According to Woj we may have some clarity around who the Hornets plan to select at no.2 overall, with all signs now pointing to Brandon Miller. Of course last year all signs pointed to the Magic taking Jabari Smith Jr. no.1 overall…until 10 minutes before the draft. So we’ll see.
There are also rumblings out there about Cam Whitmore underwhelming in workouts and possibly having some concerning medicals. He could possibly be sliding out of the top 7 range.
The Spurs appear to be active in pursuing another first round pick. Could they look to pair Wembanyama with his old teammate Bilal Coulibaly? Or maybe target a point guard with that pick?
The latest trade rumors include Paul George being available and the Celtics interested in Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis would have to opt-in to a sign and trade deal.
With just one day to go until the 2023 NBA Draft all the rumors and smokescreens are swirling. This year promises to be a very active year in terms of trades before and during the draft. We’ll likely see a number of moves in the first round plus some big name players changing teams.
Jamie Jaquez Jr. is the latest player to be invited to the Green Room, indicating that he is being strongly considered in the first round. Brandin Podziemski has also been invited to the Green Room and is a likely first round pick.
Kobe Bufkin continues to get late lottery buzz, with some whispers of him even going in the top 10. The skilled combo guard from Michigan is a highly efficient scorer who can play on or off the ball. He reminds a big of CJ McCollum and fits the modern NBA game well.
Things are still wide open at no.2 with both Scoot and B.Miller in consideration for the Hornets. And the Blazers pick at no.3 still seems likely to be moved for a star.
Keyonte George could be sliding a bit and is looking less likely to be picked in the lottery.
This is going to be an absolutely wild draft day. Look for the action to come fast and furious.
For more links and info about the 2023 NBA Draft click here.
Here are some of the latest tidbits and draft rumors:
Bilal Coulibaly’s stock is soaring and there are rumors that he has a promise in the lottery. He’s been making a big impact playing alongside Wemby during Metropolitans 92’s playoff run and is playing with a ton of confidence right now. The Utah Jazz, who own the 9th pick in the draft, are rumored to be high on Coulibaly. Likewise the Thunder, who pick at no.12.
Nick Smith Jr. could be rated higher by NBA teams than by the media and the draft nerds of the interwebs. He could even grade out as a lottery level talent on some teams boards. We’ve seen it before where a highly rated recruit has a down or injury plagued freshman season but still gets draft high. This could be the case with Smith Jr. who came into the season ranked as a top 5 recruit and a potential top 5 pick.
Kobe Bufkin is also rumored to be rising into the lottery range. I was high on Bufkin coming out of high school two years ago but I didn’t see him developing this quickly and this well, to the point of being a lottery level talent. It’s been an awesome story to watch.
Jamie Jaquez Jr is another player who has been impressive in team workouts and could be rising into the back end of the first round. Versatile and savvy veterans can be highly valued by playoff level teams and so JJJ could be a good fit
After a disappointing freshman season at Kentucky Chris Livingston decided to stay in the draft and it could be a good choice. Livingston has cancelled all remaining team workouts leading to speculation that he has a draft promise. He’s got good tools and showed a lot in high school, before a down season at Kentucky. He would be a solid developmental pick in the second round.
On the downside, GG Jackson has been tumbling down boards after even more concerns have arisen. He’s rumored to be out of shape (although maybe dealing with an illness) and hasn’t impressed in workouts. He can score the rock but does he do enough other things and have the attitude to bring value to a NBA team. He’s a developmental player who has the upside but could bust as well.
I absolutely love seeing Zach Edey decide to return to school for his senior season. He’s going to be so fun to watch next year at Purdue and will be a dominant force (again) at the college level.
The 2023 draft remains very strong and deep despite the number of good prospects choosing to return to school – and the 2024 draft got a lot stronger with all of those returning players.
With just about three weeks to go until the draft it’s workout season and smokescreen season. The latest buzz includes French wing Bilal Coulibaly rising in the lottery (which has been the trend for a while now). Nick Smith Jr. also seems to be getting some pre-draft buzz.
Dereck Lively II is also moving up boards.
With the San Antonio Spurs winning the draft lottery a new era of basketball is coming to town: the Victor Wembanyama era. This is just about the perfect landing spot for Wemby. He’ll be coached by one of the greatest coaches of all time, have Tim Duncan’s mentorship, plus the France/San Antonio connection started by Tony Parker.
Here are more thoughts on how the draft lottery played out.
It’s NBA Draft Lottery day!
Stay tuned for an updated mock draft immediately following the lottery and a new blog post on all of the lottery results.
I feel like we’ve all been waiting for this day for about 3 years; waiting in anticipation to see which team gets to select the franchise altering talent that is Victor Wembanyama. Well, the time is just about here. Get your popcorn!
