With March Madness beginning in less than a day, many are interested to see which NBA prospects will do well. Of course, this also means some modifications in our 2023 NBA Mock Draft. Right now, it really makes no difference if your favorite team is in the playoff hunt or not. In fact, it may be better if your team is in the bottom half of the standings, much like the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs. On the flip side, even contenders like the Memphis Grizzlies or middling teams like the Toronto Raptors may also end up with some quality rookies. Here, we’ll have the Pre-NCAA Tournament Edition of our 2023 NBA Mock Draft.
Although the top two picks in the upcoming draft are considered locks already, other teams picking later in the draft still have a chance to secure talented players. There’s no hiding that Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson are highly touted as the top two prospects in this year’s draft class. Both are expected to immediately elevate the franchises that will draft them.
While NBA scouts primarily travel and evaluate players throughout the college basketball season, March is a popular time for executives to observe prospects in person. As the 2023 NCAA tournament takes shape, the scouting community will shift its focus to which programs will advance and which stars will shine. This presents a unique opportunity to assess the current draft order and pinpoint players who are poised to make an immediate impact with their new teams.
One of the most significant storylines at the top of the draft is how teams will approach Alabama forward Brandon Miller. Keep in mind that he was recently tied to a controversial shooting case. Additionally, scouts are closely monitoring the return from injury and quick production of Arkansas guard Nick Smith Jr. He could be a guy to certainly watch in the coming weeks and months.
Many project the 2023 draft class to be pretty deep, which will make it very interesting to present this Pre-NCAA Tournament Edition of our NBA Mock Draft. The draft order below was taken from Tankathon (as of March 13, 2023).
You can also check out our previous 2023 Mock Draft.
2023 NBA Mock Draft, Pre-NCAA Tournament Edition
1) Victor Wembanyama (Detroit Pistons)
It’s clear why Wembanyama is considered one of the most hyped prospects of the last 20 years. Standing at 7’4, with guard-like handles and the ability to create offensively, his experience playing against grown men in Europe is otherworldly. He deserves to be the top guy in our NBA Mock Draft.
Now, despite the Detroit Pistons having a crowded frontcourt with James Wiseman, Marvin Bagley III, and Isaiah Stewart, they are likely to prioritize accommodating Wembanyama. It’s a no-brainer. They should also build around him as the centerpiece of their future. He could single-handedly change the franchise and the city.
2) Scoot Henderson (Houston Rockets)
While the Jalen Green-Kevin Porter Jr. backcourt has been entertaining to watch, it hasn’t translated into many wins for the Houston Rockets. As Porter is the more replaceable player, the team may turn to Scoot Henderson to shake up their roster. As such, Porter may then be an enticing trade piece in the offseason.
Now, although Henderson is a raw player in terms of defense and shooting, a point guard with his athleticism is a rare find. Regardless of whether superstar James Harden rejoins the team or not, Henderson has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone. That’s why he’s still No. 2 overall in our NBA Mock Draft.
3) Brandon Miller (San Antonio Spurs)
Brandon Miller has been connected to some concerning news stories involving former Alabama player Darius Miles. Recall that Miles was charged with capital murder in a fatal campus shooting. While Miller has not been charged with any crimes, the association may raise character concerns.
Still, assuming he’s innocent, he should be a good candidate to pick in the lottery. For one, the San Antonio Spurs may be willing to take a chance on Miller. With the need for another high-scoring player alongside Keldon Johnson, Miller could be a good fit for this squad. The controversy won’t drop him out of our NBA Mock Draft top three… yet.
Went on NBA Today with @malika_andrews and @wojespn to talk about Brandon Miller, Scoot Henderson and why NBA teams say the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft is a wide open conversation right now. pic.twitter.com/ARLEyLD6hp
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 14, 2023
4) Amen Thompson (Charlotte Hornets)
Amen Thompson is one of a pair of twins who are both expected to be selected in the top five, at least based on our NBA Mock Draft. While his brother Ausar is also a strong prospect, Amen may have a higher potential for high-scoring success. He’s likely to take on a lead ball-handler role alongside LaMelo Ball in Charlotte. Thompson also has excellent shooting skills and the ability to generate turnovers on defense.
