2023 NBA Mock Draft: Never-too-early lottery picks as Rockets win Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes


1 Victor Wembanyama (Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92)
A 7-foot-2 middle, Wembanyama has for a number of years now been thought of one of the prized prospects in all of basketball. He is a game-changing defensive prospect just like this yr’s No. 2 total decide Chet Holmgren — solely with extra size. His offensive versatility permits him to attain it anyplace on the court docket. 2 Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite)
Henderson ranks No. 1 amongst non-Wembanyama prospects on this class. He starred this previous season as a 17-year-old with G League Ignite and has the passing and scoring arsenal to be one of the polished offensive prospects within the draft. 3 Ausar Thompson (Extra time Elite)
One-season stints with Extra time Elite didn’t do significantly effectively for the draft inventory of Jean Montero or Dom Barlow — two gamers with first-round potential who went undrafted — however Ausar and twin brother, Amen, are so clearly lotto abilities that competitors they face over the subsequent yr will not matter. Ausar has nice positional size and wonderful defensive potential. 4 Nick Smith (Arkansas)
Smith has all the time been thought of an elite expertise however has actually ascended the final yr, going from a sub-25 stage recruit to the No. 3 participant in his class. He is a clean combo guard who can deal with and rating on an Arkansas staff that options backcourt expertise in addition to any staff in school hoops. 5 Amen Thompson (Extra time Elite)
Amen, the dual of brother Ausar, is a lotto expertise as effectively with the positional dimension and size to be a difference-maker on the guard spot. He flashed some actually spectacular playmaking abilities over the past yr and will give his brother, who proper now could be seen as the higher prospect, a run for his cash as he continues to develop. 6 Cameron Whitmore (Villanova)
Whitmore did not end his highschool profession as a top-10 expertise, however he is already making his case as a top-10 decide in 2023 after a robust summer season with Crew USA. Good-sized wing who has a slasher’s mentality and performs with an edge. Good match with Villanova — and matches the archetype of a wing the NBA values. 7 Cason Wallace (Kentucky)
Wallace is an elite prospect who completed his highschool profession as a top-10 recruit in his class. He’s anticipated to be a plug-and-play starter at Kentucky and must be thought of a top-10 expertise within the 2023 class due to his defensive abilities and all-around scoring potential. 8 Dariq Whitehead (Duke)
Whitehead completed because the No. 2 participant in his highschool recruiting class within the Composite rankings. He has superb positional dimension, bursty athleticism and defensive versatility that Duke — and shortly, an NBA staff — will actually worth. 9 Anthony Black (Arkansas)
The enchantment right here with Black lies in his versatility as a combo guard with nice dimension able to enjoying each on and off the ball. He is spent a lot of the final yr transitioning to enjoying level full time, a job which at Arkansas may assist him shine for NBA decision-makers. There’s not a ton of explosiveness to his sport, however he has the finesse, positional dimension and passing that reminds of Cade Cunningham. 10 Keyonte George (Baylor)
A McDonald’s All-American who has for a number of years been thought of a one-and-done lottery expertise, George is a formidable scoring guard who must be in line to place up huge numbers straight away at Baylor. Grooming his all-around offensive sport might be key, however he is a sniper with vary who can get a bucket from anyplace. 11 Dillon Mitchell (Texas)
Mitchell was one of many lowest-rated four-star prospects lower than two years in the past, however has blossomed right into a bona fide five-star who completed because the No. 5 participant within the 2022 recruiting class. The Montverde Academy product is a prime shelf athlete with nice size and defensive chops. He might want to enhance his scoring to validate lottery standing. 12 Dereck Energetic (Duke)
This can be a little low for Energetic, the No. 1 participant within the 247Sports Composite rankings, partially as a result of in a vacuum I worth wings and guards over facilities. (Did you watch the NBA Finals? I relaxation my case!) Nonetheless, Energetic may and will slip into the lottery. At 7-foot-1, he runs the ground at a excessive stage and has the motor to be a difference-maker at and across the rim. 13 Arthur Kaluma (Creighton)
Kaluma completed his freshman season at Creighton on a excessive observe and has continued on an upward trajectory this offseason, the place he is shining for Nigeria in FIBA play. He is in line for a breakout sophomore season the place his dimension and scoring may make him a lottery decide. 14 Leonard Miller (G League Ignite)
Miller examined the NBA Draft and had some first-round buzz earlier than finally withdrawing and committing to the G League Ignite, the place he’ll spend the subsequent season. The dimensions, left-handed stroke and talent to create from his place are all attention-grabbing instruments, although he’s nonetheless a really uncooked prospect at this stage. 15 Kel’el Ware (Oregon)
