great facilitator and tremendous defender. He is not yet a great shooter, but he has the potential to grow into a strong scorer and is one of the best defenders in this draft. 

5. Detroit Pistons – Cam Whitmore, F Villanova

If the NBA Draft falls as our NBA Mock Draft does, this pick is between Whitmore and Jarace Walker. We lean towards Whitmore since he has the potential to stretch the floor, has the ball-handling to improve as a slasher as well, and has shown a willingness to defend. 

6. Orlando Magic – Auser Thompson, G/F Overtime Elite

The Magic are in a pretty good spot and have a solid core to build around. Auser is a better shooter than his twin brother Amen and similarly has plus athleticism, tremendous defensive ability, and the upside to grow as a scorer in his Orlando backcourt. 

7. Indiana Pacers – Taylor Hendricks, F UCF

The Pacers could look to move up in a deal with Portland, but this is a no-trades NBA Mock Draft so, if they stay here, they could snag Hendricks, who is a combo forward who can be a solid 3-and-D wing. 

8. Washington Wizards – Anthony Black, G Arkansas

Washington is moving on from both Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma, which puts them in a position to add the most talented player on the board. That could be Black, who is a 6’6″ point guard who is tremendous in transition and has the size to guard wings. While his shooting remains a question mark, he has great handle and elite passing ability. 

9. Utah Jazz – Bilal Coulibaly, SF, France

Marc Stein said in his Substack that the Jazz like Coulibaly at 9th overall, so we’re going to take him at his word here. Victor Wembanyama’s teammate, Coulibaly has shown off when people came to see his teammate and projects as a potential NBA Defensive Player of the Year candidate who has explosive athleticism and has shown flashes of plus shot-making, which makes him a solid add alongside Collin Sexton and Lauri Markkanen. 

10. Dallas Mavericks – Jarace Walker, F Houston

The pick that crushed Knicks fans. The Mavericks would be lucky to snag Walker here, who could go as high as fifth. He is an elite perimeter defender with the size/strength to play right away in the NBA. His offensive game needs some work, but he can take time to develop that with Luca Doncic running the show. 

11. Orlando Magic (via Bulls) – Gradey Dick, F Kansas

The Magic are allegedly looking to package both 6th and 11th to move up, but this is a no-trades NBA Mock Draft, so Orlando opts to take Dick, who is probably the best shooter in the entire draft and the Magic really need shooting. 

12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Kobe Bufkin, G/F Michigan

The Thunder have some talent on their roster and are the perfect fit to add a wildcard with elite off-ball upside like Bufkin. We know that Bufkin recently worked out with Thunder All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, so that leads us to connect the dots here in our NBA Mock Draft. Bufkin is a well-rounded prospect and considering he measured at 6’8″ at the Combine, he has increased flexibility which makes him a good fit for the Thunder here.

13. Toronto Raptors – Dereck Lively, C Duke

The Raptors look to be in full rebuild with Fred Van Vleet and Jakob Poeltl looking set to depart in free agency. That gives Toronto the chance to add Lively, who is an elite rim protector that averaged 2.5 blocks per game this season. He’s limited on offense, but if he becomes even an average offensive player, he would be one of the most impactful picks in this draft.   

14. New Orleans Pelicans –  Jalen Hood-Schifino G, Indiana

The Pelicans are another team that could trade this pick as they try to make a playoff push. If New Orleans does stay here, expect them to add to their backcourt. Hood-Schifino won Big Ten’s Rookie of the Year award and while he’s an inconsistent spot-up shooter, he showed solid ability to hit pull-up shots off of the dribble and make good passes.

15. Atlanta Hawks – Cason Wallace, PG Kentucky

The Hawks are another team that is feeling pressure to make a deeper playoff run and might be willing to deal this pick. If they stay, Wallace gives them a good complement to Trae Young or a replacement if the Hawks decide to move on from Young. Wallace is a true ballhandler at 6’4″ who can shoot, sees the floor well, and brings the defensive pressure that the Hawks need.

16. Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves) – Jordan Hawkins, SG UCONN

After adding Coulibaly on the wings with their first pick in our NBA Mock Draft, Utah adds the bets shooting talent remaining in our NBA Mock Draft with Hawkins.  

Jordan Hawkins NBA Mock Draft
Connecticut’s Jordan Hawkins (24) shoots against Marquette’s Olivier-Maxence Prosper (12) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game during the semifinals of the Big East conference tournament, Friday, March 10, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

17. Los Angeles Lakers –  Jett Howard, SG/SF Michigan

What are the skills that work best with LeBron James? Shooting and defense. The Lakers need a player who can do those two things right now because they need to capitalize on the final years of James. Howard can score in many different ways and is a smart player with former NBA veteran Juwan Howard as his dad. 