We have a few recent additions to the 2023 draft class. UCLA center Adem Bona has announced his intention to enter the draft (while maintaining his college eligibility). I see Bona as a mid to late first rounder, although I know I’m a bit higher on him than most scouts. If he stays in the draft, look for UCLA to replace him at center with another international stud, Aday Mara.
Fellow UCLA freshman Amari Bailey has also declared and appears to be fully committed to staying in the draft this year. The highly ranked recruit had a slow start to his college career but came on strong over the second half, and was starting to look like a star in March. Bailey will ride this momentum into the draft, where he could be a late first to mid second round pick.
We also got an announcement from Arkansas forward Jordan Walsh, who is also entering while maintaining college eligibility. I’m a big, big Jordan Walsh fan but I’m torn on whether he should stay in this draft. He will probably be drafted in the 30-50 range and spend a developmental year in the G League. Returning to Arkansas and becoming a first rounder might serve him well. Arkansas will have a really fun team again next year…and it would a lot more fun with Walsh in the mix.
As expected French wing Rayan Rupert has declared. After an up and down year (interrupted by injury) with the New Zealand Breakers Rupert looks like a late lottery to mid first round pick. He’s a developmental player but has great defensive potential and a lot of upside (similar to Jordan Walsh, now that I think of it).
And the latest announcement is from springy 6-8 French wing Bilal Coulibaly who has declared as well.
One name we haven’t heard from yet is Emoni Bates. The once heralded recruit has had a rough go of it so far in college, with a bit of a bounce-back year this year with Eastern Michigan; Bates average 19ppg this year but on only 40% shooting and 33% from 3pt. land. One more year in school could be wise for Emoni.
We’re now about 3 weeks out from the much-anticipated 2023 NBA Draft Lottery, which will take place on May 16th.
It’s draft season, which means that the rumors are swirling all around. The latest buzz is that NBA teams might be a bit lower on Scoot Henderson then those of us posting on the World Wide Web. Could Amen Thompson jump into that no.2 spot? Or Brandon Miller?
At this point most of the prospects have made their decisions about whether to test the draft waters, commit fully to the draft or return to school. These decisions have gone mostly as expected.
One interesting name that is testing the waters is Texas forward Dillon Mitchell. The highly rated recruit wasn’t very effective last year for the Longhorns but played a role defensively and still has all of the athleticism in the world. With Ron Holland coming to town next season Mitchell might be forced to exit to the NBA sooner than would be ideal. It will be very interesting to see what kind of feedback he gets from teams and what is ultimate decision will be.
Amari Bailey recently announced his decision to enter the draft (his departure from UCLA opened up a spot for star French wing Ilane Fibleuil to just committed to the Bruins for next season). Amari is a projected early second rounder on my board, with some late first round potential.
And that part of the draft looks particularly strong to me and teams will get great value in the early second round. The range from about 20 to 35 will produce a lot of NBA players and there’s not a whole lot separating this group. I’d love to be drafting in the low 30’s this year.
One player we’re still waiting to hear from is Purdue’s Zach Edey. As I’ve mentioned before, I’d love to see him stay in school and dominate college basketball again next season. He doesn’t really project well the next level and would be well served (IMHO) to stay in the national spotlight in college, for one more year.
March Madness always brings plenty of overreactions from the NBA Draft community, so let’s take a look at who we’re overreacting on now.
Brandon Miller struggled throughout March, not just in the tournament, leading some peeps to question whether he’s really deserving of being a top 3 or 4 selection. This is classic overreaction. Miller was dealing with a minor groin injury during the tournament and also just had some off nights. This weak close to the season shouldn’t detract from what he did throughout the year. He’s a stud and is very deserving of being selected near the top of the draft.
On the other side of the overreaction coin Tyrese Proctor had a very strong close to the season and was very impressive in Duke’s final game of the season, a loss to Tennessee. He probably could have rode the momentum to a first round selection this June but Proctor has since announced his return to Duke for a second season. Proctor has lottery potential next year, if he keeps up this level of play.
I’ve been riding on the Jordan Hawkins bandwagon for a while now but his strong showing in this tournament makes me want to overreact in a big way… like a top 10 kind of way. In fact, Hawkins lands at no.10 in my latest big board.
But the biggest overreactions are saved for the more off-the-radar prospect who suddenly blow-up in March and catch a wave of draft buzz…before reality sets back in. This year the prize goes to Marquis Nowell, the diminutive dynamo from Kansas State. Nowell has been nothing short of sensational this tournament with some internet-breaking assists and clutch scoring however not many 5-8 players get drafted and he’s a long shot to make it in the league. This great run should at least give him a chance to join a summer league team – and he’s likely to be a long-time pro, perhaps overseas.
It’s mid March and we’re all ready for the madness to begin. Every year at this time we see a few players fly up draft boards with big performances in the NCAA Tournament but for the most part the draft board has taken shape and now it’s a time of fine-tuning.
One of the more interesting developments over the past few weeks has been the emergence of Alabama wing Brandon Miller who has gone from a likely top 6 pick to a near lock for the top 3. He’s even starting to be in the discussion for the no.2 overall spot, which would have been unheard of two months ago. Miller has been absolutely sensational this past month (really all season) and looks to be a future NBA star.
Miller’s Alabama teammate freshman Noah Clowney has also been playing well and flashing good upside. He might not be an immediate impact guy in the NBA but he’s likely to be a first round pick based off his upside and great fit in today’s NBA. Although his 3pt shot is still inconsistent he looks great shooting the ball and there’s a lot of promise there as a floor spacer. He’s also a hyper-mobile athlete for his size and will only get better with his ball skills and all around game.
A few second round to undrafted prospects who are moving up the board include Penn State’s Jalen Pickett, USC’s Drew Peterson, Miami’s Jordan Miller and Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. This is a deep draft class and there will be plenty of very talented prospects that go undrafted.
Other hot names right know include Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin, Florida wing Riley Kugel and Baylor wing Jalen Bridges.
A few players who I’m moving down my board include Jett Howard and Brice Sensabaugh. I still see both as clear first rounders with top 20 upside but probably not lottery picks. Howard is a great shooter with size, which will lead to a long career, but I’m not sure if he’ll add much else at the next level. Sensabaugh is a bucket-getter but I have major concerns about his defense and I think his lack of height/length along with his slow feet will be more exposed at the next level.
One of the ongoing stories of this 2023 draft class has been the injuries and inconsistencies of some of the top recruits in the class, namely: Dariq Whitehead, Nick Smith and Derek Lively II.
Smith recently returned to action for Arkansas but is off to slow start. I’ve been holding out hope that he’ll get his legs under him and get back into top form – and so I still have him in the top 10 – but he’ll have to start producing sooner rather than later to hold onto his high ranking.
Whitehead is also back in action and is shooting lights out (on limited volume) but is still a step slow and has yet to regain his high school form. A strong close to the season could vault his draft stock back towards the lottery but for now I’ve got him a bit lower on my board.
Lively II has been nearly invisible at times this season but in recent weeks has looked stronger, more confident and is a having a major impact for Duke, especially on the defensive end. While his game is limited offensively he looks to have a clear role at the next level and should be valued as a mid to late first rounder.
A few players who are hot right now and are rising up the mock include: Jordan Hawkins of UConn, Brandin Podziemski of Santa Clara and Colby Jones of Xavier.
Meanwhile Max Lewis (Pepperdine) has hit a mid season lull and is taking a slight slide down the board – but is still in my top 20.
One of the biggest enigmas of the 2023 draft class, Gregory Jackson II, has also hit a cold spell and his draft stock is taking a hit. The youngest player in the class, Jackson is a special scoring talent with intriguing upside but has a long ways to go as a decision-maker and with rounding out his game. I’m still high on him but the flaws are real and will have to addressed before he’s ready to impact a NBA game.
There’s lots of movement in the latest mock update with upperclassmen gaining traction, a few freshmen falling – some even being projected to stay another year in school.
Players who are rising into the first round (or now solidly in the first round) are Jalen Wilson of Kansas, Colby Jones of Xavier, and Trayce Jackson–Davis of Indiana. The promise of early production and NBA readiness of these three lifts them above some of the high-upside but low floor freshmen.
Zach Edey continues to dominate the college game and is an unstoppable force at this level of play. It’s tempting to move him up the draft board but the reality is he’ll likely be a back up center in the league who is limited in the playoffs and at the end of games due to his lack of mobility. He’s probably worth a second round pick but teams will be weary of committing a a first rounder to a guy with such an old school game.
International Elevation – A few international prospects are playing well and moving up the board:
Rayan Rubert (NBL/France) has been back in action for a few weeks now and has had some nice showings. He’s firmly in the mid first round on my board. His countryman…
Bilal Coulibaly (who plays on the Mets with Wembanyama) is gaining a lot of draft traction as well and is starting to join the first round conversation. Bilal is a freaky athlete with length and has had some big scoring outbursts recently.
There are also a few college freshmen who are sliding down the draft board:
Jordan Walsh has been one of my favorite players in this draft class but he clearly has a long ways to go before being NBA ready (at least on the offensive end). I saw lottery upside with him but now he’s looking like he could slide to the second round. There’s even a chance he ends up in the 2024 draft.
Dillon Mitchell of Texas is one of the better athletes in college basketball but the game of basketball is coming slowly to him. He would be very well served to spend another year or two in school developing his game.
Another player who should be planning to come back to school is UCLA guard Amari Bailey. He’s missed some time with injury and has a somewhat limited role on a veteran UCLA team. A second season for the Bruins would do him a lot of good.
