The 2022-23 season has not even started but basketball fans and scouts are already talking about the 2023 NBA Draft. That’s especially true after seeing two consensus top prospects in this year’s cycle, Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, put up big numbers in a pair of exhibition games in Las Vegas this past week. Here, we’ll have our initial, way-too-early 2023 NBA Mock Draft.
The 7’4 Wembanyama played in the United States for the first time, wowing fans and scouts alike with his unbelievable blend size and skill. Meanwhile, Henderson, an athletic 6’3 point guard with a 6’9 wingspan, signed with the G-League Ignite in 2021. He was the program’s first high school junior commit. Both guys mightily impressed in their exhibition games.
Many project the 2023 draft class to be pretty deep, which will make it very interesting to present our way-too-early 2023 NBA Mock Draft. The draft order below was taken from Tankathon (as of October 9th).
37 PTS | 7/11 3 PT | 5 BLK
28 PTS | 5 REB | 9 AST
The future is bright. pic.twitter.com/4XMQ1E5LMa
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 5, 2022
Way-too-early 2023 NBA Mock Draft
1) San Antonio Spurs: Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92, France)
First, there’s no surprise who tops our NBA Mock Draft. Wembanyama has an incredible eight-foot wingspan and showed flashes of greatness when playing for ASVEL in the Euroleague before blowing scouts away in Sin City last week. Over his final six games of the season, he averaged 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. Amazingly, he can extend the floor from three-point range and already possesses a sweet-looking jump shot.
2) Houston Rockets: Scoot Henderson (G-League Ignite)
No. 2 is also not a shocker in our NBA Mock Draft. Henderson controversially skipped his senior year of high school to play in the NBA G-League. He was only 17 at the time but already looked like he belonged at that level. On 44 percent field goal shooting, he averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. If he lands in Houston, Henderson would form one of the league’s most exciting, athletic young backcourts alongside Jalen Green, last year’s No. 2 overall pick.
3) Oklahoma City Thunder: Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite)
Third on our list is Amen, the most highly regarded Thompson twin. He is a swift, explosive and fluid 6’8 athlete who is one of Overtime Elite’s faces. Additionally, he is a fantastic passer and athlete, but has to improve his shooting.
4) Indiana Pacers: Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas)
After excelling at North Little Rock High School, the 6’4 Smith chose to stay at home at Arkansas. He is a five-star prospect and the No. 3 recruit in ESPN’s High School Class of 2022. In addition, Smith is a plus outside shooter with a canny ability to attack the paint.
5) Utah Jazz: Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite)
Ausar, the lower-ranked of the Thompson twins in our NBA Mock Draft, projects as more of a wing at the next level than his brother. A better shooter than Amen at this stage, Ausar projects as a multi-positional defender who can make plays on the other end both on and off the ball.
6) Orlando Magic: Dillon Mitchell (Texas)
On one hand, Mitchell is a pogo-stick athletic at 6’7, finishing everything around the rim and thriving in transition. On the other hand, it’s still unknown how much his jumper will develop, leading to questions about Mitchell’s optimal position at the next level.
7) Detroit Pistons: Cameron Whitmore (Villanova)
Villanova got a good one with Whitmore. A powerful vertical athlete, he possesses an NBA-ready, 6’7, 220-pound physique and has developed his jumper into a consistent weapon of late.
8) Sacramento Kings: Dereck Lively II (Duke)
Lively is a fascinating big man who’s a monster rim-protector with highly intriguing defensive tools on the perimeter. The 7’1 center should be dominant for Duke as a freshman.
9) Washington Wizards: Dariq Whitehead (Duke)
Whitehead was the No. 2 recruit in the 2022 class out of Westtown School in Pennsylvania. An outstanding athlete with effortless leaping and change-of-direction ability, the 6’5 wing could be Duke’s leading scorer this season.
10) Charlotte Hornets: Keyonte George (Baylor)
Keyonte George can already score at all three levels and overwhelm lesser defenders thanks to his 6’5 stature and solid athleticism. Keep in mind that he is one of the best natural scorers in this draft class.
Keyonte George just having fun on this play pic.twitter.com/Re3QU1Wf05
— Pistons Draft talk (@happypistonfan) October 6, 2022
11) New York Knicks: Brandon Miller (Alabama)
At 6’9, Miller is a pretty big wingman with excellent scoring instincts and great agility. In fact, he impressed scouts after scoring 22 points per game in overseas preseason exhibition games.
12) Portland Trail Blazers: Kel’el Ware (Oregon)
Ware possesses all of the attribute necessary to be considered a top-tier big prospect. Standing seven feet tall and a lithe 210 pounds, he’s extremely fluid athlete capable of owning the paint on both ends and guarding multiple positions.
