Victor Wembanyama, YOU are a San Antonio Spur. With the lottery now over, San Antonio landed the most anticipated NBA prospect since LeBron James, but the lottery ramifications don’t end there. The Pistons are the clear losers, dropping not only out of the top spot, but the top-four, while the Trail Blazers, Hornets and Spurs made the biggest jumps (two spots) on lottery night. Even if your team didn’t land a generational prospect, they still have the potential to turn the franchise around with their selections in this draft. See who that may be in our post-lottery mock draft below.
1. San Antonio: Victor Wembanyama 7-4 210 C France Intl.
This was widely considered the most important draft lottery since LeBron James joined the league in 2003 and now that it’s over, Wembanyama can make plans to move to San Antonio and jumpstart their organization. The freakishly talented seven-footer can do it all on both ends of the floor and has the potential to be an All-NBA player from the moment he steps on the court in a few months. He’s the most hyped prospect ever because of the nature of the beast that is sports media nowadays, but he’s not a better prospect than LeBron for two important reasons. First, the game has shifted away from centers, with teams now being able to isolate more and force opposing bigs to defend the perimeter, and secondly due to body type, his chances of an injury free career are considerably lower than LeBron’s were coming into the league.
Why the Spurs take Wembanyama: There hasn’t been an easier decision on draft night since 2003, so it’s quite clear why the Spurs will choose Wembanyama here. He is simply the only option and one of the greatest prospects in any sport of the 21st century. With the Spurs in the process of opening a 500 million dollar training facility., somehow this all feels preordained.
NBA Comparison: Ralph Sampson/Anthony Davis
2. Charlotte: Brandon Miller 6-9 200 SF Alabama Fr.
At the time of our last mock draft, there was speculation that Miller had jumped Henderson in the eyes of many scouts early in the first round. That buzz hasn’t faded as the Alabama product is still projected to be the highest drafted Crimson Tide player since Antonio McDyess went second overall in 1995.
Why the Hornets take Miller: Choosing the best fit isn’t always the decision that teams make this high in the draft, but when you have LaMelo Ball, it’s hard to justify bringing in another ball-dominant guard. Brandon Miller will be a perfect fit on the wing, hopefully being more than just a talent but adding much needed “culture” to what appears to be a lost organization.
NBA Comparison: Paul George
3. Portland: Scoot Henderson 6-2 195 PG G-League Fr.
A somewhat disappointing season marred with injuries and an end of the year shutdown caused this slight dip in Henderson’s stock, but don’t be shocked if he forces his way back into the second spot by the time the draft rolls around next month. His explosiveness and flashes of superstardom could be too much to overlook for Charlotte or another team willing to trade the farm for him at the second pick.
Why the Trail Blazers take Henderson: Even if Damian Lillard ends up returning to Portland next season, the time has come for the Blazers to prepare for a future without him. That starts with bringing in a potential superstar and franchise-changing player in Scoot Henderson. If the draft starts with Wembanyama and Miller, the Blazers will have no choice but to bring in Henderson to headline their inevitable rebuild.
NBA Comparison: Derrick Rose
4. Houston: Anthony Black 6-7 200 PG/SG Arkansas Fr.
Defensive versatility and tenacity jump off the screen when watching Anthony Black’s film and on a loaded Razorbacks roster, Black was always the most reliable and noteworthy player on the court. His ability to consistently impact games with or without scoring separates him from other lottery prospects, making his ceiling very intriguing as a defensive minded facilitator.
Why the Rockets take Black: He won’t help their 3-point shooting woes, but Anthony Black is an elite defender who will elevate his team on that end of the floor. By taking the most difficult assignment each night, he will make his teammates’ lives easier and make the winning plays that often went unnoticed with Arkansas. If you want your franchise to build a winning culture, you bring in a guy like Anthony Black to turn things around.
NBA Comparison: Josh Giddey
5. Detroit: Taylor Hendricks 6-9 215 PF Central Florida Fr.
I don’t think even Hendricks believed he could fly this high up draft boards after one season at Central Florida. Scouts, on the other hand, have bought into his sensational rim-protecting ability at just 6-9, paired with his athleticism and efficiency from beyond the arc. The rest of his game will need patience, but anyone at this spot will require some time, so why not take the chance one of the most high-ceiling freshman who is just starting to tap into his potential?
Why the Pistons take Hendricks: This was literally the worst case scenario for the Pistons who not only missed out on the top pick, but also the top-four in the 2023 NBA Draft. Detroit’s nucleus consists of a solid backcourt and a number of intriguing bigs, meaning that a versatile forward like Hendricks that can knock down threes and defend is just what they can use to bolster their frontcourt.