5) Ausar Thompson (Orlando Magic)
Ausar Thompson should go to the Magic based on this NBA Mock Draft. Sure, he may not be quite as flashy as his twin brother. However, he’s still an impressive prospect with a high floor. He excels as an on-ball defender and has enormous potential on offense. If he joins a team that includes Jalen Suggs, Paolo Banchero, and Franz Wagner, the Magic could be contenders sooner rather than later.
6) Nick Smith Jr. (Washington Wizards)
Nick Smith Jr. has been dealing with a knee injury these past months. However, he has come back and is gradually returning to form. That’s why he’s still a lottery guy in our NBA Mock Draft. He has exceptional skills but will need to prove himself with consistently strong performances to justify his high draft pick.
7) Anthony Black (Portland Trail Blazers)
Anthony Black is a big player who can play point guard or wing. He is remarkable at ball handling and passing. He has a natural talent and is making a name for himself despite being a freshman. It would be interesting how he grows under the tutelage of Damian Lillard.
8) Jarace Walker (Indiana Pacers)
Jarace Walker should be picked by the Pacers here based on our NBA Mock Draft. He is a power forward with a strong build and great offensive skills, particularly in isolation situations. He’s also a strong defender and rebounder who can contribute all over the court. He can be a solid backup in the frontline for Indy.
9) Cam Whitmore (Orlando Magic)
Cam Whitmore is an extremely athletic player who excels at driving to the basket and has also improved his 3-point shooting. He would be an interesting player for the Magic’s second unit.
10) Taylor Hendricks (Toronto Raptors)
Taylor Hendricks is a highly skilled forward with a large wingspan and athletic potential. He has been rapidly rising as a prospect due to his shooting range and abilities. That’s a big reason he’s among the top 10 in our NBA Mock Draft. He would provide much-needed perimeter scoring for the Raptors.
11) Keyonte George (New Orleans Pelicans)
Keyonte George is an explosive guard with a strong build. He is proficient at finishing through contact and has a high level of three-point shooting accuracy. That’s certainly something that can help open things up for Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson in New Orleans.
Keyonte George's jumper is so pure. People judge his FG%, but forget how tough it is to be a high volume shooter.
One of three freshmen in the BT database with:
Usage ≥ 30;
Assist % ≥ 20;
3PA/100 Poss ≥ 14;
Other two: Trae Young and Antoine Davis. pic.twitter.com/0PGLYVRqDB
— Ersin Demir (@EDemirNBA) February 6, 2023
12) Gradey Dick (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Gradey Dick is one of the top shot-makers in this NBA Mock Draft. He just has a solid ability to drive to the basket. Dick would be an interesting addition to a team already brimming with explosive young talent like OKC.
13) Jalen Hood-Schifino (Utah Jazz)
A versatile guard with a large frame, Jalen Hood-Schifino brings a competitive spirit. He is an adept passer and facilitator. With Mike Conley no longer in Utah, Hood-Schifino could have the chance to make an immediate impact.
14) Jordan Hawkins (Los Angeles Lakers)
Jordan Hawkins is an interesting shooting guard with a smooth jump shot. He can certainly light it up from beyond the arc. He has also started to score more inside the arc and is a pesky defender. Maybe that’s exactly what the Lakers need for their supporting cast.
15) Gregory Jackson (New York Knicks)
Gregory Jackson is the youngest prospect in this NBA Mock Draft. He is an ultra-talented shot-maker who could be a great complement to the Knicks’ depth chart.
16) Cason Wallace (Utah Jazz)
Cason Wallace can play both guard positions. He possesses excellent scoring skills along with strong defensive instincts. In fact, he could very well be the best perimeter defensive player in this NBA Mock Draft. That’s something the Jazz sorely need.
