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NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Wembanyama and the Guards that Follow

2023 NBA Draft Has Clear No.1 but Questions after That

About all NBA predictions expect the San Antonio Spurs to select French sensation Victor Wembanyama, who is projected to be a franchise-changing player, with the first pick in the 2023 draft.

However, there is some drop-off after Wembanyama, putting teams into difficult positions, especially with most of the talent being guards. This is something that NBA betting should keep in mind, with a real possibility for teams trading up or down the draft.

NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Wembanyama and the Guards that Follow
Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP

Despite that possibility, the order has already been decided, so we will stick with that in this mock lottery draft for the 2023 NBA Draft.

1. San Antonio Spurs: PF/C Victor Wembanyama, Metropolitans 92 (LNB), France

Wembanyama is an overwhelming favorite, with odds set at -20000. Wembanyama has the skills of a guard but in his 7-foot 2-inch frame.

2. Charlotte Hornets: SF Brandon Miller, Alabama

All signs point to Brandon Miller an early favorite to go second overall (-130). His shooting ability and length make him a perfect fit alongside former All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball. The two could be the cornerstones of the Charlotte Hornets’ future.

3. Portland Trail Blazers: PG Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite

This is a complicated position for the Portland Trail Blazers. With Damian Lillard’s career winding down, they want to win now, and adding a young player will not improve the team’s NBA title odds. The best course of action is to trade this pick to acquire ready-now role players. If that does not happen, Scoot Henderson has to be the next option, being the best player available. The only issue is he is also a point guard, calling into Lillard’s future.

Henderson is talented enough to be a first-overall pick in nearly any other draft, but because teams at the top of the draft don’t need guards, he is a player that could slide. His Las Vegas odds are only even to go second or third, with teams rumored to trade up for him.

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

Each of the Thompson twins has a upside in the NBA, but Amen has shown himself to be more of a playmaker. While the Houston Rockets may want to trade this pick to add win-now pieces, they should consider keeping it. The guards on the current roster are all shoot-first players, and adding a long playmaking athlete with a defensive upside could be smart. Amen Thompson is that, making him a perfect fit.

5. Detroit Pistons: SF Cam Whitmore, Villanova

Sadly, the team with the worst record in basketball fell to pick No.5. However, the Pistons will be able to draft Cam Whitmore, who might be a perfect fit, with odds at +250 to go fifth overall. After Detroit drafted the backcourt of the future in the last two drafts with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, it is time to get a score-first wing.

6. Orlando Magic: SG/SF Gradey Dick, Kansas

Gradey Dick might be one of the best shooters in this draft, and that is precisely why the Orlando Magic will select him. The biggest issue for the Magic last season was floor spacing. Dick can come in and change. This might be a reach in some people’s eyes, but it is the most significant need, and if Orlando waits until pick 11 to draft Dick, he could be gone.

7. Indiana Pacers: PF Jarace Walker, Houston

Being able to select Jarace Walker has to be exciting for the Indiana Pacers. The team needs help in the front court, and Walker can fill in right next to Myles Turner. Both can space the floor a little, not crowding the paint. On top of that, Walker is an elite defender, helping with the Pacers’ undersized backcourt.

8. Washington Wizards: PG/SG/SF Ausar Thompson, Overtime Elite

There are a lot of issues with the Washington Wizards, but one thing they need is a playmaker. Like his brother Amen, Ausar Thompson is a hybrid wing offering that. His one downside would be shooting, but he makes up for that on defense.

9. Utah Jazz: PG Anthony Black, Arkansas

There is no playmaking guard on the Utah Jazz roster, which should make selecting Anthony Black intriguing. While floor spacing was an issue in college, his playmaking alongside the Jazz shooters should be an easy fit. He also can drive to the paint, offering more than passing on offense.

10. Dallas Mavericks: PF Taylor Hendricks, UCF

If you could make a perfect player for the Dallas Mavericks and their current roster construction, Taylor Hendricks would be it. On defense, he is an elite on-ball defender, then a knockdown shooter for Luka Dončić to find on the other end of the court.

11. Orlando Magic: PG Cason Wallace, Kentucky

The Magic could rebuild their entire starting backcourt in this draft. Last season, Orlando used three guards, all having different roles, from one being the point of attack on defense, another the playmaker, and finally a scorer. Cason Wallace can do all three. He is a solid on-ball defender, a quilty playmaker for others, and potentially a solid shooter.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: PG/SG Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas

This pick could be traded easily, with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s biggest need being a floor-spacing wing or defensive big. With no one fitting that mold worthy of being selected this early, the best option is Nick Smith Jr. He is a solid combo guard that can score on all three levels, with decent size and length to impact the defensive end.

13. Toronto Raptors: SG Keyonte George, Baylor

Keyonte George is a pure scorer from the guard position, which is something the Toronto Raptors desperately need. Both of Toronto’s starting guards from last season are possible free agents, leaving room for George to come and be a starter right away, offering elite scoring at every level. Playmaking for others and defense may be an issue, but the Raptors have a roster that can fill in for George’s shortcomings.

14. New Orleans Pelicans: SG/SF Jordan Hawkins, Connecticut

This New Orleans Pelicans have all the right pieces to be a top team in the Western Conference when healthy. There are not going to be a lot of ball-handling opportunities, but the Pelicans need floor spacing. That is something Jordan Hawkins can offer, being the best shooter available, plus already having a winning pedigree with Connecticut.


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