NBA Comparison: Pascal Siakam
6. Orlando: Amen Thompson 6-7 200 SG Overtime Elite Fr.
One of the Thompson twins will make history as the first Overtime Elite player to be drafted in the lottery and all signs point towards Amen being the player who comes off the board first. Despite his old age compared to his opponents in the program as a 20-year-old, it’s impossible to look past the freakish athleticism that Thompson possesses, which should ultimately lead to his selection in the top half of the lottery.
Why the Magic take Thompson: Amen fits in well with Orlando who is coming off landing last year’s top pick and Rookie of the Year, Paolo Banchero. He tookover the front court scoring and provides leadership but struggles on the defensive end. Amen gives their back court an injection of defense and versatility, and can be plugged right in as a starter at the off guard position.
NBA Comparison: Latrell Sprewell
7. Indiana: Gradey Dick 6-8 205 SG Kansas Fr.
There aren’t a ton of terrific shooters in the projected lottery of this draft, and given the current nature of the professional game, Dick could see his stock soar as arguably the best shooter in the top half of the first round. It is already rising with him projected at the seventh pick, but his modern value from beyond the arc, complemented by length and athleticism attacking the basket, make him a potential top-five pick as opposed to the less than impressive shooters surrounding him at this spot.
Why the Pacers take Gradey Dick: The Pacers made one of the best picks of the draft last year adding Benedict Matherin. Dick could be an excellent backcourt mate playing alongside Matherin and Haliburton into the future, giving excellent shooting and versatility.
NBA Comparison: Kevin Huerter
8. Washington: Ausar Thompson 6-7 205 SG Overtime Elite Fr.
Although Ausar is projected just below his brother Amen, these two could easily flip on draft night if a team is more intrigued by the better shooting of Ausar as opposed to the additional athleticism from Amen. The ceiling is higher for Amen, but as the more reliable shooter and defender, Ausar provides a steadier foundation with out of this world athleticism, even if it doesn’t quite match that of his brother.
Why the Wizards take Thompson: The Wizards were a porous defensive team last season and Ausar Thompson will bring exactly what they need in size, athleticism and relentless defensive energy. Throw in his playmaking upside and high ceiling and it makes perfect sense for Washington to go with the Overtime Elite product at this spot.
NBA Comparison: Trevor Ariza
9. Utah: Cam Whitmore 6-7 230 SF Villanova Fr.
Villanova was a completely different team with Cam Whitmore in the lineup down the stretch of the season and it has the former five-star freshman leaping into the top-ten in our latest mock. An exciting, bully ball, shot-creation package, as well as tremendous leaping ability, make the Wildcat product an ideal NBA wing with solid potential. Whitmore does not figure to be waiting too long to hear his name called next month.
Why the Jazz take Whitmore: Don’t be surprised if Utah goes with a facilitating guard here, but also don’t be surprised if the choice is Cam Whitmore. In his limited action as a freshman, the Villanova star showed he is comfortable handling the ball and getting his own shot to make up for the lack of playmakers on the roster. With three first round picks, the Jazz can afford to go best available here and focus on team needs later on.
NBA Comparison: Jae Crowder
10. Dallas: Nick Smith 6-5 185 PG/SG Arkansas Fr.
Smith spent a lot of the preseason and some of the regular season ranked in the top-five of many mock drafts, but his struggles were apparent and it will likely cost him with being a late lottery pick, instead of a high one. His positional size and dynamic scoring from all three levels gives him a lot of potential, and gives him a shot to be be taken on his preseason upside.
Why the Mavericks take Smith: Dallas was able to keep their pick as the lottery came and went with no karma complications, following their decision to shut down the season while still in contention. The motto of the offseason in Dallas is help out Luka Doncic. That means bringing in the best possible backcourt mate for Doncic to replace Brunson, and there’s no reason to look any further than Nick Smith for that role. He never truly got comfortable at Arkansas last season, but Smith is an extremely talented scorer, with the potential to develop into a star next to Luka.
NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford
11. Oklahoma City: GG Jackson 6-9 210 PF South Carolina Fr.
Jackson is a lengthy and athletic shot creator with terrific playmaking upside due to an extensive repertoire including handles and a three-level skillset that propelled him to the All-SEC Freshman team at just 18 years of age. The reclassifying freshman would have been the top recruit in the 2023 class, but his ascension has him prepared to take an NBA court before he would’ve played his first game as a Tar Heel next season.
Why the Thunder take Jackson: The Thunder are finally ready to start winning, but they need to add talent on the wing if they are going to do that. GG Jackson not only brings that talent, but he can be another ball-handler, giving OKC the opportunity to run a lineup featuring five players who can initiate the offense when Chet Holmgren returns. This versatility and unpredictability would cause fits for opposing coaches who never know who they must prepare for dissecting their defense.
