With the NBA Finals in the rearview mirror and the Denver Nuggets sitting atop the basketball world, it’s time to fire up another version of our NBA Mock Draft. Last week, we ran version four after the withdrawal deadline passed and update this one more time before the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 22nd.
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.
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
This pick is between Miller and Scoot Henderson, but in the last two versions we’ve had the Hornets taking Miller to give LaMelo Ball a scoring forward to pair with up-and-coming young center Mark Williams. Charlotte will have plenty of interesting options to trade away this pick, but drafting Miller for his explosiveness and defensive ability could be worth keeping the pick.
3. Portland Trail Blazers – Scoot Henderson, G G-League
The Trail Blazers have a clear choice here: pick at number three or keep Damian Lillard. The veteran guard has said, “I want a chance to go for it. And if the route is to (draft youth), then that’s not my route.’’ If Portland wants to keep Lillard and give him his chance then they will trade this pick for a veteran.
4. Houston Rockets – Amen Thompson, SG/SF Overtime Elite
This is another pick that could be traded, but if Houston stays, they could use some help on the wing. If James Harden goes go back to Houston, then the Rockets’ most pressing need will be wing scoring. Thompson is a natural facilitator and would become the highest-drafted player from Overtime’s alternative to NCAA basketball. 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
The Pistons have Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey at guard, so they need to look to the wing here. Whitmore has the potential to stretch the floor and, despite being just 18 years old, has shown the ability to shoot in streaks, 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. However, they could use some offensive upside in the backcourt while Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner dominate the wings. Auser is a better shooter than his twin brother Amen and will also give Utah instant transition offense and defensive versatility. He has plus athleticism and upside to grow as a scorer in this backcourt.
7. Indiana Pacers – Jarace Walker, F Houston
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 Walker to fill their PF spot which we know they’re looking to do since they’re still sniffing around Obi Toppin. Walker is a powerful player with great defensive versatility and length who could fit well next to those young guards. He’s a tough matchup for anyone given his “tweener” mold, and his perimeter shot is getting better, so there is some key upside here.
8. Washington Wizards – Taylor Hendricks, F UCF
Washington is reportedly looking to move on from both Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma this offseason, which puts them in a position to add the most talented player on the board. Hendricks is a combo forward with positional size who can be a solid 3-and-D wing. He also shows flashes of scoring versatility that could give him intriguing upside for Washington to build around.
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 – Gradey Dick, F Kansas
The pick that crushed Knicks fans. The Mavericks are highly unlikely to keep this pick as a team that is looking to win now with Luka Doncic and – maybe – a re-signed Kyrie Irving. Could Dallas take a European star to develop and stash overseas? Or could they take somebody like Dick who can help right away with shooting?
11. Orlando Magic (via Bulls) – Anthony Black, G Arkansas
The Magic are allegedly looking to package both 6th and 11th to move up, but this is a no-trades NBA Mock Drfta, so Orlando’s opts to take a point guard with Markelle Fultz entering the last year of his deal and never quite living up to the hype. Black can play point but has the size to guard wings. While his shooting remains a question mark, he has great handle and elite passing ability. He would fit in perfectly with Orlando’s roster.
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 – Cason Wallace, PG Kentucky
The Raptors need a player who can guard opposing guards. Wallace is a true ballhandler at 6’4″ who can shoot, sees the floor well, and brings the defensive pressure that the Raptors seem to love. This could be even more of a slam-dunk pick if Fred Van Vleet leaves.
14. New Orleans Pelicans – Keyonte George, SG Baylor
The Pelicans are another team that could trade this pick as they try to make a playoff push. Would they be interested in adding Obi Toppin? If New Orleans does stay here, expect them to add shooting. George is a pure scorer who could help the Pelicans whether he immediately enters the starting lineup at shooting guard or just factors into the rotation.
15. Atlanta Hawks – Jordan Hawkins, SG UCONN
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, Hawkins is the best shooter on the board and could be a nice fit in Atlanta.
16. Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves) – Dereck Lively, C Duke
After adding Auser Thompson to the backcourt with their first pick in our NBA Mock Draft, Utah adds talent to the frontcourt here with Lively. Lively is an elite rim protector who averaged 2.5 blocks per game this season. He’s limited on offense, but this is the type of gamble a team like Utah with multiple picks can take. If he becomes even an average offensive player, he would be one of the most impactful picks in this draft.
17. Los Angeles Lakers – Jett Howard, 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 – Jalen Hood-Schifino G, Indiana
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. 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.
19. Golden State Warriors – Brandin Podziemski, SF Santa Clara
The Warriors are the exact type of team that can take a gamble on a player like Podziemski, who was one of the best performers at the NBA Draft Combine and would look great on the Knicks. 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) – Nick Smith, G Arkansas
The Rockets added a young and talented forward in Thompson with their first pick, so they can look to the backcourt 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.
21. Brooklyn Nets (vis Suns) – Leonard Miller, F G-League
The Nets are rebuilding, and this is the perfect pick for a rebuilding team. 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.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Max Lewis, G/F, Pepperdine
Brooklyn is back again in our NBA Mock Draft and this time they take some shooting with Lewis, who they also brought in for a pre-draft workout. Lewis has some work to do on the defensive end, but he has the ability to knock down shots from deep and the size/wingspan to be a matchup issue on the wing.
23. Portland Trail Blazers (via Knicks) – Rayan Rupert, G/F, New Zealand
With Portland recently working out Rupert, they seem like a strong landing spot for him here in our NBA Mock Draft. Rupert 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.
24. Sacramento Kings – Ben Sheppard, SG/SF Belmont
The Kings could use a little more shooting so that lines up with Sheppard, who was another big riser at the NBA Draft Combine and makes his first appearance in our NBA Mock Draft. 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.
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Noah Clowney, F, Alabama
The Grizzlies roll the dice here on Clowney, who is 6’10” with a 7’3″ wingspan, plays defense at a really high level, and rebounds. Clowney 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.
26. Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers) – Colby Jones, G, Xavier
Even though the Pacers took Taylor Hendricks in the first round of our NBA Mock Draft, so it’s time for them to add some guard help. Jones is a 6’6″ plus defender whose scoring efficiency, passing, and decision-making would be an immediate fit in Indiana next to Haliburton and Mathurin.
27. Charlotte Hornets (via Nuggets) – Kris Murray, F, Iowa
Charlotte took Brandon Miller to play SG earlier in our NBA Mock Draft, so they now they can slide Murray in at SF or have him back-up Gordon Heyward while the veteran is still in town. Murray is NBA-ready and while he’s not quite as good as his brother (Keegan), he will quickly enter the rotation as a three/four with the upside to be a starter based on his scoring prowess.
28. Utah Jazz (via 76ers) – Dariq Whitehead, G/F Duke
Utah has a competitive team and already made a first-round selection in our NBA Mock Draft, so they can go for upside here. 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.
29. Indiana Pacers (via Celtics) – G.G. Jackson, F, South Carolina
This is Indiana’s third first-round pick in our NBA Mock Draft, so we’ve reached the part where talent meets red flags. Jackson has some questions about his maturity and effort and could flame out of the league. However, he was playing in college as a 17-year-old and has elite shot-making potential, and we know Indiana has had him in for pre-draft workouts.
30. Los Angeles Clippers (via Bucks) – James Nnaji, C Barcelona
The Clippers seem to love competitive and tough players, and they also get a chance to land a top-tier talent with the last pick in the first round of our NBA Mock Draft. Nnaji is 6’11” with a 7’5″ wingspan and is an impressive athlete around the rim. He has all the raw tools of an elite center prospect.
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