It looks like Dariq Whitehead escaped a serious injury in what initially looked like it might be a season ending misstep for him. He could be back any day now. This is great news for him and for Duke but his draft stock is still taking a hit. I’m having a hard time putting him in my first round – although his elite pedigree could win out at the end of the day.
Yesterday was Baba Miller day, the first game for the highly touted and multi-talented Florida State freshman. Miller looked rusty in his debut, especially on the offensive end. He showed some flashes on defense and a couple little glimmers of hope on offense but it looks like it’ll take at least a few games for him to find his footing. Miller finished with 4 points and 4 boards in 17 minutes.
The Duke freshmen continue to be an interesting story to follow. Kyle Filipowski has looked like the best of the bunch so far while the more highly touted Dereck Lively II and Dariq Whitehead continue to struggle. Whitehead has had some nice shooting games of late but still doesn’t have the lift or athleticism that made him such an intriguing prospect, before the foot injury. It’s too early to be out on either but there’s reason for caution. I still see Whitehead as a possible first rounder in 2023 but Lively II could be well served to stay another year in school.
The Kentucky Wildcats are anther struggling blue blood. The only bright spot has been Cason Wallace, who is clearly the best prospect on the team, but even he has struggled with consistency. The Jrue Holiday comps are real and so he’d be a solid value late lottery to mid first round. The rest of the Wildcats don’t look NBA ready.
Players rising up the draft board include Andre Jackson, Colby Jones, Tyler Burton, DaRon Holmes, Grant Nelson and Jalen Hood-Schifino. Players sliding down the board are Amari Bailey, Tyrese Proctor, Jordan Walsh and Ricky Council IV.
Every year we see prospects come from out of nowhere and rise into first round or even lottery consideration after strong starts to the season. This year there has been a handful of guys including Max Lewis, Taylor Hendricks, Ricky Council IV and Noah Clowney, who weren’t considered likely 2023 draft prospects to start the year and are now all in the first round conversation.
I currently have a late lottery grade on Lewis and Hendricks and wouldn’t be at all surprised if one or both end up being drafted in the top half of the first round.
Council IV seems like more of a boom or bust player who currently grades out for me as a late first rounder. Clowney is in that same range (although I currently have him mocked in 2024, hoping that he comes back for a second season of seasoning).
The top of the draft remains as wide open as ever after Wemby and Scoot. There are about 6 different players who could be considered the third best prospect. At this stage of the draft cycle it’s just a matter of taste. My next big board update (coming soon to Patreon) will have a few changes in that range but for me all of these top 10 prospects after the top 2 are in the same Tier.
One of the most interesting draft conversations/evaluations is Zach Edey, the dominant big man from Purdue. I’ve started to view him more as a NBA prospect (currently mocked in the top 45) and I can imagine a back-up center role for him at the next level.
Another week has gone by and still Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively are struggling. I think it’s officially time to be worried and to drop them down the board. It takes time to get back up to speed after missing time with an injury so it’s too soon to completely alter the evaluation of these two but we also need to admit what our eyes are telling us, which is that neither looks like a lottery pick at this point.
This has been a big week for NBA Draft news. A couple of the top prospects in this years draft have finally made their college basketball debuts. Arkansas is loaded with NBA talent but superstar combo guard Nick Smith has been sidelined to start the season, until now. He played just a few minutes in his first game but in his first full action he looked every bit of the elite level prospect that he was billed to be, scoring 16 points and dishing out 5 assists in 24 minutes in an easy win over San Jose State. His shooting ability was on full display in this game, hitting 3 of 5 3pters.
Smith’s Arkansas teammate Ricky Council IV has been one of the biggest risers on draft boards over the past few weeks. The bouncy 6-6 junior has been scoring in bunches and showing off his high level athleticism. Add in potential lottery pick Anthony Black and intriguing forward Trevon Brazile and this Arkansas team is super stacked and really fun to watch.
Villanova’s star freshman Cam Whitmore also made his college debut this week and made an immediate impact for the Wildcats. He scored only 7 points in 20 minutes but played well on both ends and we can expect some big stat lines to go along with his high level athleticism, strength and intense effort.
Duke has been a fascinating team so far this season. We’re still waiting for start freshman Dariq Whitehead to find his footing. He’s seeing limited minutes and it looks like he’s still figuring getting back into form after missing a few months with a foot injury.
Meanwhile fellow freshman Kyle Filipowski has looked like a stud. The mobile 7-footer plays inside and out, handles the ball well and plays with a high level of confidence. He’s been rising up draft boards, cracking the top 20 in my latest mock.
Derek Lively has also had a slow start for the Blue Devils but it looks like he could be starting to get into rhythm and has been contributing on both ends. He’s not much of an offensive option and so his NBA value will be somewhat limited but he could still land in the first round based off of his defensive talents and unique athleticism for a 7-1 player.