NBA Comparison: Bam Adebayo
12. Orlando (via CHI): Jarace Walker 6-8 235 SF/PF Houston Fr.
As if watching Houston wasn’t enjoyable enough this season, watching Jarace Walker flourish within the system was a treat for college and NBA fans alike. The imposing forward is a walking fascination with his combination of power and finesse on both ends of the floor. You can switch him onto any player and trust him to hold his own and use him in a multitude of skills on the offensive end. From slipping out of powerful ball screens to knock down triples, creating in the short roll or taking defenders to school with slippery footwork in the post, Walker has star potential and will be a fan favorite wherever he lands this summer.
Why the Magic take Walker: With one lottery pick already utilized on the backcourt (Amen Thompson), the Magic can look for the best available player here. If this team is going to take the next step in 2024, they need to improve in a lot of departments, so it makes sense to bring in a guy who can impact both ends of the floor. The options are intriguing as they can use Walker as a “small” ball five, a stretch four and even as a 3-and-D wing and ask him to switch onto any player with no questions asked.
NBA Comparison: Cliff Robinson
13. Toronto: Cason Wallace 6-4 195 PG/SG Kentucky Fr.
Wallace dealt with lower leg issues for much of the season that limited his effectiveness, but at his best he was one of the most intriguing guards in the nation. Wallace struggled to live up to expectations, and did not show the same pop as he did in high school, however the shooting and all around package makes him very intriguing. And his calling card is undoubtedly his ferocious and relentless perimeter defense. If the concerns related to his physicals prove to be overblown, look for him to be one of the steals of the late lotto, mid first round.
Why the Raptors take Wallace: Fred Van Vleet may have played his last game for the Raptors, which would create space for someone like Wallace in the backcourt for Toronto. Wallace has the ability to bring back the tenacity and lockdown defense that has been missing since Kyle Lowry left for Miami. Between him, Anunoby and Barnes, scoring will be a nightmare for opponents when the Raptors are at full strength.
NBA Comparison: Marcus Smart
14. New Orleans: Keyonte George 6-4 185 SG Baylor Fr.
Keyonte George hit the ground running joining a talented backcourt of LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler, and by mid-season, he had emerged as their most exciting and productive player up until a nagging ankle injury limited him in the final month of the season. Despite the dip in production, the freshman is on the cusp of the lottery and widely recognized as one of the best shooter/scorers in this year’s draft class. He benefited playing at Baylor, and perhaps more than others, has some situational dependence factoring into his future success.
Why the Pelicans take George: The Pelicans could certainly use a quality shooting guard to spread the floor for their talented offensive threats and it doesn’t get much better than Keyonte George here. George gives the Pels another talented shot maker who just needs some time to learn better shot selection and overall discipline.
NBA Comparison: Cameron Thomas
15. Atlanta: Jalen Hood-Schifino 6-6 215 PG/SG Indiana Fr.
The two-man game between the hyphen brothers in Hood-Schifino and Jackson-Davis was one of the most sensational combinations in college basketball over the final few months of the season. Hood-Schifino has a tremendous feel for the floor and isn’t afraid to get his own shot if the rest of the team becomes stagnant. With excellent positional size and defensive prowess, the former Indiana star projects to have a high floor with the potential to be a lottery selection.
Why the Hawks take Hood-Schifino: The Hawks feature two of the better guards in the league, and perhaps one of the best starting duos, but the bench could use a playmaker and scorer to run the show. Who better than Hood-Schifino to fill that role? While he may be overly unselfish at times, he is the perfect complement to Trae Young who is often criticized for being on the complete opposite end of that spectrum.
NBA Comparison: Malcolm Brogdon
16. Utah (via MIN): Maxwell Lewis 6-7 195 SG/SF Pepperdine So.
Amidst a season to forget at Pepperdine, Maxwell Lewis shined in a season he’ll never forget for the Waves. Led by Lorenzo Romar, Pepperdine boasted a lineup with immense young talent, but none could take over a game quite like Lewis. With a 7-foot wingspan, he’s able to make plays that few prospects in this year’s draft can. Despite his unorthodox path, Lewis is a potential lottery pick with one of the highest ceilings of any prospect.
Why the Jazz take Lewis: The emergence of Lauri Markkanen as a star was a joy to watch, but the Jazz made it clear they are a rebuilding team. Lewis is the perfect player to bring in for a team not looking into championships at the moment. He requires patience and a platform to play valuable minutes, which Utah can provide as they attempt to unlock his immense potential as he continues to grow.
