2023 NBA Mock Draft 5.0: First-round risers and full 2-round predictions
The No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the upcoming NBA Draft are locks with 7-foot-4 French center Victor Wembanyama solidifying himself as the first pick and G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson as the next best available prospect, regardless of position or team need, in this draft class.
Halfway through conference play in college basketball, a few players are rising up draft boards and are must-stop destinations for NBA scouts. Pepperdine's Maxwell Lewis is trending up after a strong start to the season and utilizing his size at 6-7 and quick, consistent jumper. Freshman Noah Clowney has been a key factor in Alabama's success, particularly in the paint. Central Florida's Taylor Hendricks' versatility on offense and defense make him an intriguing first-round prospect who a lot of teams are prioritizing to see in person this season.
There will be plenty of movement throughout the remainder of the college season and into the draft on June 22. Here's the latest look at the 2023 NBA Draft and Yahoo Sports' projections for the first and second rounds.
Note: The Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers forfeited their second-round picks in 2023 due to tampering and violating free agency rules.
(Draft order is from Tankathon as of Jan. 30.)
1. Houston Rockets: C Victor Wembanyama
Ht./Wt.: 7-4, 209 pounds | Metropolitans 92 (France)
The Rockets are 2-8 in the last 10 games and could definitely use some help in the lane and at the rim defensively. A dream pairing of Jabari Smith Jr. and Wembanyama on offense is undoubtedly creeping into the minds of fans and front office executives with the way the pair can utilize the spacing on the court and and extend the defense past 3-point range with consistent jumpers.
Wembanyama continues to lead the Betclic Elite League in points (22.1), rebounds (9.6) and blocked shots (3.3) and was the youngest player to be named the MVP of the LNB All-Star Game after he recorded 27 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, leading his team to the 136-128 win over the World team on Dec. 29. To give an idea of what type of impactful player is hitting the league next season, the last NBA player to average 22-plus points and three-plus blocks per game in a single season was Shaquille O'Neal in 1999-2000.
2. Detroit Pistons: G Scoot Henderson
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 196 pounds | G League Ignite
Henderson returned to the court Dec. 27 after suffering a fractured nose and concussion that sidelined him for over a month. Since returning to the Ignite, Henderson is averaging 20 points and six assists per game. He continues to look more comfortable playing with NBA spacing and rules and his explosiveness and decision-making are separating him from other guards at the top of the draft.
"I feel like I'm getting used to the bump now and with the spacing, I love the spacing," Henderson told Yahoo Sports. "I can just drive and kick whenever we need a three or a good shot or look from one of my teammates and they'll knock it down."
3. San Antonio Spurs: G Amen Thompson
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 200 pounds | Overtime Elite
Thompson is averaging 16.2 points, six rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game in the Overtime Elite league. A versatile guard who can play on or off the ball, the combination of Thompson's quick first step, decision-making while getting downhill and defensive toughness makes him an intriguing prospect at No. 3. Like his twin brother, Ausar, he is crafty around the rim and a meticulous student of the game.
4. Charlotte Hornets: G/F Brandon Miller
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 200 pounds | Class: Freshman | Alabama
Miller is currently having the best 3-point shooting season ever recorded by a freshman, shooting 45% from behind the arc on seven attempts per game. He's cooled off after combining for 11 3-pointers in two games a couple weeks ago, but there's a lot to like about Miller as an NBA prospect. He has great length, size and advanced fundamentals as a big guard. Miller is not afraid to take the shot at the end of a shot clock or game and doesn't back down against tougher matchups or competition.
5. Orlando Magic: G Ausar Thompson
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 200 pounds | Overtime Elite
Ausar holds a lot of similar traits to his twin brother. There are teams that could favor Ausar's game over Amen come draft time. Like Amen, his athleticism and quick pace in the open court stand out immediately. Ausar is the slightly better on-ball defender and led the Overtime Elite league in blocked shots last season. Both players need to develop a more consistent 3-point shot, but Ausar is showing glimpses of improvement late in the season, going 2-of-3 from deep and finishing with 25 points in a win earlier this month.
6. Toronto Raptors: G Nick Smith Jr.
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 185 pounds | Class: Freshman | Arkansas
Smith Jr. has played only five games this season, dealing with a right knee injury that sidelined him indefinitely. NBA scouts and executives believe they won't see Smith Jr. return to the court this college season as he focuses on staying healthy for the pre-draft process. Smith Jr. was the best guard coming out of high school and limited college minutes haven't plagued projected high draft picks in the past. The Trail Blazers took Shaedon Sharpe with the No. 7 pick last year after Sharpe sat out the entire second half of the season at Kentucky. The Warriors took James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick in 2020 after the center played only three games at Memphis, and the Cavaliers drafted Darius Garland with the No. 5 pick after a meniscus injury sidelined him for the majority of the season.
7. New Orleans Pelicans: G Anthony Black
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 196 pounds | Class: Freshman | Arkansas
With Smith Jr. out, Black's touches and role on offense have significantly increased, highlighting his upside as a combo guard at the next level. Through his freshman growing pains, particularly as a playmaker, Black has cleaned up his turnovers and is always willing to make the extra pass to an open teammate. Prior to the loss against Baylor, Black averaged 16 points, six rebounds, 5.3 assists and shot 46% from 3-point range in a four-game stretch.
8. Indiana Pacers: G Cam Whitmore
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 205 pounds | Class: Freshman | Villanova
Whitmore is a high-volume shooter who can get a shot off from anywhere on the court. Villanova is struggling to win games in the first season without Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright, but Whitmore's resume prior to getting on campus could be enough to keep him inside the top 10. Over the summer, Whitmore led Team USA to a gold medal in the FIBA U18 Americas Championship, averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds throughout the tournament.
9. Portland Trail Blazers: F Jarace Walker
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 240 pounds | Class: Freshman | Houston
Walker just had a season-high 25 points in a win over Cincinnati with several NBA scouts in the stands. He has one of the most NBA-ready bodies in this draft class with his solid 240-pound frame and moves well for his size. Walker's versatility to drop down as a five in a small-ball lineup and quickness to step out and guard the wing makes him one of the most intriguing players in the draft.
10. Orlando Magic: G Jett Howard
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 215 pounds | Class: Freshman | Michigan
After suffering an ankle injury against Minnesota, Howard bounced back against Penn State finishing with 21 points (5-for-7 from three). Howard brings consistent outside shooting and great size as a perimeter player. Even though his lateral quickness remains an area of development, the NBA is a shooter's league and Howard's name has consistently been brought up as a lottery pick when talking to NBA scouts.
11. Washington Wizards: G Keyonte George
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 185 pounds | Class: Freshman | Baylor
George continues to showcase his scoring ability at all three levels against tough competition and big games in the Big 12. In his last outing against Arkansas, George finished with 24 points and was clutch down the stretch, hitting two big shots with under two minutes in the game to help solidify the win. NBA scouts are high on his ability to create separation for himself off the dribble and George is not one to back down from big moments when the game is on the line.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: G Gradey Dick
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 205 pounds | Class: Freshman | Kansas
Dick has a mature game and is proving to be a productive plug-and-play prospect at the next level. It's going to be hard for teams in the late lottery to pass on his high IQ as a shot creator (shooting 43% from 3-point range), defensive toughness and grit when the game in on the line. He's turned into the glue guy for this talented Kansas team, always making the right play and doing whatever it takes to win games.
13. Utah Jazz: G Cason Wallace
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 185 pounds | Class: Freshman | Kentucky
Head coach John Calipari has reworked the lineup and moved Wallace to the one, instead of playing off the ball to start the season. Wallace appears much more comfortable as the primary ballhandler and even though Kentucky recently lost to No. 8 Kansas, Wallace was one of the most productive guards on both ends of the floor, creating for his teammates dishing out five assists and forcing five steals.
14. Phoenix Suns: F G.G. Jackson
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 220 pounds | Class: Freshman | South Carolina
After reclassifying up a grade, Jackson is one of the youngest players in college basketball and has started to find his rhythm halfway through conference play. In the last four games, Jackson has averaged 20.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, two assists and two steals. He's extended his game past 3-point range, attempting 26 threes in the last four outings (connecting on only nine), but he's stepping into shots with confidence. Even through he's a bit of a streaky shooter, his production on and off the block and potential at the next level outweigh what his stat line says for the season.