17) Sidy Cissoko (Atlanta Hawks)
Sidy Cissoko’s performance has been impressive recently for G League Ignite. He has been playing like a first-round pick and could be a big boost to the Hawks’ offensive woes.
18) Rayan Rupert (Golden State Warriors)
Frenchman Rayan Rupert is a wing player for the New Zealand Breakers. He has exceptional length and versatility, particularly on the defensive end. With a 7’3 wingspan, he could be an interesting addition to the Dubs’ second unit.
19) Kris Murray (Miami Heat)
Kris Murray, Keegan Murray’s brother, is a versatile and smooth forward. He is putting up impressive numbers this season for the Iowa Hawkeyes. We’ll surely watch him in the coming March Madness tournament.
20) Jett Howard (Houston Rockets)
It’s sad that Michigan didn’t make it to the Big Dance. Still, Jett Howard, the son of Juwan Howard, is one of the best shooters in this NBA Mock Draft. Sure, he struggles defensively, but the Rockets don’t play that side of the ball anyway.
21) Noah Clowney (Brooklyn Nets)
Noah Clowney is a talented forward who’s one big reason the Crimson Tide are among the top seeds in March Madness. He has good size and would stretch the floor for the Nets.
NOAH CLOWNEY 🤯
📺: https://t.co/e6KQvfmTE5#RollTide | #BlueCollarBasketball pic.twitter.com/LjpeLHwyhK
— Alabama Men’s Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) March 12, 2023
22) Maxwell Lewis (Portland Trail Blazers)
Maxwell Lewis is not playing in March Madness. Still, remember that he is a highly efficient wing player who can shoot the ball very well. He may have slowed down after a hot start to the season, but he could still be a good pick for the Blazers at No. 22.
23) Leonard Miller (Brooklyn Nets)
Leonard Miller is having a successful season for G League Ignite. As such, he is projected to be a mid-to-late first-round pick for the Nets. The Canadian has developed into a high-level rebounder who can help out Nic Claxton.
24) Adem Bona (Memphis Grizzlies)
Adem Bona is an explosive and speedy Turkish player. He also has a lot of strength and the ability to play above the rim. We’ve seen that this season as he saw action for UCLA. He’s also one to watch in the coming Big Dance.
25) Brice Sensabaugh (Sacramento Kings)
Ohio State and Brice Sensabaugh missed the March Madness bus. Still, he is a strong and powerful forward who can play multiple positions. He also has a polished offensive game he can use to help out the Kings.
26) Bilal Coulibaly (Indiana Pacers)
French teenager Bilal Coulibaly is a promising athlete. He has a lot of potential due to his length and athleticism. It’s a bit of a risk for the Pacers to pick him here, but remember that he also impressed at the 2022 FIBA U18 European Championship.
27) Trayce Jackson-Davis (Utah Jazz)
We’re gonna see Trayce Jackson-Davis lead the Hoosiers in March Madness. Despite not having the typical size of a center, Jackson-Davis is a dominant player inside. He has developed into an advanced passer and playmaker, which would surely benefit the Jazz.
28) Kyle Filipowski (Charlotte Hornets)
Kyle Filipowski is a talented offensive player from Duke. He has a good shooting touch, great vision, and strong rebounding skills. The seven-footer may be an immediate impact player for Charlotte next season.
29) James Nnaji (Indiana Pacers)
Nigerian big man James Nnaji of FC Barcelona is a young center with all the needed physical tools. These include good length and quick jumping ability. Scouts regard him as a good project for the Pacers to develop.
30) Jalen Wilson (Los Angeles Clippers)
The NCAA has ranked Jalen Wilson and Kansas as No. 1 in the West Regional of March Madness. He has improved his game and become a well-rounded player. Although he is not a high-flyer, he is a skilled scorer who could help out the Clippers next season.