The Highest Upside Prospects on the NBA Horizon

Xavier Booker – credit: 247

The 2022 NBA Draft is almost here and everyone’s focus is on the current crop of prospects but as we like to do here at NBA Draft Room, we always have one eye on the future. With that in mind here are 15 of the highest upside prospects on the NBA horizon (over the next 4 drafts).

  1. Victor Wembanyama – Center – France – Much has already been written about big Vic. He is potentially a generational prospect who is as unique as he is tall. The 7-2 sensation is incomparable to any past prospects with his coordination, offensive skill-set and game changing defensive potential. The top of the 2023 will be loaded and Victor is right up there at the top.
  2. Scoot Henderson – PG – G League Ignite – Going into his second season with the Ignite Scoot is an elite prospect who would be no.1 on the board in most drafts but could fall to no.2 in 2023. He’s a bull of an athlete, has elite size/length/explosion and can get his own whenever he wants.
  3. Xavier Booker – C – Indianapolis, IN – Booker is the fastest rising prospect in his class, catapulting all the way to no.1 in some rankings. At 6-11 with springs in his legs and awesome agility Booker has all the physical traits to be an elite player in the league. He flashes skills on the offensive end and has upside as a rim protector – and is drawing some Anthony Davis comparisons.
  4. Nick Smith – SG – Arkansas – The incoming freshman is a scoring fiend who promises to be an elite scorer in the league for a long time. He’s decent size, good length and is insanely crafty with the ball. Arkansas has a loaded incoming freshmen class with Smith leading the way.
  5. Cam Whitmore – SF – Villanova – It’s not every year that Villanova lands a potential one and done lottery pick but Whitmore has been sky-rocketing up 2023 draft boards and is very likely to hear his name called early in the next year’s draft. He’s a powerhouse of an athlete who plays above the rim with ease and is near impossible to keep out of the lane. His improved perimeter game takes his value as a prospect to a whole new level.
  6. Anthony Black – PG/SF – Arkansas – This might be too low for Black who is a sensational big guard with high level feel for the game and who does all the subtle things to help the team win. He’s a pass-first player who orchestrates the offense, can see over the defense and can also get his own buckets seemingly at will. Arkansas has a must-watch team for draft fans with two likely lottery picks and a lot of other talented players.
  7. Gregory Jackson – SF/PF – North Carolina – The North Carolina signee projects as one of the top prospects for the 2024 draft. At 6-8 he’s a combo forward with an advanced frame and an advanced skill-set. He’s quick and powerful, can score inside and out and is quickly expanding his game to the perimeter.
  8. Kwame Evans Jr. – SF – Montverde, FL – A tall, lanky and skilled forward who is primed for a big senior season at Montverde, after playing a supporting role last season. Just one look at Evans Jr. and it’s clear he’s a big time talent; not many 6-10 players move the way he does (he’s built kind of like Ousmane Dieng). Coming from basketball bloodlines KJ knows what it takes to get to the highest level and maximize his skills and abilities.
  9. Nassir Cunningham – SF – Overtime Elite – Nassir is set to enter his first season with OTE but is maintaining his college eligibility and keeping his recruitment open. The 6-8 pogo-stick of a wing is one of the best athletes in his class and a special all around talent.
  10. Dajuan Wagner Jr. – PG/SG – Camden, NJ – D.J. has been near the top of his class for a few years and is an elite recruit. He lacks ideal size for the SG position at about 6-2 and will have to continue to develop his point guard play. I see him as a Tyrese Maxey type of talent – a potential high end starter but not a generational player.
  11. Dariq Whitehead – SG/SF – Duke – This feels too low for Whitehead who has a rock-solid game that doesn’t always flash but is incredibly effective. He’s improved his outside shooting to the point of being a lethal threat on the perimeter – also demonstrating his work ethic and commitment to working on his game in the process. Whitehead will be the latest in a long line of Duke one and done lottery picks.
  12. Koa Peat – SF/PF – Gilbert, AZ – heading into his sophomore season of high school, Peat already looks the part of a NBA player and could probably hold his own for some minutes in the league at this early stage. He’s big and powerful but silky smooth and highly skilled. Peat ranked no.1 overall on last year’s list of 10 Elite Freshmen in HS Ball.
  13. Cameron Boozer – PF – Miami, FL – Son of Carlos, Cameron is an elite talent who still has a few years of high school ball but is clearly on the fast track to the NBA. AT 6-9 he’s built in the same mold as his dad with arguably better athleticism and a more advanced skill-set at this point in his young career.
  14. Keyonte George – SG – Baylor – The Baylor Bears have been on fire on the recruiting trail in recent years and George projects to be the best of the bunch. The powerful 6-5 shooting guard is primed for a monster season as a freshman and is a likely one and done lottery pick in 2023.
  15. Justin Edwards – SF – Philadelphia, PA – Edwards is a bouncy wing with an emerging skill-set and the type of athletic upside that makes NBA scouts drool. Kentucky is making a big push for the Philadelphia area talent.

There are so many more names that deserve to be on this list. It’s painful to leave the Thompson twins off – and Baba Miller, Ron Holland, Mackenzie Mgbako, Javonte Taylor, Jarace Walker, Dillon Mitchell, Jordan Walsh, Isaiah Elohim and more. But there can only be 15 names on a top 15 list. I don’t make the rules.

Here’s a look at some upcoming mock drafts: