2023 NBA mock draft: Detroit Pistons land the NBA’s next phenom in latest projections

It’s never too early to dive into our 2023 NBA mock draft. With the 2022-’23 season now ongoing and the college basketball campaign fully underway, there’s a lot to look at involving the next batch of NBA players.

It’s going to be an incredibly loaded class with one player by the name of Victor Wembanyama from France leading the conversation. However, there are many other top-end players who likely would have been in the conversation for the top-three selections in 2022.

Without further ado, here’s our 2023 NBA mock draft with the order similar to Sportsnaut’s most-recent NBA power rankings and the worst to best teams by win percentage.

2023 NBA mock draft: The elite 3

1. Detroit Pistons: Victor Wembanyama, center, France

Wembanyama, 18, is a 7-foot-2 France native who would’ve been eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft if the league had changed its rules. That never came to fruition. Now, the talented center is considered the early No. 1 prospect for next June and that is understandable.

The young center boasts an absurd 7-foot-8 wingspan and displays flashes of brilliance playing for Metropolitans 92 in the LNB Pro A. Wembanyama is averaging 23.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.8 blocks this season. Amazingly, he has the ability to stretch the court from three-point range and already displays an elite jump shot. That was magnified during exhibition performances in Las Vegas with some around the NBA indicating that Wembanyama is the best prospect since LeBron James.

Our updated 2023 NBA mock draft lands Detroit a big man to team up with the likes of Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, its two most-recent high lottery selections.

2. Charlotte Hornets: Scoot Henderson, guard, G-League Ignite

NBA Mock Draft 2023
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The 6-foot-3 Henderson actually skipped his senior season in high school and decided to play in the NBA G-League. At just 18 years old, he looks like he belongs in said league with ambitions to torch the NBA. Henderson is currently averaging 21.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.7 steals while shooting 48.5% from beyond the arc.

Experts believe that Henderson has an opportunity to be the No. 1 pick in the draft next June, primarily due to his explosion off the dribble and already advanced size for someone his age. Henderson translates better to the point guard spot at the next level too. However, Wembanyana will likely get the nod with Henderson being the consensus No. 2 pick.

With this selection, Charlotte pairs Henderson with guard LaMelo Ball.

3. Orlando Magic: Amen Thompson, guard, Overtime Elite

One of two twins in the 2023 NBA draft class, Amen Thompson is going to be a hot commodity as the league is knocking. Thompson plays with his brother, Ausar Thompson, at Overtime Elite. He is currently averaging 16.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.0 assists while shooting 54.7% from the field.

Standing at 6-foot-7, he is an amazing playmaker who loves to play above the rim. Thompson possesses an elite athletic ability that makes him a rare find for young players. Many might knock him due to his limited shooting but his finishing, passing, and defense help his case tremendously. Orlando adds Thompson in our latest NBA mock draft to pair with Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner.

2023 NBA mock draft: Others trying to climb the boards

4. Houston Rockets: Nick Smith Jr., guard, Arkansas

The 6-foot-4 Smith opted to stay home after starring for North Little Rock High School. He’s a five-star recruit of the Razorbacks and No. 3 on ESPN’s top 2022 recruits. Smith has finally recovered and currently averages 14.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while shooting 43.5% from the field in four games.

Questions will be raised about Smith’s athleticism as a combo guard, but everything else is in place for him to succeed as a centerpiece for Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman. That includes a plus-level perimeter shot and an ability to play good defense on the outside. Here, we have the Rockets picking up Smith to pair with their young star guard Jalen Green.

5. San Antonio Spurs: Cameron Whitmore, forward, Villanova

The ability of Villanova to bring out the best in its players could very well be a factor in Whitmore rising the boards. That’s very much the case in our 2023 NBA mock draft. Whitmore made his debut last week after his recovery and currently averages 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in three games.

Already boasting an NBA-ready 6-foot-7, 220-pound frame, it’s going to be all about how Whitmore performs from out on the perimeter under first-year Wildcats head coach Kyle Neptune. Either way, San Antonio feels like a great fit and would pair together nicely with former lottery pick Jeremy Sochan.

6. Washington Wizards: Ausar Thompson, guard, Overtime Elite

Ausar Thompson is just as explosive as his twin Amen, who is going off the board the No. 3 to Orlando. Thompson is a better defender than his brother and excels at turning it into offense. The 6-foot-7 guard is averaging 18.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 2.7 steals. Washington will pair Thompson at No. 6 overall with Bradley Beal in our latest NBA mock draft.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder: Brandon Miller, forward, Alabama

NCAA Basketball: Phil Knight Invitational-Alabama at Michigan State
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Miller has burst onto the scene and it is for good reason as the 6-foot-9 freshman forward has been on a tear to start the season. The Alabama product is averaging 17.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting 42.9% from the three-point line. Miller’s shot-making and athleticism make him a perfect fit with Shai-Gileous Alexnader in Oklahoma City.

8. Orlando Magic (from Bulls): Jarace Walker, forward, Houston

NCAA Basketball: Norfolk State at Houston
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Walker stands at 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds with an ability to grow into that frame as a freshman for Houston. A top-10 recruit from IMG Academy, he’s also displayed a solid mid-range game. Walker is averaging 9.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists while shooting 47.6% as Orlando adds him alongside Amen Thompson.

9. New Orleans Pelicans (from Lakers): Anthony Black, guard, Arkansas

NCAA Basketball: Troy at Arkansas
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Black has been skyrocketing up draft boards after the Thanksgiving week of tournaments. The 6-foot-7 guard is averaging 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting 53.0% from the field. With his teammate, Smith Jr., back, he has been adapting to his new role after a great start. New Orleans picks the freshman guard at No. 9 overall in our latest NBA mock draft.

10. Miami Heat: Cason Wallace, guard, Kentucky

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Kentucky
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Cason Wallace’s defensive gifts have him landing with the Heat as the No. 10 overall pick. While his scoring is not as dangerous, it has not been too bad as he is averaging 10.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 52.9% from the field. The 6-foot-4 guard appears to be a good fit anywhere in the NBA and he might rise on draft boards even more.

11. Toronto Raptors: Keyonte George, guard, Baylor

NCAA Basketball: Northern Colorado at Baylor
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Experts look at George as someone who can already score at all three levels with an ability to use his 6-foot-5 frame to dominate smaller defenders. This should continue at the college level in the Big 12 with Baylor. Thus far, George is averaging 15.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while being linked to Toronto in our 2023 NBA mock draft.

12. New York Knicks (from Mavericks): GG Jackson, forward, South Carolina

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina State at South Carolina
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Jackson lands at the No. 12 overall selection by the New York Knicks with high activity and good scoring ability. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 17. 1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 0.7 assists while shooting 43.7% from the field. If Jackson can continue to flash consistency and elite play in a half-court setting, there is no telling how far he may rise in the draft.

13. Utah Jazz (from Timberwolves): Dariq Whitehead, forward, Duke

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The No. 2 recruit of the 2022 class out of Westtown School in Pennsylvania, this wing figures to play a huge role for Duke this season when his minute restriction is gone. Whitehead has struggled coming back from a foot injury but will improve with time. In this edition, we have Utah picking Whitehead at No. 13 overall.

14. Utah Jazz: Kel’el Ware, center, Oregon

A surprising top-eight recruit that actually landed with Oregon, Ware seems to have all the skills to be seen as a top-end big prospect. He already boasts a solid 7-foot, 215-pound frame and is seen as someone who can actually hit the outside shot and protect the rim in the low post. Ware goes to Utah in our 2023 NBA mock draft to pair with Whitehead.

2023 NBA mock draft: Non-lottery picks

15. Indiana Pacers: Dillon Mitchell, forward, Texas

16. Atlanta Hawks: Terquavion Smith, guard, North Carolina State

17. Golden State Warriors: Gradey Dick, guard, Kansas

18. New York Knicks: Jett Howard, guard, Michigan

19. Los Angeles Clippers: Kyle Filipowski, center, Duke

20. Chicago Bulls (from Trail Blazers): Kris Murray, forward, Iowa

21. Brooklyn Nets (from 76ers): Dereck Lively II, center, Duke

22. Sacramento Kings: Rayan Rupert, forward, New Zealand

23. Utah Jazz (from Nets): Amari Bailey, guard, UCLA

24. Phoenix Suns: Leonard Miller, forward, G-League Ignite

25. Charlotte Hornets (from Nuggets): Chris Livingston, forward, Kentucky

26. Indiana Pacers (from Cavaliers): Nikola Durišić, guard, Serbia

27. Memphis Grizzlies: Arthur Kaluma, forward, Creighton

28. Los Angeles Lakers (from Pelicans): J.J. Starling, guard, Notre Dame

29. Houston Rockets (from Bucks): Emoni Bates, forward, Eastern Michigan

30. Indiana Pacers (from Celtics): Maxwell Lewis, forward, Pepperdine

Let us know what you think about our third edition of the 2023 NBA mock draft in the comments section below.

This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.

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