18. Miami Heat – Leonard Miller, SF G-League

Despite their playoff success, the Heat were the 25th-best offense in the NBA this season because they have very few creators off the bounce. Miller is a terrific, fluid athlete and an elite finisher at the rim, making 67% of his shots on penetration, so he’s the pick in our NBA Mock Draft.

19. Golden State Warriors – Brandin Podziemski, SF Santa Clara

Jonathan Givony claims the Warriors are “done with projects” and want older, more experienced players who can step in on day one. He also mentioned Podziemski by name. Podziemski was one of the best performers at the NBA Draft Combine, showing that he is a creative shot creator and a knockdown shooter off the catch, which feels exactly like a Warriors player. 

20. Houston Rockets (via Clippers) – Noah Clowney, F, Alabama

The Rockets added a young and talented guard in Thompson with their first pick, so they can look to the frontcourt here. Clowney is 6’10” with a 7’3″ wingspan, plays defense at a really high level, and rebounds. He has good shooting mechanics while taking over four 3-point attempts per game, so if he starts hitting those shots consistently, the upside is great which makes him a strong value here. 

21. Brooklyn Nets (vis Suns) – Keyonte George, SG Baylor

The Nets are rebuilding, and this is the perfect pick for a rebuilding team. George was once a possible top-ten pick and is a pure scorer who needs to learn how to make better decisions. However, he can score in bunches, so if the Nets can refine his decision-making, he can be a star. 

22. Brooklyn Nets – Rayan Rupert, G/F, New Zealand

Brooklyn is back again in our NBA Mock Draft and this time they take another upside swing with Rupert, who is a French teen playing on a New Zealand team in an Australian basketball league. Got that? He’s also 6’7″ with a 7’3″ wingspan and elite instincts on the defensive end. If he grows into more of an offensive game, he could be a star.  

Rayan Rupert is the Nets pick in our NBA Mock Draft
Rayan Rupert (wikimedia commons)

23. Portland Trail Blazers (via Knicks) – Jaime Jaquez Jr., SG/SF UCLA

With Portland looking to compete right now, they add an NBA-ready older player in Jaquez Jr, who is a crafty wing who can defend and finds ways to impact the game in a number of ways. 

24. Sacramento Kings – Olivier-Maxence Prosper, F Marquette

The Kings could use a player who can jump in and help out in the rotation right now. Prosper has seen his draft stock skyrocket since the combine after he measured in longer than thought and showed versatility on both sides of the ball. He is an energetic defender and budding 3-point shooter who could provide quality minutes. 

25. Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies) – Colby Jones, G, Xavier

I can’t quite believe the Celtics were able to get two first-round picks and Kristaps Porzingis for Marcus Smart. My gut feeling is that the Celtics will package this pick and the 2024 Golden State pick to move up; however, this is a no-trade NBA Mock Draft, so the Celtics take a player that can closely approximate what Smart gave them. Jones is an NBA-ready player with the last pick in the first round of our NBA Mock Draft. Jones is a 6’6″ plus defender whose scoring efficiency, passing, and decision-making would be an immediate fit in Indiana 

26. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers) – Nick Smith, G Arkansas

After the Pacers took Taylor Hendricks in the first round of our NBA Mock Draft, they’ll add some guard help here. Smith had an elite pedigree but suffered a down year this season. He has the size and athleticism to smother opposing guards and has the potential to be a great value here in our NBA Mock Draft.

27. Charlotte Hornets (via Nuggets) – Dariq Whitehead, SF Duke

Charlotte took Brandon Miller to play SG earlier in our NBA Mock Draft, so they now can slide Whitehead in at SF or have him back-up Gordon Heyward while the veteran is still in town. Whitehead was an elite prospect coming out of high school but will be coming off foot surgery. If he was 100% healthy, he might be a top-10 pick, so this is good value here at the end of the first round of our NBA Mock Draft. 

28. Utah Jazz (via 76ers) – Kris Murray, F, Iowa

Utah has a competitive team, but their earliest first-round selection in our NBA Mock Draft, Bilaly Coulibaly, is a project so they can take an NBA-ready player here. Murray is not quite as good as his brother (Keegan), but he will quickly enter the rotation as a three/four with the upside to be a starter based on his scoring prowess.

29. Denver Nuggets (via Pacers/Celtics) – Ben Sheppard, SG Belmont

Denver traded back into the 2023 NBA Draft, so they now join our NBA Mock Draft. With Bruce Brown declining his player option, the Nuggets will make a pick to fill his spot with Sheppard, who was another big riser at the NBA Draft Combine. He averaged 18.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 41.5% from three and making the MVC All-Defensive Team.

30. Los Angeles Clippers (via Bucks) – Brice Sensabaugh, F, Ohio State

The Clippers seem to love competitive and tough players, and Sensabaugh would be an immediate fit next to Kawhi Leonard if Paul George is indeed traded away. Sensabaugh is a knockdown shooter and crafty midrange scorer who could go much higher than this. 

For more NBA coverage like this NBA Mock Draft, visit amNY Sports


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