2023 NBA Rookie Rankings, Top 20 – April 2024

With the 2023/24 NBA regular season in the books it’s time for a final 2023 draft class rookie ranking. These rankings are not a re-draft but rather a ranking of how well these players played in year-1 of their careers – how much they contributed to their teams and overall how well they performed.

A re-draft would have to wait another year or two and would take into account upside potential, not just performance.

This 2023 rookie class has been everything we thought it would be and has more than lived up to the hype. For instance Victor Wembanyama came into the league with as much hype as any prospect since LeBron and he actually exceeded that hype. He was truly sensational in his rookie season. Words can’t do him justice.

There were a few highly touted rookies who had some struggles but just about all of them turned things around over the course of the season and showed why they were so highly thought of coming in. And a few of the top rookies never got substantial playing time at the NBA level, and so don’t show up on this list, but still have the upside and are likely to do just fine in their careers (looking at you Taylor Hendricks and Jarace Walker).

2023 NBA Rookie Rankings

  1. Victor Wembanyama – C – Spurs – Victor stays at no.1 and it’s not even close. What more can be said about him that hasn’t already been said. He came in with the highest expectations since LeBron and he surpassed those expectations. He’s ridiculously good. He has a chance to be the greatest basketball player in the history of the sport.
  2. Brandon Miller – SF – Hornets – We knew his shot-making would translate and it certainly has. Miller is a walking bucket, a threat to put in 20+ points every time he steps on the court. I’d bet a bunch that he’ll score 50 in a game at some point in his career, probably multiple times. I had Miller at no.3 on my board but the Hornets taking him at no.2 overall was a wise choice. He’s a special talent.
  3. Amen Thompson – PG/SF – Rockets – Amen makes a huge leap up the rankings from earlier in the year, with a great stretch of play in February, March and April. He really showed off his otherworldly athleticism and his ability to impact both ends of the floor. He’s an awesome rebounder for a guard/wing and has a big impact on the game, even when he’s not scoring. The 3pt shot isn’t there (less than 14% on the season) but he does everything else well.
  4. Scoot Henderson – PG – Trail Blazers – While Scoot didn’t fully live up to the hype he did have a stronger second half of the season and is looking like he’s on his way to being a high level starter and probably an All Star in time. His athleticism didn’t pop as much as I thought it would but his skill level, ability to control the game (still developing, but already strong) and his upside as both a scorer and a set-up man are about as good as advertised. The naysayers have been loud but I think Scoot will shut them all up.
  5. Jaime Jaquez Jr. – SF – Heat – Jaime has had an awesome rookie season, fitting right into Heat culture and impacting the game from day 1. He cooled off a little bit over the past month or two but still easily lands in the top 10 of this rookie ranking.
  6. Bilal Coulibaly – SF – Wizards – After flying up draft boards last May and June Bilal justified his top 10 selection with a terrific rookie season, showing off his incredible movement skills and natural talent. His season ended in mid March with a wrist injury but he looks to be well poised to continue his upward trajectory next season.
  7. Brandin Podziemski – SG – Warriors – Podz was a steady contributor all season long for the Warriors, playing like a vet and vastly outplaying his draft position. He’s a great decision maker on the court, shoot with efficiency (although only hit 63% from the line his rookie season) and he rebounds the heck out of the ball (5.8 per game!). After some missed drafts in the past the Warriors nailed this one with Podz and TJD.
  8. GG Jackson – SF/PF – Grizzlies – After falling to the second round Jackson was a bit of an afterthought early in the season. But with the Grizzlies tanking hard over the second half the young forward has gotten plenty of run and has shown off his scoring prowess – and his propensity to get up shots in a hurry. He’s really advanced for a player his age and the sky is the limit for him, on the offensive end. If he’d stayed another year in school he might have been top 5 pick in this draft, so the Grizzlies got a steal.
  9. Dereck Lively II – C – Mavericks – Lively has been a steady contributor throughout his rookie season, playing an average of 23 minutes per game for the playoff-bound Mavericks and shooting a whopping 74% from the floor. He’s exactly what the team needed, and has been an ideal fit alongside Luka and Kyrie.
  10. Cam Whitmore – SF – Rockets – After falling to no.20 on draft night it was easy to predict that Whitmore would outplay his draft position. And he has definitely done that. He shot the ball well from 3 this year and has a knack for scoring in the lane over length. He looks like a key piece of the Rockets roster going forward.
  11. Gradey Dick – SG – Raptors – Dick came on strong over the second half of the season, showing why he was a lottery pick last June. The shooting is absolutely special and he also showed off good decision making and a bit of dribble drive and cutting game. He’s got quick hands on defense and gives good effort – and at the very least isn’t a major negative on that side of the ball. He’s got a bright future.
  12. Trayce Jackson-Davis – PF/C – Warriors – Even though he was a late second rounder there was not doubt that TJD would be a productive player for the Warriors; the fit is just so perfect and he came in very NBA-ready. He does all the dirty work, rebounds, defends, moves the ball and finishes plays in the paint. He was an absolute steal on draft night.
  13. Cason Wallace – PG/SG – Thunder – Wallace has been awesome for the Thunder this year and been a contributor on both ends. His shooting has surprised to the upside (nearly 42% from 3) and his defense has been spectacular, as expected. He knows how to play his role and is a good rotation player for one of the best teams in the NBA.
  14. Keyonte George – SG – Jazz – Keyonte is a bucket and just knows how to score the ball. He got a lot of playing time for the tanking Jazz putting in 13ppg on decent percentages while also dropping an impressive 4.4 dimes per game. He looks like a long term starter and a solid value after being picked at no.16 in the draft.
  15. Jordan Hawkins – SG – Pelicans – After a very good start to the season Hawkins saw his minutes decline, as some Pelican regulars came back from injury. Still he put together an overall solid rookie campaign, showing off his elite shooting stroke and range. He’s a guy who can be hot or cold, but when he’s on he can fill it up from anywhere on the court. It will be very interesting to see what he adds to his game over the coming seasons.
  16. Anthony Black – PG – Magic – The minutes have been inconsistent for Black but overall he’s had a fantastic rookie season and been a meaningful contributor to the resurgent Magic (5th in the Eastern Conference). He impacts both ends, moves the ball well and has hit a surprising 39% from 3 this year. His shooting still isn’t a major strength and he hit only 61% from the FT line but he’s making good progress. I’m still super high on Black and look forward to watching his development.
  17. Ausar Thompson – SF – Pistons – Ausar was having an up and down season before a blood clot ended his season in early March. While he was on the court he showed a lot of what we expected, with his elite athleticism, rebounding and defense, while struggling to shoot the ball. Hopefully he gets back to full health.
  18. Toumani Camara – SF – Trail Blazers – Camara was drafted at no.52 but lands in the top 20 after a stellar rookie campaign. He’s a really good athlete, impacts both ends of the court and looks to be a long term rotation player for the Blazers. He missed the last few weeks of the season with a rib injury but will be back to full strength soon enough.
  19. Marcus Sasser – PG – Pistons – The late first round pick has been a solid addition to the lowly Pistons, providing good minutes off the bench and a spark to the offense. If the draft were held over again today he’d probably go in about the same range, or a few spots higher.
  20. Craig Porter Jr. – PG/SG – Cavs – Porter Jr. has been a valuable contributor this season for the Cavs, after going undrafted last June. He’s a connector on the offensive end who can play on or off the ball and is a standout defender and transition player. He’s probably not a starter-level player but to get a rotation player as an undrafted free agent is a major win for C-Town.

2023 NBA Draft Results

2024 NBA Mock Draft