15: Atlanta Hawks: G/F Maxwell Lewis
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 195 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Pepperdine
16. Atlanta Hawks: F Noah Clowney
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 210 pounds | Class: Freshman | Alabama
17. Golden State Warriors: F Kris Murray
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 220 pounds | Class: Junior | Iowa
18. New York Knicks: G Rayan Rupert
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 192 pounds | New Zealand Breakers
19. Los Angeles Clippers: G/F Brice Sensabaugh
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 235 pounds | Class: Freshman | Ohio State
20. Los Angeles Lakers: G Terquavion Smith
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 165 pounds | Class: Sophomore | NC State
21. New York Knicks: G Dariq Whitehead
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 220 pounds | Class: Freshman | Duke
22. Miami Heat: C Kel'el Ware
Ht./Wt.: 7-1, 225 pounds | Class: Freshman | Oregon
23. Sacramento Kings: G/F Dillon Mitchell
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 200 pounds | Class: Freshman | Texas
24. Indiana Pacers: G/F Taylor Hendricks
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 210 pounds | Class: Freshman | UCF
25. Brooklyn Nets: G Jalen Wilson
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 225 pounds | Class: Junior | Kansas
26. Memphis Grizzlies: C Kyle Filipowski
Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 230 pounds | Class: Freshman | Duke
27. Houston Rockets: G Colby Jones
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 205 pounds | Class: Junior | Xavier
28. Utah Jazz: G Marcus Sasser
Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 195 pounds | Class: Senior | Houston
29. Charlotte Hornets: G Jordan Hawkins
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 195 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Connecticut
30. Indiana Pacers: G Jalen Hood-Schifino
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 215 pounds | Class: Freshman | Indiana
31. Indiana Pacers: C Dereck Lively II
Ht./Wt.: 7-2, 215 pounds | Class: Freshman | Duke
32. Philadelphia 76ers: G/F Leonard Miller
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 215 pounds | G League Ignite
33. Detroit Pistons: G Emoni Bates
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 170 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Eastern Michigan
34. San Antonio Spurs: G/F Jaime Jaquez Jr.
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 225 pounds | Class: Senior | UCLA
35. Orlando Magic: F Keyontae Johnson
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 230 pounds | Class: Senior | Kansas State
36. Oklahoma City Thunder: G/F Nikola Đurišić
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 214 pounds | Mega Basket (Serbia)
37. Toronto Raptors: F DaRon Holmes II
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 225 pounds | Class: Sophomore | Dayton
38. Los Angeles Lakers: G Ricky Council IV
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 205 pounds | Class: Junior | Arkansas
39. Los Angeles Lakers: F Azuolas Tubelis
Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 245 pounds | Class: Junior | Arizona
40. Denver Nuggets: G Tyrese Proctor
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 175 pounds | Class: Freshman | Duke
41. Phoenix Suns: C James Nnaji
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 200 pounds | Barcelona
42. Charlotte Hornets: F Coleman Hawkins
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 225 pounds | Class: Junior | Illinois
43. Boston Celtics: C Tristan Vukčević
Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 230 pounds | KK Partizan (Serbia)
44. Atlanta Hawks: F Trayce Jackson-Davis
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 245 pounds | Class: Senior | Indiana
45. Cleveland Cavaliers: G Terrence Shannon Jr.
Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 215 pounds | Class: Senior | Illinois
46. Memphis Grizzlies: G Judah Mintz
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 172 pounds | Class: Freshman | Syracuse
47. Los Angeles Clippers: G Amari Bailey
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 185 pounds | Class: Freshman | UCLA
48. Sacramento Kings: F Nae'Qwan Tomlin
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 210 pounds | Class: Senior | Kansas State
49. Boston Celtics: G Reece Beekman
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 190 pounds | Class: Junior | Virginia
50. Denver Nuggets: G/F Sidy Cissoko
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 200 pounds | G League Ignite
51. Minnesota Timberwolves: G Julian Strawther
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 205 pounds | Class: Junior | Gonzaga
52. Sacramento Kings: G Baylor Scheierman
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 205 pounds | Class: Senior | Creighton
53. Atlanta Hawks: G Caleb Love
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 200 pounds | Class: Junior | North Carolina
54. Milwaukee Bucks: G Adam Flagler
Ht./Wt.: 6-3 185 pounds | Class: Senior | Baylor
55. Milwaukee Bucks: G/F Jordan Walsh
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 205 pounds | Class: Freshman | Arkansas
56. Forfeited pick
57. Brooklyn Nets: F Oscar Tshiebwe
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 260 pounds | Class: Senior | Kentucky
58. Memphis Grizzlies: G Eric Gaines
Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 165 pounds | Class: Sophomore | UAB
59. Forfeited pick
60. Boston Celtics: F Drew Timme
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 235 pounds | Class: Senior | Gonzaga