NBA Comparison: Sean Elliott
17. LA Lakers: Bilal Coulibaly 6-6 230 SG/SF France Intl.
While scouts were pouring into the arena to watch his teammate Victor Wembanyama, Coulibaly took the opportunity to showcase himself and ran with it. Few get out in transition with the speed and fluidity that Coulibaly showcases in the open floor. With a prototypical frame on the wing, the French youngster could even join his teammate in the lottery if a team takes a flier on the terrific play they saw alongside Wembanyama.
Why the Lakers take Coulibaly: There could be a mass exodus coming in Los Angeles from the key role players, headlined by Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura potentially hitting free agency, so Rob Pelinka needs to look to the draft for some depth. He might not be an instant starter, but Coulibaly can fill out the rotation, bringing defense and energy off the bench to assist in LeBron’s twilight years.
NBA Comparison: OG Anunoby
18. Miami: Kris Murray 6-8 220 SF/PF Iowa Jr.
He isn’t quite at the same level as his twin brother Keegan was at this time last year, but Kris Murray is certainly a first-round prospect after a terrific season with the Hawkeyes. His greatest development was his ability to attack aggressive closeouts by surging toward the hoop while also knowing when to let it fly from distance. As he continues to grow as a 3-and-D wing, he’ll find a consistent role somewhere, just like his brother.
Why the Heat take Murray: The Heat only ranked 27th in 3-point percentage this season, despite taking the 10th most threes, so they’re able to address that issue with the 18th pick this year. Murray is a classic 3-and-D player who can slide into their rotation as a reliable shooter who adds value as a scoring threat to a team that severely needs it.
NBA Comparison: Dorian Finney-Smith
19. Golden State: Rayan Rupert 6-6 185 SG/SF France Intl.
Rupert fell some on the mock as his athleticism numbers at the combine were underwhelming. But he remains very intriguing due to his incredible length at 6-6 with a 7-3 wingspan. With this disruptive length and long strides defensively, Rupert can cover a lot of ground and be the shutdown defender that can be the difference maker in a playoff series. He is a work in progress offensively, but he made strides in his transition game and as a playmaker.
Why the Warriors take Rupert: The new CBA affects teams like the Warriors who must add talent primarily the way they originally constructed the team, through the draft. They could look for a player such as Kris Murray if available to fill the Otto Porter role. Rupert gives them solid defensive potential at the wing.
NBA Comparison: Thabo Sefolosha
20. Houston (via LAC): Kobe Bufkin 6-5 195 SG Michigan So.
As Jett Howard battled an ankle injury late in the season, Bufkin capitalized on the opportunity to emerge as the backcourt star for the Wolverines. This emergence saw him rise up draft boards to where he currently site in the mid-first. Bufkin’s well-rounded game, which includes a rapid development as a perimeter shooter, translates well to the next level as a rotational guard who can produce in spurts and develop his game into a long-term role player or starter.
Why the Rockets take Bufkin: The Rockets have focused on hitting longshot home runs in the draft the last few seasons. While Bufkin brings a lot of the same attributes as their star in Jalen Green, he provides depth and the upside to potentially push for minutes and play alongside Green in the future.
NBA Comparison: Malik Monk
21. Brooklyn (via PHX): Jordan Hawkins 6-5 190 SG Connecticut So.
Alas we get the first look at a national champion player with Jordan Hawkins in the mid-first round. The Huskies couldn’t have dominated in the fashion they did without some legit NBA caliber players and Hawkins is their top prospect. When he’s in rhythm, he’s the best pure shooter in this year’s draft, which we saw in the NCAA Tournament. There are some questions about his size and strength, but his catch and shoot ability likely lands him a spot in the 20 range.
Why the Nets take Hawkins: Brooklyn is in a weird spot after letting go of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but they certainly aren’t in a rebuild. With terrific defensive talent and length in Bridges and Claxton, they suddenly need more shooters to fill out the rotation. No one in this draft figures to be as reliable as Hawkins. Hawkins would benefit playing next to an elite passer, as he did at UConn with Andre Jackson.
NBA Comparison: Isaiah Joe
22. Brooklyn: Leonard Miller 6-10 210 SF/PF G-League Fr.
Last summer’s recruitment of Leonard Miller, by NBA teams, colleges and the eventual winner, the G-League Ignite, was one of the fascinating storylines of the pre-draft process. Watching him grow with the Ignite this season was even more intriguing. To have his skillset at his size is impressive and makes him an intriguing option for teams in the mid first round.
