After simulating the draft lottery on Tankathon, this is our first 2023 (way too early) NBA Mock Draft. The 2023 class is indisputably stacked, and the franchise-changing talent at the top will surely lure several franchises into an all-out tank job.
For this first mock, we’re projecting each pick in the first round. As the season progresses and we get more data on the lower-ranked prospects, we’ll release full two-round mocks.
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1st— Washington Wizards: Victor Wembanyama
19: 7’5 220 Pivot Metropolitan92 (France).
Wemby is the no-brainer top prospect. He’s giant, insanely mobile for his size, an elite defender, and can create his own shot. He’s like the best parts of John Collins and Rudy Gobert combined. The Wizards suddenly have one of the largest twin towers duos in the league with Him and KP.
2nd— Orlando Magic: Scoot Henderson
19: 6’2 180 Point Ignite.
Scoot would be the number one pick most years, he’s just an incredible athlete who has real vision. Think prime D Rose or John Wall but with Rajon Rondo-sized hands and even more Hops. This kid has tools that have tools and even more tools. He is insanely fast and strong for his size and has the ability to contort his body in so many directions at once that you can’t really stop him. The Magic instantly get their leading guard to pair with Paolo.
3rd— Utah Jazz: Dariq Whitehead
19: 6’7 190 Wing Duke.
The Jazz could go in many different directions. The hardest to get is a shot-creating wing. Dariq could be that guy. With approximately 2,645 picks coming to them in the next seven years the Jazz can swing big here.
4th— Oklahoma City Thunder: Amen Thompson
19: 6’7 200 Point Forward OTE.
Amen dropping to OKC is surprising but also a good fit. With OKC wanting to focus more on defense with a returning Chet. A Chet/Amen defensive core would be a nightmare for the conference, add in his ability to play point forward and everyone on the Thunder lineup can create for themselves and others.
5th— Houston Rockets: Nick Smith Jr
19: 6’5 180 Guard Arkansas.
While Nick Smith jr isn’t your prototypical Point Guard and is more of a combo guard he still fits in well with the Rockets’ desire to have every spot on the floor created. Smith also has the length to be a point-of-attack defender so that could take some responsibilities off of Jalen Green on that end.
6th— Indiana Pacers: Ausar Thompson
19: 6’6 190 Wing OTE.
Asuar Thompson is the perfect Rick Carlisle Wing. A rabid defender, questionable jumper, high basketball IQ. It’s all there. This fit is begging to happen.
7th— San Antonio Spurs: Jarace Walker
19: 6’8 220 Point Forward Houston.
The Spurs do not have a ton of guys in place. If Vassell is able to play more of a wing role then having Walker at the forward position would be fantastic.
8th— Sacramento Kings: Cam Whitmore
19: 6’6 200 Forward Villanova.
The Kings need a natural 3 man. Cam is that and really fits in well next to Fox and Sabonis. It’s just a clean fit which probably means the kings won’t take him.
9th— Detroit Pistons: Keyonte George
19: 6’4 170 Guard Baylor.
The Pistons drafting so well last year makes it hard to find a perfect fit in this draft. Keyonte’s shooting and creation for himself work especially if you want to play Cade at the 3 and move Bey up to the 4. It allows the Pistons to switch more and also really be able to both push the pace and spread the floor.
10th— Portland Trailblazers: Derek Lively II
19: 7’1 220 Big Duke.
With the Blazers projected to miss the playoffs based on Tankathon I have them going with a big to pair with the young guard core and Naz Little at the forward. Lively has DPOY potential and is a fantastic roll man to bring a different look from Nurkic.
11th— Charlotte Hornets: Kel’El Ware
19: 6’11 210 Big Oregon.
Charlotte is still looking for the big of the future. Ware definitely has the highest upside of all bigs left. He does make some stupid mistakes as a high schooler but hopefully, a year with the Ducks helps that.
12th— New York Knicks: Terquavion Smith
21: 6’3 180 Guard NC St.
The Knicks need shooting. Terq is probably the best option left. He can fit well next to Brunson or back up both him and Grimes.
13th— Atlanta Hawks: GG Jackson
18: 6’9 215 Big South Carolina.
The Hawks don’t have a ton of needs here but GG is big insurance. Collins, Capela, and Okongwu all struggle with injuries and GG is able to create his own shot at the power forward spot, he seems to be in a great spot for the Hawks to take advantage of.
14th— New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Black
19: 6’7 200 Point Forward Arkansas.
The Pelicans could really use a backup point guard with some size. Black struggles with his jumper, however, he brings everything else you need.
15th— Toronto Raptors: Yohan Traore
19: 6’10 210 Big Auburn (France).
The Raptors could probably use another Big and Traore has higher upside than anyone else they have at that position. With the Raptors being fully loaded on Wings and not in desperate need of a guard this is the pick.
16th— Orlando Magic: Alex Fudge
20: 6’10 185 Wing Florida.
If Isaac can’t get healthy it might be time to draft his replacement. Alex Fudge could definitely be that guy.
17th— Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Sasser
23: 6’2 195 Point Houston.
The Lakers will need someone who can help them right away if they want to compete on this timeline. Sasser could definitely be that guy.
18th— Utah Jazz: Cason Wallace
19: 6’4 184 Guard Kentucky.
The Jazz earlier went with a wing, now they take an excellent defensive-minded combo guard to add to their mix.
19th— Indiana Pacers: Jordan Walsh
19: 6’7 195 Wing Arkansas.
Walsh is also an amazing Rick Carlisle wing and is someone Haliburton will have so much fun with feeding for easy buckets. A front court of Turner, Walsh, and Thompson would be almost impossible to score on.
20th— Los Angeles Clippers: Brandon Miller
21: 6’8 200 Forward Alabama.
The clippers love bringing in Wings and Brandon Miller fits that bill. He is older for his class but he doesn’t seem to have a problem scoring the ball and that would be his role on the Clips.
21st— Brooklyn Nets: Kyle Filipowski
19: 6’11 200 Big Duke.
Brooklyn could use a big that spreads the floor next to Ben Simmons. Flip is one of those guys. It’s not the cleanest fit but the Nets don’t really have great options for their team at this draft slot.
22nd— Charlotte Hornets: Gradey Dick
19: 6’8 200 Forward Kansas.
The hornets will eventually need a wing/forward to replace Hayward and he who will not be named. While Grady Dick is the most unfortunate name in the entire draft his ability to put the ball in the basket will make Lamelo Ball a very happy point guard.
23rd— New York Knicks: Nikola Durisic
19: 6’8 220 Point Forward KK Mega Leaks (Belgium/Serbia).
The Knicks need talent, Durisic is extremely talented and could make an impact if they bring him over immediately or he could take his time and help the Knicks as a real spark when they fix their roster balance.
24th— Utah Jazz: James Nnaji
19: 6’10 200 Pivot FC Barcelona (Nigeria).
The Jazz now goes with a big. James Nnaji looks more like an alien conquer wielding the infinity gauntlet than he does a 19-year-old basketball player. His muscles have muscles. He’s a traditional style big but Utah seems to thrive with those.
25th— Miami Heat: Dillon Mitchell
19: 6’7 200 Forward Texas.
Mitchell is fantastic as an athlete but the shot hasn’t come along yet. The Heat thrives with that kind of guy so hopefully, they strike gold again with the Longhorn.
26th— Memphis Grizzlies: Eric Gaines
22: 6’2 170 Point UAB.
Memphis is not afraid to draft at a position they already have covered. Gaines is a big value guy if he hits and that is the kind of player they have been targeting recently.
27th— Indiana Pacers: Leonard Miller
20: 6’10 200 Point Forward G-League Ignite (Canada).
I have to do another forward for the Pacers but there aren’t great bigs available here. Miller is definitely not a Carlisle kind of forward but his potential is really high.
28th— Houston Rockets: Jett Howard
19: 6’7 180 Wing Michigan.
Houston needs more 3nD wings and Jett is just that. He can slot in seamlessly with the Rockets.
29th— Phoenix Suns: Tyrese Proctor
19: 6’4 175 Point Duke (Australia).
The Suns probably should be looking to a future without CP3 and Proctor could make the most of being a mentee to a top 10 Point Guard of all time.
30th— Golden State Warriors: Baba Miller
19 6’11 180 Forward Florida St. (Spain).
The Warriors go with the highest upside play available for them as the luxury tax is set to get even more punitive.