2023 NBA Rookie Rankings – Top 20

It’s only about two months into their young careers, so too soon to do a re-draft but not too soon to start to rank the 2023 rookie class. So far it looks like there were some major steals in the mid to late first round and a few disappointments in the lottery. Many of the younger, high-upside type prospects will take a few years to develop (or even to get consistent playing time) so it’s definitely too early to sell stock in these guys. But it’s fair to point out some weaknesses that are apparent in their games.

Even though he’s technically a rookie, I’m leaving Chet Holmgren off this list, since he was part of the 2022 draft class (he would land at no.2 if he was on this list).

Of course a lot will change between now and the end of the season (let alone the end of these player’s careers) but I think we have a pretty good feel so far for how some of these players will do in the NBA.

  1. Victor Wembanyama – C – Spurs – Although the Spurs have been loosing most of their games the young phenom from France is living up to all the hype. He’s well on his way to being a top 5 player in the NBA.
  2. Brandon Miller – SF – Hornets – Miller is doing exactly what we expected him to do: score the ball from 3 levels while showing off his tough shot-making ability. He’s also shown flashes of defense and projects to be a really good defender once he gets stronger and learns the nuances of the game. The Hornets got themselves a star on the wing (although he’s out for a bit with an ankle injury).
  3. Jaime Jaquez Jr. – SF – Heat – Jaime has been sensational so far for the Heat. He’s as NBA ready as they come and plays a great all around game but it looks like he has more star potential than most of us gave him credit for. He’s a perfect fit on this Heat team with his high IQ play, great effort and efficient scoring. I think he can be All Star some day. 
  4. Bilal Coulibaly – SF – Wizards – It looks like the Wizards finally got one right! Coulibaly not only has massive upside but is putting it all together faster than anyone could have anticipated. He’s a steals and blocks machine, has next-level athleticism and is started to show flashes of offensive creation. The sky is the limit for this kid!
  5. Brandin Podziemski – SG – Warriors – Podz has been a revelation for the Warriors providing a ton of value and big contributions early in his career. His shooting, play-making, awesome rebounding and feisty defense have all translated well and he’s an ideal fit on this Warriors team. The 19th overall pick would go a lot higher in a re-draft.
  6. Scoot Henderson – PG – Trail Blazers – After a start slowed by injury the no.3 overall pick is coming on strong and showing why he was considered an elite prospect coming in to the draft. He excels at running the offense (although is still adjusting to the NBA game) and impacts both ends of the floor. The Blazers are in good hands going forward with Scoot. If he can shoot the 3-ball better the sky is the limit.
  7. Dereck Lively II – C – Mavericks – While his ultimate upside might be limited (due to not being a complete offensive player) Lively II looks like a high level starting center who thrives being on the court with ball dominant players like Luka and Kyrie. He’ll be a part of winning NBA teams for a long time thanks to his versatile defense, rebounding, floor running and ability to space the floor vertically. This is a prime example of a player being drafted into the right situation.
  8. Jordan Hawkins – SG – Pelicans – With injuries to some of the starters Hawkins got a good deal of run to start the season and showed off his elite 3pt shooting ability. He’s also been rebounding the ball well and holding his own on defense. He looks like he’ll become one of the elite outside shooters in the league.
  9. Ausar Thompson – SF – Pistons – Ausar has been what we thought he’d be: a standout defender, rebounder, open court athlete and slasher who struggles to shoot the ball. He’s shown some really nice flashes and will provide a lot of value over the course of his career but will have to hit outside shots to become a star.
  10. Keyonte George – SG – Jazz – While the efficiency hasn’t been there yet George is doing exactly what we saw from him in high school and his one season at Baylor: scoring the ball in bunches. He’s also continued to prove himself as a passer and play-maker who is capable of running the offense.
  11. Cason Wallace – PG/SG – Thunder – When you combine elite defense with efficient offense you get a big time NBA player, and that is exactly what Wallace brings to the court for this young and talented Thunder team. The minutes won’t always be there during his rookie season but we’ve already seen flashes of what he can do on both ends of the court.
  12. Anthony Black – PG – Magic – Black didn’t get off to a fast start but is gaining minutes and momentum and showing why he was a worthy lottery pick. He’s a guy who impacts the game in a big way, even if it doesn’t always show up in the stat sheet. He’s been efficient from the field and is shooting the 3-ball at a respectable clip. Don’t sleep on him; he’s going to be a really good NBA player.
  13. Toumani Camara – SF – Trail Blazers – Camara was one of the darlings of the pre-draft process and so far has proven that he belongs in the NBA. He looks like a solid rotation piece for the young Blazers.
  14. Craig Porter Jr. – PG/SG – Cavs – The undrafted rookie has been a hugely valuable contributor early on for the Cavs, playing a heady team-first game. He competes on both ends, keeps the ball moving, hits open shots and is an overall plus player when he’s on the court (which is a lot to be said for any rookie, let alone an undrafted guy).
  15. Trayce Jackson-Davis – PF/C – Warriors – TJD is exactly the type of high energy and high IQ big that the Warriors needed and he’s providing great value early on. The late second round pick would be a first rounder in a re-draft.
  16. Marcus Sasser – PG – Pistons – When given the minutes Sasser has been a dynamic scorer and play-maker and a disruptive defender. He’s looking like a great value pick near the end of the first round.
  17. Nick Smith Jr. – PG/SG – Hornets – NSJ is a shot-maker, pure and simple. It remains to be seen if he can be a high-level starter but at the very least he’s a dynamic microwave scorer off the bench.
  18. Amen Thompson – PG/SF – Rockets – The no.4 overall pick has massive upside but it looks like it’ll take some time. He’s an incredible athlete with elite passing vision but can’t shoot the ball and is still adjusting to the NBA game. It’s going to be very interesting to see where he goes in re-drafts a year or two from now.
  19. Jarace Walker – PF – Pacers – Walker hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time yet but I still think he’ll be a big time NBA player and I’m not selling any of my stock. He’s had some really solid performances in the G League and it’s just a matter of time before he gets his shot for the Pacers.
  20. Cam Whitmore – SF – Rockets – Whitmore has mostly been relegated to the G League where he has shown off his all-around scoring prowess. NBA minutes might be hard to come by right now but I expect he’ll get more run later in the year, especially if the Rockets fall out of playoff contention.

2023 NBA Draft Results

2024 NBA Mock Draft