Why the Nets take Miller: A pick after Hawkins, who will be an instant contributor, Brooklyn can afford to shoot for the moon with Miller. The Canadian forward still needs to refine his skills before he can play meaningful minutes at the highest level, but the Nets can offer him those minutes without a clear contending window in the near future. This is an excellent match for both player and team.
NBA Comparison: Jonathan Isaac
23. Portland (via NY): Trayce Jackson-Davis 6-9 245 PF Indiana Sr.
TJD showed that he wasn’t done advancing his game, even in his senior year, finishing second only to fellow Big Ten big Zach Edey for National Player of the Year. There is so much to love about his game, even if it isn’t the most modern style of play. While his range doesn’t yet expand beyond the 3-point arc, Jackson-Davis is a hard-worker who shows the touch to become perimeter threat to complement outstanding production inside the arc. The explosive lefty is the top senior available and a player we have had pegged in the first round since before the season.
Why the Trail Blazers take Jackson-Davis: Athleticism doesn’t always transfer to success but a lineup with TJD, Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons would not be such a bad thing. Lillard’s days in Portland could be numbered so a rebuild including TJD gives them an athletic big to bolster the frontcourt. Aside from the athleticism, Jackson-Davis can potentially be a facilitator in the middle of the floor to open things up for athletes and shooters around him.
NBA Comparison: David West
24. Sacramento: Noah Clowney 6-10 210 PF/C Alabama Fr.
Clowney is the perfect representation of what NBA teams are looking for in today’s league. The 6-10 forward spaces the floor exceptionally well and is never afraid to let it fly regardless of what kind of day he’s having from the floor. Throw in defensive versatility and capable rim-protection and it’s easy to see why the freshman forward earned consistent minutes on the best team in the country throughout the majority of the season.
Why the Kings take Clowney: The Kings made big strides in the past season, finally ending the longest drought of missing the playoffs in professional sports at 16 years. Clowney gives the Kings a high upside big who can potentially become a floor spacer and an above average athlete in the frontcourt to run the break, convert lobs and defend.
NBA Comparison: Nicolas Claxton
25. Memphis: Jett Howard 6-8 215 SG Michigan Fr.
No team really had a chance to snatch Jett Howard away from his father at Michigan, but it was clear he belonged on a NCAA Tournament team from his first game in the maize and blue. At the time we didn’t know that Michigan wouldn’t be a tournament team, but it was a shame the 6-8 sharpshooter didn’t have a chance to put on a show in March. Any Big Ten team will tell you that once one shot goes in, there’s nothing you can do to stop the onslaught that is around the corner. Someone is getting a premier shotmaker with outstanding size this summer.
Why the Grizzlies take Howard: This is one of my favorite fits of the first round, because Memphis needs someone to replace Dillon Brooks and help mitigate the loss of Ja Morant’s 26 points per game with a lengthy suspension looming. Howard has the size, swagger and scoring to be that guy and provide Memphis with yet another sharpshooter on the wing.
NBA Comparison: Doug McDermott
26. Indiana (via CLE): Bobi Klintman 6-10 225 PF/C Wake Forest Fr.
The decision of Klintman to return to college or keep his name in the draft felt like a toss-up coming into the combine, but the star freshman put that to rest by announcing he’s making the jump to the NBA this summer. The timing leads to speculation that there is a promise that he won’t fall out of the first round. While he’s a long ways from being ready, the upside is clear for a player we had projected in the top 10 for the 2024 draft had he elected to return to Wake Forest.
Why the Pacers take Klintman: Following the trade of Domantas Sabonis for Tyrese Haliburton, a trade that benefited both parties as much as any trade in recent memory, the Pacers clearly can use some frontcourt help. We are hearing that the Pacers are the team with a promise in place with Klintman. The Pacers have picks at 7, 26, 29 and 32, and the most likely of the three that Indiana would use on the high upside prospect would seem to be at 26. Indiana is a young team and can afford to draft a project type of player like Klintman to develop for the future.
NBA Comparison: John Collins
27. Charlotte (via DEN): Amari Bailey 6-5 185 PG/SG UCLA Fr.
Bailey’s story is intriguing because of how quickly he developed with the Bruins down the stretch of his freshman season. He went from a sparingly utilized guard to the primary ball-handler in the biggest moments, using his length and three-level scoring to take over offensively. Don’t be surprised if he turns into one of the draft’s big sleepers as his development continues over the next few years.
Why the Hoirnets take Bailey: With Charlotte going with a playmaking wing in Miller at 2, they can focus on bolstering the backcourt here at 27. Amari Bailey was one of the clear winners at the Draft Combine, and is on the rise. He gives the Charlotte backcourt an injection of speed and athleticism, with an improving perimeter game.