Ohio State freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh is off to a terrific start for the Buckeyes hitting absurd shooting splits of 49/47/83. At 6-6 and 235lbs he’s a uniquely powerful player who is a big time shot-maker with great touch from inside and from beyond the arc.
G League Ignite wing Leonard Miller has been finding his rhythm as well. With Scoot Henderson missing some time Miller has been seeing more primary ball handling duties and looks really comfortable with the ball in his hands in the open court, which is impressive for a 6-10 player. Miller has top 20 potential in this draft.
Happy Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Day (tomorrow) to everyone in the States.
This year NBA Draft fans have a lot to be thankful for. The upcoming 2023 NBA Draft is one of the most fascinating, interesting and talented classes I’ve ever covered.
We’ve got Wemby and Scoot, the Thompson twins, a few elite talents in college basketball and an overall deep class with many good story-lines. This is the type of year we wait for as draft fans.
Some early season developments are already shifting draft boards. Last week I wrote about some freshmen who are off to a fast start but there are also a few upperclassmen who are balling out and moving up the board.
Kris Murray of Iowa is off to a sensational start to the season and seems to be following in his brother’s footsteps as a dominant force in college basketball and as a potential lottery pick. He probably won’t rise all the way to no.4 overall like Keegan but he’s looking like a potential lottery talent.
Later this week I’ll publish a blog post covering a bunch of upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) who are rising up my draft board and other boards across the interwebs. Stay tuned for that.
Finally I want to say how thankful and grateful I am to YOU for reading this post and for coming to NBA Draft Room as part of your draft coverage.
And a special thanks to those who are supporting my work on Patreon. I’ve been putting out one or two posts a month on Patreon and the support I get there really helps me keep this site running. So thank you Patrons!
Florida State star freshman Baba Miller has been sidelined by the NCAA for the first half of the season for receiving a travel benefit (which his family has since paid back). The 6-11 guard/forward from Spain is a projected first round pick and a key part of the Seminole roster. This suspension is yet another example of the NCAA coming down heavily on a minor infraction and having a major impact on a young man’s life. Miller’s first game of the season will be January 11, 2023.
Emoni Bates has been reinstated at Eastern Michigan. He had been facing charges related to a traffic stop but those charges were dropped and Bates will be in uniform for the Eagles this season. Great news for him, for his team and for draft fans.
The NCAA season is just around the corner so look for lots of mock draft updates and player news starting next week. This promises to be a great college basketball season with lots of loaded rosters and big time individual talents on display.
Basketball season is just around the corner and the loaded 2023 draft class is ready to put their talents on display. Two weeks from now we’ll see the first of two matchups between Victor Wembanyama’s Metropolitans 92 and Scoot Henderson’s G League Ignite team. Those games are set for October 4th and 6th.
College basketball begins in mid November while the G League Ignite regular season opener is November 4th.
Duke plays it’s first game on November 7th but will be without star freshman Dariq Whitehead who is recovering from a right foot fracture, which he sustained on August 29th. Whitehead will likely be back at some point this season. Duke’s first big game of the season is November 15th against Kansas.
The 2022 Maui Invitational tournament is set for November 21-23.
Sophomore wing Emoni Bates (Eastern Michigan) is in the news this week after being arrested and facing 2 felony gun charges after a gun was found in his car during a traffic stop. It’s been a tough two years for Bates, who struggled last year at Memphis and has fallen from a projected high lottery pick to a likely second rounder. This latest set back could knock down his draft stock even farther. Hopefully this gets cleared up soon and we get to see him play a full season at Eastern Michigan. His next court hearing will be on October 6th.
The big news in the draft world is that projected top-2 picks Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson will be matching up against each other twice on October 4th and October 6th as Victor’s team Metropolitans 92 from Paris will travel to Henderson, Nevada to take on the G League Ignite.
Both games will be aired on ESPN (or one of the ESPN channels). Christmas is coming early for draft fans!
Recent measurements list Wembanyama at 7-4 with a 8-foot wingspan. Now excuse me while I try to reassemble the shattered parts of my brain.
Both Scoot and Victor are major talents but it’s hard to imagine anyone but Victor going no.1 overall next June. Scoot would have to absolutely dominate this (indirect) matchup and dominate all throughout the season to knock Victor from the no.1 spot.
With the unfortunate news that Chet Holmgren will miss the upcoming season due to a foot injury the OKC Thunder are now even more likely to be in the running for the no.1 overall pick in the 2023 draft. The Thunder were set to be one of the most exciting young teams in the NBA this season – and they’ll still be a fun team to watch, even without Chet, but some of that excitement has now shifted to a focus on tanking for Wemby/Scoot.
As we move closer to the start of the NBA and college basketball seasons draft news is scarce. At this point it’s all about watching film from last year and from earlier in the summer and projecting the progress and improvements these prospects will make.
A lot of those improvement projections have to do with shooting the ball; starting near the top of the draft, will Scoot Henderson show advancement as a 3pt shooter in his second G League season? Will high-upside guards Amen and Ausar Thompson develop into threats from downtown? Will ultra athletic wing Dillon Mitchell gain a consistent outside shot?
This swing skill has a chance to elevate the draft grade of these 4 prospects significantly. Scoot is going top 3 regardless but the other 3 prospects could rise into the top half of the lottery with enough improvement in this area.
Mid July usually isn’t a time for big news to come out related to the draft but we got some big news recently with 5-star power forward G.G. Jackson de-committing from North Carolina and all signs pointing to him reclassifying to join the 2022 recruiting class. If he does follow through with this plan he would instantly improve the 2023 draft and could even challenge to be a top 5 pick. Jackson is a powerful and explosive forward with a complete offensive game. He’s exceptionally quick off the bounce for a player his size, can score with either hand and is lethal from mid range. Rumors are pointing to Jackson choosing to play at South Carolina next season. Stay tuned for that.
One big riser this summer is Creighton big wing Arthur Kaluma who just continues to improve at an exceptional level. Kaluma played for Uganda in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this summer and put on some dominant performances. He’s got a great ability to create his own offense and has an imposing NBA-ready frame. Look for him to have a monster season for a loaded Creighton team. Kaluma has now cracked the top 10 of the most recent mock draft, coming in at no.8 overall.
With the 2022 draft in the books lots of attention now turns to the loaded 2023 draft class. Looking at next year’s draft from 12 months out there’s a lot to get excited about. Enough as been written and said about Victor and Scoot but the college freshmen class is absolutely stacked and will make the lottery and mid first round really strong. Arkansas loaded up, as did Texas and of course Duke and Kentucky.
There are a ton of loaded college teams next season, which should make for a great season and an awesome 2023 NCAA Tournament. I’m already excited!
Stay tuned for a new blog post coming soon looking at the college teams I’m most excited to watch in 2022/23.
On another note, after striking out with draft picks in 2022 the Overtime Elite league is set to have two high draft picks in 2023 in Ausar and Amen Thompson. The bouncy 6-7 twins both project as possible lottery picks with some even projecting them in the top 5.
The draft cycle never sleeps 🙂
The 2023 draft is strong and getting stronger with some recent announcements of players withdrawing from the draft and returning to school. These guys don’t alter the landscape of next year’s draft but add more depth through the second round.
The list of recent return-ers includes Trayce Jackson-Davis, Keon Brooks, Baylor Scheierman, Adam Flagler and more.
The return of TJD is especially notable as it gives Indiana it’s best team in many years. The Hoosiers will be a fun team to watch next season.
There’s still no news from Emoni Bates who has left the Memphis program and could be headed to another school or a professional route. Reports indicate he’ll make his decision sometime in mid June.
In the latest 2023 draft news some big names have decided to forgo the 2022 draft and return to school, giving a nice boost of talent to the 2023 class. We’ve also just witnessed the post high school season all star games in which a few top recruits have burst into the national spotlight and now find themselves rising up the 2023 draft rankings.
One of the biggest stories of the past few months (and culminating at the Nike Hoops Summit last week) has been the meteoric rise of Leonard Miller, the 6-10 Canadian wing. Miller was little known at the beginning of the season but has risen to become one of the top prospects in the class, with all the makings of a future first round pick. Miller looks like he could be headed to the G League but a few schools, including Kentucky, are still in the mix. There are also some indications that he’ll be eligible for the 2022 draft, so we’ll keep an eye on that as well.
Other notable risers from the post season all star games include Anthony Black, Cam Whitmore and Kel’el Ware, all of whom are now projected as 2023 first rounders with lottery potential.
While there are many college players testing the draft waters we’ve also seen a few big names announce their intentions to return to school:
UNC gets a huge boost for next season with the return of Armando Bacot. After a strong run in March many expected Bacot to bounce to the NBA. Instead he returns to Hubert Davis and the Heels, who are poised to make another big run in 2023.
UCLA junior wing Jamie Jaquez Jr. has made a somewhat surprising decision to return to school for his senior season. He was projected as a late first to mid second rounder this year and will now have a chance to solidify his first round grade and should be one of the stars of college basketball next season. After loosing Payton Watson to the draft the Bruins get a big win with the return of JJJ.
I’ve been beating the drum in the Matthew Cleveland marching band all season and thought he graded out as a first rounder this year. But he’s returning to Tallahassee for year two and is primed to be a breakout star next year. While he might not be a primary scorer type of player he’s a smooth athlete, a great defender, excels in transition and can shoot the rock. He’s just scratching the surface of his potential. Buy stock now!
The Seminoles could be loaded next year if John Butler joins Cleveland in returning to school. So far there’s been no announcement from Butler.
