NBA Draft Cycle Preview: the Best Players at each Position in the 2023 Draft

With the 2023 NBA Draft Cycle about to start I thought I would give a brief overview of the top players from each position in the draft.

It is time to really get excited for the coming draft and all the many players that will bring!

Pivot 

The Pivot Position is dying.

If you are a big who can not play the 4 you are going the way of the dinosaur. However, 2 of these guys are looking to change that perception entirely and the others are fighting to find a place in the league. 

Victor Wembanyama

19: 7’2 220 Pivot Metropolitan92 (France). Comp= John Collins on offense Rudy Gobert on Defense. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #1

Wemby is the latest in a long line of “Best Prospect since LeBron” anointees. La Gross Poison is one of the most unique prospects in history some places have him listed at 7’5 and yet he has the ability to create his on shot on step backs and cross overs (though his efficiency in those situations is… undesirable).

While Victor stands out on defense, his offensive game will probably be more of him as a pick and Pop/Roll man (he will Pop more than John Collins and Roll more (and harder) than Kristaps Porzingis and a cutter/catch and shoot off ball weapon.

BUT THAT DEFENSE! Victor is a better defensive prospect than Anthony Davis was at this age. If Wemby doesn’t win multiple DPOY’s he has severely disappointed. His defense isn’t perfect and he needs to clean up some things, but his timing and aggression will lead him to be an absolute anchor on that end. 

James Nnaji

18: 6’10 200 Pivot FC Barcelona (Nigeria). Comp= Freaking Thanos. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #20

Nnaji was a young player on one of the best teams in the league averaging 11 and 10 per 36 in euro league play as a child. Nnaji is a giant of a human being, he bullies men in their prime because they are so much smaller than him. He’s got good defensive instincts as well, it also looks like he could take the Barca starting spot this year and really be showcased. Think Clint Capela if Capela was also way stronger.

Zach Edey

21: 7’4 285 Pivot Purdue (Canada). Comp= Boban Marjanovic. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #95

Edey is someone who is going to dominate the NCAA again. His game is perfectly suited to do so and more of the Purdue offense is going to be handed over to the GIANT Canuck. Zach might be too slow to be a defensive anchor on the NBA court but his size alone might give him some looks in the league.  

N’Faly Dante

 21: 6’11 230 Pivot Oregon (Mali). Comp= Chimeze Metu. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #105

Normally I wouldn’t talk about prospects in the 100s but Dante has a real chance to fly up this board. If he can take the banging in the post assignment away from Kel’El Ware than his stock should rise significantly because that team could make noise this year. Dante doesn’t really do one thing incredibly well but has a diverse skill set that could land him on an NBA 2-Way if his year goes well. 

Jamarion Sharpe

21: 7’5 235 Pivot Western Kentucky. Comp= Tacko Fall. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #126 

Jamarion blocks shots. That’s it. He’s one of the best shot blockers in the league with his absurd standing reach of approximately 3 miles. He’s going to need to work on some things through out the year to get considered for a draft spot but it isn’t completely out of the question.

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Big

Bigs are starting to become in vogue now in the league, but we are also reaching the point where most teams have their big of the future, could Twin Towers lineups change this for the future? 

Kel’El Ware

19: 6’11 210 Big Oregon. Comp= Chris Boucher. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #7

Ware is a very unique and fluid athlete for his size. He can do a ton of little things and seems to show flashes of more on ball work than he truly showed playing with a ball dominant (and good) guard in high school named Nick Smith (foreshadowing, he’s coming later). Ware needs to prove his shot is real and that he has a great defensive motor but other than that he could be the first combo big off the board. 

GG Jackson

18: 6’9 215 Big FSU. Comp= Onyeka Okongwu. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #8

Gregory or GG is super athletic, undersized at 6’9 and under long with an only +1 wingspan most people might be turned off by that, but Jackson has the athletic tools to finish anything around the hoop and seems to want to defend both in the post and switching. He’s exactly the kind of modern big people want, even starting to develop a respectable jumper. 

Derek Livey II

19: 7’1 220 Big Duke. Comp= Tyson Chandler. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #13

Livey is one of the hardest players for me to rank right now. Out of all of these bigs I think he has the highest floor but maybe a lower ceiling. Livey is a great positional defender with long arms and has the ability to, it seems, be more than just a roll man on offense but only time will tell if that translates. 

Yohan Traore

19: 6’10 210 Big Auburn (France). Comp= Poor mans Chris Bosh. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #15 

Traore is a very unique big who can shoot a bit and switch a bit on defense. He could easily rise into the Lotto for me. 