NBA Comparison: Jerryd Bayless
28. Utah (via PHI): Dereck Lively 7-1 230 C Duke Fr.
Lively went from the end of the bench to an elite last line of defense in a whirlwind of a freshman season for Jon Scheyer in Durham. He didn’t quite live up to the hype of a top overall recruit, but his eight-block performance against North Carolina will go down in one and done Duke era lore with the Cameron Crazies who witnessed his breakout performance. It’s this rim protection and athletic ability that gives Lively his intrigue.
Why the Jazz take Lively: Now this fit is just super fun to think about. Imagine a world where teams have to score not just over Walker Kessler but also Dereck Lively. It’s not possible. It might not make logistical sense, but with three first round picks, the Jazz can afford to get creative.
NBA Comparison: Jaxson Hayes
29. Indiana (via BOS): Trey Alexander 6-4 185 SG Creighton So.
Alexander is a classic do-it-all guard who became indispensable for the Blue Jays in his two-year career. From a lead-guard role in the absence of Ryan Nembhard as a freshman to a blend of playmaking and shot creating for an Elite Eight team as a sophomore, the 6-4 combo guard caught the eye of scouts with his offensive versatility and knockdown mid-range, and perimeter, jumper.
Why the Pacers take Alexander: The Pacers can’t hold onto all of their guards forever, so this pick is mostly to prepare for a future without one or two of the guys who are flourishing alongside Haliburton. Alexander can play on or off the ball and brings the IQ and mid-range excellence to elevate the players around him, while taking the load off their budding superstar.
NBA Comparison: Nickeil Walker-Alexander
30. LA Clippers (via MIL): Brice Sensabaugh 6-6 235 SF/PF Ohio State Fr.
Not many freshmen can be as productive as Sensabaugh was this season and still find themselves only on the fringe of the first round. His reliance on tough two’s played a role, but as a 40% 3-point shooter with a physical frame, Sensabaugh has the chance to be a long-term contributor at the next level.
Why the Clippers take Sensabaugh: With one of the oldest rosters in the NBA, the Clippers need to get younger and it starts with the draft. Sensabaugh is just 19 years old and enjoyed a highly productive individual season for Ohio State, in spite of the team’s struggles. Despite a lack of speed, the young forward simply knows how to play, which is an attribute any contending team would love to add this late in the first round.
NBA Comparison: Craig Smith
31. Detroit: Sidy Cissoko 6-8 200 SG/SF G-League Intl.
The G-League Ignite once again overflowed with talent. The French wing has an NBA body that should only improve. Defense is his calling card, but the 6-8 wing made strides as a scorer, averaging 11 points for the Ignite while improving his 3-point jumper to 30% on over three attempts per game.
32. Indiana (via HOU):: Terquavion Smith 6-4 165 PG/SG NC State So.
Electrifying is the word that comes to mind when trying to describe Terquavion Smith’s game. His speed in the open floor is one of his strengths An unwavering confidence in his perimeter jumper also allows him to make highlight plays every night for the Wolfpack – a trait he’ll certainly make use of at the NBA level as well.
33. San Antonio Dariq Whitehead 6-7 220 SG Duke Fr.
The Blue Devils were a popular Final Four pick before the NCAA Tournament started, in part due to the return and emergence of true freshman Dariq Whitehead. His lights-out shooting from the perimeter added another dimension to the Blue Devil offense, leading to a 10-game winning streak before Tennessee ended their season in the second round. His latest foot surgery could push him into the second round with less certainty about his long term health.
34. Charlotte: Brandin Podziemski 6-5 205 SG/PG Santa Clara So.
Nobody made a better transfer decision in college basketball this season than Podziemski who moved from little used Illinois bench player to Santa Clara standout. He found the perfect home with the Broncos, earning Co-Player of the Year in the WCC with Drew Timme with a 20-point average on 48/44/77 splits, showing both the ability to facilitate and make open threes.
35. Oklahoma City (via POR): Julian Strawther 6-7 205 SF Gonzaga Jr.
The best word to describe Julian Strawther’s game is “smooth”. From his sound shooting mechanics to his late game confidence, the 6-7 sharpshooter emerged as a legit star alongside Drew Timme – not just a complementary afterthought to the college legend. The junior standout is more than just a shooter as he is one of the more underrated slashers in the draft class, with an elite floater that proved formidable in conference play for the Zags.
36. Orlando: Jalen Wilson 6-7 225 SF/PF Kansas Jr.
Jalen Wilson enjoyed a breakout season as the star for the defending national champions, and although they fell short of repeating, it was a successful campaign. The first team All-American often delivered in crunch time, and was rewarded with the Julius Erving award for the top small forward in college. He has some positional questionmarks, but with today’s positionless league should get looks in hte late first early second round of the draft.
