The 2023 NBA Draft is finally here, and with it comes the realization of a lifelong dream for the 58 players who will hear their name called. This year’s draft features two fewer picks than normal after the Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers were stripped of second rounders for tampering violations during free agency.
We have been covering this draft class since the day after the 2022 draft, and our initial board looks mostly accurate 12 months later. Be sure to read all of our draft coverage at SB Nation, which includes a feature on twins Amen and Ausar Thompson, a top-60 overall big board, a look at Victor Wembanyama’s 35 most incredible plays, and a mock draft with what we would do at every pick.
It’s time for one last mock draft — this time projecting both the first and second rounds. This mock is based off intel we’re hearing around the league. It’s what we actually think is going to happen with the draft just hours away. Let’s mock every pick in the 2023 NBA Draft:
NBA mock draft 2023: Final update for all 58 picks
|1||San Antonio Spurs||Victor Wembanyama||Big/Forward||Metropolitans 92 (France)|
|2||Charlotte Hornets||Scoot Henderson||Guard||G League Ignite|
|3||Portland Trail Blazers||Brandon Miller||Wing||Alabama|
|4||Houston Rockets||Amen Thompson||Guard||Overtime Elite|
|5||Detroit Pistons||Ausar Thompson||Wing||Overtime Elite|
|6||Orlando Magic||Anthony Black||Guard||Arkansas|
|7||Indiana Pacers||Jarace Walker||Forward||Houston|
|8||Washington Wizards||Cam Whitmore||Wing||Villanova|
|9||Utah Jazz||Taylor Hendricks||Forward||UCF|
|10||Dallas Mavericks||Dereck Lively II||Big||Duke|
|11||Orlando Magic||Gradey Dick||Wing||Kansas|
|12||Oklahoma City Thunder||Kobe Bufkin||Guard||Michigan|
|13||Toronto Raptors||Jalen Hood-Schifino||Guard||Indiana|
|14||New Orleans Pelicans||Cason Wallace||Guard||Kentucky|
|15||Atlanta Hawks||Keyonte George||Guard||Baylor|
|16||Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves)||Bilal Coulibaly||Wing||Metropolitans 92 (France)|
|17||Los Angeles Lakers||Jordan Hawkins||Guard||UConn|
|18||Miami Heat||Olivier-Maxence Prosper||Forward||Marquette|
|19||Golden State Warriors||Kris Murray||Forward||Iowa|
|20||Houston Rockets (via Clippers)||Leonard Miller||Forward||G League Ignite|
|21||Brooklyn Nets||Nick Smith Jr.||Guard||Arkansas|
|22||Brooklyn Nets (via Suns)||Noah Clowney||Big/Forward||Alabama|
|23||Portland Trail Blazers (via Knicks)||Jaime Jacquez||Wing||UCLA|
|24||Sacramento Kings||Brandin Podziemski||Guard||Santa Clara|
|25||Boston Celtics||Jett Howard||Forward||Michigan|
|26||Indiana Pacers (via Cavs)||James Nnaji||Center||FC Barcelona|
|27||Charlotte Hornets (via Nuggets)||Dariq Whitehead||Guard||Duke|
|28||Utah Jazz (via 76ers)||Rayan Rupert||Wing||New Zealand Breakers (France)|
|29||Denver Nuggets||Ben Sheppard||Guard||Belmont|
|30||Washington Wizards||Amari Bailey||Guard||UCLA|
|31||Detroit Pistons||GG Jackson||Forward||South Carolina|
|32||Denver Nuggets||Brice Sensabaugh||Wing||Ohio State|
|33||San Antonio Spurs||Colby Jones||Guard||Xavier|
|34||Charlotte Hornets||Jordan Walsh||Forward||Arkansas|
|35||Boston Celtics||Andre Jackson||Guard||UConn|
|36||Orlando Magic||Tristan Vukčević||Big||Spurs|
|37||Denver Nuggets||Julian Phillips||Wing||Tennessee|
|38||Sacramento Kings||Kobe Brown||Forward||Missouri|
|39||Charlotte Hornets||Maxwell Lewis||Wing||Pepperdine|
|40||Indiana Pacers||Trayce Jackson-Davis||Big||Indiana|
|41||Charlotte Hornets||Marcus Sasser||Guard||Houston|
|42||Washington Wizards||Julian Strawther||Wing||Gonzaga|
|43||Portland Trail Blazers||Sidy Cissoko||Wing||G League Ignite|
|44||San Antonio Spurs||Terquavion Smith||Guard||NC State|
|45||Memphis Grizzlies||Colin Castleton||Big||Florida|
|46||Atlanta Hawks||Jalen Wilson||Wing||Kansas|
|47||Los Angeles Lakers||Ricky Council IV||Wing||Arkansas|
|48||Los Angeles Clippers||Chris Livingston||Wing||Kentucky|
|49||Cleveland Cavaliers||Emoni Bates||Wing||Eastern Michigan|
|50||Oklahoma City Thunder||Seth Lundy||Wing||Penn State|
|51||Brooklyn Nets||Jalen Pickett||Guard||Penn State|
|52||Phoenix Suns||Keyontae Johnson||Wing||Kansas State|
|53||Minnesota Timberwolves||Adama Sanogo||Big||UConn|
|54||Sacramento Kings||Jordan Miller||Forward||Miami|
|55||Indiana Pacers||Isaiah Wong||Guard||Miami|
|56||Memphis Grizzlies||Mouhamed Gueye||Big||Washington State|
|57||Washington Wizards||Tosan Evbuomwan||Princeton||Big|
|58||Milwaukee Bucks||Jaylen Clark||Wing||UCLA|
The Hornets are set to take Scoot Henderson at No 2, per report
We’ve maintained all year that Scoot Henderson should be the second pick in the draft. The Hornets have the least talented roster in the NBA outside of LaMelo Ball, and are in no position to draft for fit.