Kyle Filipowski

19: 6’11 200 Big Duke. Comp= Smaller Vlade Divac. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #19

Flip is a very fun Big but defensive concerns are there. That being said very few bigs can handle, pass and shoot like this kid.

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Forward

The Forward crop this year is full of interesting athletes who could potentially be Matchup nightmares in the league.

Cam Whitmore

19: 6’6 200 Forward Villanova. Comp= OG Anunoby. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #10

I fully expect Cam to rise higher than 10 by draft night. The OG comp is a tough one because in reality there is a perfect comp in a certain (Current?/Former?) Hornet’s Forward who due to his legal issues I refuse to name right now. Big enough to bully 3s and fast enough to blow by 4s, Whitmore is a matchup nightmare at the Forward spot. 

Julian Philips

19: 6’8 200 Forward Tennessee. Comp= Corey Brewer. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #21

Philips is an athlete who can kinda shoot as well. Tennessee seems like a good fit for him where he can hopefully take off and really make a difference in order to fly up the draft board. 

Dillon Mitchell

19: 6’7 200 Forward Texas. Comp= Derek Jones Jr. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #22

Another amazing athlete who needs to work on the skill aspect, Mitchell can do things other humans only dream of he would be the best athlete in the class if not for the Thompson Twins. At Texas he’s going to have to learn to be consistent and work on his jumper. 

Gradey Dick

19: 6’7 200 Forward Kansas. Comp= Harrison Barnes. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #23

A very skilled forward who might end up being more of a wing for me if his strength doesn’t hold up for him to guard NBA 4s. Right now Gradey is one of the guys I am watching most and what his actual position is happens to be one of my most burning questions about him. 

Roko Prkacin

20: 6’8 225 Forward KK Cibona (Croatia). Comp= Rudy Gay. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #41

I was a big Roko guy 2 years ago but his injury plagued season after refusing to come out the year before because of his lack of a first round offer make me think he’s getting farther from an NBA contract than he was at 18. Roko can do a bit of everything on offense but isn’t a master at any one thing, he also isn’t the greatest defender, but he isn’t going to be the worst in a lineup either.

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Point Forward

It is very rare for the Point Forward position to actually have 5 candidates in a draft, let alone a (admittedly far too early) projected first round. 

Amen Thompson

19: 6’7 200 Point Forward OTE. Comp= Jimmy Butler. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #2

Amen is the real deal. He’s got a bit of everything, might be the best athlete since Zion, the offensive game of Shai Alexander, the defensive chops of Ron Artest. Amen is someone I desperately want on my team if I’m any NBA GM. A point forward who also is a defensive anchor. The shot is a huge swing skill between borderline all star and Hall of Fame caliber prospect. 

Anthony Black

19: 6’7 200 Point Forward  Arkansas. Comp= Paul Pressey. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #11

Black can do a bit of everything, Shoot, Defend, Dribble, Pass. While not an insane athlete, he holds his own there. Ant is going to make Nick Smith get drafted higher than he would have on his own, and Arkansas with those athletes is going to be the perfect playground for the passer. 

Jarace Walker

19: 6’8 220 Point Forward Houston. Comp= Royce White/George Niang/Thick Odom. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #14

Walker might be my favorite player I’ve scouted this offseason. The size and power from a point forward is breathtaking while also playing very good defense. I am someone who constantly wonders what Royce White could have done if his mental health issues hadn’t ended his career before it really began, we might find out with Walker. 

Harrison Ingram

21: 6’8 230 Point Forward  Stanford. Comp= Anthony Mason. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #17

Ingram is one of the most fun players. He’s not athletic at all, but he just doesn’t make mistakes and understands angles better than most. The Draymond comps are a bit much for me but he really seems to do all the little things for his team. 

Leonard Miller

20: 6’10 200 Point Forward G-League Ignite  (Canada). Comp= Jeff Green. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #24

Leonard wasn’t ready for the league right out of High School, that is ok. He’s got time and a platform in Vegas to really shine for the Ignite. If he can control that Jumper and learn to be consistent on defense he’s going to have a really long NBA career.

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Wing

Most people think being a wing automatically makes you better than every other prospect. While I do not support the bigotry of Wing Supremacy I do think these wings are really stinking good.

Dariq Whitehead

19: 6’9 190 Wing Duke. Comp= Andrew Wiggins. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #4

Whitehead might mess around and be in the discussion for the first overall pick if he actually is 6’10 in shoes and has a +5 wingspan. He’s got all the skills you want from a wing and seems to be more engaged than others who have that moniker. 