37. Oklahoma City (via WAS): Seth Lundy 6-6 220 SG/SF Penn State Sr.
A massive jump in his senior season not only helped Penn State win an NCAA Tournament game for the second time this century, but also catapulted the 23-year-old wing into being a consensus draft pick. With relentless defensive energy and an effective perimeter jumper, Lundy projects as a 3-and-D wing who figures to go in the top 45 on draft night.
38. Sacramento (via IND): Jaime Jaquez 6-7 225 SF UCLA Sr.
From the moment he rose to the occasion in the 2020 NCAA Tournament for 11-seed UCLA, Jaquez was a fan favorite who only continued to get better for the Bruins. The consensus All-American gets to the basket as well as any wing in the country and with his size and savvy, it’s hard to picture this production won’t translate to the next level in some capacity, and there’s chatter that he will get looks in the late first due to his ability to contribute as a consumate role player.
39. Charlotte (via UTA): Isaiah Wong 6-4 185 PG/SG Miami (FL) Sr.
Isaiah Wong’s two-year run in the NCAA Tournament will be forever legendary as he carried the University to their first Final Four in program history before running into the UConn buzzsaw. The tenacious guard with great intangibles could carve a role for himself as a rotational guard with his ability to play both guard positions and make great decision with his high basketball IQ and feel for the game.
40. Denver (via DAL): Marcus Sasser 6-2 195 PG/SG Houston Sr.
Due to his age, it’s hard to imagine Sasser cracking the first round, but he has proven to be a high level shot maker and defender, two areas that give him a lot of intrigue. His injuries history is a slight concern for teams. Despite struggling in the oturnament, Sasser could end up being a steal as a combo guard with readiness to contribute.
41. Charlotte (via OKC): Adam Flagler 6-3 185 SG Baylor Sr.
After starting his career at Presbyterian in 2018, Adam Flagler is now a national champion and a potential draft pick if a team values his production over his “advanced” age. He’ll turn 24 in December but a fluid pull-up game, playmaking upside and slick handles make him an intriguing rotational guard who can fill up a stat sheet and occupy minutes.
42. Washington (via CHI): Nikola Djurisic 6-8 215 SG Serbia Intl.
Three seasons with KK Mega have helped Djurisic, who now finds himself in the mid second round for the upcoming NBA Draft. After playing just two games in 2020-21, Djurisic is now thriving as a playmaking guard with his terrific size and filled out body at 6-8, 215 pounds. His shooting mechanics look better than his percentages indicate and at just 19 years old, he has plenty of time to improve those numbers to become a more well rounded player.
43. Portland (via ATL): Ricky Council 6-6 205 SG Arkansas Jr.
All eyes were on Anthony Black and Nick Smith for Arkansas this season, but Council’s athleticism jumped out from day one as he was the steadiest and most productive offensive performer from opening night and throughout the season. The Wichita State transfer has an unorthdox shot, but showed the ability to be an efficient shooter anyway.
44. San Antonio (via TOR): Keyontae Johnson 6-6 230 SG/SF Kansas State Sr.
Johnson’s evolution into a fierce competitor and March Madness standout made him more than just a heartwarming story. His return from a collapse a few years ago was heroic enough, but to return and become an All-American? He’s clearly a player with a great deal of determination and persaverance and will help a team not only with his play but strong leadership and characher.
45. Memphis (via MIN): Tristan Vukcevic 6-11 205 PF/C Serbia Intl.
Vukcevic is a high-upside stretch big who was stroking it this week in the 3-point shooting drills at the combine. He is a true modern big with the confidence and sound mechanics to thrive as a stretch-five or floor spacing forward in the NBA. He is still only 20 years old with the potential to be a steal as one of the top foreign prospects in the 2023 class.
46. Atlanta (via NO): James Nnaji 6-10 200 C Nigeria Intl.
Nnaji is a beastly, rim-protecting center who does most of his damage on the defensive end. He won’t spread the floor or make a lot of his free throws (44% FT) but shows surprising touch around the rim as a career 70% shooter for Barcelona. Nnaji needs a ton of polish with his game, but at just 18 years old, he has the time to do so for a team that can afford to be patient on a highly explosive rim-protector.
47. LA Lakers: Drew Timme 6-9 230 PF/C Gonzaga Sr.
As one of the most productive players in modern college basketball history, Drew Timme made a name for himself that warrants consideration in the draft next month. His outstanding footwork and playmaking skills should allow a team to overlook his defensive shortcomings and the lack of a 3-point jumper and gives him a chance to replicate some of his success at the next level.