Many of the prospects who are testing the water will ultimately return to school after going through the evaluation process. They have until June 1 (the NCAA deadline) to decide.
The biggest name to enter the transfer portal is Memphis wing Emoni Bates who had a challenging freshman season at Memphis, failing to live up to the unreasonably high expectations. Bates is still a big-time talent but looks more like a late first to early second round guy, not a high lottery pick. He’ll bring a lot of talent and also a lot of national attention to whichever team he joins next.
In other transfer news, one of the most talented players in the transfer portal is burly 6-7 forward Kenneth Loften Jr. who starred at Louisiana Tech this year and for the U.S. U19 team last summer. He’s hard to project to the NBA level because of his lack of height and his post-centric game but he’s a great college player who will help win a lot of games next season for some high major team.
Stay tuned over the next week, as the April 24 deadline approaches.
In the McDonald’s All American Game last night we saw many future first round picks in action, including about 5 or 6 players who will likely be in the 2023 lottery. Here’s a closer look at who stood out and thoughts on the prospects.
It’s McDonald’s All American Game day and a chance for the nation to get a look at the top prospects in the 2022 recruiting class. Most of these guys are household names for draft fans but it’s always fun to see all the top guys on the same court under the bright lights.
There are a number of college teams that have multiple players in this game including one of the hottest recruiting schools our there in Arkansas – which now has 3 McDonald’s All Americans after Anthony Black committed yesterday. He joins Jordan Walsh and Nick Smith. Other schools with multiple players in the game include the regular blue bloods: Duke (3), Kansas (3), Kentucky (2), UCLA (2) and Texas (2).
Texas recruiting is back in a big way with the addition of high scoring guard Arterio Morris and sky-walking forward Dillon Mitchell, who put on a show in the dunk contest and who will hopefully get a chance to show off his athleticism in the game.
One player I’m excited for, who doesn’t have a national name yet, is Cam Whitmore who is signed with Villanova. He’s a powerful and explosive 6-7 forward who should benefit greatly from developing his skills under Jay Wright. He could be the next Nova player to make it in the league.
In other 2023 draft news it’s all about watching for which college players declare for the 2022 draft and which ones choose to stay in school. The next 2-3 weeks will give us a much clearer picture of how the 2023 draft might look.
A new addition to the 2023 mock is fast-rising Canadian forward Leonard Miller who has yet to sign with a team and could be G-League bound. Miller is a fascinating player who grew 6 inches before his senior year to become a 6-10 point-forward with excellent ball skills. He’s not the most refined player right now but the upside is easy to see. Miller lands in the early second round of the mock but his upside is a lot higher than that.
The Kentucky Wildcats will be a loaded squad next season but the team won’t include 5-star point guard Skyy Clark who recently de-committed and opened up his recruitment. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given the depth of talent that will be on next year’s Kentucky team. Clark has stated that he will be playing college ball next year, as opposed to going a professional route.
One prospect who has been soaring up my 2023 mock is Gonzaga forward Julian Strawther. The 6-7 sophomore has been playing at a high level and is becoming lethal from 3pt range. He’s playing so well that he could end up in the 2022 class. We’ll have to wait and see if he declares this year.
One of my favorite under the radar prospects for 2023 is Florida State guard Jalen Warley. The 6-6 freshmen has great size for the point guard position, plays with poise and composure and is a gifted passer. He’s not the most twitchy athlete but uses his frame well and has plenty of upside to develop. Look for his name to start appearing on more 2023 mocks.
Another jumbo point guard moving up the mock is 6-7 Dalen Terry from Arizona. Terry has a great physical profile, is a really heady player and makes a ton of winning plays, even if he doesn’t always fill up the scoring column. He has clear NBA tools and is developing at a nice rate.
With Shaedon Sharpe now mocked in the 2022 draft Duke commit Dariq Whitehead moves into the no.3 spot in the 2023 mock behind Wemby and Scoot.
Even without Sharpe 2023 is looking like a strong class at this stage with a couple franchise changers at the top and potentially solid depth. Kentucky still has a loaded group of prospects coming in with Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston leading the way. And there seems to be a real chance that freshman Daimion Collins returns for second season… at least it seems like that would be the wise decision. The playing time has not been there this year for Collins and when he has been on the floor he’s looked a bit lost. A second season could do him wonders, letting the game slow down for him and of course giving him more time to add weight to his rail-thin frame. Skyy Clark could be in the mix for 2023 as well.
Along with Dariq Whitehead, Duke has the highly skilled 6-10 forward Kyle Filipowski coming in next season and possibly being a one and done. He’s got a modern skill-set, shoots the ball at a high level, sees the floor well and is an overall force on the offensive end. Filipowski has moved up to the mid first round in the latest mock.