13) Orlando Magic: Anthony Black (Arkansas)
Black fits the current NBA as a 6’7 point guard with high-level passing abilities and an improved jumper. In the right situation, he could develop into a multi-time All-Star.
14) New Orleans Pelicans: Terquavion Smith (North Carolina State)
As a freshman, the 6’4 guard led North Carolina State with 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Smith is also a dangerous long-range shooter, having shot 37 percent on 96 made threes last season.
15) Toronto Raptors: Jarace Walker (Houston)
Powerfully built at 6’8 and 240 pounds, Walker could be one of the most productive players in college basketball as a freshman. His long-term upside depends on the development of his long-range jumper, but Walker nevertheless has all the makings of a solid NBA contributor for years to come.
16) Los Angeles Lakers: Cason Wallace (Kentucky)
Wallace is a 6’4 combo guard with star potential and excellent defensive instincts. In particular, he can get his own shot from the outside and penetrate the paint, making him an effective scorer and playmaker.
17) Atlanta Hawks: Julian Phillips (Tennessee)
Phillips is a wiry 6’7 wingman with great quickness and a solid outside shot. Ideally, he could become a 3&D wing with the potential to grow into an outstanding defender.
18) Indiana Pacers: G.G. Jackson (South Carolina)
Jackson has reclassified from the High School Class of 2023 and will almost certainly be a first-round choice in the 2023 draft. A powerhouse attacking downhill, he boasts the physical gifts all NBA teams covet from big forwards.
19) Utah Jazz: Amari Bailey (UCLA)
Bailey is a versatile combo guard with athleticism as an added bonus. He also has intriguing scoring ability and is known to operate within the flow of the offense. Bailey’s NBA career probably won’t match the crazy hype that accompanied his prep career, but his overall intensity and willingness to do the little thing will serve him well regardless.
20) New York Knicks: Chris Livingston (Knicks)
Livingston is a high-level athlete at 6’6 with exceptional speed, above-the-rim explosiveness and a competitive mentality. His versatility would be a major asset for the Knicks, who need additional depth on the wing.
21) Memphis Grizzlies: Arthur Kaluma (Creighton)
Kaluma is improving at an eye-popping rate and could be one of this draft class’s biggest risers. A big, strong forward with an outstanding build, his skill development as a sophomore will decide how high he goes in the first round.
22) Miami Heat: Jordan Walsh (Arkansas)
Walsh will enter college basketball as one of the most dogged, versatile defenders in the country. He needs to continue refining his skill set offensively, but Walsh’s blend of size, length and defensive instincts at forward make him an easy fit in the modern NBA.
23) Charlotte Hornets: Matthew Cleveland (Florida State)
Cleveland is a 6’7 shooting guard with a long, rangy body and solid physical tools. He struggled from long range during his debut college season, the area he will need to improve most to carve out a role with a team like the Hornets as a rookie.
24) Brooklyn Nets: Nikola Djurisic (Mega Basket, Serbia)
Djurisic is a 6’8 Serbian wingman with an intriguing combination of size playmaking skills and shot-making ability
25) Utah Jazz: Yohan Traore (Auburn)
Traore is a young French big man who is creating a name for himself in the United States. He loves mixing it up in the paint and scoring on the low block while also displaying some perimeter shooting.
26) Golden State Warriors: Kris Murray (Iowa)
Kris, the twin brother of Keegan Murray, the fourth overall pick in the 2022 draft, is a slick and agile forward. The 6’8 Iowa product has high energy and can score in a variety of ways, not to mention play sound, multi-positional defense.
27) LA Clippers: Baba Miller (Florida State)
Miller is a highly gifted Spanish forward who was once a 6’2 guard until a recent growth spurt shot him up nine inches. Before joining Florida State, he was affiliated with Spanish power Real Madrid in the ACB.
Baba Miller grew up as a guard, standing 6'2 four years ago, before sprouting nine inches while still retaining his perimeter skill. His size, 7'2 wingspan, frame and ability to handle, pass and shoot gives him intriguing versatility and upside on both ends. Highlights: pic.twitter.com/dxOH06IctX
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 6, 2022
28) Phoenix Suns: Leonard Miller (G-League Ignite)
Miller, a 6’10 Canadian forward, chose the NBA G-League over college for next season. He has been one of the fastest-developing players in his class and should be in strong consideration for a first-round pick.
29) Houston Rockets: Marcus Sasser (Rockets)
Sasser is back for his senior season after a toe injury cut his 2021-22 campaign short. A talented combo guard who can score in bunches, he could be an early contributor at the next level even if his ceiling lags behind other potential draftees.
30) Indiana Pacers: Harrison Ingram (Stanford)
Ingram is a 6’7 wing with a versatile game. He is a natural playmaker with a unique, plodding pace who must improve his jumper and overall athleticism as a sophomore to clinch a spot in the first round.