48. LA Clippers: Zach Edey 7-4 290 C Purdue Jr.
Speaking of production, Zach Edey, flourished with the Boilermakers this year and in the process, enhanced his chances to play at the NBA level. The junior giant earned unanimous national player of the year honors and also led the Boilermakers to Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. There are some obvious holes to his game, but he’s a likely second-round selection for a team that sees a player that could develop into a Boban Marjanovic type.
49. Cleveland (via GS): Tosan Evbuomwan 6-8 220 SF Princeton Sr.
After a breakout tournament in March Madness for No. 15 Princeton, Evbuomwan earned an invite to the G-League Elite Camp where he played well enough to earn a call-up to the NBA Draft Combine this week. An improved perimeter jumper turned the sensational playmaking wing into a legit NBA prospect, which he showed throughout March and as he showed against prospects at the G-League camp and NBA Draft Combine.
50. Oklahoma City (via MIA): Jalen Pickett 6-4 210 SG Penn State Sr.
I mentioned the outstanding transfer decision of Brandon Podziemski earlier, but Jalen Pickett made a similarly wise decision two seasons ago when he took his talents to Happy Valley. The second team All-American used old-school techniques and craftiness to frustrate and dissect opposing defenses for the Nittany Lions. There will be a role for him at the next level one way or another.
51. Brooklyn: Jordan Miller 6-7 195 SG Miami (FL) Sr.
The Hurricanes don’t go as far as they did the last two seasons without the maturity and production they received from Jordan Miller. He is what made the small-ball lineup go with outstanding rebounding for his size and outstanding shot creation while exploiting the mismatches that their lineup created on the offensive end. Miller measured extremely well, and is a true Swiss-army knife who will use his versatility to carve out a role for himself however his team needs him.
52. Phoenix: Terrence Shannon 6-6 215 SG Illinois Sr.
It feels like forever ago, but Shannon’s sensational performance against UCLA was the culmination of what scouts and coaches have been saying about him for years. The Texas Tech transfer drilled eight of his nine 3-pointers on the night, sparking a second-half comeback for the Illini. More consistency on that jumper will reap rewards for the physically built guard.
53. Minnesota (via NY): Azuolas Tubelis 6-11 245 PF Arizona Jr.
Tubelis impresses with his relentless work ethic and aggressiveness to gain position offensively to his short roll playmaking that gets everyone involved on that end of the floor. With the right coaching and some patience as he gets a feel for the faster game, look for Tubelis to overcome his physical shortcomings and find a role at the next level.
54. Sacramento: Kobe Brown 6-8 250 SG/SF Missouri Sr.
Dennis Gates had a dream debut season with Missouri after unlocking the potential of his star “guard” Kobe Brown. I hesitate to call him a guard because of his unique frame of 6-8, 250 pounds, but his athleticism and style fit the description of a guard far more than his body. A 25% jump from the perimeter (20% to 45%) was the difference for Brown, who is intriguing despite lacking ideal speed and quickness.
55. Indiana (via CLE): Toumani Camara 6-8 220 SF/PF Dayton Sr.
Camara is a maestro from inside the arc using his size and shiftiness to attack the basket with both power and finesse against his opponents. An improved jumper from beyond the arc this season landed him on draft radars, making him a potential late second-round pick with terrific upside as a shot-creating wing with NBA athleticism.
56. Memphis: Omari Moore 6-6 195 PG/SG San Jose State Sr.
The San Jose State product is an intriguing facilitating guard with terrific size at 6-6 who could be worth a flier late in the draft next month. By utilizing his lateral speed and quick burst, Moore can attack the basket while jab-stepping his way into an open three that he has improved upon. The 2023 Mountain West POY could run a second unit and provide the depth that a contending team could use in the backcourt.
57. Chicago: Forfeited Pick
58. Philadelphia: Forfeited Pick
59. Washington (via BOS): DaRon Holmes 6-10 230 PF Dayton So.
Most second round picks are either experienced veterans who can play right away or high upside youngsters who have the potential to enjoy a long career. DaRon Holmes is somehow a mix of both. The sophomore big man started all 69 games in his two-year career, showcasing elite and versatile defense while drastically improving his offensive production to 18 points per game as a sophomore.
60. Milwaukee: Jazian Gortman 6-2 170 PG Overtime Elite Fr.
Gortman shined in the athletic testing portion of the Draft Combine after earning the call-up with a terrific showing at the G-League Elite Camp. The former ESPN five-star recruit was one of eight players to receive a call-up and showed some flashes in the combine scrimmages this week giving his stock a boost ahead of the draft next month.