One of the more fascinating stories continues to be the decline of Emoni Bates as a prospect. He’s looked over-matched so far this year at Memphis and his lack of burst and blow-by speed has been evident. There are some rumblings that he’ll not be back at Memphis next year with the G League and Overtime Elite as possibilities. It’s not uncommon for highly ranked recruits to stumble at the college level and see their draft stock fall but Emoni was widely considered an elite prospect and his fall from grace has been particularly abrupt. There’s even a chance he falls to the second round and struggles to make an impact in the NBA.
With the high school and college basketball seasons underway we’ve gotten a closer look at some of the top prospects who are projected to be in the 2023 draft. The top names have gotten some mixed reviews but overall this is looking like a strong group of prospects.
Emoni Bates is off to an up and down start at Memphis. The 17 year old freshman has shown flashes of the advanced scoring game that we all expected, demonstrating his big time shot making ability but also showing an inconsistent touch. Through 8 games, mostly against lesser competition, Bates is shooting just 39/32/69 for 12 points per game. He’s been asked to handle more play-making duties than in the past and has demonstrated some nice court vision and ability to get his team into sets but has a negative assist to turnover ratio and is very much a work in progress as a lead ball handler. He doesn’t seem like a natural point guard and his NBA projection is as a scoring/shot-making wing. This experience with the ball in his hands, however, is valuable for his development. Bates still looks the part of a lottery pick but might not be the elite prospect many of us thought a few years ago.
Kentucky signee Shaedon Sharpe is planning to join the Kentucky program in January but will only practice with the team this year and will wait until next season to play for the Cats. The 6-5 Canadian is a power guard with elite explosiveness, body control and finishing ability. He’s part of an absolutely loaded recruiting class for the Wildcats and is projected as a one and done lottery pick, who could go in the top 3. Sharpe is old enough to enter the 2022 draft however he didn’t graduate high school before the start of the current NBA season, making him in eligible in 2022. In other words, he’ll definitely be playing at Kentucky next season.
Scoot Henderson is having a breakout couple of weeks for the G League Ignite. The 17 year old is proving that not only does he belong at the G League level but that he can have a huge impact. He is right up there with Jaden Hardy as the best prospect on the Ignite team. Henderson has awesome scoring ability, both shooting the ball and getting his own shot in the mid range and taking it all the way to the cup where his size/strength/athleticism are put on display. The top pick in the 2023 draft is likely going to be Victor Wembanyama but Scoot Henderson is right there in the discussion and is currently looking like the second best prospect in 2023. He projects as a possibly elite level NBA point guard.
Keyonte George (Baylor), Dereck Lively (Duke), Amari Bailey (UCLA) and Dariq Whitehead (Duke) all look like one and done lottery picks in 2023. One of the most interesting things for me is to see if these guys (or other prospects) end up overtaking Emoni Bates on the mock drafts and projections. It’s highly possible that a few players will rise into the top 3 conversation and pass some of the more heralded prospects like Emoni.
The 2023 draft will be the first chance to see how the new Overtime Elite League players are evaluated and drafted. Twins Amen and Ausur Thompson are projected as first rounders, potentially lottery picks, while Jazian Gortman and Matt Bewley seem to have first round potential as well. Pre-draft workouts will be especially important for this group of prospects.
Less than two years out from the 2023 NBA draft we’re starting to get a feel for some of the projected lottery picks. The most interesting developments are Emoni Bates and Scoot Henderson leaving high school, with Emoni going to college at Memphis and Scoot joining the G League Ignite. Neither player will be eligible for the 2022 draft but both are likely lottery picks in 2023.
The clear cut no.1 prospect at this point is 7-2 French center Victor Wembanyama who is arguably the best prospect in the world, for any future draft. It would take a major set-back of some sort for Victor to fall from the no.1 spot. He’s like a very rich man’s Kristaps Porzingis; bigger, taller, faster and more talented.
One of the other top 2023 draft prospects is recent Kentucky commit Shaedon Sharpe, who is currently mocked no.3 behind Vic and Emoni. Sharpe is the no.1 ranked player in the new Elite 25 Rankings and has the look of a franchise altering talent. The 6-5 Canadian has a mix of power, explosiveness, body control and shot making that should make him a very high level NBA 2-gaurd. He’ll have to share the rock with a lot of other talented prospects next year at Kentucky but will have every opportunity to showcase his talent.
Another interesting thing about the 2023 draft is that there are a number of high level prospects from the new Overtime Elite pro league (OTE) who project as first rounders. It will be fascinating to watch the development of that league, along with the development of the prospects who have signed there. The Bewley twins (Matt and Ryan) and the Thompson twins (Amen and Ausar) could all be drafted in the 2023 draft, along with a number of other top OTE talents. Amen and Ausur are especially intriguing – wiry, fast and bouncy 6-6 guards with great scoring and play making ability.
It’s too early to say if the 2023 draft will be a strong draft class but there’s certainly some elite talent at the top and a lot of intriguing prospects who currently project as first rounders.