Lower than two years in the past, Ware was not a top-100 expertise — now he is positioned himself as a possible top-10 NBA decide. His 7-foot body carries immense potential at the same time as he develops his sport. At his dimension his motion and ball abilities are abilities value betting on. 16 Terquavion Smith (NC State)
There was some actual momentum for Smith on this yr’s NBA Draft after a robust exhibiting on the mix the place his athleticism flashed earlier than he finally got here again to high school. He’ll have a giant probability to construct on that subsequent season at NC State as the focus for Kevin Keatts’ staff. 17 Julian Strawther (Gonzaga)
Strawther emerged from bit participant to strong starter on a No. 1-seeded Gonzaga staff final yr and is now set to make one other leap as a junior with the Zags. With Chet Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard gone, he’ll have an opportunity to tackle an expanded function enjoying on the ball and will see a wholesome enhance in manufacturing throughout the board. 18 Jarace Walker (Houston)
Houston is bringing in a gem in Jarace Walker, who may very well be one of the impactful freshmen in school hoops — and for a Houston staff that must be considered as a contender. Large, sturdy and bodily mature, Walker is a real 4 who may very well be a small-ball 5 on the subsequent stage due to his physicality. 19 Amari Bailey (UCLA)
There is a ton of expectations surrounding Bailey, a McDonald’s All-American who was the No. 7 participant in his class. I am just a bit skeptical he is able to completely validate his lottery credentials. He’ll have to show he can constantly rating it whereas growing his potential as a playmaker — however first he’ll must be sound defensively to earn Mick Cronin’s belief. 20 J.J. Starling (Notre Dame)
Notre Dame is getting a stud in Starling, a combo guard who can create off the bounce, get to the ring and — most significantly — scores at a very excessive stage. His inside-out sport makes him an attention-grabbing projection to the NBA as somebody who could possibly perform as an score-first initiator. 21 Kyle Filipowski (Duke)
Duke may have a loaded roster subsequent season and Filipowski figures to be a significant piece of that in Yr 1. He is a 6-11 middle who has scoring vary that extends past the 3-point line. 22 Jordan Walsh (Arkansas)
A bouncy athlete who’s certainly one of *a number of* possible first-rounders from the College of Arkansas, Walsh has superb dimension for a wing and a clean jumper as well. 23 Julian Phillips (Tennessee)
At 6-8, Phillips has an excellent body for a wing and has the size and athleticism to be a possible lottery decide in subsequent yr’s draft. Good slasher who could make issues occur with or with out the ball in his arms. Rick Barnes goes to like his sport. 24 Gradey Dick (Kansas)
Dick is a deadeye shooter who is usually a killer spot-up menace from anyplace on the court docket. At Kansas he’ll want to indicate potential of including off the bounce as a creator for himself and others, one thing that has popped on his highschool tape in spurts and makes me suppose he is greater than only a shooter. 25 Harrison Ingram (Stanford)
Ingram had a one-and-done-caliber season with Stanford, however got here again to high school to enhance his draft inventory. A giant-bodied wing, he has very attention-grabbing playmaking abilities at his dimension and tasks neatly as an NBA wing if his shot can proceed to enhance. 26 Kris Murray (Iowa)
Keegan Murray had a breakout season for Iowa final season, and Kris Murray may have a breakout season for Iowa this season. The 6-foot-8 combo ahead could have been draftable this yr however got here again to high school and can be capable of assert himself as a possible No. 1 choice at Iowa subsequent yr. 27 Chris Livingston (Kentucky)
Armed with an improved jumper and a giant alternative, Livingston is likely one of the true wild playing cards within the 2023 NBA Draft. Might be a lottery decide, may go late first. Undoubtedly has the bodily instruments and athleticism to be a prototypical wing the NBA covets. He’ll have to put all of it collectively on a constant foundation to earn John Calipari’s belief. 28 Marcus Sasser (Houston)
Sasser was monitoring towards All-American standing at Houston final season earlier than an harm derailed his season. He then actually flashed on the NBA Draft Mix, making it a tougher-than-expected stay-or-go resolution from him. Coming again to high school he’ll be the star of a top-10 Cougars staff together with his elite potential to attain. 29 Nolan Hickman (Gonzaga)
There is a huge alternative awaiting Hickman with the departure of Andrew Nembhard to take the reins of Gonzaga’s high-powered offense. Hickman is not an elite athlete, however he is a strong lead guard who may actually make a leap in Yr 2 below Mark Few. 30 Matthew Cleveland (Florida State)
Cleveland was somebody I actually preferred coming into final season at Florida State, and now he is able to probably fulfill his expectations as a sophomore. His shot wants to enhance dramatically, however he has the body and rebounding I worth in wings.

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