Shams Charania reported the Hornets are favoring Henderson over Brandon Miller with the second pick:
Sources: Scoot Henderson is gaining serious momentum at No. 2 with the Charlotte Hornets in tonight’s NBA draft. Hornets have been torn over the last week between Henderson and Brandon MIller. Team has final meetings today to settle on decision.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 22, 2023
Outgoing majority owner Michael Jordan has the final say on the pick, according to GM Mitch Kupchak. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was convinced on Wednesday that Miller would be the pick:
The Hornets are preparing to select Brandon Miller at No. 2 overall, per @wojespn:— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 21, 2023
- Miller impressed Michael Jordan and Co. during his second private workout yesterday.
- Charlotte prefers Miller’s fit alongside LaMelo Ball over Scoot Henderson. pic.twitter.com/P3dsnpCl2P
Of course, just last year, ESPN reported that Jabari Smith Jr. would go No. 1 overall to the Orlando Magic. The Magic ended up taking Paolo Banchero, which was the right pick.
Will the Hornets call an audible at the last second and make the right choice? It’s still possible, but we can no longer ignore all the smoke around Miller.
What are the pivot points of this draft after No. 2?
The Hornets hold the keys to the draft with the second pick. Here are the other picks that can swing the outlook of the draft at the top of the first round:
- Detroit Pistons at No. 5: Cam Whitmore should be the pick here, but Detroit doesn’t appear to like him as much as other players in this draft. All the intel says this pick will come down to Jarace Walker vs. Ausar Thompson. Either way, the Pistons are going to have a major shooting crunch with Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey already in their core.
- Orlando Magic at No. 6: The Magic need shooting more than anything else. They could also use a dose of athleticism, and help in the backcourt. I’d guess this pick comes down to a Thompson twin vs. Anthony
- Dallas Mavericks at No. 10: Consistently the hardest pick to project in the draft. I view this draft as having 11 worthy lottery picks. Derrick Lively is not one of those players. I’m putting him here because Dallas could use size and defense, and he checks both boxes. I wouldn’t love the pick, but it makes sense for them.
Who are the most interesting second round talents?
Here are a few second round picks I think could be steals:
- Brice Sensabaugh, G, Ohio State: I have Sensabaugh rated as a lottery talent. NBA teams are lower on him because he’s a poor defender, lacks court vision, and has been dealing with knee injuries. The latest intel says he could slip out of the first round entirely. Personally, I believe his three-point shot and all-around shot-making is just too valuable to slip that far.
- Jordan Walsh, F, Arkansas: Walsh has a strong 6’7 frame, a massive 7’2 wingspan, and sky-high defensive potential. He can handle the ball in the open floor, and has shown connective passing traits. There’s one swing skill for Walsh, and that’s his shot. He’s a bad shooter right now, but I watched him hit a critical three-pointer in Arkansas’ upset of Kansas in the NCAA tournament. I’d bet on his mentality, physical tools, and ability to improve.
- GG Jackson, F, South Carolina: Jackson was the top-rated high school player in next year’s incoming freshman class before reclassifying to enroll at South Carolina. He put up some big numbers and had impressive shot-making flashes for the Gamecocks, but he was brutally inefficient and reportedly immature off the floor. Either way, Jackson’s combination of size (6’9), strength, and shot-making gives him a higher ceiling than a typical second rounder if he lasts that long.
- Maxwell Lewis. G, Pepperdine: Lewis is so much fun to watch with long strides, spot-up shooting ability, and a deep bag of scoring tricks inside the arc. The problem is that his play slipped as the season went on, his defensive intensity can wane, and he might be harder to fit into team structures than other players in this range. Still, I like his upside and would consider him a home run pick in the second round.
How to watch the 2023 NBA Draft
Date: Thursday, June 22
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Barclays Center
TV info: ESPN, ABC (first round)
Stream: Watch ESPN