Ausar Thompson 

19: 6’6 190 Wing OTE. Comp= Jaylen Brown. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #6

Ausar is fantastic, he’s everything you want in a 6’6 wing, he’s just not his twin brother Amen. Ausar focuses more on playing off ball and his secondary rim protection makes him stand out from his brother. 

Jordan Walsh

19: 6’7 195 Wing Arkansas. Comp= Gerald Wallace. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #16

Walsh is a super fun athlete. The only thing I could see holding him back from exploding this year at Fayetteville is the fact that the team is already so deep. Look for Walsh to kill it on the NIL endorsement front. 

Alex Fudge

20: 6’10 185 Wing Florida. Comp= Dorian Finney Smith. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #18

Fudge was a guy I really hoped would return for another year of college and he did. I think he can really use the experience and make a much more immediate impact on his NBA team now. Fudge can really defend and has an improving jump shot with the ability to attack close outs. The Mavs have a similar player as their second best player, who also transferred to Florida, so teams will take notice of Alex if he excels in that role. 

Rayan Rupert

19: 6’6 190 Wing New Zealand Breakers (France). Comp= Will Barton. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #27

Rupert is another prospect hoping to make his name in the NBL. The success is hit and miss but Rayan seems to be the kind of player who hits there. Ousmane Deing struggled there but still went lotto because of tools, and I expect Rupert, while not having the same tools, should have an easier time to the adjustments.

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Guard

This is still a guard’s league and these guys are going to make a difference in the league.

Nick Smith

19: 6’5 180 Guard Arkansas. Comp= Devin Harris+. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #5

Smith is so insanely fast. And if he’s actually 6’5 I could see him leading the league in scoring, he is that special. While he sometimes struggles to share the ball he will be playing next to Anthony Black this year and that should cover up that weakness. 

Keyonte George

19: 6’4 170 Guard Baylor. Comp= Bradley Beal. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #9

Some people really love George’s game, some don’t. It’s going to be similar to Jaden Hardy, he’s going to have to prove it in on the next level to me before I anoint him the best scorer in the class. Defensive concerns are there but he’s going to Baylor, if any school in the country can fix it Baylor can. 

Terquavion Smith

21: 6’3 180 Guard NC St. Comp= Bones Highland lite. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #12

Terq was a lock to go in the first round but still returned. He is hoping to be the first returner off the board and maybe even go in the top 5. Lets see how good he does for the Wolf Pack, that could actually happen. 

Cason Wallace

19: 6’4 184 Guard Kentucky. Comp= Jrue Holiday. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #25

Wallace is the best guard on Kentucky but just like Tyty Washington last year, Sahvir Wheeler is going to make him look worse than he actually is. 

Rodney Rice

19: 6’4 185 Guard Virginia Tech. Comp= Garry Trent Jr. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #31

Rice is someone my friends on Draft Twitter are higher on than myself but also someone I could buy into if things all work out, he is definitely someone I will keep my eye on.

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Point

Very few true point guards are living in this league but these guys are looking to change that. 

Scoot Henderson

19: 6’2 180 Point Ignite. Comp= John Wall. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #3

Scoot is the best athlete at the Point position since John Wall. He is insane, his hands are HUMONGOUS and he can float forever. Scoot struggles to shoot but probably because he has Shaq sized hands and maybe that will work itself out eventually. 

Tyrese Proctor

19: 6’4 175 Point Duke (Australia). Comp= Dante Exum. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #26

Proctor is a decent athlete and big defender he can pass like crazy. I am very excited to see him in charge of Duke’s offense. 

Eric Gaines

22: 6’2 170 Point LSU. Comp= Mookie Blaylock. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #28

Gaines is an athletes athlete. He is also a monster at the point of attack on defense. Eric needs to work on the jumper but if he figures it out he will make some NBA team extremely happy. 

Marcus Sasser

23: 6’2 195 Point Houston. Comp= Raymond Felton. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #29

Sasser probably was going to be a first rounder last year before the injury. Houston made the final 4 without him and he was their best player. Houston should be in the running for a National Championship and Sasser is their best player, so he should turn heads this year. 

Tyrese Hunter

20: 6’1 160 Point Texas. Comp= Steve Francis lite. Current HoopSocial Big Board Rank #33 

Hunter was over looked at Iowa St and hopes to turn his stent in Arlington into a Draft spot. Having Mitchell to throw lobs too and being able to create like he can should lend itself to that happening.

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Jordan Ennis lives in West Africa where he is a pastor at an international church, he also co-hosts the Assisted Development Podcast on the HoopSocial Podcasts feed. He can be found at Assisted Development Podcast on Facebook and @BaturePreacher on Twitter.